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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-07

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. 66/08 5-6-7.04.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Minister of Economy of Guinea-Bissau, Ousmane Dore, is paying an illegal visit to the occupied area
  • [02] The mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, is to arrive at occupied Tymvou airport today
  • [03] General Buyukanit on religious and defence issues
  • [04] Hasan Ercakica on relations between the Turkish occupation army and Mr Talat
  • [05] Talat: The Jewish community of Turkey makes important efforts towards lifting the isolations
  • [06] Turkeys Minister of Tourism in the occupied areas
  • [07] Soyer on the number of the Turkish Cypriots and of the settlers in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] EU Ambassadors to Ankara convened before the Barroso-Rehn visit
  • [09] Turkish, EU Officials met in Ankara
  • [10] Toptan is holding contacts in China
  • [11] Ankara to host first senior official from Laos
  • [12] EU and US are concerned with the impact of the lawsuit against AKP on Cyprus, Iraq and Armenia
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] From Turkish Press of 4, 5 and 6 April 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Minister of Economy of Guinea-Bissau, Ousmane Dore, is paying an illegal visit to the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.08) reports that the Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning of Guinea-Bissau, Mr Ousmane Dore, is paying an illegal visit to the occupied area.

    The paper reports that Mr Ousmane Dore will hold contacts on various fields including economy, finance, culture and political relations. The self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci said that the visit is very important from the point of developing relations between the TRNC and the Guinea-Bissau.

    (MHY)

    [02] The mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, is to arrive at occupied Tymvou airport today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.04.08) reports that the mayor of the German city of Munich and chairman of the German Municipalities Union, Mr Christian Ude, is to arrive at occupied Tymvou airport today as the head of a delegation at the invitation of the self-styled Mayor of the occupied Nicosia Cemal Bulutoglulari.

    The paper reports that the delegation includes Yasar Fincan, member of the Munich Municipality Council. Mr Ude during his visit will hold a number of contacts. The paper further reports that Mr Bulutoglulari will give a reception in honour of the visiting team, at the Gothe Institute. Mr Ude will be meeting with Mr Talat and Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer. The delegation will leave the occupied area tomorrow.

    (MHY)

    [03] General Buyukanit on religious and defence issues

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Chief of Turkish General Staff, said religious issues had always been exploited by certain circles and formations since the foundation of the Republic.

    In an exclusive interview published in the April issue of the "Turkish Defence and Aviation Magazine", Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said reactionary circles continued their anti-secular actions through legal associations and foundations in Turkey and abroad.

    Buyukanit said the aim of the secessionist terrorist movement in Turkey (PKK) was destruction of the nation-state and its unitary structure. He said the demand for a constitutional guarantee to ethnic identities directly targeted the nation-state. Gen. Buyukanit said Iraq was the country that was most effected by the problems caused by the actions of terrorist organisation PKK.

    "When we look at the security aspect of the issue, we see that PKK/KONGRA-GEL terrorist organisation which was on the verge of disintegration in the late 90's accelerated its violent attacks by taking advantage of the lack of authority and atmosphere of chaos in Iraq. It turned the northern parts of Iraq into a safe-haven for itself," said Gen. Buyukanit.

    "PKK/KONGRA-GEL took shelter in the northern parts of Iraq. On the other hand, the fragile state of security in the Caucuses creates uncertainties. At the same time, allegations that Turkey's southeast neighbour Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons prevail and the tension between it and the international community continues. These are all factors to be taken into consideration while shaping the security policies of Turkey, a regional power," said Buyukanit in the interview.

    "We aim at taking TSK to a higher level of professionalism, mobility, force of strike that is capable of performing conventional and asymmetric combat; a more modern TSK that can assume assignments given by the constitution and the laws with a smaller number of troops" said Gen. Buyukanit.

    "In order to set up a more professional structure, TSK started to employ professional staff for critical missions beginning in the early 90's and abated number of personnel by reducing compulsory military service from 18 months to 15 months."

    Responding to a question on what extend did NATO support Turkey's fight against terrorism, Gen. Buyukanit said NATO SG condemned terrorist PKK KONGRA-GEL organization. "Separately, for the first time in its history, NATO launched 'Operation Active Endeavour' performed in the Mediterranean within the scope of the 5th article of Washington Agreement, to deal with terrorism."

    Gen. Buyukanit underscored that countries backing terrorist PKK organization should not forget that terrorism has the impact of "boomerang".

    "Terrorism they support directly or indirectly today may target them some day," he noted.

    "It is a publicly known fact that terrorist organizations cannot survive without foreign support," Gen. Buyukanit underlined.

    Asked how a permanent solution could be achieved, Gen. Buyukanit said: "Terrorism has economic, social and political dimensions as well as its security dimension. Terrorism can only be eliminated with a fight comprising all those dimensions."

    Turkey's top general Yasar Buyukanit said on Friday that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was responsible for domestic security as well as security of the homeland. Chief of General Staff Gen. Buyukanit said this was a duty mandated by the constitution.

    In an exclusive interview with the "Defence & Aviation Magazine", Gen. Buyukanit said, "we are currently planning to meet combat tank need of the TSK after the third generation. The project would be realized through national means in a large extent."

    "Accordingly, OTOKAR has been assigned as the main contractor, and ROKETSAN, ASELSAN, and MKEK are the sub-contractors. Turkey will have the capability of manufacturing new generation tanks when the project will be finalized and will become one of the few countries in the world able to manufacture combat tank," Gen. Buyukanit said.

    [04] Hasan Ercakica on relations between the Turkish occupation army and Mr Talat

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.04.08) broadcast the following:

    Presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has refuted claims by the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration Demetris Christofias that problems exist between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Turkish Security Forces.

    The Turkish Security Forces in Cyprus worked in full collaboration with President Mehmet Ali Talat to open the Lokmaci [Ledra Street] Barricade for crossings, he added.

    Warning that such statements have the potential to affect negatively the solution process on the island, Ercakica reminded that the Turkish Security Forces were in Cyprus to insure the safety of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    By disputing its presence on the island it would mean a return to past discussions instead of progressing forward.

    Reiterating the Turkish Cypriot peoples readiness together with all its institutions and Turkey to find a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, the Presidential spokesperson said Mr Christofias was reverting back to the blame game so that progress wont be achieved on the Cyprus issue.

    Referring to the incident that led to the closure of the Lomkaci [Ledra Street] crossing for 3 hours, Mr Ercakica said a group of Greek Cypriots who tried to hold an illegal rally at the Lokmaci [Ledra Street] crossing was prevented from disturbing crossings at the border by Turkish Police.

    However the police did not at any time enter the UN controlled area. The Greek Cypriots however claimed that the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces had entered the area and therefore had closed the Lokmaci [Ledra Street] crossing.

    [05] Talat: The Jewish community of Turkey makes important efforts towards lifting the isolations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.04.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, met the Jewish community of Turkey in Istanbul. Mr Talat was in Turkey where he had meetings with the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens Association (TUSIAD) and made statements regarding his contacts in Istanbul upon his arrival at the illegal Ercan (occupied Tymvou) airport.

    Mr Talat, stated that he met with the Jewish Community of Turkey which as he said makes important efforts towards the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    The paper goes on and writes the following: Mr Talat, who stated that he held contacts with the American Jewish Community during his visit to the USA, asserted that they (the Turkish Cypriots) will continue to receive the support and the assistance of this community.

    (CS)

    [06] Turkeys Minister of Tourism in the occupied areas

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.04.08) broadcast the following:

    Tourism Days, which was organized within the framework of a project to increasing tourism awareness in the Republic, kicked off on Saturday.

    The event is taking place under the slogan `Without recognition, there is no recognition and promotion.

    A series of events have been organized in line with the project by a committee from the Ministry of Economy and Tourism.

    Yesterdays opening of the events was attended by a large group of high ranking officials where the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay was also present.

    In his speech at the opening ceremony in Girne [occupied Keryneia], Mayor of Girne Sumer Aygin underlined the need for the lifting of the unjust international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People immediately and expressed his willingness for the achievement of peace in Cyprus. He said they will be doing their best to make Girne the capital of tourism.

    The Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay for his part pointed to the unjust international isolation on the TRNC and stressed that Turkey will always be by the side of TRNC in its rightful struggle.

    Mr Gunay went on to say that Turkey and TRNC will continue their full cooperation in order to make Cyprus the area of peace by leaving all the problems behind.

    Also addressing the event, the Minister of Economy and Tourism Erdogan Sanlidag stated that the TRNC government has set 2008 as the year of rebirth in the tourism sector and underlined the need for making tourism a part of state politics.Mr Sanlidag added that professional promotion campaigns will be given a start in Turkey, Germany and the UK.

    For his part, Foreign Minister Turgay Avci expressed the belief that tourism in North Cyprus will reach to a better position with its natural beauties, unique historical texture, together with Turkeys support.

    Touching upon the new negotiations process in Cyprus, Mr Avci said the Turkish side has always showed its good will and emphasized that the Turkish Cypriot side will always be sitting at the negotiations table for a comprehensive and just settlement on the island.

    `While this process moves on, we need to continue our works aimed at developing the economy and getting united with the world. We always need Turkeys support in this and we know that we will always have that support` the Foreign Minister added.

    Finally speaking at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer pointed to the negative effect of the international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot tourism sector but stressed that this will not render the Turkish Cypriot People as weak. `We will do our best to overcome the difficulties`, he said.

    Mr Soyer said the international isolation is against the honour of humanity, conscience and democracy, warning that social and individual rights will be lost in case of surrendering to this isolation.

    Reminding that the Greek Cypriot side is coming up with offers within the European Union on providing some individual rights to Turkish Cypriots and opening their own ports to the use of Turkish Cypriots by using its unilateral EU membership as an advantage, the Premier noted that this is unacceptable.He called on all investors and tourism workers to work hard for the removal of the international isolation.

    Following the speeches, folk dance and musical shows were performed.Later, high ranking officials had a tour at the historical Girne yacht port where stands were placed.

    Tourism Days will continue until the 20th of April.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay who arrived in the TRNC yesterday has left the Republic.

    As part of his contacts yesterday, Mr Gunay was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat, the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer respectively before attending the Tourism Days event.

    Mr Gunay was accompanied by the Turkish Ambassador to Lefkosia Turkekul Kurttekin during his contacts.

    Before leaving the Republic today, the Turkish Minister was also received by Foreign Minister Turgay Avci.

    [07] Soyer on the number of Turkish Cypriots and settlers in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (05.04.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, made statements as regards the population in occupied Cyprus. Mr Soyer was speaking at a Television programme of the KIBRIS TV.

    Mr Soyer criticised those who say that the number of the Turkish Cypriot people has decreased and said that there are one hundred, twenty five thousand (125.000) Turkish Cypriots in the island. As he said, the number of the citizens who came from Turkey (referring to the settlers) is forty two thousand (42.000) and added that the number of the children who come from Turkish and Turkish Cypriot mixed marriages, is thirteen thousand (13.000).

    (CS)

    [08] EU Ambassadors to Ankara convened before the Barroso-Rehn visit

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (06.04.08) reports that the Ambassadors of the EU countries (to Ankara) convened on Saturday (05.04.08) and determined the messages that must be given by the European Commission President, Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, and the Enlargement Commissioner, Mr Olli Rehn, to the Turkish government.

    Mr Barroso and Mr Rehn are scheduled to visit Turkey between April 10th and 12th. Some of these messages are that the government should move on the EU path with great determination and the internal developments should not prevent progress. Another message is that the government should end the delaying and speed up reforms.

    (EA)

    [09] Turkish, EU Officials met in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    High-level officials from the Turkish Treasury and the European Commission met Thursday in capital Ankara in a bid to discuss economic developments in Turkey and EU member countries, a statement from the Treasury said. Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci and Antonio de Lecea, Director for International Affairs in the European Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, exchanged views over "Turkey's achievements in economy, financial sustainability, monetary policy and recent developments in banking sector."

    The meeting also addressed economy policies and strategies followed by EU member countries.

    [10] Toptan is holding contacts in China

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.04.08) reported the following from Beijing:

    Turkish Parliament Speaker arrived in Beijing, China on Sunday to hold formal talks. Toptan accompanied by a crowded delegation will start to hold meetings on Monday.

    Speaker Toptan pays visit to China upon the invitation of Wu Bangguo, chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the country.

    During his stay in China, Toptan will hold talks with Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Premier Wen Jiabao. He will also get together with Turkish citizens residing in Beijing and Shanghai.

    [11] Ankara to host first senior official from Laos

    Under the above title Todays Zaman newspaper (07.04.08) publishes the following report:

    The Turkish capital will today host the first senior-level official visitor from Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will today pay an official visit to Ankara upon an invitation from his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Sisoulith's visit has particular importance as it coincides with 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Laos and Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement announcing the visit.

    Sisoulith and Babacan are today expected to sign an agreement of commercial and economic cooperation. Sisoulith will also meet with President Abdullah Gul while in Ankara.

    Laos, a landlocked south-eastern Asian country, is one of the world's last communist-ruled countries. It opened up its once isolated economy in 1986, a decade after Pathet Lao guerrillas toppled the US-backed government just as the Vietnam War ended. The country now actively seeks foreign investment.

    [12] EU and US are concerned with the impact of the lawsuit against AKP on Cyprus, Iraq and Armenia

    In his column in Hurriyet (06.04.08) Enis Berberoglu writes that the EU and US officials are working to prevent the closure of the AKP. This EU and US concern, adds Enis Berberoglu, is out of the fear that they will not be able to find another party in Turkey so willing to cooperate with them and adapt so well to globalizations, noting that AKP's Salih Kapusuz and his three associates were invited to a lunch at the US Embassy and were asked by the US Ambassador if the lawsuit against the AKP would impact Turkey's foreign policy as regards Cyprus, Iraq, and Armenia, Berberoglu assesses that the American concern is solely with the foreign policy implications of the lawsuit.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] From Turkish Press of 4, 5 and 6 April 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 4, 5 and 6 April 2008:

    a) Closure case against the ruling party: In an article entitled "Is Baykal Blamable?" in Milliyet (04.04.08), columnist Fikret Bila says that Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal does not believe that the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, will change its approach to secularism after the indictment issued by the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals for its closure. He also quotes Baykal as saying that they would not support any proposal to amend the Constitution in order to trim powers of the Constitutional Court to ban political parties. Bila concludes by saying that AKP leadership will make their final decision about steps to be taken in response to the closure case after making an assessment of all options on 7 March.

    In an article entitled "Pressure To Avoid Dialogue," in Radikal (04.04.08) columnist Murat Yetkin points out that Baykal is coming under fire within his party for saying that he would reciprocate if Erdogan takes a concrete step and exercises self-criticism. He also notes that Erdogan is criticized by his party's grass roots for agreeing to make a concession whenever he attempts to ease tension by making mild statements. Yetkin comments: "We are currently going through a period when the political system has reached a stalemate and the dispute has been referred to a court. It is, however, still possible to reach a settlement before a fight breaks out as stressed by Hasim Kilic, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court. But, first Erdogan and then Baykal should pass through that door."

    In an article entitled "It is Important To Keep the Morale High", in Yeni Safak (04.04.08) columnist Yasin Dogan accuses part of the news media of conducting a "psychological operation" intended to prepare the public for a Constitutional Court decision to shut down the ruling AKP. Dogan also praises Prime Minister Erdogan for his "sensible" and "composed" stance on the closure case, adding that by continuing his tour of the provinces at this time, Erdogan is making an extremely well-calculated effort to keep his and the public's morale high in the face of the closure lawsuit.

    In an article entitled "Coup Conditions Facing a Test" in Today's Zaman (04.04.08) columnist Etyen Mahcupyan looks at what he describes as the strategies used by the bureaucratic establishment to "squeeze the AK Party into a tight corner." He also claims that efforts to pave the way for a coup notwithstanding, "secular factions" in the country for the first time include those "raising their voices and demanding a political regime which respects moral and ethical norms."

    Under the banner headline, "No Interference With Our Life Styles," Yeni Safak (05.04.08) publishes a report which outlines the results of a GENAR survey suggesting that some 66 percent of the public do not support the closure case against the ruling AKP, that some 93,9 percent do not believe there has been any government interference with their life styles under AKP rule, and that the AKP would obtain 51 percent of the vote if local elections were held today. Also in Yeni Safak (05.04.08) is a report entitled "Closure Process is Intended To Avenge Election Results," which quotes Joost Lagendjik, Co-Chairman of the EU-Turkish Joint Parliamentary Commission," as saying that everybody in Europe regards the closure lawsuit against the AKP as a "judicial coup."

    Under the banner headline, "Are You Aware of the Real Danger: The Country is Losing out," Vakit (05.04.08) publishes a front-page report which outlines the effects on the economy of the launch of closure proceedings against the AKP. According to the report, "we have been deprived of $21 billion by losing our bid to host EXPO-2015. Turkey's credit rating outlook has been changed to negative, stock prices have dropped, and foreign exchange rates have soared."

    In Turkish Daily News (05.04.08), Ilter Turkmen in a column entitled "The most critical turn in our history of democracy," comments on the European reaction to the AKP closure case. Turkmen says "we should dwell on ways out of this crisis," and warns of the danger of chaos awaiting us.

    Touching on EU envoys' Friday meeting, a Turkish Daily News (05.04.08) report quotes an EU diplomat as saying, "The bottom-line of the [Friday] meeting is that there should not be unnecessary polarization. Turkey should continue on the path of reforms, and the current situation should not distract the government from this path."

    The AKP executive board will meet on Monday to chart strategy on the constitutional amendment that would make the closure of political parties harder. It will determine whether to open a dialogue with the opposition to defuse the tension and to draft the amendment, according to a Milliyet (06.04.08) report.

    A report entitled "EU Criteria Against Closure" in Yeni Safak (04.04.08) informs that the Turkish Government intends to push a bill amending some articles of the Constitution through Parliament as part of its efforts to align Turkish laws with the EU's legislation. According to the report, the bill will also amend Article 69 of the Constitution in order to ensure that a political party can be banned only if it has been involved in terrorism and violence.

    b) NATO meeting: In an editorial entitled "Bush's Rope," in Hurriyet (04.04.08) columnist Oktay Eksi criticizes US President George W. Bush for implying in a speech he made during a NATO meeting in Bucharest that all NATO member countries should either send troops to Afghanistan or suffer the consequences of terrorist attacks similar to those carried out on 11 September 2001.

    In an article entitled "A Plan To Invade Black Sea," in Hurriyet (04.04.08) columnist Yalcin Dogan asserts that the United States intends to control the Black Sea because it is a route for supply of oil and natural gas. Noting that US President Bush is making intensive efforts in order to ensure that Ukraine and Georgia are admitted to NATO, Dogan says: "If those two countries become the members of NATO, the Black Sea would be transformed into a NATO sea except for Russia. Thus, the United States would invade the Black Sea through NATO and control energy routes while issuing a veiled threat to Russia."

    A report entitled "NATO 2, Bush 1" in Sabah (04.04.08) says that the NATO summit fell short of Bush's expectations because it did not endorse the admission of the countries proposed by the United States while none of the countries attending the meeting agreed to send combat troops to Afghanistan. It notes that the only positive outcome of the meeting from the standpoint of the US President was that there was not strong opposition to the missile defence system to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    In an article entitled "Bush and NATO Use 9/11 To Frighten the World", in Yeni Safak (04.04.08) columnist Tamer Korkmaz criticizes President Bush for "warning" the world that without international military cooperation in Afghanistan, new terrorist strikes similar to 9/11 could take place. He goes on to cite President Gul's remarks stating "definitively" that Turkey will not send combat troops to Afghanistan and Turkey's earlier rejection of US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates' "demand" for new Turkish deployments to Afghanistan as indications that Washington has lost Ankara's support. He ends by claiming that Turkey is about to enter a period when it will increasingly question NATO because NATO has always been the cause of political and economic destabilization, social polarization, and military takeovers in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "NATO as the World's Policeman" in Vakit (04.04.08) columnist Ahmet Varol accuses the United States of trying to use "the threat of radical Islam" as an excuse to identify new functions for NATO. He describes the latest NATO summit in Bucharest as an "important move" to obstruct internal disputes in NATO from causing this organization to disband, adding that the summit has failed to achieve this purpose to the extent that the United States has not succeeded in getting the participants to agree to its expansion plan for NATO.

    On his part, Kadri Gursel writes in his column in Milliyet (06.04.08) that Western powers gave in to Russia at the NATO summit because of energy dependence on Russia, realizing at the same time that they should finally end the Russian monopoly on energy. In that sense Turkey was the real winner at the summit because the West will now speed up the Nabucco pipeline which is to pass through Turkey.

    In an article entitled "An Encouraging No," in Yeni Safak (06.04.08) columnist Tamer Korkmaz says that Turkey may question her membership in NATO after the last summit meeting and accuses the United States which he describes as "NATO's engine dictating its terms" of trying to destabilize Turkey in a bid to prevent it to play a decisive role in her region.

    c) Ergenekon organization: In an article entitled "An Ergenekon Member, a Mosad Agent, and an Islamist - All at the Same Time", in Yeni Safak (04.04.08) columnist Ibrahim Karagul provides a profile of Tuncay Guney, a "bizarre personality" who, he claims, has links with Islamist circles in Turkey, the Mosad, and the Ergenekon group, played a role in some of the "most disgusting conspiracies and covert operations carried out during the 28 February process," is privy to some state secrets, and has been involved in the "power struggle" between Turkey's "deep" players.

    In an article entitled "Only Foreign Support to Ergenekon" in Today's Zaman (05.04.08) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici cites "Eurasianists," a "Russian group led by Aleksandr Dugin," as the only international organization that supports the "terrorist" Ergenekon. Bilici highlights remarks by Dugin at Evrazia.org announcing that the "operation against a pro-Russian group in Turkey has shown who our friends and foes are."

    Istanbul Radikal (05.04.08) publishes what it calls "the document" pertaining to the "Ergenekon operation." According to the unattributed report, the document, which was first seized in the house of Tuncay Guney, is entitled "Ergenekon Analysis New Structuring Administration and Development Project 29 October 1999 Istanbul," and refers to activities within the Turkish Armed Forces, to JITEM, an alleged intelligence unit within the Gendarmerie, and to political assassinations.

    d) Discussion on Islam and secularism: In an article entitled "Islamism and the AKP" in Zaman (05.04.08) columnist Sahin Alpay takes issue with certain Western commentators over their reference to the AKP as an "Islamist" party. He claims that the AKP boasts the most liberal party program in Turkey, that it has both pious and non-observant members, and that it has never advocated the adoption of the Islamic law. He also claims that the architects of the AKP quit Islamism because they realized that it would never be accepted by the majority of the people and that the undemocratic pressures to which they have been subjected in the past have taught them the importance of political freedom rather than the necessity of hiding their agenda.

    In an article entitled "Relationship Between the State and Religion" in Yeni Safak (06.04.08) columnist Hayrettin Karaman continues to analyze and criticize the indictment issued by the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals for the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party, particularly its sections reflecting views about secularism. He says: "I do not believe that those who attempt to close down political parties by asserting that the secular regime is facing a threat do not actually believe that there is actually such a risk. They use secularism as a pretext in order to seize power."

    In an article entitled "Europe and Islamophobia", in Vakit (06.04.08) columnist Muhsin Meric urges European countries to reconsider their anti-Islamic stance in order to achieve social peace and to ban publications fuelling Islamophobia which he describes as the biggest evil facing Muslims.

    In an article entitled "'A Bureaucratic and Secular State'", in Zaman (06.04.08) columnist Hilmi Yavuz criticizes Cumhuriyet columnist Mumtaz Soysal for saying in a recent television debate that Turkey cannot wait for four years until the next general election in order to get out of the current political crisis. Accusing Soysal of tacitly urging the military to stage a coup, Yavuz says that Soysal has actually committed an offense against the regime.

    Textbook for "Ararat": Upon complaint from Turkish Education Workers Trade Union chief Ismail Koncuk that the word "Ararat" is mentioned in a Turkish geography textbook, the Education Ministry has opened an investigation and decided to replace "Ararat" with "Agri" in the next edition of the textbooks, according to a Vatan (06.04.08) report, which quotes Koncuk as saying that the mistake in the textbook is of "unforgivable" nature.

    A Cumhuriyet (06.04.08) report quotes Koncuk as saying that using Ararat in books is unforgivable because that word has become synonymous with the allegation of "Armenian genocide."

    ES/


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