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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-04-29

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. 79/11 29.04.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu reiterates that Turkey's guarantees are red lines for the Turkish Cypriot side
  • [02] Eroglu says we are far from an agreement in Cyprus
  • [03] The Secretary General of OIC accepted an invitation to visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [04] Ozgurgun: "Greek Cypriots have brought the negotiation process to a stalemate"
  • [05] Ozersay and Iacovou have reportedly discussed the "police issue"
  • [06] More reactions to Akca's statements
  • [07] Unal Ustel continues his contacts in Baku
  • [08] "2nd Civil Defence International Universities Search and Rescue Seminar and Exercise" kicks off in occupied Cyprus
  • [09] EVKAF holds a press conference regarding the mosque's construction
  • [10] Initiatives by the "Cyprus Academy Development Platform" to keep alive the name of Erbakan in the occupied areas
  • [11] Paper views "health crisis" vis-?-vis "population problem"
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [12] Turkey's National Security Council convenes
  • [13] "Navigation treaty raises doubts over PM's Istanbul Canal"
  • [14] Reactions created after Erdogan's announcement on the construction of a new canal in Istanbul
  • [15] Davutoglu speaks with his German and Lithuanian counterparts
  • [16] Turkish delegation holds contacts in Syria
  • [17] "UN says Turkey should be involved in Libya process"
  • [18] Expectations on Turkey's inflation for 2011
  • [19] "Was the head of the sculpture the only thing removed?"

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    Statements by Dervis Eroglu during his visit to Adana, the speech of Huseyin Ozgurgun at a university in Bursa, more reactions to the statements made recently by Halil Ibrahim Akca on the economy of the breakaway regime, a meeting of a self-styled minister with the General Secretary of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and other internal issues are the main topics in the Turkish Cypriot press today. The papers refer also to a press conference given by the EVKAF religious foundation on the construction of a mosque in occupied Thermia village, the quarrel and the "back-stabbing" between members of the former and current administration of the Hearths of the Ideal (Grey Wolves) in the occupied part of Cyprus, and the meeting between George Iacovou and Kudret Ozersay within the framework of the Cyprus talks.

    [01] Eroglu reiterates that Turkey's guarantees are red lines for the Turkish Cypriot side

    Illegal Bayrak television (28.04.11, online) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has reiterated that Turkey's active and effective guarantees are red lines for the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Within the framework of his contacts in Adana, Eroglu gave yesterday a conference on Cyprus within the scope of the conferences under the title "Turkey discusses its future", which are organized by the Cukurova Young Businessmen Association and the Cukurova Branch of the Turkish-American Businessmen Association.

    Gokhan Gokten, president of Cukurova Branch of the Turkish-American Businessmen Association, said they follow closely the problems both in Turkey and the occupied area of Cyprus, and wished success to Eroglu during the Cyprus talks.

    Hakan Celik, president of Cukurova Young Businessmen Association, said the breakaway regime's officials should establish closer relations with the businessmen of their neighbouring areas in Turkey.

    In his address, Eroglu talked about the historical process of the Cyprus problem and complained about the non-solution and the so-called embargoes allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots. He argued that the solution in Cyprus should be reached according to the conditions which exist today. He reiterated the Turkish allegation that the promises given to the Turkish side during the Annan Plan period were not kept.

    Referring to the issue of the population which is discussed at the ongoing negotiations, Eroglu argued that President Christofias wants to make discriminations among the "TRNC citizens", but he will not permit this.

    Eroglu alleged that there is no difference between the Turks from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and claimed: "Christofias wants to show his anger against Turkey and on our citizens who immigrated to Cyprus from Turkey".

    Referring to the chapters discussed at the negotiations, Eroglu alleged that problems are created by the Greek Cypriot side regarding the rights of the "old owners", as he described the legal owners of the occupied Greek Cypriot properties. Referring to the chapter of the territory, he said the Turkish Cypriot side wants only few people to be displaced. He reiterated the allegation that the Greek Cypriot side rejected the "practical plan" he submitted in Geneva and added that the UN Secretary-General invited the leaders to a new summit. "The UN is at the stage of taking decisions", he said.

    Eroglu reiterated that the Turkish side wants a solution based on two sovereign founding "states" with equal status and evident "borders". He argued that the Turkish Cypriots "will not be out in the cold", if no solution is found.

    Eroglu accused the Greek Cypriot side of using delaying tactics and added: "My people are tired of these negotiations". He argued that President Christofias also says he is tired of the negotiations.

    Eroglu said that the economy is the most important problem of the breakaway regime and added that investors from Turkey could significantly contribute to the solution of this issue.

    Asked whether a solution based on two separate "states" is difficult, Eroglu said it is difficult to discuss this when the negotiations continue. He added that every day that passes it is further understood that the efforts for unifying the two "separate states" will be unsuccessful.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu says we are far from an agreement in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (29.04.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has said the fact that Turkey is by the side of the Turkish Cypriot "people" gives strength to the "people" and makes him stronger at the negotiating table.

    Within the framework of his contacts in Adana, Eroglu held yesterday separate meetings with Ilhan Atis, governor of the Adana province, and Zihni Aldirmaz, deputy mayor of Adana.

    In statements during these visits, Eroglu said the Turkish Cypriot "people" survived to these days and established their "state" with the guarantee of Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces. He added: "If this guarantee did not exist, it would not be possible for the Turkish Cypriots to continue their struggle. We resisted until 1974. After 1974, as free people, we established our state together with motherland Turkey".

    Referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (29.04.11) reports that Eroglu said he is the third Turkish Cypriot leader who carries out negotiations on the Cyprus problem. "However, I can say that we are far from an agreement now. I will continue my efforts for reaching a lasting agreement taking into consideration the current realities on the island and what happened in the past", Eroglu also said.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The Secretary General of OIC accepted an invitation to visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (29.04.11), self-styled minister of national education, youth and sports Kemal Durust with his accompanying delegation, who are continuing their contacts in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah searching for ways to further develop the cooperation between the Arab countries and the breakaway regime, met yesterday with the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

    During the meeting, both sides had extensive exchange of views on the ongoing cooperation between the OIC and the "Turkish Cypriot state", an observer member of the OIC, and the ways to further enhance the OIC-"TRNC" relations. They agreed to maintain effective solidarity and continue to strengthen cooperation between the breakaway regime and the OIC and its member states including the fields of higher education, research, sports and economic activities, with a view of putting an end to the "isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots in the international scene.

    Durust, during the meeting said that although the "Turkish Cypriot state" has been accepted as an observer member state at the Islamic Solidarity Games Federation, the youth of the breakaway regime is still isolated from world sport organizations and asked from Ihsanoglu to take initiative on this matter.

    Ihsanoglu, for his part, said that he will endeavour to enhance the continuation of OIC relations with the breakaway regime, adding that he will also intensify his efforts to attain a solution on the problems that Durust displayed.

    Durust also invited the OIC Secretary General to visit the occupied area at a mutually convenient time to further discuss the issues of common interest and Ihsanoglu said that he will pay them a visit soon.

    Finally, Durust also met with Turkey's Consul to Jeddah Salih Mutlu Sen.

    [04] Ozgurgun: "Greek Cypriots have brought the negotiation process to a stalemate"

    Under the title "Greek Cypriots have brought the negotiation process to a stalemate", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (29.04.11) reported that self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun stated that the Greek Cypriot side which cannot digest the positive proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiation table, is constantly creating problems at the table and thus it has led the process to a deadlock.

    Speaking at a conference organized at Uludag University in Bursa under the title "The Cyprus problem and the international status of the TRNC", Ozgurgun gave information about the latest development of the ongoing negotiation talks.

    In his speech, Ozgurgun accused the Greek Cypriot side for its armament policy and for continuing making assaultive statements and claimed that the Greek Cypriot side is sitting at the table without sincerity. He also alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side is exerting efforts and submits proposals in order for the unfinished for years now negotiation process to come to an end, and accused the Greek Cypriot side for being intransigent and for sitting at the table ostensibly. He also claimed that the Greek Cypriot side continues its Hellenism policy for years now, and that they are exerting efforts to implement the Hellenism policy today.

    Referring to the situation in the occupied area, Ozgurgun said that all mechanisms in the "TRNC" are working for the prosperity of the "people" and for the strengthening of the "TRNC's economy, tourism and education" in order for the "TRNC" to become stronger.

    (AK)

    [05] Ozersay and Iacovou have reportedly discussed the "police issue"

    Under the title "The representatives met for two hours", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (29.04.11) reports that Kudret Ozersay and George Iacovou, special representatives of the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu and President Christofias respectively, held yesterday a two-hour meeting at the residence of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim.

    In his statements to a correspondent of illegal TAK news agency, Ozersay stated that he does not wish to give details about the meeting due to the fact that "we do not want to affect the elections to be held in south Cyprus in May".

    According to information acquired by illegal TAK, during the meeting of the representatives, the proposals of the sides on the issue of "police" where negotiated. In the meantime, according to reliable sources, the paper writes that during the meeting, "the convergency document on the issue of international agreements" which was achieved in the past, has been concluded. Regarding this issue, a subcommittee is to meet in a special meeting next week, writes the paper and adds that diplomats and international lawyers from the two sides will participate.

    Also, the paper cites information from reliable sources of illegal TAK and writes that experts from both sides on the property issue are expected to have contacts at the mid of May in Washington with UN's experts on property issues.

    (AK)

    [06] More reactions to Akca's statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (29.04.11) reports that the Social Democracy Party (TDP), the United Cyprus Party (BKP) and the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS) reacted yesterday to the statements made on Wednesday by Halil Ibrahim Akca, self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied part of Lefkosia, who had said that the current structure in the occupied area of Cyprus could not continue.

    Mehmet Cakici, TDP's chairman, noted that the intervention of Akca in the internal affairs of the Turkish Cypriots is not correct, just like the interventions and the impositions on the Turkish Cypriots for so many years were not correct. He said the governments of Turkey have the same responsibility as the "governments" of the breakaway regime for the "cumbersome structure" and the "wry system" created in occupied Cyprus after 1974. Cakici said no one has the right to force the "people" to accept a package of measures which came up without their will. He said the uncontrolled increase of population in the occupied northern part of the island after 1974, the partisanship, the unproductive and undisciplined structure of the "public" sector, illegality and the underground economy are among the reasons of the creation of an unsustainable "state" structure.

    Cakici noted that a new package of measures should be prepared taking into consideration Cyprus' social, political and economic conditions, but it should not be forgotten that their problem is not only economic. At the same time, he said, it is an issue of the continuation of the existence of the Turkish Cypriot culture, socio-demographic structure and identity and a matter of self-administration.

    Furthermore, Izzet Izcan, BKP's general secretary accused Akca of behaving as if he is the owner of Cyprus and added that Akca could not speak on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots and interfere in their internal affairs. Izcan said the "separatist and wry structure in northern Cyprus is not administrated by the Turkish Cypriots, but Turkey and the puppet governments it elects". Izcan argued that Turkey's actual intention is to turn the northern part of Cyprus into one of its provinces and tries to implement here the model of Alexandretta by increasing the population to one million persons.

    Moreover, Sener Elcil, general secretary of KTOS, criticized Akca's statements. He said, inter alia, the following: "We want to remind to Mr Akca: you established this separatist cumbersome structure. By abandoning the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriots for the sake of this [structure], you secured that embargo is imposed on us. After your Customs Union with the European Union, you were the ones that imposed embargo on us".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (29.04.11) reports that Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), stated that what Akca said was true and reflect the current reality in the occupied part of Cyprus. Avci noted that his party supports the need for economic changes expressed by Akca.

    Commenting on Akca's statements, Turkish Cypriot columnist Sami Ozuslu writes in daily Yeni Duzen (29.04.11) that he was not able to understand whether Akca was an "ambassador" or a "prime minister" in the occupied part of Cyprus. Ozuslu notes that Akca would not speak in the same manner about the economy of the USA, for example, if he was ambassador to Washington.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Unal Ustel continues his contacts in Baku

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (29.04.11) reports that self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture Unal Ustel, heading a delegation, is continuing his contacts in Azerbaijan with the aim of easing the so-called embargoes against the breakaway regime and attract more tourists to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Ustel with his delegation participated yesterday in a meal given by the Turkish Ambassador to Baku Hulisi Kilic, during which they exchanged views on the tourism field. They also discussed how they can establish a transport bridge among Azerbaijan and the breakaway regime and what the role of the Turkish Airlines may be.

    Ustel is expected to meet also with the Azeri Culture Minister within the framework of his contacts in Baku.

    [08] "2nd Civil Defence International Universities Search and Rescue Seminar and Exercise" kicks off in occupied Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak (online, 28.04.11), the "2nd Civil Defence International Universities Search and Rescue Seminar and Exercise", begin last Tuesday. Foreign participants in an interview to the illegal BRT newsroom praised the occupation regime's search and rescue activities as well as its cultural and historic heritage.

    Academicians and students from 13 countries, all of whom are members of search and rescue teams, as well as students and representatives from six universities in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, are taking part in the civil defence program.

    Speaking to the "BRT" correspondent, academics and students from Brazil, Indonesia, Nepal and Azerbaijan underlined the importance of international cooperation in overcoming the destruction caused by natural disasters as well as keeping the number of casualties and victims at a minimum. They also claimed that "the international embargoes being imposed on the TRNC, even on humanitarian issues, were wrong". Calling for peace, they stressed that everyone should enjoy equal rights, particularly on humanitarian matters.

    [09] EVKAF holds a press conference regarding the mosque's construction

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (29.04.11) reports that the administration of the EVKAF Religious Foundation organized a press conference in order to provide information regarding the construction of a mosque in occupied Thermia. The general director of the Foundation Mustafa Kemal Kaymakamzade said that the decision for the construction of the mosque was taken after the headman of the village sent a letter to the "prime-minister" saying that they need a mosque in their village. The Foundation then decided that it was suitable to build a mosque in a plot that belonged to the Foundation, next to the church of Panayia and referred the issue to the so-called director of the "housing and rehabilitation department", who also gave a positive answer. Kaymakamzade added that in their effort to obtain financial resources, they had a positive reply from the Turkish "embassy" in Nicosia and then they publicized in the press that they accept offers for the construction.

    Kaymakamzade and the chairman of the administrative board Tekin Kose answering to reporter's questions said that the land belongs to the church, but it is on a different plot than the one of the existing church. Kose reminded that after the 1974 invasion the so-called parliament "allocated" the property belonging to the Church of Cyprus to the EVKAF Foundation. Answering to allegations that the building does not have the necessary permits, Kose said that by "law" all constructions must be approved by the "town planning department" and authorized by the architect's chamber. He noted however that this is not the case for buildings belonging to "state" institutions and that it is not actually implemented, although there is a collective demand by the Cyprus Turkish Architects & Engineers Chambers Association (KTMMOB).

    During the press conference copies distributed of the related correspondence for the construction of the mosque to journalists. Also commenting on the progress of the construction they said that there is no problem, however at the moment an inhabitant of the region filed a case because he was disturbed by the construction work and secured an interlocutory judgement. He also said that the court hearing will be on the 5th of March and if the court's decision is in favour of the plaintiff, then no one will be able to construct.

    [10] Initiatives by the "Cyprus Academy Development Platform" to keep alive the name of Erbakan in the occupied areas

    Under the title "Academy Cyprus has launched initiatives for the name of Erbakan to be kept alive in the TRNC", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (29.04.11) reported on statements by Adem Koc, General Coordinator of the "Cyprus Academy Development Platform" who proposed for the name of Necmettin Erbakan to be given in an avenue in the occupied area of Cyprus so that his name to be kept alive there.

    According to the paper, in his statements to illegal Ankara Anatolia (AA) news agency, Koc underlined the important role and actions of Dr Necmettin Erbakan before and after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus and said that this is a duty of the "Turkish Cypriot people" and also of the "state" to express their faithfulness to Erbakan for his contribution and support.

    Commenting on Koc's statements, the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas stated to AA that it was a matter of omission the fact that the name of deceased Erbakan was not given already to an avenue in the "TRNC".

    [11] Paper views "health crisis" vis-?-vis "population problem"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (29.04.11) reports that in the past two years the "TRNC administration" has managed to accumulate a total debt of 11 million 547 thousand Turkish Liras towards various hospitals in Turkey. The so-called ministry of health responding to Dr Arif Albayrak's written questions ?a so-called MP with CTP- acknowledged that in the past, they sent 3.451 patients for treatment in Turkish hospitals, but these have stopped accepting more patients due to the accrued debts.

    The paper notes that the numbers coming from the health sector are remarkable, especially at a period when the population issue is discussed and publishes Dr Albayrak's statements. According to him, 1.588.455 persons were treated in the past 23 months in "TRNC state hospitals" and this number comes from the sudden growth of population. Albayrak also said that the Ankara Gazi University Hospital, the Ankara University Hospital ? Cebeci Heart Centre and the Istanbul Acibadem Hospital have stopped receiving any more patients due to "TRNC's" debts.

    Albayrak commented that the number of treated patients compared to a population of 200 thousand shows how many unregistered or illegal people exist in the occupied area. He also highlighted that given the cancer cases and statistics, "TRNC" ranks fifth in cancer cases in the world.


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    Turkey's concerns that political turmoil in Syria could nurture a safe haven for the terrorist PKK organization and that a possible exodus of Syrians could happen, as clashes between the Assad government and rival forces mount; the meeting of the National Security Council (MGK); Prosecutor's Office signalling the completion of the investigation about YGS, and the announcement of the results are mentioned in today's Turkish papers. Also, a new development for the first time in Turkey's history, when a prosecutor decided that the grave of Ali Ekber Yurek, a teacher who died under detention during the September 12 military intervention, should be opened to investigate torture allegations and other internal issues are the main themes in today's Turkish press.

    [12] Turkey's National Security Council convenes

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.04.11) reported on the communiqu? issued following the regular National Security Council (MGK) meeting for the month of April.

    An MGK communiqu? states that a detailed assessment was made of the measures taken to date and expected to be taken in order for the general parliamentary elections that will be conducted on 12 June to be able to take place without any security problems being experienced. The communiqu? also notes that, at the meeting, domestic and foreign developments with an impact on the security of the country were discussed in detail.

    Stressing that the struggle against terrorism, in the future just as much as until to date, will be continued not just in terms of the security dimension, but with a comprehensive and multiphase approach that also includes eliminating the environment that feeds terrorism, the communiqu? stated in this context that respect for democracy and human rights, by guaranteeing that the fundamental rights and freedoms of society and the individual are not violated, will constitute, as always, the focal point of the state's efforts in this regard. The communiqu? included the following:

    "It was stressed in this framework that a struggle will be waged against every sort of action and initiative that the terrorist organization and its supporters seek to carry out under the guise of human rights, and which actually target the unity, integrity, security, peace, and well-being of our people, and that this resolute approach will be maintained until, with the trust and support obtained from our people, the threat of terrorism has been eliminated.

    "A detailed assessment was conducted of the measures taken to date and those expected to be taken in the period ahead in order for the elections that will be held on 12 June 2011 to be able to be staged without any security problems being experienced. Within this context, the belief was confirmed that the efforts of the terrorist organization and its supporters aimed at preventing our people from being able to freely express their democratic preferences will not be able to attain success, thanks to the efforts to be taken by our security forces and the sensible approach of our people, who are sincerely loyal to their country and to democracy."

    Stressing that resolving, on the basis of national compromise and as soon as possible, the problems that Iraq is facing in the political, economic, and social areas will contribute to the stability not only of Iraq but of the entire region, the communiqu? said: "It was noted in this framework that Turkey, which ascribes great importance to the unity of Iraq and to its stability, peace, and development, will continue to provide every sort of support to the efforts to resolve these problems that the Iraqi people are confronting."

    The communiqu?, noting that the developments that have taken place most recently in Libya and the steps that might be taken in the period ahead were evaluated, noted the following:

    "Stress was placed on the importance ascribed to achieving, as soon as possible, a true cease-fire in that country, to the continuation without interruption of humanitarian aid activities toward the friendly and brotherly Libyan people, and to the initiation of a process of political change and transformation in line with the legitimate demands of the Libyan people.

    On Syria, it was stressed that deep concern and sadness were noted at the escalation of the social unrest and the loss of life experienced in friendly and brotherly Syria, with which Turkey has particular ties. There was discussion of the reforms announced to meet the legitimate demands and expectations of the people in the political, social, and economic areas, as well as the steps taken to date, and the importance of the implementation of all of these reforms as soon as possible was stressed.

    Our support to the steps that the Syrian administration will take along these lines was confirmed, and it was underscored that the security forces as well must display the maximum sensitivity in their approach to the people.

    Within this framework, the importance was stressed of efforts being made toward taking the necessary steps, on an urgent and determined basis, that would assure that peace and stability can be established in friendly and brotherly Syria, that the violence is ended, and that fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed."

    And the communiqu? concludes: "The importance ascribed to the completion of the process of change and transformation being experienced in the Middle East in such a way as to contribute to peace, stability, and prosperity in friendly and brotherly countries was stressed, and it was stated that our country will continue in a resolute way to exert efforts for the maintenance of regional and global peace."

    [13] "Navigation treaty raises doubts over PM's Istanbul Canal"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.11) reported that the impact of a proposed new canal through western Istanbul on a key shipping treaty was up for debate Thursday, with Turkish diplomatic officials rushing to defend the plan, a day after the prime minister announced it.

    In announcing the project Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the new canal would relieve dangerous tanker traffic on the overcrowded Bosporus Strait by creating a new shipping route between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea.

    The proposal will likely launch a new international debate over the implementation of the Montreux Treaty, a key and much-discussed document that allows ships from Black Sea coastal countries to navigate freely through the Turkish straits.

    "We have no idea about the details of the project, but we are sure that the Turkish authorities will not take any step that could restrict the right of free navigation through the straits," a diplomat from one of the coastal countries told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Thursday.

    Signed in 1936, the Treaty strictly regulates the passages of commercial and military vessels from the Turkish straits, the Bosporus and Dardanelles, which has from time to time caused problems between Turkey and other signatories, particularly Russia, which says Turkey's strict regulation of the use of the straits slows the passage of tankers.

    Diplomats from the coastal countries the Daily News contacted Thursday said they were unaware of the details of the project, but expressed concerns that Turkey could force the tankers to use the canal instead of the straits for a fee.

    "This law [the Montreux Treaty] is only valid for the straits and not for artificial sea passages, like the proposed one for Istanbul," a Turkish diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told the Daily News. "Of course, there are universal rules implemented for passages through manmade canals. These will be valid for the Istanbul Canal as well. Countries could be asked for transit fees," the diplomat said, adding that ships can pass through the straits for free but sometimes have to wait for days due to weather conditions or heavy traffic. "If the companies have money and do not want to wait, they could use the second canal after paying the fee," the diplomat said adding: "We are of the opinion that many tankers would use the canal, which would of course reduce the traffic on the strait."

    Turkey's former Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim dismissed claims that Turkey would force other countries to use the new canal but said "New incentives would be created" for its use. "We have no intention to block the passages through the straits," he told the Daily News.

    [14] Reactions created after Erdogan's announcement on the construction of a new canal in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (28.04.11) reported that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's announcement on Wednesday of a plan to build a canal so that oil tankers and other commercial shipping can bypass the congested Bosporus Strait has triggered heated discussion on the possible consequences of the project.

    Erdogan on Wednesday announced his new project, Kanal Istanbul, a 150-meter-wide waterway that will link the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. He said the canal is the "greatest project of the century."

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu seemed to be unimpressed in his initial reaction, saying the government should be using its resources to empower the poor. CHP Burdur deputy Ramazan Kerim Ozkan yesterday made the same point when he said: "Leave that crazy project alone. First feed our citizens." Erdogan earlier referred to the plan as a "crazy project." Bulent Tanik, Mayor of Ankara's Cankaya district, claimed that the government was preparing Istanbul to become the country's capital.

    The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was cautious but not as critical as the CHP. MHP Secretary-General Cihan Pacaci said: "We will support every project that will benefit our country. A second strait in Istanbul would ease the congestion in the Bosporus. Every year, the people of Istanbul live next to a major threat because of collisions in the strait." MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said he needed more information and details on the project before commenting on it.

    Mustafa Kamalak, head of the Felicity Party (SP), was supportive, but he accused Erdogan of having stolen the idea from representatives of the National View movement, the ideological forerunners of the SP. "This is not a crazy project, this is theft," he said during a visit to the Anatolian Tigers Businessmen's Association (ASKON).

    Although Erdogan did not disclose the exact location, various commentators claimed some circles knew about the project and would financially benefit from this prior knowledge. This argument is not just concerning profitable land sale transactions stemming from insider knowledge but also involves concern over the contracts to be awarded during the building of the canal and its aftermath. It is not clear whether new housing or shopping centres will be allowed around the canal, but in addition to worries about possible corrupt deals, environmentalists say this could disrupt the ecology of the region. There were also concerns about the number of trees that will have to be chopped during construction of the canal, but Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu yesterday promised five trees would be planted for every one cut down. Businesspeople, particularly construction industry professionals, were highly supportive of the project.

    Some scientists and urban planners have questioned whether it is feasible to build a canal that will be, according to Erdogan, 45 kilometres-long. The prime minister said the canal would have a depth of about 25 meters and would be able to handle the daily passage of up to 160 vessels. The canal would be completed by 2023. Erdogan did not reveal the cost of the project, but analyst estimates it will range from $20-40 billion.

    [15] Davutoglu speaks with his German and Lithuanian counterparts

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.04.11) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had phone conversations with his German and Lithuanian counterparts.

    Diplomatic sources said that Davutoglu and the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle exchanged views on recent regional developments including incidents in Syria while Turkey-Lithuania and Turkey-European Union relations were high on agenda of the phone conversation between Davutoglu and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis.

    [16] Turkish delegation holds contacts in Syria

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.11) reported that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's increasingly shaky grip on power has Ankara crafting new scenarios for the aftermath of his possible fall, while continuing to urge the Syrian leader to make immediate reforms.

    Signals from Damascus indicate that Syrian authorities' insistence on maintaining the status quo could lead to a regime change in this Middle Eastern country, where rising violence has Ankara concerned that the situation could trigger further instability across the region and hurt Turkish trade and foreign-policy gains.

    A high-level Turkish government delegation, including representatives from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the State Planning Organization (DPT) travelled to Damascus on Thursday to express Turkey's willingness to support Syrian reforms. The delegation is part of Ankara's efforts urging al-Assad to meet the demands of pro-reform demonstrators as Western countries threaten sanctions if the bloody crackdown in his country does not ease.

    MIT chief Hakan Fidan, DPT Undersecretary Kemal Madenoglu and other members of the delegation met with al-Assad to hear the latest developments in his country and assess his position on the continuing unrest. The delegation was expected to return to Turkey as the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press late Thursday.

    Another delegation, including DPT experts, is also expected to travel to Damascus in the coming days. The experts will brief the Syrian administration on Turkey's reform experiences, particularly with economic development and public administration, diplomatic sources told the Daily News on Thursday. "The delegation aims to produce a road map for democratic changes for Syria's public and an economic administration in line with Syrian people's demands," one diplomatic source said.

    [17] "UN says Turkey should be involved in Libya process"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.11) reported that the United Nations (U.N) has asked Turkey to be involved in providing humanitarian aid to Libya and resolving the ongoing crisis there, a Turkish diplomat told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Thursday.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Thursday in Ankara with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special Libya representative Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, ahead of the U.N. envoy's visit to Libya, where he aims to hold talks with both the Libyan administration and the opposition in Benghazi.

    "The special U.N. envoy for Libya expressed that they want Turkey to be involved in the Libya process on the issues of both humanitarian aid and a solution to the crisis," the Turkish diplomat told the Daily News. According to the diplomat, the conversation focused specifically on humanitarian aid and the envoy expressed appreciation for Turkey's efforts. Sources said al-Khatib briefed Ankara on his impressions based on a previous contact about a possible truce, for which he did not express much optimism.

    Davutoglu informed the U.N. envoy about the road map Ankara proposed to end the turmoil in Libya, the diplomat said. This road map includes urging an immediate cease-fire, the lifting of sieges by regime forces on rebel-held towns and the initiation of a "transformation process" that would lead to free elections. The Turkish Foreign Minister also told al-Khatib that Turkey placed importance in and supported the U.N.'s efforts, and would do everything in its power to contribute to them.

    [18] Expectations on Turkey's inflation for 2011

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.04.11) reported on statements by the Governor of the Turkish Central Bank Erdem Basci, who said that they expected inflation at the end of 2011, to be somewhere between 5.6% and 8.2%.

    Speaking during a press conference in Ankara, Basci said that the end of year inflation's medium point was calculated as 6.9%. "We updated the medium figure by one point due to rapid increases in energy prices and arrangements in customs duties," Basci said. "We expect inflation at the end of 2012 to be somewhere between 3.4% and 7% with a medium figure of 5.2%. We believe that inflation will be stable at 5% in the medium term," Basci also said.

    [19] "Was the head of the sculpture the only thing removed?"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.11) publishes the following commentary by Sedat Ergin:

    "Turkish sculptor, Mehmet Aksoy has always been in trouble for the artwork he creates in a country with increased disrespect for art, a discipline that is also being taken hostage by political power.

    For instance in 1975, when he brought a sculpture of renowned late poet Nazim Hikmet from Berlin, Aksoy was directly escorted to the Police Department. In the same year, his work titled 'The labourer and his child' in Antalya, was showered with paint before it was torn to pieces.

    One of the leading sculptors in Turkey, Aksoy spoke about the pressures he faced and the troubles he had gone through in a recent interview to Tugrul Tunaligil of daily Vatan.

    Aksoy entered a competition for an Ataturk sculpture at Parliament in 1979. Though he initially won it, the then-Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Kenan Evren, who happened to be an honorary juror, objected to the result. 'This is communist artwork. Ataturk is wearing a fur cap anyway', Evren said, and Aksoy was relegated to second place in the competition.

    In 1994, Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek decided to remove Aksoy's sculpture 'Realm of Fairies', at Altinpark. 'I would spit on such a work', Gokcek said, for he found the piece obscene.

    More recently, Aksoy has endured another troublesome part of his life. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the demolition of his work of art, calling it a 'freak'. Demolition of Aksoy's sculpture, the Monument to Humanity in the eastern province of Kars, has started. The head of the sculpture, facing the Kars Castle, was removed Tuesday.

    Aksoy was asked to create the sculpture by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayor in Kars in 2006. The project, however, faced objections from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) party organization. The monument became a target of the ruling AKP after the office of Mayor changed hands in 2009.

    In such a long line of troubles, we also see the artist's consistent frame of mind, considering the reactions he faced.

    Times have changed, but Aksoy has constantly faced the mentality that removes the head of a sculpture, bans artworks and is disturbed by the creativity of artists.

    Though the source of the mentality can switch from the government to civilians or between political parties, the never-changing notion in Turkey is the disrespect of art. There is a hard-line mindset that has the urge to interfere in art and even demolish it if it wants.

    The image of the country

    And this mentality is facing a gradually increasing dose of objections in the Western world.

    The International Association of Arts (IAA) reached a decision on April 7 during a general assembly in Mexico that politicians had no right to remove works of art just because they dislike them. Such a monument of peace and solidarity should be protected and conserved, the Association said.

    As Turkey is trying to become a European Union member in the 21st century, it cannot continue demolishing the gigantic works of art of its own artists and intellectuals in spite of the objections of the international community, the Association said.

    Christos Symeonides of IAA Europe also sent a message to the Turkish Foreign Ministry in March, saying such a demolition was a serious violation of freedom of art.

    Similar reactions will likely increase in the days to come and Turkey's image of an intolerant country that demolishes sculptures will likely continue.

    Another dimension to the issue is that the demolition is taking place as a result of a political order. A country where the Prime Minister decides which artwork remains or goes, upon his discretion, is a country that has been taken hostage by political power.

    It is not just the head of the sculpture that was cut off in Kars; artists' freedom of creativity in Turkey has been attacked as well." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    EG/


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