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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-16

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. 73/08 16.04.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ercakica attacks president Christofias again
  • [02] Toptan: It is difficult for the problems between Turkey and Cyprus to be solved without the lifting of the isolations on the TRNC
  • [03] Statements by Babacan at the Turkish embassy in London
  • [04] UBP Chairman accuses President Christofias of being provocative and unrealistic
  • [05] Yonluer attacks president Christofias
  • [06] KTOS: We should concentrate on the solution of the Cyprus problem with mutual understanding instead of supporting the mistakes of Turkey
  • [07] Interview by the British High Commissioner to Nicosia with Halkin Sesi
  • [08] The German reporter of PACE is reportedly planning to invite the leaders of the communities to address the general assembly of the organization in September
  • [09] The Turkish Cypriot delegation to IPU brought onto the agenda the issue of their representation
  • [10] Turkish Minister of National Defense on Cyprus NATO membership
  • [11] Azeri delegation is holding contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] The North Cyprus Summit of the MPs of Turkish Origin in Europe will be held on 19 April in Acapulco Hotel in occupied Keryneia
  • [13] A delegation from the German SPD is arriving today through illegal Tymvou airport
  • [14] Turkey signs protocol with occupied Cyprus to improve land registry system
  • [15] Applications for investments in the occupied areas have been made by 98 investors among whom 14 are foreigners
  • [16] The Embargoed Group will convey a letter to the British Prime Minister
  • [17] A new mosque will be built in the centre of occupied Lefkosia with financial aid from the municipality of Ankara
  • [18] Opposition MP critical of the member of visits by Turkish officials to Qatar
  • [19] Foreign Minister of Maldives arrives in Turkey for official talks
  • [20] Court convicts 53 DTP mayors for backing PKK-affiliated TV station
  • [21] Unemployment rate in Turkey rose to 11.3 percent
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [22] From the Turkish Press of 15 April 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ercakica attacks president Christofias again

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has alleged that the Turkish side has been behaving on the basis of the principle that silence is gold, but unfortunately the Greek Cypriot leader and his spokespersons could not keep quiet.

    In statements during his weekly briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica argued that it was inevitable for Mr Talat to reply to the statements made by President Christofias and added that their intention is not to continue the behavior [of replying to the statements made by the President of the Republic]. He said they will try not to give answers for a period and said that President Christofias should keep quiet as well.

    Mr Ercakica called on the Greek Cypriot side to lift the embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots in order to prove that it wants a solution in Cyprus. He also called on the international community to warn the Greek Cypriots on this issue. He alleged that President Christofias has a responsibility for the fact that solution was not reached on the island and claimed that the Greek Cypriot side should prove that a change in its policy was made with the change in the leadership in the free areas of Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.04.08), under the title The isolations have been put onto the table, refers to the statements made by Hasan Ercakica and the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Koksal Toptan in Slovenia. The paper notes that the Turkish side is obstructing the progress in the Cyprus problem.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (16.04.08) refers to Mr Ercakicas statements under the title The committees will start on Monday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Toptan: It is difficult for the problems between Turkey and Cyprus to be solved without the lifting of the isolations on the TRNC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that Koksal Toptan, speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, has said that it is difficult for the problems between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, to be abolished without the lifting of the so-called isolations of the TRNC, the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In statements during his visit to Slovenia, Mr Toptan stressed the importance of the fact that the two presidents met in Cyprus and argued that when there is good will in the forthcoming process, a solution could be reached within the framework of the UN Security Council and especially the Annan plan.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Statements by Babacan at the Turkish embassy in London

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Babacan has said that the Cyprus problem has for a long time been turned into a burden as a result of the obstacles put by the Greek Cypriots and argued that the Turkish side is ready for a solution on the basis of the parameters of the UN.

    Replying to questions of Turkish journalists yesterday in the Turkish embassy in London, Mr Babacan alleged that the Greek Cypriots took the opportunity to turn this problem into an obstacle in Turkeys EU accession process. He pointed out that the solution on the island will be possible only if both sides want it sincerely.

    Mr Babacan said that after the elections in the Republic of Cyprus optimism for the solution increased. He noted that the Turkish side is ready to support a solution on the basis of the UN parameters and added that they are cautiously optimistic. He said that they fully support the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and added that they should not have high expectations because afterwards they may be disappointed.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] UBP Chairman accuses President Christofias of being provocative and unrealistic

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP), Tahsin Ertugruloglu, has described the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofiass latest statements on the Cyprus Problem as provocative and unrealistic.

    In a written statement issued today, the UBP Chairman accused the Greek Cypriot leader of trying to poison relations between the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey as well as to impose Greek sovereignty on the island.

    The UBP leader also claimed that the policy pursued by President Mehmet Ali Talat to counter the Greek Cypriot leaders efforts was inadequate.

    Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias desired the reunification of the island under a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation; Ertugruloglu said that a new state will not to be created on the island.

    He argued that attempts were being made to assimilate the Turkish Cypriots into the so-called Cyprus Republic as a minority through a planned set of constitutional amendments to be introduced.

    Ertugruloglu also said that the Turkish Cypriot people should defend and maintain their sovereign state as well as Turkeys effective guarantee.

    [05] Yonluer attacks president Christofias

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that Ahmet Yonluer, chairman of the Politics for the People (HIS) Party, has alleged that no solution could be reached in Cyprus without Ankara and said that the Greek Cypriots must finally understand this. In statements during one of his meetings yesterday, Mr Yonluer claimed that it should not be forgotten that President Christofias is a leader who supports Enosis (unification with Greece) and is committed to it.

    He alleged that president Christofias implements the tactics he learned from his bosses and he seems positive and then he will blame the Turkish side for the non-solution. He alleged that President Christofias is telling the lies he learned from his bosses.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] KTOS: We should concentrate on the solution of the Cyprus problem with mutual understanding instead of supporting the mistakes of Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.04.08) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), has said that instead of stressing the past mistakes of the Greek Cypriot administration or supporting the mistakes of Turkey we should concentrate on the solution of the Cyprus problem with mutual understanding and on the target for a united Cyprus.

    In statements yesterday, Mr Elcil referred to the meeting of the Cyprus Peace Platform with President Demetris Christofias who gave detailed information to the Platform about the establishment of the committees and the process towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Elcil said that Mr Talat does not do this.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Interview by the British High Commissioner to Nicosia with Halkin Sesi

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (16.04.08) reports that the British High Commissioner to Nicosia, Peter Millet has said that the new negotiating process is an opportunity for unifying Cyprus that we have not seen for a long time and we even may not be able to see again. In an exclusive interview with the paper, Mr Millet said that the two leaders have shown political courage in order to reach the 21st of March agreement and added: I believe that the two leaders are determined to create a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on the political equality.

    Mr Millet called on the Turkish Cypriots to support their leader during the negotiations. He said:

    This process is really the best opportunity for a solution. Support your leader. During this process your leader will have to take very difficult decisions and he will show determination and flexibility for the solution. You and your leader showed this courage four years ago. Do not miss this opportunity.

    Mr Millet said also that Kosovo is not a precedent for Cyprus because it is a unique case. He noted that the two leaders in Cyprus are exerting efforts for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and that no one speaks about division. Both sides want the unification and this unification will have both political advantages and advantages from the point of view of economy and security. He said that the opening of Ledra Street was an important and positive step and reflected the political courage and flexibility which both leaders are ready to show in this process.

    Mr Millet said that he is encouraged by the statements made by the officials from Turkey which show the determination of the Turkish government for the solution of this problem. He noted that the solution in Cyprus will improve the name of Turkey internationally and facilitate its course towards the EU. He noted that the United Nations should play the basic role in the solution process. Referring to the developments in Turkey, he noted that the procedure for the closure of the Justice and Development Party is not an obstacle to the process for reaching a solution in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The German reporter of PACE is reportedly planning to invite the leaders of the communities to address the general assembly of the organization in September

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) writes that the report on Cyprus prepared by the German reporter of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Johain Horster, passed yesterday from the Political Affairs Committee of PACE. Mehmet Caglar, MP with the Republican Turkish Party, who is heading a delegation from the assembly of the breakaway regime in Strasbourg, described the report as balanced.

    Mr Caglar said that Mr Horster will visit Cyprus between 15 and 19 June in order to hold meetings on the island and will give the final shape to his report which is expected to be submitted to the PACE between 23 and 27 June. Mr Caglar said the report is expected to be discussed in September at the general assembly of the PACE and added that Mr Horster is planning to invite the leaders of the two communities to address the general assembly.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The Turkish Cypriot delegation to IPU brought onto the agenda the issue of their representation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot parliamentary delegation which is in Cape Town to participate in the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) met yesterday with the delegation of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus.

    According to a statement issued by the assembly, the sides expressed their views on the Cyprus problem and the Turkish Cypriot delegation brought onto the agenda the issue of their representation in IPU. The Swedish parliamentarian, Felix Gutzwiller, who was presiding over the meeting between the two delegations, said that they are following the efforts towards a solution in Cyprus and expressed their good wishes for these efforts.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkish Minister of National Defense on Cyprus NATO membership

    Under the front-page title, Gonul gave three messages, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (16.04.08) publishes an interview of the Turkish National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul after NATOs summit in Bucharest and the defence summit in the Presidential Palace of Cankaya. Mr Vecdi Gonul said it was not possible for Turkey to take part in the missile shield system of the United States. Mr Gonul said that Turkey might contribute troops to Afghanistan, but it would not undertake mission under the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

    Referring to Cyprus Mr Gonul said: We will not allow NATO membership of the Greek Cypriot administration. The paper continues in its inside pages under the subtitle We prevent the Greek Cypriots and reports that Mr Gonul, commenting on the statement that Cyprus NATO membership is on the agenda, said: It cannot be discussed. It could not even be a candidate, how can it be a member? We are against even the candidacy. They cannot move any step further.

    Commenting on another statement that it is claimed that NATOs safety umbrella could be a starting point for solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr Gonul said: Did the EU membership become a starting point? It became worse. Sometimes we see with regret the waste of the opportunity for those gains for Turkey, which the Zurich-London agreement brought to us.

    (EA)

    [11] Azeri delegation is holding contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that a delegation from the New Azerbaijan Party has met in the occupied part of Nicosia with Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs. Mr Avci, who invited the Azeri party to the occupied areas, said that they consider them as part of the Turkish world. Ramil Hasanov, chairman of the youth organization of the New Azerbaijan Party, said that seeing the situation on the spot is useful from the point of view of understanding the Cyprus problem.

    The Azeri delegation met also with the youth organization of the Social Democrat Party (TDP) and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP). The chairman of the TDP youth organization, Mehmet Burhan said that for many years there is a closed youth living in closed community in the north part of Cyprus and added that this kind of contacts are important from the point of view of breaking this structure.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] The North Cyprus Summit of the MPs of Turkish Origin in Europe will be held on 19 April in Acapulco Hotel in occupied Keryneia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that the North Cyprus Summit of the MPs of Turkish Origin in Europe will be held on 19 April in Acapulco Hotel in occupied Keryneia. This is the second meeting of the MPs and it will take place after the invitation of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) and with the contribution of the so-called presidency.

    The summit will be addressed by Hakki Keskin, MP in the German Federal Parliament, the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, the self-styled prime minister Soyer, the minister of foreign affairs, Avci and the chairman of the TCCC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] A delegation from the German SPD is arriving today through illegal Tymvou airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that a delegation from the German Social Democrat Party (SPD) headed by Gerd Andres, MP and chairman of the Coordination Group of Turkey Cyprus Policies, is expected to arrive in the occupied areas of Cyprus today through the illegal Tymvou airport and hold meetings in both the occupied and the free areas of the island.

    According to a statement issued by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the German delegation will meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Talat, the self-styled prime minister Soyer, the mayor of the occupied Famagusta, Oktay Kayalp, the self-styled ministers of public works, finance and foreign affairs Salih Usar, Ahmet Uzun and Turgay Avci, and the chairman of the Democratic Party, Serdar Denktas. The delegation will also visit the Ledra Street crossing point.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] Turkey signs protocol with occupied Cyprus to improve land registry system

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have signed a protocol on Tuesday to improve land registry system in TRNC.

    The protocol, signed by Turkish Public Works and Housing Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak and TRNC Interior Minister Ozkan Murat, aims at establishment of a system similar to the one used in Turkey.

    Under the protocol, Turkey and TRNC agreed to renew land registry system in TRNC, establish a database system, exchange experts and carry out training activities together, Ozak told at the signing ceremony held in Ankara.

    [15] Applications for investments in the occupied areas have been made by 98 investors among whom 14 are foreigners

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that investments in the area of tourism and industry are increasing in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The Cyprus Turkish Agency for Developing the Investments (YAGA) aims at preparing a five-year plan for the investments. The paper notes that YAGA, which was established in October 2007, met with 98 investors until today.

    According to information acquired by the paper, most of the applications were made to YAGA for the fields of tourism and industry. The distribution of the applications for making an investment according to the country of the applicant is the following: TRNC 61 applications, Turkey 12 applications, TRNC foreign partnership 7, foreign (Britain, China, Israel, Germany and Russia) 14, Cypriots living abroad 4.

    (I/Ts.)

    [16] The Embargoed Group will convey a letter to the British Prime Minister

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.04.08) reports that the Embargoed Group will carry out a march in London on 27 April in remembrance of the Annan Plan and protest for the fact that the promises given to the Turkish Cypriots for lifting the embargoes were not kept. The protesters will march to 10 Downing Street and convey a letter to the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

    (I/Ts.)

    [17] A new mosque will be built in the centre of occupied Lefkosia with financial aid from the municipality of Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (16.04.08) reports that after the financial aid from the municipality of Ankara to the municipality of the occupied part of Nicosia for rearranging the Caglayan Park in the occupied part of the city and the change of the name of the park, the project of building a mosque in the centre of Lefkosia came onto the agenda.

    The paper notes that the issue came onto the agenda during the recent meeting of the municipal council and after the members of the municipal council who come from the Republican Turkish Party and the Social Democrat Party abandoned the meeting. The mosque will also be a gift from Ankara and it will be built in the centre of the occupied part of Lefkosia in an area where schools are also located.

    (I/Ts.)

    [18] Opposition MP critical of the member of visits by Turkish officials to Qatar

    Under the title, The interest in Qatar, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (16.04.08) reports that in the last five months the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and eight Ministers visited Qatar. The first who visited Qatar after the elections was the State Minister Mehmet Aydin on April 2nd, then the National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul on January 21st. President Abdullah Gul visited Qatar on February 5th accompanied by the Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, the Public Works and Housing Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak and the Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler. On February 16th Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and on February 18th State Minister Mehmet Simsek paid official visits to Qatar. On April 14th Prime Minister Erdogan, energy minister Guler and Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan visited Qatar. These comments were made by the CHP Yalova member of the parliament Muharrem Ince, who wondered whether or not they have found a gold mine in Qatar.

    (EA)

    [19] Foreign Minister of Maldives arrives in Turkey for official talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid of Maldives arrived in Turkey on Tuesday at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. The Guest ministers schedule will start on Wednesday.

    Shahid is expected to be received by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and meet Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on Wednesday. Shahid will also meet businessmen in Istanbul.

    Shahid's visit was the first high-level official visit from Maldives to Turkey, officials from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

    Delegations from the two countries will hold meetings to be co-chaired by Babacan and Shahid on Wednesday. Opportunities to improve bilateral relations and regional and international issues will be discussed during the talks. The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean.

    [20] Court convicts 53 DTP mayors for backing PKK-affiliated TV station

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (16.04.08) reports the following:

    A Turkish court on Tuesday found 53 Kurdish mayors guilty of praising a criminal group because they asked Denmark to allow a television station with alleged links to Kurdish terrorists to continue operating there.

    The mayors described the case against them as a matter of free speech, but Turkey views Kurdish militants as terrorists and believes Europe is not doing enough to curb sources of support among Kurdish expatriates.

    Most of the mayors are members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a political group that faces possible closure for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which seeks autonomy for the large Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey. The case against the mayors will be used as evidence in the case against the party, said Muharrem Elbey, a lawyer for the mayor of Diyarbakir, the biggest city in the Southeast.

    The state is divided over whether the possible scrapping of a party with 20 seats in Parliament would strengthen the rule of law or push a new wave of alienated Kurds out of the political mainstream and into terrorist ranks.

    The court in Diyarbakir sentenced the mayors to two months in prison, but later commuted the sentence to fines of YTL 1,835 ($1,400), citing the mayors' good behavior during the trial. Three other mayors were acquitted. The mayors have said they would appeal.

    The politicians were indicted in 2006 after writing to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to request that Roj TV be kept on air in Denmark. Turkey says the station is a propaganda machine for terrorists. Turkey has been under pressure from the European Union to strengthen the rights of Kurds.

    Terrorist leaders often joined the station's broadcasts by satellite telephone from mountain hideouts in northern Iraq, and the station broadcasts images of terrorists training or attacking Turkish soldiers. The PKK has been listed by the EU and the United States as a terrorist organization.

    Mayors deny supporting the PKK

    The mayors' letter was an appeal for a Kurdish-language television station to remain on the air, said Elbey, who represents Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir. They never praised the content of the broadcasts.

    Elbey said that if the appeal fails, he will consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The court's decisions are binding on Turkey.

    The prosecutor initially wanted the court to try the mayors for aiding and abetting the PKK but reduced the charge to praising a criminal group. The earlier charge carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

    [21] Unemployment rate in Turkey rose to 11.3 percent

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (15.04.08) reported the following:

    Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 11.3 percent of the workforce in the three months to the end of February from 11.0 percent in the same period last year, official data showed on Tuesday. The number of employed fell by 278,000 compared to January 2007.

    A survey based on interviews with nearly 86,000 people showed the number of jobless increased by 59,000 to 2,567,000, the State Statistics Institute said.

    The jobless rate was estimated at 9.9 percent for the whole of 2007, unchanged from the rate for 2006.

    To determine the jobless rate, the statistics institute surveys households in different regions of the country and uses the results to make a nationwide three-month projection. The figures provide the only unemployment data in Turkey, but experts say they do not reflect the overall picture because they exclude undeclared or hidden unemployment, or the employment of educated, qualified people in menial, unqualified jobs.

    The number of unemployed people in Turkey in January 2008 rose by 59,000 when compared to the same month last year and reached 2,567,000, the Anatolian Agency reported.

    According to the survey, the number of employed Turks decreased by 278,000 compared to January 2007 and stands at 20,112,000. It also said recorded that 41.9 percent of all employed Turks are non-registered.

    Unemployment and huge unregistered activity are problems the International Monetary Fund wants Turkey to resolve in order to consolidate its recovery from a severe economic crisis in 2001.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [22] From the Turkish Press of 15 April 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 15 April:

    a) Amendment of Article 301: Commenting on the controversy over the amendment of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, Taha Akyol believes that the changes to be effected will broaden the limits of freedom of thought and defends the view that filing a lawsuit against someone who insults Turkey and the Turks will be subject to preliminary approval. In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, he draws attention to the differing views on the institution that should be vested with the authority to give preliminary approval for a lawsuit and asserts: Preliminary approval for a lawsuit will be a political matter. The Ministry of Justice must have the authority to decide whether or not a lawsuit should be filed. As far as the Constitution is concerned, the president cannot have such an authority. His authorities are already outlind in the Constitution. It will be recalled that an effort is made to reduce the powers of the president. So, transferring additional authority to him will be wrong at such a time.

    According to a report by Rifat Basaran in Istanbul Radikal, the MHP (Nationalist Action Party) has launched a virtual campaign on Internet against the initiative that is aimed at changing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The report says that the party prepared two commercial television clips, leaflets, and posters to voice its opposition to the initiative. The clips are now being broadcast in four national television networks. They are also posted on Youtube.

    Bilal Cetin argues that the AKP proposals for the amendment of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code were rushed by the party officials. Criticizing the accusation that the parliament delayed the action that should be taken on the AKP motion, he asserts in a column in Istanbul Vatan that the party had one and a half years to submit its proposals to the parliament. He notes: The main problem of the AKP is the lawsuit that has been filed to close it down. The party's contacts with the MHP on a formula to render the closure of political parties difficult failed to yield a result. Obviously, the MHP expects the party to first reconcile its differences with the CHP (Republican People's Party) on the formula. However, Prime Minister Erdogan does not seem to be willing to reach an agreement with the CHP at the present time.

    Yusuf Kanli criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan's approach on constitutional amendments and changes to be effected in Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. In a column in the Istanbul Turkish Daily News, he notes: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still talking with his accustomed antagonistic and repulsive mood.

    b) Closure case against AKP: Fikret Bila views the way the AKP will defend itself against the lawsuit that has been filed to have the party closed down. In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, he argues that the party will submit a three-stage defense to the Constitutional Court and notes: The party will focus on the lawsuit's place in the legal system in the first phase of its defense. In the second, it will move to refute the chief prosecutor's accusations. In the third, it will verbally defend itself. It will defend the view that the lawsuit has no place in Turkey's legal system and argue that the chief prosecutor's accusations are baseless. Bila asks whether the AKP might reach an agreement with the other political parties to effect constitutional changes to make the closure of political parties difficult and notes that the party members might not prefer a referendum for constitutional changes. He asserts: The AKP might move to make constitutional changes in a way that will not affect the lawsuit. That might help it secure the support of the opposition parties for its initiative.

    In an article entitled "While the Scorpion is stinging our souls", Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil warns that the closure case against the AKP promises "a very dark future" for Turkey and calls on Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya to withdraw his indictment. He also poses the question whether Hurriyet Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok dropped hints of an impending coup in saying in his 13 April column that he would be going away until next October and "leaving the country in the hands of its true owners."

    In an article entitled "Do not even think about it", Milli Gazete columnist Zeki Ceyhan calls attention to allegations that the AKP is working on a plan to avoid being shut down by the Constitutional Court by banning Islamic headdresses at all educational institutions except universities and the public sphere. He warns that it would be political "suicide" for the AKP to resort to such a "formula" and calls on the AKP leadership to "put the nation at ease" by denying these claims.

    c) Economic Issues: According to a report in Istanbul Milliyet, foreign investments significantly decreased during January and February 2008, compared with the same period in 2007. Foreign investments totaled $1.1 billion during the first two months in 2008. Foreign investments totaled $7.4 billion from January to February 2007. Overall investments totaled $19.2 billion in 2007.

    In a column in Istanbul Vatan, Asaf Akat views the public sector's debts in Turkey in 2007. He notes: The ratio of the public sector debts to the GDP was 51 percent in 2000. However, it increased to 79 percent in 2001. The ratio of the debts to the GDP decreased to 41 peercent at the end of 2007. The amount is 10 points less than the figure in 2000. The ratio of the net public sector debts to the GDP totaled 43 percent in 2000. The figure increased to 66 percent in 2001. However, it decreased to 29 percent at the end of 2007. The amount is 14 percent less than the figure in 2000. The net foreign debts of the public sector decreased to11 billion new Turkish lira ($9.6 billion) at the end of 2007. The ratio of that amount to the GDP was 1.3 percent. The sector's debts in foreign currency totaled a little more than that amount. Their ratio to the GDP was 3.2 percent.

    In an article entitled "Who will become the victim of the Global crisis?", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul stresses the need for urgent steps to establish a "just world order" to prevent the global economic crisis from giving rise to widespread famine and "food wars." He warns that the lack of immediate measures, "the collapse of the US financial system" will have political and social implications" and accuses global capital groups of "pumping billions of US dollars into banks" to weather the crisis and keep the international financial system alive at the cost of causing hundreds of millions of people to starve.

    In an article entitled "The situation is very serious", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that there is consensus among experts that the US economy is undergoing a serious recession. He claims that a US military campaign against Iran these days would compound the hunger-related disturbances in countries like Bangladesh, adding that although the crisis has started to hit Turkey, too, neither the Government nor pro-AKP media outlets appear to be adequately aware of the gravity of the situation.

    EG/


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