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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-02-01

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 23/08 01.02.08 NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Avci addresses a meeting at the House of Lords in London
  • [02] Kibris: Strong support from OIC for the lifting of the isolations
  • [03] The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus today
  • [04] Statements by Soyer on the military service draft-law and the projects funded by Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [05] Three persons have been arrested for smuggling antiquities
  • [06] Turkish President to visit Qatar
  • [07] The TGNA to vote on headscarf amendment next week
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [08] Columnist in Turkish Daily News argues that the ruling AKP pushed the headscarf issue in view of the upcoming local elections
  • [09] From the Turkish Press of 01 February 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Avci addresses a meeting at the House of Lords in London

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.02.08) reports that addressing a meeting yesterday in London at the House of Lords, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, Turgay Avci argued that the European Union has committed a big mistake by accepting the Greek Cypriots as its member without a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    He said that as of 1963 when the partnership on the island was destroyed there never has been a joint administration and alleged: The fact that the Greek Cypriots are considered as the Republic of Cyprus, in spite of this reality, is a great mistake. He argued that this mistake is a big obstacle in front of the solution and added that therefore we should concern ourselves with it.

    Mr Avci claimed that the strategies of the Greek Cypriot side are putting aside the initiatives of the UN and prevent the initiatives towards the lifting of the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots. He alleged that the lifting of the isolations will be useful for closing the gap between the two sides. Mr Avci argued that the Greek Cypriots should abandon their negative stance and called on the British Parliament and the Government to support them on this issue.

    He argued that the lack of direct flights towards the occupied areas is the most important element of the isolations and noted that they are preparing to file a lawsuit in Britain on this issue. He reminded the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Britain and Turkey and the provision of this agreement regarding the lifting of the isolations of the TRNC and praised the efforts of Mrs Joan Ryan, British Governments special representative for Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.02.08) refers to the same issue and reports that Mr Avci addressed a meeting at the House of Lords organized by Lord Magginis.

    The paper notes: Turgay Avci for the first time spoke with the capacity of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC at the House of Lords. The fact that on the table where Foreign Minister Avci was speaking the flags of the TRNC and Britain were together drew attention.

    The paper reports that Avci briefed the Lords who are members of the Friends of North Cyprus Group on the recent developments. Turkish Cypriots living in London and many politicians and journalists attended Mr Avcis speech.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Kibris: Strong support from OIC for the lifting of the isolations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.02.08) reports that the general assembly of the 5th Conference of the Organization of the Islamic Conferences (OIC) Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cairo approved the draft-resolution prepared so that the Islamic countries lift the isolations implemented on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Under the title Strong support from OIC for the lifting of the isolations, Kibris notes that the resolution provides for the development of the cooperation between the Islamic countries and the Turkish Cypriots in the fields of culture, politics, economy and sports.

    According to the director of the assembly, Burhan Eraslan, the resolution was approved unanimously, but Egypt noted its reservation and put a commentary for the expression Turkish Cypriot State. He said that the resolution provides for the representation of the Turkish Cypriots at all international platforms and the cooperation with them in all the above-mentioned fields.

    Mr Eraslan noted that after the conference of the organization in Istanbul, some important developments occurred for the Turkish Cypriots. He reminded that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat visited Pakistan and was received with an official ceremony by the Pakistani President, that the line between occupied port Famagusta and the Syrian port of Latakia started and that close relations with Azerbaijan were established.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.02.08) reports that the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus today upon invitation by the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (01.02.08) refers to the same issue and reports that Mr Soyer advised the President of the Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, who reacted to the visit of Mr Schroeder, to drink wine and read poetry.

    He said: My advice to Papadopoulos is to take example from Schroeder and drink wine which will reduce his hearts degree of hostility. I will send him poems of peace and friendship from the language of the Turkish Cypriots. I am an individual who has evolved in the process of being human, reading the poems of the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos for friendship and peace. We trust those in the Greek nation and the Greek Cypriots who are sensible and have a heart full of love. I will send the poems of Yannis Ritsos to Papadopoulos. Let him drink slowly slowly the wine of friendship, which will extinguish his feelings of hate and hostility.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (01.02.08) publishes statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians who unanimously are saying welcome to Mr Schroeder. Omer Kalyoncu, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that the visit of Mr Schroeder through the illegal Tymvou airport is one of the successes of the government in the openings to the world.

    Kemal Durust, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), said that the visit of Mr Schroeder is an attitude supporting the rights and the justice of the Turkish Cypriot people against the Greek Cypriots.

    Ertugrul Hasipoglu, general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), said that Mr Schroeder is welcome, but added that they wished that this visit was realized in the period when Mr Schroeder was a Chancellor.

    Mustafa Gokmen, vice president of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), said that the visit is materialized because of the good relations of their government with Germany and pointed out that the contribution of the MPs of Turkish origin in the German Federal Parliament should not be forgotten.

    Asim Idris, the general secretary of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), pointed out that Mr Schroeder is not coming with an official capacity and added that they should not exaggerate the fact that he will come through the illegal Tymvou airport. I do not think that Germany will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem with this visit, he added.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Statements by Soyer on the military service draft-law and the projects funded by Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.02.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that the draft-law by which they will give the opportunity for the postponement of the military service of the Turkish Cypriots who live abroad will become a law within a month.

    According to a statement issued by his office, Mr Soyer was a guest on a program of illegal Bayrak television the night before yesterday. He said that with the law they will give amnesty to those who have lost their right to pay for their military service. Reminding that the foreigners who became citizens of the TRNC before were taken immediately to the army, he noted that now with this draft-law some arrangements are made and those who have completed their 49th year will be able to pay three thousand pounds sterling and acquire certain rights.

    Mr Soyer argued that until a solution is reached on the island, it is inevitable for the Security Forces Command to carry out its duties which is closely related to the security of the Turkish Cypriots. Mr Soyer referred again to the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus and argued that as long as the Greek Cypriot side develops its army and weapons and until the Cyprus problem is solved, the Security Forces Command will be maintained in a powerful manner.

    Noting that while the Security Forces Command was preparing this law, they carried out a parallel work with the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus, which he described Cyprus Turkish Peace Force, Mr Soyer added: If we have a problem in our human resources until the solution of the Cyprus problem, we must have a basis for discussing our needs with the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force. Therefore, a joint work was carried out with the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (01.02.08), under the title We must feel proud of the Turkish and the TRNC flags, reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that in front of the projects financed by Turkey there is the Turkish flag and wished for the strengthening of the relations between the two states and peoples with the increase of these projects.

    In statements yesterday at the self-styled assembly, Mr Soyer said that they want to see and projects which will have the TRNC flag. He noted that occupied Nicosia hospital has been built with Turkeys contribution and that the hospital in occupied Famagusta has been built with the contribution of Turkey and the self-styled ministry of finance. He added that they should feel proud of the Turkish and TRNC flags which are on the sign in front of this hospital.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Three persons have been arrested for smuggling antiquities

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.02.08), under the title Well-known names in the smuggling of antiquities, reports that three persons have been arrested because they had antiquities in their possession.

    Mehmet Ali Ilkman, known as Tremeseli, one of the foremost names of TMT organization, was among these persons. The other two persons are Ali Yasar Piro, owner of Gavur Ali Restaurant in occupied Dikomo village and Tolga Kanara.

    The police have found in a car belonging to Ilkman and driven by Kanara earthenware water jugs, which are believed to be antiquities. In a research they carried out at the residence of Ilkman they found other objects which are also believed to be antiquities. The paper publishes a picture of the antiquities.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Turkish President to visit Qatar

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.01.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul will pay a formal visit to Qatar between February 5th and 7th, upon the invitation of Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar.

    Gul will depart from Ankara for capital Doha of Qatar on February 5th. He will be accompanied by a delegation consisting of Turkish businessmen and reporters.

    Gul will meet Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar on February 6th. After their tete-a-tete meeting, the two leaders will preside meetings between Turkish and Qatari delegations. Afterwards, al-Thani will hold a luncheon in honor of Gul.

    Gul will participate in the Turkish-Qatari Business Council meeting as well. During his visit, Gul will also receive Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani.

    Gul and the accompanying delegation are scheduled to return to Turkey on Thursday, February 7th.

    [07] The TGNA to vote on headscarf amendment next week

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.01.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish parliament is expected to vote next week a constitutional amendment that would lift a ban on headscarf in universities.

    The General Assembly is expected to convene for the first round of voting on February 6th and for the second round on February 9th.

    The joint proposal by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) seeks amendment to Article 10 on right to education and Article 42 on equality before the law.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [08] Columnist in Turkish Daily News argues that the ruling AKP pushed the headscarf issue in view of the upcoming local elections

    Under the title Is Turkey on the edge of a social earthquake? Turkish Daily News (31.01.08) publishes the following commentary by Professor K. Ercin Kasapoglu:

    Upon the formation of the ruling Justice and Development Party the acronym AKP was used, although after the latest Judges and Prosecutors Law and other lawless acts it could be used to describe the Murderer of the Justice Party. Considering the latest initiative of the government in an attempt to lift the headscarf ban the acronym that might be given is the Fomenting the Fire Party.

    As Turkey is faced with very serious problems in its energy sector and the economy as well as in terror related issues, the government suddenly pushed the headscarf issue back on the country's agenda on the eve of upcoming local elections. This is, without a doubt, a populist approach to attract more votes in local elections.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by confessing that he has just learned the meaning of headscarf by looking it up in dictionaries and reading encyclopaedias and by suggesting that opposition leaders do the same tries hard to disregard the political meaning of the headscarf and put emphasis on its dictionary meaning. During a recent visit to Spanish capital Madrid, Erdogan noted that the headscarf is not a political symbol only to add what does it matter if it is really a political symbol? thus practically challenging society. The reason for this statement is that he knows perfectly well that the headscarf some women wear has a different meaning from the conventional headscarf worn by mainstream women; this is a tool the AKP uses for exploitation of beliefs and it claims that it is the requirement of Islam due to the party's political concerns.

    The AKP government is working on a draft constitution, on Article 10 and 42 in particular, in an attempt to lift the ban on wearing headscarves in universities. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), supporting the AKP for political reasons, brings the right to equal access to public services to the fore through the headscarf issue. That is to say, female students wearing headscarf and even women in black chadors should be able to attend universities freely and benefit from the right to equal education. But what if we have female students wearing headscarves who want to attend the Police Academy or the War Academy claiming their benefits from the equal education right? Will they wear a headscarf with their military or police uniforms? Or will they wear black chadors instead of uniforms as well as a headscarf? And will Turkey ever become member of the European Union with this ridiculous combination of clothes?

    Subtitle: Exploitation of religion

    As many scientists correctly and objectively interpret, there is no single verse in the Koran that commands Muslim women to wear the headscarf in a way not even to show a string of hair. Therefore referring to female students in universities and arguing that they are wearing it as religious requirement has no religious ground. Such remarks belong to a group of clergy who exploit religion. What kind of persons believe that they are between individuals and God; no person and no institution have any right to intervene in that relationship; no one has any right to impose anything on this specific matter. Let people believe in what they want and let them wear what they want. This is the requirement of freedom of conscience. However, the freedom of conscience grants no one any right to overthrow law and order or to violate any laws.

    The AKP government exploiting religion for its own political motives is trying to eliminate the advantages the Republic granted us, secularism in particular. The AKP government politicizing all institutions is playing with fire and adding extra fuel to it.

    National judicial bodies and the European Court of Human Rights clearly cited that banning the headscarf does not violate the law and human rights. However, when the prime minister states that .wearing a headscarf is a personal preference and no one has any right to ban personal preferences, in other words prioritizing personal preferences of individuals over the law and social interests of the Republic of Turkey as a democratic lawful state, it is obvious what he understands from the rule of law. Erdogan with his latest remarks verbally attacks constitutional institutions such as the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Constitutional Court, becomes rude and creates tension and public reaction, which might cause a serious social earthquake. May God protect us against the aftershocks of such huge earthquake.

    [09] From the Turkish Press of 31 January 2008

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 31.01.08 on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:

    a) Headscarf issue: According to a report by Bulent Gunal in Istanbul Vatan, university rectors expressed "concern" over the following aspects: The Constitution has been reduced to determining the style of headdress to be worn by women; it will be difficult to supervise the implementation of the new arrangement; the whole issue resonates of Arab mentality; the tranquillity in the universities will be upset; the courts may overturn the new arrangement; the lifting of the ban will create "inevitable consequences" in terms of secularism; the arrangement will be extended to include secondary and primary schools as well.

    Women's organizations are preparing to stage protests against the Islamic headscarf move, a report by Izgi Gungor states in Istanbul Turkish Daily News. "Women are being abused for the upcoming local elections and the efforts, that are not well-intentioned, pose a threat to the Republic, according to women organizations," the report says.

    In a report in Istanbul Milliyet, Gokcer Tahincioglu relays the statement of Prof. Ergun Ozbudun who is concerned about the rights of women who do not cover their heads. Accordingly, Ozbudun says: "Turkey is a country with many inciters. A constitutional guarantee should have been introduced for the protection of girls who do not cover their heads." Referring to the danger of "neighborhood pressure," Ozbudun says that provisions against the violation of the public order should have been included in the amendments.

    Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir probes the Islamic headdress controversy in five questions. The questions included in his commentary are: Did the AKP, Justice and Development Party, apply the salami tactic? Why are those in favor of the Islamic headdress complaining? Will those wearing the Islamic headdress apply pressure on the AKP? Will the AKP become internally divided because of the Islamic headdress? Will the army follow the process from the sidelines?

    Referring to the statement issued by General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the General Staff, regarding the headdress ban, Murat Yetkin of Istanbul Radikal states that Buyukanit "used the correct dose in his remarks." In his column, Yetkin interprets the chief of staff's remarks as follows: "Even if the current situation does not please the military, the army should not be expected to contribute to turning the Islamic headdress issue into a crisis within its present boundaries, that is, as long as it is limited to the universities and to the law pertaining to the dress code." Yetkin argues that this response may have allayed Prime Minister Erdogan's fears, but at the same time it increases his responsibility. In other words, it is now the responsibility of Erdogan to ensure that the Islamic headdress does not spread to the high schools or to the public service.

    Speculating on the reasons behind Buyukanit's "two-sentence" reaction to the headdress issue, Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila says the chief of staff may have averted an argument and criticism over interference in politics, or, he may have avoided interfering in the upcoming judicial process. In his article, Bila remarks, however, that it must not be forgotten that in its 27 April statement, the Turkish Armed Forces stressed that the issue of secularism concerns it, and in 2003 it opposed the proposed amendment to the Higher Education Law.

    According to an editorial by Yusuf Kanli in Turkish Daily News, the chief of staff sent "a silent but forceful message to the government." Kanli argues: "A short and at the same time very meaningful answer... Firstly, the top general said he did not want to indulge into the turban controversy 'for the time being' while at the same time he reasserted that 'there has not been any change' in the die-hard opposition of the military to moves diluting the fundamental secularism principle of the republic for which the military consider itself as its custodian."

    In an article entitled "CHP's Inconsistency" Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan lauds the agreement between the ruling AKP and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, to lift the headscarf ban at universities as a reasonable proposal that will alleviate the problem to a large extent. He also criticizes the Republican People's Party, CHP, for objecting to the efforts to remove the ban and asserts that the CHP's argument that the AKP and the MHP's proposal could lead to consequences detrimental to the very foundation of the secular regime is an ideological contention without any basis in fact.

    Under the banner headline, "Whatever the Nation Says," Vakit runs a front-page report which asserts that while some "80 percent" of the people expect the headscarf ban to be lifted unexceptionally and therefore give "reluctant" support to the AKP and the MHP's proposal to end the headscarf ban only at universities, the "media cartel" cannot "tolerate" even the plan to allow "at least" female university students to cover their heads.

    In an article entitled "Hey, Media, is the Headscarf Issue Buyukanit's Business?" Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that General Buyukanit is "a bureaucrat who answers to the prime minister in the final analysis" and that he has no right to criticize the prime minister's decisions and actions. He claims that the chief of staff should have refrained from giving any responses to questions about the headscarf issue during his meeting with Elenovski yesterday, adding that it is not possible to talk about democracy and human rights in a country where the news media are urging military officials to air their views about "civilian" issues.

    In an article entitled "Headscarf" Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Buyukanit's latest remarks about the headscarf issue reflect his own personal opinion only rather than the stance of the Turkish military in general or that of its lower echelons. He also finds it "important nevertheless" that the chief of staff did not make remarks that could have caused further tension over this issue.

    In a commentary entitled "Is Secularism a Form of Modern Bigotry?" Zaman writer Etyen Mahcupyan cites an "obvious lack of self-confidence" as the reason behind what he describes as secularist circles' anxiety to exclude women who cover their heads from their own spheres of life. He argues that some secularist groups are engaging in communalism inasmuch as they refuse to recognize social diversity, adding that it is ironic that secular groups should display such exclusionary behavior at a time when conservatives in Turkey are tending to open up to the world.

    In an article entitled "Back to Square One" Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru claims that the agreement reached by the AKP and the MHP to lift the headscarf ban "may well create more problems for women who cover their heads for religious reasons" and "leave no room for politicians to maneuver if things go wrong ..."

    In a "news analysis" entitled "Turkish Military Displays Milder Stance, Says Kardas" Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu highlights the views of retired "Col. Dr. Umit Kardas" on General Buyukanit's "relatively mild reaction to the government's plans" to lift the headscarf ban at universities, which suggests "a compromise between the government and the military to not create a serious row in return for bending to each others' agendas."

    Under the headline, "We are Warning the Government," Milli Gazete carries a front-page report which asserts that the Felicity Party, SP, has sent a letter to all parties represented in Parliament warning that the headscarf issue will fail to be solved if the AKP and the MHP's proposal is passed as it is and saying that the correct way to address the problem is to amend Article 24 of the Constitution, which regulates the freedom of religion and conscience.

    b) Ergenekon Organization: In an editorial in Ankara The New Anatolian, Ilnur Cevik comments on the recent investigation into the "ultranationalist gang which called itself Ergenekon." He says: "Turkish ultranationalists including ex-military people were caught while plotting to kill Kurdish politicians and Orhan Pamuk. We warned about these gangs years ago and people laughed... But we really can't laugh today."

    Under the headline, "Hit Man Turns out Movie Star," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that it has turned out that Selim A. and Erol Olmez, who are "claimed to have been offered two million dollars by the terrorist Ergenekon group to kill novelist Orhan Pamuk," have played roles in a number of Mafia television series.

    c) Economic issues: In an article entitled "Five Million Dollar Bribe Each to Members of Parliament" Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on allegations that US oil companies have offered a $5 million bribe each to a number of Iraqi MPs to pass the Oil and Gas Bill. In explaining why "a single Iraqi's vote has never been that expensive," Karagul claims that the oil and natural gas market, "that is the energy chess game," is currently the scene of "the harshest salvoes between the West and the rest of the world," adding that "Iraq is only one of the many violent fronts of this conflict." Karagul also asserts that the Bush administration is trying to cover up a scandal involving the "sale of US nuclear secrets to Turkey, Israel, and Pakistan."

    In a commentary entitled "The Accession Partnership Document and the Global Economic Crisis" Zaman writer Eser Karakas argues that Turkey's capacity for avoiding the effects of the global economic crisis in 2008 will be a function of its performance in taking further steps to qualify for EU membership, in this way keeping the confidence of foreign investors high.

    Finally, Milli Gazete newspaper carries the second part of the interview with Verso Research Company owner Erhan Goksel. In today's instalment, entitled "Crisis in US Would Hit Turkey Like a Tsunami," Goksel argues that a major global financial recession would have political as well as economic implications for Turkey and that the United States is the only power in the world that could prevent such consequences for Turkey. He also explains why the 2008 crisis is "more dangerous" than the crisis in 2001.

    /PL


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