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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-07-06

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. 126/11 06.07.11

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu completed his contacts in Ankara and departed for Geneva
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot political parties not optimistic for the Geneva summit
  • [03] The "TRNC parliamentarian's union" does not expect miracles from the Geneva meeting
  • [04] Erdogan and Davutoglu will visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [05] Efforts for charter flights from China to the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [06] Reactions to the armed assault against Afrika continue
  • [07] Tatar visited the "EU Information Centre" in the occupied area
  • [08] Cost of living in occupied area of Cyprus decreased by -0.49% for the month of June
  • [B] TURKISH PRESS

  • [09] Stefan Fule and Hilary Clinton to visit Turkey within the next days
  • [10] "Turkish Cypriots seek EU presidency in 2012"
  • [11] "Coming to a crucial junction in the Cyprus talks"
  • [12] Turkish businessman aims to buy at least three Greek islands
  • [13] EU Commissioner express concern over the Turkish parliamentary crisis
  • [14] AKP official says July 15 deadline for CHP to take the parliamentary oath

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS

    The completion of Eroglu's contacts in Ankara and his departure for Geneva, the assessment of tomorrow's Geneva tripartite summit by representatives of Turkish Cypriot political parties, statements by other civilian organizations on the Geneva summit, information regarding Erdogan's and Davutoglu's illegal visits to the occupied area of Cyprus, and other internal issues are the main topics of the Turkish Cypriot press today. The papers refer also to a survey held by the "Cyprus 2015 Initiative" in both communities of the island, further reactions to the armed assault against Afrika newspaper and the efforts of the regime to launch charter flights from China.

    [01] Eroglu completed his contacts in Ankara and departed for Geneva

    Under the title: "There is no official statement", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.07.11) reports that prior to the Geneva summit, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu held yesterday "critical meetings" in Ankara with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Abdullah Gul. The day before yesterday, Eroglu had a meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    In statements to illegal Bayrak television regarding his contacts in Ankara, Eroglu said that the policies they follow on the Cyprus problem fully coincide with Turkey's policies. "We are going to Geneva seeing that the policies we have put forward are in harmony with motherland Turkey. This is satisfying", he noted. Eroglu said that the views of Davutoglu coincide with their own views. Furthermore, he added that a very important message was given to the world prior to the Geneva summit because of the fact that they fully agreed with Gul during both their face-to-face meeting and the meeting between their delegations.

    Ankara Anatolia news agency reported that an evaluation of the situation was made during Eroglu's meeting with Davutoglu and it was decided that the Turkish side should "continue its constructive policy as always". A new evaluation of the situation between Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side is expected after the Geneva summit. Eroglu's meetings with both Davutoglu and Gul were closed to the press.

    Yesterday afternoon, Eroglu went to Istanbul from where he departed for Geneva on a plane of Turkish Airlines. The Deputy Governor of Istanbul and other officials saw Eroglu off at Istanbul's airport.

    Eroglu was expected to have a telephone conversation with the EU Commissioner responsible for the Enlargement Stefan Fule today. He will also hold a meeting with Alexander Downer, UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor for Cyprus. The tripartite summit will be held tomorrow and Eroglu will return to the occupied area of Cyprus on Friday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Turkish Cypriot political parties not optimistic for the Geneva summit

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.07.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot political parties are not optimistic for the Geneva summit to be held tomorrow with the participation of the UN Secretary-General, President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

    In statements to Kibris, Ozkan Yorgancioglu, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that they expect a working program to come out from the Geneva summit and argued that it would not be right to expect an agreement to emerge from this meeting. He noted that from the statements made until today by the two sides, they did not get the impression that there will be a result in the meeting. He said that positive results could be obtained if the leaders put forward "new and active policies" for overcoming the problems.

    The leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said that they do not expect "a very big step" to be taken during the Geneva summit. He noted that during their briefing by the Turkish Cypriot leader, they told Eroglu that he should "increase the scope and the quantity" of his proposals for finding a solution. He expressed the view that the Cyprus problem should be solved the soonest and added that the continuation of the non-solution for years will serve nobody's interests. Cakici said that they expect the leaders to put forward conciliatory proposals which will bridge their differences.

    Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said that they expect nothing from the tripartite summit to be held tomorrow in Geneva. Denktas expressed the belief that pressure will be exerted on the sides on the issue of holding intensified negotiations. He said that they are deficiently informed about the Geneva summit and they expect its result with caution.

    Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), said that they expect a solution to be reached the soonest, but serious disagreements exist between the sides. He noted that the UN Secretary-General should undertake initiatives and submit "serious and decisive proposals" to the sides. Izcan expressed the view that Turkey should not use Cyprus as "boarding step" in its accession process to the EU. He noted that Turkey should contribute to an early solution based on the interests of the Cypriots and their common future.

    Murat Kanatli, secretary of the executive committee of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), argued that serious signs exist that the UN will withdraw from the solution process in Cyprus and added that this is worrisome. He noted that the Turkish Cypriot side developed provocative policies on critical issues and especially on the territory issue. He said that the mentality of the Turkish Cypriot side on this issue is that "we have taken (the land) and we are not giving it back". Kanatli expressed the view that a framework agreement should be reached until a comprehensive solution is finalised and a timetable should be put in the process. He noted that this framework agreement could be supported by some confidence building measures. Finally, he asked for the implementation of the acquis of the EU in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The "TRNC parliamentarian's union" does not expect miracles from the Geneva meeting

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 05.06.11), the "TRNC parliamentarian's union" - consisting of former so-called deputies - , during a press conference on Tuesday at the so-called assembly, evaluated the latest developments in the Cyprus talks as well as the Geneva meeting, noting that it does not expect any miracles to emerge from the upcoming tripartite meeting in Geneva.

    Speaking at the press conference, the chairman of the "TRNC parliamentarian's union" Vedat Celik said that deep differences remained between the two sides' positions and vision concerning a settlement. He also said that the agreed basis for a solution to the Cyprus problem was not supported or embraced by the two sides on the island.

    Recalling that the Greek Cypriot leadership opposed all kinds of arbitration, mediation, time frameworks and outside intervention, Celik warned that "a settlement that did not recognize the existence of two states and peoples on the island" would take the Turkish Cypriots back to pre-1960 conditions.

    He also said that it was high time the UN Secretary-General acknowledge the true side responsible for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (06.07.11) reports that Celik also said in the press conference that they are against the federation solution they are trying to impose on them, adding that "only the two equal, sovereign sides should take with consensus a certain decision on the federation".

    [04] Erdogan and Davutoglu will visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus

    Journalist Gokhan Altiner, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (06.07.11) under the title: "Erdogan's arrival is finalized", reports that according to reliable sources, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus on 19 July. He will stay only one night in the occupied area, participate in the ceremonies of Turkey's invasion in Cyprus and depart after the end of the "celebrations".

    Altiner also writes that very important developments are expected like the visit of Erdogan to the fenced off town of Varosha and, prior to this, the possibility of a historical emergence from the Geneva summit.

    Moreover, Altiner reports that according to reliable sources, Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu will visit the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus this Friday and will carry out various contacts.

    [05] Efforts for charter flights from China to the occupied area of Cyprus

    Under the title: "A 'bridge' will be built", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.07.11) reports that the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture of the breakaway regime, Unal Ustel has said that they are exerting efforts to launch charter flights from China to the occupied area of Cyprus. Ustel met yesterday with a delegation from China and discussed the issue of "building tourism bridges between the two countries".

    According to information acquired by the so-called ministry, Ustel met with Huijuan Wu, president of the Chamber of Commerce of China's Hangzhou area, Ruby Chen, administrator of China's International Youth Union and a tourist agent.

    The members of the delegation, who visited Ustel accompanied by River Side Vacation Village's director Timucin Ozbirim, said that they liked the occupied northern part of Cyprus and they wanted to build "a tourism bridge" between China and the occupied area. They expressed the belief that the occupied northern part of Cyprus will be a promising destination in China.

    Wu suggested to Ustel the establishment of a tourism office in China's Hangzhou area with the aim of promoting the occupied northern part of Cyprus, and added that they expect no financial aid from the "ministry" on this issue.

    Ustel added that they had contacts with the Mayor of China's Hangzhou area and civilian organizations which operate here as a part of the regime's efforts to open new markets.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Reactions to the armed assault against Afrika continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (06.07.11) reports that the Press Employees' Trade Union (BASIN-SEN) held a press conference yesterday in front of Afrika's headquarters stating that oppression is exerted on the press workers during the past few months in the occupied area of Cyprus. The union noted that it could not accept such incidents of violence.

    The press conference was supported by the Trade Unions' Platform as well. The chairman of BASIN-SEN Kemal Darbaz and the editor-in-chief of Afrika Sener Levent made statements during the conference.

    Darbaz said that there is an increase of threats and oppression against the journalists and the intellectuals who express different views to the people. He noted that the employees in Afrika are influenced more than anyone else from all these. He recalled the bomb attacks against Afrika, the "lawsuits" against the journalists of the paper, the imprisonment of Sener Levent, the armed assaults against the paper etc. Darbaz said that BASIN-SEN will always support the journalists who use their right to inform the public and will carry the issues of oppression, violence and attacks against them to international platforms.

    Sener Levent thanked everybody who expressed their support to Afrika and especially thanked the journalists. He said that they were holding their press conference in the street, because they believe that "the streets and the squares should be ours from now on".

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Tatar visited the "EU Information Centre" in the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (06.07.11) reports that self-styled minister of finance Ersin Tatar visited yesterday the "EU Information Centre" in the occupied area to be briefed regarding the works of the "Centre".

    Kudret Akay, responsible of the "Centre", said that the "Centre", which was established in 2009, managed a 3 year- aid programme of 1.3 million euro budget. He also explained that they aim to inform the Turkish Cypriots on the implementation of the aid programme and on the role of the EU institutions on the legal and political level.

    He added that the "Centre" tries with the cooperation of the "EU coordination centre", which is attached to the so-called prime ministry, to convey to the EU what the Turkish Cypriots think about the EU, their habits and their evaluations.

    Speaking at the "Centre", Tatar said that the Turkish Cypriots expect more support by the EU, especially after the referendum on the Annan plan. He also said that the development of the Turkish Cypriots on the economy level is necessary so as a lasting peace and a permanent agreement is to be established in the island.

    [08] Cost of living in occupied area of Cyprus decreased by -0.49% for the month of June

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (06.07.11) publishes data of the "state planning organization" (DPO) of the breakaway regime regarding the cost of living for the past month. The Consumer's Price General Index in June has dropped by 0.49% compared to the previous month, 5.95% compared to last December and 9.08% compared to the same period of last year.

    The biggest rise in prices was noted in lemons, while the biggest reduction was noted in black eyed peas, writes the paper. Also, the average price of 200 monitored products increased compared to last month, while for 104 products, the price was reduced.

    (AK)


    [B] TURKISH PRESS

    The oath-taking deadline given by AKP to CHP to take the Parliament's oath until the 15th of July, the meeting of the CHP deputy chairman Akif Hamzacebi with the Parliament Speaker, Cemil Cicek in order to discuss the oath taking crisis, reports that Turkish and Israeli diplomats held contacts in New York ahead of the UN report about Mavi Marmara, the extension of the Turkish troops mission in Lebanon for one year, reports that the EU Commissioner Stefan Fule and the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton are to visit Turkey within the next days and Eroglu's meeting with President Abdullah Gul prior to his departure for Geneva are the main stories covered by today's Turkish press.

    [09] Stefan Fule and Hilary Clinton to visit Turkey within the next days

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (06.07.11) publishes a commentary by Utku Cakirozer under the title: "The first guests of the new Government". Cakirozer writes in his commentary that two important visitors are expected to pay a visit to Turkey next week, after the establishment of the new Government by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    According to Cakirozer, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule is expected to visit Ankara at the beginning of next week. The paper writes that right after Fule's visit to Ankara, the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will also visit Turkey.

    Cakirozer points out that the fact that no progress has been achieved on Turkey's-EU ties will be the main issue on Fule's agenda during his contacts in Turkey. The EU side is expected to give once more the message to Turkey that it is necessary to implement the Ankara Protocol and open its ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels, writes the columnist and adds that on the other hand, the Turkish Government will repeat that the lifting of the "embargoes" on "TRNC" constitutes a precondition. Also, the expectation of the Turkish Government from the EU is for a progress to be achieved on the issue of free visa for Turkish travellers to EU countries.

    On Clinton's visit to Turkey, Cakirozer writes that she is expected to participate at the Libya Contact Group meeting which is to take place in Istanbul and is also expected to have separate contacts with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Turkish-USA ties, Turkish-Israeli ties, the developments in Libya, North Africa and the Middle East and other are among the issues to be discussed during Clinton's contacts with Turkish officials.

    (AK)

    [10] "Turkish Cypriots seek EU presidency in 2012"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (05.07.11) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu seeks to hold the EU presidency as a unified Cyprus by 2012, an "official" told Daily News. He is set to hold trilateral talks in Geneva on Thursday to set a definite agenda. Eroglu recently called for talks to be concluded within the next three to five months to reach an agreement.

    According to the paper, the Turkish Cypriot leader will attend a tripartite meeting with President Demetris Christofias and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva on Thursday to conclude negotiations at the latest in 2012 and take the European Union presidency at that time as a "unified Cyprus" with Greek Cypriots.

    "We expect the U.N. chief to propose an action plan for a comprehensive and intensified schedule of talks that will lead to an agreement and referenda on both sides in 2012, so that we can then take the EU term presidency as a unified Cyprus," a Turkish Cypriot "official" told the Hurriyet Daily News on Tuesday.

    Ahead of the Geneva meeting, Eroglu held talks in Ankara with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on late Monday and with President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday. The Turkish Cypriot leader then left for Geneva.

    (...) "In any case, talks with the Greek Cypriots have a natural calendar. That is the EU presidency of Greek Cypriots in 2012 and upcoming elections for the southern part of the island in 2013," the "official" said. The U.N. chief already had expressed his unease with the slow pace of talks in his recent reports, the "official" said. "He shares his idea with us that these talks cannot be open-ended and they should not be held just to make talks. In Thursday's tripartite meeting we expect Ban Ki-moon to propose an action plan for an intensified and comprehensive negotiation process without deadlines, but setting the agenda and dates for upcoming meetings," the "official" added.

    Eroglu said late last month that if an agreement to reunite Cyprus is ever going to be reached, it will occur within the next three to five months. "If an agreement is to be made...the process cannot continue forever," he said at the time.

    (...) "After keeping negotiations till the end of this year, we can hold an inter-governmental conference with the participation of guarantor counties and then we can take the agreement to referenda on both sides of the island," the Turkish Cypriot "official" said.

    In the talks in Ankara, the Turkish side reiterated its "one step ahead" policy for Thursday's tripartite meeting and urged the Greek Cypriots to accelerate the negotiations, an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the Daily News on Tuesday. In recent remarks, Eroglu said that if no agreement is reached on Thursday, then the U.N. chief should make his stance clear.

    [11] "Coming to a crucial junction in the Cyprus talks"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News carries a commentary by Yusuf Kanli. In his article, Kanli writes the following:

    "Turkish Cypriot president Dr Dervis Eroglu was in Ankara Monday evening and Tuesday morning. He had a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday, hosted Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a working breakfast Tuesday and after a meeting with President Abdullah Gul, left for Istanbul. Today he will continue on to Geneva to attend the trilateral summit with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias chaired by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. According to sources, the Turkish Cypriot leader and Turkish officials agreed on all headings discussed at the Ankara talks. While Ankara reiterated its preparedness to contribute in any way possible to a Cyprus settlement accepted by the Turkish Cypriot leadership and people with their own free will; it underlined as well its full understanding of the Turkish Cypriot demands for a timetable and increased U.N. role, including arbitration.

    Agreeing that there was indeed a natural deadline for the Cyprus talks process, Eroglu and his Turkish hosts were reported to be in full consensus that since Turkish Cypriots possessed a strong will for a compromise settlement, if there was political will also on the Greek Cypriot side, the next 6-8 months would be more than enough to iron out the remaining outstanding issues; convene an international conference on security and other relevant aspects of the problem; pen down a comprehensive settlement plan and submit it to separate referenda of the two peoples of the island, the latest by May 2012.

    Otherwise, sources said, Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership were in full agreement that the Turkish Cypriots should no longer be left in limbo, without a perception of future and under international isolation, while the Greek Cypriot side continued to enjoy benefits of being the sole legitimate and internationally recognized Government of the island. If by the July 1, 2012 start of the Greek Cypriot term presidency of the European Union, there is still no resolution of the Cyprus problem and a new partnership state based on political equality of the two peoples of the island is established, then the two peoples and their two states should be allowed to go their separate ways.

    Despite the apparent 'optimistic tone' however, there appeared to be a firm understanding between Ankara and northern Cyprus that prospects of utilization of this latest window of opportunity for a Cyprus resolution depended largely on how resolute the international community will be in regards to telling the Greek Cypriot side that the status quo cannot be sustained further.

    Naturally, it will be up to the U.N. Secretary-General whether to place on the negotiations table the five-point road map devised by the staff of the U.N. secretariat with help of the Secretary-General's Cyprus Special Advisor Alexander Downer. Thus, the success of the July 7 summit will largely depend on the attitude of the Secretary-General; will he take the risk and announce the road map, or will he let himself be ridiculed once again by the bossy Christofias?

    The road map has two exits: An early crash-landing around the end of December or separate simultaneous referenda by the two peoples of the island by the end of May 2012 at the latest. The first step will be one last round of intensified negotiations. This step will be completed by the end of September. The second step will be the reconvening of a trilateral summit in October, during which a detailed analysis of the entire process will be done. At the end of that last summit, the Secretary-General will make a decision: He will either call for an international Cyprus conference or declare the failure of the process. If the process does not end, the fourth step will be the international conference and the simultaneous referenda the latest by May 2012 will be the final fifth step of the road map."

    [12] Turkish businessman aims to buy at least three Greek islands

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (05.07.11) reports that the chairman of a leading Turkish construction company has said he wants to buy at least three Greek islands the debt-ridden nation plans to sell, in what may be termed a fire sale, because of the latest agreement it made with its international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    "Some real estate firms are intermediating in the sale of those islands. We are now in talks with those firms. We are considering six islands. I want to buy at least three of them," said FIYAPI A.S. Board Chairman Fikret Inan in an interview with the Anatolia news agency. He said the islands they take an interest in are called Lichnari, Kaltsonisi, Mikri Amorgos, Kardiotissa, Nausika and Vouvalo, which he added are of various sizes ranging from 10,000 to 2 million square meters.

    Referring to the recent economic situation of Greece, the paper writes that in order to raise as much as 50 billion Euros from privatization projects, as demanded by the EU and the IMF, Greece is also planning to sell some of the many islands it has in the Aegean, some of them located very close to Turkey's western coasts. The closeness of those islands to the Turkish mainland has in fact created a dispute between the two nations as to the extent of their territorial waters. The issue has not yet been resolved as Greece claims that its territorial waters should be extended from six to 12 nautical miles, citing an international maritime agreement, whereas Turkey, which is not a party to the agreement, disputes its north-western neighbour's claim about the extent of the territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

    The sale of Greek islands in the Aegean to Turkish investors is expected to give rise to another heated debate in Greece. Noting that they tried to buy a number of Greek islands last year as well, Inan also said they were told that it was "impossible" by the Greek authorities. Inan intends to construct a hotel chain on the islands. He already bought a mid-size Turkish island measuring 400,000 square meters for $35 million off Turkey's western province of Izmir in 2010 and started building a luxurious hotel and 50 villas which he wants to be the first link of the chain he said he would call the "Richa Island".

    "There is still speculation as to whether the islands will be sold to Turks, but we have not received any official information in that regard. The intermediary institutions told us there is no such problem, which makes no sense. They may still introduce some [obstacles in our way] but I will then establish a company in Greece and buy these islands via that company," said Inan, explaining how determined he is to acquire these islands. "If we ever, God willing, do such business, a bridge between Turkey and Greece will be established. We will then be able to receive guests at both our island in Turkey and those in Greece. We will also provide ferry services between them," he added.

    According to the Turkish businessman, the prices of each of these six islands are between 3 million and 20 million Euros. He also said they have earmarked 20 million Euros to buy three of those six islands and to invest another 80 million Euros to construct the planned touristic facilities there.

    Dismissing the possibilities of political repercussions of such a purchase, Inan also said that if more Turkish businesspeople follow the same strategy and buy up to 50 Greek islands in the Aegean, Turkey will have "easier access to Europe". "We can represent Turkey on these islands. It will be wonderful if other Turkish businessmen invest there after we open the door," he said.

    [13] EU Commissioner express concern over the Turkish parliamentary crisis

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (05.07.11) reports that the European Union's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, has expressed worry over Turkey's future following the country's parliamentary oath crisis. "Turkey will have to deal in the near future with important challenges, which will require the inclusion of all democratic forces," Fule said in a written statement issued on the EU's official website, adding that the Commission was following the situation very closely. "All sides must contribute to guaranteeing [Parliament's] integrity and good functioning, and we trust that all involved are committed to working toward addressing the issues and moving forward," Fule said.

    Following Fule's announcement, Turkish State Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis wrote on Twitter that the Government had not started the crisis and was therefore not responsible for solving it. "The EU is confusing the parties. We did not start this crisis. The place to solve this crisis is Turkey's Parliament," he said.

    [14] AKP official says July 15 deadline for CHP to take the parliamentary oath

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (05.07.11) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Mustafa Elitas, warned on Tuesday that Deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) may lose their mandate if they fail to take their parliamentary oaths by July 15.

    CHP's Deputies are refusing to take their oaths as part of a party decision to protest the imprisonment of two CHP Deputies as part of a coup plot probe. AKP's Elitas called on CHP Deputies to take their oaths, by recalling parliamentary bylaws that say if a Deputy does not attend five sessions of Parliament within a month, then he or she may lose their seat in Parliament. This must be approved by a simple majority in Parliament. "If the absentee issue is forwarded to the [parliamentary] joint committee, we would evaluate that. It would be too late for them after July 15," he said.

    Elitas also complained that the intra-party issues of the CHP have turned into a crisis that is affecting the Parliament.

    According to the paper, if the CHP Deputies lose their seats in Parliament, more than 5% of parliamentary seats will be empty and by-elections will then be necessary. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday also warned boycotting Deputies of the possibility of a penalty if the Deputies continue to boycott Parliament or refuse to take their oaths.

    CHP rebuffed AKP challenge, with CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu saying that they "will not yield to threats and blackmail." In response to AKP's warnings, Kilicdaroglu said there is no obstacle before the Prime Minister beginning the process to drop the mandates of the absent Deputies. The CHP leader called a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday and announced that they would go ahead with their "justifiable and legal" stance.

    The CHP leader listed the reasons behind the CHP's protest. "First of all, the nation's will is under arrest. The CHP has adopted this stance since it cannot swallow this shame to democracy. There is no legal obstacle before the jailed Deputies being released. Secondly, the CHP, which is the party that introduced the multi-party system to Turkey, opposes the violation of the principle of separation of powers. Thirdly, the CHP has a strong belief in the principle of separation of powers. We oppose any tutelage over the judiciary and judicial tutelage [over politics]. They are asking us if they should call the judges to request the jailed Deputies' release. No, we could never demand that," Kilicdaroglu said. He also underlined that the CHP decided to protest because it regards every single vote as important. "A party which cannot protect a citizen's vote cannot protect democracy, the rule of law and fundamental human rights," he explained.

    Kilicdaroglu said the CHP does not see the Parliament's function as being limited to Deputies' holding up their hands in voting sessions. "A Parliament cannot be counted a well-functioning one by approving the Government's every single move. The CHP cannot approve of the intervention of the judiciary and the Government in Parliament," he noted. According to Kilicdaroglu, the CHP is currently doing what befits it and is acting as "the conscience of the public."

    He argued that the imprisonment of the Deputies who were elected by the votes of the public and who do not have any convictions is a shame for democracy. He said the universal principle of presumption of innocence is currently being violated in the jailed Deputies' case. The CHP leader underlined that they do not oppose the trial of the suspects after their release and have not requested parliamentary immunity for them.

    The CHP currently has two jailed Deputies: Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal. They are on trial on charges of having links with Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the Government by creating large-scale chaos in the country. Despite several demands for their release by the suspects' lawyers, courts have rejected their release.

    The CHP is not the only party which has refused to take the parliamentary oath. Deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) are also boycotting Parliament. They earlier announced that they would boycott Parliament in protest of the Supreme Election Board's (YSK) decision regarding Hatip Dicle, and five other of BDP's jailed Deputies. The YSK stripped Dicle, one the six jailed Deputies, of his mandate over a prior terrorism-related conviction after the June 12 vote, which led to outrage among the pro-Kurdish party and its supporters. A total of 36 independent Deputies supported by the pro-Kurdish BDP were elected in the June 12 elections. However, six of the BDP-sponsored Deputies are currently under arrest as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    EG/


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