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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-06-18

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. 112/13 18/06/13

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] EU has no respect for democracy, says Turkish PM Erdogan
  • [02] Reactions by EU leaders on Erdogan's criticism over Gezi Park protests
  • [03] AKP to continue holding rallies this week
  • [04] Trade Unions call strike in support of Gezi Park protests; Minister warns workers of "consequences of illegal strikes"
  • [05] Arinc said Turkey could use army if needed; later he retracted his statement
  • [06] "Standing man" protest; Police detained protesters and raid homes
  • [07] Government working on draft to restrict social media in Turkey
  • [08] Commentaries on Gezi Park protests
  • [09] Kurdish conference ends with list of demands from government
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot trade unions express support to protestors in Turkey
  • [11] Efforts to promote halloumi cheese abroad continue
  • [12] Siber reads her "interim government's" program at the "assembly"
  • [13] Developments within the Turkish Cypriot political parties prior to the "elections"
  • [14] The regime launches a campaign to paint its flag on occupied Pentadaktylos Mountains

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] EU has no respect for democracy, says Turkish PM Erdogan

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 17.06.13) with the above title reported that Turkey and the EU have 'different opinions on freedom' and the EU 'does not respect democracy,' says PM Erdoan, as international pressure on Ankara grows regarding the police crackdown on protesters.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan continued his harshly-worded criticisms against the European Union yesterday, accusing Brussels of being "undemocratic" in his latest reaction against the recent European Parliament resolution critical against of the government's handling of the ongoing protests.

    "Do you have the right to take such a decision [on Turkey]? You stay silent about what's happening in France, in England and elsewhere in Europe, and you dare to take a decision on our security forces, who are exercising their duty of law enforcement against those demonstrators. You are anti-democratic," Erdoan said at a meeting in Ankara on Monday.

    "You [EU] do not respect democracy. Your definition of freedom is different. You support those who attack the freedom of others," he added.

    Describing the activities of the Gezi Park activists as an attempt to restrict the freedom of him and others, Erdoan repeated his attack on the European Parliament by saying he did not "recognize" it. "I do not recognize this Parliament of the European Union," he said.

    The prime minister sharpened his tone against the EU and European countries in two mass rallies he held over the weekend, accusing some "world powers" of being partners of "internal plotters" aiming to weaken his government. He said he did not recognize the decision of the European Parliament last week, but on Monday he took it further by saying that he no longer recognized the entire European Parliament.

    Almost all the heavyweights of the EU issued criticism of the Turkish government with calls to respect the right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of expression, and calls to end the police's excessive use of force against peaceful activists. The response from Turkish officials was harsh and also included counter-accusations of these countries' and their international media of provoking demonstrations through misinformation and distortion.

    Giving examples of how the international media was playing its role in a "defamation" campaign against the government, Erdoan again took aim at CNN International. "CNN's [International] subtitle described our rally [on Sunday] as a demonstration against the government. But it deleted this one or two hours later without feeling ashamed. There were more than one million people there. They have all been gathered there to stand against anti-democratic demonstrations," he said.

    Erdoan also categorized this campaign against his government as directly targeting Turkey's growing economy and "improving democracy."

    [02] Reactions by EU leaders on Erdogan's criticism over Gezi Park protests

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 17.06.13), under the title "Erdoan, EU leaders exchange criticism over Taksim protests", reported that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan lashed out once again at the European Parliament on Monday, saying he does not recognize the EU body, as criticism from Europe flooded in over the way he handled the three-week protests against his government.

    According to the paper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and some leading members of the European Parliament criticized the Prime Minister's response to the protests.

    Merkel said on Monday she was shocked at Turkey's tough response to anti-government protests but stopped short of demanding that the European Union call off accession talks with the candidate country.

    "I'm appalled, like many others," Merkel said of Turkey's handling of two weeks of unrest that began over a redevelopment project in Istanbul's Gezi Park but has grown into a broader protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan and his government.

    "I would like to see those who have criticism, who have a different opinion and a different idea of society, having some space in a Turkey that moves into the 21st century," Merkel told German broadcaster RTL.

    Asked whether Ankara's response to the protests was in line with the way an EU accession candidate should act, Merkel said, "What's happening in Turkey at the moment is not in line with our idea of the freedom to demonstrate or freedom of speech.

    "They are terrible images. ... I can only hope that the problems will be solved peacefully," she was reported as saying by Reuters in the televised interview, which was due to be aired later on Monday.

    On Monday, the European politicians continued to point criticism at the Turkish government over the handling of the protests. Hannes Swoboda, the President of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, slammed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan for refusing to recognize the European Parliament resolution on the Turkey protests and said that Erdoan's remarks could only mean that he does not want to become a member of the European Union.

    "Mr. Erdoan has said he refuses to recognize the European Parliament and he refuses to recognize those who protest against him, his government and his policies. Ignoring the European Parliament can only mean he does not want Turkey to become a member of the European Union," a statement issued by Swoboda's office said on Monday.

    The European Parliament resolution received a lot of criticism from the Turkish authorities who described it as unacceptable and one-sided.

    The Socialist Parliamentarian also condemned the Turkish government for a new round of clashes with protesters at Istanbul's Gezi Park on Saturday night where the protesters were dismantled and chased away with tear gas and water cannons. "Again we ask him [Erdoan] to act as a statesman and not just as a party political leader," said the statement.

    "Ignoring the voices of his people means that he is failing as a head of government. It should be his job to bring people together and not to divide them further," the statement added.

    Andrew Duff, a British politician and a senior member of the European Parliament, urged leaders at the G-8 summit taking place in Northern Ireland to make a clear statement on the "escalating crisis in Turkey."

    In a statement, Duff said he wrote to G-8 leaders and told them not to miss the opportunity of their meeting to condemn the provocative stance adapted by Erdoan.

    Underlining the European Parliament resolution, Duff said the bloc has every right to comment on a democratic crisis in a country that is trying to join the EU. The statement asked the summit leaders to call on Erdoan's government to "scrap the Gezi Park development and promise to improve urban planning laws in a democratic direction."

    Besides, the statement asked the protesters to stay away from the violence.

    Another European official who called Turkish officials to be more careful with police intervention was Thorbj?rn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe. "Authorities have to take appropriate measures with regard to demonstrations in order to ensure their peaceful conduct and the safety of all citizens," he said in a statement and called for proportionate police intervention.

    The statement branded the use of tear gas in confined places, including hospitals as unnecessary and disproportionate.

    "I believe it is important to recall the legally binding standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the freedom of assembly -- and its limits," it added.

    In the meantime, Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement today on the postponement of the committee delegation visit to Turkey, scheduled to take place on 19 and 20 June:

    "In the face of the declarations made by representatives of the government of Turkey the committee has decided to postpone its visit. I regret this. Turkey is and remains an important partner for the EU but should understand how to deal with criticism. We will pursue contacts with our counterparts in Turkey to re-establish a constructive dialogue with them."

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.06.13) reported that Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek has spoken on the phone with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz about EP's recent resolution concerning Taksim protests.

    Cicek restated EP's decision on Taksim protests was not fair and thus not accepted by Turkey.

    [03] AKP to continue holding rallies this week

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.06.13), Turkish Prime Minister and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue the "Respect to National Will" campaign rallies this week.

    The rallies under the theme of "Let's spoil the big game and write history" will continue in the big cities of Anatolia as reaction to the Taksim Gezi Park protests.

    The next rallies, where Erdogan will speak to the people will take place in the central Anatolia province of Kayseri on June 21, in the eastern province of Erzurum on June 22 and in the northern province of Samsun on June 23.

    [04] Trade Unions call strike in support of Gezi Park protests; Minister warns workers of "consequences of illegal strikes"

    According to Ankara Anadolia news agency (17.06.13), a number of Turkish Unions and Union Confederations began a strike Monday [17 June] to show their support for Taksim Gezi Park protests.

    Among the unions were The Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Trade Unions (DISK), Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK), Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), Turkish Doctors' Union (TTB), Turkish Dental Association (TDB).

    Demonstrators rallied at noon in the Turkish capital of Ankara chanting slogans in support of the Taksim protests.

    "Prime minister and the Government should do what the Taksim Platform demands, if peace is expected," DISK chairman Kani Beko said, adding that they would keep on the protests until their demands were agreed by the Government.

    "There is an excessive use of force by police in Turkey against legitimate requests," claimed Secretary General of TTB Beyazid Ilhan criticising the police tactics in Taksim Gezi Park protests to disperse protesters.

    On the other hand, Confederation of Unions of Civil Servants (MEMUR-SEN) criticised the strike, saying the strike "only helps the international pro-coup mind-set."

    MEMUR-SEN said in a statement that the Gezi Park protests turned into plot to overthrow the government in undemocratic ways.

    Stating that the protests all served for "interest rate lobbies", MEMUR-SEN said, "We agree with the legal strikes and actions of civil disobedience of all the unions and non-profit organisations in Turkey. However, Taksim protests have lost their legitimacy destroying our country in every field including economy and tourism. We call for an end to the protests before they do more harm to our country and people."

    Furthermore, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 17.06.13), under the title "Turkish minister warns workers of 'consequences of illegal strike'", reports that workers joining a strike declared by several unions and organizations against the police violence during 20 days of protests will face consequences, the Interior Minister has said.

    "I request public servants not participate in illegal actions," Muammer G?ler said while answering questions from journalists in Ankara today. "Otherwise you will have to bear the consequences," he said.

    The strike decision is illegal and no one has the right to disturb daily life with such protests, G?ler said.

    [05] Arinc said Turkey could use army if needed; later he retracted his statement

    Under the title "Army may step in to stop protests if need be: Deputy PM Ar1n?", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 17.06.13) reports that Deputy Prime Minister B?lent Ar1n? has given almost unconditional support to the police, while affirming that environmentalist protests have ended and the remaining protests will be suppressed immediately by the police. He added that if the police do not suffice, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) could take on the responsibility.

    "What is required of us is to stop it if there is a protest against the law. There is the police, if that's not enough there's the gendarmerie, if that's not enough there is the TSK. These authorities exist in the laws," Ar1n? said today in a televised interview.

    "They [the police] will use all the authority given to them. Nobody should complain about the police," Ar1n? said in a live show on A Haber new channel, while claiming that those who criticize the police are the ones who vandalize cities.

    "Demonstrations have gone out of a Gezi protest. They have gone out of being legal. These can continue on the streets, in districts. They will be immediately suppressed and legal process will be commenced about those responsible. I think the innocent demonstrations that began 20 days ago have completely ended," Ar1n? said, hinting at yet more police intervention.

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.06.13) reports that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc strongly condemned Monday [17 June] BBC over featuring a news story which he said was used in a misleading way.

    Arinc sent a letter to BBC editor-in-chief concerning the matter.

    "The interview that I gave to A Haber, a news outlet based in Turkey, on Monday was taken out of context by the BBC and used misleadingly and at variance with its intended meaning," said Arinc adding he expected that the story be corrected.

    In the letter, Arinc said "The BBC piece that featured bits from the interview created the misperception that the Turkish government might use its army and all its forces to suppress the protests."

    Referring to the rights of the government as per law, Arinc reminded the following:

    "The AK Party would never consider declaring a state of emergency or anything similar. We are in charge of everything in Turkey. Our government keeps everything under control and exposes the perpetrators of every lawless action, and holds them to account. Just twelve days after establishing our first government, we ended a state of emergency that had been going on for twenty years. We have neither the will nor the intention to enforce it again. The powers that we are entitled with are sufficient to settle such events. The obligations of our law enforcement officers are clearly specified. When a societal event breaks out in a region, our governors are responsible for restoring order and security. In such a case, they deploy firstly police forces, then gendarmeries. If the incidents become widespread, armed forces might be also called on the governor's order to establish peace. This should not be misperceived. The powers that Law 5442 grants to governors are used to their full extent so that our governors can maintain order."

    Arinc stressed in the letter that he specifically emphasized during the interview that the phrase "armed forces might be also used on the governor's order to establish peace" should not be misunderstood.

    "I condemn this attitude which I find exemplary of the BBC's biased journalism," said Arinc, "in covering the Gezi Park protests since the very beginning."

    [06] "Standing man" protest; Police detained protesters and raid homes

    Under the title "Turkish civil disobedience protester detained briefly", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.06.13), reported that a man's single act of defiance tonight turned into a group of people's silent struggle for the right to protest in Taksim Square.

    However, after almost six hours of standing silently in Taksim Square he and the group that gathered were detained by police, according to daily H?rriyet. Eyewitnesses said he was immediately released after being held by police for a short period of time.

    The "standing man" was identified as performance artist Erdem G?nd?z. The young man started standing after police conducted a bag search. He then stood in the same place without moving, staring at the flag of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk, which is hung on the Atat?rk Culture Center (AKM), a scene of the struggle between police and protesters over the last three weeks.

    He was soon joined by a group of fellow demonstrators, who all came to stand in silence beside him, staring in the same direction.

    News of the "standing man" began spreading on social media shortly after the act of defiance began, and the Twitter hashtag@duranadam ("standing man") quickly became the world's top Twitter trending topic.

    The various banners and flags hanging on the AKM cultural center and the Atat?rk statue were removed by police on June 11, and only two Turkish flags and an Atat?rk poster remained on the AKM. The standing man has his eyes fixed on the three remaining flags.

    However, Turkish police at the scene reportedly called on the crowd to disperse from the square, ominously echoing warnings that preceded harsh interventions in demonstrations in the square recently. They then intervened to detain the group that had gathered. Moreover, news portal World Bulletin (17.06.13) reported that police detained 112 protesters including a Russian, a French and an Iranian during Gezi Park demonstrations in captial Ankara and neighbouring province of Eskisehir.

    Early Monday morning, police intervened in the Gezi Park demonstrations in Eskisehir's Yenibaglar neighbourhood and detained 7 people including a French citizen.

    Furthermore, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.06.13) reported that anti-terror security teams detained several people in raids at their homes in Istanbul and Ankara early today as part of the Taksim Gezi Park protests.

    The places raided as part of this operation included At1l1m Newspaper and Etkin News Agency in Istanbul, daily H?rriyet reported. After the health checks, the detainees were sent to the police department at Istanbul's Vatan Street.

    Meanwhile, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy S1rr1 S?reyya ?nder wrote on his Twitter account that around 70 people were detained early this morning including the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) member Alp Alt1n?rs.

    Separately, 193 people were detained in Istanbul in total and 22 of them were accused of "organizing violent protests and calling on people to attend illegal demonstrations." These 22 people will be interrogated for four days.

    Police also raided 26 addresses in Ankara, Doan news agency reported. The agency said there were detention orders regarding the demonstrations held in the capital to support the Gezi Park protests, the report said.

    [07] Government working on draft to restrict social media in Turkey

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.06.13), the Turkish Government launched yesterday a study to restrict social media, an attempt that has been inspired by the Gezi protests that have spread across the country.

    The Justice Ministry has started working on a draft on crimes over the Internet, Ministry sources told the H?rriyet Daily News yesterday. "International implementations regarding the issue are being inspected," the source said.

    Yesterday's remarks by Interior Minister Muammer G?ler also confirmed that social media websites are on the Government's radar, as the protesters who have been shaking the country for nearly 20 days have widely used social media as a tool to organize demonstrations. The police are making efforts on this issue, G?ler told a group of journalists in Ankara, noting that some people had been detained in Izmir because of their allegedly provocative tweets during the protests.

    "We have a study on those who provoke the public via manipulations with false news and lead them to actions that would threaten the security of life and property by using Twitter, Facebook or other tools of the social media," G?ler said. "Still, we think that the issue needs a separate regulation," he said.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan has already taken a bold stance against Twitter, calling the micro-blogging site a "troublemaker" on June 2.

    Citizens cannot be permitted to conduct a "witch hunt" over Twitter, President Abdullah G?l said June 7, according to Turkish Bar Association head Metin Feyziolu, who met with the head of state over the Gezi Park protests. "In this process, everyone needs to act responsibly and with restraint. I will not allow a witch hunt over Twitter. I will be following the judicial and executive investigation," G?l said, according to Feyziolu.

    A state department working against cybercrimes has already started to investigate some 5 million tweets about the Gezi Park protests.

    [08] Commentaries on Gezi Park protests

    Columnist Utku Cakirozer, writing in Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (17.06.13), under the title "Phones calls from Washington, Could Syria be there real reason?", argues that there is a link between Gezi intervention and US decision on Syria.

    Cakirozer writes: "Most of us may not have paid attention to the 'simultaneous' occurring of the US decision to give arms support to the opposition with a more active policy on Syria and the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government's initiatives to bring the Gezi Park resistance to a halt at whatever cost."

    Columnist wonders why Erdogan did not show a little more patience as the number of participants in the Gezi Park would have been a lot reduced compared to the past weeks, and he gave the order to intervene, by adding: "The park was evacuated with an intervention carried out by an extremely merciless police force that took aim even at children. The critical question here is: Why did Erdogan choose an emergency police intervention instead of dissolving the Gezi resistance in due course since it was already on the wane?

    At this point we can return to the Washington link we made at the beginning. We think Erdogan and his officials knew in advance from the 'very high-level contacts' made with Washington that Obama was going for a change in the policy on Syria. As this was a change that Ankara had been wanting for a long time, they were conscious of their obligation to give full support to the Obama administration.

    After the US decision, news came to the agenda that a 'no-fly zone' would be implemented in the south of Syria to be controlled from the Jordanian border. Before long, there will be scenarios of a similar practice put in place in the north from Turkey. The AKP government needs public support to be able to respond to such demands.

    It is because of this that Erdogan may have concluded that the country's focus needed to shift at once from 'the issue over a few trees' to the issue over Syria."

    Cakirozer concluded as following: "Who can guarantee that the hundreds of thousands of people who put up a resistance for two whole weeks to save a few trees without fear against the bullets, batons, gas, and water cannons of the police, will not fill up the city squares to prevent our country from participating in a bloody war in Syria that does not have any legitimacy?"

    On the same issue, columnist Barcin Yinanc, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.06.13), argues that not only Erdogan gives credit to conspiracy theories in Turkey, but also the older generations among the protestors are very fond of them. She writes that at the beginning people started talking about Washington's decision to finally "scrap" Erdogan, adding that "numerous statements coming from Washington criticizing the Turkish government's reaction to demonstrators and CNN international's nonstop live coverage of the police crackdown on Gezi on June 11 led some to conclude that the United States would like to see Justice and Development Party (AKP) gone".

    However, she continues, "the new conspiracy scenario voiced by some of the protestors is now completely in contrast to the first one. Washington apparently wants to support Ankara against the demonstrators. The fact that Washington decided to arm Syrian rebels after stating that its red line about the use of chemical weapons had been crossed, is intended to divert attention and the sudden lack of interest from CNN international (indeed the news channel went mute on Saturday when police entered Gezi park) was not a coincidence; according to some."

    Columnist Rusen Cakir, writing in Turkish daily Vatan (17.06.13), under the title "The victor on this path is considered the vanquished", calls on Erdogan to stop '"confrontational" language.

    He considers that the state/government is the loser at this fight, arguing that "the state thought it could easily break a disorganized and spontaneous resistance using police, tear gas, water cannons and arrests. It failed to understand that the resistance drew its strength from this lack of organization, and it failed to predict that after a certain point the fear barrier could be overcome."

    Cakir writes that "Erdogan has made the most critical mistakes of his political career at this time. First off, this time he not demonstrated the cool-headedness and calmness that he had shown in so many other previous incidents that were much more critical. This being the case, he is trying to portray the Gezi resistance as one of the biggest conspiracies ever to be staged against Turkey."

    He also argues that Erdogan holds certain power centres both at home and abroad responsible for this conspiracy, sometimes naming them and sometimes by implication. However, Cakir adds that "there is a serious problem here. Most of the power centres he mentions have been a kind of insurance for the AKP government for more than 10 years. For example, would the AKP have been able to overcome the many obstacles before it in the past were it not for the backing and the legitimacy provided by the international media and such institutions as the EU and the European Parliament?"

    Columnist writes that perhaps the AKP leader thinks he no longer needs these forces as much as he used to.

    Sedat Laciner, columnist in Turkish daily Star (16.06.13), under the title "Plans of chaos via Gezi Park", argues that Gezi Park is preparation for coup.

    Laciner writes that Gezi Park turned into a virtual magnet that attracts all anti-Erdogan elements, adding "It would be wrong to attribute these to coincidences because the protests that were staged after Gezi Park were the most organized and best planned demonstrations I have ever seen".

    He considers that Turkey, especially in foreign policy, has pushed the limits of its power too much and the Government has miscalculated the effects of foreign policy on domestic politics.

    "The incidents that were organized after Gezi Park were clearly part of a project. Their goal was to create chaos in Turkey and to portray Turkey as an ungovernable and undemocratic country. The events are an obvious preparation for a coup. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the person in their crosshairs. An attempt has been made to start an Arab Spring in Turkey and to create a dictator out of Erdogan", Laciner writes.

    Under the title "Will Erdogan benefit from demonstrations?", columnist Semih Idiz, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.06.13), argues that Erdogan has enjoyed a support by many different groups and circles. He was supported by liberals on his approach on the Cyprus problem in 2003, and on his bold opening on the Kurdish issue.

    In addition to these liberals also admired Erdogan for putting a halt to military undemocratic interferences in the political domain.

    Idiz writes: "Put another way, the overwhelming support Erdogan has been enjoying since the AKP came to power in 2002 was not based solely on his and his party's Islamist identity. His supporters included a diverse coalition comprising various interest groups that were promoting genuine democracy and human rights, getting even with the military for its past misdeeds, or merely hoping to line their pockets more in the stable economic environment.

    With such support behind him and a massive mandate from the electorate Erdoan, with proper governance, could have truly etched a place for himself in the history books as one of the greatest leaders Turkey has produced."

    Idiz continues: "Now it appears more and more that it is the Islamist Erdogan who is up front and as such he has no interest in making peace with the secular elite? this will make him a man of the past and not of the future." He concludes: "It is therefore a wide open question as to whether those elements that supported him for reasons other than his Islamism in the past will continue to do so in the future."

    [09] Kurdish conference ends with list of demands from government

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 17.06.13) reports that a two-day conference in the city of Diyarbak1r held June 15-16 has ended with a declaration listing the demands of Turkey's Kurds including freedom for the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK), Abdullah ?calan, and special autonomous status for Turkey's Kurdish-dominated regions.

    The conference, titled the "North Kurdistan Unity and Solution Conference," was reportedly organized by pro-PKK groups as per the request of Abdullah ?calan. The declaration that came out of the conference will be shared with ?calan, who is serving life on 0mral1 Island in the Sea of Marmara, the PKK headquarters in Kandil, northern Iraq, the United Nations and the European Union.

    The declaration was read out loud by Kurdish politician Aysel Tuluk, who is an independent deputy representing Van, and a co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) organization. The DTK, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP) also signed the declaration as well as many civil society organizations.

    The declaration stated that "The peoples of Kurdistan have the right to determine their own status in the form of autonomy, federation or independence." It also said the conference participants had agreed on principle that the right of "the peoples of Kurdistan" to self-determination can only be exercised through the votes of the people of the region. The declaration demanded freedom for ?calan and also that the PKK be taken off of Turkey's and other international organizations' list of terrorist organizations.

    The declaration also demanded the right to education in the Kurdish language, and the recognition of Kurdish as an official language in Turkey. The declaration also called on the creation of a democratic constitution for Turkey. It also demanded affirmative action for the region, calling on economic incentives and financial stimuli for the Kurdish region. The declaration further demanded the release of "political prisoners," referring to arrestees and convicts who have been imprisoned as part the investigation regarding the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which Turkish prosecutors say is the mother network of the terrorist PKK. It also called on the state to undertake its responsibilities for finding the perpetrators of state-sponsored killings in the region.

    The declaration also demanded an end to discrimination against women at all levels and an end to state policies threatening the wellbeing of Turkey's Armenians, Syriacs, Arabs, Mihallemi, Turkmen and other ethnic groups as well as religious groups such as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Ezidi, Alevi and others. It also called for the convention of a "national conference," that would bring together Kurds of Iraq, Turkey and other countries together.

    [10] Turkish Cypriot trade unions express support to protestors in Turkey

    Under the title "They came face to face with the police barricade", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.06.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot "civil servants" trade union (KTAMS) held yesterday a three-hour general strike and a demonstration yesterday morning between 09.00 and 12.00 in order to express its support to the "resistance fighters" in Turkey and its solidarity with the Turkish trade unions DISK and KESK which back the resistance. A group of 100 persons marched towards the Turkish 'embassy" to the occupied part of Lefkosia but came face to face with so-called police barricades. The demonstrators held a two-minute sitting protest in the middle of the street and after that they went away peacefully.

    The demonstration was supported by the Trade Unions Platform, the New Cyprus Party and the Baraka Cultural Centre. Slogans such as "Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere resistance", you give us one and take five from us and without feeling ashamed you call us handmaiden" and "We are by DISK and KESK's side in the struggle for freedom and democracy".

    In statements during the protest, KTAMS chairman, Ahmet ?aptan said that the people of Turkey will suffer a lot from Justice and Development Party's (AKP) tyranny and added that the Turkish Cypriots will be in the same situation. He recalled the rallies organized by the Turkish Cypriots on 28 January 2012 and 2 March 2012 with the participation of 60 thousand persons and noted that some called them "handmaiden" then. He said that they accept to be "handmaiden", if this means that they defend the values of their community and their country. Kaptan noted that the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who had called on the Syrian president Assad to listen to the voice of his people, ignores his people's voice demanding for more freedom.

    In statements on behalf of the Trade Unions' Platform, Tahir Gokcebel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot secondary school teachers' trade union (KTOEOS), said that a "plundering system" exists in Turkey, all the private and public fields have been given away to the supporters of the government and the economy has been shared between 3-5 families. Gokcebel noted that the same thing has been done in the occupied area of Cyprus as well by the previous self-styled government.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Efforts to promote halloumi cheese abroad continue

    Under the title "We explain that it is our product", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.06.13) reports that Ali Cirali, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry has said that they are holding contacts in the direction of including the Turkish Cypriots in the registration of halloumi cheese which will be made in the European Union.

    In statements yesterday during a press conference of the "Hellim [Translator's note: the name of Halloumi in the Turkish language] Promotion Group", which has been established by his chamber, Cirali said that during their contacts in 2012 with the desk established by the European Commission for the Turkish Cypriots and with EU member countries they explain that halloumi is not a product of the Greek Cypriots only, but of the Turkish Cypriots as well.

    Cirali said that the exports of halloumi cheese constituted 17% of the exports of the Turkish Cypriots in 2012. He noted that producers, stakeholders and experts participate in the "Halloumi Promotion Group".

    He said that the aim of the group is to determine and promote the patent, registration, branding and standards of halloumi.

    Within the framework of promoting platforms such as halloumi the social media are used, notes the paper referring to the information given at the press conference, according to which the group also aims at participating in fairs in Turkey, Germany, Iraq and Dubai for promoting halloumi.

    According to the same information, the production of halloumi is continuously developing in the occupied area of Cyprus, which exports halloumi to countries such as Turkey, the Gulf and Japan. Noting that these exports constitute 20% of the total exports of the regime, the paper writes that approximately 4.500 livestock producers work in the halloumi sector in which around 50.000 persons earn their living.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Siber reads her "interim government's" program at the "assembly"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.06.13) reports that the program of the self-styled coalition government of the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG), Democratic Party ? National Forces (DP-UG) and Social Democracy Party (TDP) was read out yesterday at the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. The 31-page program was read out by the self-styled prime minister, Sibel Siber and the "minister" of finance, Zeren Mugan. The "vote of confidence" to the program is expected this week after its discussion at the "assembly".

    Reading the program, Sibel Siber said that the "government's" practices will be based on the "superiority of the law" and added that they will annul or stop the implementation of decisions or practices, which have been put into practice by the former "government" and are contrary to the "rule of law" and the "public interest". These "illegal" practices will be taken to "court" to the extent this is possible, she said.

    Referring to the property issue, Siber noted that they will evaluate the possibilities for lifting the impediments and paving the way of compensation and/or exchange of property for "natural or legal persons", who according to the "law" of the "TRNC" are holders of right of ownership or use on properties for which legal impediments exist according to the international law. Siber said that they will start working as regards the issue of making more productive the "Immovable Property Compensation Commission". She noted that they will launch initiatives for making the necessary "legal arrangements" on the issue of correcting the registries at the "land and surveys department" as regards the status of the compensated immovable properties through the above-mentioned "commission".

    On the Cyprus problem, Siber said that they will carry out the solution process in solidarity and cooperation with Turkey and they will develop their relations with Turkey on the basis of mutual respect and solidarity. She said that Turkey's political, technical and financial support is of great importance "in order for providing the possibility to the Turkish Cypriot people to administrate themselves".

    Siber noted that her "government" will exert every necessary effort and exhibit good will in order for "positive developments" to happen on the issue of the lifting of the so-called isolations and restrictions allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots and for their integration with the world. She said that they attach importance to the development and strengthening of their political, economic, social, cultural and sporting relations with the Turkic countries, the members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and other countries.

    She noted that her "government' will do its part for reaching an agreement to the Cyprus problem, which will be including "the sovereignty, political equality and absolute security of the Turkish Cypriot people".

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] Developments within the Turkish Cypriot political parties prior to the "elections"

    Under the title "Earthquake in the DP-UG", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.06.13) reports that the Democratic Party ? National Forces (DP-UG), which has been established with the participation of eight "MPs" who abandoned the National Unity Party (UBP), is facing the danger of being dissolved a few days before the "elections" of the 28th of July.

    The paper argues that the eight "MPs" who left the UBP under the leadership of Ahmet Kasif have been divided into two groups, because DP-UG's chairman, Serdar Denktas did not want to nominate self-styled MP in occupied Trikomo area, Ejder Aslanbaba as candidate for the "elections".

    In statements to Star Kibris and Ada TV, Aslanbaba said that Serdar Denktas had told him that he would be a candidate, but afterwards changed his mind saying that there is reaction from the member of the party in Trikomo against Aslanbaba's candidacy. Aslanbaba noted that he discussed the issue with his seven colleagues and all except two gave him guarantees that they will act together. He said that Ahmet Kasif promised him that they would not let him down. According to the paper, Aslnababa "gave the signal" that he would not vote in favor of the newly established "government" during the "vote of confidence" at the self-styled assembly on Thursday. Aslanbaba claimed that some of the eight "MPs" will act together with him on this issue.

    Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (18.06.13), in statements to another television program, Aslanbaba expressed his admiration for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and supported Erdogan's stance during Taksim incidents. "I am against the use of brute force, but you come to a point where you are forced to use it", he said. Noting that he comes from Adana, Aslanbaba argued that many things changed in Turkey with Erdogan in power. "You can sacrifice 10 persons for the sake of 75 million", he alleged.

    Moreover, under the title "Shocking resignation in the TDP", Halkin Sesi (18.06.13) reports that Mehmet Barissever, member of Social Democracy Party's (TDP) council and committee on agriculture as well as chairman of the party's committee for the environment, has withdrawn his candidacy for the forthcoming "elections" and resigned from the party arguing that TDP's chairman Mehmet Cakici acted contrary to the regulations of the party in the process of the appointment of the "ministers".

    He said that Cakici suggested some names without submitting them to the council of the party. Barissever noted that as a person who has been chairman of the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers and worked at all levels of the "ministry" of agriculture and the party, he was offended because of the appointment of an electrical engineer to the post of the "minister" of agriculture in the interim "government" of technocrats.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] The regime launches a campaign to paint its flag on occupied Pentadaktylos Mountains

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.06.13) reports that the so-called association for illuminating the flag of the breakaway regime on Pentadaktylos Mountains has launched a campaign for painting the flag. According to a statement issued by the chairman of the association, Tanju Muezzinoglu, the slogan of the campaign is "together for our flag".

    (I/Ts.) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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

    YH


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