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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-05-02

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. 80/11 30.04-02.5.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu's letter to UN, EU and foreign officials
  • [02] Soyer expresses his views on Turkey-breakaway regime relation
  • [03] Talat met with the new "administration board" of the "Foreign Press Union"
  • [04] Ozkardas comments on Akca's speech
  • [05] BKP criticizes the AKP government for carrying out Islamic policies in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [06] Tatar holds contacts in Trabzon
  • [07] Gagauzia's independent autonomous republic's governor to visit the occupied area
  • [08] "Pardon for illegal workers"
  • [09] 20 "Laws" ready to be harmonized with the EU acquis communautaire
  • [10] Two agreements for medical tourism
  • [11] "No peace and communal serenity on 1st of May"
  • [12] Irsen Kucuk continues the distribution of plots of land in the occupied area
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [13] The Austrian President speaks on Turkey's EU membership process
  • [14] The Turkish Foreign Minister spoke with his U.S. and Egyptian counterparts over regional issues
  • [15] Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed on a "purchase and sale" agreement
  • [16] Initiatives for a new constitution in Turkey to be launched after the June 12 elections
  • [17] Recent poll results on the Turkish general elections of June 12
  • [18] "Turkish public reluctant about going nuclear, says opinion poll"
  • [19] Prototype of the first Turkish tank to be unveiled early May

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    The main issues of today's Turkish Cypriot press are the bi-communal events and the celebrations of the 1st May Labour Day and articles from Greek Cypriot newspapers regarding the negotiation process. The letter by Eroglu to UN and the EU, statements by Soyer, Eroglu's lecture in Adana, messages from Turkish Cypriot "officials" for the Labour Day and other domestic issues are also covered by the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend.

    [01] Eroglu's letter to UN, EU and foreign officials

    According to illegal Bayrak (online, 01.05.11), the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has sent a letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Union (EU) officials and state and government officials of countries which are involved in the Cyprus problem.

    In his letter sent on the occasion of the anniversary of the 24th April referendum, Eroglu pointed to the failure of honouring promises and decisions that were given to the Turkish Cypriots before and after the April referendum in Cyprus. Eroglu noted that it was not an easy decision for the Turkish Cypriots to approve the comprehensive peace plan, which was prepared by the United Nations and was rejected by the Greek Cypriots as it included grievances, difficulties and concessions for them.

    "The former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a report to the UN Security Council on the 28th of May 2004 and stressed the need for taking concrete steps for the removal of the isolations on the Cyprus Turkish people and urged the Greek Cypriot side to prove its willingness for an agreement based on the equality of the two sides by taking concrete steps, however this was not realized," Eroglu said in his letter.

    Eroglu stated that the Turkish Cypriots, who were disappointed in 2004 and its aftermaths, have not changed their will for an agreement, however, negative developments have diminished the people's belief for a solution. He also expressed the need for showing more attention in order to reach a lasting solution in Cyprus.

    [02] Soyer expresses his views on Turkey-breakaway regime relation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (30.04.11) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) speaking during a press conference with the members of CTP's Central Administration Board, commented on how Turkey- "TRNC" relations should be. Soyer argued that the relation must be redefined and be based on friendship and brotherhood ties, instead of being a relationship where one advises and orders and the other is forced to obey.

    Soyer also supported that efforts must be made in order to create a structure that will pursue its own initiatives and common interests with Turkey and that all subjects like the "Central Bank", the monetary policy, import and export regime, work regulations, the broadening on a civil political basis of areas like the "state", the "police" and "public administration" and also efforts to get out of the tutelary perspective, should be open for discussion.

    Moreover, evaluating the Cyprus problem, Soyer said that it must not remain unsolved and that Eroglu must adopt a new mentality which creates momentum, instead of returning to the old level of consciousness that creates problems.

    Finally, answering on questions regarding the general assembly of CTP, Soyer said that the number of candidates is not high, but shows the democracy and dynamism that exists within the party. He also said that there is rising unemployment and said: "The people of this country should decide where a mosque will be built, where roads will be constructed, where, to which extend and which job will be done. They should decide based on this, who to elect."

    [03] Talat met with the new "administration board" of the "Foreign Press Union"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (30.04.11) reported that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met a delegation from the newly appointed "administration board" of the "Foreign Press Union", headed by its chairman Fevzi Taspinar.

    Speaking during the meeting, Talat referred to the ongoing negotiation process and said that there is a serious lack of acceleration in this process adding that a lot of factors are affected by this. However, Talat stressed the need for this lack of acceleration not to be used for drawing their attention away from the negotiations.

    Talat said also that the non-solution continues in the island and said that those who rejected the Annan plan are responsible for this situation. He accused them also for appearing today to be in favour of the solution of the Cyprus problem and added that they are normally confronted by the Turkish Cypriots and the world as well.

    Talat then stressed the important role and the contribution of the "Foreign Press Union" in order to transfer information to Turkey about the situation in the occupied area.

    (AK)

    [04] Ozkardas comments on Akca's speech

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (30.04.11) reports on the written statement that the chairman of KAMU-SEN Mehmet Ozkardas issued. Ozkardas responding to a speech by Halil Ibrahim Akca, Turkey's "ambassador" in the occupied area said that Akca should also mention the economic burden stemming from the uncontrolled population that the Turkish Cypriots have to pay. In his statement Ozkardas argues that the Turkish Cypriots paid many times the price in order to sustain their identity and existence and says that the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" must stop being a hostel where everyone does as he pleases.

    Ozkardas also writes in his statement: "We [Turkish Cypriots] were cut off from production and became poor due to continued isolation, despite the promises given by the EU, and from the other hand due to Turkey's, which we know as motherland, imposed embargo."

    [05] BKP criticizes the AKP government for carrying out Islamic policies in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (30.04.11) reports that Abdullah Korkmazhan, Organizing Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), in a written statement, condemns the construction of a mosque in the occupied village of Thermia, adding that this kind of construction is a product of political Islam's mentality of conquer and expansionism.

    Korkmazhan also criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that the project of building a mosque and a complex in the occupied village of Thermia came from Turkey's Ministry of Religious Affair, adding that the construction of the mosque has started secretly without obtaining "permission" by the "council of monuments and town planning" and the Cyprus Turkish Architects & Engineers Chambers Association (KTMMOB).

    Finally, Korkmazhan said that there are 162 schools and 186 mosques in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, adding that it is unacceptable to have more mosques than schools and hospitals in every place in the occupied area.

    [06] Tatar holds contacts in Trabzon

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (30.04.11) reports that the 2nd Trabzon Silk Road Businessmen Summit takes place in Trabzon, Turkey. The summit is organized by the Turkish Foreign Trade Undersecretary and various local organizations. In the summit which started on Friday the 29th of April politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen from 18 countries participate.

    The so-called finance minister of the breakaway regime Ersin Tatar, who was invited by the Trabzon Commerce and Industry Chamber in order to participate in the summit, met with Mustafa Suat Hacisahiloglu, chairman of its administration board. Tatar, who is accompanied by the so-called UBP MP Ahmet Zengin, said that they are trying to raise the number of tourists in "TRNC" in order to make the most out of the tourism potential. Hacisahiloglu, who noted that 35% of Turkey's export in fruits and vegetables takes place from Trabzon, said that they will fulfil their duty to assist in the export of agricultural products produced in the "TRNC."

    Moreover, Tatar speaking during a visit to the Trabzon Governor Recep Kizilcik, said that very soon [19th of May] flights will start between occupied Cyprus and Trabzon. Tatar characterized it as a very important event because there are approximately 20 thousand people originating from the Black Sea region in "TRNC." Also referring to the economic growth of Trabzon, Tatar said that it could benefit the "TRNC," since businessmen from Trabzon could conduct trade with Iran coming to "their ports" through Mersin.

    [07] Gagauzia's independent autonomous republic's governor to visit the occupied area

    Under the title "A highest official visitor from Gagauzia to our country", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (01.05.11) reported that the "president" [Governor] of Ozerk Gagauzia Republic (the southern Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia), Mikhail Formuzal is to visit the occupied area tonight upon an invitation he received from the rector of the illegal Near East University (YDU), Dr Suat Gunsel.

    As the paper writes, according to a statement issued by the illegal YDU, Formuzal paid his first visit to the "TRNC" in 1998, again upon an invitation from the YDU and he held several contacts in the occupied area. The statement reports also that it will be the second time that Formuzal will be visiting the occupied area adding that as it was announced his visit will be focused on the illegal YDU hospital.

    (AK)

    [08] "Pardon for illegal workers"

    Under the above headline, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (01.05.11) reports that according to statements by Cemal Bulutoglulari the so-called government of the breakaway regime is getting ready to implement a project under which illegal workers will be able to gain legal status after paying a minimum fee. The paper adds information from "trusted" sources, according to which this pardon will have one significant difference from previous ones. It will include people who were penalized, left the country and could not return. Therefore, a great number of applications for pardon is expected from people living abroad.

    The paper notes that the "government" with this decision is taking measures to ensure that more than 3.000 illegal workers will apply compared to previous pardons, thus planning to cash in approximately 40-50 million Turkish Lira. It writes that this time they cooperate with the Turkish "embassy" in the occupied area. Despite the positive facts of registering illegal workers and raising "state" income, the paper writes that this decision continues to create worries among the people because of the demographic change it will cause. The paper also argues that reactions are expected by NGOs in the following week, since there's an opinion that these decisions to alter the demographic structure are planned.

    [09] 20 "Laws" ready to be harmonized with the EU acquis communautaire

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 02.05.11), harmonization with the EU acquis communautaire has gained momentum in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. Within this framework about twenty "laws" will undergo radical changes.

    A special committee has been established in the so-called TRNC's assembly in order to take up draft "bills" immediately which were prepared jointly by the "EU Coordination Centre" and EU officials.

    The head of the "EU Coordination Centre" Erhan Ercin has described the workings of the "Centre" as "a revision of the entire state structure".

    The "EU Coordination Centre" which operates with 14 personnel under the "prime ministry" prepared some of the harmonization "laws" together with "state officials" and EU experts.

    [10] Two agreements for medical tourism

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (02.05.11) with the above title reports that the "Near East University (YDU) hospital", who took part in the International Tourism Fair in Baku and promoted "north Cyprus as a health tourism destination", signed two important agreements on the field of health tourism.

    According to a statement made by the YDU, the head of the YDU delegation Ahmet Savasan held several meetings with tour operators and came to an agreement to channel Azerbaijanis who want to receive health treatment abroad to the occupied area.

    The statement reports that Savasan signed a protocol with the Millennium Assist Company and states that chartered flights between the breakaway regime and Azerbaijan will begin as of June and tourists who want to receive treatment in the occupied area will begin to arrive in the "country".

    Savasan said that they had also an initial agreement with Ban Tour, an important tourist operator in Azerbaijan, to sent patients to the "YDU hospital".

    [11] "No peace and communal serenity on 1st of May"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortan (02.05.11), in its front page under the title "1st of May was in peace and communal serenity", reports that the workers in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus are in the streets everyday due to the economic package implemented by the National Unity Party (UBP) "government".

    The paper also reports that this year, the International Labour Day (1st May) was celebrated without peace, because the youth is forced to migrate due to the illegal workers and the uncontrolled increase of the population in the occupied area.

    All today's Turkish Cypriot press refers to the celebrations of the Labour Day, as well as to some bi-communal events.

    [12] Irsen Kucuk continues the distribution of plots of land in the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (30.04.11), under the title "The distribution of plots of land to youngsters continues" reported that in a special ceremony which was organized in occupied Kalochorio Lefkas, the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk has distributed to youngsters title deeds for 30 rural plots of land.

    In his statements during the ceremony, Kucuk said that a total of 30 title deeds were distributed to youngsters, 12 in occupied Kalochorio Lefkas, 6 in Peristeronari and 12 in occupied Nikitas village. Kucuk went on saying that they will continue uninterrupted to distribute plots of land to youngsters.

    (AK)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    A group of almost 250 Syrians, fleeing from violence in Syria, have arrived at the Turkish border carrying Turkish flags, and entered Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister returned to Ankara after the Syrian crisis erupted and a meeting on Syria took place. All of the above plus Turkey breaking its exports record, celebrations for 1st of May and other domestic issues are the main subjects of the Turkish press (30 April ? 02 May).

    [13] The Austrian President speaks on Turkey's EU membership process

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (01.05.11) reported that on the eve of Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Vienna, Austrian President Heinz Fischer has said that his country favours the continuation of the EU membership process for Turkey, with an increased focus on substantive issues. He also reiterated the Austrian Government's position that accession negotiations are open-ended, meaning that they will not automatically lead to membership.

    "It is important that negotiations with Turkey continue. Nobody denies that the process will be a long and difficult one. Austria fully endorsed the launch of official membership talks with Turkey. The only chapter that has been closed in the course of negotiations happened during our presidency," Fischer said in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman.

    Fischer acknowledged that the 27-nation bloc is undergoing very difficult times due to the economic crisis and that this would increase scepticism for enlargement in public opinion. "It is a question of whether the EU is ready to accept a large country like Turkey with a population of 70 million," he said, stressing there are other special issues, such as the Cyprus problem, that remains to be solved. The Austrian President declined to give an estimate of when Turkey could become a full member of the EU.

    Fischer also rejected charges of xenophobia and Islamophobia, saying "We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination, including xenophobia." He underlined that the freedom of religion was protected under the current constitution. "I would say this: Freedom of religion not only applies to churches in this country but also covers Islam as well. An environment of respect must be established for the people from different religions or regions," he added.

    Touching upon the increased economic cooperation between the two countries, Fischer said that Austria is the largest contributor of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Turkey in 2010, which amounted to 1 billion Euros from Austrian companies. He praised the hundreds of Turkish businesses operating in Austria. "I think the increased economic cooperation will help promote the general outlook of our bilateral ties," he underlined.

    Both Presidents are expected to cover a range of issues from political dialogue to economic cooperation. More than 200 thousand Turks live in Austria, and their integration is expected to be one of the topics of discussion between the two Presidents. Gul would become the first Turkish President to visit Austria since former President Suleyman Demirel paid a visit in 1998. The Austrian President visited Turkey in 2008. Gul's reciprocal visit starts today and ends on May 4.

    [14] The Turkish Foreign Minister spoke with his U.S. and Egyptian counterparts over regional issues

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.04.11) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had telephone conversations with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El Araby on Thursday, diplomats said.

    U.S. Secretary of State Clinton called Davutoglu on Thursday night and exchanged views on a unity deal reached between Palestine's Hamas and Fatah. Davutoglu said he was supporting the process and it should not be hampered. Davutoglu and Clinton also debated Turkey's road map regarding Libya, while Davutoglu said that civilians should be protected and NATO should continue fulfilling its duties.

    With Egyptian Foreign Minister El Araby, Davutoglu also debated the compromise reached in Palestine.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia reported that Davutoglu said on Friday that Turkey extended all kinds of support to Syria to help the country meet the demands of its people.

    Speaking to reporters during the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) election campaign in the central Anatolian province of Konya, Davutoglu said Syria was Turkey's closest neighbour and the country's destiny was of vital importance for Turkey. "We cannot remain indifferent to the developments in Syria," he said. The Minister noted that Turkey expected the Syrian administration to implement political, social, economic and security-related reforms and to take some visible steps. "Turkey does what is necessary for Syria and it extends all the support to help the country meet the demands of its people," he said.

    Commenting on the developments in Palestine as well, Davutoglu said that Hamas and Al Fatah had recently signed a reconciliation deal and taken steps to overcome the issues of conflict between them. Noting that he held talks with both parties, Davutoglu said that a comprehensive agreement was expected to be signed in the country next week. Pointing to Turkey's and Egypt's contribution to the process, Davutoglu said both countries would continue to cooperate until the agreement process is concluded. "This is the most important development in our region in recent months," he said.

    Davutoglu also noted that the international community should extend the strongest support to the ongoing process in Palestine. "Israel should also perceive the reconciliation process in Palestine as a positive development. Until now, Israel has been complaining about not having an addressee in the Palestinian side. Now, everybody should be happy as Palestinians have achieved unity in their country," he said.

    [15] Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed on a "purchase and sale" agreement

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.04.11) reported that the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said that Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed on a purchase and sale part of the intergovernmental agreement, adding that, however, the parties needed time to work more on transit passages part of the agreement.

    Speaking at a news conference regarding the Turkey-Azerbaijan Natural Gas Purchase, Sale and Transit Agreement, Yildiz said the parties carried out the negotiation process on five topics, underlining that they could not agree on every issue. He said the teams would maintain talks and noted that a series of agreements would be signed.

    Yildiz said there would be a transportation agreement regarding the intergovernmental agreement, the purchase and sale agreement and the transit passage of gas, and noted that some agreements were initialled and some of them were about to be initialled. "We have agreed on the intergovernmental agreement in principle and in detail. We agreed on issues regarding purchase and sale agreements. Transit passage is a 130 pages text. We need time to work on it."

    Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natik Aliyev said there was no difference of opinion, noting that the parties would negotiate the matters and sign them.

    [16] Initiatives for a new constitution in Turkey to be launched after the June 12 elections

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.11) reported from Abant that Turkey's state Minister for the European Union (EU) and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said that there was need for a new civilian constitution. Bagis said that Turkey should abolish the constitution of 1982 urgently.

    "Turkey needs a new comprehensive, liberal and civilian constitution that suits advanced democracy and that takes individual rights and freedoms as a basis," Bagis said during a meeting of the Abant Platform in the northwestern province of Bolu. Bagis said that the Government had not made any concessions of its will to make reforms and changes. The Minister said that a new constitution was the most important project of the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) election manifesto and its target for 2023 --the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey.

    "We will launch initiatives for a new constitution immediately after the (upcoming general) elections (on June 12)," Bagis said. He said the new constitution would be prepared with a democratic and pluralist understanding, and negotiations, participation, compromise and referendum would be the key words. "The new constitution will be prepared by the Turkish Parliament, and it will be short, brief, clear, human-focused and liberal," he said. Bagis also said that the nation would be the real owners of the state with the new constitution.

    [17] Recent poll results on the Turkish general elections of June 12

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (01.05.11) reported that a poll conducted by the research company Konsensus predicts that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will win 48.9% of the vote in the general elections slated for June 12.

    The poll, conducted for the Haberturk daily, finds that the AKP will be followed by the Republican People's Party (CHP), which the survey predicts will get 25.8% of the vote. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is expected to garner just enough votes to lift it above the country's 10% election threshold for parliamentary representation, with 10.9%. The Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) candidates, who are running as independents to circumvent the 10% barrier, will capture 6% of the vote in total, while other independents are expected to get about 1.9% collectively. The Felicity Party (SP) is predicted to get 1.8% of the vote and the Democrat Party (DP) about 1.9%.

    If the poll results prove to be true, the AKP will have increased its votes by 2.5%, and the CHP will have retained its previous level voter support. The MHP will have lost 2.7% of its votes.

    If the MHP fails to overcome the election threshold, the AKP will be able to send at most 352 deputies to Parliament, falling short of the 376 seats necessary to change the Constitution. In this case, the CHP will have 172 seats and the BDP will have 22 independents. The number of independent candidates not affiliated with the BDP in this case is predicted to be four.

    If the MHP enters Parliament, it will have 56 seats, in which case, the AKP will have 314 deputies and the CHP 154. The numbers for the BDP and other independents do not change in this scenario.

    The poll was conducted with face-to-face interviews with 3.000 participants across various provinces.

    Furthermore, according to Hurriyet Daily News (30.04.11), when it comes to what people say on the Internet, Turkey's ruling and main opposition parties are running almost neck-and-neck in popular support ahead of the June 12 general election, a new survey has revealed.

    The social media analyzing firm Semanticum looked at more than 1.8 million pieces of data drawn from the Internet --including Facebook statuses, Twitter posts and blog comments-- between October 2010 and March 2011. It found that 30% of the statements supporting a political party favoured AKP, while 27% expressed affinity with the main opposition CHP. MHP got 15% in social media while BDP got 7.5% public support.

    "We monitored and scanned almost all the websites written in Turkish in order to measure the positive comments regarding the political parties. We made the measurement with a metric system that tracked hundreds of expressions such as 'I support [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan'," said Semanticum founder Devrim Altayli.

    The methodology used in the survey gave the same value to a positive comment made by a well-known columnist and one written on a personal blog.

    The survey tracked more than 550.000 positive comments about the AKP, more than 500.000 about the CHP, more than 275.000 about the MHP and more than 135.000 about the BDP in social media over the six-month period examined.

    Using a similar survey, Altayli claimed, Semanticum was able to make the closest prediction of the eventual result of the September 12, 2010, constitutional referendum. The firm estimated that 53.8% of voters would cast ballots to approve the charter changes. In the actual referendum, 58% of voters said "yes" to the amendments.

    Public support for the AKP in the social media measured around 35% in January 2011, but declined to 30% in March 2011, according to the new survey. Support for the CHP stayed nearly level at around 27% in both January and March. MHP's public support in social media meanwhile rose to 15% in March from 14% in January, while the BDP's support declined to 7.5% from 9%.

    [18] "Turkish public reluctant about going nuclear, says opinion poll"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (30.04.11) reported that nearly two-thirds of Turkish citizens oppose the proposed construction of nuclear power plants in Turkey, according to an opinion poll conducted on behalf of the international environmental organization Greenpeace in mid-April.

    Prominent business leader Umit Boyner has also expressed concerns about Turkey's nuclear drive. "This is not just an issue about energy. Turkey is a country of earthquakes. There are risks involved. The whole process must be tackled with all the details in sight; it must be managed more transparently. [Building nuclear plants] should not be done in a hurry," said Boyner, the chairwoman of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen"s Association (TUSIAD).

    When asked how they would vote if a referendum was to be held on whether to proceed with the construction of nuclear plants in Turkey, some 64% of survey participants replied negatively, while only 6.6% said they believed that nuclear plants would contribute to Turkey's development. Some 52.9% also said Turkey was not ready for nuclear technology yet. The rate of people who objected to the use of nuclear energy in Turkey was higher among university graduates and the country's younger population.

    Among women, 67.5% opposed the government's nuclear plans, compared to 60.6% of men. Of voters who said they would cast their ballot for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 41.5% opposed going nuclear, while 86.2% of the Republican People's Party (CHP) voters, 77.6% of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters and 77.6% of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters said they were against the proposed nuclear plants.

    "If 41% of AKP voters are against going nuclear, then it would be fitting for the Prime Minister to take heed of the people''s will, said Uygar Ozesmi, the Director of Greenpeace Mediterranean.

    The announcement of the results of the survey, conducted by Adil Gur's A&G Research company, came after main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu made a public pledge to hold a referendum on whether or not to build nuclear plants in Turkey if his main opposition CHP is brought to power in the June 12 general elections.

    Prime Minister Erdogan's ruling AKP has expressed determination to go ahead with its plans to build two nuclear plants in Turkey, one in the northern Black Sea province of Sinop, and the other in the southern Mediterranean province of Mersin.

    According to the poll results, some 70% of people surveyed in Mersin were against the construction of nuclear plants, a rate that climbed to 76 percent in Sinop.

    The survey was conducted in 34 of Turkey's 81 provinces by conducting face-to-face interviews with 2.469 people. Poll director Gur is known for his accurate predictions of election results, according to daily Hurriyet.

    Though 93.4% of respondents said they were aware of the recent accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, only 56% said they knew about the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986, whose fallout spread to Turkey's Black Sea coast.

    Some 57.7% of survey participants said they believe a nuclear plant built by the Russians would be safer than one built by the Japanese.

    In the event of a nuclear accident, 76% of those surveyed said they would trust media reports to gain accurate information, while 67% said they would trust civil-society organizations and 58.3% expressed confidence in state institutions.

    In response to a question on where Turkey should turn for its electricity needs, a sweeping 84% said "renewables", with some 66.8% indicating solar energy, 66.4% indicating wind energy, 27.5% indicating natural gas and 23.2% indicating hydroelectric power.

    [19] Prototype of the first Turkish tank to be unveiled early May

    According to Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.11), the prototype of Altay, Turkey's first national tank, is ready, announced the Minister of National Defence Vecdi Gonul on Saturday.

    Speaking to reporters in the town of Manavgat in the southern province of Antalya, Gonul said a prototype of the soon to be developed tank would be on display at a fair in Istanbul on May 10, without mentioning how much the current designs would represent the final look or technical features of the fighting vehicle. Still, Gonul said the first Turkish tank would be better-equipped compared with all the other tanks currently used by the Turkish military.

    Under a $500 million contract, Turkey's Otokar, an automobile company and major supplier of the Turkish Military Forces, and its partners have been tasked with delivering four prototypes for the next generation of tanks by 2015. In agreement with South Korea's Hyundai Rotem, Otokar is obtaining technology transfers from the company that produced South Korea's K1 and K2 main battle tanks.

    The number of Altay tanks that will be produced will be determined according to needs, Gonul said. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    EF/


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