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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-30

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. 81/08 30.04.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ihsanoglu stated that OIC will try to put an end to the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry was granted observer status at ICCI
  • [03] Talat says negotiations will start as planned if positive atmosphere continues
  • [04] Hasan Ercakica discloses that the Turkish side put the water supply from Turkey before the technical committees
  • [05] Ertugruloglu comments on his visit and contacts in Germany
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot side and Syria launch cooperation in tourism
  • [07] A new weekly newspaper is launched in the occupied areas
  • [08] Today´s Zaman publishes an interview of German MP Gerd Andres
  • [09] Norwegian Foreign Minister arrives in Ankara on official visit
  • [10] "Turkey in Talks for Missile Defense System buy"
  • [11] Turkey´s opening on trade agreements, partnerships and investments with neighboring countries
  • [12] Turkish parliament passes bill on article 301 of TCK
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 29 April 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ihsanoglu stated that OIC will try to put an end to the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.04.08) reports that the General Secretary of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Mr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has said that the OIC will continue its active stance as regards the Cyprus problem. He went on and said: As OIC Secretariat we are active in order to put an end to the unfair and inhuman treatment meted out to the Turkish Cypriots. He said that in order to put an end to the so-called embargos imposed on the Turkish Cypriots they have launched important works. Work has started in order to carry out joint activities with the TRNC in areas such as trade, tourism and culture. The OIC will continue its active stance on this issue, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stressed.

    Mr. Ihsanoglu, made this statement to Anatolia Agency on his way to Great Britain where he will deliver a speech at the Oxford University and will be meeting with the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

    (MHY)

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry was granted observer status at ICCI

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry has been granted observer status by the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

    The decision came at the 24th General Assembly of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

    Delivering a speech at the general Assembly, the ICCI President Seyh Saleh briefed members about his latest visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Addressing the general Assembly on behalf of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry, Executive committee member Salih Celiker said that it was their desire to establish economic, commercial, social, cultural, tourism and education relations with Islamic Countries.

    [03] Talat says negotiations will start as planned if positive atmosphere continues

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that negotiations on the Cyprus Problem could start in June as planned if the working groups and technical committees continue with the good work achieved so far.

    The President however pointed out that the working groups and technical committees have yet to focus on specific details.

    Speaking during a panel on Tuesday, President Talat said that it was possible that more working groups and technical committees could be created as the two sides got closer to a settlement.

    Complaining that the media, by creating its own scenario on the latest developments in Cyprus, was misinforming the public about what was really happening, President Talat said that it was not possible for the TRNC presidency to verify or confirm every news report that came out.

    We must be careful when taking the process forward. My hope is that manipulative news reports, especially those coming from the Greek Cypriot Side, are not taken seriously he said.

    Warning that the political atmosphere on the island could grow tense when full-fledged negotiations start, the President said that both sides could choose not to make statements in case a rising of tensions. He said that the working groups and technical committees will be presenting the two sides with two separate reports regarding the areas they have reached convergence on once they complete their work.

    Explaining that he was aiming to start comprehensive talks with his Greek Cypriot counterpart at the end of June, as planned, President Talat said that the reports will be taken into account during the negotiations during which the two sides will try to reach a common position on the issues the committees failed to reach a conclusion. Meanwhile, the 13 working groups and technical committees resumed their work today following the Easter Holiday in South Cyprus.

    [04] Hasan Ercakica discloses that the Turkish side put the water supply from Turkey before the technical committees

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.04.08) reports that the so-called presidential spokesman of the breakaway regime in the Turkish occupied areas Hasan Ercakica said that bringing water from Turkey and distributing it all over Cyprus was taken up by the technical committees. He said that the water shortage issue was put on the negotiation table by the Turkish Cypriot technical committee. Ercakica said: We dont see any danger in sharing the water to be brought from Turkey. Just the opposite we see benefit in it.

    In his routine weekly press briefing Mr Ercakica referred to the work being carried out in the working groups and technical committees and said that the Turkish Cypriot side favors continuation of the 1960 Guarantee System. He also said that Parthenogenesis is a technical issue that could be debated. In his briefing Mr. Ercakica claimed that with statements the Greek Cypriot side is trying to fix the ground for the negotiations.

    Ercakica expressed concern regarding the Cyprus governments recourse to the European Court of Justice regarding the Financial Aid regulation and the preparations to submit to the House of Representatives approval the Military Agreement reached with France last February. He wanted suspension of the agreement.

    (MHY)

    [05] Ertugruloglu comments on his visit and contacts in Germany

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.04.08), the chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP) Tahsin Ertugruloglu, commenting on his visit and contacts in Germany said that there is a positive atmosphere expecting a solution in Germany. He said that following the meeting between president Christofias and Mr. Talat an artificial positive atmosphere has been raising hopes for a solution in Cyprus. He said that the present process was nice but it was not possible to reach a point and soon one will see the reality that reaching agreement is not possible.

    Saying that his contacts in Germany with the political party representatives proved fruitful and beneficial, UBP leader said that German politicians direct flight to the occupied area was a useful attempt and this should be encouraged. He praised former European parliament member Ozan Ceyhuns contribution in realizing their visit to Germany.

    (MHY)

    [06] Turkish Cypriot side and Syria launch cooperation in tourism

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.04.08) reports the following:

    Turkish Cypriot side and Syria had launched a cooperation in tourism, Turkish Cypriot authorities said on Tuesday.

    The Foreign Ministry of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) organized a four-day trip to Syria to boost touristic cooperation between the two countries, the authorities also said.

    The Turkish Cypriot delegation consists of representatives of tourism agencies, hotel managers, journalists and executives from the TRNC Foreign Ministry and Economy & Trade Ministry.

    The delegation went to Latakia by a ferry boat from port of Girne [occupied Keryneia]. They will discuss with their Syrian counterparts travel means between the two countries and package tours.

    The Turkish Cypriot delegation will visit Palmira and Aleppo cities.

    Also, TRNC Foreign Minister Turgay Avci will leave for Syria on Wednesday. TRNC Foreign Minister Turgay Avci paid a two-day visit to the Syrian capital of Damascus to boost commercial ties and naval transportation between the two countries in August 2007. Also, Syrian businessmen visited TRNC in March 2007.

    Regular ferry services between TRNC's Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] port and Syria's Latakia port were launched in October 2007, after an interval of 28 years.

    The voyages had been suspended for some time, but resumed on February 11th, 2008. The Akgunler Maritime Company was arranging the ferry voyages by a Georgian-flagged ferry. However, the Georgian authorities took back the flag. Then, the firm applied to Turkey and got necessary permits for Turkish-flagged voyages.

    [07] A new weekly newspaper is launched in the occupied areas

    The first edition of Star International, an English language weekly newspaper, was launched for April 25th May 1st, 2008.

    In its first edition the paper writes the following:

    A formal cocktail party was organized at the Star Media Group Headquarters in occupied Kyrenia on April 10, 2008 to introduce Star International and the team. At the opening speech, Star Media Group President, Mr Ali Ozmen Safa noted that as Star International, our aim and goal is to fill in the missing gap in the media sector on the island. Star International isnt looking forward to becoming the voice of just the Turkish Cypriots and added that Star International will be the voice of all foreign and local residents living in North Cyprus we will be the voice of everybody living in North Cyprus.

    Mr Safa also mentioned that Star International would be on the stands of major newspapers vendors every Friday and that a total of 15,000 copies would be distributed and sold in North Cyprus, UK, Turkey and the Middle East.

    [08] Today´s Zaman publishes an interview of German MP Gerd Andres

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (30.04.08) publishes the following interview:

    CHP not getting European sympathy regarding EU policy

    The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has not been making many friends among European politicians with its stances on Cyprus and the EU, according to Gerd Andres, a German member of parliament and also the rapporteur on Turkey and Cyprus for the Social Democrat Party (SDP) group in the Bundestag.

    In an interview with Today's Zaman on Monday during a three-day visit to Istanbul with other members of the Bundestag's Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, Andres stressed that supporting Turkey's membership in the EU is part of the SDP's official party line. "We've had very good relations with the CHP for many years. I personally know [Deniz] Baykal well," he said in response to a question on how he assessed the main opposition party's EU policies.

    "However, the CHP is not really getting our sympathy today in terms of both its stance on the Cyprus issue and the European Union."

    On both of these issues, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has acted more in accordance with the principles of social democracy than the social democrats of Turkey, he said. He added that the AK Party's commitment to Turkey's EU bid has been greatly appreciated in Europe, and said that Erdogan's friendly relationship with German Chancellor Gerard Schroeder when he led a coalition government of the SDP and the Greens was also a positive factor.

    AK Party closure and the EU

    Regarding the current closure case against the AK Party on charges of anti-secularism, Andres said, "Nobody understands what this closure case is about in Europe." To express the apparent absurdity of the situation, he gave an example: "This is just like me going to the Constitutional Court, saying the Christian Democrats [Christian Democratic Union (CDU)] are not doing their job right and demanding that the chancellor be dismissed from office. People would think I was crazy," he said. He explained that terrorism, violence and right-wing extremism were the only legitimate reasons to shut down a political party, as stated by European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn earlier this month. "The attempt to shut down the AK Party because it passed a bill removing the headscarf ban on universities is absurd," he said. He also pointed out that the second opposition party in Parliament, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was not in trouble although it also had backed the headscarf bill in question.

    He said the case appeared to be the result of efforts of the traditional Kemalist elite to hold on to power and an attempt to change the balance of power ahead of the local elections scheduled next year. "And, most certainly, secularism also needs democracy," he added.

    Regarding the current status of EU talks, Andres said an amendment to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) -- which criminalizes the ambiguous concept of "Turkishness," and under which many writers, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, intellectuals and journalists have been tried -- and the passing of a law that would return assets seized from non-Muslim religious communities confiscated by the state decades ago remained important tests for the AK Party in the EU process. He said both these issues are crucial to the EU process.

    Settlement on Cyprus crucial to EU process

    Andres stressed that the Cyprus impasse remained one of the greatest obstacles in the way of Turkey's EU membership.

    During a visit Andres made to both sides of the divided island in mid-April, officials in the southern part of the island canceled their talks with him and offered no official explanation. It is presumed the cancellations were due to his landing at the Turkish Ercan [occupied illegal Tymvou] airport, although Andres said the Greek Cypriot officials made it very clear that they were very keen to talk with him, although at a different time.

    Andres said the Greek Cypriot cancellations reflected an attitude contradicting the Greek Cypriot administration's claim that the Turkish Cypriot administration is not a state. "This behavior implies that they accept that there are currently two states on Cyprus," he said. "It says there is no state in the North. I think I, as an EU citizen, should be able to enter anywhere that is part of EU territory," he argued.

    However, he said he was very hopeful about the possibility of a resolution in Cyprus, particularly after the election of Demetris Christofias as president of the Greek Cypriot administration. "We will see if a settlement emerges this year," he said.

    [09] Norwegian Foreign Minister arrives in Ankara on official visit

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.04.2008) reports the following:

    Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store arrived on Tuesday in Ankara upon a formal invitation by his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan.

    Store will get together with Babacan on Wednesday. He will also hold meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Bilateral political, economic and cultural relations as well as regional and global issues are expected to be discussed during Store's meetings with Turkish officials.

    [10] "Turkey in Talks for Missile Defense System buy"

    Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (29.04.08), in a report by Umit Enginsoy under the above title reports the following:

    Turkey has launched preliminary talks with the United States, Russia, Israel and China regarding its program to buy its first missile defense system, worth more than $1 billion.

    Turkey generally has good relations with its neighbors with ground-to-ground missile capabilities, but among them Iran's increasing abilities are a particular source of concern for many officials. Ankara has launched its medium-range, surface-to-air missile defense program as a first step toward building a modest but costly shield to protect militarily and strategically important locations. The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, Turkey's main procurement office, recently gathered price and availability data on U.S., Russian, Israeli and Chinese offers and is now processing them, procurement officials said. Turkey will then decide whether to launch a traditional acquisition tender among interested companies or to hold separate government-to-government talks with key suppliers. Because of the program's sensitivity, the second option is more likely, said one procurement official.

    Four options, two of them more likely

    The United States proposed its Patriot anti-missile defense systems, developed by Raytheon. The U.S. missile used in that system is the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) made by Lockheed Martin. The Patriot became the world's only combat-proven tactical ballistic missile defense system during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Nine nations have bought versions of the Patriot air defense systems. Russia offered its S300 and S400 systems. Moscow has exported the S300s to at least six nations and recently developed the S400 particularly for Moscow's defense. Israel's Arrow-2 is another option, jointly built by Israeli and U.S. companies. No details were available about the specific model China is offering. Defense analysts predict that the competition will most likely be between the U.S. and Russian alternatives.

    Comparison of systems

    The U.S. Patriot system is seen as the strongest candidate for Turkey, given the system's success and popularity and the close relationship between Turkey and the U.S. Russia's S400 is also considered a strong option, but has interoperability problems with NATO weapons systems. When U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Turkey in late February, the two sides discussed missile defense matters, including a potential Patriot sale, officials from both sides said. U.S. officials particularly emphasized the interoperability issue to dissuade Turkish officials from the Russian option. The Turkish system would include at least four anti-missile batteries meant to protect strategic targets from theater-range missiles, radar and related subsystems. After the purchase of the first missile defense system, Turkey plans to acquire a second system, but this time with major local industry contribution to the production.

    [11] Turkey´s opening on trade agreements, partnerships and investments with neighboring countries

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.04.08) under the title Free trade between Turkey and Albania reports the following:

    The agreement which establishes a free trade zone between Turkey and Albania, will come into force on May 1st.

    Turkey's Foreign Trade Undersecretariat said in a statement on Tuesday that the agreement will provide Turkish exporters with the equal opportunity of competition with EU exporters in Albanian market.

    The agreement is expected to boost economic and commercial relations between the two countries. It will also encourage Turkish and Albanian businessmen to increase their joint investments.

    Turkey-Albania trade volume increased 41 percent to 318 million USD in 2007 according to the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat figures. Exports by Turkey to Albania rose 38 percent to 294 million USD while imports from Albania climbed 90 percent to 24 million USD in the same year.

    A.A. news agency (29.04.08) also reports that Turkey has become the biggest commerce partner of Georgia. Georgia's state statistics committee said on Tuesday that Turkey had become the biggest commerce partner of Georgia in January-March, 2008. The committee stated that foreign trade volume between the two countries rose 7.3 percent in January-March period compared to the same period of 2007. Total foreign trade volume of Georgia in January-March 2008 was 1.7 billion USD.

    Finally, according to A.A. news agency (29.04.08), Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said Tuesday Turkish contractors' investments in Turkmenistan will be worth five billion USD in 2008.

    Tuzmen met Turkmenistan's Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for Trade, Commerce, Textiles and Customs Hojamuhammet Muhammedow and an accompanying delegation in Ankara on Tuesday.

    "The trade volume between Turkey and Turkmenistan has reached 700 million USD in 2007. Turkish contractors will make investments worth five billion USD in 2008," Tuzmen said. Tuzmen told reporters that Muhammedow and he discussed bilateral relations and problems pertaining to the companies operating in both countries.

    On his part, Muhammedow said that "Turkey and Turkmenistan are two brotherly countries. 480 Turkish firms operate in Turkmenistan".

    [12] Turkish parliament passes bill on article 301 of TCK

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.08) reports the following:

    Turkish Parliament passed a bill early on Wednesday on amendment to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

    Under the amendment, the term "Turkishness" in the article is replaced by the "Turkish nation," and the term "Republic" is replaced with "State of the Republic of Turkey."

    The bill was adopted with 250 against 65 votes.

    Under the law, those who insult Turkish nation, state, parliament, legal bodies, government, military or police openly shall be sentenced to imprisonment terms up to 2 years. Explaining views aiming at criticism will not be a crime.The Justice Minister is designated to approve any prosecution under the law.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 29 April 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 29 April:

    a) Harassment during DTP meeting in Sakarya:

    In an editorial entitled "We are sitting on a barrel of gunpowder," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi says that ethnic tension witnessed in the western city of Sakarya when a group of protestors surrounded a building where the Democratic Society Party, DTP, was organizing a meeting entitled "Peace and Fraternity" on Sunday night was more dangerous and different than ethnic and religious clashes which occurred in Turkey in the past. Emphasizing that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and government officials should promptly take action in order to prevent ethnic polarization in the country, Eksi says: "They should first identify measures to be taken in the future. They should then examine the incident in Sakarya from A to Z and reveal whether or not those who wield official powers acted negligently and bring them to account if they did so."

    In an article entitled "I wish I had kept those newspaper clippings," Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok says that pictures taken during the incidents in Sakarya showed that people who were attending the DTP meeting were extremely terrorized and feared for their lives. He comments: "Nobody should have the right to treat those people that way. We must do our best in order to prevent recurrence of such incidents." Ozkok cautions that acts of provocation could spread to all parts of the country and concludes by saying: "Do not we desire to live with our Kurdish brothers in the same homeland and under the same flag? If that is the case, we should not be manipulated by terrorists and preserve this fraternity."

    In an article entitled "Ergenekon's fingerprints," Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan says that incidents witnessed in Sakarya were another indication of efforts to destabilize Turkey. He says: "It seems that it was one of the events organized by the 'deep state' which is called Gladio in other NATO-member countries and Ergenekon in Turkey. It was intended to set the stage for civil strife, create fears about security in the country, to worsen the economic problems, and lead to an oppressive regime after curtailing rights and freedoms. This organization is obviously very powerful in spite of the fact that it is persistently belittled and ignored by some people. Turkey will not be able to achieve peace until it roots out this organization which is embedded in the government."

    In an article entitled "A rehearsal for massacre," Vatan columnist Okay Gonensin cautions that both the PKK and some circles trying to thwart the democratization process in Turkey plan to turn incidents like those witnessed in Sakarya into massacre. Gonensin criticizes local officials for remaining indifferent to the incidents and not prosecuting the leaders of the mob who surrounded the building for five hours although they caused one person to die as a result of a heart failure. He comments: "It is interesting that the AKP has not perceived the gravity of this event. New and stronger 'Ergenekons' will emerge and the PKK will find a very fertile ground unless those people who are trying to cause bloodshed and thus to divide the country or to eliminate the possibility of secession are deterred from making such efforts."

    Finally, a report entitled "Tension Erupts at DTP's Fraternity Night, 1 Dead", asserts that tension between Democratic Society Party, DTP, and Nationalist Action Party, MHP, supporters led to the death of one DTP supporter during the DTP's "peace and fraternity night" in Sakarya last Sunday.

    b) Closure Case Against AKP: In an article entitled "Before and after the case," Hurriyet columnist Enis Berberoglu highlights the outcome of a recent opinion poll which indicated that voter support for the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, went up from 40 percent to 46 percent after the issuance of an indictment for its closure. Pointing out that voter support for the AKP will probably decline again after the Constitutional Court renders its ruling about the case mainly due to economic hardships faced by people, Berberoglu notes that Erdogan, therefore, is opposed to the idea of calling an early election or holding a referendum about proposed constitutional amendments and is trying to save time by lessening tension.

    In an article entitled "What happens if the AKP is not closed down?" Turkish Daily News columnist Cuneyt Ulsever cautions that Erdogan is the real target of the closure case and may harshly retaliate if the AKP is not eventually closed down. He says: "If the lion you shot in the woods is not dead, it will come after you. And of course you do not have the right to condemn the lion in this case and in a legal sense."

    In an article entitled "Baykal's question: Is anybody preventing you from taking action?" Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila highlights Baykal's reaction to a proposal made by an unidentified AKP official who told Bila that they were ready to cooperate with the opposition parties in resolving the dispute over headscarf and dispelling concerns about secularism, adding that the Turkish economy could face a serious crisis and the DTP would become the most influential political party in the only southeastern part of the country if the AKP is eventually closed down. Describing the AKP official's comments as thinly-veiled blackmail aimed at preventing the closure of the party, Baykal says: "There is actually a serious threat to secularism. They must see that they are the center of that threat and admit that they have made a mistake. This problem cannot be resolved if they merely say that they are ready to rectify the public perception that there is a threat to secularism."

    Under the headline, "It stands to reason," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that all public sections have expressed full support for Professor Mustafa Kamalak's suggestion that half of the members of the Constitutional Court be elected by Parliament. According to the report, "jurists agree that the decision in the closure case against the ruling AKP could not be left to the discretion of some 11 justices none of whom were elected by the people."

    Under the headline, "MSP formula on the Agenda," Zaman publishes a front-page report which asserts that the CHP's opposition to new legislation aimed at making party closures difficult is being criticized as a paradox now that it has been disclosed that this party passed legislative amendments to prevent the former National Wellbeing Party, MSP, from being shut down while the Constitutional Court heard a closure lawsuit against the MSP.

    c) Baykal's Reelection as CHP Leader: In an article entitled "Where is the left?" Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol says that the Republican People's Party, CHP, concealed problems within the party by using tension arising from alleged threats to secularism in its recent national convention which reelected Deniz Baykal as leader. Akyol also asserts that the CHP pursues policies which are not in touch with people and can no longer be described as a social democratic party.

    In an article entitled "Baykal's old days," Milliyet columnist Derya Baykal describes the CHP's internal system as a political 'inquisition" reminiscent of the Middle Ages which is aimed at liquidating Baykal's opponents within the party. He says that the CHP's national convention dashed hopes that a left-wing political party may come to power in Turkey in the future.

    In an article entitled "An extraordinarily ordinary CHP convention," Cumhuriyet columnist Mustafa Balbay says that Baykal appointed his staunch supporters to the party's higher organs. He says: "This also entails great responsibility. Baykal will no longer have any excuse for a failure to increase the party's votes in the next election because he will appear on the political arena as the leader of a team which he has personally picked."

    In an article entitled "CHP to remain in power until full democracy is established", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi cites the CHP's use of a photograph of Ataturk showing the founder of the Republic wearing a calpac - as Dagi claims Ataturk used to do before the Republic was founded - as an indication along with the identity of some of the new additions to the CHP administration that Deniz Baykal is preparing to use an increasingly radical neo-nationalist style. He claims that the CHP appears to believe Turkey is still going through the 1919 conditions. "And I am afraid they will cause the country to revert to those conditions because they seem to think that there is no need for democracy and the law since, as they see it, Turkey has to fight a new war of independence."

    d) Mediation for the Golan Heights:

    In an article entitled "Do the objective conditions of a Syrian-Israeli peace exist?", Yeni Safak columnist Akif Emre criticizes the Turkish government and media for being overly "enthusiastic" about the prospect of Turkey's mediation of a peaceful settlement between Israel and Syria and "not questioning whether Turkey has enough diplomatic clout to be able to end the 40-year Israeli occupation" of Syrian territory. Emre links the Erdogan government's "eagerness" to arbitrate in the Israeli-Syrian dispute to a possible attempt to use an international undertaking as a means of breaking the current domestic political deadlock. He also claims that Turkey's mediation bid could cause it to incur a "water bill."

    In an article entitled "The Golan trap", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak expresses regret at what he describes as the way Ankara's diplomatic standing with Syria is being used to facilitate a political maneuver that could serve to "place Syria in Israel's orbit." He warns that a mediation effort by Ankara that would only help establish peace between Syria and Israel would promote the purposes of "the Zionist occupation of Palestinian territory."

    e) Islamization:

    In an article entitled "Hot from the oven: Islam and Pedophilia", Yeni Safak columnist Ozlem Albayrak asserts that the arrest of Vakit columnist Huseyin Uzmez on charges of child abuse has provided certain circles in Turkey with the excuse they needed to publicly argue that Islam tolerates pedophilia. She claims that it will not be long before the Prophet himself starts being described as a child abuser for allegedly marrying his wife Ayse when she was only nine years old.

    In an article entitled "We will not keep any skeletons in the closet", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya claims that the real target in the prosecution of Huseyin Uzmez on child abuse charges could be the Vakit daily seeing how "cartel newspapers and television channels are putting the emphasis on the term 'Vakit columnist' in referring to Huseyin Uzmez and complementing references to Vakit with epithets like 'religionist' and 'pro-Sharia.'"

    In an article entitled "The Prophet denounces ethnic consciousness", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak refers to the equation "Turk=Islam" [suggested by poet Ismet Ozer recently] as one invented by foreigners in response to the fact that "the Turks did Islam a great service and established a universal empire." Dilipak objects to the use of this equation in a nationalist sense and cites passages from a long poem by Mehmet Akif Ersoy where Islam is defined as a "nationality" and consciousness of ethnicity as an aberration condemned by the Prophet Mohammad.

    EG/


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