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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-12-05

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 <>


  • [01] Turkish Cypriot dailies say the population census will be debated a lot
  • [02] Eroglu on the population census and the Cyprus problem
  • [03] Ozersay comments on the population census; He urges the Greek Cypriot side to accept that all citizens of the breakaway regime will become citizens of the partnership state to be
  • [04] Turkish Cypriot political parties participated in the federal congress of SPD
  • [05] Discussion on social insurance "bill" postponed
  • [06] The occupation regime continues the distribution of title deeds
  • [07] Survey on the performance of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and the readability range of the newspapers
  • [08] Biden's contacts in Turkey; The Cyprus problem among the matters of discussion with Gul and Erdogan
  • [09] Turkey's Energy Minister comments on sanctions on Syria and on natural and gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • [10] New poll in Turkey shows increase on AKP's support, decrease on CHP's
  • [11] Columnist discusses scenarios presenting Erdogan to be next President, Gul next Prime Minister


    Debates on the population census which was held on Sunday in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and his special adviser Kudret Ozersay on the population census, the reason why the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk did not participate in the opening ceremony of the "Turkish Cypriot Culture House" in Istanbul and the crisis within the National Unity Party (UBP), a survey by Red Border research company on the performance of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and the readability of the Turkish Cypriot newspapers and other internal matters are the main topics covered by the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend. The papers also referred to the statements of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in Ankara, on the Cyprus talks.

    The contacts of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Turkey and his meetings with various Turkish officials are heading the Turkish press over the weekend. The papers note that PKK and Syria were among the most important issues discussed during Biden's visit to Turkey. The papers also report about the visit of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs in Germany and his contacts there. The press also writes that a Public Prosecutor submitted the indictment on the match-fixing scandal that has rocked Turkish football this year. Finally, the papers write that Turks living abroad will be able, for the first time to vote in the countries of their residence for the election of the Turkish President.

    [01] Turkish Cypriot dailies say the population census will be debated a lot

    Under the title "It will be debated a lot", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (05.12.11) reports that a "population and building census" was conducted yesterday with the implementation of curfew in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. The paper writes that the census was expected to last until 18.00 hours yesterday, but it will continue today because the persons employed for the census did not visit many residences. The paper notes that the selection of the persons employed in the census and the questions asked during the census has been harshly criticized.

    Many persons called KIBRIS TV from occupied Lefkosia, Gonyeli, Keryneia, Agios Georgios, Lepithos, Kazafani, Kapouti, Famagusta, Trikomo and many other regions and said that they waited for being counted but no one visited them. Many persons complained for the inexperience of the employees who were conducting the census.

    Many houses in occupied Lefkosia's industrial area, where workers (from Turkey) live, were not visited by the enumerators. Among those who were not counted, was the mukhtar (Tr. Note: head of f community) of occupied Gonyeli.

    Meanwhile, the well-known Turkish Cypriot advocate Mustafa Asena, who lives in occupied Agios Georgios in Keryneia, told Kibris TV that approximately 150 workers live in his neighbourhood, but no enumerator was sent to that area.

    In statements to the same channel, the self-styled minister of interior and local administrations Nazim Cavusoglu criticized the statements of Asena and said that the census will continue today.

    The paper writes that after a while occupied Keryneia's so-called "district officer" visited the area and personally started counting the workers.

    Furthermore, the enumerators who visited an area, where a group of workers in the citrus fruits gardens in Morfou live, were told that the workers were absent yesterday and that they could return today. A person living in the area said that the workers hid in the gardens because they were afraid due to the fact that they are illegal.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (05.12.11) refers to the issue under the title "Population census fiasco", and reports that UN high ranking officials with whom the paper met, said that they were not informed that seven UN observers have been assigned. The paper writes that the seven persons do not belong to the UN, but they are experts on population matters who work for the UN on contract. The paper publishes statements by Michell Durr, the head of the UN delegation, who said that they are not employees of the UN but "experts on population issues" who work with the good offices mission of the UN. Two of the so-called observers worked in occupied Lefkosia, and one in every other occupied town, that is, Keryneia, Famagusta, Morfou and Trikomo. According to Durr, even if the census was a little bit different from what is usually done, it was in harmony with the UN advices.

    The paper reports that many people said that their houses were not visited yesterday until 18.00 when the curfew ended. The enumerators visited some houses many times, while they did not go at all to some other houses.

    The self-styled minister of interior Cavusoglu said that amnesty will be issued today for those illegally living in the occupied area of Cyprus and added that those who have not been counted could apply today to their nearest "district office".

    The self-styled prime minister Kucuk said that this was the last time when people are closed in their houses due to population census. He said that they instructed the so-called State Planning Organization to take the necessary measures so that the population censuses to be held without the implementation of curfew. Kucuk stated that the census will be very important for the budget planning of the occupation regime.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (05.12.11) also refers to the issue and criticizes both the method used and the questions asked during the census. According to the paper, showing an identity card was not obligatory and the paper wonders how the enumerators were able to distinguish if the facts said by the interviewees core correct or not. The paper also writes that questions regarding birth and abortion annoyed the persons questioned. In addition the persons reacted because under the question "where are you from", or "what is your nation", the interviewees were directed to reply "Turk" or "Greek Cypriot" and they were not allowed to reply "Cypriot" or "Turkish Cypriot". The paper also notes that in many houses, where the residence were illegal workers, were not opened for the enumerators.

    Under the title "It was not a census, it was a fiasco", Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (05.12.11) writes that the time planned for the conducting of the census, during which curfew was applied in the occupied areas, was not enough for the persons living in the occupied areas to be counted. The paper also writes that many houses were not registered and the contests of some questions asked, confused the people.

    Haberdar (05.12.11) writes that the census result will be announced in 2-3 days but the detailed information will be announced in 2-3 months.

    The paper also publishes statements by the self-styled finance minister, Ersin Tatar, who said that it is estimated that the population in the occupied areas is around 400.000.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen under the title "So-called UN-observers?" reported on Saturday (03.12.11), prior to the conducting of the census, that the seven persons, who appeared to be UN observers for the census are not related to the UN and that by Michell Durr, the head of the delegation, works for a firm named JMSTAT. The paper went on and wrote that the seven persons were not paid by the UN but by the self-styled government and that they were assigned their duties by it.

    [02] Eroglu on the population census and the Cyprus problem

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 04.12.11), the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu in statements yesterday during a visit paid to him by the "People's Justice Council", has once again laid emphasis on the Turkish Cypriot sides' determined position regarding the issue of population in the event of a settlement in Cyprus.

    Speaking during the meeting, Eroglu stressed that the "citizens" of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" should automatically be granted with the citizenship of the partnership state to be. "It will be against the international rules and humanity's honour, if this does not happen" he said.

    Referring to the population census, Eroglu underlined the importance of the population census in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and said: "We need to know our population while working on economic initiatives and evaluating related proposals on the negotiations table".

    Touching upon the Cyprus negotiations process, Eroglu reiterated the Turkish Cypriot side's willingness towards achieving a sustainable settlement in Cyprus. He said he was working hard towards a solution that would allow the Turkish Cypriots maintain their existence in security. "Of course we are not going to give up on our people's interests just for the sake of the Greek Cypriot side's excessive demands. A possible solution must not ignore the realities of the past" Eroglu added.

    Meanwhile, in statement during the meeting paid to him by the "Turkish Cypriot's Press Council", Eroglu pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot side's goal, is to reach further convergences with the Greek Cypriot side before the next tripartite summit in January. "I hope that we will come to the point of organizing a multilateral conference during our next summit in New York. But the Greek Cypriot side doesn't attach importance to time while resuming the solution process, since it holds a recognized state and the EU membership" Eroglu added.

    [03] Ozersay comments on the population census; He urges the Greek Cypriot side to accept that all citizens of the breakaway regime will become citizens of the partnership state to be

    According to illegal Bayrak Television (03.12.11), Kudret Ozersay, "Special Representative" of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, in statements to the BRT newsroom, has said that the results of tomorrow's general population and housing unit census in the "TRNC" will pave the way for an accurate planning of future plans for the Turkish Cypriots.

    Ozersay called on the public to act in a liable way while the census is being conducted and pointed out that the results of the census may assist them while negotiating proposals with the Greek Cypriot side in relation to the issue of population.

    Ozersay said that the Greek Cypriot side should agree on the fact that all citizens of the "TRNC" will become citizens of the partnership, state in the event of a solution.

    He said that people who currently live in the "TRNC" but is not granted with the citizenship, may also apply for the citizenship of the partnership state once they meet the requirements.

    Meanwhile, Ozersay held yesterday a meeting with seven experts from the United Nations, who arrived in the occupied area of Cyprus to take part in the census under an observer status.

    The "Special Representative" said that the UN officials are happy with the preparations of the "TRNC officials".

    [04] Turkish Cypriot political parties participated in the federal congress of SPD

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (04.12.11), the Turkish Republican Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) flied to Germany in order to participate in a congress of the German Social Democrats Party (SPD).

    The CTP-BG delegation headed by Ozdil Nami ? self-styled MP ? met yesterday with the General Director responsible for European Affairs Michael Clauss. During the meeting, they discussed the latest stage of the Cyprus problem, what should be done in order to lift the "embargoes" imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, as well as the latest visit of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Dr Erato Kozakou"Marcoullis in Berlin.

    The CTP-BG delegation had also a meeting with the co-chair of the German Green Party Cem Ozdemir, where they discussed the relations between the two parties and the works towards the summit that will be held in January 2012 in New York between the two leaders and the UN Secretary-General.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (03.12.11) reported that the leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici and TDP's secretary of foreign affairs Sami Dayioglu represented TDP at the annual federal congress of the German Social Democrats (SPD) between 3-5 December in Berlin.

    According to the paper, TDP committee would have also carried out various contacts in Berlin.

    [05] Discussion on social insurance "bill" postponed

    Under the title "Crisis in UBP," Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (03.12.11) reported that the administrative and social affairs committee of the breakaway regime's "assembly" decided not to approve a "bill" on social insurance that was prepared by the so-called ministry of labour and social insurance. The chairman of the committee Ergun Serdaroglu, an "MP" with the National Unity Party (UBP) decided to postpone the discussion for the "bill", because a "consultation assembly" did not take place so far. [According to a "legislation" that passed in 2004, consultation assemblies must convene before approving a "bill," in order to fully discuss it.]

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (03.12.11) reporting on the same subject, writes that the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk postponed his trip to Istanbul to inaugurate "TRNC's Cultural House." The paper also reports that Kucuk called for a meeting of UBP's "parliamentary" group to take place on Monday, as a result of Serdaroglu's denial to approve the "bill" despite the instructions he was given.

    [06] The occupation regime continues the distribution of title deeds

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (03.12.11) reports that 52 title deeds for building plots in occupied Vokolida village were distributed to 52 youngsters during a ceremony which took place on Friday.

    The plots were distributed by the self-styled mayor of Vokolida Selim Cetil.

    [07] Survey on the performance of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and the readability range of the newspapers

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (05.12.11) publishes the results of an opinion poll conducted by research company Red Border. The survey was carried out between 10-24 October through face-to-face interviews using a sample of 768 persons 18 years of age and older.

    According to the paper, respondents were asked to rate the performance of Turkish Cypriot political parties on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 denoting 'excellent'. The results are the following:

    National Unity Party (UBP): 3.04

    Republican Turkish Party (CTP): 3.17

    Social Democratic Party (TDP): 2.35

    Democrat Party (DP): 2.19

    Democracy and Trust Party (DGP): 1.40

    Freedom and Reform Party (ORP): 1.33

    According to the survey, the readability of Turkish Cypriot newspapers is rated as follows:

    Kibris: 75.2%

    Havadis: 37.8%

    Afrika: 13.3%

    Yeni Duzen: 12.3%

    Halkin Sesi: 6.8%

    Haberdar: 6.3%

    Gunes: 3.1%

    Volkan: 2.1%

    Star Kibris: 1.8%

    Vatan: 1.8%

    Kibrisli: 1.3%

    Ortam: 0.8%

    Demokrat Bakis: 0.5%

    [08] Biden's contacts in Turkey; The Cyprus problem among the matters of discussion with Gul and Erdogan

    According to Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News Online in English, (02.12.11) the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in statements in Ankara during the meeting he held on Friday with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, said that Washington wanted to work closer with Ankara and do its best in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    Speaking during the meeting, Biden said that Washington will ensure that no power vacuum that could be exploited by Kurdish militants emerges in northern Iraq after U.S. troops withdraw from Turkey's southern neighbour.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that the United States is aware of Turkey's sensitivities on the issue. "Turkey and the United States will continue in a strong way" in the fight against the PKK, Gul told reporters following his meeting with Biden. "We discussed terrorism in detail in our meeting," Gul said, adding that they debated Iraq's situation after the U.S. totally withdraws in 2012. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.


    Citing the PKK attacks both in urban and rural areas, Gul said Turkey had taken and would take necessary steps, including cross-border operations into Iraq, diplomatic sources said.

    According to sources, the Vice President said that the deteriorating relations between Turkey and Israel left no room for the U.S. administration's to manoeuvre, adding that Biden also discussed the need to normalize relations between the two countries.

    Turkey seeks to buy predators from the U.S. to use in combat against the PKK. The request, however, has been controversial with some members of the Congress refusing to sell the aircraft to Turkey, given Ankara's strained relations with Israel.

    The U.S. has also urged Israel to normalize relations with Ankara, Biden said, adding that better relations between Turkey and Israel would make his administration's work easier."It's not Turkey who took the issue to this point. It's obvious what Israel shall do in order to resolve the problem; they should apologize to normalize relations," Gul told Biden, according to sources. Turkey has long demanded that Israel apologize for killing nine Turks in an ill-fated aid flotilla to Gaza last year.

    Increasing pressure from Washington on Tehran was also part of the discussion in Ankara, according to sources. The U.S. intends to impose further sanctions on Iran, Biden said, adding that Tehran was creating instability in the region.

    The Vice President, however, did not openly urge Turkey to implement new sanctions on Iran; Gul, meanwhile, simply lent an ear to Biden's remarks, sources said.

    Biden further urged Ankara to speed up its normalization process with Armenia so that the U.S administration could prevent upcoming acts in Congress regarding Armenian genocide allegations.

    Gul also asked Biden for further U.S. involvement on the issue of Cypriot reunification talks before "Greek Cyprus", as the Republic of Cyprus is called by the paper, takes over the term presidency of the European Union in 2012.

    In the early morning Biden also met with Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, who briefed him in detail on the parliamentary drive to draft a new constitution for Turkey.

    Referring to the Arab Spring, Biden said Turkey's constitution-making process was important for promoting democracy in the Middle East and could provide an example for all regional countries.

    Earlier in the day, Biden visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic.

    Meanwhile, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.12.11), the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met also with the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is on resting at his home, following laparoscopic surgery.


    A senior U.S. diplomat has said Biden and Erdogan discussed many issues in their two hour meeting, including the fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), developments in Iran, Iraq and Syria, Turkish-Israeli tension, Cyprus, the Balkans, Turkish-Armenian relations, Halki Seminary and the process of preparing a new Turkish constitution.

    The U.S. diplomat said Biden had reaffirmed the U.S. administration's commitment to cooperate with Turkey against the serious threat caused by PKK terrorism. He also underlined the importance of Iraq taking necessary measures to put pressure on the PKK, adding this was for the best interests of the national government in Iraq and the regional administration in north of Iraq and Turkey should handle the PKK problem in a way that would not cause more violence and problems against Turkey.

    Biden said Iran was losing influence in the region and becoming more isolated, while the best way to change Iran's stance was continuing to apply pressure.

    In regards to Cyprus, Biden said he hoped that the two parties would make real progress in ongoing negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations and the U.S. was ready to do its best to support the process.

    According to a U.S. diplomat, Biden hoped that the Halki Seminary would be reopened and eulogized Erdogan's steps for returning minority properties.

    [09] Turkey's Energy Minister comments on sanctions on Syria and on natural and gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean

    Istanbul Yeni Safak Online in Turkish (04.12.11) published an interview by Turkey's Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz to the paper's columnist, Addulkadir Selvi, in Ankara. Taner Yildiz, stated, inter alia, that encouraging developments have taken place in the natural gas exploration efforts off of Cyprus and cited Turkey's regional power that has begun to come to the fore in energy.

    Following is the interview:

    "We Cannot Punish the People

    [Q] Will the decision for sanctions on Syria impact the energy sector?

    [A] Since the issue of electricity and water comes under humanitarian categories, our Prime Minister gave the directive that these items not to be included in the sanctions. We are continuing to provide electricity. There are a number of things about the Syrian government that we do not approve of, but we must not deprive the people of Syria of this service.

    Electricity Line for Libya

    [Q] Are there energy agreements with Libya on the agenda in terms of the new period?

    [A] The Turkish Petroleum Corporation is in Libya for work involving the oil wells. With Libya's normalization, we are going to begin activities together. At the same time, since the transmission line between the east and the west broke during the fighting in Libya, its repair is needed. We will provide good assistance to Libya. There will be those from the private sector who will go and do business there.

    Hope for Petroleum on Land

    [Q] How are the natural gas exploration efforts going off Cyprus?

    [A] Last week, we signed an agreement with Shell, one of the world's leaders in the energy sector. There will be a project in which the seismic results we have gotten to date regarding oil and natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean, in the waters off of Antalya, are assessed. I believe that, following this, we will make an agreement with a major firm. I also think that we will have begun our petroleum exploration activities on land in the KKTC ["Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"] [Translator's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied are of the Republic of Cyprus], within the next three months. Our drilling will take place a bit later.

    [Q] Have you been able to obtain encouraging results?

    [A] At the moment, we are not sharing the results of the procedure with the public. I am of the opinion that we will have good performance in each one of these efforts.

    One New Dam per Year with 10-percent Savings

    [Q] Will you have any new steps in terms of energy conservation?

    [A] The law has passed. The implementation provisions and directives have been completed. But as you know, everything does not end with the law. This is a culture. We have to expand this throughout our society. We are planning to achieve very serious conservation efforts in the motors that our industrialists use. Look, today there are things being manufactured in terms of energy conservation that pay for themselves within two years. We will pay for this completely from the costs of the electricity that will be saved. It may be that not every one of us has the opportunity to build a dam. But such figures confront us that when we engage in this conservation, there are situations as if we built a dam, or depending on size even two dams, when we conserve in this way.

    No Price Increase in Natural Gas, But Adjustment

    [Q] Will there be a winter prince hike in natural gas?

    [A] We put all the various energy resources in Turkey into a pool. And I have an assessment done for production in terms of water, wind, the private sector, and the resources and costs of all the public power plants. And likewise, we also pay every sort of attention to exploiting Turkey's advantages, if any, for the sake of our country's people. Consequently, our natural gas prices have their own mechanism. There are a number of different factors, ranging from exchange rates to the international prices of the natural gas that we import. The prices are determined in accord with this mechanism."

    [10] New poll in Turkey shows increase on AKP's support, decrease on CHP's

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman Online in English (02.12.11) reported that according to a public opinion poll conducted during the first half of November, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has increased its popularity by 3.4% since the general elections in June and now has 53.5% support.

    The ANAR research company carried out a survey to see whether public opinion on political parties has changed, as Turkey faces a number of diplomatic and domestic issues. The survey included a sample of 5,019 people from 26 provinces.

    Since the June elections, Turkey has dealt with the consequences of a deadly earthquake that shook the eastern province of Van and killed over 600 people, a debate over the Dersim massacre, the latest arrests in operations against the terrorist Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) and troubled relations with neighbouring Syria.

    Governments and ruling political parties tend to lose support when a country faces terrorist attacks, earthquakes and regional turmoil. However, the recent ANAR poll shows that more than half of the Turkish nation supports the ruling AK Party, now in its third term.

    On the other hand, the poll results show that the main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), experienced a 3% drop in popularity and now sits at 22.9% support. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) currently has 11.9% support, a 1-percent loss.

    The poll also surveyed public opinion on the government's aid of quake-stricken Van province. The poll shows that 82.8% feel the visit by the prime minister and other ministers to the site of the disaster was a good move by the government. Additionally, 72.8% feel the government was successful in conducting rescue operations and delivering aid.

    Turkey has always been criticized for its lack of coordination following the deadly earthquakes it has experienced in the past; however, 75.1% of those surveyed told ANAR that the government has improved its coordination efforts and is active in times of natural disasters.

    AK Party voters want to see Davutoglu as party leader in post-Erdogan era

    According to the Cumhuriyet daily, a recent survey conducted by a foreign research company among 2,100 people in 14 Turkish provinces indicates that 68% of people are not sure who they want to see as the next AK Party leader when current leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves his post. The remaining 32% voted for various AK Party seniors. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu received the most support as Erdogan's replacement, at 18.8%. Davutoglu was followed by President Abdullah Gul, who received 18.4%. Deputy Prime Ministers Bulent Arinc and Ali Babacan followed in the list, receiving 16.9% and 13.6%, respectively.

    Furthermore, 35.8% of those surveyed would still vote for the AK Party even if it were not under Erdogan's leadership; 46.6% would not vote for the AK Party if Erdogan left and 17.6% did not offer a response.

    [11] Columnist discusses scenarios presenting Erdogan to be next President, Gul next Prime Minister

    Turkish daily Istanbul Hurriyet online in Turkish (05.12.11), under the title: "Scenario 2014", publishes a commentary by Taha Akyol. Following is the commentary:

    "A colleague very close to Prime Minister Erdogan explains: 'In 2014 Mr Erdogan will be the President of the Republic while our friend Bulent [Arinc] will be provisional prime minister; Mr Gul will be prime minister in 2015'.

    I am chatting in a friend's house. Nobody doubts that Mr Erdogan is going to be President of the Republic. What people are curious about, though, is what might happen next...

    Who might the prime minister be? Might there be a leadership fight within the party?

    We are following the answer with interest:

    'Abdullah Gul has seven years [as President of the Republic]. His term is up in 2014. Mr Erdogan will be elected President of the Republic by the people. As Mr Gul will not be a parliamentary deputy at that time he cannot be prime minister, and so Bulent will stand in as prime minister provisionally. Abdullah Gul will be made party chairman at an immediately convened party congress. The party will enter the 2015 general election with Gul at the wheel, and Gul will become prime minister'.

    What do you make of this scenario? Is it realistic?

    Subtitle: Next 10 Years

    Explaining the details for this scenario our friend says, I do not think this means that Parliament is going to accept a presidential system.

    If you ask me, a presidential system is not necessary anyway.

    Fine, but would Mr Erdogan accept being President of the Republic with limited powers? The answer:

    'Mr Erdogan will be elected President of the Republic in the first round with more than 50 percent of the people voting for him. Add this political might of his to the existing powers...'

    Might Erdogan really be elected in the first round with more than 50 percent of the vote? It is possible. Even if the opposition parties, the CHP [Republican People's Party], the MHP [Nationalist Action Party] and the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] agree on one single candidate, it will not be that easy for this single candidate to get more votes than the conservatives...

    Let me put to you a projection, in fact a project that is being discussed a lot in AKP [Justice and Development Party] circles right now: 2023 will be the 100th anniversary of the Republic. At the same time, if the AKP manages to stay in government and in the Presidential Mansion for two more terms it will make it to 2023.

    The prime minister is frequently stressing 2023 for two reasons:

    Subtitle: Prime Minister Gul

    Our friend touches on an important point: A good many ministers and deputies, including Mr Erdogan, are not going to be in Parliament. According to AKP statutes, a person can only be elected to Parliament a maximum of three times in succession.

    This means that the government's leading figures will be outside Parliament!

    'The person that everybody will favour and who will keep continuity going at such a time as that will be Abdullah Gul'.

    Other than Abdullah Gul, there will be those in the party saying, 'Why not me?' There will be arguments. Abdullah Gul is the only person who will be accepted without objection.

    'Look at the Putin-Medvedev relationship. The relationship between Erdogan, Gul and Arinc is tighter.'

    Might President of the Republic Gul accept being prime minister? Why should he not? Look at his activism? Does he look like he going to be a 'retired president'?

    During our conversation the scenario we listened to made sense to all of us.

    Subtitle: Surviving First Contact

    But the best made plans never survive first contact with the enemy. The science philosopher Karl Popper says: 'Politics is not a rational theorem!'

    He says this to explain how ridiculous conspiracy theories are; to explain that every political outcome cannot be planned.

    Given today's data, the 'Erdogan as President of the Republic, Gul as prime minister' scenario is rational. Might new political data emerge tomorrow that would invalidate this?

    We cannot know 'fate's' direction. In political terms it is quite feasible that the opposition will make a comeback and implement a different scenario.

    But can you see such a comeback right now?

    That is why, given the data to hand, I am treating this scenario seriously". TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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