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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-01-11

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. 8/13 11.01.13

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu: "Cyprus negotiations are likely to be re-launched either in April or May"
  • [02] Kucuk: the Cyprus talks could not be shelved because of the economic crisis in the Republic of Cyprus
  • [03] Quarrel at the "assembly" for the "citizenship"; KTAMS organized a protest; Adem: "The citizenship is granted for 10 thousand dollars"
  • [04] So called Embargoed! Group calls everyone to support their struggle for halloumi and to complain to the EU Commission
  • [05] The occupation regime participates in a tourism fair in Vienna
  • [06] Tension was observed again yesterday in occupied Lefkosia's "municipality"
  • [07] Reactions regarding the killing of PKK members in Paris
  • [08] Gul on the Kurdish initiative: "Avoid word pollution on talks"
  • [09] Davutoglu: "Patriots are present as long as the threat remains"
  • [10] Erdogan: Trade volume between Turkey and Senegal was 130 million U.S. dollars at the end of 2012
  • [11] Turkish company buys 4 hydroelectric power plants in Albania
  • [12] Top prosecutor's office asks high court to overturn Dink ruling
  • [13] One hundred ninety hectares of forest given back to Halki Seminary
  • [14] Various Turkish organizations complain about status of Turkish democracy to Obama in an open letter

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Eroglu: "Cyprus negotiations are likely to be re-launched either in April or May"

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.01.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu made statements regarding Cyprus negotiations during a meeting he held with the Turkish Cypriot Businessmen's Association.

    Eroglu said that the negotiations are likely to be re-launched either in April or May and argued: "As always, the Turkish Cypriot side will be sitting at the negotiations table with all its good will with the aim of providing a sustainable solution to the Cyprus problem".

    Eroglu also alleged that the new Greek Cypriot leader's policy on the Cyprus problem will determine whether a solution to the Cyprus problem will be possible or not.

    "We are conducting the negotiations bearing in mind the Turkish Cypriots' expectations. The Greek Cypriot side should mutually consider these expectations while working for an agreement. A mutual give-and-take is also necessary in order to reach to a positive conclusion at the end of the solution process" he claimed.

    Also speaking during the visit, the President of the Turkish Cypriot Businessmen's Association Metin Sadi expressed his view that hydrocarbon reservoirs around the island as well as the transfer of water and electricity from Turkey to the breakaway regime will act as a catalyst in the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    [02] Kucuk: the Cyprus talks could not be shelved because of the economic crisis in the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (11.01.13) reports that Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, has argued that the Cyprus talks could not be shelved because of the economic crisis in the Republic of Cyprus. In statements to Turkish Anatolia news agency, Kucuk said "south Cyprus", as he described the Republic of Cyprus, is in economic crisis and added that "it is not possible for the political negotiations to be shelved because there is an economic crisis".

    Kucuk alleged: "In case persons supported by the EU and America win the elections to be held in February in the Greek administration of south Cyprus, I see that this is tantamount to the definite resumption of the negotiations afterwards from the point they are left with new conditions".

    Kucuk referred also to the water which, according to the Turkish plans, will be transferred from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus with pipelines and said that Turkey's financial support to this project exceeds one billion Turkish liras (TL). He added that they are also preparing a plan to transfer electricity to the occupied area of Cyprus and noted that both in the occupied and in the government-controlled area of the island, electricity is produced with "the world's most expensive fuel". He said that with the cable that will come from Turkey, the prices will fall.

    Referring to the decision of the "court" that said that the National Unity Party (UBP) should hold a congress again within ten days, Kucuk argued that the "court' has taken a political decision and that it violated his "constitutional rights".

    Kucuk said that 50 to 90 million Turkish liras are needed for restructuring the "municipality" of the occupied part of Lefkosia, for solving its problems and for being able to offer services to the "people". Noting restructuring is inevitable, Kucuk recalled that he had agreed with the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that a credit of 50 million TL is given to the "municipality" by the Turkish Agricultural (Ziraat) Bank. Kucuk added that officials of the above-mentioned bank have carried out a study in the "municipality" and came to the conclusion that 90 million TL are needed. However, the "municipality" should be restructured in order for this amount to be secured, he added. Kucuk argued that the vehicles of the "municipality" should be reduced from 250 to 50 and added that the "municipality" should cut off its relations with persons who offer no services but receive a paying cheque.

    Referring to the information that his relations with the Turkish Cypriot leader Erdoglu are not good, Kucuk said that "it is not possible to deny some realities". Kucuk noted that the UBP's congress was continuously on the agenda of Eroglu and accused Eroglu of holding "backstage activities" by inviting to lunch or coffee some "MPs" or "mayors". Kucuk argued that Eroglu held these activities in order to find a candidate against him in the congress during which the Turkish Cypriot leader supported Ahmet Kasif, who was the opponent of Kucuk for the presidency of the UBP.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Quarrel at the "assembly" for the "citizenship"; KTAMS organized a protest; Adem: "The citizenship is granted for 10 thousand dollars"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.01.13) reports that the issue of the occupation regime's citizenship has become the matter of quarrel during yesterday's meeting of the "assembly" of the occupation regime.

    According to the paper, the issue was brought to the agenda by the opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) "deputy", Sonay Adem who has accused the so-called UBP government for the "citizenship practices" it follows.

    Speaking during the meeting of the "assembly", Adem referred, in particular, to the case of two hostesses of the former "Turkish Cypriot Airlines" (KTHY) who were granted the occupation regime's citizenship.

    Accusing the "UBP government" for "granting" the "citizenship" with corruption, Adem alleged that the "TRNC's citizenship" is granted for 10 thousand dollars. Stating that the aim of the "government" is to eradicate the will of the community, Adem said that this is "villainous".

    Replying to Adem's allegations, the so-called minister of interior and local administration Nazim Cavusoglu said that the "citizenship process" they follow is totally transparent.

    Also speaking at the "assembly", the so-called minister of labour and social insurance Serife Unverdi stressed the need to be more careful while speaking towards the issue of the process that the "citizenship" is "granted" and on the issue of the "employment" of persons.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper reports that the Turkish Cypriot "Public" Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) has organized yesterday a protest in front of the building of the so-called prime ministry's in order to oppose to the "arbitrary granting of citizenships" and to the "employments" the "UBP government" will make ahead of its forthcoming congress.

    KTAM's protest has been supported by DEV-IS and BES trade unions as well as by the "Clean community association" headed by Kudret Ozersay.

    Speaking during the protest, the chairman of KTAMS trade Ahmet Kaptan said that since 2009 that the UBP is in power, the "government" has not done anything about the people. He added that in a period of three years, the "UBP government" has "distributed" the "citizenship" to more than five thousand people and added that in a period that there is an unemployment problem in the "country", the "government" has provided working positions to those who became "citizens" of the "TRNC".

    In his turn, the chairman of DEV-IS trade union, Mehmet Seyis accused the so-called government for factionalism and stated that they support KTAMS's protest.

    Also speaking during the protest, Kudret Ozersay, chairman of the "Toparlaniyoruz Movement", said that they support the protest against the "arbitrary citizenships" and the illegal "employment" of persons by the so-called government.

    (AK)

    [04] So called Embargoed! Group calls everyone to support their struggle for halloumi and to complain to the EU Commission

    Under the title: "Join the fight for North Cyprus to keep and sell their 'hellim'", Turkish Cypriot weekly newspaper Cyprus Star (11.01.12) reports the following:

    "Embargoed! Group in London, is asking everyone to join them in their fight over the right for North Cyprus to keep producing and selling 'hellim' cheese [Translator's note: as halloumi is called in Turkish].

    Last year the Greek Cypriots had requested and subsequently withdrew for them to receive a P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) for their halloumi (Turkish equivalent being 'hellim').

    At that time, many MEP's including Sarah Ludford and Andrew Duff backed Turkish Cypriots in saying the PDO should not be permitted as it excluded producers in North Cyprus.

    Embargoed! reports that during a visit to Cyprus in the summer, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule also called on any future PDO application to be fallen on deaf ears and now Greek Cypriots have submitted a new unilateral application.

    In an effort to ensure that this unfair application is not accepted, Embargoed! is working with the relevant TRNC authorities and halloumi producers in an endeavour to prevent it from happening.

    Echoing the call of TRNC Presidential Special Advisor Osman Ertug, Embargoed! is calling on all its supporters to complain to their local MEP and also to write to the EU Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, who are responsible for PDOs.

    Their call is also to anyone concerned about the TRNC and the halloumi cheese which has been part of daily life of the country as a whole.

    Concerned people are asked to tell Brussels they must recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots and should only accept a joint 'hellim/halloumi' PDO application from Cyprus.

    Anyone willing to add their voice to those already 'shouting' for a joint PDO application is asked to contact the EY Commission via their online form: hhtp://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/contact/infoformen.html.

    [05] The occupation regime participates in a tourism fair in Vienna

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.01.13) reports that the occupation regime participates with its own stand and under the name "North Cyprus" to a tourism fair called "Ferien Messe Wien 2013" which is taking place in Vienna, Austria.

    The fair opened yesterday and will close on January 13, writes the paper.

    According to a statement made by the so-called ministry of tourism, environment and culture, the occupation regime is represented in the fair by the "director" of the "department of promotion and marketing", Dervis Gezer, the tourist officer in Germany Emrah Gezer, by representatives of the "Turkish Cypriot Hotelier's Union", by tourist operators, and by German tourist operators who transfers tourists to the occupied area of Cyprus.

    The paper writes that around 800 participants from 70 countries attends the fair and adds that 150.000 visitors are expected to visit it.

    (AK)

    [06] Tension was observed again yesterday in occupied Lefkosia's "municipality"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.01.13) reports that tension was once more created yesterday at the "municipality" of the occupied part of Lefkosia. Some employees argued that the sum of six million Turkish liras, which would have been transferred by the "government" to the account of the "municipality" as advanced payment for their salaries, was not deposited.

    Therefore, the employees held an activity in front of the "municipality' and inside its building. They entered into the office of "mayor" Cemal Bulutoglulari and asked him about their salaries. Bulutoglulari replied that he was trying to settle the issue.

    The angry employees broke one picture of Bulutoglulari and gathered some pieces of metal from inside the building saying that they should sell them to secure money.

    The chairman of the trade union of the "municipal" employees (BES), Savas Bozat said that if the salaries of the employees were not paid today until the end of the working hours, they would start their protests again.

    The paper reports that the "government" wants the "municipal council" to send an official letter asking for the advance payment of six million TL and the approval of this by the trade union. However, it noted, the "municipal council" could not convene to discuss the issue.

    The self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar said he was ready to immediately deposit six million TL, but the administration and the employees of the "municipality" should sign a "protocol" first. "If they do not sign the protocol, I will not deposit the money', he noted adding that the six million TL will be repaid in eleven installments and that this money will be cut off the salary of the employees.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Reactions regarding the killing of PKK members in Paris

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.01.13) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed the need for caution following the Jan. 9 execution-style murder of three Kurdish women working at an information office in Paris.

    "It is too early to comment on this issue. We should wait for the incident to be revealed," Erdogan said during a press conference in Senegal, where he is concluding a three-country African tour. "We have an ongoing process against terrorism in Turkey; this might be a provocation to harm the process, or an internal feud & we don't know yet," Erdogan said.

    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister B?lent Ar1n? also declined to speculate on the issue in a press conference earlier today, saying there were multiple reasons for the killings that were still unclear.

    Ar1nc condemned the attack while expressing his sadness over the death of the three women, Sakine Cans1z, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez.

    "This seems like an internal feud, we have seen these sorts of incidents before," ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman H?seyin Celik said in a statement, Dogan News Agency has reported.

    "There may be some people who want to derail this process, we should be extremely careful," he added, referring to the ongoing peace talks between Turkish authorities and Kurdish representatives.

    "This is a very sensitive issue. Not speaking on the matter is better than speaking about it, in terms of contributing to the process. Hopefully we will achieve a result all together. Our fraternity is our most important power," Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yaz1c1 also said, responding to a question on the issue during a meeting with journalists in Istanbul.

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.13) reports that Mehmet Ulker, the President of Federation of Kurdish Associations, referred to the killing of 3 women of Kurdish origin and said that the killing was an attempt to undermine "peace process" led by Turkey.

    Ulker said, "We were shocked when we heard about the murders. The peace period has started for us in Turkey. We knew that this period would be painful. Murders raise question marks as it happened during such period."

    Ulker said that it was still not known who was behind the murders at the Kurdish Information Center. He added that the ones responsible would be revealed once the police complete their investigation.

    Mehmet Ulker strongly refused the claims about "internal feud" and said, "It is not possible to happen. There is nobody in the organization that were against the peace period. I do not even give a chance to it."

    Furthermore, Selahattin Demirtas, the Chairman of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), stated that the motive of the murders should be solved immediately without any doubt by the French government.

    In his written statement, he stated that they condemned the attacks vehemently.

    Commenting on the issue, Fatma Dizli writes in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.01.13):

    "The timing of the killing of three Kurdish women on Thursday is definitely related to the ongoing peace talks with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), terrorism experts say, as they call on both parties to the talks to avoid any steps in the wake of such incidents that will place the negotiation process at risk. [?]

    The fact that the killings took place at a time when Turkey is having talks with the terrorist PKK organization to resolve the long-standing Kurdish problem has made everyone wonder if the murders of the Kurdish women was an attempt to sabotage the peace process.

    According to Professor Sedat LaCiner, an expert on terrorism, it does not matter by whom or for what reason the killings took place, their timing is of crucial importance.

    "These killings are like a response to the step taken by the government to resolve the Kurdish issue," he told Today's Zaman.

    LaCiner said Kurdish politicians, the PKK and government officials should remain committed to peace efforts, as such assassinations are very likely to be seen during the negotiation process. As for the possible mastermind of the killings, he said there is not sufficient evidence yet to comment, but that the killings might be either the result of an intra-PKK conflict or the work of international power circles. [?]

    Professor Mehmet Ozcan, who is also a terrorism expert, does not think the killings in Paris will derail the peace talks but he believes that they will have a certain influence on the peace-making process. [?]

    With regard to claims coming from some Kurdish groups suggesting that the killings might have been masterminded by the deep state, Ozcan said he finds this possibility unlikely because all state bodies in Turkey support the peace talks and Turkey's intelligence services do not even take action against top PKK operatives, so it is highly improbable that the deep state would kill the three Kurdish women."

    Finally, under the title "Who killed 3 PKK members in Paris?", Murat Yetkin writes in Hurriyet Daily News (11.01.13):

    "Execution was the word used by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls following his visit to the crime scene in the Gare du Nord district of central Paris where three female members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were killed on (the supposedly late hours of ) Jan. 9 in the PKK-operated Kurdistan Information Center. There are reports about a gun or guns with silencers used to kill three women.

    One of them, Sakine Cans1z, was a veteran member, one of the founders, of the PKK back in 1978. There were media reports claiming that after being in charge of the organization's Germany branch for years (which is vital for the PKK for money and for recruitment if hundreds of thousands of Kurdish-Turkish people living in Germany are considered), Cans1z was asked to take care of the PKK's organization in France, too. One of the other women killed, Fidan Dogan, was the French branch chief of the PKK's self-declared Kurdistan National Congress. Less is known about the third victim, Leyla Sonmez.

    One of the first things coming into minds is a possible relation of murders with the ongoing round of talks between the Turkish National Intelligence Service (M0T) and the founding leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, to end the violence and find a peaceful solution to Turkey's Kurdish problem, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives in the last three decades. Ocalan has been kept in the 0mral1 island-prison near Istanbul since his arrest in 1999 in a joint M0T-CIA operation in Kenya, and his current stance to [& ]

    As soon as the news of the murders hit media in the early hours of Jan. 10, the first reactions came from Z?beyir Aydar. Based in Brussels, Aydar (blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury in relation with narco-trafficking) is one of the top names of the PKK in Europe and a member of the delegation who talked to M0T during the failed first round of talks, the "Oslo talks" between 2009 and 2011. Aydar immediately accused the Turkish "deep state" of carrying out the attack in order to undermine the talks.

    [& ]

    The curtain was down yesterday for a statement by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who was paying a visit to Senegal. He said that it was either an inner-PKK affair or a provocation to undermine the talks. If it is an inner fight, it might well be a sign that the Ocalan dialogue has caused a deep rift within the PKK. If it is not, then it can be someone from within the PKK, from within the Turkish system or from some other country or group that is not pleased with Turkey getting rid of the Kurdish problem. It is not only a murder investigation for French police, it is an international political mystery as well."

    [08] Gul on the Kurdish initiative: "Avoid word pollution on talks"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News 911.01.13) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Cicek have urged relevant parties to make fewer comments on negotiations between the government and Kurdish militants in an effort to safeguard the nascent talks, which have been dubbed the "0mral1 process."

    "There are [people] who should keep somewhat quiet. There are [people] who should perform their work instead of talking. Let us follow up. If there is sincerity around, then we will see it. I would like everybody to trust in all institutions of the state on this issue," G?l said yesterday in his first remarks about the talks since Jan. 3, when two Kurdish deputies visited Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), on 0mral1 island.

    The comments were echoed by Cicek. "As we have seen in other countries' practices, this is not an issue that will be talked about every day at Guvenpark," CiCek said, referring to a popular park in Ankara. "Does everybody need to talk about this sensitive process? There is a need to act sensitively."

    G?l said all methods could be tried "in an attempt to eliminate Turkey's terrorism problem".

    [09] Davutoglu: "Patriots are present as long as the threat remains"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.13) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that the Patriots were only for defense purposes and once the threat is over they would be sent back.

    Davutoglu responded to the questions of the members at an Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) meeting.

    Stating that the aim of the Patriot Defense System was to be prepared for all risks, Davutoglu said, "The Patriots will be sent back once the threat is over. If we believe the threat is over tomorrow, they will leave the country before they are even deployed. I hope the threat would be removed soon and we would not need it."

    Davutoglu also touched on the number of the Syrian refugees reaching 152 thousand in Turkey and said that the Syrians would say the final word likewise in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

    "We will stand by Syrians who are being oppressed by the bombings for nearly two years, like we did in 2003, 2004 and 2005 when the whole world isolated Syria. We hope Syrians to gain their right of freedom soon" said Davutoglu.

    Suggesting that the world politics were re-shaped in the last 12 years, Davutoglu stated that Turkey had to display proper attitude in regards to Turkey's own historical flow.

    Stating that "no bounds in economy with staying in political borders" was the main principle in the establishment of a foreign policy to be in the top ten economies in the world, Davutoglu said, "We will respect political borders, however, with visa exemptions, free trade agreements, high level strategic cooperation's we will go beyond the limits."

    Davutoglu also stated that they would sign re-admission agreement and visa exemption in the following days and send it to the EU side.

    [10] Erdogan: Trade volume between Turkey and Senegal was 130 million U.S. dollars at the end of 2012

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.13) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Senegal, said that Turkey and Senegal could do many things together in Africa.

    Erdogan and Senegal's President Macky Sall held a press conference on Thursday following a tete-a-tete meeting.

    Senegal was a model country in Africa with its cultural heritage and democratic values, Erdogan said.

    The meeting with Senegal's president focused on economic, political, military, commercial and cultural issues as well as regional matters, he said.

    Trade volume between the two countries was 130 million U.S. dollars at the end of 2012 and the figure should be increased, he said.

    Senegal's President Sall said that there were deep-rooted relations between the two countries.

    Sall said that he would like to thank Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) for its efforts in his country.

    Turkey was an island of democracy, stability and progress in the Middle East, he added.

    [11] Turkish company buys 4 hydroelectric power plants in Albania

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.13) reports that a Turkish company bought four hydroelectric power plants in Albania for 109 million euros.

    Turkey's "Kurum International AS" had participated in a tender for the privatization of the four hydroelectric power plants and the company's purchase of the power plants was approved by the Albanian Council of Ministers on Thursday.

    [12] Top prosecutor's office asks high court to overturn Dink ruling

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (11.01.13) reports that the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals' Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, asked the high court to overturn a highly controversial ruling from last year that ruled out the involvement of an organized criminal network in the 2007 killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

    The office said, "It is clear from the case file that Hrant Dink was killed only because he was from a different religion and nation and as part of a planned and systematic activity of a criminal network which aimed to harm the state's unity."

    According to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, the slaying of Dink cannot be regarded as an ordinary murder as "it is obvious that the murder aimed to weaken the state authority, to create an environment of chaos and instability by harming public order and to put Turkey in a difficult position in the international arena.

    Today's Zaman writes the following as regards the story of the issue:

    "Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos, was gunned down outside his office in 0stanbul in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007. The murder shocked Turkey and the ensuing trial became mired in controversy with Dink's family and human rights activists arguing that links between suspects in the case and the real masterminds of the murder, suspected to be in the military and police force, were not sufficiently investigated.

    The convicted hitman, Og?n Samast, was captured one day after the murder. Other suspects, including Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, were captured in the following days on charges of soliciting Samast to commit Dink's murder.

    In what many said was a shocking and frustrating ruling for the five-year-long trial in the Dink case, the 0stanbul 14th High Criminal Court cleared all suspects in the case of membership in a terrorist organization, angering lawyers and many others who say the trial failed to shed light on alleged connections between the suspects and state officials.

    The court convicted Yasin Hayal, a prime suspect in the killing, of instigating the murder and sentenced him to life in prison, while another suspected instigator, Erhan Tuncel, was acquitted.

    The prosecutor investigating the 2007 murder had earlier appealed the court verdict, saying the murder was undoubtedly the work of Ergenekon.

    Ergenekon -- a clandestine gang with members nested within the state hierarchy who are currently on trial for attempting to overthrow the government by force -- is accused of being behind many atrocious crimes and plots that sought to create chaos in Turkey with the intent of triggering a military takeover."

    [13] One hundred ninety hectares of forest given back to Halki Seminary

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (11.01.13) reports that following a meeting held on Friday, the Council of Foundations -- part of Turkey's Directorate General for Foundations (VGM) -- returned 190 hectares of forest to the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary in 0stanbul.

    According to the decision, 190 hectares of woodlands near the Halki Seminary will be given to the seminary's owner, the Aya Triada Monastery Foundation. This is the biggest property return to a minority group in the history of Turkey.

    Established in 1844 on the island of Heybeliada, (Halki, second largest island of the Princes Islands) Halki Seminary was closed in 1971 under a law that placed religious and military training under state control. It was the only school where Turkey's Greek minority educated its clergy. The theological school once trained generations of Greek Orthodox leaders, including the current Patriarch Bartholomew, who is one of its 900 graduates.

    "Minority foundations, seeking the return of property seized by the Turkish state in the first decade of the Turkish Republic, are finding that taking back what belongs to them is not going to be easy, despite a 2011 law passed to ensure confiscated property be returned to its rightful owners", writes the paper.

    In August of last year, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government adopted legislation to return all confiscated immovable property belonging to minority foundations in Turkey, a long-overdue step towards expanding the rights of minorities in the country. The decree allows foundations to reclaim real property declared back in 1936. All real property, cemeteries and fountains are to be returned to their rightful holders as per the decree. Immoveable property currently belonging to third persons will be paid for. The process has been ongoing for some time, as foundations were given 12 months to apply to authorities.

    [14] Various Turkish organizations complain about status of Turkish democracy to Obama in an open letter

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (11.01.13) reports that the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), Freedom House, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and Reporters Without Borders released an open letter on Friday in which they urged US President Barack Obama to make the rule of law and political freedoms a priority in engagements with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The letter states, "America's close ties to Turkey and our considerable stake in Turkey's future, require attention to these developments," and urges the administration to "express publicly and privately America's concerns about Turkey's backsliding, and to direct diplomatic efforts toward ensuring that Turkey resumes a course designed to consolidate democracy and the rule of law."

    FPI says it seeks to promote an active US foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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

    /EI


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