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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-09
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 68/08 09.04.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Reports say that General Basbugs visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus is related with the opening of new crossing pointsTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (09.04.08) refers to the illegal visit which general Ilker Basbug, commander of the land forces of the Turkish army, will begin today in the occupied areas of Cyprus and reports that the visits of the generals to Cyprus have become frequent.
The paper reminds that the chief of the general staff, General Yasar Buyukanit visited recently the occupied areas as well. The points to the fact writes that general Basbug is expected to be the successor of general Buyukanit in the leadership of the Turkish armed forces.
Basbug is known as representative of the hard hawkish wing of the army, notes the paper adding that it is being discussed whether or not the visit is related to the opening of new crossing points.
 Ercakica on President Christofias for making a distinction between the views of the Turkish occupation army and those of Mr TalatTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (09.04.08), under the title The distinction by Christofias between Talat and the army has caused discomfort, reports that the Turkish side felt uncomfortable by the fact that President Christofias presented the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat as having different views from those of the Turkish occupation army. Mr Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of Mr Talat, said during his weekly briefing yesterday that the efforts to create the impression that there is lack of harmony between the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish armed forces are dangerous.
He said that the civilian authorities have been in a full cooperation with the security forces command on the issue of the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point. Mr Ercakica noted:
We want to warn once more that the solution which will be reached in the Cyprus problem will not be contrary to the interests of Turkey. The Turkish Cypriot side, as one of the two main sides of the problem, will not give possibility for such a development. Furthermore, the Turkish government, the Turkish armed forces and its other elements, by providing support to the solution process, have proved that they do not consider the efforts for a solution to be contrary to their interests.
Mr Ercakica noted that the aim during the process that started on 21 March is for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem to be reached, but he alleged that the stance of the Greek Cypriot side on this issue creates some doubts. Mr Ercakica claimed that the Greek Cypriot side is trying to bring Mr Talat face to face with the Turkish army and alleged that if this stance continues it means that the basic expectation of the Greek Cypriot side in this process is not reaching a solution, but changing its bad image caused by the rejection of the Annan Plan.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (09.04.08) refers to Mr Ercakicas statements under the title The Greek Cypriots are spreading speculative news. The paper reports that referring to the meetings between Ozdil Nami, representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader responsible for the relations with the EU and the UN, with the presidential commissioner Mr George Iacovou, Mr Ercakica argued that the Greek Cypriot side has the tendency of speaking on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side and called on the Greek Cypriot side to stop spreading speculative news.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) reports that Mr Ercakica referred to the names of those who will participate in the technical committees for the Turkish side and said that the names will not be revealed at this stage and added that these names are in front of Mr Talat, who will take the final decision.
 Nami says that progress was made in his meetings with George IacovouTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) reports that Ozdil Nami, representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader responsible for the relations with the EU and the UN, met yesterday once more with the presidential commissioner Mr George Iacovou. Mr Nami said that during the six-hour meetings they made progress on the issue of determining the terms of duty of the working groups and the technical committees within the framework of the 21 March agreement. Noting that they are discussing the issues one by one and try to form an agenda, Mr Nami said that they are working in a positive atmosphere.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) refers to the same issue under the title They will be in time for June and reports that all the preparations for the starting of the negotiations will be completed by the middle of June.
 The Azerbaijani officials who are having contacts in occupied Cyprus met with AvciIllegal Bayrak television (08.04.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The New Azerbaijan Party General Secretary Ali Ahmedov and the Chairperson of the Azerbaijani Parliaments Commission on Agriculture Eldar Ibrahimov have been received by deputy-prime Minister - Foreign Minister Turgay Avci.
The two arrived in North Cyprus on Monday as guests of Mr Avci.
Speaking during the visit, Mr Ahmedov said unity among the Turkic world plays a significant role in the elimination of problems faced by the TRNC and Azerbaijan.
Stating that the establishment of mutual contacts between the two countries helps the improvement of bilateral relations, he expressed support to the Turkish Cypriot People in its struggle to end its problem.
Referring to Azerbaijans case of Nagorno-Karabakh, he said that the conflict remains unsolved because of double-standards in the international arena but noted that unity within the Turkic world will help the way towards the maintenance of justice and resolution.
Foreign Minister Turgay Avci, for his part, pointed out that Azerbaijan has always supported the rightful cause of the Turkish Cypriot People, with motherland Turkey at all platforms.
 A protocol signed between the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and the breakaway regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (09.04.08) reports that a protocol providing for the cooperation on the issue of granting scholarships aimed at the development of Guinea-Bissau has been signed between the breakaway regime and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. According to a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, the protocol was signed by the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci and the Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning of Guinea-Bissau, Dr. Ousmane Dore.
 Avci on statements by the Minister of Foreign AffairsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, has described as unacceptable the statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcos Kyprianou during his visit to the USA, that the solution of the Cyprus problem could be possible only with the development of the Republic of Cyprus.
Under the title The address for the solution could not be a Greek Cypriot state, the paper notes that Mr Avci issued a written statement by which he argued that showing to the Turkish Cypriot people the Greek Cypriot state as the address of the solution could not be a product of a constructive policy of good will. He alleged that these statements are aimed at doing away with the positive climate established with the 21 March agreement.
 Turkish Cypriot shop owners in Ledra Street area charge the Greek Cypriots and tourists with excessive pricesTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) reports that Erdogan Sanlidag, self-styled minister of economy and tourism, inspected yesterday the shops at the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) area. In his statements, Mr Sanlidag said that the Trade Office will take measures against those tradesmen who are increasing their prices excessively.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.04.08) refers also to the issue of the prices in the same area and notes that yesterday a delegation with journalists of the paper visited Arasta area and that shop owners said that some retailers sell their products to Greek Cypriots and tourists at excessively high prices. Citizens said that a beer is sold for five Euros and complained that we are shooting our own foot. They said that even for using the toilettes the Greek Cypriots and the tourists have to pay two Euros.
 DISY and CTP delegations met at CTPs headquarters and expressed support to the efforts for a solutionIllegal BAYRAK television (08/04/08) broadcast the following:
Delegations from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party (DISY) have met at the CTP headquarters in Lefkosia.
The CTP delegation led by Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer greeted the DISY delegation- headed by Party Leader Nikos Anastasiades at the Lokmaci Gate which was opened to crossings last week.
Members of the two parties toured the Arasta Bazaar and the Great Han from where they walked to the CTP Headquarters in the capital.
After their discussions, the CTP leader Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that the two parties shared the view that the new opportunities created in Cyprus could lead to positive developments for the two sides.
The Premier said the CTP and DISY are in support of a solution that could be brought thanks to the positive atmosphere created with last months leaders meeting and the opening of the Lokmaci Gate.
He noted that they wanted to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN parameters and 1977-79 High Level Agreements, which would be acceptable for both sides.
The DISY Leader Anastasiades, for his part, said that they are in support of the reunification of the island that would open `new doors` to future generations in Cyprus.
He noted that the two parties are ready to help the two leaders in Cyprus in their efforts towards bringing about a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Talat received the foreign ambassadors to CyprusIllegal BAYRAK television (08.04.08) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat is continuing to brief foreign chiefs of mission in Cyprus on the Turkish Cypriot sides policy towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Within this framework, Mr. Talat received Denmarks Ambassador to Lefkosia Svend Waever, Finlands Ambassador to Lefkosa Risto Piponen and Swedens Ambassador to Lefkosa Ingemar Lindahl today.
It has been stated that the meeting at the TRNC Presidency which the three Ambassadors attended together was realized in line with routine contacts.
 On the visit of Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn to TurkeyUnder the title Where do the negotiations of Ankara stand? Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (09.04.08) publishes an analysis by Barkin Sik, where he writes, inter alia: In the EU negotiation process only six out of 35 chapters opened. Eight chapters have been blocked by the Greek Cypriot Administration of South Cyprus and five by France. One of the items on the agenda of the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr Olli Rehn, during their visit to Turkey will be the opening of one new chapter Under the subtitle Cyprus is a key for the EU road the paper writes: The Cyprus problem creates a great obstacle to the target of Turkey far an EU membership. The Greek Cypriot Administration of South Cyprus suspends the free movement of goods, right of establishment and freedom to provide services, financial services, agriculture and rural development, customs union, transport policy, external relations and fisheries chapters to open to the negotiations. On the other hand, France blocks the economic and monetary policy, finances, regional funds, agricultural policy and institutional issues chapters.
Moreover, under the front-page banner title EU brake to the tension, the paper reports that the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged all parties in Turkey to act with common sense, saying both the majority's view and secular democracy should be respected. Mr Barroso said that the closure case filed against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is an unusual development for European democracies, and expressed hope that the Constitutional Court would give a ruling, which would comply with supremacy of law and democracy. Mr Barroso and the EU Commissioner for enlargement, Mr Olli Rehn, are expected to arrive in Ankara on Thursday.
 Pascoe discusses new Cyprus process in AnkaraUnder the above title Turkish Todays Zaman newspaper (09.04.08) reports the following:
The top United Nations political official held talks in Ankara yesterday in which he discussed efforts to reunify the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, following his talks in Cyprus and Athens.
UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe met with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and senior diplomats involved in the Cyprus issue. While in Athens on Monday, Pascoe held talks with Babacan's Greek counterpart, Dora Bakoyannis.
The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, who most recently met in Ankara in early March, said then that they had seen an opportunity for progress toward settlement of the Cyprus problem in the wake of elections on the divided Mediterranean island. They had met two days after Greek Cyprus' newly elected leader Demetris Christofias said he was likely to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat later in March. The projected meeting took place on March 21. Talat and Christofias then agreed to meet again in three months to discuss reunification efforts. Aides have begun consultations on negotiation topics as part of preparations for the talks scheduled to take place in three months.
 Lagendijk says that in the good scenario as regards Turkish-EU relations, the Cyprus problem will be solvedAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.04.08) reports the following from Brussels:
The co-chairman of a Turkey-EU joint committee said Tuesday that, in the worst scenario, the negotiation process with Turkey may slow down but will never be cut off completely".
Speaking to AA, Joost Lagendijk, co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliament Committee, said that, since he assumed his post in 2002, the golden term in Turkey-EU relations were lived in 2003 and 2004 when Turkey made many reforms.
"The happiest day in my life was December 17th, 2004, the day when a decision was taken to begin entry negotiations with Turkey," Lagendijk told. "2005-2006 were years when criticisms in both Turkey and the EU began to be heard more loudly. Public support for Turkey's EU membership declined in those years," Lagendijk said.
"While the number of those with suspicions on Turkey's membership increased in the EU, the Justice and Development (AK) Party began to appeal to nationalist votes. Court cases began in Turkey related to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (an article that makes insulting Turkishness a crime). It was a great mistake on the part of the EU to suspend negotiations on eight chapter headings," Lagendijk said.
"After AK Party's elections victory in 2007, everyone thought that the government would continue reforms and that a new golden term in relations will begin between Turkey and the EU. Yet the reforms did not take place. There is a new civilian draft constitution, but it can not be finalized. Reforms wait to be implemented," Lagendijk said.
Touching on the issue of headscarf in Turkey, Lagendijk said that he supports the lifting of a ban on headscarves in Turkey. "I found the method of the Turkish government in lifting the ban on headscarves wrong. I wish that an arrangement could have been made in the new constitution and by new reforms," Lagendijk stressed. In reference to the closure case that the AK Party faces, Lagendijk said that "this is a coup by the judiciary. This is a shame on a country that is walking towards EU membership".
Lagendijk elaborated on the good and bad scenarios in Turkish-EU relations.
"In the good scenario, the issue of Cyprus will be resolved. With new reforms, the closure case and political punishments will be avoided. Political reforms will be implemented. Turkey-EU negotiations will speed up when the problem of Cyprus is solved," Lagendijk said.
"In the worst scenario, talks in Cyprus will fail. Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be banned from active politics and the AK Party will get closed. Even under such circumstances, the negotiation process will slow down but will never be cut off completely," Lagendijk said.
 Mercan: Israel wont pass genocide billUnder the above title Turkish Todays Zaman newspaper (09.04.08) reports the following:
Senior Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, have reassured a visiting Turkish parliamentary delegation that a recent attempt at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, for recognition of the World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide is destined to fail.
Late last month, a parliamentary committee at the Knesset decided to hold an unprecedented hearing on whether to recognize the World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. The decision to hold the hearing was proposed by left-wing Meretz Chairman Haim Oron and the government did not oppose the motion. The Knesset House Committee will decide whether the issue will be handed over to the Knesset Education Committee or to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.
A delegation of Turkish deputies led by Murat Mercan, head of the Turkish Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission, had talks with senior Israeli officials on Monday and Tuesday.
Mercan, speaking on Monday evening, said they have been reassured by Israeli officials, including Peres, that the move at the Knesset concerning the controversial genocide issue would "remain futile."
The Israeli government has full support for Ankara's stance on the controversial 1915 incidents, Turkish diplomatic sources, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, told Today's Zaman after the talks, expressing confidence that the Armenian allegations would not be officially recognized by Israel.
 Turkey and Hungary will co-operate in Nabucco pipeline projectAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.04.08) reports the following:
Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler met on Tuesday Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and held talks about the Nabucco pipeline project.
Guler said after the meeting that Turkey and Hungary decided to act jointly to implement the project in the shortest possible time, adding that Gyurcsany extended full support for the project.
Guler met Hungarian Economy and Transportation Minister Csaba Kakosy. The two ministers vowed to find joint solutions to problems in the Nabucco project. The Turkish minister also met Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz, who expressed support for Turkey's European Union membership.
 IMF delegation met with executives of Turkish TreasuryAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.04.08) reports the following:
An IMF delegation led by Turkey Desk Chief Lorenzo Giorgianni met on Tuesday executives of Turkish Treasury Undersecretariat. Executives of State Planning Institution, Finance Ministry and Central Bank also attended the talks. The IMF delegation will depart from Turkey on Thursday after concluding talks. A Turkish economy delegation, led by State Minister Mehmet Simsek will travel to Washington D.C. on April 10th to attend IMF-World Bank Spring Term meetings which will start on April 12th.
The stand by agreement between Turkey and the IMF ends in May.
 The financial assistance from the EU and the US a matter of discussion in the Turkish PressTurkish daily Taraf newspaper (07.04.08) publishes an internal memo which was prepared by the Office of the Chief of the Turkish General Staff with the names of the Turkish NGOs listed with their chairman who received financial assistance from the USA and EU. This drew reaction from the NGOs referred to in the memo.
On the same issue, Taraf (08.04.08) reports that the Turkish Chief of the General Staff should have included in that list the name of the Turkish Armed Forces which received 12.7 million Euro from the EU as grants to educate illiterate Turkish soldiers and give them vocational education.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 08 April 2008a) AKP Closure Case: A report by Abdullah Karakus in Milliyet notes that the Central Executive Council of the Justice and Development Party, AKP, met on 7 April to discuss the road map of the party regarding the closure case. According to the report, the AKP will first place the democratization package on the agenda in a bid to reduce the tension in the country and will then seek conciliation with the opposition regarding the constitutional amendments that will render party closures more difficult. The report adds that the presence of Abdullatif Sener at the meeting was received with surprise.
According to a report in Hurriyet, AKP's Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, in a statement following the AKP Executive Council meeting, announced that an extensive democratization package is being prepared and that talks will be held with the opposition on the issue. The report adds that Firat also gave the signal that the constitutional amendment rendering party closures harder will be postponed.
Criticizing the commentaries in the western press regarding Turkey in an article in Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi argues that these commentators write the truth on developments so long as their interests are not involved, adding that their current interests lie in keeping the AKP government in power. Accusing these writers of ignoring the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Eksi quotes Morton Abramowitz and Henri J. Barkey who, in an article in Newsweek, called on the United States to intervene in Turkey since it is in the US interest to keep the current government in power.
Quoting from an article in the Economist to the effect that "Democracy is more important than the principle of secularism" in a column in Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok asks whether there really is a war between democracy and secularism in the country. Questioning why none of the AKP officials came out and declared that the Turkish Constitution incorporates both values, Ozkok argues that they are keeping quiet because they are under the impression that this view serves the AKP interests. Referring to the article of Morton Abramowitz and Henry J. Barkey in Newsweek, Ozkok asks whether they have the right to issue threats regarding a decision to be made by the Constitutional Court of another country. In conclusion, the writer declares that there is no need to choose between democracy and secularism, expressing the sincere belief that Prime Minister Erdogan is capable of solving the current problem.
Referring to the closure case against the AKP and the Democratic Society Party, DTP, in an article in Referans, Cengiz Candar argues that there is an attempt to cancel through the judiciary the "political choice" of more than half of Turkey's voters. Describing this as a "judicial coup," the writer maintains that this cannot be democratic. Quoting Morton Abramowitz and Henry J. Barkey in their joint article entitled "Turkey's Judicial Coup détat" in Newsweek, Candar declares that if Turkish democracy is derailed and the country becomes unstable, then this will not be our problem alone, adding: "It will become the problem of a very large 'geography' and of all of the 'Western world' which is Turkey's ally."
In an editorial in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli writes that those worried about the danger the "systematic Islamist threat" poses to secular democracy in Turkey are being portrayed as "anti-democratic" people. Responding to claims that the right of the secular state to defend itself will block the advancement of democracy in the country, Kanli maintains that such an approach will lead "to an administrative model that eventually makes Turkey no different than the Islamist regimes that we see in several forms throughout the Muslim World." He goes on to warn the AKP that using its parliamentary majority to introduce legislation that could bring the country to a point of no return would be tantamount to committing suicide.
Questioning whether the current tension could have been avoided in the country had the AKP continued with the EU reforms in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand believes that had the government made progress in the negotiations with the EU, there would have been no closure case against the party and no tension in the country.
Focusing on the issue of democracy versus secularism in an article in Sabah, Nazli Ilicak maintains that secular principles are respected where there is democracy but the opposite might not necessarily be true. Showing Russia and Syria as examples of secular countries devoid of democracy, Ilicak notes that in countries such as Germany and Spain the constitutions do not refer to the principle of democracy but to that of freedoms, including the freedom of religion and beliefs.
Describing the decision reached at the AKP meeting on 7 April as hopeful in his article in Radikal, Murat Yetkin interprets the statement issued by AKP deputy leader Dengir Firat after the meeting as conveying the message that "courageous steps" will be taken to reduce the tension in the country. Yetkin points out that Erdogan seems to have received the message conveyed by the public that an ideological polarization will damage his party, the government, and the country.
Acceding to the fact that the Erdogan government stalled the EU reforms in the last few years, Ilnur Cevik adds that, however, the EU did nothing to help bolster the flourishing democracy in Turkey. In an article in The New Anatolian, Cevik expressed the belief that more reforms would have meant that the "ruling party may have never ended up in the current situation where the judiciary is challenging it with the threat of closure." In conclusion, the writer calls on the EU officials to do some soul searching.
In an article entitled "Toward the Final Decision" Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru argues that what the closure case against the ruling AKP has revealed is a continuously postponed conflict that dates back before the foundation of the Republican regime in Turkey. He asserts that by its very nature, this conflict cannot be resolved through outside intervention and that what will decide its outcome is a decision to be made by the Turkish people: whether to insist on being governed by politicians that resemble them or to submit to pressures by the Establishment.
Under the banner headline, "Traitors at Work," Vakit publishes a report which asserts that the latest "provocations" that have followed the filing of closure proceedings against the AKP, such as the Molotov cocktail attacks on the Istanbul office of the Cumhuriyet daily, the demonstrations held by certain NGOs, and the disturbances at Akdeniz University, are aimed at creating internal chaos.
In an article entitled "Which has Precedence, the Constitution or the Court?" Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu comments on a note that Military Supreme Court President Ahmet Alkis wrote in the guestbook during his recent visit to Ataturk's Mausoleum, "which has been interpreted as a message to the Government by you know which section of the news media." Karahasanoglu claims that the inclusion of a sentence in this note to the effect that respect for court rulings is a requirement of the rule of law is aimed at justifying a Constitutional Court ruling that would cancel any constitutional amendments that the AKP could pass to block the closure lawsuit.
A report entitled "The Most Serious Problem Facing Turkey is the Closure Case" highlights remarks by Ersin Ozince, Director-General of Isbank and President of the Turkish Association of Banks, criticizing the closure case against the AKP as a development that has harmed Turkey's stability and the project to make Istanbul the financial center of the world.
In an article entitled "Every Crisis is an Opportunity", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that now that it faces closure, the AKP has possibly realized better the cost of dragging its feet over passing democratization reforms to qualify Turkey for EU membership. He claims that while the latest "judicial coup" has no doubt played into the hands of anti-Turkey circles in the EU and the West, the crisis it has caused could create new opportunities if it alerts the AKP to the need not only to bring the political party system into line with democratic standards but also to launch a new reform drive aimed at broadening all basic rights and freedoms.
In an article entitled "What was the RP's Fault?", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that criticism of the closure case against the AKP from the EU and US and European news media outlets has started to take the form of "open threats" that are undermining Turkish democracy. He cites a recent news report saying that the ruling AKP has sold twice as much Turkish property to foreigners as former governments did from the foundation of the Republic till 2002 as an indication of why there is so much foreign support for the AKP against the closure lawsuit.
In an article entitled "The United States' Sole Criterion: Its Own Interests" Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan argues that US support for democracy for foreign countries always masks a hidden agenda to "enslave" other peoples. He claims that there is no reason to greet with joy recent commentaries by Morton Abromowitz and Henri Barkey referring to the closure case against the AKP as a "judicial coup," adding that while "we do not believe the closure case to be right, we should defend our own democracy."
In an article entitled "What Does the Military Think?" Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren calls attention to the Turkish Armed Forces' "remarkable silence" on the latest political developments and poses the question of how the military views the closure case against the AKP, whether it attaches any importance to the AKP's "mission" in the southeast, and whether it would believe that the closure of the AKP would create a serious security problem in this region.
b) Tension at Akdeniz University: According to a report by Onder Yilmaz in Milliyet, Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli has fired the administrators of the Antalya provincial organization and the Antalya Idealists Hearths following the MHP involvement in the incidents that occurred at Akdeniz University. Bahceli is expected to make public this decision at the MHP parliamentary faction meeting today.
A report in Hurriyet writes that 34-year-old Omer Ulusoy, who is believed to have fired shots at a leftist student group at Akdeniz University and who is being sought by the police, has five previous convictions.
Despite claims by Antalya MHP provincial leader Mustafa Akar that he does not know Omer Ulusoy, Vatan posts a picture of Akar with Ulusoy taken in September of 2006. According to a report by Oktay Ensari, former MHP provincial leader Nizamettin Sagir is also seen together with the two in the said picture.
Referring to the pro-MHP instigator seen shooting at students at Akdeniz University, Millliyet's Hasan Cemal believes that he is part of a plan aimed at dividing the nation into enemy camps. He writes: "An arduous test is awaiting those who believe in democracy and the supremacy of the law and who wish to steer Turkey away from such a trap aimed at dividing the country into 'enemy camps."'
Welcoming the reaction of Bahceli to the MHP involvement in the incidents at Akdeniz University in a column in Milliyet, Taha Akyol says that the armed provocateur called Omer Ulusoy should definitely be apprehended. He further calls on all movements both on the right and the left of the political spectrum to take care to marginalize such individuals.
Under the headline, "Eighty Security Officials Vanish into Thin Air," Yeni Safak publishes a report which asserts that mystery continues to surround how Omer U, the person who "opened fire on leftist students in the clashes that recently took place at Akdeniz University" in Antalya, was able to enter the campus without being detected by the university's security personnel.
Under the headline, "University Skirmish Stirs Haunting Sept. 12 Memories," Today's Zaman runs a front-page report which describes the recent "student incidents" as developments "painfully reminiscent of a not-so-distant era of military rule that started in the 70s with political groups pitted against each other and violence between opposing factions reaching a peak."
In an article entitled "Replay of Violence at Universities", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu calls on "decision makers" to "act responsibly in preventing a possible spillover effect of the latest unrest at a university" and warns that "the spread of violence at universities would strike a significant blow to any effort to further democracy."
Under the headline, "It is the Same Film," Milli Gazete carries a front-page report on the incidents at Akdeniz University which accuses "those well-known quarters" of taking steps to restart the civil conflict that preceded the 12 September, 1980 coup.
c) Turkish Economy: Referring to the Standard & Poor's rating in his column in Milliyet, Derya Sazak asks why government officials, who believe that the negative rating is based on political rather than economic reasons, are surprised at this move to downgrade Turkey's credit rating. Warning government officials that the only way to keep foreign investors in the country is to ensure political stability, Sazak quotes a Newsweek commentary which says that the United States cannot remain a spectator to the developments in Turkey, that a serious threat to Turkey's stability has the potential to adversely affect US interests, and that a stronger US intervention is needed. The writer concludes by asking whether the Newsweek commentary does not remind one of the "sick man" syndromes of the Ottoman period.
Beginning his article in Hurriyet by criticizing the privatization drive in the country, Yilmaz Ozdil goes on to censure the social security law saying that now that our banks, factories, ports, and telecommunications systems have been sold, the time has come to sell our children and their future. The writer points to the fact that those who believe that they will get rich by selling the country's assets are not aware that our debts are increasing.
d) Non-permanent membership to the U.N. Security Council: Pointing out that some $10 million has been spent in gifts to countries that are expected to participate in the Pacific Summit in Istanbul on 8 April, Yalcin Dogan explains why so much money and effort is being spent on this summit. In his column in Hurriyet, Dogan notes that one of the reasons for the summit is the non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council. Describing the UNSC membership as a good goal," the writer, however, bemoans the method and style of the government.
e) Disclosure of new military memorandum: In an article entitled "Is the Coup Effort Linked to a Memorandum?", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu refers to a military memorandum dated March, 2006, disclosed by the Taraf daily yesterday, outlining "a sort of action plan" against the activities of Turkish non-governmental groups guided by the EU, as a document that reveals how the Turkish military looks at the changes in Turkey brought about by the EU accession process and proves that "the 2003-2004 process" of military resistance to the Government's democratization efforts is continuing and that the military has not stopped regarding itself as the guardian of the regime.
In an article entitled "A Memorandum That Does Not Include Vakit", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven asserts that "the latest military memorandum" is distinguished from those issued during the 28 February process and that the assessments it offers about George Soros' efforts to "manipulate and use certain civil society groups and intellectuals" are "in line with our own observations." In explaining why "I feel the need to place this memorandum in a different class," Arseven recalls how he, knowing how Soros was out to create unrest over the headscarf issue, turned down a lucrative offer by a Soros group which would have entailed his organization of a headscarf symposium at a five-star hotel attended by pro and anti-headscarf intellectuals.
In an article entitled "Today It is a Memorandum Tomorrow It Will Be a Court Ruling Based on Article 305 of the TCK", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi describes the military memorandum on NGOs disclosed by the Taraf daily as a document that reveals a superficial mindset that is incapable of understanding modern society and perceives everybody with links to the outside world as an enemy. He claims that the memorandum proves that militarism in this country is not a problem facing only a few liberals but "everybody communicating with the world." He also warns of the possibility that those who drew up this memorandum could accuse the groups listed in the memorandum of violating Article 305 of the Turkish Penal Code, (TCK), and calls for urgent amendments to this article and to all articles in the TCK that define crimes against national security.