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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-02-14

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. 32/08 14.02.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Action on the 9th of March
  • [02] The seawater desalination to the Israelis
  • [03] Immigrants flow to Famagusta
  • [04] Turgay Avci is going to Australia and notes that his aim is to annoy the Greek Cypriots
  • [05] Talat meets with the Turkish Cypriot political parties
  • [06] The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, sent a basket of bread to Talat with a letter in which he addresses him as TRNC President
  • [07] Assassination attempt against the Turkish President
  • [08] The U.S. Secretary of Defence to visit Ankara on Afghanistan
  • [09] Gul: Turkish diplomacy one of country's greatest strengths
  • [10] Turkish Atomic Agency meets; Invitation for nuclear plants bids to be issued on February 21
  • [11] Swiss company plans to build Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in cooperation with Turkey
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [12] Nabucco: Keeping the dream alive
  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 13 February 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Action on the 9th of March

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (14.02.08) reports in its first page that the Iskele [occupied Trikomo] Citizens Initiative Organization is showing a great reaction to the operation of looting which is being carried out with the cooperation of the government of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. The paper writes that after the decision of offering as present 168 donums of land and coastline, which is located on the Famagusta-Karpass main road, to Kotitas Tourism AS, 500 donums of land and coastline will be given to the Latvian Tutis Firm and notes that the public is reacting against these actions.

    Ortam, invoking sources, reports that after forest land was given to KOTITAS, there is a wish of giving the land and the coastline which is close to this area, to the Latvian Tutis Firm and for this reason an MP of CTP is having secret bargaining with a certain person. The CTP which for the sake of remaining to power, wants to give the untouched TRNC areas, the National Park, the forest land and the coast line to the big capital of the members of AKP, raised anger among the Iskele [occupied Trikomo] Citizens Initiative Organization. Therefore, the Spring Celebration Feast, which is organized every year on the 9th of March, is going to be a protest for the protection of the land, the forest and the coastline.

    (CS)

    [02] The seawater desalination to the Israelis

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (14.02.08) reports that a consortium formed by three firms from the occupied areas of Cyprus and the Israeli Global Environmental Solutions (GES) Ltd has been the winner of the tender for desalinating seawater in the occupied Famagusta area.

    According to a statement issued by the self-styled ministry of finance, the contract provides for the installations, which will have the capacity of desalinating five thousand cubic meters of water per day, to be ready to operate within 250 days.

    The paper notes that according to the statement, the water problem of the occupied Famagusta area will be solved with this project which will be built in the area between occupied Famagusta and Salamina.

    The capacity of the installations could be increased up to ten thousand cubic meters of water daily, according to the needs of the area.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Immigrants flow to Famagusta,

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.02.08) reports in its first page that eight more Syrians were arrested yesterday for entering illegally the occupation regime. The eight Syrians used the same boat which brought the seventeen Syrians who were arrested on Sunday for entering illegally the TRNC.

    The paper writes that four Turks were arrested for helping the refugees to enter the TRNC and for aiming to help them pass to south Cyprus. These are Famagusta resident Veli Gecit (29 years old) and Lefkosia residents Abuzer Erdem (25), Mehmet Acarbas (25) and Huseyin Akpinar (43). The Immigrants paid two thousand dollars each to the human traffickers.

    [04] Turgay Avci is going to Australia and notes that his aim is to annoy the Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.02.08) reports that Mr Turgay Avci, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, is going to Australia by the end of the week.

    Under the title The Greek Cypriots will be uneasy with our openings, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (14.02.08), publishes in its first page statements by Mr Turgay Avci, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs. Mr Avci said that since the seventeen months they came to power they gave great importance to foreign openings. We will continue to make the Greek Cypriots uneasy with our openings. Our aim is to unify the Turkish Cypriot people with the world, he stated. Mr Avci went on to say that a foreign minister does not do his job when he stays in his country and added that every action that makes the Greek Cypriots to feel uneasy, angry or be annoyed is a right move. I am not going to sit here and wait for Markoullis, he stated.

    The paper also writes that the Greek Cypriots are trying to put obstacles to the visit that Avci is planning to make to Australia at the end of the week and writes that the Cypriot High Commissioner to Australia, Filippos Kritiotis tried to sabotage Avcis visit with a letter he sent to Australian Officials.

    (CS)

    [05] Talat meets with the Turkish Cypriot political parties

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.02.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has been briefing leaders and representatives of political parties with seats in the Republics Assembly about the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.

    President Talat received a delegation from the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) this morning.

    The President met with officials from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Communal Democracy Party (TDP) yesterday and the Democrat Party (DP) and Freedom and Reform Party (UBP) on Monday.

    [06] The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, sent a basket of bread to Talat with a letter in which he addresses him as TRNC President

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (14.02.08) reports in its first page that the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, who visited last week occupied Cyprus, sent a basket with German bread to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, who during Schroeders visit stated that he likes this kind of bread very much but it is not easy to find it in occupied Cyprus. The former German Chancellor sent the basket with a letter in which he addressed the Turkish Cypriot leader as follows: TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, Lefkosia, North Cyprus. In the letter, Mr Schroeder went on like this: Your Excellency, I thank both the President and the government for the hospitality towards me in North Cyprus. Mr Schroeder also wrote that he left the island with fine memories.

    [07] Assassination attempt against the Turkish President

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (14.02.08) reports the following:

    Dramatic plots targeting elected officials in Ankara have emerged as reverberations from controversial debates over the headscarf ban have raised tension in the capital and across the nation.

    Police have revealed that a plot targeting President Abdullah Gul on Jan. 6 involving a group of three people was uncovered in Ankara on Saturday. In addition, a hand grenade found in the shoe rack at Ankara's Osmanli Mosque, which security forces believe was going to be thrown at crowds gathered at Ankara's Sihhiye Square, has led to security precautions in the capital being raised to the highest level.

    According to information given to Today's Zaman by police, the first of the plots aimed at causing chaos and destruction had been planned for Jan. 6, when Gul was attending the wedding of his niece, Humeyra Tekelioglu, at Ankara's Dedeman Hotel. During the wedding, at which President Gul was acting as a witness for his niece, a worker at the hotel notified police about a car parked on Akay Boulevard, next to the hotel. The car, a 1999 model Fiat Uno, was loaded with 3.5 kilograms of C-4 explosives. Following investigations, it was discovered that a group of three had broken into the car through a side window, and, disabling the alarm system, had placed the explosives underneath the car. Ankara police surrounded the car while bomb experts and special dogs inspected the site. Police concluded that the group of people who placed the explosives there had panicked for some reason and left the scene before enabling the bomb to go off.

    While the Fiat Uno was brought to a secure location by security forces, the hotel worker was questioned to determine if there was any connection between him and the people who placed the explosives under the car.

    No connections were determined by the Ankara police, who also determined that the original plan had been to park the vehicle in the parking lot of the Dedeman Hotel. The authorities inspecting the vehicle speculated that if the vehicle had in fact been placed in the Dedeman Hotel parking lot, the destruction caused would have been tremendous.

    While media firms did go to the semi-official Anatolia news agency for details, the Ankara police force apparently warned against publishing stories about the thwarted plans.

    Also present at the wedding at Ankaras Dedeman Hotel were top government officials such as Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul, State Minister Mehmet Aydin and Health Minister Recep Akdag.

    Subtitle: Second bomb discovered hidden at Ankaras Osmanli Mosque

    A second successful operation by Ankara police led to the discovery of another explosive device in the capital, this one hidden in a shoe rack at Osmanli Mosque. Speculation is that this bomb was intended for use at a large protest held in the capital in opposition to legislation aimed at lifting the ban on headscarves at Turkish universities. Police found the hand grenade, made at the Makine Kimya Industrial Foundation, hidden in the mosques shoe rack.

    During a protest organized by the Support for Modern Life Association (CYDD) on Feb. 9 police received an anonymous tip from a citizen regarding a suspicious package dropped off at the shoe rack in Osmanli Mosque. Police forces immediately went to the mosque and found the package containing the hand grenade. Whether or not this grenade was one of the ones found earlier in a raid in Umraniye, and whether it has any connections to the ones thrown at the front of the Cumhuriyet newspaper headquarters in Istanbul two years ago is still being investigated. However, police have said that had the hand grenade exploded in the crowds gathered in the capital, many people would have been killed. Back on May 1, 1977, shots fired from the top floor of the Intercontinental Hotel in Istanbul into crowds gathered for Labour Day protests resulted in the loss of many lives, mostly from people being crushed in the ensuing panic.

    In the wake of the bomb scares recently uncovered in Ankara, security precautions in general and for top administration officials in particular have been increased. A new jammer vehicle known for its ability to block and jam radio frequencies often used by terrorists has been ordered for Toptan. One such vehicle is already in use by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In addition, specially trained bomb sniffer detector dogs have been brought in to help inspect not only the meeting rooms used by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary groups, but also for opposition parties. Authorities note that these extra precautions are likely to become routine from here on out. The same detector dogs are being used not only for parliamentary meeting rooms, but also for capital parking lots and other administrative buildings.

    In the meantime, authorities have decided to expand the range and coverage of the MOBESE video camera surveillance system, currently being used for the Turkish Parliament buildings and the surrounding area. At this point, MOBESE is only being used to survey the entrances and exits of this parliamentary area, but following the expansion of its services, all previously blind spots are to be covered. Also, a jammer device is being installed in the central prime ministerial buildings at the Turkish Parliament; the aim of this device is to prevent any possible attacks using remote controls. At this point, the general assembly halls of the Turkish Parliament have a small jammer device already installed to prevent such attacks. But the new system to be installed in the Turkish Parliament at no charge by Turk Telekom will be expanded to include cameras at the main entrances and exits, the human relations offices as well the corridors and back halls. All entrances to Parliament will thus be completely controlled by automatic devices. A facial recognition system to be installed will allow authorized personnel to enter Parliament with no problems, while visitors will be stopped and unable to proceed before an identification process is completed.

    [08] The U.S. Secretary of Defence to visit Ankara on Afghanistan

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (14.02.08) reports the following:

    Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Ankara yesterday on a surprise visit to discuss cooperation against terrorism, and sources say US Defence Secretary Robert Gates will also visit Ankara soon.

    Cartwright's visit came as talks between the United States, Turkey and Iraq have intensified over the past weeks. Earlier this month Cartwright met with Gen. Ergin Saygun, the deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff, in Washington. Saygun, who had talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Gen. Naseer al-Abadi, in January during a surprise visit to Baghdad, spent nearly two weeks in the United States, engaging in talks with US military officials and visiting US military facilities.

    The intensified talks fed speculation that Turkey, the United States and Iraq might be discussing a possible Turkish ground offensive against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based in northern Iraq. Backed by the United States, the Turkish military has launched at least five aerial strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq since Dec. 16, 2007.

    Cooperation in the fight against the PKK and wider security issues will be discussed during talks between Cartwright and Turkish officials, the Anatolia news agency said. No further information was available. Iraqi Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. al-Abadi is expected to visit Ankara soon, officials told Today's Zaman. In Baghdad last month, al-Abadi and Saygun discussed efforts to fight terrorism and long-term military cooperation between the two nations' militaries.

    Subtitle: Gates coming for Afghanistan talks

    Ankara is expected to host Gates two weeks after Cartwright's visit, officials told Today's Zaman. The senior US official is expected to discuss NATO demands for more contribution to the alliance's operations in Afghanistan.

    Washington has called on NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan and to commit more of them to the south of the country, where the Taliban insurgency is strongest. The US, backed by Britain, says the reluctance of NATO allies to send more troops and resources to Afghanistan is jeopardizing the military mission there. NATO's survival was at stake in the debate over how the United States and Europe should share the burden of fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan, Gates said in a speech in Munich last weekend.

    [09] Gul: Turkish diplomacy one of country's greatest strengths

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.02.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Wednesday Turkish diplomacy was one of Turkey's greatest strengths.

    President Gul visited Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) where he formerly served as the FM for four and a half years before becoming president and addressed MFA personnel together with FM Ali Babacan.

    President Gul said Turkey's relations with neighbours had improved and relations were established with remote countries in Africa and South America. Gul stressed that Turkey not only attached importance to political and economic issues but also extended humanitarian aid to victims of disasters. On the other hand, Babacan said thanks to the proactive foreign policies it pursued, Turkey became an important player contributing to regional and global stability and security.

    Babacan said Turkish MFA was living its "golden age" and noted that President Gul with his insight about Turkish foreign policy was helping Turkey's voice to be heard in the international arena during his foreign visits and his reception of world leaders.

    [10] Turkish Atomic Agency meets; Invitation for nuclear plants bids to be issued on February 21

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.02.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said Tuesday nuclear energy was a technological threshold for Turkey. We want to cross that threshold successfully, he said.

    Guler said regulations regarding the nuclear energy generation were prepared and submitted to Council of Ministers following passage of Nuclear Energy Law. Legal formalities are under way. Following these formalities we will call for bids of interested companies (for construction of nuclear power plants in Turkey), Guler told a meeting organized by Turkish Atomic Agency.

    He said Turkey was moving forward resolutely to carry out activities regarding nuclear energy and added that over 200 experts have been working in northern province of Sinop at Black Sea coast where nuclear plant is planned to be constructed.

    Soaring oil prices and fuel oil costs force us to use that technology and that sort of energy. We will be committed to international liabilities and fulfil our obligations as a solemn state, he pledged.

    Guler also said they have drafted a bill to privatize coal plants in Turkey.

    Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said Tuesday that an invitation notice would be issued on February 21st, inviting the interested companies to participate in the nuclear power plant construction process in Turkey. Guler replied to questions of participants and reporters after a meeting organized by Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK).

    Upon a question, Guler said after the regulation on nuclear energy generation was published, the ministry would issue an invitation notice.

    He said, once the notice was issued, the ministry would request 3 envelopes from the interested companies.

    In the first envelope, the companies will lay down in a detailed way how they will fulfil the 9 criteria determined by TAEK. The second envelope will include the letter of guarantee and the third envelope will include the firm's offer, Guler said.

    Guler also said two locations were determined in Turkey for the construction of nuclear power plants, one in southern province of Mersin and the other in Black Sea province of Sinop.

    He said the location in Mersin had the necessary license and the companies eager to start the construction of the nuclear plant immediately would be able to start the work there.

    In his reply to a question on which technology would be used for nuclear power plants in Turkey, Guler said, It will be a new and tried technology.

    [11] Swiss company plans to build Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in cooperation with Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.02.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said, Swiss EGL company, which is planning to build Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is also considering to generate electricity by building a natural gas power plant in Turkey.TAP is a joint project of Turkey and Switzerland, which aims to carry Iranian natural gas to Balkans, Albania and then to Italy via Turkey.

    Guler who met Walter Steinmann, the Director of Swiss Federal Office of Energy, in Ankara on Wednesday told reporters that Turkey and Switzerland will sign a memorandum of understanding soon regarding TAP project. Guler said there are five nuclear electricity power plants in Switzerland (which has six million population), and they were planning to increase the number of power plants in Turkey.

    He noted that they had an important meeting with Swiss delegation about energy productivity and renewable energy issues.

    When reporters asked whether there is a problem with natural gas flow from Iran to Turkey, Guler said, currently we are receiving natural gas from Iran. However, the problem will completely be solved when a new pipeline is constructed. Officials of Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corp. (BOTAS) and National Iranian Gas Company are holding talks on this issue.

    On the other hand, Steinmann said they attach great importance to developing cooperation with countries like Turkey in renewable energy, nuclear energy and safety issues.

    Steinmann said Turkey and Switzerland have initiated many projects in energy area, and those projects will be further developed.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [12] Nabucco: Keeping the dream alive

    Under the above title Today´s Zaman newspaper (13.02.08) publishes the following analysis:

    This week Jozias van Aarsten, EU special coordinator for the Nabucco gas pipeline project, will travel to Ankara to press Turkey to take a more supportive approach toward Nabucco, following the country's failure to agree on a pricing scheme for the use of the pipeline as well as a recent decision to block Gaz de France from joining the Nabucco consortium.

    The Saturday edition of the Financial Times reported van Aarsten saying, "If they [Turkey] are seeking a relationship with the EU, it is one of the ways to make really clear that they do want a future relationship." In other words the EU expects Turkey to do as it's told, even though membership seems an increasingly distant prospect. Turkey has in fact been a driving force in Nabucco, but as energy is one of Ankara's strongest cards vis-à-vis the EU it would be naïve of Brussels to believe that in the present negative climate Turkey will just willingly roll over and do their bidding.

    More generally, the logic behind Nabucco is becoming increasingly questionable -- originally seen as a sort of dream initiative to reduce energy dependence on Russia by diversifying gas suppliers. The EU-US backed Nabucco is meant to deliver 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Central Asia and the Caspian region to Europe over a 3,300-kilometer route passing through Turkey and the Balkans at a construction cost of at least 5 billion euro. Construction is supposed to start in 2009 but numerous hurdles still need to be overcome, including question marks over financing, which may result in further delays. In addition there are difficulties over the practicalities of implementation in tricky Black Sea areas and, most importantly, whether there will be adequate gas supplies. However, consortium members seem confident (perhaps overly) that once Nabucco is built, it will encourage oil companies to find more gas in the region. Furthermore there are indications that Russia may become part of the project with GazProm pipes connecting up to Nabucco, which would seem to defeat the point of the whole exercise.

    The first phase gas source could be Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field. However, although it has an estimated 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves most of the gas is already contractually designated for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey; the remaining quantities may be insufficient to fill the pipelines expected 31 billion cubic meter capacity, in which case other gas sources would be required. This means other gas resources may be required possibly from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan or Iran.

    Iran is sitting on massive (but totally undeveloped) gas reserves and already has a pipeline transporting gas to Turkey. In addition, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki recently announced that Tehran would be ready to collaborate with the EU on Nabucco. However, the EU already seems to have ruled out Iran due to political difficulties and international sanctions.

    Getting gas from either Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan wound not be much easier as firstly, no European companies have access to the gas fields, and in the case of Turkmenistan, international bidders would only be allowed access to off-shore gas, which could take around 10 years for the infrastructure to be put in place. Furthermore, the much talked about trans-Caspian pipeline would have to be built. In addition, last December Turkmenistan signed a major gas deal with Russia, which reduced the attractiveness, or at least the immediate need, for Turkmenistan to forge supply contracts with Nabucco.

    Longer shots are Iraq and Egypt with gas exploration going on in northern Iraq. Given the current security and legal vacuum it would appear a very distant prospect, as would any deal with Egypt since it would necessitate a pipeline being built either on the Mediterranean seabed to Turkey or overland across Syria -- either option would be costly and risky.

    So now the consortium of six will be weighing the options. Given the difficulties of getting either Central Asian or Iranian gas, investors are holding back. Russia will do whatever it takes to hold on to its energy empire, which is precisely why Moscow is endeavouring to tempt countries away from Nabucco. The creation of the South Stream project -- which would carry 30 billion cubic meters annually from Russia to Italy -- was a clear sign of this, even though it may be infeasible and expensive, given that it will go under the Black Sea; yet it would further help the Kremlin dominate Europe. Involvement in Nabucco would probably be icing on the cake for Vladimir Putin. Failure of Nabucco would be a serious loss of face for both the EU and the US so the political games will continue.

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 13 February 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 13 February:

    a) Headscarf issue: Istanbul Milliyet reacts in an editorial to the criticism Prime Minister Erdogan levelled against the media organs in his speech in the AKP (Justice and Development Party) group meeting yesterday. Recalling Erdogan's statement after his victory in the elections, in which he promised to comply with the principle of democratic courtesy, it notes the changes in his approach and accuses him of planning to suppress differing preferences and views, instead of assessing them as a part of the wealth of the society. Asserting that the newspaper is opposed to Erdogan's argument that the Dogan Media Group supports the CHP (Republican People's Party) the editorial points to the criticisms outlined against the party in the group's media organs and notes: If democracy exists in Turkey, then the existence of differing views on a sensitive and difficult problem like the Islamic headdress should be normal. Everyone must feel free to express his views. The political administration should learn to act with democratic patience and tolerate opposing views. The editorial accuses Erdogan of maintaining a hard line approach in political controversies, stressing that it conflicts with the effort Turkey makes to join the EU. It concludes by saying: The EU leaders will probably view Erdogan's harsh style as a strange approach.

    Melih Asik challenges Prime Minister Erdogan's accusation that those opposed to the lifting of the ban on headdress are merely trying to promote their interests. In a column in Milliyet, Asik recalls that those who are opposed to the lifting of the ban are the forces that support secularism, the laws, and the constitution and asserts that the prime minister's remarks will probably be recorded in history. Arguing that the Government does not intend to legalize article 17, which is currently debated by a parliamentary committee, Asik warns that a chaotic situation will exist in the universities if the administration fails to take action. He substantiates his viewpoint by quoting Ergun Ozbudun, constitutional adviser to the AKP administration, as saying that "a chaotic situation might emerge as long as the Constitutional Court's ruling on the headdress remains unchanged.

    Writing in Istanbul Hurriyet, Tufan Turenc accuses Prime Minister Erdogan and the AKP deputies of undermining peace in Turkey and dividing the country by changing the constitution to lift the ban on the Islamic headdress. In a column, he argues that the way Erdogan and AKP behaved created the wrong impression in the foreign countries and the press and notes: It seems that all the bridges between Turkey and the EU have been blown up now. Criticizing Erdogan's remarks against the media organs yesterday, Turenc argues that the prime minister does not have the luxury of making threats in his statements.

    Ertugrul Ozkok strongly reacts to Erdogan's criticism of his views on the lifting of the ban on the use of the headdress. In a column in Hurriyet he expresses the view that the prime minister believes that he can do anything he likes as long as he represents the majority and urges him to realize that the initiatives of the majority are subject to judicial control. Focusing on Erdogan's style, he notes: I really fear such an angry approach. I believe more so than yesterday that democracy might create an opportunity for oppression by the majority.

    Commenting on Erdogan's angry attack on the media organs in his speech during the AKP group meeting yesterday, Gungor Mengi argues in a column in Istanbul Vatan that the prime minister's remarks were meaningless. Stressing that the decision to lift the ban on the headdress was illogical, he recalls the support the media organs gave to AKP in the past and urges the prime minister to try to find out why he and his party are criticized at the present time.

    Drawing attention to the obligation of the military forces to protect democracy and the secular republic, M Ali Kislali focuses on the statements that are made by the retired high-ranking officers to express their opposition to the measures the administration has taken to realize constitutional amendments to lift the ban on the Islamic headdress. In a column in Istanbul Radikal, he describes the anxiety expressed by the retired officers as a demonstration of their opposition and notes: The reaction meetings recently held throughout Turkey and the determination to use democratic rights brought to light their indisputable importance in the effort that is made to safeguard the constitutional regime in the country.

    Under the headline, "Chaos is in their heads," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which highlights Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks yesterday in response to "news media outlets that are generating tension" over the headscarf issue by warning of "chaos" in the wake of Parliament's decision to allow female university students to cover their heads.

    In an article entitled "Headscarf and despotism: These guys must be out of their minds", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul links the efforts to create a "crisis" over the headscarf issue to the question of "who in Turkey will be hit most strongly by the global economic crisis." He claims that the "anger" sparked by Parliament's adoption of the headscarf bill actually reflects the frustration of certain capital groups at being dispossessed of their economic privileges and seeing political and economic power shift to other groups.

    In an article entitled "Black robe and turban", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that some of those who oppose the efforts to abolish the headscarf ban at universities do so only because they are afraid of "secularist terrorism," adding that they will stop siding with the secular "front" against the Government once they begin to see that it has ceased to be a real "threat." He also urges his reader to "remember how the Red Army disbanded overnight and the KGB could not do anything" before he goes on to assert that the secular "display of force" in the form of anti-headscarf rallies is nothing but an outward expression of "collapse" and ultimate defeat.

    In an article entitled "White sheet", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal comments on Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks yesterday announcing that he knew he would have to keep his "white sheet" handy when he entered politics. Unal interprets the term "white sheet" as a reference to a shroud or a "death row shirt," asserting that the prime minister got across the message in this way that he is prepared to risk the worst price that a politician in this country could pay for pressing ahead with his agenda, namely being put to death by the architects of a military coup. In speculating as to why Erdogan might have talked in this manner, Unal claims that the prime minister might have wanted to call attention to the possibility of a coup or spoke under the influence of the "foggy atmosphere in Ankara."

    In a commentary in Zaman newspaper entitled "How will the constitutional court examine the latest amendments?", Associate Professor Mustafa Sentop of Marmara University argues that the Constitutional Court is authorized to make only a formal assessment of constitutional amendments passed by Parliament without rendering any judgments on the content of such changes. He also asserts that in preparing its verdict on a possible appeal against the headscarf bill, the Constitutional Court should not fall into the "political trap" that it did when it accepted the Republican People's Party's argument that a 367 quorum is required for Parliament to elect a president.

    b) Relations of Turkey with Germany-Greece: In his commentary in Milliyet Sami Kohen writes that the statements Prime Minister Erdogan and Chancellor Merkel made in Germany yesterday brought to light the main differences between the two sides on the integration of Turks in Germany. Mr Sami Kohen argues that Erdogan defended the view that an opportunity should be given to the Turks to learn Turkish and then German but he was challenged by Merkel, who defended the view that the Turks should give priority to learning the German language first in order to be able to successfully integrate with the German people. Kohen notes: Obviously a difference exists between the two countries on the question of integration. Considering that, the leaders of the two countries should discuss the matter in detail instead of making hasty statements on the problem.

    Prime Minister Erdogan has informed President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel that a tripartite summit between Turkey, Germany, and France cannot be held. A report by Celal Ozcan in Istanbul Hurriyet says that Erdogan informed the Turkish civilian organizations in Germany behind closed doors that he will not agree to a summit because President Sarkozy failed to keep his promise not to make statements to the press on Turkey's initiatives to join the EU. The report quotes Erdogan as saying that Turkey's objective is to join the EU as a member and that it will not consider any other alternative.

    Turkey and Greece will establish a joint maritime branch to contribute to peace in the Aegean and the effort made to obstruct controversies over the islets. A report in the Istanbul Turkish Daily News says that the new initiative will strengthen the relations and trade between the two countries.

    EG/


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