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

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. 240/12 11.12.12

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Lucinda Creighton: "At least one chapter in Turkey's EU bid should be opened during the Irish presidency"
  • [02] The contract for illegal Tymvou airport's privatization is signed
  • [03] Debates on the economic package continue
  • [04] "Citizens went bankrupt"
  • [05] Ozyigit said that dressing regulations put Turkish Cypriots' identity under threat
  • [06] "Turkish governor" to occupied Cyprus Akca issued a statement for the issue with the journalist who was threatened for taking his picture
  • [07] An escaped person from Balyoz case is carrying out duties as a lecturer at illegal DAU
  • [08] Abbas due to Turkey
  • [09] Simsek on Turkey's economy
  • [10] Journalist gets prison sentence for praising Dink murder

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Lucinda Creighton: "At least one chapter in Turkey's EU bid should be opened during the Irish presidency"

    Under the title: "Upcoming EU president: At least one chapter in Turkey's bid to be opened", Turkish daily Today's Zaman (10.12.12) reported the following:

    "Ireland, which will assume the rotating EU presidency starting Jan. 1, 2013, has said it will aim to revitalize the stagnant relations between the EU and Turkey, claiming that Turkey should be able to open at least one chapter of the EU acquis communautaire during the Irish term.

    Turkey froze what were already stagnant relations with the EU in the second half of 2012, when the 'Greek Cypriot administration' [Translator's note: as the Republic of Cyprus is called by the paper] assumed the rotating term presidency.

    Irish Minister of European Affairs Lucinda Creighton told Today's Zaman, in an exclusive interview, that "we will be very well positioned to work with Turkey on opening at least one chapter during the Irish presidency. That is our goal and I think that we will be able to deliver that."

    Creighton maintained that opening at least one chapter would get Turkey's EU 'negotiation process underway once again.' Known for her anti-Turkey position in the past, Creighton still emphasized that the accession process for Turkey to the EU is something to be realized in the long term.

    She further maintained that ongoing engagement between the EU and Turkey would be positive in terms of furthering democratization in Turkey. 'We have concerns ? in terms of human rights issues, freedom of press [and] about the [rights of the] Kurdish minority. The best way to achieve progress, to build on the human rights record of Turkey, is through engagement. So, I think that the process of negotiation is a really important part of that,' Creighton remarked.

    Turkey opened accession talks with the EU in 2005, but progress has been slow since then due to the Cyprus dispute as well as opposition to Turkey's membership by some member countries, including France and Germany. Of the 35 chapters that must be successfully negotiated by any candidate country as a condition for membership, only 13 have been opened by Turkey; 17 have been blocked and four have not yet been opened -- only one is provisionally closed, on science and research. No chapters have been opened in the past two-and-a-half years, since the end of the Spanish presidency in June 2010.

    EU countries have recently expressed regret over Turkey's froze relations with the EU and refusal to address the 'Greek Cypriot administration'.

    The 32-year-old Minister, expressing hope that Ireland's term presidency will 'put some substance' into Turkey's EU process, deemed Turkey a very important country as the EU's biggest trading partner.

    With its close trade and investment links with the EU, Turkey remains a valuable part of Europe's competitiveness.

    Creighton stated that EU is fully committed to its promises and that the current EU economic crisis will not be an obstacle to EU enlargement in the coming period. 'I don't think our economic situation really has any bearing on our capacity to deliver on the accession process. We are fully committed,' the Minister noted.

    The Minister believes the EU economy has a bright future, claiming that the eurozone crisis will be a lesson to the EU to restructure and strengthen its economy. 'We are dramatically restructuring all eurozone countries. All members states of the EU are becoming more competitive, bringing down the cost of labor and just becoming more flexible and more open,' Creighton stated.

    Ireland's confidence is based in its EU enlargement record. In 2004, during its term presidency, the EU experienced its greatest enlargement, gaining 10 new members. 'We have a very proud record on the question of enlargement and we have the experience of working on the negotiation process with a range of member states in the past. So, I think we will be very well positioned to work with Turkey on opening at least one chapter during the Irish presidency,' Creighton explained.

    Creighton stated that she does have concerns about huge immigration to EU countries, but that this does not only involve Turkey -- it would be a problem with many new member states. 'The Schengen area hasn't yet even been opened up the current EU member states. Bulgaria and Romania still have not entered the Schengen zone. So, there are concerns, not in just respect of Turkey, but concerns in respect of new member states. We have to find a solution that is acceptable to the EU member states,' Creighton maintained.

    Asked whether it is fair for the settlement of Cyprus dispute to be an obstacle to Turkey's EU bid, Creighton said: 'I don't see Cyprus as an obstacle. I know that at the beginning of the Cyprus presidency there were some statements from Turkey in respect of not recognizing the authority. I thought that was unfortunate.'

    She stressed that the EU is not an appropriate forum to deal with the Cyprus issue, pointing to the importance of the UN role in resolving the problem".

    [02] The contract for illegal Tymvou airport's privatization is signed

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.12) reports that the contract regarding the transfer of illegal Tymvou airport's "operating rights" was signed yesterday by the self-styled minister of public works and transport, Ersan Saner and the T&T company's director Goksel Bodur. According to the paper, T&T company consists of two Turkish companies (Tas Yapi with 70% of the shares and Terminal Yapi with 20%) and one local Turkish Cypriot company (Kaner Group of Companies with 10% of the shares).

    In statements after the signing of the "protocol", Saner said that this tender which is around 350 million Euros, is one of the biggest investments that could be made in the occupied area of Cyprus for the next 25 years. He noted that while the average number of passengers who used the illegal airport in the 2000's was around 748 thousand persons, they plan to end year 2012 with three million passengers.

    Saner said that an increase of one million 250 thousand passengers was observed in illegal Tymvou airport during the past three years noting that this is a serious increase.

    Saner pointed out that the current size of illegal Tymvou airport is 20 thousand square meters and that after the project is finished illegal airport's size would be increased to 152 thousand square meters. He added that the number of counters will be increased from 18 to 62 and the passport control points from 12 to 24. Saner said that a tunnel will be built under the landing field and thus illegal Tymvou will become Europe's fourth airport that could be reached through a tunnel.

    In statements during the same ceremony, Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, argued that the signing of big projects that will serve the people of the "country" is successively experienced during the past few years and added that during their term in the "government" they signed two big projects such as the "Turkish Cypriot Oils" and the illegal Tymvou airport after passing the privatization "law". Kucuk described the tender of illegal Tymvou airport as important as the water that will be transferred from Turkey's Anamur district to the occupied area of Cyprus. He then thanked the Turkish officials for supporting the Turkish Cypriots on every issue.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Debates on the economic package continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.12.12) reports that Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, has said that the economic package signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime for period 2013-15 bears the stamp of the "TRNC" even though not by 100%. Replying to criticism by the opposition parties yesterday at the "assembly", Kucuk argued that the criticism that the economic program should be revised is a sign that the "protocol" is approved.

    Kucuk expressed the view that the economic program meets the expectations of the "people" and added that about 1401 persons were employed by the "state" during the past three years. He noted that 400 of these employees were teachers, 200 persons were employed in the field of health, and 300 were "policemen" and soldiers.

    Criticizing the "protocol", Ozkan Yorgancioglu, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), reiterated that no one was informed about its content and that life will become more expensive with the mentality of the "protocol".

    Addressing the same meeting, Mustafa Arabacioglu, "MP" with the Democratic Party (DP), described as "drawback" the fact that the economic "protocol" had not been discussed and approved at the "assembly" of the breakaway regime.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] "Citizens went bankrupt"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (11.12.12) reports that the minimum wage remained at 1300 Turkish liras (TL) during the past three years, while an increase varying between 12 TL and 20 TL was made in the salaries in the "public" sector in July 2012. Citing data given by "public" servants' trade union (KTAMS), the paper writes that an increase of 45% was observed in the price of basic consumption products from year 2009 until November 2012. The paper notes, inter alia, that the price of liquefied petroleum gas increased by 72.90% within the period 2009-2012, fuel oil increased by 72.77% and baby food increased by 53.07%.

    The paper notes that the social and economic structure of the "country" has been spoilt and the purchase power of the "citizens" decreased. According to KTAMS, the "citizenship" of the breakaway regime was granted to 950 persons in 2009, to 660 persons in 2010, to 1500 persons in 2011 and to 1827 persons until the end of November 2012. The paper writes that the rapidly increasing population influenced negatively the "citizens'" pocket.

    According to the same data, unemployment increased by 37% within the past three years.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.12.12) refers also to the issue of unemployment and reports that more than 10.000 persons are unemployed in the occupied area of Cyprus and that only in September 2012, 1165 persons were added in this list. Citing information given by the "central bank" of the breakaway regime, the paper points out that the majority of these 1165 persons are graduates from universities. The age of the majority of the registered unemployed persons varies between 30 and 39.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ozyigit said that dressing regulations put Turkish Cypriots' identity under threat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (11.12.12) reports that the general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit, expressed his support to the strike organized yesterday by the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Union (KTOS) who protested against regulations that the breakaway regime implied on students and teachers regarding their dressing in the schools of occupied Cyprus, following instructions from Turkey. (See the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish media review 06.12.12).

    Ozyigit stated that those who together with Turkey try to impose these regulations want to change the way the students and teachers dress in school and noted: "They want to eradicate the Turkish Cypriots". He also said that these changes aim to pave the way for turbans in schools.

    He also stated that the ruling, in Turkey, Justice and Development Party (AKP) with similar practices like the dressing regulation practice, tries to establish a theocratic state in Turkey in the place of the secular state.

    [06] "Turkish governor" to occupied Cyprus Akca issued a statement for the issue with the journalist who was threatened for taking his picture

    Under the title "Is that so Mr. Governor?", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.12.12) comments on the issue created when a group of officials headed by the "Turkish ambassador" to Lefkosia Halil Ibrahim Akca, threaten journalist Rana Sarro that she would be arrested if she did not deleted a picture she took of them while dining in a restaurant.

    Afrika, which notes that Akca, who was dining together with the self-styled minister of economy Ersin Tatar, some Turkish Cypriot bureaucrats and Turkish MPs, prevented the journalist from doing her job and threaded her, writes that the "governor of Turkey to Cyprus", as it calls Akca, issued a written statement, alleging that Sarro should have taken permission before taking the photograph. He also stated that they realize after the event that the person taking the photograph was actually a journalist.

    He also stated that the dinner was organized by an economic organization but did not specify which organization this is.

    In addition, Afrika writes that Baris Mamali, chairman of Rule of Ideas and Law Movement, stated that preventing a journalist from doing its job and threaten to arrest her "is not only against the law but against the freedom of speech right".

    [07] An escaped person from Balyoz case is carrying out duties as a lecturer at illegal DAU

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (11.12.12) reports that the retired staff colonel Turgay Bulent Gokturk who was fined to 13 and four months imprisonment for his involvement to Sledgehammer (Balyoz) case in Turkey, has escaped from Turkey to the occupation regime the day that his indictment has been announced, and since then he carries out duties as a teacher (lecturer) at illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU).

    As the paper writes, Gokturk's name appears in the list of staff of the illegal DAU, where he works as a lecturer at the "Ataturk Research and Administration Centre".

    In statements to the paper on the issue, the "director of the Press and Public relations" of the illegal university, Dervis Eksici confirmed that Turgay Bulent Gokturk works as a lecturer at "DAU". Eksici, however, said that they were not informed about Gokturk's contract and status.

    Meanwhile, as the paper writes, Turkish daily Bugun newspaper has wrote that Bulent Gokturk escaped from Turkey they day of the announcement of his indictment. Bugun's paper correspondent Bilal Sahin said: "Gokturk is fugitive and he is wanted in Turkey. The information we received is that he is in Cyprus".

    (AK)

    [08] Abbas due to Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.12.12) reports that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Ankara yesterday afternoon in his first visit abroad following a historic vote at the U.N. General Assembly that bestowed non-member state status on the country.

    Abbas' visit to Turkey is an important gesture and a show of his appreciation to the Turkish government's strong support for the Palestinians' bid to upgrade their U.N. status. Abbas was scheduled to address the Turkish Parliament later yesterday before official meetings with high-level Turkish leaders today.

    Abbas will today be greeted at Cankaya Palace by President Abdullah Gul in line with the highest level of protocol applied to foreign leaders during official visits. He will also meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Meanwhile, according to Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.12.12) Mahmoud Abbas delivering yesterday a speech at the Turkish parliament as part of his visit in Ankara, expressed gratitude for the Turkish President, government and the Turkish people for their support to the Palestinian cause, saying that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's visit to New York on the occasion of the UN voting on status upgrade, was the latest show of the Turkish support.

    "Mr Davutoglu was there not just as an ordinary visitor but someone who played an active role by communicating to all countries, spending the maximum effort for the status upgrade," Abbas said.

    "Things we do now are just the beginning not the result. We still have a long and a tough road ahead. But we are marching on the right path. We are marching towards a fully independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with God's willing the capital of that state will be Jerusalem," Abbas told the Turkish MPs.

    Abbas asked Turkey and "all brotherly countries" to exert efforts for the removal of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, saying that Israeli government planned to build thousands of the new settlements in Jerusalem and around. "If this happens, we will no doubt respond in different ways. We will protect our people, our lands and sacred places in the best way we can by applying to international institutions," Abbas said.

    "Today, we want to give peace a chance. We call on Israel to fulfill its obligations, which is to stop expanding settlements, release [Palestinian] prisoners and resume in specific timetable the talks that were abandoned in 2008", Abbas concluded in his speech.

    [09] Simsek on Turkey's economy

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.12.12) reports that Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek introduces yesterday in Parliament the 2013 budget.

    With the Turkish economy growing a mere 1.6% in the third quarter, signalling a sharp landing, according to several economists, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek failed to spread hopes for next year, during a parliamentary speech on the 2013 budget yesterday.

    According to economists and Cabinet members, the Turkish economy, which grew an impressive 8.4 % in the third quarter of last year, and 8.5% in the whole 2011, was mainly hit by low domestic spending and weak investments.

    "We aim to reach the potential growth rate in 2014 by accelerating growth in the coming period, despite the global uncertainties," Simsek said, admitting that 2012 growth would be under 3%.

    "The government's target at the beginning of the year was 4%. The ongoing crisis in Europe, Turkey's largest trade partner, is also hurting the country's current account deficit", said Simsek adding that the regional political tensions and fiscal problems in the U.S. are other risks.

    Also, Development Minister Cevdet Y?lmaz said the government was more optimistic about the fourth quarter and expected the economy to grow around 3 % over the year as a whole, lower than its official 3.2% forecast but more in line with economists' expectations.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.12.12) reported that Minister Mehmet Simsek said that they expected the budgetary expenses to be 404 billion Turkish liras (TL), budgetary income to be 370.1 billion TL and the budget deficit to be 34 billion TL in 2013.

    Simsek stated that they expected the Turkish gross domestic product to be 1.5 trillion TL in 2013. "We expect our imports to be worth 253 billion USD and exports to be 158 billion USD in 2013. We expect a growth figure of 4 percent and the consumer price index to be 5.3 percent," Simsek noted.

    "We expect personnel expenses to be 97.2 billion TL and governmental insurance premiums to be 16.8 billion TL. We expect to spend 33.4 billion TL for goods and various services, the expenses on interests to be 53 billion TL and current transfers to be 151.3 billion TL," Simsek underlined.

    "The budget in 2013 is one which aims to protect financial discipline and macroeconomic stability, support growth, employment and investments as well as give priority to education, health and infrastructure," Simsek also said.

    [10] Journalist gets prison sentence for praising Dink murder

    According to Turkish daily Today's Zaman (10.12.12) a journalist in Samsun was sentenced to a one year and 11-month prison term for praising a crime and inciting hatred in a newspaper article where he supported the murder of Hrant Dink.

    Hrant Dink, the Armenian-Turkish journalist, was shot dead outside the Agos newspaper office in Sisli on January 19, 2007. In the ensuing investigation the police arrested the gunman, Ogun Samast, and his accomplice, Yasin Hayal. Samast was ultimately sentenced to 22 years and ten months imprisonment on charges of "premeditated murder" and "unlicensed possession of weapons," and Hayal was found guilty of soliciting Dink's murder -- giving Samast the idea and supplying him with a weapon and money -- and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    Journalist Okan Bas praised Samast and Dink's killing in a column he wrote for Statuko, a bimonthly magazine in Samsun. Bas was sentenced to one year and three months in prison for inciting hatred under Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). In his column titled "Gentlemen, what harm have the nationalists done to you?" Bas, managing editor of the magazine, wrote: "You know, a young man like Ogun Samast has been condemned to serve a heavy penalty for shooting Hrant, who said that 'A Turk's blood is filthy'. He did a good thing, didn't he?"

    Bas continued in his column: "If the state does not do what it needs to do, and tolerates the foreigner who says "Turkish blood is filthy," if the state runs over the principles of nationalism trying to ingratiate itself with the Armenians, then people will rise up and do something about it. It doesn't mean a thing to put this man on a trial."

    The "Say Stop to Racism and Nationalism!" group filed a lawsuit against Bas, and a criminal complaint was issued for offenses including praising the crime and the criminal, provoking hatred and enmity, and incitement to commit a crime, as well as insulting the memory of a deceased person.

    The trial concluded in October, and Samsun Second Criminal Court Judge Murat Sar?y?ld?z recently announced the sentence of one year and 11 months in total; 15 months according to the Article 215 of the TCK for "praising the crime and the criminal," and eight months according to Article 216 for "provoking hatred." The punishment has been postponed for five years.

    Hakan Bak?rc?oglu, an attorney for the Dink family, commented that the verdict was fair and added: "All the things that were written against Dink created an atmosphere of a lynch mob that led to his eventual murder. Punishing such behavior will prevent other similar incidents." Attorney Bak?rc?oglu added that this particular case was one of the few in which Article 216 was properly applied. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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