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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-24

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.17/08 24.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Greece in Ankara; How the Turkish Cypriot press covers the issue
  • [02] Cyprus, the PKK and secret issues were discussed during Buyukanit and Miliband's meeting in London
  • [03] Joan Ryan expresses her sorrow because the Annan Plan was not implemented
  • [04] Avci to visit London and address a meeting at the Parliament
  • [05] Avci says that the ferry line between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia will continue under Turkish flag
  • [06] Statements by Soyer on EU adoption. The so-called council of ministers approves 2008 legislative program
  • [07] Rasbash says that important developments are expected in Cyprus in 2008
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot women protest in Brussels
  • [09] Turkish Cypriot newspaper on the Greek Cypriot Mike Tymvios case
  • [10] German businessmen visit the occupied areas headed by a provincial MP
  • [11] Boztepe was elected new president of the Turkish lobby in the USA
  • [12] IAEA representative supports Turkeys participation in the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative
  • [13] Turkeys TOBB leader was elected non-EU representative in Eurochambers
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [14] State against deep state
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 23 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Greece in Ankara; How the Turkish Cypriot press covers the issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08), under the title The seal of Cyprus at the historic meeting, reports that the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Greece, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kostas Karamanlis, who met yesterday in Ankara, gave messages of peace after their meeting. In statements during a joint press conference, Mr Erdogan expressed the belief that 2008 will be important for the Cyprus problem and added:

    Especially as motherlands and guarantor countries we think that it is important for the negotiations to start after the steps to be made following the elections which will be held in south Cyprus. Our care is undoubtedly to be able to solve the Cyprus problem at the table with negotiations. We, the guarantor countries, shall encourage this. And this issue should be brought to an end at the table.

    Replying to a question Mr Erdogan said:

    The elections which will be held in south Cyprus on 17 February and the process after these elections are important. Especially I am expecting an effort from my friend and colleague Kostas here. And this is making a step towards the recommencement of the negotiations. Of course this is the ground of the UN. This is not a local issue. The UN Secretary-General esteemed Annan had made a step on this issue. The Annan Plan was a step towards solving it. And together with my valuable friend (Kostas Karamanlis) and his team we worked for days in Switzerlands city of Burgenstock. There the signatures for a referendum were put. A referendum was carried out on 24 April. The North said yes at this referendum. The South said no. Essentially the package regarding this referendum could be called as agreement text. It constitutes the infrastructure of the step which will encompass the future here. Unfortunately, we did not succeed this. And the process continues in the same manner. The Annan Plan is a state of not being active now, but its essence, its spirit could be preserved the same.

    Replying to a question, Mr Karamanlis said that Greece has a clear policy in the direction of the solution of the political problem on the island. Stressing that the island should be reunited, Mr Karamanlis noted that this should happen first of all for all the people of Cyprus. He said that because the Cyprus problem has an international dimension, the solution of the problem would contribute to the development of the relations between Greece and Turkey.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (24.01.08) refers to the issue under the title Karamanlis: Let us demolish the last wall in Europe and notes that the Greek Prime Minister said that this will be the last chance for demolishing the last wall in Europe.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (24.01.08) publishes the information regarding the meeting under the banner front-page title We are ready for a permanent solution in Cyprus and writes that the solution to the Cyprus problem was stressed in Ankara.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.01.08) refers to the issue under the title Historic visit after 49 years.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) refers to the issue under the title Kalos irthes Karamanlis which means Welcome Karamanlis in the Greek language.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (24.01.08) covers the issue under the title The Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis in Ankara.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Cyprus, the PKK and secret issues were discussed during Buyukanit and Miliband's meeting in London

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that during his visit to London, the chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit met with the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. During the meeting, which lasted one hour, the main issues of the agenda were the Cyprus problem and the PKK, notes the paper. They also discussed the military cooperation between the two countries.

    On General Buyukanits visit to Britain, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (23.01.08) publishes a report by Barkin Isik who says that according to the British protocol foreign ministers are not required to receive visiting foreign chiefs of staff, adding that the meeting between David Miliband, the British Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and the Chief of Staff Gen. Buyukanit is an indication of the importance Britain attaches to the visit. The report goes on to note that Iraq's future, the issue of Kirkuk, and cross-border operations being conducted against the PKK were discussed during the Buyukanit-Miliband meeting. Asked about the content of the meeting, Gen. Buyukanit says: "We are taking up military issues. Secret issues... "

    (I/Ts)

    [03] Joan Ryan expresses her sorrow because the Annan Plan was not implemented

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that Mrs Joan Ryan, Britains special representative for Cyprus has expressed her sorrow because the Annan Plan was not implemented. In statements during a dinner of the Labour Party United Forces Group, Mrs Ryan said that they want to see Turkey in the EU. We want Turkey in the West. We support the unification of Cyprus. We continue our efforts in this spirit, she noted.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Avci to visit London and address a meeting at the Parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, will visit London next week in order to discuss the recent developments at the British Parliament and hold official meetings. Mr Avci will visit London upon invitation by Lord Maginnis in order to deliver a speech at the House of Lords on the political developments in Cyprus and reply to questions.

    The paper reports that this will be the first speech of a TRNC minister at the British Parliament and it is considered as an important development. Mr Avci will deliver a speech in the Moses Room of the above-mentioned building and British MPs who follow the developments in Turkey and the TRNC are expected to participate in the meeting. Afterwards Mr Avci will hold contacts in London for 3-4 days, notes the paper adding, though, that his program has not yet been clarified.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Avci says that the ferry line between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia will continue under Turkish flag

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, has reiterated that the sea line between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia, which stopped because of a flag problem, will continue. In statements to Kibris TV television he said that the trips will continue under the flag of Turkey. He alleged that the problem of the illegal immigrants should not be related to this line.

    Mr Avci reiterated the allegation that they want to cooperate with the Republic of Cyprus on this issue, but the Greek Cypriots refrain from cooperating. He argued that the sea journeys should not be seen as only a trip to Syria, but as a door open to the Middle East. Referring to his recent contacts in Ankara, Mr Avci said that he held a very constructive meeting with the Chairman of the Higher Education Council (YOK) and added that the chairman of YOK was very positive to their demands for securing a flow of students from Turkey to the illegal universities of the occupied areas, for applying a special method for these students and for encouraging them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Statements by Soyer on EU adoption. The so-called council of ministers approves 2008 legislative program

    Illegal Bayrak television (23.01.08) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that work has started on harmonization with the European Union Acquis Communautaire in cooperation with the EU Coordination Office in the TRNC.The Premier stated that this work was first given a start at a meeting held in Brussels in May last year. Mr Soyer was speaking to reporters before the meeting of the Council of Ministers this afternoon.

    Prime Minister Soyer said during the Brussels meeting that took place in May last year, reforms necessary in the field of public administration and the 12 chapters necessary for the Turkish Cypriot Peoples social and economic development were determined.

    He informed that the first guiding document on the issue was provided to the TRNC by officials from the EU Commission in December last year and this document included a package of reforms asked from the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Pointing out that detailed information would be provided during todays meeting of the Council of Ministers, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said a commission will be established by the Council of Ministers which will be in charge of evaluating the developments on the issue.

    He added that a meeting on adaptation with the EU would be organized at the Council of Ministers which would also be attended by experts from the EU.

    In another news report illegal Bayrak television (23.01.08) broadcast the following:

    The Council of Ministers approved the 2008 legislative programme during its first meeting of the year.The 2008 Legislative Programme was published in the Official Gazette.

    The new legislation programme consists of 97 draft laws which include constitutional laws that envisage further public productivity, arrangements aimed at fulfilling the urgent needs of the country and harmonization with the European Union Acquis Communautaire.

    Izge Arisal from the EU Coordination Office stated that the legislative programme is prepared in cooperation with the Central Legislation Department and it will play a guiding role while determining the fields of assistance which will be requested from the EU Commission.

    Arisal said this programme will be beneficial for the work on harmonization with the EU as well as for parliamentary works, adding that the goal is to establish more constructive relations with the EU.

    [07] Rasbash says that important developments are expected in Cyprus in 2008

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that Andrew Rasbash, responsible of the Working Unit of the General Directorate for the Enlargement of the EU for the Turkish Cypriots, visited yesterday the leaders of the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Tahsin Ertugruloglu and Mehmet Cakici respectively. No statement was made after the meeting at the UBP headquarters.

    However, before his meeting with Mr Cakici, Mr Rashbash said that important developments are expected in Cyprus in 2008 and added that during the meeting they would discuss these issues and the relations of the Commission of the EU with the Turkish Cypriots.

    On his part, Mr Cakici said that no one can prevent and no one should prevent the advancement of the harmonization with the EU. He noted that the TDP aims at promoting the project of the Turkish Cypriots who has close relations with the EU and their target is to become a member of the Union. He said that given that they will join the EU together with a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, a harmonization work should be carried out in north Cyprus and even accession negotiations should begin with the EU.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Turkish Cypriot women protest in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that about 30 Turkish Cypriot women, representatives of political parties and civilian organizations, are visiting Brussels in order to protest against the so-called isolation applied on the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot women, who are visiting the European capital headed by Oya Talat, president of the Patriotic Womens Union and spouse of the Turkish Cypriot leader, carried out yesterday some activities.

    The Turkish Cypriot women are hosted by Mrs Emine Bozkurt, Dutch of Turkish origin member of the European Parliament. Yesterday they organized an exhibition at the building of the Parliament under the name Hundreds of footsteps: Turkish Cypriot Womans journey against isolation.

    After the exhibition Mrs Talat and Mrs Bozkurt organized a press conference and briefed the press about their activities. At 17.00 hours a reception was given in honour of the members of the European Parliament.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkish Cypriot newspaper on the Greek Cypriot Mike Tymvios case

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (24.01.08) reports that a source close to the so-called Property Compensation Commission told the paper that the property of 22 donums (a land measure of 1000 square meters) in Larnaka, which they decided to give to the Greek Cypriot refugee Mike Tymvios within the framework of the exchange with his property in the occupied areas, does not belong to Evkaf religious foundation, like the Greek Cypriot press has argued. The source said that he could not understand why the Greek Cypriot papers wrote this. The same source refrained, however, from saying to whom this property belongs.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] German businessmen visit the occupied areas headed by a provincial MP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.01.08) reports that the self-styled mayor of Goneyli, Ahmet Benli met yesterday with a group of German businessmen headed by Lothar Klemm, former German Minister of Economy and current member of the Parliament of the Province of Hessen with the Social Democrat Party.

    According to a statement issued by the municipality, Mr Klemm said that they could arrange meetings of technical groups from the Goneyli municipality with some German municipalities and contribute to the development of Goneyli. The German businessmen examined the possibilities for investments in Goneyli.

    Mr Benli told the businessmen that Goneyli is completely a Turkish property and therefore it is appropriate for long-term investments.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Boztepe was elected new president of the Turkish lobby in the USA

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (23.01.08) reports the following from New York:

    The move by one of Ankara's most influential lobby groups in the United States to elect a businessman as its president has given political circles hope for change in the association that has been overshadowed by corruption scandals and personal power struggles.

    The Federation of Turkish American Associations' (FTAA) president for the new term, Kaya Boztepe, has previously held executive positions in giant U.S. companies JC Penney, Fadded Glory and Wal-Mart. He won 108 votes whereas his closest competitor received only 44.

    Some 151 delegates representing 31 Turkish American Associations all over the U.S. voted in the FTAA presidential elections. But quarrels between the candidates and the old administration from time to time marred the voting process.

    In the past arguments among FTAA members have been reflected in the press, especially last year when Ankara was working to prevent a bill on the alleged Armenian ''genocide'' passing from the House of Representatives. An ugly fight broke out between former FTAA President Ata Erim and the president at the time Attila Pak. Erim, in a press release, said that he would take Pak to court because of personal attack in a corruption allegation. The fight received a lot of negative reaction from the American-Turkish community.

    In his opening remarks Boztepe gave a message of unity. He drew attention to the negative image that FTAA has had for several years and asked the association's members to work together for the benefit of the Turkish community.

    FTAA will have a new and transparent fiscal management policy and we will soon apply for a not-for-profit organization status in the U.S., Boztepe said.

    By itemizing the organization's spending and publishing it monthly, FTAA will never have to hide behind corruption allegations, he added.

    I will work to unite the American-Turkish community, disenchanted by the federation because of inner conflicts among FTAA members, said Boztepe, adding that one of the first tasks he plans on undertaking is to establish a database for the American-Turkish community as the association has been criticized for years not being able to establish an accurate database for Turks living in the U.S., and for failing to provide a strong network.

    Political circles say that Boztepe, an accomplished businessman, will bring the change necessary to the FTAA. His political background and business experience will help the FTAA a great deal, said many delegates after casting their votes.

    Boztepe's political career began in 1984. He founded the Turkish American Youth Association in New York and became its first president. In later years Boztepe worked at the FTAA's executive board and became the most elected assembly representative. He was one of the founders of TRTV, the first Turkish TV in the tristate area.

    But Boztepe has also enjoyed a very successful career as a businessman. He is one of the first people in the U.S. who promoted organic textile products in big retail stores such as Wal-Mart. In 1999 at Wal-mart Boztepe brought a group of the firm's executives to Turkey and introduced them to Turkish organic cotton products.

    In 2003 Boztepe founded his own company, Eco Green, and played an instrumental role in introducing Turkey to the U.S. organic textile market. By merging Eco Green with Cote de France, Boztepe managed to get Turkish organic textile products into giant U.S. companies like Macy's and Target.

    If he could do what he promised the Turkish lobby will take a new and strong turn in the U.S., many experts have said.

    [12] IAEA representative supports Turkey´s participation in the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (23.01.08) reports the following from Istanbul:

    A top representative from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has backed Turkey's eventual participation in the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative (GNEP), a United States-led plan to reprocess spent nuclear fuels to ease proliferation concerns.

    It is a country specific policy and I have no disposition on Turkey's participation. But I think by participating in this initiative you will be able to access a lot of information, better understand nuclear processes and become more integrated into international mechanisms, said the director of the IAEA's Nuclear Division, Akira Omoto, in an interview with Turkish Daily News.

    Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said last Friday that Turkey is warm toward joining the GNEP, though he added that the country would prefer to remain an observer at least until September. Turkey may take full part in the GNEP this year in September by signing the Statement of Principles.

    Omoto said the IAEA maintained an observer status within the GNEP. What the GNEP has in mind is very much relevant to IAEA activity. If the GNEP is going to do something for infrastructure building, definitely we are very much involved, said Omoto.

    Responding to a question on the IAEA's stance on reports of Turkey's plan to enrich uranium, Omoto said that every country has the right to acquire nuclear technology, in good cooperation with the IAEA and its inspections. Each country has its right to develop its own technology. I don't think it is appropriate to suppress this right. But the purpose of any enrichment must be peaceful, he said. In 2000 Turkey signed the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which greatly expands the guarantees states give to the IAEA on their nuclear programs.

    IAEA is considering enhancing further its inspection and control mechanisms. Our director Mohamed El-Baradei says the IAEA is considering that in the long run, it may be appropriate to put the sensitive part of the fuel cycle technology, especially the enrichment and reprocessing of spent fuel, under multinational control, Omoto said.

    The international atomic watchdog is not alone in its desire to keep an eye on ever rising demands for nuclear technology in the Middle East. There are some similar proposals made by Bush and also Putin, Omoto said. Russia announced last September its plans to create guaranteed reserves of low-enriched uranium worth up to $300 million at an international nuclear center in Angarsk, East Siberia. The nuclear center will enrich uranium and provide it to countries willing to operate nuclear power plants, under the IAEA's inspection. There are several proposals and the IAEA is part of that dialog. The agency expects some sort of multinational arrangement that would assure nuclear fuel supply. The mechanism can be expanded to cover other fuel cycle areas that may lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness, said Omoto.

    [13] Turkeys TOBB leader was elected non-EU representative in Eurochambers

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.01.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    The head of an influential Turkish chambers association has been elected as the representative of non-EU members in Euro chambers, an association of European chambers of commerce.

    Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), was unanimously elected to become the first person to receive the mandate within Euro chambers.

    Non-EU members or affiliated members of the Euro chambers include chamber unions from countries such as Turkey, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia (FYROM), Georgia, Iceland, Moldova, Montenegro.

    Hisarciklioglu will serve for a period of two years.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [14] State against deep state

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (24.01.08) publishes the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    This was the front-page headline of mainstream daily Sabah's Jan. 23 issue, covering a recent roundup of 33 people from retired generals to lawyers and journalists under an operation launched by the Istanbul police against a far-right nationalist group accused of setting up a gang to commit mainly political crimes.

    This gang, allegedly calling itself "Ergenekon," was first discovered several months ago when police raided a house filled with explosives in Istanbul's Umraniye district. At the time, several individuals were taken to jail, including a retired captain, Muzaffer Tekin, who allegedly has links to the murder of a Council of State judge in Ankara in 2006.

    The latest operation, the result of eight months of work, included the detention of a retired general, a retired colonel and a journalist as well as a lawyer who brought charges of "insulting Turkishness" against novelist Orhan Pamuk, the 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 0stanbul and other regions following raids carried out at the break of dawn. Some of those taken into custody are suspected of involvement in the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and other violent attacks.

    The suspects are accused of many individual crimes, but what they have in common seems to be the links they have to clandestine gangs that function similarly to Operation Gladio -- a post-World War II NATO operation structured as "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and clandestine operations. In fact many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey today, sometimes referred to as the "deep state," are remnants of the Turkish leg of the actual Gladio. (Today's Zaman, January 23, 2008).

    Ret. Gen. Veli Kucuk, among those detained in the latest operation, is an alleged founder of a clandestine unit in the Gendarmerie General Command who is also implicated in the infamous Susurluk gang scandal.

    As a matter of fact, the existence of gangs in Turkey, which have recently mushroomed, has become public knowledge as a result of a famous car accident that took place on November 3, 1996 in the Susurluk township of Turkey's Bal1kesir province.

    This scandal has since then been known as "Susurluk" and is frequently referred to indicate the state's ongoing ineffectiveness in the fight against gangs.

    Susurluk in fact revealed state-mafia ties, and the then government did admit to illegal ties between the state and the right-wing mafia.

    The fatal traffic accident took place in Susurluk when a truck collided with a Mercedes. The occupants of the Mercedes were found to be the deputy of a political party and a security chief as well as a criminal-turned-state employee (Abdullah Catl1) and his alleged lover, a blonde former beauty queen. The only passenger to survive the crash was Sedat Bucak, a Kurdish clan leader and a former politician.

    According to an 0stanbul court verdict dated April 11, 2002 concerning Susurluk, former official of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (M0T) and former officer of the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) Special Operations Korkut Eken and former deputy head of the Police Special Operations Bureau Ibrahim Sahin were sentenced to six years in prison each for leading a criminal gang, and 12 other suspects to four years each for being members of the gang.

    The court verdict on Susurluk held that the government had hired death squads to kill people seen as threats to national security while quoting the suspects as saying that they believed they had been acting in the name of the state. "The suspects' defense did not bear out the facts as reflected in their case files. For the Turkish Republic to entrust domestic and external security to murderers, drug smugglers and the owners of gambling joints is unforgivable and unacceptable behavior," stressed the same verdict.

    But the court's verdict did not satisfy the public at the time over whether the Turkish state was determined to fight against the mafia. This suspicion has been backed by revelations made at the time by seven former senior generals including a former chief of general staff in support of Korkut Eken, who was put in jail before being released.

    The common thread in all of these gangs from Susurluk to Atabeyler and Ergenekon are that they have an ultranationalist agenda, sometimes forming alliances with extreme leftists called the "Kizilelma Coalition" (Red Apple coalition) and sometimes with extreme fundamentalists to undermine the state.

    The current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has also been criticized for not taking strong action against the acts of organized crime posing the most serious threat to Turkey's security.

    However, the latest massive operations against the Umraniye group have given some hope to the Turkish public that the current political leadership may this time be resolved to dig as deep as possible to bring to the surface the masterminds of organized crime.

    The fact that the majority of Turkish papers carried the latest operations on their front pages, some of which urged the political leadership to take swift and determined action against the gangs while Sabah daily branded the latest gang a "terror organization" with the headline "State against deep state," should further encourage decision makers to dig as deep as possible to bring to the surface and finally to justice the key players seeking to undermine the state hierarchy.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 23 January 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 23.01.08 on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:

    a) Plunge in Stock Market:

    Assessing the stock market turmoil in an article entitled "Global Imperialism" in Milliyet, Taha Akyol asks whether the Turkish economy would have been affected to such an extent from the fluctuations in the United States and Europe had it been independent. Refuting arguments frequently made that those who have been governing the country since the 50s "have surrendered our economy to global imperialism, the IMF, and the World Bank," Akyol points out that the economic and political international organizations established in the aftermath of World War II enable the taking of joint stands against crises and predicts that we might be facing a serious problem but not a crisis. He concludes: "The way to economic strength in this age is to open up to the world."

    Welcoming the US Federal Bank's move to slash interest rates in an article entitled "It is Europe's turn to reduce the interest rates" in Milliyet, Hursit Gunes predicts that the decision of the US FED will influence the central banks of other countries and that the British and European central banks will follow suit. Assessing the last two day's turbulence in the markets, Gunes does not view it as a crisis but believes that this turbulence will continue for a while and that we should brace ourselves for it. He adds: "We should not exaggerate the problem. A huge world crisis is not in the offing and Turkey's economic balances are much stronger that those of eight years ago."

    Chiding the government for its silence in the face of the turmoil in the stock market in his column entitled "There is no crisis on Ankara's agenda" in Milliyet, Gungor Uras comments on the reference Prime Minister Erdogan made to the issue at the weekly AKP parliamentary faction meeting held yesterday. Noting that the prime minister dedicated only two minutes to the issue while he spent 20 minutes justifying the transfer of the Central Bank, the writer quotes Erdogan as having said: "Nothing will happen to us. We are strong. If necessary, we will take measures." Ridiculing these remarks, Uras asks whether Turkey's economy is stronger than those of the United States and the European and Asian countries. Questioning whether world leaders are busy taking measures because they are weak, Uras concludes by conveying the views of an ordinary citizen, symbolized by 'aunt Ayse ,' on the transfer of the Central Bank to Istanbul: "Why should it be my problem? That is the problem of the honorable Erdogan. Will the cost of living go down, will my income increase, and will my son-in-low find employment when the Central Bank is transferred?"

    Referring to the economic fluctuations in the world and the country in his article entitled " Should Turkey's number one priority be the headdress or the economy?" in Vatan, Bilal Cetin writes that while world governments and their central banks are focused on measures to circumvent the damages to be inflicted by these fluctuations, the government, the opposition, and the institutions in Turkey are locked on the headdress issue as though the country is immune to this negative economic wave. Charging that even the struggle against terror has become a secondary issue, Bilal argues that concern pertaining to economic developments does not go beyond the transfer of the Central Bank from Ankara to Istanbul.

    Arguing that the government is oblivious to the developments in world markets in his article entitled "The government is unaware of the developments" in Radikal, Ugur Gurses says that past achievements are not a guarantee of success in the future. Noting that the first signs of these foreign fluctuations were observed in February of 2007, the writer excuses this oversight because of the government's involvement in the presidential elections at the time. Pointing out that a more serious sign was observed in August, Gurses recalls warning the government of the facts at the time. Criticizing the government with its preoccupation with issues such as the headdress instead of taking the necessary economic measures, the writer advises the government to shelve the idea of transferring the Central Bank to Istanbul, to concentrate on concrete reforms, and the make the high-level appointments that Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz has been waiting for so long.

    In an article entitled "Fluctuation", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak claims that certain "grave robbers" in Turkey expect the ongoing global economic crisis to pave the way for a political crisis in Turkey. He warns that the possible collapse of the US economy could create "political vacuums" against which "we have to be prepared." He also asserts that a successful coup attempt in Turkey is unlikely, adding that even if a takeover were to be staged, its architects would be brought to justice this time.

    In an article entitled "The Turkish economy's ability to resist US-led recessionary waves", Today's Zaman columnist Ibrahim Ozturk claims that Turkey's "most important insurance against global turbulence and the current account deficit is [its] flexible exchange rate regime, which has started reacting now in a positive direction to reduce some recent side effects of Turkey's excessive global vulnerability."

    b) Headdress issue:

    Commenting on the headdress controversy in an article in Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok writes that he is fixated on the views of two personalities on the issue. Expressing his admiration for Constitutional Court Chief Judge Hasim Kilic, Ozkok says that certain secular circles are prejudiced against Kilic whose wife is headscarved. Predicting that his reply to whether the headdress issue should be included in the Constitution might surprise these circles, the writer expresses the view that once the issue is included in the Constitution, it will no longer be an issue concerning freedoms but one that has received constitutional guarantees. Another question which Ozkok wishes to pose is directed to the prime minister. The writer wants to know whether the prime minister intends to lift the ban on the headdress in primary and secondary schools and in public offices after it is lifted in universities. Ozkok, in conclusion, calls on the prime minister to guarantee the following: "I am declaring in advance. No one should expect me to lift the ban on the headdress in primary and secondary schools and in public offices."

    In an article entitled "Parliament's power", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal lauds Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli and Speaker of Parliament Koksal Toptan for their recent statements reminding the judiciary of Parliament's authorities in response to certain Supreme Court and State Council officials' "sharp" declarations against the Government's efforts to lift the headscarf ban. Unal claims that it is a material condition of the rule of law that the legislative, executive, and judicial organs of the state not interfere in one another's business, adding that Bahceli and Toptan's statements have underlined the need to observe this principle.

    Describing the rising concern in the country against the policies of the AKP in his column entitled "Criticism of the AKP equals an appeal for a coup" in Hurriyet, Yalcin Dogan points out that even circles that had a more tolerant approach toward the AKP are now concerned about the path the country has taken. The writer argues that the criticisms leveled against the policies of the government be it on the issue of the headdress, the mosques being opened in various schools, or the visit of the Sudanese president, are being portrayed by AKP supporters as anti-democratic and as an appeal for a military coup. He concludes by accusing the AKP circles of trying to suppress and intimidate the opposition.

    Under the headline, "Do not stall," Milli Gazete carries a front-page report which quotes Mustafa Kamalak, a professor of constitutional law, as saying that the "illegal [headscarf] ban" should be removed immediately.

    In an article entitled "A gaffe or a ploy?", Milli Gazete columnist Afet Ilgaz draws attention to claims that Prime Minister Erdogan's statement in Madrid asserting that no restrictions may be imposed on the wearing of Islamic headscarves even if they are a political symbol was not a blunder but a deliberate move intended to link a possible economic crisis in Turkey that would be brought on by economic recession in the United States to the warnings made by the judiciary against his administration's efforts to remove the headscarf ban.

    c) Kurdish issue:

    According to a report by Ozgur Cebe in Hurriyet, Abdullah Akengin, the mayor of Diyarbakir's Dicle District who is a member of the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), has reiterated the view that Abdullah Ocalan is the leader of the Kurdish people. In his statement to the Public Prosecutor's Office within the framework of an investigation being conducted against him for "engaging in propaganda in favor of an illegal organization," Akengin is reported to have said that he fully agrees with the final statement issued at the end of the Democratic Society Congress held in Diyarbakir in October. Denying the charges of engaging in PKK propaganda, Akengin explains that the communique did not refer to a federal solution but to a "democratic autonomy." The DTP mayor expresses his agreement with all the views aired in the communique including the view that Ocalan is the will and leader of the Kurdish people.

    Relating the evaluation of a commander regarding the results of the cross-border operations being carried out in north Iraq in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand says that the PKK has lost its mobility and that they are cornered. According to the commander, "they're in a very difficult situation, but they are not finished." Quoting the commander that there are no plans to conduct a land operation at the moment, Birand says that the military is "very pleased" with the results of the operations.

    In an article in Yeni Ozgur Politika, Gunay Aslan tries to answer the question "what awaits the Kurds?" On the Turkish air strikes, the commentator states, "it looks like they will go on a while longer." Arguing that the war cannot eliminate the PKK, Aslan maintains that on the contrary, the war may even strengthen the PKK. He also predicts that a ground operation will take place in the spring. On the US stand on the PKK, Aslan says, "the United States used to see the PKK as a threat, but today it sees it as an obstacle and wants it removed." To the question whether the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan would fight against the PKK, Aslan says he does not think so.

    In an article entitled "What sort of intelligence are we sharing with Israel?", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak asks the following questions to the ruling AKP and the General Staff concerning Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul's forthcoming meeting with "Israeli Offensive Minister" Ehud Barak to "maintain dialog in the field of defense:" 1. "What are you going to discuss with Israel regarding regional security when Israel's occupation policies are the number-one cause of regional insecurity?" 2. "How much longer are we supposed to bear the shame of maintaining cooperation with Israel in defense industry?" 3. "What does intelligence sharing with Israel mean? What intelligence are you planning to provide to Israel in return for receiving intelligence from it against the PKK?"

    d) Ergenekon organization Gladio:

    Referring to the ongoing investigation in connection with the arms cache uncovered in Istanbul's Umraniye District and the detention of 33 members of the Ergenekon organization including a retired major general, Erdal Safak in Sabah says that officials who have served in the most secret units of the state are now occupying key positions in this organization. Tracing the organization's links to the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink in an article, the writer opines that so long as such illegal formations that have extensions to the heart of the state are not eradicated, Turkey cannot become "democratic and normal."

    According to a report entitled "Ergenekon's hit list" in Vatan, DTP deputies Ahmet Turk and Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, former Democracy Party deputy Leyla Zana, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, and journalist Fehmi Koru were among the names on the organization's hit list.

    Recalling all the unresolved politically-motivated assassinations in the country in an article in Vatan, Okay Gonensin notes that none of these were solved in a way that could make a citizen believe that he or she lives in a state of law. The writer asks: "Will Turkey be a contemporary state of law or will it be an underdeveloped country of crimes?" Writing that those who believe in the first alternative should do all in their power to purge the country of these crime gangs, the writer expresses the belief that the recent operation gives one the impression that the authorities have adopted s a serious stand on the issue.

    Under the banner headline, "It never went that deep before," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the detention of former Brigadier General Veli Kucuk along with 33 other people in the police operations carried out yesterday in connection with the bombs seized in a house in the Umraniye district of Istanbul some time ago amounts to a turning-point in the fight against the "deep gangs" within the state.

    In an article entitled "Turkish Gladio and Ergenekon", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul asks whether the operations carried out yesterday by "anti-terror" teams against suspects in a number of "unsolved" criminal incidents mean that the Government has launched an extensive campaign to root out "neo-nationalist groups" or whether the detentions are aimed at eradicating "gangs" that use the pretext of "national interests" to carry out illegal activities, commit murders, etc. He speculates that the operations might be "preemptive" in nature, aimed at obstructing certain groups from destroying domestic stability by staging assassinations and bomb attacks.

    Under the headline, "Deep detention," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that those detained in yesterday's police operations carried out as part of the investigation into the "arms cache" discovered in Umraniye include lawyers, journalists, and certain minority representatives apart from retired Brigadier General Veli Kucuk and retired Colonel Fikri Karadag.

    In a commentary entitled "An opportunity to solve Susurluk", Zaman writer Ali Akkus asserts that some of the suspects detained in yesterday's operations have links to the Susurluk scandal, which was exposed in a road accident in 1996 involving "people who were not supposed to be together in the same car."

    EG/


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