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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-22

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.15/08 22.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Egypt and Turkey at the table for the Mediterranean
  • [02] Pertev says that the Turkish Cypriot side should not refrain from referring to two separate democracies
  • [03] Ertugruloglu comments on Talats statements
  • [04] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on the Missing Persons
  • [05] Columnist in Milliyet: The decision for establishing the Istanbul Technical University in the TRNC, is a state decision
  • [06] Illegal universities will participate in a meeting of Erasmus Student Network
  • [07] Information on the traffic accidents in the occupied areas in 2007
  • [08] Reference to Cyprus by the Sudanese President during a dinner hosted by Gul
  • [09] Turkeys population reached 70,5 million
  • [10] Revised Accession Partnership document for Turkey ready
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 21 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Egypt and Turkey at the table for the Mediterranean

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.01.08) reports that President Abdullah Gul, who visited Egypt recently, explained Turkeys policy for the Mediterranean Sea on the map to President Mubarak and convinced him to sit at the table.

    The aim was to re-examine the policy of Egypt for the Mediterranean, notes the paper, because Egypt made an Exclusive Economic Zone agreement with the Greek Cypriots before and shared the Mediterranean Sea. That is, Turkey remained in the sidelines, it adds.

    The paper reports that Mr Gul told his Egyptian counterpart that the agreement with the Greek Cypriots was wrong and explained the problems to be caused for Egypt in a possible agreement with Greece. The paper reports that President Mubarak listened to Mr Gul and approved the re-examination of the issue of the Mediterranean.

    A Turkish delegation is expected to visit Egypt during the coming months on a date set by the Egyptians and discuss the issue of dividing the Mediterranean into economic zones, notes the paper. Officials from the [Turkish] Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued that the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus for granting permit for oil were unsuccessful and said that Egypt and Turkey are two main elements of the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Ankara is working on a package for developing its economic cooperation with Egypt, reports the paper and concludes: The establishment of direct flights towards the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Port Said and new sea lines between the two countries is being planned. According to the officials, the fact that the Egyptian gas will be transferred to Europe through Turkey increases the importance which Cairo attaches to Ankara.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Pertev says that the Turkish Cypriot side should not refrain from referring to two separate democracies

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.01.08) reports that Rasit Pertev, chairman of the Peoples Party (HP) has said that while the Turkish side exerts the necessary effort for a solution in Cyprus and strengthens its institutions, it should not refrain from openly referring to the possibility of two separate democracies.

    In statements yesterday at the headquarters of the HP in the occupied part of Nicosia, Mr Pertev argued that the Turkish Cypriot side should stop denying itself. He claimed that their basic institutions have been formed under the umbrella of the TRNC and added that when the people who served at posts of this state do not defend the TRNC and say I do not want recognition, this is tantamount to hypocrisy.

    Mr Pertev said that he is not seeing any possibility for a solution in 2008 and asked for elections to be held in the occupied areas in the end of 2008 or in the beginning of 2009.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Ertugruloglu comments on Talats statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.01.08) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), has commented on the statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to the paper. Mr Ertugruloglu issued a written statement yesterday arguing that Mr Talats statements showed that the worries of the UBP regarding the future are right.

    He accused Mr Talat of making dangerous and wrong evaluations from the point of view of the Turkish Cypriot people and their rights.

    Mr Ertugruloglu said:

    Talat now says that if we are going to sit at the negotiations, they should say something to us about our future. Good morning Talat. Where did you have your mind during the Annan Plan? When we were saying that it should be clear how we will sit at the table and how we will stand up, if the Greek Cypriots are going to sit and stand up as a state and we as community, this process will benefit the Greek Cypriots, Talat accused us of being intransigent. If now he is saying these, he should apologize to us.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on the Missing Persons

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.01.08) reports that Gulden Plumer Kucuk, Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on the Missing Persons, has said that the European Parliament (EP) showed a great interest in the Committee in March 2007 and invited its members to visit the Parliament.

    In exclusive statements to Kibris, Mrs Plumer said that this initiative has been undertaken by the Cypriot member of the EP, Mr Panayiotis Dimitriou and it was realized with the agreement of all the large groups of the EP. She noted that for the first time it was registered at the EP that there are both Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing persons. Mrs Plumer said that the reporter of the EP on the issue of the missing persons in Cyprus, Mrs Ewa Klampt, is expected to submit its reports to the EP by March 2008.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Columnist in Milliyet: The decision for establishing the Istanbul Technical University in the TRNC, is a state decision

    Under the title After ODTU (Middle East Technical University), TRNC ITU (Istanbul Technical University), Milliyets columnist, Abbas Guclu, (22.01.08) reports on the news that some fields and buildings in the TRNC are planned to be used for the Istanbul Technical Universitys campus. Mr Guclu writes, inter alia, that the universities in occupied Cyprus keep the economy alive and that in a place which has a population of 256 thousand persons, there are 44 thousand students and the aim is this number to reach 60 thousands. He writes that the decision for establishing the ITU in the TRNC, after the establishment of the ODTU is a state decision and was taken 10 years ago and notes that the aim is to make the TRNC a place with extraordinary academic institutions.

    He also reports about the round table meetings entitled What kind of a university? which took place on Saturday and were organized by the Istanbul Technical University and in which participated the self-styled minister of education Canan Oztoprak. He goes on and writes that difficulties are expecting the ITU in occupied Cyprus, but notes that the time for the Turkish universities to be opened up to the world came and the TRNC experience is positive.

    (CS)

    [06] Illegal universities will participate in a meeting of Erasmus Student Network

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.01.08) reports that the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University and the American University of Keryneia will officially be represented in the annual meeting of the representatives of the regional universities of Erasmus Student Network, which will take place in France next March.

    According to a statement issued by Moner Mortaja, National Representative of Erasmus Cyprus Student Network, the activities for next year and the new administrative council will be determined during the meeting which will take place between 21 and 24 of March. We do not care about politics. We are working for peace and the spirit of dialogue, said Mortaja describing as disgraceful the fact that the visits on the part of universities in the occupied areas of Cyprus are blocked.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Information on the traffic accidents in the occupied areas in 2007

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.01.08) reports that 47 persons died and 1378 were injured during 340 traffic accidents that took place in 2007 in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to data acquired by the police, the number of the deaths decreased by one and the number of the injuries increased by 36 in comparison with 2006.

    The numbers show that 49.3 % of the accidents happened in occupied Nicosia, 29.7 % in Famagusta, 12.3 % in Keryneia, 4.5 % in Morfou and 4.2 % in Karpasia. Afrika refers to the same issue, under the title The number of the registered vehicles is 215 thousands and reports that the number of the vehicles has increased by 14.969 in 2007. The paper writes that the age group which is mostly involved in traffic accidents are drivers between 30 and 35.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Reference to Cyprus by the Sudanese President during a dinner hosted by Gul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.01.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday that Turkey gives high attention to Sudan's stability, unity, welfare and development as a country that carries strategic position and importance in its region in Africa.

    Gul hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting Sudanese President Umar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir on Monday.

    Speaking at the dinner, Gul indicated that Turkey will do whatever is possible to bring peace and welfare to Sudan in the near future.

    "We see Sudan as a friendly country in Africa. This is the second visit from Sudan to Turkey at the presidential level. The current visit shows how much Al-Bashir pays attention to political, economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Sudan," Gul noted.

    "Although we are far from each other geographically, our people are not far to each other. We must make use of this reality," Gul remarked.

    "The agreements we have signed in Ankara will contribute to our relations," Gul underlined.

    Meanwhile, President Al-Bashir said that his government is dedicated to finding a lasting solution in the matter of Darfur to end bloodshed and loss of lives. "Sudan is a bridge between Arabic and African nations. Sudan's doors are open to Turkish entrepreneurs. We will give priority to Turkish businessmen willing to do business in Sudan," Al-Bashir said.

    Al-Bashir thanked the Turkish Red Crescent aid society for its supply of aid materials in Darfur and the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TIKA) for its activities in Sudan.

    Al-Bashir stressed that Sudan appreciates the role assumed by Turkey in the Palestinian issue. "Peace will come only when Israel withdraws from territories it has occupied and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem," Al-Bashir underscored.

    Al-Bashir told that a solution should be found in Cyprus within the framework of the United Nations.

    [09] Turkeys population reached 70,5 million

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.01.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said, "according to Address-based Population Register System, Turkey's population --as of the end of 2007-- is 70,586,256." On the other hand, Turkish State Minister Nazim Ekren said that 98,339 foreigners are living in Turkey, adding that the number of Turkish citizens who are living in Turkey is 70,487,917.

    Atalay and Ekren held a press conference on Monday to reveal the results of "Address-based Population Register System" at Turkish Board of Statistics (TUIK). Ekren noted that 70.5 percent of the population is living in cities while 29.5 percent is residing in villages and districts.

    Average age in the country is 28.3 which shows that half of the population is under this age.

    Meanwhile, 17.8 percent of the population is living in Istanbul.

    [10] Revised Accession Partnership document for Turkey ready

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (21.01.08) reports the following:

    The Accession Partnership document for Turkey, the country's roadmap toward European Union membership, has been revised for the second time since 2001 and is due for adoption by the bloc next week.

    The revised draft, a copy of which has been obtained by the Turkish Daily News, states clearly that the aim of negotiations is membership, leaving behind the issues raised by France regarding the document's wording. Once the document is approved by the European Council, Turkey will start preparations for a new National Programme.

    The document sets out the priority areas for Turkey's membership preparations and urges Ankara to consolidate its political reforms process in order to guarantee its irreversibility and implementation.

    Civilian oversight of TSK still first among priorities:

    Turkey's short-term priorities are listed under the following main headings: Democracy and rule of law; human rights and protection of minorities; regional issues and international obligations; ability to assume the obligations of membership.

    The need for civilian oversight of the security forces is once again underlined, calling on Ankara to ensure that the military does not intervene in political issues and that civilian authorities fully exercise supervisory functions on security matters. Full parliamentary oversight of military and defence policy, and limiting the jurisdiction of military courts solely to military duties of military personnel, are also listed as expectations in the document.

    Although Turkey was asked to remedy the situation of those persons prosecuted or sentenced for non-violent expression of opinion, the immediate expectations for article 301 of the Turkish penal code is not mentioned specifically.

    Other requests have been made for Turkey to ensure full respect of freedom of religion and of the adoption of the new law on foundations that guarantees to ensure the non-Muslim minorities acquire legal personality and religious education. The EU also asks Turkey to adopt the necessary legislation that will prevent repeated prosecutions and convictions of those who refuse to perform military service for conscientious or religious reasons.

    Expectations for Kurdish broadcasts and education:

    The document also underlines the need for Turkey to improve effective access to radio and TV broadcasting in languages other than Turkish, as well as to adopt appropriate measures to support the teaching of those languages. The document refers to the Kurdish problem in the context of the situation in the southeast.

    Brussels once again urges Ankara to develop a comprehensive approach to enhance economic, social and cultural opportunities for all Turkish citizens, including those of Kurdish origins. Abolishing the village guard system, clearing the area of landmines, facilitating the return of internally displaced persons and implementation of the compensation law for losses due to fight against terrorism were also mentioned among the necessary steps for improving the situation in the southeast.

    The EU reiterated its position by asking Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalisation of bilateral relations with all member states including Greek Cyprus. Ankara has been asked to remove all existing restrictions on Greek Cyprus-flagged vessels and vessels serving the Cyprus trade. Turkey has also been asked to pursue further efforts to resolve any outstanding border disputes as well as to refrain from any threat or action that could adversely affect the process of the peaceful settlement of such disputes.

    Completion of privatization:

    With regard to economic criteria, Turkey is urged to further strengthen economic policy co-ordination across different institutions and to continue with market liberalization and privatization of state-owned enterprises in the short-run. Addressing labor market imbalances and improving the business climate are also listed as short-term priorities. Medium-term priorities, on the other hand, are more ambitious, calling on Ankara to complete the privatization programme, ensure sustainability of public finance and upgrade the country's infrastructure, in particular in energy and transport.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 21 January 2008

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press:

    a) Headscarf issue:

    In a column entitled "The GATA 'Knot Formula' to the Headdress" in Hurriyet, Fatih Cekirge relates how the headdress problem was solved at the Gulhane Military Hospital, GATA, in Ankara. Quoting a high-level government official who wishes to remain anonymous, Cekirge explains that head-dressed women are entering GATA, which is a military installation, by tying their headscarves in a special knot under the chin symbolizing the Anatolian style headscarf and thus gaining access to the hospital. The writer wonders whether this Anatolian style formula can also solve the headdress issue in universities and concludes: "Can the conciliation among institutions mentioned by the prime minister begin in this manner?"

    Sabah reports that the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), administration has reached the decision that the headdress ban cannot be lifted only with the amendment of Article 10 of the Constitution as suggested by the Nationalist Action Party, (MHP). According to the report, the proposal the AKP is preparing on the issue will include the amendment of Article 42 dealing with the freedom of education, thus preventing an interpretation that will include all public institutions.

    Commenting on Prime Minister Erdogan's recent remarks regarding the ban on the headdress in an article entitled "Has the AKP Begun To Sideline its Members Without a Headdress" in Cumhuriyet, Orhan Erinc asks why AKP officials have become so insistent on the issue. Recalling past remarks to the effect that the headdress issue is not one of the party's priorities, the writer goes on to criticize the AKP concept of democracy and the party's attempts to appoint judges in line with the AKP views. Pointing out that even AKP constitutional experts have acknowledged the fact that some 50 articles of the Constitution have to be amended in order to realize the AKP wish to force every woman in Turkey to wear a headdress, Erinc describes that women sitting behind the platform from which Erdogan was addressing the recent AKP women's auxiliary congress were all wearing headdresses, adding that in the past care would be shown to have a balance between those with and those without headdresses.

    In a column in The New Anatolian, Ilnur Cevik expresses the belief that Turks have to come to terms with the reality of the headscarf, adding that bans and fines will not prevent people from practicing their beliefs. Cevik further notes that the headscarf should not be regarded as part of a war between the secularist elite and the masses with religious sensitivities.

    Acknowledging Erdogan's outrage in the face of the recent statement issued by the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State, in an editorial in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli adds that, however, "the reaction of the prime minister to the statements coming from these top two courts demonstrated once again the obsession of our government with the "turban business" and its lack of interest in the promotion of overall individual rights in the country." The writer criticizes the government for using its parliamentary majority to govern the country the way it likes adding that having a parliamentary majority does not give one the right "to remove the main pillars of a system."

    In an article entitled "Anachronism problem in the judiciary", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay slams Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya and State Council President Sumru Cortoglu for their "anachronistic" objection to the Erdogan government's efforts to lift the headscarf ban at universities through a constitutional amendment. Aktay defines "anachronism" as a quality that characterizes the sort of mindset that is incapable of seeing the general trend of the world and understanding the needs of society, adding that with the 22 July elections, Turkey entered a brand new period where a different type of politics is required to meet the cultural, economic, and social needs of an "extremely dynamic" society.

    In an article entitled "It is worse to be cautious and stumble than to be careless and stumble", Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil argues that Prime Minister Erdogan appears to be applying a timing strategy in trying to achieve his political aims, choosing to defer action on certain goals when he faces obstacles but never actually giving up his objectives. After claiming that Erdogan appears to be following a similar policy on the headscarf issue, Cakirgil advises the prime minister not to be too late in undertaking a democratic "restoration" of Turkey's government structures.

    In an article entitled "I want to get off at a convenient spot", Zaman Editor-in-Chief Emrem Dumanli accuses the mainstream media of fuelling polarization over the headscarf issue by "siding with prohibitionists" in their objection to the removal of the restrictions on the use of Islamic headdresses at universities. He also criticizes certain newspapers for trying to create a "regime crisis" out of the AKP and the Nationalist Action Party's efforts to lift the headscarf ban and the Government's plans to relocate the Central Bank to Istanbul and claims that "you cannot engage in true journalism by militating against waves of social change, turning a deaf ear to social demands, and going against the will of the people."

    In an article entitled "Judiciary power versus rights or the judiciary of the status quo", Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes lambastes "the man called the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court" and "the woman ... at the top of the Council of State" for asserting that removing the headscarf ban would amount to "separatism" and "damage our social peace." Kenes also asks whether "the unity, integrity and the social peace of this country" are "so weak that they have to be protected by bans."

    In an article entitled "Headscarf once again", Milli Gazete columnist Huseyin Akin criticizes Erdogan for invoking dictionary definitions of the Islamic headscarf rather than citing suras from the Koran or the Prophet's sayings to support his arguments for the use of headscarves at universities. He also criticizes references to Islamic headgear "reducing it to a mere symbol" and argues that while the symbolic aspect of headscarves cannot be denied, no religion can be treated separately from the symbols with which it is associated.

    b) Kurdish Issue:

    According to a report by Senol Cakir in Hurriyet, a large-scale operation has been launched in the rural regions of Beytussebap and Idil upon receiving intelligence information that a group of terrorists are planning an action over the Sirnak mountains. The report adds that hundreds of commandoes are participating in the operation and that tanks have been deployed in hilltops.

    A report entitled "An ugly attack on Buyukanit Pasha" in Vatan details the protest held against General Buyukanit, the chief of the General Staff, during his visit to London to meet Sir Richard Dannatt, the British chief of the General Staff. According to the report, during the protest organized by the PKK the demonstrators called for a stop to the operations being conducted in north Iraq.

    A report by Gokcer Tahincioglu in Milliyet details the irregularities in the file prepared by the Public Prosecutor's Office regarding the eight soldiers kidnapped by the PKK. According to the report, the Prosecutor's Office failed to request an expert's report for all the weapons used by eight soldiers despite the fact that some of the soldiers complained that their weapons malfunctioned. Furthermore, the soldiers were questioned without the presence of a lawyer and the statements given by the suspects as well eyewitnesses about the negligence of their commanders were not included in the investigation report. Another piece of information that was omitted from the file was eyewitness statements that some village guards could have participated in the raid.

    A report in Sabah says that Democratic Society Party Batman deputy Ayla Akad Ata participated in a march in favor of Abdullah Ocalan's transfer from Imrali to another prison. According to the report, a crowd including Ata and DTP provincial administrators marched carrying placards saying that Imrali should be closed down and that freedom should be granted to Ocalan.

    c) General Buyukanit´s visits:

    A report by Murat Gurgen on General Buyukanit's London visit in Vatan says that during his talks, the general will try to convince British officials to put pressure on the Iraqi Kurdish leaders for a just solution of the Kirkuk problem.

    According to a report in Hurriyet, Israeli Defense Minister Barak will be visiting Turkey in February to conduct talks on the issue of "intelligence sharing" in the struggle against terror. Within this framework, intelligence sharing is expected to increase, the report adds. Furthermore, the postponed visit of General Yasar Buyukanit to Israel might also be included in the agenda of the talks.

    EG/


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