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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-03-14

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 49/11 12-14.03.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] The regime interrogates MEPs who visited the occupied closed city of Varosha; Former MEP and an EU citizen detained
  • [02] Bagis and Ozgurgun criticized EP's report on Turkey
  • [03] Izzet Izcan on the EP's report on Turkey
  • [04] Talat: "It is not 50 thousand, it is 62"
  • [05] Roucek discusses Cyprus problem in TV program
  • [06] Two more "legislations" are approved
  • [07] Another person was arrested for the shooting incident against Afrika
  • [08] Employment data in occupied Cyprus
  • [09] Turkay Tokel on the number of foreign workers
  • [10] KTOEOS elected a new chairman
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [11] Columnist argues that natural gas will have an impact on the geopolitical situation of the entire region
  • [12] Bagis reiterates that full EU membership is an indispensable goal
  • [13] Thousands march in Istanbul to demand press freedom
  • [14] Davutoglu attended an EU meeting
  • [15] New platform to commence oil exploration off Black Sea in April
  • [16] Turkey to strengthen business ties with Russia
  • [17] Highlights

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Main issues covered by the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend is the tsunami that hit Japan, statements by the so-called Turkish Cypriot foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun regarding the EP report on Turkey, statements by Talat regarding settlers and citizenship, statements by the so-called transportation minister Saner that the new "North Cyprus airlines" will begin flying at the end of March, the arrest of a suspect related to the armed attack at Afrika offices and the results of the latest DPO census. Extended coverage is given by Sunday and Monday newspapers to the arrest of EU Parliamentarians in the closed city of Varoshia

    [01] The regime interrogates MEPs who visited the occupied closed city of Varosha; Former MEP and an EU citizen detained

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (14.03.11) reports that a Greek Cypriot named Loizos Afxentiou was tried yesterday by a military "court", which decided to set him free on bail and forbid his exit from the occupied areas of Cyprus. Afxentiou had been arrested on Saturday because he entered without a permit to the occupied closed city of Varosha together with two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from Poland, one MEP from Bulgaria, one MEP from Cyprus, former MEP Giannakis Matsis, the Representative of the Greek Orthodox Church in Brussels Bishop Porfyrios and a priest named Savvas.

    Polish MEPs Jaroslaw Walesa (son of the Polish former President) and Artur Zasada, Bulgarian MEP Maria Nedelcheva and Cypriot MEP Eleni Theoharous were set free after being interrogated by the "police" of the breakaway regime. Matsis and Afxentiou were detained.

    The paper writes that Giannakis Matsis, who was taken to occupied Famagusta hospital due to heart problems, will be tried today by a military "court". According to Harun Cakir, "police officer" in occupied Famagusta, Afxentiou is accused of violating forbidden military zone of first degree.

    Meanwhile, Kibris reports that the New Cyprus Party (YKP) issued a statement yesterday asking for the detainees to be set free. Murat Kanatli, member of YKP's executive committee, said the mentality, which forbids even visiting and taking pictures in Varosha, should change. Kanatli recalled YKP's demand that the [Turkish] army should be withdrawn and Varosha should be returned to its legal owners during the process that leads to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (13.03.11) refers to the issue under the title "The Polish diplomats were deceived by the Greek Cypriot priests". The paper publishes a statement issued by the so-called president's office noting that the MEPs had been set free and that the interrogation continued for two persons, who would "soon be taken to court and tried according to the laws" of the regime.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (13.03.11) reports on statements by Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, who alleged that "just like in every country of the world, it is not possible to enter freely into military zones in the TRNC without obtaining permit".

    Under the title "Varosha game", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (14.03.11) reports that Afxentiou was set free on bail and he will be tried by a civilian "court".

    Under the title "Conspiracy of Christofias", Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (14.03.11) reports that the "Greek Cypriot provocateurs who cut the wires and entered illegally" into Varosha "are giving an account" for their act at a "TRNC court". The paper alleges that the real aim of this "scenario planned by the Greek Cypriot administration" was to take to the international agenda the issue of the return of occupied closed city of Varosha to the Greek Cypriot side. The paper claims that the Greek Cypriot side has paid the travelling and accommodation expenses of the above-mentioned MEPs and it has even given them "pocket money" in order to achieve their coming to Cyprus.

    Writing in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (14.03.11), Sener Levent says that the MEPs did the right thing this time by visiting Varosha. He argues that the other MEPs, and especially the members of EP's High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots, should also follow the example of the Polish MEPs. Levent criticizes the Turkish Cypriot political parties because they follow the official Turkish policy on the Cyprus problem and adds that they will either say nothing about the incident or they will condemn the MEPs and the Greek Cypriots due to the fact that they entered "illegally" to the occupied closed city of Varosha. Noting that the parties will do this without considering what does the Turkish side describes as "illegal", Levent wonders: "What does 'illegal' mean? What law is this? If it is not the law of occupation, what is it?"

    Meanwhile, commenting on the issue of Varosha in his column in daily Halkin Sesi (14.03.11), Yusuf Kanli writes that Varosha is not a Turkish land. He notes that the Turkish side admitted in 1975 that Varosha is an area which is under occupation and will be returned to the Greek Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Bagis and Ozgurgun criticized EP's report on Turkey

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 12.03.11), self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, who carries out a series of contacts in Ankara, met with the Turkish Minister of State and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis yesterday.

    Both strongly criticized the 2010 Progress Report on Turkey that has been unanimously adopted by the European Parliament.

    Referring to a public survey carried out by KADEM in the occupied areas, Ozgurgun said that "Turkish Cypriots perceive the Turkish Armed Forces as the most reliable institution and support the continuation of Turkey's guarantorship in Cyprus as well".

    He also welcomed the Turkish position that "Cyprus should not be wasted in the way towards the European Union".

    Egemen Bagis, for his part, said that the Report does not accord with the realities of the Cyprus problem. Defining the Report as biased, Bagis said that the Report is just a text aimed at serving the political interests of a particular group of politicians.

    [03] Izzet Izcan on the EP's report on Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (12.03.11) reported on statements by Izzet Izcan, Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) who evaluated in a written statement the report of the European Parliament regarding Turkey's progress in its accession process.

    In his statement, Izcan said that the European Parliament has taken a serious decision by demanding from Turkey the immediate withdrawal of its troops from Cyprus, the ending of the colonization policy in Cyprus, and to abandon its efforts aiming to change the demographic structure of the island.

    Izzet Izcan stated also that the European Parliament made a call to the Republic of Turkey to actively support the negotiation process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the UN decisions and the principles of the EU. He said that this calling ends the fiasco followed by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu under the instructions of the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding the ongoing negotiation process.

    Izcan pointed also out that the policy of AKP to be one step ahead on the Cyprus problem has ended with a fiasco and added that the world has realized what the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan wants to do.

    Izcan reiterated also in his statements the demand for the return of the occupied closed city of Varosha to its legal owners and in return for this the opening of Famagusta port under the supervision of the EU and stated that the implementation of the direct trade will offer the chance to the Turkish Cypriots to extricate from the "embargoes" and the isolations.

    (AK)

    [04] Talat: "It is not 50 thousand, it is 62"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (12.03.11) reports statements by the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, during a visit by Havadis journalists in his new office. Commenting on President Christofias' statements that after an agreement 50,000 people of Turkish origin would be accepted to remain to Cyprus, Talat said that according to their calculations the number is 62,000 people.

    "The number is 62 thousand. The number of those coming from Turkey and settling is 42 thousand. If you add the children that were born here, the number is around 62 thousand. Christofias is trying to squeeze it down to 50 thousand. We are saying let's find another way according to human rights. People born here cannot be considered as foreigners," said Talat.

    Answering a question whether he would be a candidate for the so-called presidency again, Talat said that he has not decided, but if there is need he is ready to be candidate for any political duty. He also stated that work is under way to establish a "Solidarity for peace" foundation which will aim to facilitate a solution to the Cyprus problem and peace.

    [05] Roucek discusses Cyprus problem in TV program

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (12.03.11) reports that Libor Roucek, the Vice-President of the European Parliament and chairman of the high level contact group with the Turkish Cypriots, speaking to the "Avrupali" tv program in Kanal Sim, said that it would be better if the Cyprus problem was solved before Cyprus became an EU member. "We all thought that they would say yes to the Annan plan and a united Cyprus would become a member. But it is a shame that the Greek Cypriot side said no to the referendum. And unfortunately this situation is damaging more the Turkish Cypriots... a great injustice was done to them," said Roucek.

    Roucek also said that he prefers to see free trade established between the two communities, Cyprus, Turkey and the EU, and to lift any boundaries and restrictions and allow free movement of persons and goods. He acknowledged however that this is his personal wish and not the current reality, and said that it is a shame that "the Green Line Regulation is not working, or is not working as expected." He argued that last year's 7.5 million euro worth of trade is far lesser that the potential figures and added that growth of Green Line trade would benefit also the Greek Cypriots.

    Moreover Roucek noted that the view that "a new plan must be Cypriot owned and made" is correct, and that the UN sets the framework and the EU is trying to assist. "People [Cypriots] must know that they will have to make sacrifices, and the duty to prepare the people for a solution befalls upon the two leaders, because no one wants, after an agreement, to experience again a result similar to the one of 2004," said Roucek.

    [06] Two more "legislations" are approved

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 12.03.11), Turkish President Abdullah Gul has approved two "legislations" that regulate cooperation between Turkey and the breakaway regime on issues related to the sectors of customs and universities. The legislations have been forwarded to the Prime Ministry for publication.

    According to a press release by the Turkish Presidency, one of the approved legislations envisages the establishment of cooperation in the customs field and includes a protocol for the detection and prevention of smuggling.

    Gul also approved another legislation which foresees the approval of an international agreement allowing "the mutual recognition of universities established in accordance with the law of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

    [07] Another person was arrested for the shooting incident against Afrika

    Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (12.03.11) reports that a person named Emirali Baka (28) was arrested for the shooting incident against Afrika. The paper writes that Baka is Ismet Felek's bother-in-law [Tr. Note: Ismet Felek is accused of drug trafficking in Turkey. His brother Ogus Felek has called Sener Levent and told him that he was the one who organized the shooting against Afrika].

    The "police" examine the relations of Baka with the perpetrator and the instigator of the crime. The "court" decided the detention of Baka for three days.

    Afrika (14.03.11) also reports that today both suspects for the incident, Emirali Baka and Feza Bilir, will be taken to "court" again. The paper writes that no information was obtained on whether Emin Siba is arrested by the Turkish police. Siba is suspected as being the person that "pulled the trigger" during the shooting incident against Afrika and escaped to Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Employment data in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (12.03.11) reports on data announced by the so-called State Planning Organisation (DPO) based on a census held in October 2010. As the paper reports, the census took place among 4.024 households in the occupied areas between October 18 and November 1. However, for various reasons, only the 76.4% of these households responded to the census.

    According to the data, the "civilian non-institutional population" is 263.650 people while during the same period of 2009 the same number was 258.441. In addition, the "civilian non-institutional population" over the age of 15 increased by 4.485 people since 2009, to 213.795 people.

    Moreover, labour force is 106.117 people, of whom 93.498 are employed (increased by 1.948 people since 2009) and 12.619 are unemployed. Thus, the employment rate is 43.7%, the unemployment rate is 11.9%. Particularly, the unemployment rate between ages 15-24 is 24.8%. Reportedly, the unemployment rate in occupied Lefkosia reaches 25%, in occupied Famagusta 36.4%, in occupied Kyrenia 14.2%, in occupied Morfou 23.5% and in occupied Trikomo 30.6%.

    Furthermore, in comparison to 2009, the number of those working in the free territories of Cyprus decreased from 2.595 (2.8%) to 1.923 people (2.1%) in 2010.

    Inter alia, the census revealed that the number of those working in the "public sector" is estimated 27.244 people and covers the 29.1% of the total employment. In addition, 5.7% of the employment is covered by the agriculture sector, 10.2% by the industrial sector, 8.3% by the constructions' sector and 75.9% by the services' sector.

    [09] Turkay Tokel on the number of foreign workers

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (13.03.11) reports that Turkay Tokel, self-styled minister of labour and social insurance of the breakaway regime, said that the "ministry of labour and social insurance" is preparing to implement new measures with the aim the unemployment problem of the "country" to be resolved.

    In his statements, Tokel said that the "ministry" will change the procedure regarding the foreign workers in the "country" by being stricter on the implementation of preliminary permissions and by encouraging several sectors to hire local workers.

    Tokel said that approximately 42.000 of the workers in the occupied areas today are workers with preliminary permission and added that the aim is for this number to be decreased. Tokel further said that from now on a new procedure regarding foreign workers is to be followed adding that they will not allow the increase of the number of the workers with preliminary working permission.

    Self-styled minister went on saying that this issue has been discussed by the "council of ministers" the previous weeks and added that at the moment they intend to proceed to a dialogue with the worker's trade unions and then after their contacts in March, the issue is to be sent to the "assembly" for discussion.

    (AK)

    [10] KTOEOS elected a new chairman

    Under the title "Eraslan and his team have lost", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (13.03.11) reported that during the 42nd general assembly of KTOEOS (the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers' Trade Union) which took place yesterday at Ataturk Sport Center in occupied Lefkosia, Adnan Eraslan chairman of KTOEOS and his team called "Team of Democracy Teachers" lost the elections since the team of Tahir Gokcebel called "Team of Teacher's movement" gained the majority of votes.

    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The latest developments on the disaster in Japan were the main issue in the Turkish newspapers during the weekend. In addition, the arrest of European and Greek Cypriot officials who entered the forbidden zone in the fenced-off city of Varosha, reports on the disagreement of Turkish politicians regarding EP report on Turkey, Foreign Minister's Davutoglu's visit to Qatar, reports that thousands of journalists marched to Istanbul's Taksim Square for the second time to protest detention of their colleagues, and other internal issues were covered by the press during the weekend.

    [11] Columnist argues that natural gas will have an impact on the geopolitical situation of the entire region

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 13.03.11) publishes, inter alia, the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli entitled "Mediterranean gas":

    "From time to time Turkey has issued statements reminding the Greek Cypriot-run Cyprus republic and some other countries of the Mediterranean basin that the Greek Cypriot administration cannot undertake cooperation schemes with other countries.

    ....

    That is, Ankara has been frequently reminding countries like Egypt, Israel and Syria that: a) in the absence of the Turkish Cypriot element in the administration of the island, the Greek Cypriots alone cannot represent the government of the entire island; b) as equal partners with Greek Cypriots in the sovereignty and independence of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots are entitled to a share of the island's offshore riches as well and their share cannot be ignored; c) as long as there is no settlement on the island and the bi-communal power-sharing problem continues, Greek Cypriots do not possess the legitimacy of undertaking unilateral decisions over the common riches of the island and its economic zone in the sea.

    A second element in Ankara's not-so-seldom notes to littoral countries was the absence of a deal with Turkey, a country with a huge Mediterranean shore, regarding utilization of the resources of the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey, obviously, is not a state that can turn a blind eye to some greedy eyes fixed on resources of the Mediterranean in total defiance of the interests of Turkey.

    The gas and oil finds in the eastern Mediterranean, will of course, have a very serious impact on the geopolitical situation of the entire region. For example, in the last days of 2010, Noble Energy and partners announced that the Leviathan field, off the north coast of Israel contained at least 16 Tcf of recoverable gas, which would make the field one of the largest offshore natural gas fields ever. Such a giant discovery, which may be followed by other discoveries, would certainly make Israel a prime candidate as a natural gas exporter. The United States Geological Survey has estimated that the Eastern Mediterranean may hold 200 Tcf of ultimately recoverable natural gas.

    On energytribune.com, Michael Economides recently commented that Israel's success in the energy arena "is a game-changer" in geopolitics.

    'Natural gas may bring Israel and Cyprus (and by extension Greece) into a natural alliance, not just for the economic benefit. In a classic example of the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend,' the recent breech between Israel and Turkey brings the Greeks closer to Israel. A natural gas pipeline from the Israeli finds to Cyprus would be an obvious gesture of the rapprochement. Such a pipeline, which could benefit Cyprus, now in the process of making a decision to import natural gas as a highly expensive LNG, can become the vehicle for LNG liquefaction and then exports of LNG to a natural gas starving Europe, suffocated by Russian natural gas imports. An alternative substantial source of natural gas to Europe can provide what the ill-fated Nabucco pipeline is unlikely to ever deliver. Two LNG trains on Cyprus each of 7 million metric tons of LNG will amount to about 23 percent of Russian exports to Western Europe, which were 3.3 Tcf in 2009. Israeli natural gas, as almost everything else in that part of the world, has many more dimensions than the obvious.'

    Strange enough, while it has been so vocal on the Mediterranean gas and oil speculations, as regards these hard developments Ankara has been dead silent. Whereas, Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias is now travelling to Tel Aviv and high on his agenda is an accord on Leviathan rights? Noble Energy, on the other hand, is waiting at the Larnaca port for the political go-ahead to start its Leviathan dig.

    We will have more on this issue in the days ahead?"

    [12] Bagis reiterates that full EU membership is an indispensable goal

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (13.03.11), under the title "Ankara vows to stick to reforms despite EU discouragement", reports that a number of commentators and observers have expressed worry that in the run-up to elections and during campaigning, statements from the ruling party that are critical of the EU or the opposition parties' criticism of the government's EU policy will turn the EU membership goal -- which has been defined by Ankara as a strategic goal -- into a doomed case.

    Yet, the paper notes, the country's top negotiator firmly rules out such concerns, reiterating that full EU membership is an indispensable goal whether new chapters are opened or not.

    "During the Belgian term presidency, we were for the first time not able to open negotiations on a new chapter. This has not been used as a tool for scoring points in domestic politics. To have this issue as a negative item on the agenda while approaching elections is also out of the question," State Minister and Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis told Sunday's Zaman.

    Bagis also said: "The EU's demands are not the reason behind most of the things that we have been doing; we do what we do because we believe that doing so will raise the living standards of our people," adding "What matters for us is not opening chapters, but opening the doors of opportunity".

    "We have Plan A: full membership. Whether new chapters are opened or not, we will continue working under the assumption that they will be opened. We are doing this for our own nation. The EU is an important market, and it is impossible for us to give it up," Bagis, also underlined.

    The minister s remarks came this week in the eastern Anatolian province of Elaz1, where he participated in a third regional meeting as part of a project called  Municipalities are preparing for the EU.

    [13] Thousands march in Istanbul to demand press freedom

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (13.03.11) with the above title reports that thousands of people marched Sunday in one of the largest protests recently organized in central Istanbul, calling for the release of 68 arrested journalists and freedom for the press in Turkey.

    "Journalists [are marching] today for their personal rights as employees and for the people s right to be informed, Ercan 0pek?i, the head of the Freedom to Journalists Platform (G?P), said in a common statement released by the 92 national and local professional groups that make up the umbrella organization.

    "Journalists are not here today because they are afraid of being judged or arrested, but rather because they are deeply concerned about the people's voice being restricted and the right to be informed being inhibited," the statement said.

    Thousands of journalists and their supporters from other professions marched down 0stiklal Avenue in Istanbul s Beyolu district for more than an hour, demanding the immediate release of all arrested journalists and amendments to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the Criminal Procedure Code (CMK), the anti-terror law and other laws restricting press freedom.

    "Do not keep silent, shout out ? free press is a right," the marchers chanted, among other slogans that included: "The press is free, it cannot be kept silent,  For [slain journalist] Hrant [Dink], for justice,  AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] take your hands off of the media,  Do not keep silent, otherwise you will be next and  [Recently arrested journalists] Ahmet [^1k], Nedim [^ener], you are our pride."

    Demonstrators also carried placards reading "Freedom to journalists" and "[We want] Justice, freedom, immediately, now."

    According to the G?P, there are now 68 journalists behind bars in Turkey.

    [14] Davutoglu attended an EU meeting

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.03.11), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu attended an EU meeting in Hungary on Saturday.

    Davutoglu participated in the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Godollo that discussed recent developments in the Middle East and regional issues on Saturday.

    During the gathering, Davutoglu held talks with his Bulgarian, German and French counterparts. The agenda of his talks focused mainly on bilateral relations and Turkey-EU relations, diplomats said.

    Davutoglu also discussed visa issue with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. He told Juppe that Turkey insisted on visa-free travel of Turkish citizens in EU countries because it was a promise made by the Union. Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey would implement the readmission agreement, after which Turkey will shoulder a heavy burden like extradition of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak into EU countries via its territories, only if the European Commission launches a dialogue with Turkey for visa-free travel of Turks.

    Following talks in Hungary, Davutoglu proceeded to Qatar where he will attend the 6th Annual Al Jazeera Forum and make a speech at a session of the event, where he will explain Turkey's stance on recent uprising in Arab countries.

    [15] New platform to commence oil exploration off Black Sea in April

    According to Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 12.03.11), an oil exploration platform built in South Korea will drop anchor next month off Turkey's Black Sea coast to start looking for oil, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters Friday in Ankara.

    The new platform arrives as part of a recent deal between the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and ExxonMobil, a leading international oil company, over joint exploration for oil off the Black Sea coast. A Norwegian oil exploration platform, Leiv Eiriksson, is currently carrying out drilling operations separately in the Black Sea for TPAO and its Brazilian partner Petrobras.

    Yildiz said the platform, one of the most technologically advanced in the world, would start oil exploration in the Black Sea before the end of April. He was speaking during a signing ceremony at the third round of a joint working group between TPAO and Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz. TPAO and its Ukranian partner had earlier established a joint working group and commenced talks for joint oil exploration off the Black Sea coast.

    The new platform, named Deepwater Champion, will render it possible to conduct deeper offshore exploration. A sixth-generation drilling ship that is able to search for oil in seas of up to 3,660 meters in depth, it can delve into the earth up to 12,190 meters below sea level. Its portable structure will enable Champion to easily pass through the Bosporus since it can float beneath the bridges across the Bosporus.

    Dependent on oil imports, Turkey seeks opportunities for alternative sources of oil both in the Mediterranean and the Black seas to reduce dependence on foreign sources. The Black Sea is estimated to hold some 10 billion barrels of oil, enough to cover Turkey's oil needs for the next 50 years. It is believed to hold also 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

    [16] Turkey to strengthen business ties with Russia

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (13.03.11) reports that a delegation led by Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan is set to visit Moscow between Monday and Wednesday. Officials from both sides will attend a bilateral "consultation council" meeting. The nearly 150 Turkish businesspeople will participate in a "business forum" in the city that will be attended also by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials.

    According to a statement from Caglayan's office on Sunday, the meetings will be attended by members of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (T0M), the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DE0K), and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON).

    The businessmen are scheduled to meet nearly 150 peers in Russia, from various sectors such as agriculture, food, textiles, automotives, chemicals, medicals, plastics, construction and machinery.

    Last year, bilateral trade volume with Russia rose to $26.6 billion, representing an annual increase of 15.7%. Turkish exports to Russia surged 44.7% last year to $4.6 billion, while imports ? consisting mostly of energy items ? advanced 11 percent to $21.5 billion.

    In January this year, Turkish exports to Russia rose to $420 million, an increase of more than 69 percent compared to January 2010. Imports rose 13.9 percent to $2 billion.

    Monday's visit is expected to strengthen bilateral cooperation further. Russia currently hosts nearly 2,000 Turkish businesses. Companies from Turkey have invested $7 billion in Russia. Turkish contractors have completed 1.252 projects in the country worth $33.8 billion.

    [17] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press of 11-14 March 2011:

    Press Freedom

    "Nature of the game is clear" in Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review (11.3.11) says that the right to review evidence has been denied to many defendants in the Ergenekon case, including those journalists arrested and charged last week. It notes: "All of this should be offensive enough. But as we report today, the 'evidence' has now been made public. But not by the prosecutor, not by the courts nor by any judicial authority. Rather, it was published by a series of newspapers that have made no pretence of objectivity in this case but rather have assigned themselves as cheerleaders for the government and the Ergenekon prosecutor."

    "The International cost of detaining journalists," Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin says that the detention of a group of Turkish journalists produced a traumatic effect on the international community's perception on Turkey especially in terms of the freedom of the press, emphasizing that the Turkish government is blamed for the detentions. Citing examples from international reactions which, he predicts, will mount, Ergin concludes by saying: "At this point, it would be an objective statement to say that the government is considerably losing international support in terms of the freedom of the press and that it is facing a serious image problem."

    "Crime, journalists, ethics, and politics", Yeni Safak (11.3.11) columnist Ali Bayramoglu explains in what sense it is "not acceptable" to try to justify the arrest of journalists Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik as part of the Ergenekon probe based on their perceived "ethical" flaws or the books they have written. He asserts that a journalist's "ethical" shortcomings or apparent ethical shortcomings or dissident views cannot be represented as proof of their tendency to criminal behavior, adding that using mere "assumptions" as a basis for judging people in this way will only pave the way for "authoritarian mental exercises" where "arbitrary" or subjective reasons are cited in defense of violations of freedom. He also argues that attempts to weaken a political or religious organization or a government in a democratic country through "legitimate" means such as books, verbal communication, or relationships established for this purpose fall within the realm of politics, adding that "it is the business of authoritarian regimes or minds" to condemn such efforts as illegitimate smear campaigns or represent them as evidence of membership of outlawed organizations.

    "Journalists and political intrigue", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that the latest disclosures about the activities of OdaTV have illustrated the imprudence of objecting to the detention or arrest of journalists on charges of being members of the Ergenekon network in the name of "professional solidarity."

    "Ergenekon case through the eyes of Turkey's European friends", Today's Zaman writer Orhan Kemal Cengiz quotes Gerald Knaus, executive director of the European Stability Initiative, as saying that a "dramatic shift" is taking place in the perception of Turkey among Ankara's European supporters following the arrest of a number of journalists in the Ergenekon investigation.

    Referring to a Washington Post editorial and a Wall Street Journal article criticizing the arrest of journalists in Turkey, Sedat Ergin maintains that the recent arrests have brought about serious questions in the West with regard to the freedom of the press in Turkey as well as the Ergenekon case. In a column in Hurriyet (12.3.11), Ergin opines that there is a change in how the West views the Ergenekon case, adding that, with the arrest of journalists like Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, the "credibility" of the Ergenekon case has weakened. Ergin concludes that the balance between the criticism leveled at and the support extended to the Ergenekon case has been impaired in favor of the criticisms.

    "Three ways to get your Ergenekon" in Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review (12.3.11), Akyol looks at the Ergenekon probe in the light of recent arrests of journalists. Until now, Turkey was divided into two diametrically opposite camps on the Ergenekon probe, Akyol notes, adding that while one camp believes that "it is a brave effort by heroic prosecutors to unearth the criminal gangs within the state," the other camp thinks that "all of this is a big lie and Ergenekon is just a myth created by the incumbent Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and its allies." There is a third way to look at Ergenekon, Mustafa Akyol says and adds that that "the Ergenekon probe is indeed rightful and crucial, but it has excesses that growingly cause serious concern."

    Zaman (12.3.11) columnist Ali Bulac criticizes President Gul and certain "anti-coup writers and journalists" for expressing concern over the arrest of a number of journalists in the Ergenekon investigation. He argues that Turkey continues to face the threat of a military takeover and that while "we should be sensitive about the fundamental rights of defendants and suspects in the Ergenekon case," "our priority concern" should be to eliminate the possibility of coups. He also warns that there have always been pro-coup groups within the news media in Turkey.

    Milliyet's Nuray Mert (13.3.11) analyzes the Ergenekon process in light of recent arrest of journalists and out of ordinary judicial applications. In her article "The Ergenekon puzzle" she underlines that Ergenekon was a chance to fight against the status quo and turn Turkey to a more democratic country. Referring to authoritarian tendency within the AKP government, the writer maintains: "It seems like efforts are underway to build a new status quo under an authoritarian framework and steps are taken for enhancing it. Ergenekon at this stage has become a code name for anything and everything which government feels threatened." The writer calls everybody for a reality check about reaching democratization with the help of Ergenekon trial.

    Reactions to European Parliament report on Turkey

    "You have failed in terms of democracy," Hurriyet (11.3.11) columnist Yalcin Dogan points out that the European Parliament's report include criticism about the freedom of the press as well as separation of powers in Turkey which, he says, was mentioned for the first time in a European Parliament report. He says: "This emphasis is enough to show that there is a limping democracy in Turkey. Considering that the executive or the ruling party controls everything and interferes in the judiciary and the legislature, what kind of a democracy could that be?"

    "Ruling party is getting uneasy too," Milliyet (11.43.11) columnist Mehmet Ali Birand says that the conviction among Turkish people that the ruling party was behind the recent detentions is gradually spreading to other countries. He comments: "You may not take the last resolution and warnings of the European Parliament seriously. You may also claim that they cannot impose any sanction and that they are acting in bad faith and are not familiar with the situation in Turkey. You, however, cannot deny the fact that it was the harshest resolution ever adopted by the European Parliament and that it will cause great harm to the AKP's image in the eyes of the international community."

    "European Parliament's report about Turkey," Star (11.3.11), columnist Beril Dedeoglu says that the report reflects suspicions about the democratization process in Turkey. She adds: "It should be reminded that those warnings deserve to be taken into consideration as far as Turkish citizens who desire to live in a more democratic state upholding the principle of the rule of law are concerned. Efforts to eliminate existing shortcomings would be beneficial to us rather than satisfying the members of the European Parliament."

    "Europe becomes grumpy", Yeni Akit (11.3.11), columnist Merve Kavakci Islam questions the timing of the latest European Parliament report on Turkey criticizing Ankara sharply over the arrest of a number of journalists in the Ergenekon investigation. She claims that Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik are not the first people in this country to be jailed because of their "thoughts." She also accuses the EU implicitly of double standards, asserting that it always turns a deaf ear to human rights complaints in Turkey when they are expressed by pious Muslims.

    Sami Kohen writes in Milliyet (12.3.11), with regard to the European Parliament's report on Turkey, noting that the report -- in addition to the positive developments -- criticizes Turkey, particularly on the issue of freedom of the press. Pointing out that the European Parliament -- like any other national parliaments in Europe or the Congress in the United States -- is under the influence of various groups and lobbies, Kohen maintains that the influence of the Greek Cypriot and Greek members is reflected on the section of the report that relates to the Cyprus issue. He concludes however that Turkey should not ignore the fact that the report also comprises serious issues that it needs to take into consideration.

    "Earthquake and balance" in Taraf (12.3.11), Ahmet Altan laments that, at an age, when the technology allows the world to witness and share the quake disaster in Japan, Turkey is still trying to live like an island "detached from the world." Referring to the reports on an Oda TV journalist's attempt to recruit Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to her efforts to gathering intelligence on Kilicdaroglu's rival and Prime Minister Erdogan's response to the European Parliament's report, Altan criticizes the conduct of the CHP leader and the prime minister's reaction. Complaining about the "moral code" of a party leader who does not object to the journalist "setting a trap" against his rival, Altan adds that neither the ruling party wants to be criticized "by the world." Recalling that the AKP officials, particularly Prime Minister Erdogan, had sought the "world's" support when the party was cornered by the military and the judiciary, Altan maintains that the Europeans, despite Erdogan's objection, have the right to ask about the arrest of journalists.

    "European Parliament's 'highly instructive' report on Turkey", Yeni Safak (12.3.11) columnist Yasin Aktay criticizes "domestic circles that have never put a premium on EU reports criticizing Turkey for its policy on the Cyprus, Aegean, Kurdish, Armenian, and minority issues" for speaking in defense of the latest European Parliament report censuring Ankara over the recent detention and arrest of a number of journalists as part of the Ergenekon investigation. He claims that the Dutch official who drew up the report does not appear to have any information about the arrests beyond what he could have obtained from opinionated articles in the Turkish news media criticizing the arrests as violation of freedom of the press, adding that it is "thought-provoking" that he should have "hastily" added the paragraph on the arrests to the report without waiting for the "uncertainties" over the accusations against the said journalists to be resolved.

    "Democrats sneeze, Europe catches a cold," Zaman(12.3.11), columnist Abdulhamit Bilici criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan and Chief Negotiator with the EU Egemen Bagis for their "excessive criticism" of the latest European Parliament report on Turkey as an unbalanced document whose assertions have no basis in fact. Bilici urges both the Government and the Opposition to stop treating EU reports on this country as "good" or "bad" based on subjective criteria, adding that while the "partisan" quality of European Parliament reports on Turkey is obvious, they are significant in terms of the way they serve as a "barometer" of Western opinion on Turkey. He proceeds to argue that certain "democratic" circles at home including the Taraf daily and journalist Nazli Ilicak are responsible for the accusations against Turkey in the mentioned report because of the way they influenced the European opinion negatively by criticizing some of the latest arrests in the Ergenekon investigation as violation of freedom of the press. He also expresses the hope that the police force, the judiciary, and the "democratic media" in Turkey will draw lessons from these developments and warns that an investigation into the 28 February process resulting in the arrest of journalists who are known to have taken an active part in that process might lead to a new wave of criticism against Ankara.

    Bilici also takes issue with the report over its criticisms of Turkey's latest Mideast and Central Asian policies by asking whether the European Union has any valid reasons for being annoyed at Turkey's regional cooperation and "problem-solving" initiatives.

    "Throwing in the towel in EU-Turkey Talks", Today's Zaman (12.3.11), columnist Abdullah Bozkurt discusses the question whether EU membership will continue to be a "'strategic choice' for Turkish policy makers" despite growing "anti-EU sentiment among Turks."

    Referring to Turkish government's harsh reaction toward European Parliament's report, Ferai Tinc of Hurriyet (13.3.11), calls press freedom as a "vulnerable point" for the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. "The Report contained many things to get angry," she says the EU Commission's earlier reports in 2010 and 2009 were treated positively by AKP government despite these reports also expressed serious concern regarding violation of press freedom and long period of detention. Ferai disagrees with the criticizing statement from Egemen Bagis, Minister of State and Chief Negotiator with the EU, and explains: "Chief negotiator is responsible for taking steps for eliminating problems in the EU harmonization process. Making government propaganda to Turkish public opinion is not a part of his duty." Detailing the EP document, the writer finds a paragraph on Cyprus problematic and deserves a reaction, but she notes that Ankara did not say anything against the Cyprus content of the report.

    Kadri Gursel in Milliyet (13.3.11), "The obvious final stop if we continue acting waywardly" and says that "given Prime Minister Erdogan's anger" he wants to continue in a wayward manner. Gursel notes that the EP report is "the most critical one with strong warnings" for Turkey since the beginning of negotiation process, and he maintains: "If the Prime Minister continues to act waywardly, Turkey will end up being entirely insufficient to meet Copenhagen Criteria which will make impossible for Turkey to continue negotiations with the EU even on institutional basis." The writer concludes with a question combined with warning: "I wonder if Prime Minister Erdogan will start questioning his own way and question his truths when the EU negotiation process comes to a halt by calling Turkey no longer a real democracy?"

    Cumhuriyet's (13.3.11), Orhan Bursali emphasizes the need for free press and free society in his article entitled "Long live freedom!" Referring to a protest march in Istanbul today organized by "The freedom for journalists platform" the writer calls everybody to get united for freedoms. "This government has no good intention toward democracy" says Bursali and also laments the neglected presumption of innocence notion by the pro-government papers especially in their reporting about journalists in jail.

    Referring to the phone call Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, made to Prime Minister Erdogan regarding certain judicial activities in the country in an article entitled "Who do you think you are Mr Jagland?" in Yeni Akit (13.3.11), Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu criticizes the EU official's arrogance, adding that Jagland's concern is not about the freedom of journalists but rather about the arrest of certain people. Questioning where Jagland was when the publication of Vakit was banned in Germany, Karahasanoglu wonders whether the intention of the EU is to "defend the coupists."

    Opinion Poll

    "50 percent optimistic, 48 percent pessimistic" in Aksam (11.3.11), highlights the findings of an opinion poll conducted by IKSara which showed that 50 percent of Turkish voters are satisfied with the current situation in Turkey while 48 percent is pessimistic about Turkey's future. According to the survey's findings, the percentage of voters who are supportive of the ruling AKP is the highest among primary school graduates and that the AKP is more popular than other parties also among voters who are high school and college graduates.

    Libyan Uprising

    "Is there a line to toe on Libya?" Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review (11.3.11), columnist Semih Idiz says that there appears to be renewed annoyance in Washington and some European capitals over Turkey's reluctance to "toe the line on Libya" which, he notes, created questions as to whose side Turkey is on. Ascribing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's opposition to a foreign military intervention in Libya to Turkish investments worth $30 billion in Libya, Idiz says: "Ankara is facing a delicate balancing act not knowing how the die will be cast when the dust settles down. Gadhafi is also aware of Ankara's quandary and has been playing on it by courting the Erdogan government."

    "Voices of Libyan children," Milliyet (11.3.11), columnist Sami Kohen says that the Turkish government prefers to take a cautious and passive stance about the proposal to impose a no-fly zone over Libya because of the complicated and uncertain situation in that country. He concludes by saying: "The situation of Turkish workers can no longer be an excuse. The future of Turkish investments and projects may be a factor, but concerns about those interests should not prevent taking a principled stance in response to the popular uprising in Libya and lending an ear to children's voices."

    Referring to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's recognition of the Transitional National Council in Libya in his article, Milliyet's (12.3.11), Semih Idiz maintains that Turkey, "being a key country in the Mediterranean," should decide on which side it stands. In the beginning, Turkey inevitably -- considering its substantial financial interests in Libya -- preferred not to take a stance in the uprising, Idiz points out. He adds that, however, Turkey's continued silence while the world is adopting a stance against al-Qadhafi damages its image. He concludes: "The price of 'betting on the wrong horse' would of course be costly, but it should be realized that al-Qadhafi, who is ready to open fire on his people instead of resigning, is no longer the 'right horse'."

    Kurds "in exile"

    "The Kurdish diaspora and the solution process", Yeni Safak (11.3.11) columnist Yalcin Akdogan, writing under the pseudonym Yasin Dogan, comments on an "important aspect of the Kurdish issue," namely "the situation of the Kurds in exile." He underlines the "strong symbolic value" of recent steps by the Erdogan government to make it possible for Kurdish politicians and writers who had to flee abroad in the 1970s or 1980s to return home, asserting that allowing "Kurdish diaspora intellectuals" like Kemal Burkay to come back to Turkey will promote "mutual understanding" and "dialogue" and make a significant contribution to efforts to solve the southeast problem. He also asserts that the PKK is highly likely to carry out smear campaigns against "independent thinkers" like Kemal Burkay who do not subscribe to the PKK's ideology by representing them as collaborators with the Turkish state.

    "Center for declaring everyone a traitor", Zaman (11.3.11), columnist Bejan Matur criticizes the PKK for using the concepts of "peace and democracy" as a means of justifying its rep resentation of "any" Kurds who do not endorse its political objectives as "traitors." She blasts the PKK for its "intolerance" of any dissidence, as illustrated by its characterization of Kurdish artists "in exile" like Sivan Perver as "collaborators" and expresses the hope that the PKK will one day be called to account over its behavior by the very "truth commissions" it wants Ankara to establish.

    According to a report by Aziz Istegun in Zaman (13.3.11), the assembly of the communities of Kurdistan, KCK, is planning to take the Nevruz events into the streets. Detailing the celebrations to he held on the occasion, the report adds that especially the celebrations in Diyarbakir will be spread over a whole week. Noting that the KCK is planning to close all shops and businesses in the city, the report adds that the KCK is further planning to use all possible interventions on the part of the police as a tool for propaganda prior to the elections.

    General Election

    "Ergenekon candidates", Zaman (11.3.11), columnist Mustafa Unal criticizes the CHP for what he describes as its preparations to take part in the general election in June with a "mission" to promote the Ergenekon network. He claims that quite a few of the CHP's possible candidates for Parliament consist of bureaucrats who are either suspects in the Ergenekon investigation or have been accused of involvement in its activities.

    Turkey as a "Model" country for the Arab world in transition

    "The idea of the 'Turkey model'", Today's Zaman (11.3.11), columnist Ali Bulac asserts that "somewhere in the back corridors of the Western mind, there is a consensus that Turkey and the Islamic world will never be able to internalize and apply a 'completely Western democracy,'" adding that what is referred to as the "Turkey model" for the Arab world is similar to EU countries' proposal of "privileged partnership" rather than full membership for Turkey.

    Cengiz Aktar opines that Turkey cannot be a "model country" for its region "while it is far away from resolving its own mess," in his article in Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review (12.3.11). Noting that the steps taken in domestic and foreign policies such as normalization with Armenia, the Cyprus issue, or the Alevi and Kurdish overtures have been insufficient or "have ended in total fiasco," Aktar maintains that the democratic demands of the region may not be met by "Turkey's raw model." He concludes: "For Turkey the safest way of becoming a model is to strengthen its democracy, raise standards, and institutionalize achievements both inside and abroad.

    "Is Turkey the bad model?" in the same daily, Ilhan Tanir also looks at Turkey's image as a democratic role model. He maintains that although the messages coming from Ankara "very much echoed those of Washington's during much of the Egyptian revolution," Prime Minister Erdogan took up a very strong 'anti-colonial rhetoric against the West in the Libyan uprising. Tanir points out that, in addition to Turkey's divergence from the West with regard to Libya, the recent arrests of journalists in the Ergenekon case as well as the European Parliament's report voicing concern over the freedom of the press in Turkey have caused the US officials and region experts in Washington to question "what exactly is happening in Turkey." He concludes: "In brief, recent weeks' Turkey increasingly looks like a bad model that reminds one of Mubarak's old regime supporting Gadhafi's still-surviving, thuggish one. Not a recommendable mix to be a good model."

    Davutoglu's model for a new United Nations

    Viewing Foreign Minister Davutoglu's remarks that the world needs a new UN concept in an article entitled "A new United Nations is necessary" in Yeni Akit (13.3.11), Osman Atalay argues that the new models presented by Davutoglu for the outmoded international institutions show that Turkey might constitute a model not only for the Arab world but for the Western world as well. Noting that the Muslim world has always been adversely affected by the UN resolutions, Atalay argues that the United Nations is no longer plausible for the Islamic world. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    EG/


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