|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-03-28
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. 58/11 25-28.03.11 C O N T E N T S
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS
[B] TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESSThe main issue in today's Turkish Cypriot newspapers are statements, reactions and comments by various Turkish Cypriot politicians regarding Eroglu's refusal on President Christofias' proposal for conducting a population census simultaneously. Moreover, statements by Aslanbaba asking "citizenship" for 42.000 settlers, Ozgurgun's visit to Istanbul in order to attend an international forum, CTP's visit to Sweden and reports that more strikes to take place in occupied Cyprus on April 7 were also reported in the press. In addition, reactions to the construction of skyscrapers in occupied Keryneia, reports that occupied Thermia church is being restored, a public opinion on the religious and psychosocial life of the Turkish Cypriots, and other internal issues were covered by the press today and over the three-day period.
 Eroglu comments on citizenship and property issuesAccording to illegal Bayrak television (online, 26.03.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, speaking during a public gathering in the occupied town of Famagusta, stressed that "citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will not be turned into a bargaining issue on the negotiations table", adding that "TRNC citizens should not to be worried about the issue of citizenship that is currently being negotiated at the Cyprus talks".
"We are protecting the Turkish Cypriots' rights to the utmost, and we want all of our citizens to be given citizenship in the partnership that will be established in case of a settlement" Eroglu said.
Underlining the need for preparing the public for a lasting settlement by bearing in mind the realities, Eroglu said this will happen when a sustainable solution is to be reached.
"The Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias says that he made a concession when he agreed on the establishment of a federation. If this is the case, then we have made a concession too. Because we also do have our own state", he went on saying.
Eroglu, however, noted that affirming to a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation is not enough to resolve the Cyprus problem.
Commenting on the property issue, Eroglu described the Greek Cypriot offer on giving the former property owner the right to have the final say, as a non-realistic approach.
Recalling that the European Court of Human Rights too does not perceive this as a correct stance, Eroglu stressed that the emotional bond between the current owner of the property and the property itself should not be ignored while making a decision.
Eroglu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side had proposed exchange, restitution and a limited return to be the methods for resolving property matters, adding "we want the minimum in the relocation of people".
 Ozersay on simultaneous censusAccording to illegal Bayrak television (online, 27.03.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu's special representative Kudret Ozersay, in a statement to the illegal TAK news agency, said that there has been a misunderstanding on the issue of carrying out simultaneous population census on both sides of the island.
Ozersay said that the real problem has nothing to do with holding simultaneous population census on both sides of the island but with the proposal to hold a single island-wide census. He added that "there would be nothing more natural for the Turkish Cypriot side than to hold a census in the TRNC within the framework of its own laws, just like the two separate referenda held on the island in 2004".
"We can't accept the offer to hold a single island-wide-population census as if there was only one state on the island. That would, in some way, take us to conditions prior to 2004" said Ozersay, reminding that the Turkish Cypriots elected its own administration, a fact which was acknowledge and accepted by the international community.
 Kucuk evaluates the latest developments in the occupied areasAccording to illegal Bayrak television (online, 27.03.11), self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk, evaluating the latest developments at the National Unity Party (UBP) headquarters in the occupied part of Lefkosia yesterday, said the "government's" austerity measures had started to yield positive results, adding that there has been 20% of increase in "state revenue".
Referring to the tourism sector, Kucuk said that the expected further development of the sector will provide better conditions in the "country". He went on saying that "water transfer from motherland Turkey will make the TRNC a country of production."
"It is the duty of every single Turkish Cypriot to pay gratitude to motherland Turkey which has always made financial and moral contributions towards strengthening the Cyprus Turkish People in economic, social and political fields", Kucuk claimed.
Calling on the trade unions to exercise common sense, Kucuk said that "the centre for a solution to all the problems experienced in the country is the TRNC".
Condemning the latest contacts held in Brussels by representatives of several trade unions, Kucuk said that the latest actions of the trade union representatives in Brussels had unveiled their real faces and intentions. He also criticized the trade unions for collaborating with circles who tried to slander Turkey, claiming that their actions had nothing to do with their responsibilities as trade unionists. Kucuk also gave the message that the "government" kept all channels for dialogue open.
Kucuk also announced that preparations by the "State Planning Organization" have started for conducting a "nation-wide" population census in the occupied areas within this year.
 Turkish Cypriot politicians react to Eroglu's refusal for a simultaneous population censusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris (25.03.11) reports on statements by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer commenting on the refusal of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to President Christofias' proposal for "a simultaneous population census". Issuing a written statement, Soyer said that this refusal of Eroglu was a mistake. Stating that first of all a "political leader has to be based on his political memory", Soyer recalled that in the referendum of 2004, which was conducted simultaneously in both sides, it was shown that the Turkish Cypriots own the same rights with the Greek Cypriots on the future of the island of Cyprus.
Soyer went on and stated that Eroglu, who in 2004 voted "no" to the referendum, when he was "elected" to the leadership, he sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praising the referendum. Soyer added that now, Eroglu accepted to conduct a simultaneous referendum, but he rejected the proposal to conduct a simultaneous population census, "falling officially and clearly into the trap of Demetris Christofias". Soyer, inter alia, said that it was a mistake to reject this proposal and added that the UN has to be more involved in the issue.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (27.03.11), on his part, Abdullah Korkmazhan, organizing secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), said that the rejection of the proposal is unacceptable, adding that Eroglu tried to hide the assimilation that is being practiced on the Turkish Cypriots, as well as to hide the truth that the demographic structure of "northern Cyprus" is changing. Issuing a written statement, Korkmazhan said that the population census that is to be conducted by the "State Planning Organisation" (DPO) will not be reliable and "it is impossible to reflect to the realities," he added. As he noted, the conduct of simultaneous population census, under the UN supervision, is imperative, in order to receive the true data and to contribute to the solution process. Korkmazhan added that the population in occupied Cyprus is estimated between 600-700 thousand people.
 Reactions against the Trade Unions' protest in BrusselsTurkish Cypriot daily Volkan (25.03.11) reports on the protest the Turkish Cypriot trade unions realized in Brussels. The paper accuses the trade unionists who participated, of insulting "motherland Turkey." Especially it turns against KTOS general secretary Sener Elcil, who is referred as an "Ill-mannered bloke" in the newspaper's front page headline. This description along with "Christofias muppet, Christofias' triggermen, traitors, Greek Cypriot lackeys and AKEL's pawns" came as reaction to Elcil's statements during their contacts in Brussels.
Elcil, speaking about the population in occupied Cyprus and Turkey's effort to change the demographics of the island, said that settlers proliferate faster than rabbits. Volkan continued to condemn his statements in today's paper (28.03.11) writing: "It is not important the number of rabbits, but the number of dogs serving the Greek Cypriots." The paper also reports on a written statement by the Integration and Assistance Association of settlers from Alexandretta who said that they were deeply saddened by Elcil's statements and that they expect an immediate apology in the name of the Turkish people.
The paper also reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas commenting on the Brussel's visit said: "These persons have not refrained from buttering up the Greek Cypriots with their banners 'Turkey, Respect the Will of Turkish Cypriots,' they were not ashamed. Brussels officials who know that these gentlemen do not represent the Turkish Cypriots did not open the doors for them".
Also the general secretary of National Unity Party (UBP) Ertugrul Hasipoglu said that the behaviour of some trade unionists, who went to Brussels and complain against Turkey, is against the realities, completely wrong and eccentric. He condemned their actions, defended "motherland Turkey" and said that no one can destroy the close relation with the "motherland."
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (25.03.11) reports that Mehmet Ozkardas general chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Public Servants Trade Union criticized the actions of the 10 trade unions who went to Brussels. He said that these actions were not discussed in the Trade Unions Platform; neither was in the agenda of political parties or the people who protested in the Inonu Square in occupied Lefkosia. "5-10 people going to Brussels after having tens of thousands in the streets, is not nice" said Ozkardas, who argued that such behaviour can create a clash with the political parties who support the platform.
 Aslanbaba asks citizenship for 42 thousand settlersTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (25.03.11) reports that the self styled MP Ejder Aslanbaba talking in the "Oglen Ajansi" television program in ADA TV, supported that if citizenship was granted to 42,000 people who applied for, this would be a major contribution to the economy of the breakaway regime. He argued that if citizenship was given to these people, they would start investing in occupied Cyprus. He also said that they are ready to appeal against the "ministry of interior" in cases where citizenship is not given to families who have been living here for 19 years and even transfer such cases before the European Court of Human Rights.
 Columnist assesses the rejection by Eroglu of President Christofias' proposal for a population censusWriting in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (27.03.11), Turkish Cypriot columnist Tumay Tugyan assesses the rejection of President Christofias' proposal for a population census by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu. Under the title "The population and the 'survival of the 'status quo'", Tugyan argues that the continuation of the "status quo" is a preference for the elite in both sides of the island and those who benefit by these elites. She adds, inter alia, the following:
"?The immediate rejection by the Turkish Cypriot side of Greek Cypriot leader Christofias' demand for holding a simultaneous population census under the supervision of the United Nations and its [Turkish Cypriot side's] reaction [to this proposal] is a result of this 'status quo' fetishism to which we referred above.
The TRNC state, which until today 'benefited' by the fact that the borders of the international law end at the Green Line and abundantly enjoyed 'illegitimacy', is afraid that this system, which has been created as a result of this illegitimacy and continues to be nourished and grow by this illegitimacy, will become clearly 'visible' from outside, because, the issue of population is one of the 'monsters' created by this system. And if a hand from outside touches this secrecy the Pandora box will open and all the irregularities will spread out?"
Tugyan goes on and argues that because this fear cannot be expressed openly, the regime shows as excuse the "existence of its state" for rejecting the above-mentioned proposal. Recalling that the negotiations are held between the two communities of the island and not between two states, the columnist writes that if the justification for rejecting this proposal is the "state", then Eroglu should demand negotiations between states, just like former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas had asked.
She concludes by noting the following: "As a result, the 'state' is an important means for the survival of the interest of the 'status quo', and it should be embraced tightly 'as long as this can be done'. And those who allegedly beg for 'justice' from the international community every day search for a hole to hide as soon as they hear the word 'law'. The population census case is the latest and the most striking example for this".
 Ozgurgun to participate in international forumTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes (25.03.11) reports that the so-called foreign affairs minister of the breakaway regime Huseyin Ozgurgun is going to participate in a two day forum in Istanbul organized by the Turkish Asia Strategic Research Center (TASAM). The forum, which will be organized on 30-31 of March, is the second one that is organized by TASAM and think tanks from OIC countries. Think tank chairmen, academics, diplomats and senior state officials from 50 countries will participate in the forum which will discuss the subject of public diplomacy. The paper also reports that the Foreign Minister of Gambia Momodou Tangara and Kyrgyzstan's Minister for Emergency Situations Chotonov Duishonkul will also participate in the forum.
 CTP to participate in a congress in SwedenTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis (26.03.11) reported that, according to a written statement by the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG), the party's secretary for foreign affairs Erkut Sahali departed yesterday for Stockholm, Sweden in order to participate at the ordinary congress of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.
According to the paper, during the deliberations of the ordinary congress, the Social Democratic Party will elect its new Secretary General and administration organs.
 More strikes to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus on April 7Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (25.03.11) reported that the Trade Union Platform has announced that the platform will go on a general strike on April 7 in front of the building of the "general assembly" and will set up a tent there. The Platform pointed out that in case the draft "law" regarding the economic package is not being sent to the "assembly" for discussion by April 7, it will go on strike on April 7.
Evaluating to the paper the issue of the general strikes, the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) Ahmet Kaptan stated to the paper that that they are planning to go on a general strike in order for the people's expectations is to be taken into consideration.
In his statements, Kaptan accused the so-called government for ignoring all protest and actions and the two rallies organized by the Plaftorm.He said that the Platform will have a meeting with political parties and members of NGO's on March 28 in order to discuss how they can contribute to the organization of the protest and what other measures should be taken.
Kaptan reiterated in his statements the need for the withdrawal of the economic package and that measures for the self-administration of the Turkish Cypriots should be taken.
 Reactions to the construction of skyscrapers in occupied KeryneiaUnder the title "Which is correct?" Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (28.03.11) reports that the developments regarding the construction of skyscrapers in occupied Keryneia, which is on the agenda for many days in the occupied areas of Cyprus, started causing some questions. Yahya Kurt, owner of the company which prepared the project of building a Cultural Centre and Hotel in Keryneia, has said that in 2006 he had met with Sumer Aygin, "mayor" of the occupied city, and received his permission for the construction of skyscrapers. He said he was encouraged for this project by Aygin, the then "prime minister" and "minister of foreign affairs", Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Serdar Denktas respectively. The paper writes that Kurt said on 20 January 2006, the "municipal council" of Keryneia authorized the "mayor" to send a goodwill letter to a company named Garnet Investments Ltd, which had submitted a project for building skyscrapers in Keryneia. He said he visited the "mayor" twenty days ago accompanied by another businessman and received confirmation regarding the project.
In statements to Kibris, Aygin said he never gave his permission for this project. Aygin noted that in 2005-2006 the "municipal council" decided that the views of the public should be taken regarding the construction of a "prestige building" in the occupied city and added that they abandoned the idea of constructing such a building after they had taken the views of the public and the "government".
Meanwhile, Kibris (27.03.11) refers on the same issue and reports that the Democratic Party (DP) organized a protest on Saturday in occupied Keryneia to react against the change of the "decree", which permits the construction of skyscrapers. The protest was supported by Republican Turkish Party's (CTP) "MP", Abbas Sinay and various trade unions such as Kamu-Sen, Hava-Sen and United Taxi Drivers Association.
Moreover, Kibris (27.03.11) reports that a written statement issued by Esat Varoglu, general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), says the TDP strongly opposes to the construction of buildings which will spoil occupied Keryneia's structure. The statement urged, especially the people living in Keryneia, to resist against such a development.
 Occupied Thermia church is being restoredAccording to Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (26.03.11), the illegal municipality of occupied Keryneia began restoration of the church in the occupied village of Thermia. As it is reported, the church will be turned into an arts centre and will operate under the name "Dogankoy [occupied Thermia] Cultural and Arts House". According to statements of Halil Anildi, "mukhtar" of the village, efforts for restoration began in 2002 when they applied for authorisation to the so-called authorities, without any results, adding that they only found support by the so-called Keryneia municipality and then the restoration began.
On his part, Sumer Augin, "mayor" of occupied Keryneia, inter alia, stated that the number of visiting tourists will become bigger as the number of historic buildings in the area rises.
 Lawyers: An increase is observed in complains of Turkish Cypriots who are not granted the citizenship of the Republic of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.03.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot "Bar Association and Bar Council" has stated that a "big increase" has been observed recently in the complains of Turkish Cypriots who are not granted the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus in spite of the fact that they allegedly have the right to receive this citizenship. In a written statement issued yesterday, Feyzi Hansel, general secretary of the "Bar Association and Bar Council", alleged that this practice followed by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is contrary to the human rights and the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. He said that the majority of the people who complained to them are born in the occupied areas of Cyprus, one of their parents is a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, but they are not granted identity card or passport of the Republic of Cyprus because their parents have been married in the occupied area of the island.
Hansel said the "Bar Association and Bar Council" first briefed the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on this issue and then the United States of America, Britain, the EU-member states and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu. According to the statement, the persons who complain on this issue could obtain their rights by filing lawsuits at the courts of the Republic of Cyprus first and then, if they are not satisfied, they would go the European Court of Human Rights.
 A public opinion by the Theological Faculty of Ataturk University on the religious and psychosocial life of Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (28.03.11) refers to the results of a public survey carried out by the Faculty of Theology of the Ataturk University in Turkey regarding the psychosocial and religious life of the Turkish Cypriots.
Prof. Dr Faruk Karaca, president of the Department of Religious Psychology of the Faculty of Theology of the Ataturk University in Turkey, announced the results of the public survey which took the form of face to face meetings in several places in the occupied area of Cyprus with a total sample of 350.000 persons, of the ages between 12-75.
In the survey asked to determine their identity, 48.9% of the sample answered that they consider themselves as Turkish citizens, 15% as Turkish Cypriots citizens, 16.8% as Muslims, 11% as Ottomans and 7% as global citizens.
Regarding the religious knowledge of the Turkish Cypriots, with 10 as an average score, 5.73 was scored in comparison with Turkish citizens who were scored with 7.71.
Regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem, 54% of the sample stated that they are pessimistic about the solution of the problem while 17.6% stated that they are optimistic. Also, 17.1% refused to express their opinion and 8.9% said that they are unconcerned about the issue.
Karaca stated further that Britons who visit the occupied area of Cyprus for holidays are accepted as first class citizens while Turkish Cypriots are considered as second class citizens. Also, Turkish Cypriots who came to the island from the "south" of the island after the population exchange are considered as third class citizens and those who came from Turkey after 1974, forth class citizens.
 Turkish Cypriot daily accuses Turkey of not keeping the promises it gave in 1974Under the title "Hypocrisy, army commander's word", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.03.11) publishes one of the brochures thrown from the Turkish army jets to the Greek Cypriots during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and reports that the promises given by the command of the Turkish occupation army were not kept. According to the paper, addressing the Greek Cypriots, the brochures said in both Greek and Turkish languages, inter alia, the following: "You will again live in peace with the Turkish Cypriots whom for centuries you know as your brothers on your beautiful island. After we achieve this, we will return to Turkey. We want justice and brotherhood, not land".
The paper writes that the promise that the army would leave the island was supported by a sketch showing a military vessel departing from the island and a soldier saying "good bye".
In its "Letter from Afrika" column, the paper writes, inter alia, the following: "They came, but they did not go back. They said 'we do not want land', but occupied half of the island. Forty thousand troops remained here and they are settled for good. They saw absolutely no drawback in distributing the Greek Cypriot land which they occupied to the population they carried here...In any case, the then Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit too has not kept his promise. 'We came to restore the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus which has been spoiled', he said. However, he did not restore it?"
 Turkey's recognition of degrees from the illegal universitiesAccording to illegal Bayrak television (online, 25.03.11), self-styled minister of national education, youth and sports Nazim Cavusoglu chaired the meeting with the rectors and presidents of the board of directors of the 6 illegal universities in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus as well as the Acting Chairman of Turkey's Higher Education Council Prof. Dr Yekta Sarac.
Officials from the "TRNC's Accreditation Council of Higher Education" (Y?DAK) and the "Turkish embassy" were also present at the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, Cavusoglu said that Turkey's Higher Education Council (YOK) had put forward great efforts for the development of universities in the occupied areas.
Cavusoglu said that "Turkey's recognition of diplomas from TRNC universities as well as the acceptance of TRNC universities to join Turkey's Higher Education Credit and Hostels institutions program was the most important proof of the confidence felt towards TRNC universities".
Explaining that the availability of such opportunities was an important motivation in reaching the desired goal of 60 thousand students in the illegal universities, Cavusoglu thanked YOK for the attention it has shown to the "TRNC".
Also speaking, Dr Sarac said that "they were proud of the quality of the universities in the TRNC".
Recalling that "an international agreement on the recognition of diplomas given by TRNC universities was approved by Turkey", Sarac said "from now on, TRNC diplomas will not be subject to diploma equivalence procedures. This is the most concrete proof and example of the confidence and trust YOK has in TRNC universities."
[B] TURKISH PRESSMain issues in today's Turkish dailies are the developments in Libya after the NATO operations and Erdogan's statements during an inauguration ceremony of a hydroelectric plant in Kahranmarmaras that the Turkish government is determined to move ahead with plans to generate electricity from nuclear power. Also other issues highlighted by the press over the weekend are statements by Egemen Bagis during a conference in Brussels on Turkey's EU bid and the Cyprus problem, Davutoglu's meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Erdogan's trip to Iraq for contacts and the YGS's exams in Turkey.
 Bagis reiterates Turkey's policy on the Cyprus problemAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.03.11), Turkey's chief negotiator for European Union membership talks Egemen Bagis, speaking at a Brussels forum meeting on "Turkey, Zero Problems and EU2", organized by the U.S. think-tank German Marshall Fund, has rejected that his country shifted its Western-oriented foreign policy.
Bagis said Turkey's accession to the EU would only make the Union "a global peace project", adding that the country's democratic transformation had been a source of inspiration for African and Middle Eastern nations.
Bagis also urged the EU to invite Turkey to the Union's summit meetings if it was genuinely sincere in maintaining strategic dialogue with the country. The Turkish minister also rejected the accusation that Turkey's accession talks had slowed down, claiming that Turkey faced political obstacles on its EU path.
"European Commission's latest report on Turkey says that our country made progress in all negotiations chapters. But we also want to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Bagis said.
Bagis also rejected criticisms that Turkey's "zero problem" policy excluded the Republic of Cyprus, saying that Ankara exerted great effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. "We need to regain a balance between carrots and sticks in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side has become an EU member with all the benefits. And now they do not feel any need to seek a solution because they feel they have nothing to lose," Bagis claimed.
Bagis said Turkey is ready to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels once the EU honoured its promise it made in 2004 to remove all economic isolations on the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". He added: "If one day a Lufthansa plane lands at Ercan Airport [occupied airport of Tymvou] I am giving you my word that we will open our ports."
 Erdogan says they plan to build 6 nuclear plantsAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.03.11), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at an inauguration ceremony of a hydroelectric power plant in the eastern province of Kahramanmaras on Sunday, said that the government plans to set up six nuclear power plants, two of them in the Black Sea port city of Sinop and in the southern port city of Mersin, adding that the government was determined to move ahead with plans to generate electricity from nuclear power amidst increased concerns over safety of nuclear plants in the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis.
Erdogan said that there are 442 nuclear power plants currently operating in the world, adding that those plants generate electricity safely under maximum security measures.
"Are there any risks? Of course there are risks. But are you not going to drive a car just because there is a risk of making accident or cross the Istanbul Bridge just because it might collapse?" Erdogan asked.
Erdogan said that the government was planning to increase Turkey's established electricity production capacity to 100 thousand megawatts by 2023, a project that needs 5 billion USD worth of fresh investments every year.
Erdogan also said that the privatization process for setting up 17 thermal plants and 28 hydro plants will be completed in 2011.
 Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan talks with Syria's AssadTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.03.11), with the above title, reports that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday to express his support for the leader of Turkey's neighbour and warn him of the image of security officials using force against the Syrian people.
The Syrian President reassured Erdogan of his decision to make reforms; however, he complained that there were circles whose aim was to stir up trouble rather than protest for reforms, Prime Ministry officials told Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Sunday.
Welcoming Assad's decision to institute reforms, Erdogan urged Assad to implement social and economic reforms as soon as possible. People should practice concrete reforms the soonest, Erdogan told Assad.
The Turkish Prime Minister drew attention to the pictures of Syrian security officials' intervention in protests and warned against the confrontational image of police and people, officials said.
The telephone call, a gesture to anti-government protesters in Syria, came after the Turkish Foreign Ministry's statement on Friday urging the Syrian administration to conduct reform as soon as possible in the face of growing unrest. Turkey is ready to contribute to the reform process, the statement said. Syria has not asked for support over its reform process, Prime Ministry officials said.
 Orhan Pamuk to pay compensation for his words, court decidesTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.03.11), with the above title, reports that Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk will pay 6.000 liras in total compensation to five people for writing in 2005 that "the Turks have killed 30.000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians in this land." Pamuk has 15 days to appeal the court decision levying the fine, according to the legal procedures.
The prominent Turkish writer was sued in 2005 by five people, including lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, the head of the Lawyers' Association at the time and currently under arrest in the Ergenekon court case, as well as four other people who are relatives of soldiers killed in action. They accused Pamuk of "having accused all Turkish people." The Sisli court in Istanbul initially rejected to hear the case, arguing that "the complainants are simply individuals of the Turkish nation" and thus it was impossible to accept that individual rights had been violated.
Kerincsiz then appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which decided to reject the court decision and thus asked the Sisli court to consider the case once more.
The Sisli court then re-assessed the case and decided that Pamuk should pay compensation to the complainants.
"The right of individuals to open compensation cases was finalized. This decision is a precedent [for other cases]," legal expert Ersan Sen said, adding that the lapse of time for filing a complaint on this and other related cases had extended from one to eight years through this decision.
 A drill ship will start oil exploration in the Black SeaTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.03.11), under the title "Deepwater Champion enters the Black Sea for oil exploration", reports that the Deepwater Champion drill ship, from the Unites States-based oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, passed through the Bosporus on Friday to prospect for oil in the Black Sea.
Oil exploration works in the Black Sea are being jointly conducted by ExxonMobil and the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
Turkey should do what is necessary to develop its domestic oil and natural gas resources, said Turkish Energy Minister Taner Y1ld1z, speaking during a meeting Friday held to welcome the passage of the drill ship.
Noting that Turkey imports its oil and natural gas needs from foreign countries, Y1ld1z said: Perhaps we will not be able to find oil in the Black Sea but we continue our studies as we are hopeful. Turkey has allocated nearly $4.6 billion for oil exploration studies.
Speaking at the meeting, Russ Bellis, exploration director of ExxonMobil, said that they have a safety system that will not damage the Black Sea. "The drill ship will start its exploration in April. We may reach our first findings after the next two months but in order to have certain information, this may take months."
The environmentalist group Greenpeace Mediterranean protested ExxonMobil's oil exploration during the passage of the drill ship. The activist group members held banners saying, "Stop Dangerous Energy."
 HighlightsFollowing are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press of 25-28 March 2011:
Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press of 25-28 March 2011:
Libya conflict ? Turkey
"Rhetoric or realpolitik", Yeni Safak (24.03.11) columnist Akif Emre asserts that what is taking place in Libya amounts to a "conflict between rhetoric and realpolitik" from the viewpoint of both Turkey and the Western coalition. Criticizing the West's efforts to "legitimize liberal interventionism," he argues that if the West were really concerned about the loss of civilian lives in Libya in Al-Qadhafi's crackdown on the rebel forces, it would never have established relations with Al-Qadhafi that served to legitimize Libya's "strongman regime" in the first place. He also explains how Turkey's "exaggerated" rhetoric about being able to dominate the region based on its soft power has come up against reality in Libya.
"If you do not ask the right questions, you will get the wrong answers", Zaman (24.03.11) columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes supporters of the UN-sanctioned military intervention in Libya for trying to justify the operation by asking "whether you would not want someone to intervene in Turkey if a person like Al-Qadhafi attacked Diyarbakir to annihilate the Kurds or staged a secularist coup to kill pious people or an Islamist coup to do away with secularists." Koru argues that there is no way to vindicate the Western military operation in Libya "after what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq." He also questions the "sincerity" of any arguments linking the military campaign against Al-Qadhafi to a plan to establish democracy in Libya.
"Deploying an Islamic peace force to Libya", Zaman (24.03.11) columnist Ali Bulac asserts that the Western military intervention in Libya is intended to achieve the purposes of the Broader Middle East Project by eliminating potential challenges to the West in the region and allowing Israel to achieve preeminence. He warns that the West's "hidden agenda" includes a similar scenario for Turkey, adding that anyone who believes Turkey to be safe in this regard based on its membership of NATO, its EU membership bid, etc is failing to see the bigger picture where "neo-colonial powers" have undertaken to "build the next hundred years." He also calls on the Muslim world to respond to the situation in Libya by setting up an Islamic peace force under Turkey, Iran, and Egypt's leadership.
"Crusader motion," Milli Gazete ((24.03.11) runs a front-page report which says that the Turkish Parliament is scheduled to debate a motion on Turkish military involvement in the Western "attempt to occupy Libya" referred to as a "crusade" by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and French Interior Minister Claude Gu?ant. The report also criticizes the West for "reaching the decision to take military action against Al-Qadhafi in less than 24 hours" while "watching massacres that amounted to genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Gaza from the sidelines for years."
"Yippee, we will protect the US in Libya", Milli Gazete (24.03.11) columnist Burak Killioglu expresses ironic joy at a US State Department statement announcing that Turkey has agreed to serve as a protecting power for the United States in Libya. Explaining why this is a "victory" for "our supersonic diplomacy," Killioglu asserts that the Government has managed to take a "superpower" like the United States under its wing in eight years. He also sarcastically objects to certain commentators accusing Ankara of being "confused" over Libya in "pretending first to object to the strikes on Libya" and then endorsing the intervention based on "open-ended" concepts like "international legitimacy."
"Either authorization or oppression", Yeni Akit (25.03.11) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya takes issue with criticism of what has been described as Prime Minister Erdogan's paradoxical policy on Libya suggested by the way he first objected to NATO intervention in Libya and then called for NATO involvement. Karakaya asserts that Erdogan was trying to persuade Al-Qadhafi to step down as Libya's leader when he said in Germany, "What business does NATO have in Libya?" He links Erdogan's later demand for NATO intervention to French President Sarkozy's "opportunistic" decision to start hitting Libya, asserting that Erdogan's move was intended to place a military campaign he could not prevent under NATO control.
Under the headline "What changed in two days?" Milli Gazete (25.03.11) carries a front-page report which asserts that the Turkish public wants Prime Minister Erdogan to disclose why Turkish warships set out for Libya before the Parliament adopted the motion authorizing Turkey's military involvement in the UN-sanctioned intervention in Libya. The report also questions the reasons behind Erdogan's "rapid change of mind" on Libya.
"Being the United States' protector", Milli Gazete (25.03.11) columnist Zeki Ceyhan calls attention to what he presents as a contradiction between Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks announcing that Turkey will not "point its weapons at our Libyan brothers" and a US State Department statement saying that Turkey has agreed to serve as a protecting power for the United States in Libya. Ceyhan also asserts that the mission assigned to Turkey in Libya - "providing embassy services for US citizens stuck in Libya" - means that the Erdogan government does not intend to refrain from supporting "those who are pointing their guns at the Libyan people."
Bill on border patrol
"Ending the military's internal security role", Today's Zaman (24.03.11) columnist Lale Kemal comments on the Government's preparations to draft a bill that entails the establishment of a professional military unit responsible for maintaining border security. She claims that the creation of such a unit will "intensify the current debate over the rationale behind having a big conscript-based [army ...]"
Draft constitution prepared by TUSIAD
"I vote for TUSIAD's constitution", Today's Zaman (24.03.11) columnist Kerim Balci lauds the draft constitution commissioned by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association, TUSIAD, as being "even more democratic" that the draft earlier prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. He notes that the TUSIAD draft calls for the removal of the restrictions on Islamic headdresses not only at universities but "in the public sphere in general" as well and proposes "courageous" moves toward solving the "Kurdish issue" like recognizing the right to education in the mother tongue.
"Turkey's choice", Zaman (25.03.11) columnist Bejan Matur asserts that the draft constitution prepared under the aegis of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association, TUSIAD, has set a "democratic standard" that is likely to increase pressure on all political parties to meet public expectations for reform by coming up with their own proposals for a new and democratic constitution in the run-up to the general election in June. She also claims that the "winds of change" in the Middle East necessitate democratic and "human-centered" models of governance in Turkey and elsewhere.
"TUSIAD forces CHP's hand on a new constitution", Today's Zaman (25.03.11) columnist Yavuz Baydar underlines the "powerful meaning" of the TUSIAD's proposal for a draft constitution at a "critical juncture" where the Taraf daily is publishing WikiLeaks documents disclosing how the Turkish "deep state" resisted "all attempts to bury the legacy of the regime established after the Sept. 12 coup."
"Major row over new constitution in the offing", Bugun (25.03.11) columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren predicts a "conflict" between different public demands during the preparation of a new constitution and claims that the existing polarization of society will make it difficult for Turkey to achieve consensus over a democratic constitution. Criticizing TUSIAD member Cem Boyner for assertin g that the next constitution should be based on the understanding that individual freedoms are more important than Turkey's territorial integrity, Tasgetiren also argues that the "disaster" that would be entailed by Turkey's partition would have extremely detrimental consequences for individual freedoms.
Ergenekon operations and freedom of press
"The crime that Sik committed through his unpublished book", Yeni Safak (25.03.11) columnist Ali Bayramoglu criticizes law enforcement authorities for seizing copies of an unpublished book by journalist Ahmet Sik in searches conducted in Sik's house and the offices of the Radikal daily based on a court warrant saying that the book was written as part of the "terrorist" Ergenekon network's disinformation campaign. Bayramoglu argues that this development has confirmed that Sik's earlier arrest on charges of having links with Ergenekon was an "act of authoritarianism" that perceived Sik's "legitimate" journalistic activities as proof of his membership in an out lawed organization. He expresses amazement at the fact that the police and Ergenekon prosecutors can treat an unpublished book as an instrument of crime, adding that this is "too much if we are talking about democracy and the rule of law."
"If the press had really been free", Today's Zaman (25.03.11) columnist Etyen Mahcupyan criticizes recent demonstrations held by members of the news media in protest at the arrest of journalists Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik in the Ergenekon investigation as an effort to "create a psychological atmosphere in which the government can be accused of establishing a repressive regime ahead of the approaching elections." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio