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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-09-19

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.181/07 19.09.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Gul from Ankara before his departure to the occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [02] Gul arrived in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [03] Statements by Talat and Gul in occupied Lefkosia
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot press notes that Gul gave emphasis to the two separate states during his illegal visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus and clearly put forward the national policy which will be followed from now on
  • [05] Guls off the record statement on Cyprus 2002 on the bargaining between Turkey and the USA before the war in Iraq
  • [06] More from Kibris on preparations by the Turkish side for the velvet separation policy
  • [07] Bulutoglulari says that they will build social residences for low-income people
  • [08] Information on the number of the aircraft that arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus last month
  • [09] An Italian journalist is briefed on the Turkish Cypriot football on the eve of the meeting in Zurich
  • [10] Erdogan to New York tomorrow. His programme of contacts
  • [11] The visit of the USA State Department under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns has started
  • [12] Gul addresses the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Talat: The Turkish Army cannot leave the island even if it wants
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 18 September 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Gul from Ankara before his departure to the occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.09.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    Unfair isolations imposed on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) must be ended as soon as possible Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday.

    Prior to his departure for the TRNC, Gul told a news conference in Ankara that Turkish State Minister and Deputy PM, Cemil Cicek would accompany him during his first formal visit abroad as president, stating that he would hold meetings with TRNC officials, including President Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Turkish party fulfilled its duties regarding a fair, lasting and comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. We still remember the commitments made by the international community for the sake of Cypriot Turks. But isolations on TRNC are still there. We hope that international community will honor its commitments, Gul underlined.

    Indicating that the TRNC economy made great progress in recent years, Gul said, I believe that TRNC will become an important tourist destination in East Mediterranean.

    Replying to a question on the draft constitution, Gul remarked that works on the new constitution continue in a transparent way.

    [02] Gul arrived in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (18.09.07) broadcast the following:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has done all it can in the way of reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem. Mr Gul said that the international communitys perception of an intransigent Turkish Cypriot side had changed with the Turkish Cypriot peoples overwhelming support for the Annan Plan during the 2004 referendum.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with President Mehmet Ali Talat earlier this evening, he said that the pleasing economic developments which have taken place in the Republic over the last years have proven once more the reality that there are two separate democracies, two separate states and two different peoples on the island. Ignoring these realities will make it very hard to reach a political settlement in Cyprus he said, adding that Turkey has always and will continue to support all efforts aimed at reaching a comprehensive solution in Cyprus.

    For his part, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that Mr. Guls visit to the TRNC was a great gesture to the Turkish Cypriot people, which demonstrated the undying solidarity and unity between the two countries. Describing the meeting as having been fruitful, he said the visit also demonstrated Turkeys open support towards reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    The newly elected Turkish President Abdullah Gul, together with his wife Hayrunnisa, arrived in the Republic this afternoon for contacts with President Mehmet Ali Talat and other high ranking officials.

    He and his wife Hayrunnisa were greeted by President Mehmet Ali Talat and first lady Oya Talat at Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport upon their arrival.The visit is in keeping with the tradition for Turkish Presidents to make their first overseas visit to the TRNC.

    The Turkish President started his contacts in the Republic with a visit to the Tomb of Doctor Fazil Kucuk the late leader of the Turkish Cypriot people.He later laid a wreath at the Ataturk Monument in Lefkosia. Mr Gul then met with President Mehmet Ali Talat at the Presidential Palace.

    Later the two Presidents were joined by Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and ministers of the cabinet.

    This was followed by a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace.Mr. Gul then visited the Turkish Embassy in Lefkosia.

    [03] Statements by Talat and Gul in occupied Lefkosia

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.09.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Turkish side is doing all it can for a solution in Cyprus. I believe that peace will one day prevail in Cyprus, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday.

    In his first visit overseas as the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul and President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat held a press conference after a tete-a-tete meeting and a meeting between delegations on Tuesday.

    I am proud to visit the TRNC which happens to be my first visit overseas as the President of Turkey, noted Gul.

    My tete-a-tete meeting with Talat and meeting between delegations have been very fruitful. We discussed the status quo in Cyprus and ways to further strengthen cooperation between Turkey and the TRNC, underlined Gul. The TRNC has done and is doing all it can to bring a just, permanent and comprehensive peace to the island. By voting 'Yes' at a previous referendum, the Turkish Cypriots showed their sincerity in desiring a lasting solution. Turkish Cypriots are not the side that wants a deadlock in the island, stressed Gul.

    Gul underscored that a solution in Cyprus should be sought by accepting the reality of two peoples, two states, two languages and two religions on the island.

    President Gul reiterated that Turkey's support to the TRNC's economy will continue. We will be on the side of our brothers and sisters in Cyprus by providing security, defending the right cause of the Turkish Cypriots and from an economic point of view.

    Peace will one day prevail in Cyprus. Turkey, Greece and Cyprus may establish a major center of cooperation in eastern Mediterranean, remarked Gul.

    Meanwhile, Talat indicated that the visit of Gul to the TRNC, which happens to be Gul's first overseas visit after having been elected President of Turkey, is a gesture extended to Turkish Cypriots.

    Talat said that cooperation between Turkey and the TRNC will get deeper and continue.

    Finding Turkey's support, under any circumstance and under any condition, gives us strength, noted Talat.

    The Turkish Armed Forces brought peace to the island of Cyprus. It is a symbol of peace, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday. The Turkish Armed Forces have no intention other than preserving peace, said Gul.

    Gul and President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Talat answered questions of the press corps on Tuesday.

    Asked whether the world community extended support to Turkey's efforts for bringing peace to Cyprus, Gul replied that the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey proved their peaceful feelings.

    There is still more to be done. Promises made to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots must be kept. We can establish cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean if we can solve the problems, noted Gul.

    When reminded about the recent comments made by Greek Cypriot leader on the Turkish Armed Forces, Gul stressed that the Turkish Armed Forces have brought peace to Cyprus and southern Cyprus. The Turkish Armed Forces did not only bring democracy to Cyprus, but provided an opportunity for democracy to grow in the region, underlined Gul.

    In response to a question on the Annan Plan, Gul indicated that important progress was made under the Annan Plan. We cannot forget the Annan Plan and begin as if the plan never took place.

    Meanwhile, TRNC President Talat remarked that, as President Gul said, we are always one step ahead and will be so with our new policies.

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot press notes that Gul gave emphasis to the two separate states during his illegal visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus and clearly put forward the national policy which will be followed from now on

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.09.07) and the rest of the reports in the Turkish Cypriot newspapers today refer to the illegal visit of the new Turkish President Abdullah Gul, to the occupied areas of Cyprus, the meetings he held and the statements he made yesterday.

    Under the title Support to a comprehensive solution by Gul, Kibris reports that Mr Gul addressed the international community from the occupied areas of the island and asked for the lifting of the isolations on the TRNC. He alleged that the Turkish side is determined to preserve its approach of good will and in favour of the solution.

    Claiming that the fact that the Turkish side did more than it was in its share for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution in Cyprus is a reality which is accepted now in the international community, Mr Gul argued that they are determined to continue showing good will and added:

    Turkey will continue its support in the direction of the finding of a comprehensive solution under the auspices of the United Nations, taking into consideration the realities of the island.

    Calling on the international community to make a concrete step towards the lifting of the isolations on the Turkish Cypriots, Mr Gul said: The solution will be based on the reality of two peoples, two democracies, two states. He noted that Turkey, as a guarantor power, is capable of doing what is required from its responsibilities in this framework.

    Meanwhile, the paper refers also to the statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat who claimed that Mr Gul made a great gesture by making his first visit as President to the occupied areas of Cyprus and alleged that the visit is an open support by Turkey to the efforts for finding an overall solution to the Cyprus problem. He described Guls visit as a sign that Turkey wishes for peace in Cyprus, that it does not want tension any more and that it supports this.

    Afrika refers to Guls visit under the title Armoured vehicle for Gul and reports that very strict security measures were taken during Guls visit and that armed commandos were watching at the crossroads and the roofs of high buildings. The paper notes that the vehicles of the television channels which went to the illegal Tymbou airport to broadcast lively Mr Guls arrival were searched by police dogs.

    Replying to a question whether the Annan Plan is dead, Mr Gul said that a lot of distance has been covered for the sake of this plan and added that this is not an effort to be forgotten and ignored. Replying to another question he alleged: The Turkish Armed Forces is a symbol of peace in the area. They brought peace to the island and gave the opportunity for the establishment of democracy to the wider area.

    Referring to the period he had been Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Gul said: I have explained the Cyprus issue to the whole world. I spent my past five years with this. I said the realities of the island.

    Halkin Sesi refers to the issue under the title Emphasis on the two states by Gul and points to the statement by the Turkish President that the solution could be on the basis of two peoples, two democracies and two states.

    Star Kibris refers to Mr Guls statements under the title Message from Gul to the world: Two states, two peoples, two democracies. The paper notes that Mr Gul discussed the recent developments in Cyprus with Mr Talat and Mr Cemil Cicek, Turkeys State Minister responsible for Cyprus.

    Kibrisli covers the issue under the title The key to the solution are the two states. Publishing a photograph in which Mr Gul and Mr Talat are shaking hands in front of the so-called presidential palace, the paper notes Here is the photograph which drove Tassos crazy!

    Sozcu refers to Mr Guls visit under the title Gul: There are two peoples, two religions in Cyprus.

    Sozcu reports also that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci described the statements by the Greek Cypriot side regarding Mr Guls illegal visit to the occupied areas of the island as product of helplessness. He alleged that such statements serve only to hostility. In a written statement Mr Avci alleged that the contact between Turkey and the breakaway regime are a state tradition from time immemorial.

    Bakis publishes on its front page an open letter by the Democratic Party (DP) to Mr Gul. In the letter the visit of the Turkish president to the occupied areas is described as an important message to the world. The DP thanks Mr Gul because of his visit and describes his address today at the assembly a historic speech . It notes that its MPs will be present but afterwards they will continue the boycott. It also explains the reasons of this decision.

    Gunes covers Mr Guls illegal visit under the title It cannot be done without the TRNC! and points out to his statements regarding the two states, two democracies and two peoples.

    Volkan uses the title Solution based on the two separate states. The President of the Republic of the Motherland has clearly put forward the national policy which will be followed from now on, notes the paper.

    Vatan refers to the issue under the title Two separate realities.

    Ortam covers the issue under the title Two separate realities, two separate states!

    Finally, Yeni Duzen covers the issue under the title The Annan Plan cannot be ignored and forgotten. The paper reports that Gul argued that the efforts for peace will continue, but the steps should be made mutually.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Guls off the record statement on Cyprus 2002 on the bargaining between Turkey and the USA before the war in Iraq

    Under the title Secret history, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (19.09.07) refers in its main editorial to an off the record statement made by Mr Gul in December 2002 when he was Prime Minister. He reportedly said:

    The USA wants to use our territory for the war in Iraq. Neither the economic bargaining we are carrying out with the US is important nor anything else. If we do not cooperate, they want Cyprus from us. We are facing the danger of loosing Cyprus. This is the most important issue. But I am saying this off the record. Please do not write it.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] More from Kibris on preparations by the Turkish side for the velvet separation policy

    Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.09.07) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and Omer Kalyoncu general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) visited Ankara secretly the day before yesterday. According to Mr Duzgun, Ercakica and Kalyoncu met with Ertugrul Apakan, permanent undersecretary at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and high ranking bureaucrats who have a say in the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Duzgun adds, inter alia, the following:

    Very well, what were the aim and the issue of this meeting? We acquired two different kinds of information regarding this. According to one source the details of Guls visit were discussed and the necessity of a clear message to be given to the world was taken up. It seemed to me that this allegation is a weak probability. Because the details of Guls visit could not be arranged by the Spokesman Hasan Ercakica and furthermore by the CTP general secretary Omer Kalyoncu. The second allegation was regarding the difference of opinion between the two sides. In the article under the title Velvet Separation or Equal partnership? I have written that the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara supports a change of policy in the Cyprus problem and a switch over to the opinion of velvet separation. The bureaucracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wanted declaratory statements regarding this policy to be made by President Gul during his TRNC visit.

    These discussions are in the backstage of Kalyoncu and Ercakicas secret visit to Ankara. The velvet separation is the agreement to turn Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia. That is, (they defend) supporting two internationally recognized separate states. Can the velvet separation model be supported as a position in Cyprus? According to sources of the TRNC presidency, during a period when the international community agrees on launching a new round of negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem, it does not seem possible to support the velvet separation position which would be meaning separatism.

    Ercakica and Kalyoncu discussed this. We do not know what the result they achieved was. But, I think that within the next days more detailed information will be reflected to the public opinion. Let me note that officials from the Justice and Development Party with whom Ercakica and Kalyoncyu met in Ankara are also in this process.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Bulutoglulari says that they will build social residences for low-income people

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.09.07) reports that the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari made yesterday statements on the plans of the municipality for building social residences for low-income people. He said that in the first stage they will build 200 houses of 85 square meters. He noted that they will give priority to people who live in extreme poverty and that they prepared a plan according to which 2.700 sterling pounds will be paid in advance and the rest of the amount with instalments of 150 sterling pounds for 20 years. Mr Bulutoglulari said that the houses will cost 50 million US dollars, which they received 1.800 applications, but they accepted only the 1.200 of them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Information on the number of the aircraft that arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus last month

    Kibris (19.09.07) writes that according to the report of the Civil Aviation Department for August 2007, 1505 planes landed and departed from illegal Tymbou airport last month. The paper notes that 99.082 persons arrived and 100.013 departed from the occupied areas. The planes transported 439.805 kilos of cargo and 15.383 kilos of mail.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] An Italian journalist is briefed on the Turkish Cypriot football on the eve of the meeting in Zurich

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.09.07) reports that the Italian journalist Mr Franko Molinari, vice president of Swedens Foreign Press Union and correspondent of Tutto Sport, was briefed yesterday on the Turkish Cypriot football during a meeting at Cetinkaya Football clubs headquarters. The Italian journalist was informed by the chairmen of Cetinkaya, Dogan Turk Birligi, Kucuk Kaymakli, Gencler Birligi football clubs as well as the chairman of the so-called Clubs Union.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Erdogan to New York tomorrow. His programme of contacts

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.09.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will leave for the United States on September 20th to attend the 62nd General Assembly meeting of the UN. The meeting will start on September 24th in New York; and PM Erdogan, as well as Turkish FM Ali Babacan will assist the meeting.

    Erdogan will deliver a speech on Turkey's views regarding the international agenda and UN on September 28th at the general assembly.

    During his stay in New York, Erdogan will hold meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, as well as French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Premier Gordon Brown. Erdogan will also deliver a speech in a meeting organized by the "Council on Foreign Relations", and attend a panel discussion within the scope of Clinton Global Initiative.

    On September 29th, Erdogan will meet members of Turkish community as well as representatives of Turkish associations in the United States, and depart from New York the same day.

    [11] The visit of the USA State Department under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns has started

    Turkish Milliyet newspaper (19.09.07) reports that the two-day visit of the USA State Department under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns has started.

    Mr Burns arrived in Istanbul without any officialdom. The paper reports that during his contacts with the Turkish officials Mr Burns will discuss a number of strategic issues concerning Turkey and the USA.

    (MHY)

    [12] Gul addresses the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime

    Illegal Brayrak television (19.09.07) broadcast live the address of the Turkish President, Mr Abdullah Gul at the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime.

    Mr Gul said he was proud to be addressing the assembly which he described as symbol of Turkish Cypriots successfully using their right to determine their future. Pointing out to the importance of the assembly, he said that this is the place where decisions regarding the future of the Turkish Cypriots will be taken and where the decision for declaring the self-styled TRNC was taken. He alleged that the TRNC has proved that it is a state based on the rule of law.

    Pointing out to the strategic importance of the area where Turkey and the TRNC is, Mr Gul said that no one should have any doubt that they will continue to be responsible actors in this area. Turkey is the guarantee of security, peace and stability in its area, alleged Mr Gul and claimed that as motherland and guarantor power we will continue to exert efforts for a solution with the TRNC.

    On the other hand, the basic target of our foreign policy is the accession of Turkey to the EU, he said expressing the belief that their accession will contribute to peace and stability in the region. He alleged that the wish of the Turkish Cypriots to take the place they deserve internationally and their EU perspective is unified with these efforts of ours.

    Mr Gul reiterated that the basic parameters of the solution of the Cyprus problem are the political equality and equilibrium. There are two separate peoples, two separate democratic systems and two separate states in Cyprus, he alleged and argued that expecting from the Turkish Cypriots to abandon their equal status today and accept to become minority is nothing else than a dream in vain.

    Mr Gul said: It is essential for the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC to be one of the two founding equal sides in an agreement. A new partnership in this direction could be established only on the basis of fundamental principles which we cannot abandon such as bi-zonality, political equality and the guarantees of Turkey. Of course the place for the solution is the UN.

    He accused the Greek Cypriot side of refusing to share power with the Turkish Cypriots and of not making any opening for a solution.

    Referring to the statements regarding the Turkish occupation army, Mr Gul reiterated that inappropriate statements about Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces, which brought peace and tranquillity to the island for both communities, cannot be accepted.

    He expressed the opinion that relating the Cyprus problem with Turkeys EU accession course is not right. This is a wrong calculation, he argued.

    There is a state structure with self-confidence. Your state is developing its relations with the world and with its modern principles it is being adopted more and more by the international community, argued Gul and referred to the representations which the TRNC opened recently in many states and the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with the world. He admitted that there are problems as well and said that the problems are temporary, but this state is permanent.

    Mr Gul alleged that the basis of peace and stability in Cyprus is the strengthening of TRNC from economic and social point of view. He referred to the investments that come from Turkey and the opening of the campus of Istanbul University in the occupied areas of the island.

    (I/Ts.)


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Talat: The Turkish Army cannot leave the island even if it wants

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Milliyet (19.09.07) publishes the article of the papers columnist Fikret Bila in his Column Yon (Direction). The columnist writes that he had a discussion with Talat in the latters office prior to Guls visit to the occupied area.

    Bila says that Talat had expressed his satisfaction regarding Guls election as President of Turkey. Talat said: Our views as regards the Cyprus problem are identical with Esteemed Gul. I am of the view that he will make important contributions. We are close to Esteemed Gul, and Esteemed Gul, who together with Esteemed Erdogan had charted and followed up the Cyprus policy from the very beginning, will be effective at the international level.

    Regarding the withdrawal of the Turkish army from Cyprus, reports Mr Bila, Talat said the following: The Turkish troops cannot leave the island; even if it wants it cannot leave the island, because the Turkish army is here to fulfill its responsibility stipulated by the international agreements. The duty of the Turkish troops will end when the Cyprus problem is settled. The Cyprus problem is not created because the Turkish army is here. Just the contrary, the Turkish troops came here because there was a problem here. According to the agreements, the Turkish troops cannot leave the island before the disagreement is settled. This is what the Greek Cypriot administration should know.

    Milliyets columnist goes on and writes that Mr. Talat had branded President Papadopouloss statement regarding the Turkish occupation army that the Turkish army is our only enemy, as a statement having domestic consumption regarding the forthcoming presidential elections in February.

    Mr Bila goes on and reports that Mr. Talat had told him that as regards a settlement in the Cyprus problem he is not optimistic in the face of the, as he put it, Greek Cypriot administrations stance. Talat said: The aim of Papadopoulos is not to reach a solution. He wants to assimilate the Turkish Cypriots through the method of osmosis. Papadopouloss aim is to assimilate slowly and do away with the Turkish Cypriot community within the Greek Cypriot community. Can there be a settlement with this approach? Mr. Papadopoulos does not want to share the sovereignty.

    Finally, Talat told Mr Bila: The gap between the two communities on the island has never ever been as deep as at present.

    (MHY)

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 18 September 2007

    Following are excerpts from reports and articles of the Turkish press on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:

    According to a report by Gokcer Tahincioglu in Milliyet, conciliation regarding the headscarf issue was reached at the meeting in Sapanca, where officials of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and academicians discussed the new draft constitution. The report further recounts the discussions held at the meeting on Ataturkist nationalism, the immunity of deputies, the presidential and general elections, and the National Security Council.

    A report by Nergis Demirkaya in Sabah publishes the views of various university rectors on the manner in which the headscarf issue is included in the new draft constitution. Many are against the proposal to allow headscarves students to attend universities.

    On the draft constitution prepared by the Turkish Bar Association, (TBB), in 2001, in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol says that phrases such as "the Ataturk principles and reforms" and "Ataturkist nationalism" were excluded from the draft. Noting that the sovereignty of the state as well as its indivisible unity were also diluted in that draft, Akyol disapproves of the fact that this draft constitution stipulated that one third of the members of the Constitutional Court will be elected by the parliament. In conclusion, Akyol questions why such a draft prepared by the TBB, which is headed by Ozdemir Ozkok, who is a respected member of the Republican People's Party, is acceptable while the "liberal draft" prepared by Prof Ergun Ozbudun that gives more emphasis to the Ataturk principles is unacceptable.

    According to a report in Hurriyet, President Gul warned Prime Minister Erdogan that the new draft constitution should not appear to be the constitution of the party. Noting that he will be holding another meeting with Erdogan on the issue, Gul said: "The larger the participation in the Constitution the better it is. I will perform my duty."

    Assessing the constitution in a column in Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi writes that Article 103 of the constitution dealing with the status of the Religious Affairs Directorate remains as it is and questions why such a directorate remains within the state structure in a country that claims to be secular. He then questions why the Chief of the General Staff is not linked to the National Defense Ministry, as is the case in EU member countries. Pointing out that the government must have thought that these stipulations should be preserved because of the special realities in Turkey, the writer then asks why the article on "safeguarding the principles and reforms of Ataturk" was not kept in line with these same special realities. In conclusion, Eksi accuses the AKP government of applying double standards to suit its purposes.

    Addressing the headscarf issue in the new draft in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Cuneyt Ulsever predicts a power struggle on the subject and calls on the president "to be the leader of conciliation in this period."

    In an article entitled "I did not like the draft of the draft", Yeni Safak columnist Resul Tosun argues that the draft constitution drawn up by an academic team headed by Professor Ergun Ozbudun retains the "ideological" character of the 1982 constitution in that it proposes "practically" no changes to the status of the National Security Council, MGK, does not make the General Staff answerable to the Defence Ministry, and provides the Higher Education Council, YOK, with administrative autonomy.

    Under the headline, "Nobody could maintain this disgraceful ban," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that a number of NGOs have disclosed that they are ready to give full support to a liberal constitution and called on the Erdogan government to lift all anti-democratic restrictions on "the freedom of faith."

    A front-page report entitled "We cannot join the EU with the 12 September Constitution" highlights remarks by Can Paker, Chairman of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, TESEV, announcing support for the Government's bid to put together a "civilian constitution."

    In an article entitled "A definition of Turkishness", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone argues that there is a need for a "legally valid" definition of citizenship in the next constitution because Article 82 of the current constitution, which is supposed to provide such a definition, actually defines "Turkishness" rather than citizenship in saying that "Everybody who is part of the Turkish state is Turkish."

    In an article entitled "Freedoms based on crime must come to an end", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu refers to the airing of a music video on YouTube, hailing the murderers of Hrant Dink, as an event highlighting the need to pass laws that would strengthen the rule of law in Turkey. She also claims that while the next constitution might include provisions reducing the military's political clout, "courageous steps" to end the military tutelage model may not be forthcoming for a while.

    Under the banner headline, "The nation would never forgive you," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which warns the Erdogan government against making the compulsory religious education classes at high schools an optional course in the new constitution and asserts that religious classes are taught as a compulsory course in many European countries.

    Referring to the referendum on the presidential elections in a column in Hurriyet, Yilmaz Ozdil anticipates a lot of confusion. He argues that if the people vote in favor of the election of the president by popular vote, then Gul's presidency is rendered invalid. He adds that some might think that this is not a problem because he can submit his candidacy again and be reelected.

    However, given the stipulation in the current constitution that a president cannot be elected to that post twice and that the current constitution will still be valid in the aftermath of the referendum, and given the fact that voting for the presidency should take place 40 days after the referendum results, Ozdil concludes by saying that Gul will probably vote against the election of the president by popular vote.

    Viewing the relations between Gul and Erdogan in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand discards the theory that the two will eventually be in conflict, adding that those close to the two leaders are confident that a dispute between them is a very remote possibility.

    According to a report in Hurriyet, Abdullah Ocalan is said to have proposed marriage to Pinar Selek, one of the suspects in the Egyptian Market bombing case some years ago. It is claimed that Ocalan, who has despaired from the Democratic Turkey Party, has given the go ahead for a "Democratic Society Movement" to be headed by Selek and Hatip Dicle.

    A report in Yeni Safak entitled "That man should come under scrutiny," which quotes Ozan Arif (Arif the Bard), the writer of the controversial song "in praise of Hrant Dink murder suspect Ogun S," as having said on a private television channel that Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu should be placed under special scrutiny for his recent articles sharply criticizing the song in question.

    In an article entitled "The murderer is among us", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu asks Ozan Arif whether his remarks on a recent program aired by the Yenicag television channel mean that he wants him (Bayramoglu) to be killed in an "ambush" like Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink because of his articles condemning the music video about the Dink murder recently posted on YouTube.

    In an article entitled "Are you out of your minds?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru accuses those who put together the music video that praises Hrant Dink's murderers and represents Dink himself as a "traitor" of paving the way for a "magnitude 8 (social) quake" in "inciting hatred" against Turkish Armenians.

    In an article entitled "Iran once again", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that the United States could hit Iran in the next ten months and that a US military campaign directed at Iran might not be intended only to destroy this country's nuclear capabilities but also to bring down the Iranian regime. Unal cites Washington's reference to the Republican Guard Forces in Iran as a terrorist group and a US court's recent ruling accepting the compensation claims of the relatives of the US military personnel killed by Hizbullah in Beirut in 1983 as possible signs that a US military operation against Iran might have this wider objective.

    In an article entitled "Silent genocide: Which civilization is being restored?" Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul accuses the United States of killing over one million people in Iraq and being directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of some three million people in the Middle East. He expresses disappointment over the failure of mass demonstrations to be staged in Turkey in protest at the US killings in the region and slams "those who should raise their voices, saying 'We are all Muslims'" in the face of the ongoing "Muslim genocide" for "looking into establishing partnerships" with Washington.

    In an article entitled "The United States' Iraq strategy and the Pullout Maneuver", Vakit columnist Siddik Arslan argues that the Bush administration's latest pullout "tactic" in Iraq is intended to create a new model of governance where the regional Kurdish administration and the Iraqi national forces will serve as US "pawns" and "cat's-paws" responsible for governing Iraq on Washington's behalf. He claims that if this model proves successful, the United States will take steps to create "satellite" governments in the entire Middle East as part of its goal to break up nation-states in the Middle East and replace them with "city states."

    In an article entitled "Sakka", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak comments on Syrian Al-Qa'ida suspect Louai Sakka's allegation that the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks were trained at a hotel in the Turkish town of Yalova. Dilipak asks whether Sakka's disclosures might mean that "the gangs within the deep state" are trying to send a warning message to their "old friend" (the United States).

    In an article entitled "The three 'Istan' project", Associate Professor Melih Can argues that the United States is using a divide-and-rule strategy in Iraq to implement a "three 'istan' project" aimed at creating a Kurdistan in the north, a "Sunnistan" in the center, and a "Shiitistan" in the south.

    EG/


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