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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 12-05-08

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. 87/12 8.5.12

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu met with the Italian Ambassador to Lefkosia
  • [02] European Liberal Democrats will discuss Cyprus
  • [03] Yildiz on Turkey's oil drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • [04] Illegal YDU to be represented to an international event in Turkey; Students from different EU countries to participate as well
  • [05] They started disinfecting the garbage heaps in the occupied part of Lefkosia
  • [06] FIFA's former director of international relations, Jerome Champagne is illegally visiting occupied Cyprus
  • [07] More mosques than schools exist in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [08] Columnist assesses why the Turkish Cypriots shop in the government-controlled area of Cyprus
  • [09] Erdogan stated that a switch to the presidential system is possible
  • [10] Erdogan held contacts in Slovenia- He will also visit Italy to participate in Turkey-Italy Second Intergovernmental Summit
  • [11] Ninety-two journalists are under custody in Turkey according to Bagis
  • [12] Estonian Foreign Minister expresses his country's support towards Turkey's EU membership
  • [13] Gul congratulated newly elected French President and asked him to take into consideration "Turkey's sensitivities"
  • [14] Report in Turkish daily evaluates how the election results in four countries will affect Turkey
  • [15] New Islamist Kurdish party to enter politics
  • [16] The 28th meeting of follow-up committee of COMCEC to be held in Ankara on May 9-10
  • [17] First hearing of merged Ergenekon trial held in Istanbul

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Eroglu met with the Italian Ambassador to Lefkosia

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.05.12) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu met with the Italian Ambassador to Lefkosia, Alfredo Bastianelli.

    The self-styled presidential undersecretary Hasan Gungor and the spokesman of Eroglu Osman Ertug were also present at the meeting.

    No statement was issued before or after the meeting.

    [02] European Liberal Democrats will discuss Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.05.12) reports that the European Liberal Democrats will discuss the Cyprus problem during their congress, which will be held in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on 11 and 12 May, 2012. According to the paper, a debate on the issue had been experienced between two delegates of Swedish and Turkish origin, during a congress of the European Liberal Democrats held recently in Palermo, Italy.

    Kibris writes that the Swedish delegate had accused Turkey of being an occupier on the island, something which caused the reaction of the British of Turkish origin Liberal Democrat Turhan Ozen, who reiterated the Turkish allegations that the "250 thousand persons" who live in the occupied area of Cyprus have no identity, could not benefit from the advantages of the EU membership, are not represented in the Republic of Cyprus or in the organs of the EU and the EP, and could not benefit from the natural gas and oil which might be found in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    In a statement issued yesterday, Ozen said that the content of this debate will be issued in the form of declaration in Yerevan. He added: "As British delegate, I will also contribute in the declaration, which will reflect the views of the European Liberal Democrats on the Cyprus issue. And at the same time this will reflect the policy of the Liberal Democrats on Cyprus".

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Yildiz on Turkey's oil drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean

    Under the title: "We are hopeful about the Eastern Mediterranean", Turkish daily Sabah (06.05.12) published exclusive statements to the paper by Turkey's Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz who referred to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean saying that Turkey goes ahead with certain steps in its oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Stating that there are serious and important reserves of oil in the region, Yildiz pointed out that they have a drilling program costing 250 million dollars and 5-6 drilling goals.

    Yildiz stated further that Turkey has speeded up its petrol activities in the Mediterranean and recalled the signing of the agreement with Shel, one of the biggest energy companies worldwide, as well as the launching of land drilling in the occupation regime last week.

    Referring to Cyprus, Yildiz explained that they prepared an investment program costing 250 million dollars adding that they are planning to drill to 5-6 points. He added that those drilling will be conducted both in the land and in the sea. He further said that there is a possibility for oil to be found out; adding that it is also important for them to know whether there is no petrol.

    Saying that both sides in the island have rights in case that oil will be found out, Yildiz pointed out that the statement made in the past by the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias that "this resource belongs to both sides, but we are the ones that will share it", is not a right approach, as he said.

    (AK)

    [04] Illegal YDU to be represented to an international event in Turkey; Students from different EU countries to participate as well

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (08.03.12) students from the "Faculty of Dentistry" of the so-called Near East University (YDU) will represent the occupation regime to the International Galen School which is to take place in Turkey.

    According to the paper, students from several countries such as Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Bulgaria will participate to the project which is supported by the EU.

    The paper writes that the occupation regime will participate to the event with its own stand adding that the historical and cultural past of the "TRNC" will be promoted.

    In statements on the issue, the "directory of the department of press and public relations" of the so-called YDU University, pointed out that Galen School will be a project that will constitute a cultural bridge between "North Cyprus" and the other European countries.

    (AK)

    [05] They started disinfecting the garbage heaps in the occupied part of Lefkosia

    Under the title "Heartbreaking", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.05.12) reports that the heaps of garbage created in the occupied part of Lefkosia, because they have not been collected by the "municipality" were disinfected yesterday upon initiative by the self-styled ministry of health. According to the paper, the trash dumps created everywhere in the occupied part of Lefkosia as a result of the long-lasting strike in the "municipality" because the employees have not received their salaries, started to threaten the health of the people, who worry that the bad smell and the flies could case diseases. Sixty employees and 15 inspectors of the "ministry of health" were disinfecting the heaps of garbage all day long yesterday, as no result was achieved in the discussions between the trade union and the "municipality".

    The chairman of the trade union (BES), Savas Bozat said that the disinfection will not radically solve the problem and added that the employees face big problems because they have not received their salaries. "If we could take our salaries, the garbage will be lifted. However, we could not take our salaries for 67 days", he noted.

    The self-styled mayor of occupied Lefkosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari told Kibris that they would meet again with Bozat today in order to solve the problems. The members of the opposition parties in the "municipal council" are also expected to participate in the meeting today", he said adding that they could establish a committee consisting of members from all parties and the trade union for finding a solution to the issue. The paper writes that the employees could not get paid because quorum could not be achieved in the "municipal council".

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] FIFA's former director of international relations, Jerome Champagne is illegally visiting occupied Cyprus

    Under the title: "He has launched contacts", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (08.05.12) reports in its sport pages that FIFA's former director of international relations, Jerome Champagne has arrived yesterday to the occupied area of Cyprus to carry out contacts.

    As the paper writes, Champagne, an important name of FIFA, is visiting occupied Cyprus upon an invitation he received from the "Cyprus Turkish Football Federation" (KTFF).

    Within the framework of his contacts in occupied Cyprus, Champagne will meet today with the "administration" of the "Cyprus Turkish Football Federation" and afterwards, he will carry out contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu and the so-called minister of education, youth and sport Kemal Durust.

    Champagne is very well known as the person who has brought into the agenda the issue of openings at football of Cyprus, Kosovo and Palestine. Champagne is also very well aware, writes the paper, of the occupation regime's football conditions in the international arena. According to the paper, in case that an agreement will be reached between Champagne and the "KTFF", Champagne will be the person that will take action for the determination of a road map that will be followed for making openings abroad on the sport of football of the occupation regime.

    Champagne is expected to depart from occupied Cyprus on Thursday.

    [07] More mosques than schools exist in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (08.05.12), editor-in-chief Kartal Harman, reports that the groundbreaking ceremony for the biggest mosque in the occupied area of Cyprus will be held in June. According to Harman the mosque will be built by the illegal Near East University (YDU). "It is obvious that some do not think that the 192 mosques which exist in the TRNC are enough", he notes adding that "no one cares that the total number of our schools is 160".

    According to Harman, one doctor equals to every 364 persons in the occupied area of Cyprus and one religious commissary for every 836 persons. He says that there is one hospital for every 66.250 persons and one mosque for every 1380 persons. Harman points out that there are 187 villages in the occupied area of Cyprus and 192 mosques.

    "How odd it is that in the TRNC, where the number of the schools is 160, the number of the mosques is higher than the schools", he notes wondering why "YDU" wants to build a mosque and whether "some other persons" meet the cost of the investments made by "YDU", whose name is often mentioned together with the one of Fethullah Gulen. He also wonders whether there is a relation between the fact that students studying in "YDU's" theology school are granted full scholarship and the interest of the illegal university to build a mosque.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Columnist assesses why the Turkish Cypriots shop in the government-controlled area of Cyprus

    Writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.05.12), its editor-in-chief Cenk Mutluyakali reports that the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University ("DAU") carries out a survey asking people questions such as "how much is your income", "why do you shop from the south" [Translator's note: The government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus] and "if big shopping malls were opened in northern Cyprus, would you continue going to the south".

    Mutluyakali writes that the survey is conducted together with the illegal European University of Lefka and within the knowledge of organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Chambers of Tradesmen and Craftsmen.

    The columnist says that the aim of the survey is to establish why shopping is directed towards the government-controlled area of the island. He notes that he is really curious about the results and expresses the view that the issue has a psychological aspect. "That is, being able to cross over to the south relaxes people and makes them feel 'European and 'different'", he argues.

    According to Mutluyakali, the second reason is that the Turkish Cypriots are attracted by the international brands, the service, the smiling faces of the shopkeepers, the variety of products and the modern infrastructure in the free area of Cyprus. "To tell you the truth, I think that the issue of money is the last think which comes to mind", he says.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Erdogan stated that a switch to the presidential system is possible

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (07.05.12) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey can start discussing a possible switch to the presidential system while preparing its new constitution.

    "You know we are now in the process of writing a new constitution. This can be discussed during this process. It may be discussed whether Turkey can adopt a presidential system or a semi-presidential system. If Parliament says in the end that the country can switch to that system, nothing is left for us to say," Erdogan said, underlining that Parliament would have the final say on the issue.

    His remarks were made during a joint press conference with his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Jansa, in Slovenia hours after Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey should discuss a possible switch to the presidential system. Bozdag also said that in the presidential system the legislative and executive bodies are truly independent of each other.

    Bozdag said Turkey's current political system cannot be considered truly parliamentarian as "it is difficult to see the manifestation of the principle of separation of powers."

    Turkey's political system is based on a separation of powers. The executive power is exercised by the government and the legislative power is vested in Parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Currently, the president is elected every five years by public vote in Turkey.

    The adoption of a presidential system has been a common source of debate in Turkey. Erdogan, who is a supporter of a presidential system, frequently brings the issue to the public's attention, and many speculated that he hopes to become Turkey's president.

    Erdogan gave the green light for the switch to a presidential system many times. He frequently says he has been a supporter of the presidential system for years and that he would be willing to take action to this effect, in line with the approval of the public.

    [10] Erdogan held contacts in Slovenia- He will also visit Italy to participate in Turkey-Italy Second Intergovernmental Summit

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.05.12) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Slovenia and held meetings with his Slovenian counterpart Janes Jansa, the Slovenian Parliament Speaker Gregor Virant and President Danilo Turk.

    Erdogan is expected to proceed to Italy after completing his talks in Slovenia. In the Italian capital of Rome, Erdogan will attend Turkey-Italy Second Intergovernmental Summit.

    In a press conference after his meeting with his Slovenian counterpart, Erdogan stated that Turkey and Slovenia had common visions in the international arena particularly in the Balkans. He reminded that Turkey-Slovenia Strategic Partnership Document was signed in Ankara in 2011 and said that in line with the document, they had cooperated while taking important decisions.

    Erdogan stressed that Slovenia stood by Turkey during its EU membership process and that he was thankful for it.

    Erdogan asked both countries' businessmen to invest and cooperate more. Turkish premier stated that both countries were heading towards common opinions on international and regional issues.

    "We had a chance to discuss Syria issue and I believe that humanitarian problem of Syria is an international issue and we as UN Security Council, Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation have to solve this problem immediately", he said.

    In addition, AA (07.05.12) reported that Erdogan came together with the Slovenian Parliament Speaker Gregor Virant in Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

    Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bagis, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdogan Bayraktar, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and executives from Justice and Development (AK) Party also attended the meeting.

    The meeting lasted half an hour.

    Finally, AA (07.05.12) reported that Erdogan said that Turkey's EU accession process has slowed down "as some EU countries assumed racist, discriminatory and populist attitude".

    Erdogan made these statements in a ceremony where he received "the Statesmen of the Decade Award" from International Middle East and Balkans Studies Institute (IFIMES) in a ceremony in Bled town of Slovenia.

    Delivering a speech in the ceremony, Erdogan said that Turkey fulfilled its responsibilities during its EU accession process, stating that Turkey was not the party that slowed down the process, but some EU countries. Erdogan said, however, Turkey still had a great determination for continuation of the process and supported friendly Balkan countries' integration process in the EU.

    In regard to Turkish economy, Erdogan said that in 2002 Turkey's exports had been 36 billion U.S. dollars and today the figure reached 135 billion U.S. dollars. The number of tourists visiting Turkey exceeded 31 million in the recent period, he said and added that the country's tourism incomes rose to 23 billion U.S. dollars from 8.5 billion USD. Turkey had a sound economy which grew 8.5 percent even in the global economic crisis, the Turkish premier said.

    Erdogan said that "Turkey always backed peace, stability and prosperity in its region". Erdogan also said that Balkans would have an important place in the world as a region of peace and tranquillity.

    [11] Ninety-two journalists are under custody in Turkey according to Bagis

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (07.05.12-online version) reported that Turkey's EU Minister and Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bagis, in statements while responding to a parliamentary question submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) by the Republican People's Party Deputy (CHP), Salih Firat, as regards the number of journalist who are still under custody in Turkey, referred to the most recent data given by the General Directory for Criminal Affairs of the Justice Ministry saying that the number of journalist who are still in jail in Turkey, is 92.

    Bagis stated further that basically the journalist who are in jail confront charges related to the charge of being members of terrorism organizations, of making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization, for attempting to change by force the constitutional status.

    (AK)

    [12] Estonian Foreign Minister expresses his country's support towards Turkey's EU membership

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (08.05.12) reports that the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet has said Turkey should enter the European Union, expressing hope that the ongoing negotiations between Turkey and the 27-nation bloc will be concluded with Turkey gaining EU membership.

    "The difficulties in the European Union should be overcome to the extent that the negotiations and talks continuing between the EU and Turkey will be concluded with Turkey succeeding in its aim to be part of the European Union," said Paet in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman in Istanbul on Sunday.

    Paet is on an official visit to Turkey to have top-level meetings with Turkish senior officials to discuss bilateral economic and political relations between the states, as well as Turkey-EU relations and the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Having met with Turkey's Minister for European Union Affairs Egemen Bagis on Sunday morning, Paet shared his impressions of the meeting with Bagis, adding that Turkey's EU bid was topping their joint agenda.

    Emphasizing the Estonian perspective on Turkey's EU bid, Paet said Turkey should be given the chance to join the EU after passing through so many difficult negotiations, adding that the talks between the EU and Turkey should continue. "Without talking and without negotiations from the EU perspective it is also even more difficult to imagine that all these reforms will go very smoothly in Turkey. The process of negotiations also helps Turkey and the EU to get closer and closer, which I guess is the only rational way," said Paet, adding, "I would love for the negotiations process between the EU and Turkey to continue, as this is wise for both Turkey and other EU member states."

    [13] Gul congratulated newly elected French President and asked him to take into consideration "Turkey's sensitivities"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.05.12) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul congratulated Francois Hollande for having been elected France's new President.

    In a written message sent to Hollande, President Gul wished that Hollande's election would contribute to the development of bilateral relations.

    "We expect the Hollande administration to take into consideration Turkey's sensitivities", Gul said in his message.

    [14] Report in Turkish daily evaluates how the election results in four countries will affect Turkey

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (07.05.12) publishes the following article under the title: "Election results in four countries offer opportunities, risks for Turkey":

    "Four nations held crucial elections on Sunday. Election results show a new and better era is in store for Turkey's relations with France, while the results of the Greek and Serbian elections might spell unwanted surprises. Not much is likely to change regarding ties with Armenia.

    The results of the elections held in France, Serbia, Armenia and Greece over the weekend indicate that there will be shifts in the balances in these countries, and experts agree that both opportunities and risks are in store in terms of the relations of these nations with Turkey.

    In France, Socialist leader Francois Hollande won nearly 52 percent of the vote in Sunday's runoff, which analysts agree is more than likely to normalize France's strained relations with Turkey under Nicolas Sarkozy and his conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, known for his staunch opposition to Turkish membership in the EU. The elections indicate a new era is beginning between the two countries. Recep Tayyip Erdogan in remarks made on Monday pointed this out, saying he hopes for a "very different" relationship with France. "Relations with France received a heavy blow during the term of Sarkozy," said Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). "The change in government will end France's staunch opposition to Turkish membership in the EU. Talks on five chapters that have been unopened due to a French veto are likely to reopen," he added.

    But it will not be all roses and no thorns, notes Beril Dedeoglu, an international relations professor from Galatasaray University. "Hollande as a socialist politician will have high expectations from Turkey regarding democratization, human rights and transparency. And if Turkey gets angry with this, strains might reappear in relations." She noted that issues such as some of the controversial judicial processes in Turkey or issues such as freedom of expression, might come up as thorns in relations; however, Dedeoglu noted that Hollande's election certainly opens a softer tone in relations.

    Journalist Cengiz Aktar said Hollande is a soft-spoken, unaggressive man and that his personality is likely to contribute to normalization in France and Turkey's relations, following a period of a highly hostile French president who often looked down upon Turkey and was openly Islam phobic.

    Hollande beat conservative Sarkozy with 51.7 percent of Sunday's vote after a campaign dominated by the economic crisis that has felled 10 other European leaders since late 2009. The new President is expected to be sworn in on May 15.

    In Greece, voters over the weekend punished the two main parties in their elections, giving a boost to the far right and the far left. The long term results of the rise of the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, and the far right Independent Greeks will certainly not be positive for relations with Turkey, but the country has too much going on right now to even concentrate on longstanding issues with Turkey such as the impasse on Cyprus or territorial clashes over the Aegean.

    Herkul Millas, an expert on Turkish-Greece relations, says difficult days are ahead for Greece as uncertainty remains in place over whether a government can be formed, or if it can implement austerity policies expected by the EU -- given the voters' strong reaction to austerity policies. According to Millas, even with a stronger government and a weaker opposition, Greece was having a hard time following EU policies.

    EDAM's Ulgen agreed, saying, "Greece is headed for a multi-party coalition, and it won't be likely for them to maintain political or economic stability." However, he noted that the entry of formerly marginal far-right parties will negatively affect relations with Turkey.

    Erhan Turbedar, a foreign policy analyst with the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), said although marginal parties are unlikely to be part of the government, their newfound power in Greek politics certainly was an unwelcome development. He also said their presence is likely to negatively affect ties with Brussels.

    New Democracy and socialist PASOK, the only major parties supporting a 130 billion euro EU/IMF aid program, won just over 32 percent of the vote and only 149 out of 300 parliament seats. Greece's parliament will be the most fragmented for decades and the only way to a workable coalition looks like some kind of rollback of the terms of the bailout, something which lenders and northern European countries firmly reject.

    Golden Dawn won between 5 to 7 per cent of the vote according to exit polls, giving them representation in parliament for the first time in Greek history.

    The biggest beneficiary of the protest vote was the Left Coalition party of Greece's youngest political leader, Alexis Tsipras. He won nearly 17 percent of the vote compared to 5 percent in the last election three years ago.

    In Serbia, the right-wing Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) appeared to be narrowly ahead of the liberal Democratic Party (DS) as of Monday, with the two candidates facing a run-off for the presidency on May 20. SNS's success is likely to affect relations with this country negatively, although Turkey and Serbia have developed friendly ties over the past few years.

    EDAM's Ulgen noted: "Over the past few years, Serbia's relations with Turkey have improved greatly. Turkey was successful in mediating with Bosnia. The election results will bring about Serbia's getting closer to Russia, undermining Turkey's recent confidence in Serbia."

    The SNS won 24.7 percent, ahead of the Democrats on 23.2 percent. The Democrats polled 38 percent in the last election in 2008, punished this time for an economic downturn that has driven unemployment to 24 percent. But with 16.6 percent of the vote, the third-placed Socialist Party (SPS), once led by Slobodan Milosevic, will likely cast the crucial vote to decide who forms Serbia's next coalition government.

    In Armenia, the incumbent Sarksyan government's party was set to win parliamentary elections on Monday, indicating that the current status quo in relations is likely to be preserved, most experts agree.

    Director of the Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan told Today's Zaman he didn't expect an important change in relations with Turkey. He said most Armenian parties "more or less" agree that Armenia is ready to normalize ties, but, added, "The problem is on the Turkish side." He recalled that a protocol signed between Turkey and Armenia to normalize ties in 2009 included no preconditions regarding the Karabakh dispute or recognition of the Armenian genocide. "When you connect a hard process with another one that is harder you kill both," he said, adding, "We weren't the ones who closed the border."

    Artak Shakaryan, an independent analyst on Turkey-Armenian relations said, presidential elections are usually more important than parliamentary elections. "Foreign policy is decided by the president. If Serzh Sarksyan is elected president again next year, we can expect a review of the protocol." He said relations with Turkey will come up during the presidential election campaign "because all candidates will use a more hawkish language on this issue."

    AZG Daily Editor-in Chief Hagop Avedikian agreed that Sarksyan was likely to get re-elected as president and added that Turkey will need to take a step to get a response from the Armenian side.

    There were also elections in Syria on Monday. The opposition in Syria says the vote is a sham meant to preserve President Bashar al-Assad's autocratic rule. The voting for Syria's 250-member parliament is unlikely to affect the course of Syria's popular uprising, which began 14 month s ago with largely peaceful protests. Turkey is closely watching the elections in Syria, where, according to UN figures, more than 9,000 people have been killed in the turmoil, which some observers say is descending into a civil war.

    [15] New Islamist Kurdish party to enter politics

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.12) reports that a new Kurdish party, which describes itself as Islamist, is set to enter Turkey's political scene in October.

    The new party is likely to set some controversy in motion, as one of its prominent figures is Sidki Zilan, a lawyer whose clients in the past have included members of Hezbollah, a militant Sunni group based in south-eastern Turkey that is unrelated to Lebanese Hezbollah.

    "We want to enact whatever is necessary to bring to life an entity that is inclusive, Islamic and in favour of dialogue. We do not have any institutional ties with Hezbollah. I do believe, however, there will be people fancying us from the AKP (Justice and Development Party), the HAS Party (People's Voice Party), the SP (Felicity Party), the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) and the Hezbollah community," Sidki Zilan told the Hurriyet Daily News.

    It was decided to establish a conservative, Islamic-oriented party because there currently are no political parties which represent the Islamic community among Turkey's four Kurdish parties, namely the BDP, the Rights and Liberties Party (HAK-PAR), Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP) and the Freedom and Socialism Party (OSP), according to Zilan.

    "Naturally, there is a need for an establishment that will both give voice to the Islamic solution and support the Kurdish and the Kurdistan front," he said.

    To a large extent, the Turkish state and the ruling AKP view the Kurdish problem through the prism of public security, he said, adding they were a party to the Kurdish problem even in the absence of a political party anyhow.

    "The state is beset with problems of violence and public security originating from the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party]. The PKK was not the essence of the matter; perhaps it is a consequence. We will have achieved our goal to some degree if we can contribute to the acceptance and comprehension of this [fact]," he added. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

    [16] The 28th meeting of follow-up committee of COMCEC to be held in Ankara on May 9-10

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.05.12) reports that the 28th meeting of the Follow-up Committee of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), will be held in Ankara between May 9-10 2012.

    In a written statement the Turkish Ministry of Development said that the opening remarks at the meeting would be made by Minister Cevdet Yilmaz.

    The meeting will be attended by the representatives of the OIC member countries of the Committee and the representatives of the OIC and its subsidiary, specialized and affiliated institutions working the economic domain.

    The meeting will review and discuss the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions and decisions of the 27th Session of the COMCEC which was held in Istanbul in October 2011.

    The participants will discuss a set of common issues of concern to the member countries with a view to enhancing economic and commercial cooperation among them. These issues will be discussed under various Agenda Items, including cooperation in the area of trade, cooperation in priority sectors of agriculture, tourism and transportation, financial cooperation, private sector cooperation, and poverty alleviation.

    The meeting will also prepare the draft agenda of the upcoming 28th Session of COMCEC which will be held in Istanbul between October 8-11, 2012.

    [17] First hearing of merged Ergenekon trial held in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (07.05.12) reports that the first hearing of the new trial merging all existing investigations into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network which has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government, began on Monday with 256 suspects standing trial.

    The hearing took place at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court at the Silivri Prison Complex.

    The court has combined all 16 Ergenekon cases and indictments on the basis that there are many links and parallels between the cases, and suspects may be connected to one another.

    Monday's hearing was attended by 42 out of the 61 jailed suspects, including Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Mustafa Balbay, retired Gen. Hasan Igsiz, retired Gen. Veli Kucuk and journalist Tuncay Ozkan. Jailed suspects, including retired Gens. Ilker Basbug and Hursit Tolon, CHP deputy Mehmet Haberal, retired Col. Dursun Cicek and Workers' Party (IP). Leader Dogu Perincek, did not attend the hearing. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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