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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-05-24

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. 97/13 24/05/13

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Rompuy: "It is essential to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue"
  • [02] The decision for early "elections" remained for next week
  • [03] Eroglu responds to Kucuk
  • [04] KTOS to protest today against the illegal granting of the "citizenship"; The occupation regime intensifies the procedure for distributing more "citizenships" and plots of lands in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [05] A new party to be founded in the occupied area of Cyprus; statements by Ahmet Kasif and Hasan Tacoy
  • [06] A meeting on oil and natural gas was held in occupied Cyprus
  • [07] Turkish government liberalizes oil sector despite opposition outcry
  • [08] Eric Rubin will be allegedly carry out contacts to the occupation regime
  • [09] A new mosque to be constructed in occupied Zodia village
  • [10] Turkish PM sues opposition leader for one million in compensation
  • [11] Officer in custody over leaks on Reyhanli attack
  • [12] Turkey to build 2.5-kilometer-long wall on Syria border
  • [13] New Amnesty report says freedom of expression still restricted in Turkey
  • [14] Turkish Government imposes strict ban on alcohol sales
  • [15] AKP poll rate slightly fell to 51.5%
  • [16] Ultra Marathon Mountain Trail Running to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus with the participation of foreign countries

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Rompuy: "It is essential to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13), under the title "Turkey gets crucial EU messages on 5 issues", reports that the president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, has given strong support to Turkey's EU membership bid, Kurdish peace push and reforms while underlining the importance of a solution to the Cyprus issue and Turkey's importance in the trade talks between EU and the United States.

    Van Rompuy was in Ankara yesterday and held meetings with Turkey's top officials, including President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "As a candidate negotiating EU-membership, Turkey's ties to the union are already very strong. ... After a moment of standstill, this commitment will give a new impetus and will soon be translated into a concrete step forward. And I am confident other such concrete steps will follow. The accession negotiations are the main driver in our relationship," van Rompuy said during his speech at the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara. The council chief also voiced hope of "visa-free EU" for Turkey.

    On Turkey's peace push, van Rompuy said the bloc had noted with great respect the courage and vision the Turkish government had shown in launching a solution process on the Kurdish issue.

    "This is the best chance in a generation to resolve a conflict which has claimed far too many lives," van Rompuy said, adding that a resolution of the conflict could have many positive ramifications. "Perhaps even more than you'd now dare to hope."

    He also touched upon the negotiation of free trade area talks between the bloc and Washington, which he said was "a huge opportunity not just for both sides of the Atlantic, but also further beyond."

    "For Turkey, since you are part of the Customs Union with the EU, this trade deal will have important consequences too. That's why the European Union is looking into the best way to keep Turkey involved in the process. In the end it will benefit all," he said.

    On energy, van Rompuy said the bloc had a common interest in improving access to energy resources, particularly from the Caspian and Central Asia. "At a time of growing demand worldwide, diversifying supply sources are a must, be it from conventional or renewable energy. Given our common energy challenges, increasing our cooperation in energy matters is desirable. That's why European commissioners and Turkish Ministers last year agreed to deepen our energy relations in several ways."

    Related to energy issue, van Rompuy also touched on the Cyprus and said it was essential to find a solution for the divided island and the discovery of gas reserves could be incentive for peace talks. "It remains essential to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue. ... In particular, the discovery of gas reserves off the shores of Cyprus could be an incentive for peaceful reconciliation."

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot news portal Kibris Postasi (online, 24.05.13) reports that Herman Van Rompuy, in his speech at the TOBB, making a parallel with the reconciliation agreement between France and Germany with the Cyprus issue, said:

    "When looking into the Cyprus issue, I see a striking parallel with the European history. The historic reconciliation between France and Germany after many wars was built on the idea of sharing coal; coal and steel, the war-fuelling products, stood at the basis of the European project. In one brilliant move, political leaders on both sides turned around a situation, changing a mutual threat into a common opportunity.

    As I said one year ago in the Parliament in Nicosia: switching gas for coal, this could be beneficial for both communities in Cyprus and the Cyprus problem may be solved. We, as the European Union, we fully support a solution in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions".

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.05.13) reports that Chairman of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Rifat Hisarciklioglu, speaking at the "Conference of Latest Developments in the Turkey-EU Relations" with the attendance of President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, said, among other things that Turkey's membership would benefit the EU as much as Turkey. Adding that Turkey would invest more than USD 100 billion in energy sector within the next 10 years, Hisarciklioglu underlined that the energy resources and the pipelines needed by the EU fall within Turkey's surrounding.

    Commenting on the Cyprus problem, Hisarciklioglu argued that there is an urgent need of ending the "embargo" on "TRNC" (Edit. Note: the breakaway regime in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus) and added: "EU has a new decision mechanism which does not require consensus any more. This mechanism should be put in force. Such step will benefit both northern and southern parts of the island."

    [02] The decision for early "elections" remained for next week

    Under the title "Early election remained for next week", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (24.05.13) reports that the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus convened yesterday morning and discussed the issue of holding early "elections" on the 28th of July, 2013. According to the paper, tension was experienced during the discussion of the "draft-law". After the speeches of the "MPs", the "draft-law" was discussed article by article, but because it had not been submitted as "urgent" the discussion of the "draft-law" as a whole remained for another session.

    Today the "assembly" is expected to meet upon request by the Social Democracy Party (TDP), the Democratic Party (DP) and the "MPs" from the National Unity Party (UBP), who oppose to self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk's administration, in order to discuss the "motion of censure" submitted against the UBP self-styled government.

    Ozkan Yorgancioglu, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that his party signed the decision of holding early "election" in September and the "motion of censure" against the UBP "government" and that they back their signature. However, he added that they had said that they would support a proposal providing for holding "elections" earlier. He then thanked Ahmet Kasif, the leader of the opposition group within the UBP, for his "mature stance". He claimed that what the "country" needs was "elections" and added that they would vote in favor of holding "elections" on 28 July, because they accept this and it is the earliest date on which "elections" are technically possible.

    The leader of DP, Serdar Denktas said they want to submit a proposal providing for not holding the "elections" on 28 July, because this date coincides with a Moslem religious feast. He expressed the view that it would be more appropriate if the "elections" were held 15 days later.

    The chairman of the TDP, Mehmet Cakici described as "treason" what he called as agreement between the CTP and the UBP self-styled government on the issue of holding early "elections" on 28 July and argued that the aim is for Irsen Kucuk to remain on duty. He said that if someone proved that his party made an agreement with the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu, he would resign.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Eroglu responds to Kucuk

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 23.05.13), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu responded to statements made by so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk before entering the "council of ministers" meeting on Wednesday.

    Replying to journalists questions during a visit on Thursday, Eroglu said that he will no longer respond to Kucuk on any issue, adding that Kucuk does not recall the past correctly.

    "Let him do his job and I will do mine. In the end we are all running a 'state'", Eroglu said.

    Pointing out that Kucuk was being misguided, Eroglu said that Kucuk's problems within the party had started long before the National Unity Party (UBP) congress.

    He said contrary to what Kucuk has claimed, he himself had not isolated or expelled anyone during his terms as "prime minister".

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (24.05.13) reports that Eroglu, commenting also on the decision for early "elections", said that in order to have better results, a period of 3-5 months should be given to the political parties. He argued that the political parties would not be able to be prepared within two months, adding that during the summer the citizens are going vacation and in addition to this, July month coincides with the holy month of Ramadan.

    [04] KTOS to protest today against the illegal granting of the "citizenship"; The occupation regime intensifies the procedure for distributing more "citizenships" and plots of lands in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (24.05.13) reports that KTOS trade union will organized today in front of the building of the so-called embassy of Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus, a protest against the "distribution" of the occupation regime's citizenship.

    In statements about the issue, the general secretary of KTOS trade union, Sener Elcil called all he organizations which are opposed to the policy of distributing the "citizenship" to support the protest, adding that it is a custom for the Turkish officials to distribute the "TRNC citizenship" in a "pro-election" period.

    Meanwhile, in a written statement yesterday about the illegal distribution of "citizenship" by the occupation regime, the chairman of KTAMS trade union, Ahmet Kaptan stated that from the day the issue of the "early elections" came into the agenda, the staff of the "ministry of interior and local administration" works overtime in order to manage to fulfil the works and procedures for the distribution of the "citizenship" and plots of land.

    Kaptan went on saying that taking into consideration that few days were left until the "early elections", Kaptan said that the "migration department" has intensified its efforts for distributing 60 industrial plots to the occupied Vadili village, adding that this shoes a lack of respect against "people's will".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.05.13) publishes in its front-page statements by Nedime Ozatac, who is the lawyer who prepared the "citizenship law" during 1993, who has said to the paper that the "citizenship law" is illicit and that it must be abolished. "The citizenships given are given for political purposes, so it must be abolished. They make fake and false declarations for the "new citizenships". The "ministry of interior" misappropriates its "authorities".

    Ozatac added in her statements that the "citizenships" being granted by the occupation regime to the singer called Candan Ercetin and the actor Necati Sasmaz, were not granted on the ground that the above mentioned persons represented the occupation regime in a cultural event. "Those persons represented Turkey and their citizenships must be postponed", Ozatac said.

    (AK)

    [05] A new party to be founded in the occupied area of Cyprus; statements by Ahmet Kasif and Hasan Tacoy

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (24.05.13) reports that the eight expelled "deputies" of the National Unity Party (UBP) have announced that they will establish a new political party in the occupied area of Cyprus under the name: National Power's Party (UGP).

    In statements on the issue, Ahmet Kasif, "deputy" with UBP in occupied Famagusta and the leader of the opposition group of "deputies" who were expelled from the UBP, said that they are a group of politicians, who would like to continue in politics, so, they decided to continue their way with the foundation of a party which was established before, but it was not put into an effect. Kasif added: "With the party to be founded, we will be present in the forthcoming elections".

    Kasif made the above statements to Kibris TV, where he evaluated the latest developments in the occupied area of Cyprus and spoke about their future plans.

    Moreover, speaking at a program of a private TV channel in the occupied area of Cyprus, UBP's "deputy", Hasan Tacoy said that at the moment they changed the name of the "Free Thought Party" [Translator's note: Ozgur Dusunce Party, was formed in the occupied area of Cyprus in 2004 by Salih Cosar, former leader of Democrat Party (DP), and by many other politicians who quit DP] and that this will be renamed it into National Power's Party. Tacoy stated also that this party will be a centre left wing party and added: "We aim to make a coalition with DP before and after the elections. We are evaluating with the Democratic Party (DP) the possibility going to the elections with a coalition. Denktas sees this positively", Tacoy said.

    (AK)

    [06] A meeting on oil and natural gas was held in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (24.05.13) reports that the Besparmak Group [Translator's note: Besparmak means Pendathaktylos in the Turkish language], which is a think tank in the occupied area of Cyprus, held its first meeting yesterday on the issue of oil and natural gas in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone.

    Presentations were made on the "government's" policy on this issue by Mehmet Coskun, responsible of the "unit" for fuels in the self-styled ministry of economy and energy, on the technical aspect of the issue by oil expert Prof. Dr. Salih Saner, on the legal aspect of the issue by law Pr. Dr. Turgut Turhan and on the influence of the issue on reaching an agreement to the Cyprus problem by Ergun Olgun, coordinator of the technical committee during the discussion on the Annan Plan in 2004.

    Addressing the meeting, its coordinator, Ismail Bozkurt argued that the oil and natural gas, which had been found around the island, were a part of the Cyprus problem. He described them as "a very important element which changes the classical axis of the Cyprus problem as we know it". He alleged that the substance of the Cyprus problem, which he claimed is the unification of Cyprus with Greece, has not changed, but it acquired a very different character. He said that the aim of their Group was to assess the issue by carrying out studies from time to time and publicizing the results.

    In his speech, Mehmet Coskun said that after the land drilling at occupied Syngrasi village, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation launched geophysical and seismic land explorations in March 2013 and added that the "government" supports that the works should be completed within six months. He said that their view is that the natural gas or oil which will be found should be transferred to Europe over Turkey through pipelines, that both Turkish and Greek Cypriots have equal rights on Cyprus's natural resources and that these resources should be marketed after the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish government liberalizes oil sector despite opposition outcry

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13), Turkish Parliament will start to debate a controversial draft of Turkey's new petroleum law next week. The Government says that the new law would liberalize the sector significantly, although the opposing groups say that it would leave the state-run Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) in a weaker position.

    "The new draft law on petroleum affairs does not leave TPAO a weaker organization. In contrast it could get many more licenses for oil and gas exploration and drilling," Selami Incedalci, General Manager of General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs, to which the draft law gives many administrative and technical supervision responsibilities, said to HDN.

    According to the existing law, TPAO may acquire more licenses in each region provided that the total number of licenses does not exceed ten times the number of petroleum regions. However, the limitation on the number of licensees per region has been completely removed in the draft law. Further, TPAO no longer has any special privileges over other exploration companies.

    "The new draft extends the exploration powers of TPAO. Under the existing law, TPAO could have 180 licenses at most. Now this limitation will be removed. TPAO could have hundreds of licenses if it wants," Incedalci said.

    Opposition groups say the new draft makes TPAO a weaker organization. "TPAO will compete in the future tenders, like other companies, and lose its privileges as a state-run company if the draft is accepted. TPAO had already lost its refinery and station networks due to the privatizations in previous years and could now only fulfil exploration and operating activities. This will most probably make it much less competitive abroad," a sector representative said.

    No doubt that the petroleum law, adopted in 1954, is outdated, sector representatives agree. The law had to be revised a couple of times. The Turkish government appears to need foreign funds to finance its exploration and drilling activities.

    The new petroleum law draft's primary concern is to make the sector more competitive and more liberalized, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said previously.

    [08] Eric Rubin will be allegedly carry out contacts to the occupation regime

    Under the title "Remarkable contacts", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.05.13) reports that a 10- persons group of German Parliamentarians who were visiting the free area of the Republic of Cyprus for contacts, crossed over yesterday to the occupation regime where they held a meeting with the leader of the Toparlaniyoruz Movement (We are getting it together movement) in the occupied area of Cyprus, Kudret Ozersay.

    The same paper adds that Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of State in the USA, who was the only official with whom the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk has met with during his illegal contacts in the USA, will carry out a visit to Cyprus. The paper alleges that Rubin has asked for an appointment with the leader of the Toparlaniyoruz Movement, Ozersay. Rubin will also meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on May 30, writes the paper.

    Commenting on the Rubin's visit to the island, Prof. Dr. Ata Atun writes in his column that it is a remarkable development that Rubin is to visit Cyprus, supporting that it can be said that this person will be the one that will lay down the basis for the USA's policy on the Cyprus problem.

    (AK)

    [09] A new mosque to be constructed in occupied Zodia village

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (24.05.13) reports that a new mosque is planned to be constructed in occupied Zodia village.

    The issue came into the agenda during the meeting the "association for keeping alive Bostanci- Zodia and for the construction of a mosque in Zodia" held yesterday with the so-called mayor of occupied Morfou, Mahmut Ozcinar.

    According to a statement issued by the so-called municipality of Morfou, the chairman of the "association for keeping alive Bostanci- Zodia and for the construction of a mosque in Zodia" Sinasi Ozdes said that there is a lack of a mosque in occupied Zodia which has a population of 5.500 people, and added that the "association" continue its efforts for three years now, for a new mosque to be built there. Ozdas added that as a result of their works, a plot has been allocated for the construction of the mosque, while the project is on a stage to be launched soon, he said.

    Also speaking about the issue, the "mayor" of occupied Morfou, Mahmut Ozcinar said that the necessary initiatives were taken for the completion of the project the soonest possible.

    (AK)

    [10] Turkish PM sues opposition leader for one million in compensation

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed a million Turkish Liras lawsuit against the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu following the main opposition head's remarks likening him to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Kilicdaroglu had compared the two leaders in a recent meeting of the European Parliament's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), accusing both of ordering the deaths of their people and conducting an oppressive rule which heavily restricts people's freedoms, saying, "Between al-Assad and Erdogan, there is only a difference of shades."

    The statement had caused a stir at the meeting, causing S&D head Hannes Swoboda to define Kilicdaroglu's words as "impossible to accept" and calling on the party to retract the statement. The CHP did not respond to such requests, and Kilicdaroglu subsequently cancelled a meeting with Swoboda on May 16.

    Erdogan's lawyers filed the lawsuit a week after the row, calling on the court to fine the opposition leader a million liras in spiritual compensation and accusing Kilicdaroglu of overstepping freedom of speech.

    Erdogan's legal team branded Kilicdaroglu's statement as "inappropriate" and "wrongful", accusing the leader of ignoring the interests of the public and attacking the Prime Minister's personal rights.

    The complaint further mentioned Kilicdaroglu's previous fines which he had received by courts over the course of time for cases related to Erdogan, saying the leader should be forced to pay "a heavy price" for speaking in such a manner when facing a wide and international audience like the European Parliament.

    [11] Officer in custody over leaks on Reyhanli attack

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13) reports that a gendarmerie officer suspected of leaking secret documents to a Turkish hacker group has been taken into custody, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Huseyin Celik has said as the Prime Minister called on the media to act in a sensitive manner in such issues.

    "This is not an issue of hacking," Celik told reporters today in Ankara. "A private from gendarmerie took photos of the documents with his mobile and sent them. This was made clear and he was detained," he said. The case was a leaking, he confirmed.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, said during a joint press meeting today with the EU President Herman van Rompuy in Ankara that giving the names of organizations would help their propaganda, warning the media. "These issues are closely followed by the intelligence," he said.

    "The [documents] were not procured by hacking the Gendarmerie General Command's website," Interior Minister Muammer Guler said still in Ankara yesterday. "It was determined that an identified officer at the provincial Gendarmerie command has taken a picture of these papers, which were due to be sent to the subordinate troops, and transmitted to the hackers via email. The investigation on the incident is continuing," Guler said.

    He also implied that the leaked documents were authentic. "Some of the information mentioned referred to intelligence reports on attack preparations of certain terrorist groups. There are some parts related with Reyhanli," Guler said. He also added that the Turkish authorities were certain that the May 11 bombings were carried out by individuals linked with the Syrian intelligence agency, the Mukhabarat, as previously stated. "We don't have any doubt about who organized the Reyhanli attack."

    Meanwhile, the hacker group said the officer detained for allegedly leaking the documents was innocent. "If that officer is the person that leaked us information, how is that we knew before them that a witch hunt was launched among the military that they would sacrifice 'innocent' officers?" the group said via Twitter.

    Redhack had twitted hours before Celik's announcement that officials tried to put the blame on a "poor soldier."

    [12] Turkey to build 2.5-kilometer-long wall on Syria border

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 23.05.13), Turkey is to build a 2.5-kilometer-long wall along the Cilvegozu border gate with Syria to prevent illegal crossings, Trade and Customs Minister Hayati Yazici announced on May 23. The Cilvegozu-Bab al-Hawa gate lies less than 10 kilometres from Reyhanli town centre, where a twin-bomb attack killed 51 and wounded more than 100 on May 11.

    A protocol with the Turkish Armed Forces has already been signed for the construction of the wall, Yazici added.

    "According to the protocol, we have defined a project that aims to increase the security of the military zone by building a part barbed wire, part concrete wall with [security camera] system," he said, adding that the x-ray control devices uses would be extended. "These devices scan cars while they cross the border. We sent them to Cilvegozu and we are working to increase their number."

    [13] New Amnesty report says freedom of expression still restricted in Turkey

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 23.05.13) reports that Human rights group Amnesty International has said in its recent report that freedom of expression is still restricted in Turkey despite limited legislative reforms in the country, examining a number of cases where it says freedom of expression was violated.

    In the report, titled "Annual Report 2013, the state of the world's human rights", which was released on Thursday, the rights group said although the Turkish Parliament had passed a series of reforms as part of the "Third Judicial Package," which abolished or amended several laws used to limit freedom of expression, the reforms did not amend the definitions of offenses used to limit freedom of expression, including, notably, those contained in anti-terrorism legislation.

    "Little progress was made in addressing the restrictions on freedom of expression in the media and more widely in civil society. Criminal prosecutions frequently targeted non-violent dissenting opinions, particularly on controversial political issues and criticism of public officials and institutions. Dissenting opinions related to issues of Kurdish rights and politics were foremost of those subjected to criminal prosecution," the group said.

    Amnesty International also examined a number of cases in Turkey in which it says freedom of expression was violated, including that of conscientious objector Halil Savda who was imprisoned for "alienating the public from military service" under Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK); that of Fazil Say, who was prosecuted for "publicly insulting religious values" in tweets he posted mocking religious individuals and Islamic conceptions of heaven; that of journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, who were released after being held in custody before trial for 375 days for "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization"; and that of academics Ragip Zarakolu and Busra Ersanli, who were prosecuted for membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization encompassing the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    The report also criticized Turkey for excessive force used by police to break up peaceful demonstrations; investigations into and prosecutions of alleged human rights abuses by state officials, which it says were flawed; and the pattern of "unfair trials" under anti-terrorism legislation.

    On torture and ill treatment in official places of detention, the report said in March boys held at Pozanti prison in the southern province of Adana were transferred, following allegations that prison officials had subjected them to abuse, including sexual abuse.

    Commenting on the state of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Amnesty International stated that the Turkish government failed to adopt promised legislation protecting the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in its territory.

    [14] Turkish Government imposes strict ban on alcohol sales

    Under the title "Turkish Parliament adopts alcohol restrictions, bans sale between 10 pm and 6 am", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13) reports that Parliament's General Assembly has adopted a highly controversial alcohol bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), tightening restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages, despite strong objections against the bill on the grounds of personal freedom and respect for lifestyle choices.

    The proposal was swiftly put on the agenda, despite the protests from the opposition, and was eventually adopted early in the morning of May 24 following debates which ran on past midnight. The AKP has acted remarkably fast in bringing the legislative package to the agenda of Parliament's General Assembly, within a period of a mere two days.

    According to the bill, retailers will no longer be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The opposition parties strongly criticized the amendments, arguing that such a ban should not include touristic regions. "[Alcohol] banned during night prayers, but allowed during morning prayers," a Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy said about the proposition.

    The head of the Planning and Budget Commission, Lutfu Elvan of the AKP, said that such restrictions were in place in many Western countries. "This approach of night prayers and morning prayers saddened me. In Sweden, [the retail sale of alcohol] is forbidden after 7 p.m. on weekdays, 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 24 hours on Sundays. There are similar restrictions in all Scandinavian countries," he said.

    "No one can be forced to drink or not to drink. This is a religious and ideological imposition," Musa Cam, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said. "This is not a struggle against the ills of alcohol but an attempt to re-design the society according to their beliefs and lifestyle," he added.

    All sorts of advertising campaigns will be completely banned, such as promotions, sponsored activities, festivals and free giveaways. The only exception will be the international fairs aimed at international marketing of the alcoholic beverages.

    Violators of the advertising ban will be punished with financial penalties ranging from 5000 to 200,000 Turkish liras.

    Under the bill, alcohol companies would no longer be allowed to promote their brands and logos, these can only be used as part of service inside the facility.

    Additionally, all liquor bottles sold would have to display warning signs about the harms of alcohol, again similar to those found on cigarette packages.

    In TV series, films and music videos, images that glorify the consumption of alcohol will be prohibited. Images of alcohol would be blurred, the same way as cigarettes are being blurred at the moment.

    BDP deputy Murat Bozlak also demonstrated their disapproval of the bill as he said "Nobody has the right to impose the monotype lifestyle on the society."

    Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed to be purchased from vending machines. Beverages could not be sold from see-through shop windows and cannot be sold to be consumed outside the facility.

    Student dormitories, health institutions, sports clubs, all sorts of education institutions and gas stations will be banned from selling alcohol. Already acquired licenses to sell alcohol will remain intact, yet to get new ones, facilities are required to be located outside the perimeter of 100 meters of educational and religious centres.

    Those who want to get licenses to sell alcohol from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) will be conditioned to get the license to open up a business from the municipality and then a tourism document from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Before granting a license the municipalities will get the opinion of the authorized law enforcement forces.

    The alcohol limit for drivers has also been decreased from 1 to 0.5 promil. If the driver is to exceed this limit, they will be penalized with a fine of 700 liras and their driving license will be seized for a period of six months.

    [15] AKP poll rate slightly fell to 51.5%

    Under the title "Ruling party poll rate slightly fell to 51.5 percent: Source", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 24.05.13) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) poll rate fell from 52.9% to 51.5% in March, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his party's Central Executive Board (MYKY), according to sources.

    In their meeting on May 22, several topics including the peace process, the latest surveys, the U.S. visit, Syria and the situation in the region and the Reyhanli attack were debated, party sources told the Daily News.

    The latest survey of the research company KONDA was shared by Erdogan at the meeting. According to this survey, while the AKP stood at 51.5% support, the Republican People's Party (CHP) had 21%, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 14%, and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) had 8.5%. While the AKP was able to maintain its 50% band in the March/April survey, which coincided with the start of the resolution process, the BDP increased to 8.5%, bringing it a little closer to the election threshold of 10%. While the MHP's rate also increased, the CHP's dropped by one point.

    In the survey, which the AKP had asked KONDA to conduct before the Nevruz festival on March 21, the AKP's rate was 52.9%, the CHP's was 22%, the MHP's was 12.7%, and the BDP's was 6.9%. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan announced on Nervruz that the PKK militants would start withdrawing from Turkey.

    Even though the BDP participated in the elections with independent candidates, its voting rate has been measured at an average of 6 to 7% from June 2011 to February 2013, which was the start of the peace process.

    Commenting on a separate study on public support for the peace process, Erdogan said the efforts to find a solution to the Kurdish issue were backed by 65% of the population. The willingness to listen to the "wise persons" commissions, stood at 85%, Erdogan said.

    [16] Ultra Marathon Mountain Trail Running to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus with the participation of foreign countries

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (24.05.13) reports that competitors from twelve countries are expected to attend the "Ultra Patika racing" (Translator's note: patika is an Ultra Marathon Mountain Trail Running), which will take place in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    As the paper writes, athletes from 12 countries will participate to 12 km Ultra Patika racing which is to take place between the occupied Kantara Casstle and the Bellapais Abbey.

    The event which will take place on May 25, is organized by the so-called "municipality" of occupied Keryneia and will be sponsored by the "Near East Bank".

    The countries to be participating are: Australia, the UK, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Kuwait, Scotland, Russia, Lebanon, South Africa and Turkey.

    (AK) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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


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