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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-06-01

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 PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.104/07 01.06.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ozkan Murat denies reports that a Greek Cypriot refugee has been given back his house in the occupied Vasilia village
  • [02] Uzun says that there is an item in the budget of the breakaway regime for covering the needs of the Property Compensation Commission
  • [03] Ankara welcomes court ruling on Cyprus property row
  • [04] Ozgurgun says that the decision of the German Parliament proved the rightness of UBPs policy to participate in meetings abroad
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot relatives of missing persons were informed about the excavations in Tohni
  • [06] Haya Artemis Resort and Casino will be opened tomorrow in occupied Vokolida area
  • [07] British MPs held contacts in the occupied areas
  • [08] Avci says that Enver Ozturk will be removed from his duties
  • [09] Olli Rehn said scholarships will be granted to Turkish Cypriots
  • [10] The Constitutional Amendment package was approved by Turkey´s Parliament
  • [11] The 55th Bilderberg meeting to be hosted in Istanbul
  • [12] Former US secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated that Turkish membership to the EU is crucial
  • [13] Buyukanit warned of allied countries´support for PKK
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [14] The Turkish press on developments in the internal political front

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ozkan Murat denies reports that a Greek Cypriot refugee has been given back his house in the occupied Vasilia village

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (01.06.07) reports that Ozkan Murat, so-called minister of internal affairs, has described as completely groundless the allegations that the Property Compensation Commission returned to a Greek Cypriot refugee his house in the occupied Vasilia village.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Murat commented on a protest act organized at Vasilia by the Turkish Cypriot Platform against the return of the above-mentioned property. He noted that this act is a completely political act aiming at harming the coalition government.

    Mr Murat pointed out that no application has been submitted to the Commission regarding the above-mentioned building and no lawsuit was filed against the ministry of interior. He noted that the building is in usable condition and added that personnel of the Housing Under-secretariat work in it at the moment.

    Furthermore, in statements to SIM FM radio, Mr Murat said that the state will prepare a draft-law for granting rural land to young people who will decide to return from abroad and settle in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. He said that the emigration to London has stopped and that many people prefer to remain in the occupied areas. He noted, though, that the brain drain continues.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily VOLKAN newspaper (01.06.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Platform organized yesterday a protest act at occupied Vasilia village because of the information that a house will allegedly be returned to its Greek Cypriot owner by the Property Compensation Commission. The paper writes that about 1000 persons participated in the protest and that the police, upon instructions by the minister of interior Mr Murat, did not permit the protesters to approach the house.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Uzun says that there is an item in the budget of the breakaway regime for covering the needs of the Property Compensation Commission

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (01.06.07) reports that Ahmet Uzun, so-called minister of finance, has said that there is an item in the budget of the breakaway regime this year for covering the needs for compensation of Greek Cypriot refugees who applied to the Property Compensation Commission set up by Turkey in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Asked, during a press conference, whether or not there is money in the budget for paying compensation to Greek Cypriots by the Commission, which has allegedly been accepted as local remedy by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Mr Murat replied:

    I cannot give numbers, but there is an item in the budget to cover the needs of this year regarding the issue. He noted that the Commission carries out a very important duty in favour of the Turks and alleged that the ECHR recognized the Commission.

    He reminded that the Court convicted Turkey to pay heavy penalties to Greek Cypriot refugees and that in spite of the compensations the property ownership belongs to the Greek Cypriot refugees.

    Uzun said that the property, for which compensation will be paid by the Commission to Greek Cypriots, will remain to the Turks. He noted that either there will be exchange of property with Turkish Cypriot property in the government controlled areas of Cyprus, or a financial compensation will be given to the Greek Cypriots.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (01.06.07) reports that Mr Uzun referred also to the electricity problem which exists in the occupied areas of Cyprus and argued that the problem regarding the production has been solved, but this constitutes only 50 % of the problems. He noted that the lines which convey electricity have become obsolete and that the transformers have completed their life circle. Mr Uzun stated that when these problems are overcome by the end of this year, 90 % of the electricity problem will be solved.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Ankara welcomes court ruling on Cyprus property row

    Under the above title Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (01.06.07) reports the following:

    Turkey considers "positive" the fact that the Strasbourg based-European Court of Human Rights failed to uphold a Greek Cypriot plaintiff's appeal of a landmark property decision since this rejection also means that the Greek Cypriot argument questioning the validity of a compensation committee set up in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) was also clearly dismissed by the court.

    In December 2006, while ordering Turkey to pay the plaintiff, Myra Xenides-Arestis, 800,000 euros in compensation for violating her property rights in Cyprus, the court also suggested that a property commission in the KKTC could provide a domestic remedy for dozens of similar pending cases against Turkey.

    If the court had upheld the appeal by either the Turkish government or Achilleas Demetriades, the lawyer for Xenides-Arestis, a Grand Chamber panel of five judges, which acts as an appeals body, would begin a retrial.

    The court's reasoning for rejecting the Turkish side's appeal has not yet been received by Ankara, diplomatic sources told TODAY´S ZAMAN on Thursday following Wednesday's reports that both sides' appeals had been rejected.

    "Yet, rejection of the Greek Cypriot side's appeal is in itself a positive development, because it reaffirms the position reflected by the December ruling of the court which showed that the property commission's studies had met the expectations of the European Court of Human Rights and that the property commission might become a domestic remedy," the same sources said.

    The court had ruled in December 2005 that Turkey had violated the property rights of Xenides-Arestis by denying her access to her house in Famagusta since 1974, when Turkey militarily intervened in Cyprus. However, in a sign of its readiness to stop receiving similar complaints from Greek Cypriots, the court called on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot authorities to introduce an effective domestic remedy within six months to ensure respect for the property rights of Greek Cypriot complainants. The Turkish Cypriot authorities then set up a property commission and began to accept property complaints from Greek Cypriots.

    In the second phase of the trial process, the court decided in December 2006 that Turkey should pay 800,000 euros to compensate Xenides-Arestis' losses and mentioned the property commission in the ruling, suggesting readiness to accept it as a legitimate domestic remedy for similar applications. In the next phase, the court is expected to refer more than 1,000 similar applications pending before the court to the property commission in the KKTC.

    [04] Ozgurgun says that the decision of the German Parliament proved the rightness of UBPs policy to participate in meetings abroad

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (01.06.07) reports that Huseyin Ozgurgun, so-called MP of the National Unity Party (UBP), said yesterday that the party decided to participate in the meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Liberal Democrat Group of the European Parliament, the Inter-parliamentary Union and the Islamic Conference Organization.

    In statements during a press conference, Mr Ozgrugun said that the recent visit of the parliamentary delegation to Germany and the decision of the German Parliament proved how right they were in taking this decision. He reiterated the view that the resolution of the German Federal Parliament could not be accepted by the UBP.

    He alleged that the aim of the decision was to secure the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole territory of the island, to eliminate the sovereignty of the TRNC and to put the Turkish Cypriots under the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

    He reminded that the decision provides for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from Cyprus, the application of the Ankara Protocol by Turkey, the opening of the Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and airplanes, the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and Ankaras refraining from preventing the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to international organizations.

    Mr Ozgurgun pointed out that the decision refers also to the property issue and calls for the preparation of a draft-plan for its solution prior to the overall settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    He said that the decision asks for a population census by the UN and added: What is aimed at with this is the creation of a ground to send away from the island a part of the TRNC citizens.

    Mr Ozgurgun expressed his partys concern over the developments on the property issue and alleged that the practice followed by the so-called Property Compensation Commission takes a form that will spoil bi-zonality and cause concern to the Turkish Cypriot people.

    He claimed: If you say today to the Greek Cypriots that the property is yours, tomorrow you will be forced to permit them to settle among you. If you do not do this, the European Court of Human Rights will force you to do it. That is, if you succumb to this once, it is very difficult to be saved. He alleged that the only way for a solution in Cyprus is the acceptance of the so-called realities of the island.

    The reality is that there are two separate sovereign states in Cyprus, two religions, languages and peoples, he claimed and concluded that there is no other way than the demand for the recognition of the TRNC, (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus).

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Turkish Cypriot relatives of missing persons were informed about the excavations in Tohni

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (01.06.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot members of the Committee on Missing Persons held yesterday a press conference at occupied Vouno village and briefed the relatives of the Turkish Cypriot missing persons from Tohni village about the excavations of mass graves which started in the area of the above-mentioned village.

    Mrs Gulden Plumer Kucuk, Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee, said that the budget of the project which began in 2005 is 2,7 million dollars this year and added that about 30 persons work at the Turkish office. She noted that the project might last for 3-5 years and that 95% of the excavations for Turkish Cypriot missing persons will be carried out in the government controlled areas of the Republic, whereas 95 % of the excavations for Greek Cypriot missing persons will be conducted in the occupied areas of the island. Therefore, she noted, the exchange of information between the sides is necessary for progress to be achieved.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Haya Artemis Resort and Casino will be opened tomorrow in occupied Vokolida area

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (01.06.07) reports that the Haya Artemis Resort and Casino, the construction of which began three years ago in the occupied Vokolida area, will open its gates tomorrow to the tourism of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus with a magnificent ceremony. The hotel is built on an area of 160 thousand square meters and has 726 rooms with the capacity of 2.200 beds. According to the paper, this is the biggest hotel in the occupied areas of the island.

    KIBRIS reports also that the Israeli company Tahal Consulting Engineers Ltd has materialized a project for desalination of sea water in the occupied area of Vokolida. The installations have the capacity of desalinating eight tons of water per day. The water will be used also for the needs of the tourist village in the area. The director of the project, Ramadan Gorgu stated that the water problem of the occupied northern part of Cyprus will be solved with the method of desalination.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] British MPs held contacts in the occupied areas

    According to the illegal BAYRAK television (31.05.07), Members of the British Parliament Lord Magginis and Sir Michael Graydon met yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat .

    Lord Magginis had been to the occupied areas before with the aim of exchanging views with politicians on the Cyprus issue.

    The so-called presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev was also present at the meeting with Talat.

    No statement was issued before or after the meeting.

    [08] Avci says that Enver Ozturk will be removed from his duties

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (01.06.07) reports that Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) and so-called minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, stated yesterday that the evaluations for removing Enver Ozturk, so-called minister of economy and tourism, from his duties continue.

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr Avci noted that the decisions will be announced within the next few days. He said that the ministers are replaceable and will be changed.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Olli Rehn said scholarships will be granted to Turkish Cypriots

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (31.05.07) reports from Brussels the following:

    EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn stated that they were planning to grant scholarships to university students and academicians from Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), as a result of the grievance they faced due to their non-inclusion in the Bologna Process.

    In his reply to a question motion, Rehn recalled that Turkish Cypriot students and academicians could not participate in the European Exchange Program ERASMUS, as the universities in TRNC were not recognized by the Greek Cypriot party.

    Rehn noted that EU Commission will carry on with its efforts aiming to establish dialogue with officials from TRNC, in order to find a solution to this problem. Rehn also stated that Turkish Cypriot students and academicians would be granted scholarships in order to remedy the inequality of opportunity stemming from TRNC's absence in the ERASMUS Program.

    The scholarship will enable the students and academicians to have education at EU universities and higher education institutions for a period of one year.

    [10] The Constitutional Amendment package was approved by Turkey´s Parliament

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (31.05.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish parliament today (https://www.opensource.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS00200240101943/http%3B/apps.opensource.gov%3B7011/opensource.gov/content/Display/PRINCE/GMP20070531017016?action=advancedSearch) approved, for the second time, a package of constitutional amendments including a provision to directly elect the president. A total of 370 deputies voted in favour of the amendment package. Current President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who vetoed the package on its last passing, now has until June 15 to decide whether to ratify the amendments or, as many media commentators predict, to submit them for a national referendum.

    The amendments provide for the following: https://www.opensource.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS00200240101943/http%3B/apps.opensource.gov%3B7011/opensource.gov/content/Display/PRINCE/GMP20070529744002?action=advancedSearch)

    1. Holding general elections every four years

    2. Authorizing the Higher Election Board to determine rules of the presidential election

    3. Reducing the requirement for a parliamentary quorum from two thirds to one third present

    4. Electing the president by popular vote, for up to two five year terms

    5. Setting the presidential election process.

    A provisional amendment also approved with today's package overrules the constitutional stipulation that says that an election-related amendment cannot be applied within a year of its adoption, effectively allowing the next president to be elected by popular vote.

    According to a second provisional amendment, the new arrangements regarding the presidential vote will be applied to the election of the next president.

    The constitutional amendment also authorizes the current president to continue until the new president starts his or her term.

    The Republican People´s Party (CHP), the main opposition party has threatened to challenge the approval of the amendment providing for direct election of the president in Constitutional Court, claiming that the measure is invalid unless it is approved by a two thirds majority, and that, with 366 votes in favour, it fell short by one vote. The AKP, however, disputes CHP's interpretation of the requirement and says the vote is valid.

    ANKARA ANATOLIA also reported from Ankara that commenting on the amendments the Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that they achieved their goal in constitutional amendment.

    Erdogan answered questions by reporters at a reception in Ankara on the occasion of parliament's recession.

    Upon questions on parliament voting for constitutional amendment, Erdogan said, "we achieved our goal. That is the important thing."

    Earlier in the day, Turkish parliament adopted the entire constitutional amendment bill with 370 votes.

    The bill envisages electing president by popular vote, reducing his/her term in office from seven to five years, and re-electing him/her for a second term, and holding general elections every four years.

    [11] The 55th Bilderberg meeting to be hosted in Istanbul

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (31.05.07) reports the following from Istanbul:

    The 55th Bilderberg Meeting will begin in Istanbul on Friday with the participation of 135 leading figures from different countries.

    Bilderberg is an annual conference of the global elite, the location of which changes every year. The event gathers high level officials from the world business, politics and media circles.

    Issues such as new world order, Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, the United States, democracy and populism, prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, information technologies and climate change will be discussed during the three-day meeting.

    Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis, Turkish Industrialists' & Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Chairperson Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, Koc Holding Executive Board President Mustafa Koc and Bogazici University Rector Prof. Dr. Ayse Soysal will attend the meeting on behalf of Turkey.

    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium, Greek National Economy & Finance Minister Yeoryios Alogoskoufis, former Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemao of Portugal, former Foreign Minister Michel Barnier of France, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, Finance Minister Anders Borg of Sweden, Foreign Trade Minister Frank Heemskerk of the Netherlands, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen of Finland, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Agriculture Minister Christine Lagarde of France, Justice Minister Michael McDowell of Ireland, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Rodrigo De Rato, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson are among foreign guests of the meeting.

    Meanwhile, tight security measures were taken in and around the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the venue of the meeting.

    [12] Former US secretary of State Henry Kissinger stated that Turkish membership to the EU is crucial

    Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (01.06.07) reports the following:

    One of the most important figures in international politics in the past century, Henry Kissinger, said on Thursday that Turkeys membership in the European Union was of extraordinary strategic and political importance.

    Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivered a keynote address to an audience gathered at Sabanc1 Center in downtown Istanbul for a conference organized by Akbank on Thursday. The conference was part of a series of annual conferences organized by Akbank, where the most important political figures of the century participate and share their opinions.

    Introducing their guest, Akbank General Manager Zafer Üskül referred to him as one of the most important political scientists in the world.

    In an introductory speech, former Ambassador 0lter Turan, who also ran the question and answer section of yesterday s conference, referred to Dr. Kissinger as an expert on international politics and highlighted his keen sense of humor. Turan also recalled that Kissinger was familiar to the Turkish public as a professor of the late former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit.

    Following Turans introduction Dr. Kissinger greeted the audience with praise for the Turkish troops who fought in the Korean War, since they were the only prisoners of war at the hands of the North Koreans who did not break down during interrogations. I would like to thank Turkey for what you have done for us, Dr. Kissinger said.

    Sharing his observations and experience about the effects of international relations on the economy and the security of nations, Dr. Kissinger expressed his opinion that the European nation-state as the world knew it at the end of World War II was changing, since European nations gave up their sovereignty to a certain extent under the EU. However, he maintained that the structure of the nation-state in the US and Turkey were closer to the post-World War II notion of a nation-state, something which is at the heart of some of the problems both countries encounter in dealing with EU member states today. Kissinger said this structural difference also means that the EU state cannot demand sacrifices from its citizens, adding that this was one of the reasons why passing reform legislation in the union has so far been difficult for most member states.

    Kissinger stated that today the EU needs a political identity of what it is going to do in the world and stressed that Turkey was of extraordinary strategic and political importance for the union; however, he also underlined that this would require European intervention in domestic affairs, a big challenge for Turkey. He said Turkey would have to undergo a tougher and more drastic transformation than the changes European member states had to go through.

    In an anecdote used to highlight his opinion that international affairs are an ongoing process with every learned experience shaping the policy-makers attitude, Dr. Kissinger recalled having asked Chinese leader Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution when the two met in 1972 for talks. It is too early to decide, Zhou replied.

    However, Kissinger said certain learned experiences unquestionably showed that war between major powers is a catastrophe and entirely out of proportion to anything two major powers might gain from each other.

    Sub: Nuclear weapons, Middle East and Iraq

    Dr. Kissinger argued as someone who served as the US secretary of state at the height of the Cold War, the two superpowers of the time had calculations and certain limits that would stop them from launching a nuclear catastrophe; however, a larger number of not fully developed nations having such a power today would be more likely to end in a nuclear catastrophe. He said this was the issue with weapons in Iran. It has to be stopped, he said.

    The veteran politician and professor argued against immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, saying this would lead to violence spreading into neighbouring countries. That would move the crisis into neighbouring countries, from Morocco to Indonesia and even countries such as India that have a large Muslim population, Kissinger asserted. He also dismissed parallels drawn between the war in Iraq and Vietnam, saying the situation in the two countries did not lend itself to comparison.

    Kissinger said in todays world the economy was being run globally but that the politics of the world were being run nationally, saying this was the real challenge facing the global system.

    Kissinger said the world today needed to solve problems not faced by any other generation. He also compared the US experience in foreign policy -- saying it did not play an essential role in international relations until 50 years ago -- to Turkeys imperial past. The US has never faced an overwhelming danger; therefore, Americans always demand an immediate answer to everything in a limited time, implying the limited farsightedness of American foreign policy-makers. Whenever I travel Im asked about the USs far-reaching plans, usually to do some damage in foreign countries, he humorously explained and said: Most of the damage we do is unintentional. You have to consider that we are all in a learning process

    We are all trying hard, he said, but added, There are situations in which you have to do what is necessary, quoting Winston Churchill.

    [13] Buyukanit warned of allied countries´ support for PKK

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (31.05.07) reports the following:

    "Supporting separatist movements and attempting to change sovereignty rights and/or the regime of a country are as illegal and dangerous as terrorism itself," Turkish General Staff Chief Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said on Thursday. Taking the floor at an international symposium hosted at the General Staff HQ on "New Dimensions of Security & International Organizations" with the participation of 800 delegates from 55 countries, Gen. Buyukanit said, "the new security environment in our age has also shaped the new threats. Terrorism is the biggest threat against security. Under the new security concept, there are serious differences regarding international definition of terrorism. This conflict made difficult to take global measures against terrorism."

    "Some of our allies focus on terrorism stemming from fundamentalist trends. Actually, terrorism cannot be defined in this way. Terrorism is also fed by separatist nationalist tendencies. This kind of terrorism is as dangerous as the first one. However, some countries consider such kind of terrorism a domestic problem. This is an extremely dangerous approach since it seriously hampers the fight against terrorism," he said.

    "Terrorism stemming from ethnic nationalism uses a different identity definition for its own political purposes. It supports this with armed acts. If an ethnic structure is acting with a political purpose, it becomes a racist structure and this is ethnic nationalist terrorism. The ethnic nationalist fascist terrorist organization PKK is an example of this," he stressed.

    "There are countries supporting directly and/or indirectly PKK terrorism, among our allies," affirmed Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, on Thursday.

    "Turkey cannot get the international support in its rightful fight against terrorism," Gen. Buyukanit complained at an international symposium on "New Dimensions of Security & International Organizations".

    "Land mines used in Turkey and explosives such as C4, A3, A4 which are used in every murder in Turkey are not bought from supermarkets" Buyukanit said. "Countries (backing terrorism for political purposes) use double standard in combating terrorism, and turn a blind eye to activities of persons or organizations that do not stage terrorist attacks on their own territories. Incidents prove that these countries are unable to control terrorism, backed or created by them, and terrorism hits those countries in the end," Gen. Buyukanit stated.

    Buyukanit reiterated that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are ready for international cooperation and solidarity, and to share information and intelligence regarding security issues.

    "What makes us sad about fight against terrorism, which threatens our identity and our country as a democratic, secular, social state of law, is that these terrorist activities are backed by some countries that are trying to teach us lessons on human rights. Some institutions (in those countries) have grown to become terrorist associations. I'd like to ask how a joint fight against terrorism is possible under such circumstances," Buyukanit emphasized.

    Gen. Buyukanit said that there is need for a global cooperation against terrorism in order to be successful.

    "Those who not only stage these attacks but also who extend financial, logistical and propagandist support to terrorists should be deemed as terrorist," Gen. Buyukanit said.

    Buyukanit said that an efficient international cooperation in fight against terrorism is only possible under the banner of the UN.

    On the other hand, Gen. Buyukanit said that economic imbalance is another security threat.

    Within this framework, countries that own energy resources and countries that control the transportation corridors have geopolitic and geostrategic importance, Buyukanit noted.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [14] The Turkish press on developments in the internal political front

    The Turkish Press on 31 May 2007 continued to cover the developments in the aftermath of the parliaments failure to elect a president.

    The focus was on the strong message given by the Constitutional Court to Prime Minister Erdogan for his comments on the court's ruling that 367 deputies must be present in parliament for validity of a presidential election, as follows:

    Under the title: "Against the wall" MILLIYET publishes a commentary by Melih Asik who describes Prime Minister Erdogan as having a very "tense face" in the NTV interview in addition to "contracted muscles." Explaining that the prime minister is "criticizing the Constitutional Court in adjectives never used in the history of democracy," Asik adds that the prime minister is talking about the Republic and the Constitution as "disgrace." The columnist concludes by noting that "Mr. Tayyip is escalating the tension with the support of EU, US, and the profiteering intellectuals."

    Writing in MILLIYET, Guneri Civaoglu questions Erdogan's rule in his commentary entitled "I am democracy." Describing the current political atmosphere in Turkey, where Prime Minister Erdogan is not talking to the president, at loggerheads with the Constitutional Court, and blaming the judiciary, Civaoglu adds: "Unfortunately, it is in Turkey's tradition to adopt politics of tension' prior to the elections. Before the 2002 elections, however, AKP had promised that it would not do this."

    A report in REFERANS notes that "the Democratic Party said that it finds the government's economic policies unsuccessful. The party also announced that if it wins in the upcoming election then it will part ways with the IMF." Expressing its views on the Turkish economy should it be voted into office, Agar said that "it is 'necessary to abandon the economic system based on constant indebtedness' and thus 'we will conventionally part our ways with IMF.'" The report explains that Agar appeared with ANAVATAN co-chairman Erkan Mumcu before the Turkish Industrialists' And Businessmen's Association, (TUSIAD), and that "Mumcu was more forthright in his criticism of the IMF's program."

    In an article entitled "Two wrongs do not make a right", YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes the Erdogan government for "appearing to have consented to make radical changes in the Law on the Duties and Powers of the Police that will restrict individual freedoms" in the wake of the recent suicide bomb attack in the Ulus district of Ankara. Koru warns that Turkey will turn into a "police state" if the bill prepared for the purpose is passed as it is and claims that the concept of "pre-emptive search" introduced in the bill, which would allow the police to conduct searches in homes and workplaces without a warrant, is a daily life version of the Bush administration's pre-emptive strike doctrine.

    Under the headline, "Agar turns leftward," VAKIT publishes a front-page report which asserts that Mehmet Agar is under fire from many sections for getting the True Path Party, (DYP), renamed Democratic Party, (DP), through a coalition with the Motherland Party, (ANAP), and "turning the horse [the DYP as represented by its emblem] toward the Left."

    In an article entitled "Turkey could lock horns with the United States like everybody else but ...", VAKIT columnist Selahadin Cakirgil warns that the United States might be encouraging a Turkish military operation into northern Iraq in order to halt Islamic trends in Turkey or obstruct the forthcoming general elections, or make sure that they take place in a different atmosphere, adding that it should not be surprising if Washington takes advantage of such an operation to change the map of the Middle East. He also asserts that those who believe the US withdrawal from northern Iraq amounts to an invitation to Turkey to enter the region would do well to remember how Saddam Husayn was "trapped" in Kuwait.

    In an article entitled "Who will untie the Knot?", VAKIT columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak cites the developments in northern Iraq, the derailing of a train carrying missiles to Syria, Turkish authorities' forcing down of a plane flying from Iran to Syria, and the restart of the debate over the 1 March authorization bill on Iraq as possible harbingers of the postponement of the upcoming parliamentary elections. He asserts that the next ten days are of critical importance in terms of determining how the current "uncertainty" will be resolved.

    Finally, in an article entitled "AKP takes one more step toward the centre", ZAMAN columnist Sahin Alpay discusses the significance of the fact that "two true social democrats who served in the CHP, DSP, and the SHP for long years, Ertugrul Gunay and Haluk Ozdalga, have officially joined the AKP." Alpay hails this development as evidence that the allegation that the real struggle in politics in this country is between secularists and Islamists is nothing more than a distortion of facts, adding that Gunay and Ozdalga's move could be seen as a symbolic expression of the concerted efforts being made to rescue democracy from bureaucratic tutelage, promote freedoms, and create a true secular system where different faiths are accorded equal respect.

    EG/


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