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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-25

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.18/08 25.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] A European delegation holds contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus on the harmonization of the Turkish Cypriots with the acquis
  • [02] Ekenoglu to attend OIC meeting in Egypt
  • [03] Turgay Avci is satisfied with Olli Rehns reply to Marios Matsakis
  • [04] Oger Tour aims at carrying five thousand tourists from Germany to the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2008
  • [05] The declaration of the Cyprus Peace Platform
  • [06] Serdar Denktas argues that there is no possibility for reaching a solution with the Greek Cypriots
  • [07] On the British Military bases in Cyprus
  • [08] COREPER approved the new accession partnership draft for Turkey
  • [09] Bush seeks Congress approval for US-Turkey nuclear deal
  • [10] Turkeys political parties reached general consensus on headscarf issue
  • [11] Proposal for amending Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code is presented to Turkeys assembly
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 24 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] A European delegation holds contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus on the harmonization of the Turkish Cypriots with the acquis

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.01.08), under the title Getting ready for harmonization with the EU, reports that EU officials who have launched the work of the harmonization together with the Turkish Cypriots have met with political party officials in the occupied areas.

    The harmonization work is being carried out for twelve chapters: Free Movement of Capital, Public Tenders, Corporate Law, Competition Law, Financial Services, Agricultural and Rural Development, Food Safety, Transportation Policies, Statistics, Social Policy Works, Environment and Consumer and Health Protection.

    The paper reports that the day before yesterday, the EU delegation briefed the self-styled council of ministers regarding the harmonization work. The EU delegation is headed by Andrew Rasbash, responsible of the Task Force of the General Directorate for the Enlargement of the EU for the Turkish Cypriots, and Alain Bothorel, Director of the EU Support Office.

    After their meeting with the EU delegation, the general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Omer Kalyoncu said that the initiative for the harmonization of the Turkish Cypriots with the EU, which aims at the solution, is being carried out for some time.

    Mr Kalyoncu noted that the EU, in spite of the objections of the Greek Cypriots, has sent official letters to the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot people and undertook an initiative for the launching of the harmonization work.

    Today it was announced that the harmonization work regarding twelve chapters has begun. However, the foundation of this work had been laid a long time ago in Brussels. Our representatives there had carried out a preparatory work, he added.

    Mr Kalyoncu pointed out that the starting of the harmonization work does not mean that they recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and noted that the work began with a separate decision of the EU. He said that until a solution is reached in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriots will be representing themselves and contribute to these efforts.

    Furthermore, the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Tahsin Ertugruloglu pointed out to the importance of the dialogue with the EU and to the fact that they could learn many things from it. However, he added, this relation should be put in the right perspective.

    He said: This relation does not mean acceptance of the fact that the Greek Cypriots are a member of the EU in the name of the whole Cyprus. This relation in no way means rejection of the TRNC. We have clearly stated this position we have.

    Meanwhile, the member of the council of the Democratic Party (DP), Ata Atun said that they support until the end the accession of the Turkish Cypriots to the EU and they back the meeting of the EU Financial Aid Committee. Mr Atun said that they have noted that they object to the provision of the Financial Aid Regulation and the EU Cyprus Regulation that the Republic of Cyprus has rights on the territories of the TRNC. We consider the meeting useful. If it continues under the conditions we have in mind, we are ready to give every kind of support, he said.

    Furthermore, the leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said that they proceed step by step towards the EU and added that depending on the establishment of a federation and the reaching of a solution in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriots will take their place in the EU in the future.

    Noting that the harmonization work with the acquis of the EU should be advanced, Mr Cakici said: There will be harmonization work and the 259 million - euro financial aid will be materialized. When a solution is found, the Turkish Cypriots will take their place in the EU.

    Mr Cakici reminded that the Turkish Cypriots as individuals are members of the EU and argued that they should use their communal rights as well. He pointed out that the harmonization work should be understood in the right manner and said:

    This is not a work for harmonization of the TRNC. It is the preparation of the procedure of the accession to the EU, which will come about with the solution. The people should not be deceived by the lie of the TRNC is acceding into the EU with 12 chapters. The Turkish Cypriots will enter the EU with the solution. The conditions of the solution are known: Its name is a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal Cyprus. The fact that they do not adopt the point saying that harmonization work is carried out with the EU is included in the text.

    Finally, in an exclusive interview with Kibris, Erhan Ercin, responsible of the EU Coordination Centre of the prime ministers office, said that the aim of the harmonization work is to create the ground which will give the opportunity to the legal and administrative structure of the Turkish Cypriots to approach the acquis of the EU.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ekenoglu to attend OIC meeting in Egypt

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.01.08) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu will leave the republic on Saturday for Egypt where she will attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Mrs Ekenoglu, who will be accompanied by the Republican Turkish Party MP Ali Seylani and the National Unity Party MP Turkay Tokel, during her visit to the Egypts capital Cairo will be attending the Fifth Session of the Conference of the PUIC at an observer status.

    The representation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as the Turkish Cypriot State was approved at the fourth session of the Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Islamic Conference which took place in Istanbul in 2006.

    The meeting of PUIC is being held once every two years.

    [03] Turgay Avci is satisfied with Olli Rehns reply to Marios Matsakis

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.01.08), under the title Slap to Tassos from the Commission, reports that responding to a letter by the Cypriot member of the European Parliament, Marios Matsakis, who complained for the occupied port of Famagusta - Latakia line, the EU Commissioner responsible for the Enlargement, Olli Rehn has argued that according to the international law, the use of the occupied ports of Cyprus is not illegal.

    The paper reports that commenting on the above-mentioned information, which had been published in the Greek Cypriot press, Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, alleged that the reply of Mr Rehn has once more confirmed that using the occupied Cypriot ports is legitimate and legal. In a written statement, Mr Avci claimed yesterday that the reply of Mr Rehn shows that the isolation applied on the Turkish Cypriots has no legal grounds. He called on the whole international community and especially the EU to understand this reply well and contribute to the lifting of the embargo and the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, to the direct trade and the use of the occupied Cypriot ports. We want our relations with Syria to constitute an example for the other countries as well and see the launching of new lines, he said.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Oger Tour aims at carrying five thousand tourists from Germany to the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2008

    Under the title Five thousand tourists will come from Germany, Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (25.01.08) reports that the Oger Tour travel agency has prepared a special catalogue with the aim of better advertising the occupied areas of Cyprus and bringing more tourists to the island.

    In statements to Anatolia news agency, the general director of Oger Tour, Recep Yavuz said that they are facing difficulties in bringing tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus, because many countries do not recognize the TRNC.

    Mr Yavuz noted: We have printed a special catalogue for better advertising the TRNC and brining more tourist. Twenty thousand copies of the 36-page TRNC catalogue have been printed. Introducing information regarding the TRNC and details for the hotels with which we work could be found in the catalogue.

    Pointing out that they will advertise the occupied areas of Cyprus in Germany with the special catalogue, he said: We are aiming to bring five thousand tourists from Germany to the TRNC in 2008. The flights will be carried out with the TRNC airlines from seven big cities of Germany to Istanbul. From Istanbul they will come to the TRNC. In the decade of 2000 we were carrying around 20 thousand tourists.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The declaration of the Cyprus Peace Platform

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.01.08) reports that the paper has acquired the joint declaration of the eight trade unions and the three political parties which are preparing to establish the Cyprus Peace Platform. According to the paper, the declaration stresses that the Cyprus problem could be solved on the basis of the 1960 agreements providing for the Republic of Cyprus, the 1977-79 High Level Agreements and a federation which will be member of the EU and based on the bi-zonality, the bi-communality and the political equality of the two communities.

    Furthermore, the declaration calls on the political leaders on both sides to stop making statements accusing each other and sit at the negotiating table to find a solution.

    The Communal Democracy Party (TDP), the United Cyprus Party (BKP), the New Cyprus Party (YKP), the Turkish Cypriot Primary and Secondary School Teachers Trade Unions (KTOS and KTOEOS), the Cyprus EU Association and other organizations will be participating in the Platform.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Serdar Denktas argues that there is no possibility for reaching a solution with the Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (25.01.08) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) met yesterday with a delegation of the Fighters Association. In his statements Mr Denktas said that the right to have a say on the issues regarding Cyprus belongs to the Turkish Cypriots. He argued that no possibility has remained for reaching a solution with the Greek Cypriots and alleged that the people are pumped with false hopes that 2008 will be the year of the solution.

    He noted that the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis said in Turkey what kind of a solution the Greek side wants. Denktas added that he does not know the reply to these statements and called on the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to make a statement on the issue.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] On the British Military bases in Cyprus

    Under the title: Greek Cyprus rethinks British relations after recognition of KKTC Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.01.08) publishes the following report:

    The Greek Cypriot government is reconsidering the status of two British military bases on the island, saying Britain implicitly recognized the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) in an agreement signed with Ankara.

    Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Vasilis Palmas said Wednesday that relations with Britain were being reconsidered "through a different prism." He stated, "We are reconsidering our bilateral relations," after Britain signed an agreement with Turkey on Oct. 23 that referred to the northern part of the divided island as the "KKTC."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily following a failed coup by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. Ankara does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, which entered the European Union in May 2004 as the official representative of the entire island. In 1983 the KKTC unilaterally declared its independence, though it remains recognized only by Ankara. Turkish Cypriots are not able to exercise the EU rights granted to Greek Cypriots and international peace efforts have been virtually frozen since Greek Cypriots voted against a UN reunification plan shortly before joining the EU.

    The Greek Cypriot government had warned of unspecified repercussions when Britain signed the deal months ago, but only this week announced it would review the bases -- just weeks before the Feb. 17 presidential elections. The British bases have never been popular among Greek Cypriots.

    Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos said on Tuesday that his administration was reconsidering the status of the bases and the treaties that established them 48 years ago. "We have notified the British that the whole gamut of issues regarding the bases, their status, the status of [Greek] Cypriot citizens [living on the bases] and the treaties are, for us, under reconsideration," he said.

    It would be difficult to close the British bases, the operation of which was guaranteed in the Cypriot constitution after the former British colony gained independence in 1960. The Greek Cypriot government has not said what actions it might take, but one option could be to reduce cooperation with the British military. A British High Commission spokesman in Nicosia had no immediate comment.

    The British-Turkish strategic partnership agreement, signed on Oct. 23 in London, focused on Turkey's bid to join the EU and joint cooperation against terrorism. Britain is Greek Cyprus' biggest trading partner and roughly half of the 2.4 million people who visit the Mediterranean island each year are British.

    [08] COREPER approved the new accession partnership draft for Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.01.08) reported the following from Brussels:

    European Union's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) on Thursday approved new accession partnership draft document with Turkey.According to the document, target of the negotiations was membership.

    The document demands Turkey to harmonize civilian-military relations with the EU standards, ensure Parliament to have a full control on army and defense policy, limit purview of military courts only with matters related to the mission of military personnel, show full respect to freedom of religion and minority rights, facilitate television broadcast in other languages apart from Turkish, and normalize relations with all EU member countries.

    The draft document is expected to be endorsed during EU foreign ministers meeting scheduled for February 18th.

    [09] Bush seeks Congress approval for US-Turkey nuclear deal

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.01.08) reports the following:

    The US President George W. Bush has approved a cooperation deal with Turkey concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy, saying that private-sector proliferation worries have been addressed, the White House has announced.

    On Tuesday, Bush sent the US Congress a July 2000 agreement, signed by then US president Bill Clinton, which would clear the way for transfers of nuclear know-how to Turkey's planned civilian atomic sector, the White House announced in a written statement released on Wednesday.

    "In my judgment, entry into force of the Agreement will serve as a strong incentive for Turkey to continue its support for nonproliferation objectives and enact future sound nonproliferation policies and practices. It will also promote closer political and economic ties with a NATO ally, and provide the necessary legal framework for US industry to make nuclear exports to Turkey's planned civil nuclear sector," Bush said in a message to members of the US Congress dated Tuesday. However, lawmakers could still pass legislation blocking the accord.

    According to information provided in the White House statement, the agreement was signed on July 26, 2000, and President Clinton approved and authorized execution. However, immediately after signature, US agencies received information that called into question the conclusions that had been drawn in the required Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS) and the original classified annex, specifically, information implicating Turkish private entities in certain activities directly relating to nuclear proliferation.

    Consequently, the agreement was not submitted to the Congress and the executive branch undertook a review of the NPAS evaluation. In his message Bush noted that his administration completed the NPAS review as well as an evaluation of actions taken by the Turkish government to address the proliferation activities of certain Turkish entities.

    He stressed that "the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Energy, and the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are confident that the pertinent issues have been sufficiently resolved and that there is a sufficient basis to proceed with congressional review of the Agreement and, if legislation is not enacted to disapprove it, to bring the Agreement into force."

    Last week US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Ed McGinnis, also in charge of developing the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), held talks in Ankara with several Turkish officials, including Energy Minister Hilmi Güler. In talks with Turkish officials, McGinnis explained the benefits of GNEP membership and asked Turkish officials about their stance regarding possible Turkish participation in the US-led platform, US Embassy officials said then.

    The GNEP, a voluntary partnership, aims to safely and securely expand nuclear power worldwide while responsibly managing nuclear waste and reducing proliferation risks, according to the definition of the group provided by the US Department of Energy. The platform cooperates closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its activities.

    [10] Turkeys political parties reached general consensus on headscarf issue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.01.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) have reached "a general consensus" about how to lift a ban on headscarf in higher education institutions, said a joint statement from the two parties.

    High level officials met Thursday at the parliament building to discuss a proposal by AK Party to amend articles 10, 13 and 42 of the constitution.

    State Minister and Deputy PM Cemil Cicek, AK Party Group Acting Chairman Sadullah Ergin, MHP Deputy Chairman Faruk Bal and MHP Deputy Deniz Bolukbasi were among those participating in the meeting.

    "The two parties have repeatedly expressed objection to the ban and they have reached a general consensus after due assessments," the statement said.

    [11] Proposal for amending Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code is presented to Turkeys assembly

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (25.01.08) reports that a proposal to amend a controversial law that has been used to prosecute many writers, intellectuals and journalists for insulting Turkishness is finally being presented to Parliament today.

    Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) as a significant obstacle to free speech, the Justice Ministry is readying to make some changes in the wording of the article.

    According to the ministrys proposal, the word Turkishness, a word critics regard as ambiguous, will be replaced by the phrase Turkish nation and the word republic will be replaced by Turkish Republic. Maximum prison terms for violation of Article 301 -- previously three years -- will be reduced to two years according to the ministrys proposal. In addition, prosecutors will be required to obtain permission from the Justice Ministry to launch an investigation into violations of the article.

    As changes proposed to amend the controversial article had sparked a conflict between Cabinet ministers as well as between senior members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the justice minister decided to take the changes to Parliament as a Justice Ministry proposal, rather than a government proposal. The proposed amendments had brought State Minister Cemil Cicek and Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin into confrontation. Sahin said under the amendment prosecutors would need permission from the Justice Ministry to open a case under Article 301. Cicek, on the other hand, opined that not the justice minister but a special committee of at least 11 members, including heads of the criminal chambers of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Prime Ministry undersecretary and the secretary-general to the president, should decide on requests of prosecutors seeking to go to court on 301-related charges. He also claimed that changing the expression Turkishness would render the article even more controversial and refused to put his signature to such a proposal.

    The proposal is expected to be brought to the parliamentary Justice Commission, which will then bring it to Parliaments General Assembly after discussions.

    Many of Turkeys artists and writers, including slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, novelist Elif Safak and Nobel Literature laureate Orhan Pamuk, have been tried under this article for allegedly insulting Turkishness. The EU, with which Turkey is having membership talks, appealed many times for the amendment or removal of Article 301. International rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have also protested the trials initiated under 301. Since it went into effect on June 1, 2005, as part of a package needed to start full membership talks with the EU, charges have been brought against writers, intellectuals and journalists in more than 60 cases.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 24 January 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 24.01.08:

    a) Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis's visit:

    In an article in Hurriyet, Hadi Uluengin extends a warm welcome to Karamanlis, stressing that the dramatic turning point in the relations occurred when Greece rushed to help Turkey in the aftermath of the major earthquake in August 1999. The bilateral relations became stronger ever since that incident, the columnist writes, and the visit is a sign of the restored brotherhood between the Turkish and Greek peoples.

    In Cumhuriyet Ali Sirmen lists the major political problems between the two countries as Cyprus, the Aegean territorial waters, the Flight Information Region line, the continental shelf, and the status of the Greek foundations in Turkey. In a commentary, Sirmen maintains that not only will these issues not be resolved during the visit, they will not even be discussed. "Even so," he adds, "it is impossible to say that the visit is of no importance." The amelioration of the relations between the two peoples is very significant, he says, and "the image of the great enemy no longer prevails in the public opinion." Sirmen also points out that Greece has changed its tough attitude toward Turkey's EU membership. In conclusion, the columnist states, "any development that can eliminate the mistrust between the two countries strengthens the hope that relations will be improved in the future." The two countries seem to agree that the problems should be resolved through negotiations and not confrontations, Sirmen argues, and welcomes the Greek prime minister's visit.

    Murat Yetkin describes how France and Germany ended their historic rivalry in 1963 and how their cooperation has proved to be so fruitful after that. In his article in Radikal, Yetkin draws a parallel with Turkish-Greek relations. Welcoming Karamanlis's visit, the columnist says, "The momentum this visit adds to the development of the Turkish-Greek relations in recent years may bring new possibilities to the political and economic atmosphere of a broad region, just like the possibilities created by French-German cooperation."

    b) "Ergenekon" Operation:

    A report in Vatan discloses details about the Ergenekon organization which is currently under an investigation. Accordingly, five of its leaders are referred to as "commanders," and eight of the suspects being questioned are former military. A large number of the members are former intelligence officers. The report sheds light on the aims of the organization and its activities.

    In Milliyet Taha Akyol focuses on the "gang culture" that exists in Turkey, referring to the belief among certain circles that lawlessness is acceptable for the sake of the nationalist cause. In his article, Akyol warns that these gangs have always been extremely dangerous and hurt national interests from the time of the "National Struggle" in the War of Liberation. The "National Struggle" succeeded, according to the columnist, because the gangs were defeated and the national army and legitimacy prevailed. "The murders and the gang culture are greatly damaging Turkey's image and prestige," he says, "and it is a patriotic duty to go after these gangs, murders, and illegal organizations, and to strengthen the state of law."

    Writing also in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal highlights the existence of the gangs within the military and the police, as seen once again in the Hrant Dink case, and urges the prime minister to make sure that this time the investigation goes till the end. "There cannot be democracy or justice," the columnist stresses in his article, "unless the gangs are eliminated."

    In Sabah columnist Mahmut Ovur views the unsolved murders committed by the gangs or the "deep state" in recent years, and notes that retired military personnel seem to be playing a major role in these organizations. In his commentary, Ovur asks why the army does not make any effort to decontaminate itself from these allegations. "The army fights against corruption within its ranks. Why doesn't it do the same about the gangs which involve the military?" he asks. "Unless this is done," Ovur warns, "Turkey is bound to remain a third world country."

    In an editorial in Radikal, Ismet Berkan views the history of the gangs in Turkey and shares other columnists' hope that this time, the investigation will go till the end. "The investigation being conducted by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office is one of the most important investigations of our political history," he concludes.

    In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Cengiz Candar views lack of progress in the Hrant Dink case, and points a finger at the government, saying "it is not directly responsible for the murder but for the sovereignty of justice."

    Under the banner headline, "Chaos and coup plan falls flat," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the "terrorist" Ergenekon network was planning to create social chaos to lay the groundwork for a military takeover before it was rooted out in the recent police operations.

    In an article under the title "True to Its Name: Terrorist Gang Ergenekon", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu describes the detention of over 30 "semi-official and untouchable people" in the so-called "Operation Ergenekon" as a real turning-point signifying a "showdown between the state and the deep state." He also lauds the operation as a "political antidote" to concerns that the Government had been refraining from taking decisive action against the activities of "paramilitary groups" believed to be involved in the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the killing of a number of Christian missionaries in Malatya, etc.

    In an article entitled "God will always prevail against the likes of Veli Kucuk", Yeni Safak columnist Tamer Korkmaz refers to retired Brigadier General Veli Kucuk, "the founder of JITEM [gendarmerie intelligence]," who is among the suspects detained in the recent police operations, as a key figure behind the underground activities of the "deep state." He claims that the detainees have links to a range of "twilight zone" incidents from the murder of Catholic president Santaro in Trabzon to the armed attack on a group of State Council justices, the bomb attack on the Cumhuriyet daily, the Dink assassination, etc. He also refers to those arrested in the operations as "the deep residue of the 28 February process" and a group of "pro-American losers."

    In an article entitled "Who is the General Staff's Press Consultant?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that the General Staff is following a self-defeating and ill-advised policy in issuing statements accusing certain media outlets and commentators of trying to discredit the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, and using an anti-military stance as a means of obtaining political and economic benefits. He asks how the Turkish military will react to the recent police operations that have smoked out "one of the complicated networks involving Mafia operatives, media members, businessmen, politicians, and bureaucrats" if the operations reveal links between the suspects and the armed forces. He also advises the General Staff to recruit "a good press consultant" and a religious advisor.

    In an article entitled "State against deep State", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu asserts that "the latest massive operations ... 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 surface the masterminds of organized crime.

    In an article entitled "Smiling at my executioner", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru discloses that he was one of "six targets on [the] hit list of the "criminals" apprehended in the latest police operations.

    c) Headdress Issue:

    In an editorial entitled "Toward the finale" Vatan newspaper, Gungor Mengi views Prime Minister Erdogan's rush in trying to make the constitutional changes to lift the headscarf ban and the opposition leader Baykal's panic in the face of these efforts. Mengi argues that the Constitutional Court would not allow any constitutional change that would jeopardize secularism.

    Cuneyt Arcayurek argues that Prime Minister Erdogan is after a "Turkish Republic with Islamic headdress," and warns in a his commentary in Cumhuriyet, "the headdress is like cancer; unless you take measures it will spread under Erdogan's rule, and you will wake up to see the state in a headdress from top to toe."

    Under the headline, "Solution not far away," Vakit newspaper publishes a front-page report which asserts that the ruling AKP has decided to propose to the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, that they cooperate in amending Articles 10, 13, and 42 of the Constitution. The report also highlights MHP Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural's statement announcing that "we are determined to solve the headscarf problem."

    A report entitled "OSYM awaits instructions from YOK" quotes Professor Unal Yarimagan, Chairman of the Student Selection and Placement Center, as having told Vakit that they will normally require female university candidates who wear headscarves to uncover their heads while taking the university entrance exam in spring but that if the Higher Education Council, YOK, issues a different instruction, they will comply with it.

    In an article entitled "Half democracy cannot ensure even half justice", Today's Zaman columnist Huseyin Gulerce explains why it is "unfair" to represent the headscarf problem as being part of a conspiracy against the secular regime.

    d) The economic crisis and Turkey:

    In a commentary in Radikal, Fatih Ozatay predicts sharp fluctuations in financial markets in 2008, "which will be a painful year for Turkey."

    Under the headline, "Stock market collapses," Milli Gazete carries a front-page report which asserts that net losses in the Istanbul Stock Exchange have exceeded YTL 26 billion in two days in response to the latest global fluctuations, revealing Turkey to be an "an interest-inflated balloon economy."

    In an article entitled "This time", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal outlines the possible effects on Turkey of the global economic "crisis" triggered by the recession in the United States. Explaining "the most optimistic scenario," he asserts that the inflow of foreign money might go on, allowing the "fake paradise" created by the presence of "hot money" to continue. He claims that it is more likely that there will be a liquidity problem, adding that the "worst scenario" would be one where the inflow of liquidity stops and foreign money starts to leave Turkey.

    In an article entitled "New currency for the US: Amero in place of the Dollar", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on the global "financial tsunami" triggered by the economic recession in the United States. He also argues that the state of the US economy justifies calls for the establishment of a "North American Monetary Union" whose currency would be "Amero."

    EG/


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