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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-07-18
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 134/13 18/07/2013
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Experts: measures were not taken to prevent environmental disaster in Gastria area; the regime refused help from the Republic of CyprusUnder the title "Great fear", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.07.13) reports that the dimensions of the disaster experienced in the sea of occupied Gastria village during the unloading of oil by a ship at AKSA company's electric power station in the area are bigger than it was estimated. Biologists say that dead birds have been found. Noting that a problem could be experienced in the reproduction of fish, the paper writes that the fishermen and the shopkeepers in the area are concerned.
According to experts, absolutely no measure that should have been taken was taken when the crisis emerged. The measures which should have been taken within 24 hours were left in suspense and the spread of the oil spill could not be prevented. The Chamber of Environmental Engineers described as "tragicomic" everything that happened after the crisis.
Environmental organizations said that this was the biggest disaster ever happened in the occupied area of Cyprus and criticized the fact that AKSA Company's equipment was inadequate and inefficient and that the "state" found no way out of the crisis.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.07.13) reports that self-styled prime minster, Sibel Siber said yesterday before entering into the meeting of the "cabinet" that the disaster showed once more that the coasts of the occupied area of Cyprus are closed to investments such as oil storage installations. She noted that very heavy sanctions and punishment should be imposed for the danger that exists and added that only with heavy punishment such accidents could be prevented. She recalled that there had been leak of oil at Gastria on 12 March 2013 as well and added that on 1 July 2013 they had launched an effort for preventing such incidents in the future.
Siber said that the "police" continued their investigation as to whether there has been negligence on the issue of the environmental disaster and added that the ship that caused this disaster is not allowed to leave the port. She noted that the efforts for cleaning the environmental disaster continued, but the work did not reach yet the desirable point. Explaining that there were currently 4 vacuum trucks and 40 personnel involved in the clean-up effort, Siber underlined the need to install a barrier out at sea but said that they were still waiting for the materials to arrive from Turkey.
Furthermore, under the title "Exemplary initiative by the Chamber of Commerce", Kibris (18.07.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce purchased from the government-controlled area of Cyprus equipment, which is necessary for cleaning up the pollution created by the many tons of oil leaked into the sea of occupied Gastria. Last night the chamber handed over the equipment to officials of the regime. According to the paper, the material purchased from the government-controlled area of Cyprus was 400 meters of "absorbent boom", which is described as "sea surface obstacle that absorbs oil". It is said that the breakaway regime needed 700 meters of "absorbent boom".
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (18.07.13) reports that the pollution has been spread to an area of six kilometres because of the strong wind. It is said that at some places the pollution goes into a depth of 6-7 meters. According to the paper, it is expected that the sea will be cleaned within two months. The paper writes also that the disaster at Gastria has put an end to the debates for establishing an oil storage installation, but the National Unity Party (UBP) insists that if it comes to "power", it will permit such investments to be made at the coasts of the occupied area of Cyprus.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (18.07.13) reports that 500 meter-long coast is full with oil at the area known as "Thalassa Beach", where the biggest pollution exists. AKSA Energy Company continues its efforts to clean up the pollution with its own means. Within this framework five sewage trucks try to absorb the oil from the coast. At the same time 25 temporary workers of AKSA try to clean the area by putting absorbent pads on the coast. AKSA power station director, Murat Captug said they cleaned more of the half of the pollution from the sea during the past couple of days, that the pollution spread to the area due to the wind and that they have the barriers to prevent this. He noted that the teams from Turkey will arrive today and noted that from the very first day of the incident, experts from Turkey are in the occupied area and coordinate their efforts with them.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (18.07.13) reports that the officials of the regime asked help from the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus through the United Nations when the disaster happened at Gastria, but they changed their mind afterwards. According to the paper, the vehicle which set off to go to the area escorted by the UN, returned back after the officials of the regime called the UN and said that they did not need it because a cleaning vehicle would be brought from Turkey. The paper reports that many citizens who found out about this incident said that they find it difficult to understand why the demand for help was withdrawn afterwards.
 Big fire in the occupied peninsula of KarpasiaUnder the title "Big fire in Karpasia", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (18.07.13) reports that a disaster has been experienced onshore in the occupied peninsula of Karpasia after the environmental disaster at the sea. A fire that started yesterday at 13.00 hours in an area between occupied Gialousa and Rizokarpaso villages, burned 500-600 donums [Translator's note: a land measure of around 1000 square meters] of pine trees, juniper trees and scrub. The fire, which lasted three hours, was taken under control with the assistance of helicopters that came from Turkey. A fire-fighter was poisoned and taken to hospital because of the smoke he breathed during his efforts of extinguishing the fire.
 Siber says they will not annul any "citizenship" granted "legally"Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (18.07.13) reports that the self-styled prime minster of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Sibel Siber said yesterday before entering into the meeting of the "cabinet", that no one who had been "legally" granted "citizenship" should fear that his "citizenship" will be annulled.
Noting that nearly 100 persons had been granted the "citizenship" in May upon a decision of the "council of ministers", Siber pointed out that in all countries persons who would bring economic, cultural, social, and commercial gain are granted the citizenship upon decision of the cabinet and gave some examples from the applications approved in May. She added though, that 90% of these applications said that they lived for many years in the occupied area of the island and that they wished to take the "citizenship". She wondered which the ground of such applications could be and added that the "cabinet" could not and should not have such authorities. She concluded by saying that the "laws" and "regulations" must definitely be implemented.
 Erdogan: "Should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it?" Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 17.07.13) reports that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan has once again slammed the military takeover in Egypt, saying that the argument that Germany's totalitarian dictator Adolf Hitler came to power thanks to elections is "ill-willed," while confirming that he rejected a meeting request from Egypt's newly appointed Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei."The ballot box exists to prevent the minority imposing on the majority. They say that Hitler came out of the ballot box. So what, should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it?" Erdoan asked supporters during a fast-breaking dinner organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara July 17.
He added that he rejected ElBaradei's request on a meeting over the phone, telling him in a letter that he would not hold talks with officials who did not come to power by elections. "You had 1.5% of the votes in the elections, Morsi had 52%," he said.
Erdoan also warned over plots that aimed to create unrest in Turkey, particularly emphasizing that there were attempts "to deepen" the problems between Alevis and Sunnis. "What does being Alevi or Sunni mean? If being Alevi means loving the caliph Ali, I am a perfect Alevi. I am trying to live the way he did," he said, referring to the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad from whom the term "Alevi" is derived.
Erdoan also defended the projects undertaken in Istanbul, particularly slamming the criticism against the construction of a third bridge over the Bosphorus on the grounds that it would destroy huge forestry areas around the metropolis. He said that there had been people against the first bridge when it was built in the 1970s, but now even those who were against are using it.
"So don't use them, cross [the Bosphorus] with sandals. But they will say no, and then they would benefit from them. May nobody play with Turkey's future with different sort of plots," he said, while he also defended his so-called "crazy project" of constructing a canal on Istanbul's European shores that would connect the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.
"If you are environmentalists and you have dignity: We are making Canal Istanbul to save our Bosphorus Straight from an environmental massacre. Don't forget that tankers burned in the Bosphorus. That's why we are building it," he said.
Erdoan also touched on the Constitution-making process, criticizing the opposition for rejecting or only accepting with conditions his proposition to accelerate the process by submitting to the Parliament for approval the 48 articles upon which all four parties have reached a consensus. He especially targeted the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which retracted its initial support for his proposition.
"Despite having 326 deputies, we have accepted to be represented with three deputies in the [Constitution Conciliation] Commission while you are also represented with three deputies although you only have 51 MPs. Shame on you," Erdoan said.
Erdoan had also proposed that the commission extend its work during the summer to finish a draft by the new Parliamentary year. But the opposition criticized him for pushing for a transition to a presidential system and for not being willing to lower the 10% threshold in parliamentary elections.
 Analysts warn of consequences to Turkish PM's 'Stop using credit cards' remarkTurkish daily H?rriyet Daily News (online, 17.07.13) with the above title reports that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan told citizens to stop using credit cards, publicly slamming banks for collecting a lot of money from the "poor," amid analysts' warnings against the consequences of picking on banks at a time of foreign capital outflow risks.
"Those credit cards: Don't have them. If everybody spends as much as they [banks] want, they would not even be able to earn that income. They could never be satiated," Erdoan said during a fast-breaking dinner in Ankara July 16.
During his speech, he particularly picked on one bank, saying it earned annually 600 million Turkish Liras in non-interest income ? commissions and fees ? without specifying a name.
"Meanwhile, total [non-interest] revenues of [state-owned banks] Ziraat, Halk and Vak1f are 600 million liras. Do you see how big the game being played is?" he asked.
The high fees banks charge have attracted a lot of attention from consumers and unions, and the government has taken a step with a new law obliging banks to offer a fee-free credit card option and raising the penalty on banks that try to earn undeserved income through commissions to 5 million liras.
However, Uur G?rses, an economics journalist at daily Radikal, said he thought the reason behind the Prime Minister's scolding was not people using the cards for daily shopping, but rather that he was furious that citizens are using credit cards as a borrowing instrument.
"I think the prime minister sees the situation as banks striping citizens," he told the H?rriyet Daily News in a telephone interview July 17, adding that the way to combat this is not to say stop using credit cards. "If one would take measures that increase the competition between banks instead of complaining about this, credit card commissions would drop. Secondly, the government could ensure more conscious usage of credit cards by the citizens."
"If the prime minister is suffering from this issue a lot, there are state banks under his authority, he can instruct these banks and request decreased commissions," he also said in separate interview with daily H?rriyet.
 Turkish FM Davutolu calls on UN to act on Syria after border clashesTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 18.07.13) with the above title reported that the Turkish government has reiterated its call for the international community to take urgent action concerning the crisis in Syria. The call comes after a man was killed and a 15-year-old boy seriously wounded by stray bullets shot from Syria into a Turkish border town, with Kurdish militants having expelled jihadists from the Syrian flashpoint frontier town of Ras al-Ayn and the nearby border crossing with Turkey.
"This is a striking picture that shows the extent to which the crisis in Syria can affect our citizens and us. We are calling on the international community once more, immediately and rapidly: If the U.N. Security Council is to fulfil the requirements of being the U.N. Security Council, then this is the moment. The time for saying 'stop' to this cruel massacre in Syria has already passed. Otherwise, the meaning of a lot of international organization missions, in particular of the U.N. Security Council, will disappear," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutolu said late on July 17 at an iftar gathering with bureaucrats from his hometown Konya.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 17.07.13), under the title "Turkey should be alarmed by PYD's declaration, experts say", reported that Ankara should be alarmed by a declaration from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a political offshoot of the reportedly terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Syria, announcing that it will declare its autonomy in Syria's northern region, experts say, as this development at Turkey's southern border may pose a huge security problem.
The PYD has been fighting against opposition fighters in northern Syria for months in an effort to gain an advantage and declare autonomy in a nation rocked by a war between President Bashar al-Assad's regime forces and opposition groups.
Syria's Kurds have come closer to their aspiration for autonomy now that al-Assad's forces have left the country's north to Kurdish militants. Although many Kurds say they are distancing themselves from both sides because they do not want to be included in violence, some groups, like the PYD, are thought to be collaborating with al-Assad's regime. Opposition forces have accused Kurds of taking sides with al-Assad's forces.
With these developments on the ground, the PYD's declaration of autonomy, which will go into effect on July 19, can bring great risks for Turkey, which is already suffering from a decades-old terrorism problem and has been witness to severe clashes between the PKK and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). In a bid to solve the terrorism problem, the Turkish government recently launched a settlement process with the PKK, yet the process is still in its early phases with PKK terrorists starting to leave Turkey.
Dr. Nihat Ali ?zcan, a specialist on the PKK, says the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria is not an unexpected development as the PYD has been working for this political end since the beginning of the Syrian uprising.
 Poll: Public supportive of cemevis, warm to education in Kurdish; AKP increases his votesTurkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 17.07.13) reports that a recent survey by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Centre, has shown that the majority of the public approves of the possible recognition of cemevis as Alevi places of worship and is now more receptive to the idea of providing an education in their mother tongue for the Kurdish population.
A large-scale survey was conducted by the MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Centre to determine the Turkish public's attitudes on some domestic and international issues that have topped the nation's agenda over the last few months.
One of the subjects that have been intensely debated in recent months is the issue of whether the Alevis' cemevis should be recognized by the state as places of worship. The debate intensified after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan said in February that cemevis are places of cultural activity rather than worship, drawing harsh reactions from the Alevi communities in Turkey. In response to a question about whether cemevis should be recognized as Alevi houses of worship in the MetroPOLL survey, 68.1% of respondents support the official recognition of cemevis while 19.7% object. Another 12.2% of respondents expressed no opinion on the issue.
Another hot item on the Turkish agenda is the right to receive an education in one's mother tongue, which is a key issue for the Kurdish people. The MetroPOLL survey reveals that the Turkish public has warmed to the idea. When asked whether people should be able to receive an education in the Kurdish language in predominantly Kurdish-populated areas, 48.2% of survey participants responded favourably, while 47.9% responded negatively. In terms of support from political parties' voters, the survey indicates that 92.5% of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters support providing for an education in their mother tongue and only 7.5% do not. Of the respondents who vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 52% say they support the idea while 43.4% say they do not. The survey also shows 41.8% of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) voters support having the opportunity for an education in the Kurdish language while 55.6% of CHP voters oppose this. Similarly, only 27.7% of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters support the right of receiving education in mother tongue while 71.4% of them don't support the idea.
The Gezi protests, which erupted in late May over the government's plan to demolish Gezi Park in 0stanbul's famed Taksim Square, are another major issue that has recently held a place on the Turkish agenda. In response to the question whether they evaluate the protests as a democratic movement or an attempted coup d'?tat against the government, 57.5% of all voters say they consider the Gezi protests an attempted coup while only 33% say the Gezi protests were a democratic movement. In terms of support by political party, 82.4% of AKP voters say they think the protests were an attempted coup against the government and only 9.9% identify them as a democratic initiative. Of the CHP respondents, 78.5% believe the Gezi protests originated from democratic motivations and 14.8% say the protests were an attempted coup. Of MHP voters, 49.6% indicate that the protests were an attempted coup while 42.9% say the protesters had democratic intentions. Among BDP voters, 47.8% say the protests were an attempted coup while 35.8% said the protests were a democratic movement. Sencar says this result shows that the majority of the public agrees with the government's conspiracy claims regarding the Gezi Park protests.
The survey also produced important results about the distribution of party affinity. When asked which political party they would vote for if parliamentary elections were held this Sunday, 43.2% of respondents in the MetroPOLL survey say they would vote for the ruling AKP while 20.4% say they would vote for the main opposition CHP. The MHP received 13.9% support and 6.5% say they would vote for the BDP. Another 2.5% say they would vote for other political parties, 5.8% say they are undecided, 4.7% did not respond to the question and 3.0% were recorded as providing protest votes.
Analyzing this recent distribution of likely votes, Professor Sencar recalled the results of another MetroPOLL survey conducted in early June in which the AK Party's potential support was measured at 35.3%, adding that there has been a 7.9% increase in the potential votes for the AKP in a month. Stating that the June survey was conducted during the hottest period of the Gezi protests, Sencar gave three reasons for the increase. He says: "The public started to become annoyed with the Gezi protests, as they began to last a long time. Even the people who sympathized with the protests at the beginning started to become irritated with the protests in time when they saw that the protests were misused by some groups and that some protesters caused great damage to the cities. Some of these people started to support the government for its firm stance against the protests. Another reason for the increase might the effective arguments that Erdoan used during the rallies and meetings during and following the Gezi protests. One of those arguments was attributing the Gezi protests to some external conspiracies against the development of Turkey. The majority of the public agreed with this argument. Erdoan also sought to gain the support of religious people by accusing the Gezi protesters of drinking alcohol inside a mosque [Dolmabah?e Mosque near Taksim Square]. The latest results show he was successful in defending his arguments."
Sencar added that the third reason behind the increase in the votes of AKP in the survey might be the firm stance that Erdoan took on a recent military coup in Egypt. He said: "While most Western countries supported the Egyptian military coup directly or indirectly, Erdoan took a clear stance against the coup. This led him to gain the support of anti-coup people in Anatolia. As Turkey has a history full of military coups, the people in Anatolia have some fears over any possible return of coups to Turkey. The coup in Egypt reminded those people of the difficulties they had during the coup period. Therefore, these people started to support the AKP for its firm anti-coup policies."
Furthermore, when asked whether they believe Turkey has been isolated in the Middle East region in the last two years, 51.4% of respondents responded positively while 44.4% disagreed. The survey suggests that the opposition parties are highly critical of Turkey's foreign policy in the Middle East. According to the results, 79.1% of CHP voters and 73.9% of MHP voters say they believe Turkey has been isolated in the region in the last two years.
The polling took place from July 6-10 with the participation of 1,335 adults residing in 31 provinces. The Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) method was used to conduct the survey. The margin for error for the complete poll is 2.7% points and the confidence level is 95%. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION