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Turkish Mass Media Bulletin 07-09/06/2008




No. 108/08

A. NEWS ITEMS
1. National Security Council report on “ethnic identity” was made public
2. Statements by Hasan Ercakica on the program of Lynn Pascoe
3. Talat on the memorandum signed between Cyprus and Great Britain
4. More reactions to the Cyprus-UK memorandum
5. Interview of Avci with the TRT-1 television
6. Turgay Avci comments on the UN report on UNFICYP
7. Kibrisli newspaper: “The political gains and the image which the Turkish side acquired after the referendum have almost been lost!”
8. On reports about Turkish Cypriot woman being treated for mad cow disease
9. BES accuses Cemal Bulutoglulari of imposing embargo on the contacts of its members abroad
10. A garbage gathering area will be created in occupied Koutsoventis
11. Memorandum of understanding was signed between Turkey and Oman

B. Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
1. On the new concept of threat by the General Staff
2. From the Turkish Press of 6, 7 and 8 June 2008


A. NEWS ITEMS
1. National Security Council report on “ethnic identity” was made public
Istanbul Bugun newspaper (06.06.08) publishes the following report by Tolga Atar under the title: “MGK´s secret report has emerged”:
“The "Report on the Distribution of Ethnic Groups in Turkey" that was assigned to three separate universities eight years ago by directive of the National Security Council [MGK] but the results of which were never published, has been placed into the file of the bookstore murders in Malatya. A full 14 months have passed since the killing of three missionaries, one of them a German, in Malatya. New information and documents have been presented each day by intervening attorneys into the file in the case, which is underway in the Malatya Third Court for Serious Crimes. One of these documents is the report on ethnic identity in Turkey, which to date has not been revealed to the public, and which is alleged to have been drawn up upon the direction of the MGK.

In the report, a classification is provided ranging from the Kurds to the Georgians, from the Pomaks to the Laz, and from the Bosniaks to the Albanians. The report, whose conclusions were never shared with the public, was assigned by the MGK in the year 2000 to faculty members at Erciyes, Elazig Firat, and Malatya Inonu Universities. Sixty eight provinces of Turkey were surveyed one by one, in their districts, villages, neighborhoods, and streets, in the study headed by Professor Saban Kuzgun. The study determined what ethnic origin, sect, or religious brotherhood people belonged to.

Here, according to that report, is the distribution of the populations of the different ethnic groups in Turkey:
Turks: The groups coming from Turkish roots, such as the Turkmens, Yoruks, Tatars, Tahtacis, Terekeme, Karacays, and Azeris, constitute the Turks. This group, which does not concern itself for its roots, is about 50 million, and when the others undergoing a process of Turkification are added, this number rises to 55 million.

Kurds: The second group portrayed in the report are the Kurds. When the Zazas, approximately 3 million, are included, the Kurdish population exceeds 12.6 million. But of this number 2.5 million are in a process of significant Turkification, and in some areas, there are even those who do not acknowledge their Kurdishness.

Georgians: They live primarily in Ordu, Artvin, Samsun, and the Marmara region. With a population approaching 1 million, the Georgians, apart from those living in a few provinces in the Black Sea region, have forgotten the Georgian language. But it is noteworthy that, with the establishment of Georgia in recent years, there has been an upswing in interest in their Georgianness.

Bosniaks: The population of the Bosniaks, who live concentrated in Adapazari, Izmir, and Manisa, is 2 million.

Circassians: The Circassians, who live in various cities, amount to about 2.5 million; 80 percent seem to have forgotten the Circassian language.

Arabs: They live primarily in Siirt, Sirnak, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Adana, and Istanbul. Their population in Turkey is shown as 870,000.

Albanians: Their population in Turkey exceeds 1.3 million. Over half of the Albanian population, as a result of the Turkification process, has no more connection with Albanianness. But in 500,000 of them, there is a very vibrant "Albanian consciousness."

Laz: The real number of Laz, thought to be high based on the fallacy of all people of the Eastern Black Sea region being considered as Laz, is in fact about 80,000. Because the real Laz, a Caucasian people who speak the Laz language, live in Rize and a few villages of Artvin, and in a number of Marmara-region cities to which they have migrated.

Hemshins: They live, like the Laz, in various districts of Rize and Artvin, and number approximately 13,000.

Pomaks: The Pomaks, who according to some are ethnically Turkish, and according to others are from the Slavic race, are about 600,000, and have become completely Turkified.

Other ethnic groups: The number of [members of] other ethnic groups living in Turkey exceeds 1 million. Among these, the Gypsies are the majority, with a population of 700,000. Additionally, 60,000 Armenians, 20,000 Jews, 15,000 Greeks, and a small number of Assyrians also continue to live in Turkey.

Subtitle: Professor Kuzgun Died in Accident, and Team Abandoned Project
Professor Saban Kuzgun, 50 years old, who headed the project, lost his life on 14 May 2000 in a traffic accident on the Kayseri-to-Malatya Highway. The other faculty members working on the study decided to leave the project following the suspicious death of Dr Saban Kuzgun. During that period, this project, which was termed a "map of religion" by certain circles, was quite controversial, due to the rationale that "files are being opened on people."

Subtitle: Turkish Population Increasing
One of the most striking headings of the report lies in the rate of increase of the population of Turks. According to this, the Turkish population displays a very small increase over the past 15 years. In contrast, the Kurds show an increase of 2.5 percent per year. According to the study, the Bosniak are declining by 0.12 percent per year, the Turks by 0.8 percent per year, and the Albanians by 0.05 percent per year. On the other hand, it is observed that the Turkification rate is highest among the Kurds, who are followed by the Bosniaks, the Circassians, and the Albanians.

Subtitle: 8.75 Million Alevis
It is stated that there is also a high rate of Turkification among the Arabs migrating out of the Southeast. Meanwhile, the population of the Alevis, which has been said to be from 5 to 25 million people, is approximately 8.75 million, according to the study. When the approximately 1 million Alevis in Europe, as well as those in the eight provinces in which the study was not completed, are included, there are approximately 10 million Alevis in Turkey. When it is considered that the study was carried out eight years ago, the current Alevi population is estimated at about 11 million. Accordingly, 85 percent of Turkey's population appears to be Sunni.”

2. Statements by Hasan Ercakica on the program of Lynn Pascoe
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.06.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, has replied to the news published in the Greek Cypriot press that the Turkish side has given a negative answer to the invitation sent to the two leaders by Lynn Pascoe, deputy UN Secretary-General responsible for Political Affairs, to meet for dinner on 17 June, during Mr Pascoe’s visit to the Island.

In a written statement on the issue, Mr Ercakica criticized the fact that such allegation was put forward while “there is still no definite meeting or dinner”. Mr Ercakica said that the work regarding Mr Pascoe’s visit is still continuing and added that the meetings and the social activities during his stay on the island will be determined after this work is completed.
(I/Ts.)

3. Talat on the memorandum signed between Cyprus and Great Britain
Illegal Bayrak television (07.06.08) broadcast the following:
“President Mehmet Ali Talat has said the memorandum signed between the Greek Cypriot Administration and Britain would harm the common views reached between him and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias.

Speaking at the opening of the 32nd TRNC International Fair, the President strongly condemned Britain, saying this kind of an approach would not help find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. He also added that the Turkish Cypriot side is against Britain’s recent attitude towards the Cyprus problem.

Pointing to the complex political developments, President Talat said they had launched a new negotiations process with the Greek Cypriot side and were working to find an immediate solution to the Cyprus issue.

On Thursday, British Premier Gordon Brown and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias signed a memorandum of understanding which made a reference to "a federation based on a bi-communal and bi-zonal structure".”

Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (08.06.08), in its front page under the title “Solution is not guaranteed”, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat made important statements regarding the new process that will start. During the 32nd General Assembly of the Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union (KTAMS), Mr Talat said that he follows the political/ social atmosphere of the country with concern, adding that the solution is not guaranteed. Mr Talat said that it is really important that all the sectors start within unity and cooperation for the Cyprus settlement. Noting that the launching of a new procedure is positive, but the efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side are not enough for the solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr Talat said that because they are looking for a solution with the Greek Cypriots, they should also have the will for a solution. Mr Talat said that they should take support for finding a completeness solution for the Cyprus problem and he will be thankful for the support that will be given.

Mr Talat said that apart from the working and technical committees, the “give and take” negotiations should also begin for a mutual support to the solution of the problem. He said that there has been progress in many issues regarding what the working and technical committees have done, so he will meet with President Demetris Christofias to put them into practice.

4. More reactions to the Cyprus-UK memorandum
Illegal Bayrak television (06.06.08) broadcast the following:
“Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has strongly reacted to the memorandum signed between the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Premier said the memorandum unveiled the real attitude of Mr Christofias towards the Cyprus issue, stressing that no solution could be brought to the Cyprus problem by excluding the Turkish Cypriot People.

In a statement, Mr Soyer said it is not right for the Greek Cypriot Administration –which linked the issue of British bases to the EU acquis communautaire – to oppose Turkey as a guarantor power in Cyprus.

‘You link this issue to the EU acquis communautaire and you determine the regions of the basis at the European Union but you oppose the position of Turkey – which is one of the three guarantor powers in Cyprus. This is not a correct approach’, the premier said.

He stated that the protocol has brought the rights of three guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and Britain, stemming from the Treaty of Establishment to the agenda of the European Union.

Stressing that Turkey’s position as a guarantor power is out of debate, he said Turkey’s guarantorship is being needed and wanted by the Turkish Cypriot People to feel themselves in security.”

On ORP’s reaction illegal Bayrak (06.06.08) broadcast the following:
“The junior partner of the coalition Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) has called the so-called `Memorandum of Understanding` signed between Britain and the Greek Cypriot Administration as untimely.

In a statement, the ORP said the signing of the memorandum is a move running contrary to the ongoing progress in Cyprus, which he said, would be affected negatively.

`This development makes it inevitable for the Turkish Cypriot People to question the contributions of Britain – as a guarantor power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council – to the efforts aimed at bringing about a comprehensive and just solution to the Cyprus problem`, said the statement issued from the ORP.

“The memorandum’s referral to the existence of a single community in Cyprus is unacceptable”, the party said, stressing that the Turkish Cypriots will never accept to be assimilated into the Greek Cypriot community and to be shown as part of an administration which has been usurping their rights.

It said that the memorandum is not valid for the Turkish Cypriot People and added that it is against all attempts and statements where the Turkish Cypriots were excluded.

`While criticizing Britain – which has special links with Cyprus – for acting so much irresponsibly, we invite the British Government to adopt a neutral position and to open the way of a solution by taking care of the two sides sensitivities` the party said.”

5. Interview of Avci with the TRT-1 television
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (09.06.08) reports that in statements the night before yesterday to TRT-1 television, Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs said that the Turkish Cypriots want a solution where there will be no conflicts and wars and that they proved this in the referendum in 2004.

Mr Avci noted that the Turkish Cypriots should have equal rights with the Greek Cypriots in a possible solution. He reminded that there are parameters put forward together with Turkey for the solution and noted that they are ready for a bi-zonal solution which will be based on the political equality of the peoples and in which the guarantees of Turkey will continue and two founding states will exist.

Mr Avci reminded that they are waging a struggle for the lifting of the so-called isolations of the Turkish Cypriots and that there is a case in Britain on the issue of the direct flights. He said that while the Turkish Cypriots are waiting for the lifting of the isolations, they should work more actively and be opened to the world with the support of Turkey.

Mr Avci noted that there are great developments and they have important expectations for the coming years especially in the sectors of tourism and education. He alleged that the Cyprus problem is unsolved until today because of the economic power of the Greek Cypriots, their accession to the EU and the pressure exerted by the Church.
(I/Ts.)

6. Turgay Avci comments on the UN report on UNFICYP
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.06.08) reports on statements made by the self-styled foreign minister Turgay Avci on the UN report on the Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), presented to the Security Council by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr. Avci noted that the UN report has caused disappointment to the Turkish Cypriot side, since the words used on the issue of “isolation” are far from reflecting the reality.

“Especially if it is considered that absolutely no concrete step has been taken and no tangible progress has been achieved on the issue of the isolation, it can be said that UN Secretary-General’s approach has caused disappointment to our side”, Mr. Avci said.
(ML)

7. Kibrisli newspaper: “The political gains and the image which the Turkish side acquired after the referendum have almost been lost!”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (09.06.08) argues that in the new process, which started with the opening of the Ledra Street area crossing point, the Turkish side has succeeded “to present” to the world President Christofias and the Greek Cypriot side, as the side which wants the solution. The paper writes, inter alia, the following:

“While the Greek Cypriots are trying to demonize the Turkish side, the Turkish side is almost doing whatever it can to make the Greek Cypriots look like angels. The political gains and the image which the Turkish side acquired after the referendum have almost been lost! In simple words, we are returning back to the Denktas period. This must be a great success achieved in such a short time! After that the Greek Cypriot side will declare Talat as opponent of the solution accusing him of ‘becoming Denktas’. Let everybody be ready for this!”

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (09.06.08) reports that with a decision of the self-styled council of ministers after a proposal by the “ministry of economy and tourism”, the breakaway regime is giving five billion new Turkish liras per month to “Cyprus Times” newspaper issued in the English language by Dogan Harman, who reportedly is “honorary advisor” of the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

The money is given to the above-mentioned newspaper for “promoting the country in the form of advertisements”. Mr Harman is also the publisher of daily Kibrisli newspaper in the Turkish language.
(I/Ts.)

8. On reports about Turkish Cypriot woman being treated for mad cow disease
Illegal Bayrak television (08.06.08) broadcast the following:
“The Minister of Health Esref Vaiz has said reports that a woman receiving treatment at the Lefkosia Dr. Burhan State Hospital has ‘Mad cow disease’ are nothing more than speculative news.

He said the woman in question was receiving treatment for a rare brain disorder. The health Minister also reassured the public that there was no risk of infection whatsoever.

Explaining that the 48-year woman, whose name has been kept confidential, had undergone numerous tests in the TRNC and Turkey for various brain and brain related tumors and illnesses, including “Creutzfeld-Jacobs Disease, commonly known as “Mad Cow” disease, the Health Minister said that a definite diagnosis could only be made following an autopsy of the brain as and when the woman died.

Minister Vaiz said that the woman who has been under close medical observation at the Lefkosia State Hospital for the last 15 days will be discharged once her treatment was completed.

Explaining that the patient’s illness could only be passed on to others through organ transplants, Vaiz said that there was no risk of anyone being infected by the virus through normal contact.”

9. BES accuses Cemal Bulutoglulari of imposing embargo on the contacts of its members abroad
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.06.08) reports that Birtan Aktolga, chairman of the “Municipal Workers’ Trade Union” (BES), has accused the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari of preventing the contacts of the members of the trade union abroad.

Mr Aktolga said that Mr Bulutoglulari is applying embargo on BES and noted that the “mayor” has annulled the permissions of a delegation from BES which would depart last night for Hungary in order to participate in a meeting which was about to begin today in Budapest between the Hungarian Trade Unions (MOL), the Greek Cypriot PEO trade union and BES.

Mr Aktolga accused the “mayor” of being the biggest obstacle for the efforts of BES “to increase its international representation within the framework of the vision of the Turkish Cypriots to be opened to the world”.
(I/Ts.)

10. A garbage gathering area will be created in occupied Koutsoventis
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.06.08) reports that the implementation of the Master Plan for the Hard Waste Products has started in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The director of the so-called Department for Protection of the Environment, Hulya Altan said that hard waste products are among the most important problems of the occupied part of Cyprus and added that the implementation of the Master Plan started for raising the environmental security of the Turkish Cypriots to the level of the EU.

She said that the plan, which was prepared by local and EU experts, will be fully implemented in 2012. Within the framework of the plan they will create a garbage gathering area in occupied Koutsoventis, because this area is located at equal distance from all the occupied regions. “Until 2012 all the garbage storing areas, from the smallest to the biggest, will close down”, said Mrs Altan noting that the works for a central garbage disposing area have started.
(I/Ts.)

11. Memorandum of understanding was signed between Turkey and Oman
Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.06.08) reported the following from Ankara:
“Turkey-Oman Joint Economic Commission 7th Term Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Ankara on Friday.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said the aim was to turn bilateral relations into permanent, commercial and economic partnership.

Atalay said the parties made decisions within the scope of the memorandum of understanding to boost relations in economy and trade. "Turkish party will be in an effort to implement the matters included in the memorandum of understanding," he said.

Omani National Economy Ministry Secretary General Mohammed Bin Nasser Al Khasibi, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding, said the agreement would have an important contribution to relations between te two countries.”


B. COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
1. On the new concept of threat by the General Staff
Istanbul Sunday´s Zaman (08.06.08) publishes the following column by Dogu Ergil under the title: “Irrationality”:
“A copy of a letter undersigned by the chief of General Staff addressed to select civilians, inviting them to join a clandestine patriotic organization to battle the "enemy" alongside the armed forces (Taraf, June 2, 2008), has occupied the front pages of newspapers lately. The qualities of the people selected for such a national crusade are defined as "strong in national sentiments, knowledgeable and courageous." The reasons for selection are "closely watched exceptional qualities and abilities and admirable positive behavior and national vigor." What this exceptional nationalist would do is laid out in the chief commander's short letter of invitation: "In the event of enemy aggression against the integrity of our homeland and the existence of our nation, a series of top-secret preparations have been carried out during peacetime to be put into effect in the form of secretive struggle methods that will run parallel to that of the armed forces."

The letter ends with a brief explanation stating that "the officer that I have sent [to contact] you will give you the necessary information" and the general's confidence that the invited/contacted person will "join these activities" because "every Turk would gladly pitch in to protect our national existence."

This draft letter appeared in the press as a supplement to news on the reorganization and activities of the Department of Irregular Warfare, affiliated with the Council of Mobilization Affairs of the General Staff. It seems that the definition (of the "enemy"), functions and structure of this secretive organization have been expanded from what it is today. The definition of the "enemy" has been altered to fit the following misdeeds expected of it: "occupation [of the country] by physical, economic, political and psychological means." However, none of these forms of "aggression" are defined in any specific ways, leaving the interpretation of what aggression is and the nature of the "enemy" to the group/authority who defines it and is intent on fighting against it. In this case the enemy may very well be legitimate civilian individuals and institutions and long time foreign allies of Turkey. Furthermore, the already existing 12 regional directorates of this "defense force" is planned to be increased to 24 by 2010. This alone shows under how much danger we are!

What is not thought of is the democratic monitoring of how this secretive organization, the raison d'être of which is to wage war on the home front, defines the "enemy" and the methods it chooses to exterminate it. It is pretty obvious that the government, political parties and public opinion are just beginning to learn about the mentality and the planned activities of the Department of Irregular Warfare. What if some of these political parties and the government itself are part of the "usual suspects," according to new definitions?

The functions of the department are only part of the problem if it is based on a military authority that accepts no control over its decisions and deeds. The definitions are equally problematic. What "physical occupation" means is pretty clear. What about "economic occupation"? Is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has provided economic stability to Turkey's economy when it was in disorder, an instrument of foreign/enemy occupation? What about the foreign concern that has bought off Oyak Bank, a bank that used to be funded by the savings of military personnel? Is the European Union exclusive economic zone an enemy economic enterprise? If so (according to the rhetoric used by some of the members of the bureaucracy), how shall we fight "irregularly" with such enemies? Will this struggle be expanded to legitimate domestic authorities that collaborate with the designated foreign enemy? If so, how shall we provide a legitimate civilian authority and a democratic regime based on popular will?

Let us skip "political occupation" that may be alluding to the dangers of socialism, liberalism, social democracy or the very essence of democracy for being too tolerant to diversity and defiant of the tutelage of the bureaucracy or the state over the society. Let us dwell on "psychological occupation." This is a scary example of both paranoia of anything that is different than what is endorsed by the security apparatus as "favorable" and the totalistic wish to control all vestiges of social life. It is not clear whether it is religion that is referred to in terms of psychological encroachment on secular life or not, but what is intended looks like the preference of secular totalitarianism over religious totalitarianism that only a few people would condone and yearn for in Turkey.”

2. From the Turkish Press of 6, 7 and 8 June 2008
Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 6, 7 and 8 June:
Constitutional court ruling on amendment lifting headscarf ban: In an article in Milliyet (06.06.08) entitled "The beginning of the end," Derya Sazak argues that the ruling "AKP fell into the trap of the MHP" and had the parliament pass a Law lifting the ban on the use of headscarf in universities without finding a compromise solution to the problem. In his article, Sazak adds that the Erdogan Government made a "historic mistake" by giving priority to the headscarf issue. "Turkey will inevitably enter a new election process if the AKP is closed down and Erdogan is banned from politics," he concludes.

A column by Murat Yetkin in Radikal (06.06.08) censures President Gul for approving the bill lifting the headscarf ban. Yetkin says that had the president vetoed the bill, the issue would not have been taken to the Constitutional Court and maybe a closure case would not have been filed against the AKP.

Describing the Constitutional Court's rejection of the Law on headscarf as Erdogan's "greatest political defeat," he says that the ruling constitutes a "big disappointment" for the AKP and for those who pinned their hopes on the government.

According to a report in Hurriyet (07.06.08), Koksal Toptan, the speaker of the National Assembly, has proposed a bi-cameral structure in legislation claiming that it would reduce the burden of the Constitutional Court. Holding a news conference today, Toptan said that "the Constitutional Court's ruling on the headscarf issue is a 'direct interference with the powers of the parliament.'"

Commenting on the court decision, Cihan Pacaci, secretary general of the Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), has said that he does not expect early elections. According to a report in Ortadogu (07.06.08), Pacaci has described the court decision as a political and not a judicial one. Predicting a lack of trust between the nation and the state in the aftermath of this decision, Pacaci is reported to have said: "Even if we do not agree, the Constitutional Court decision is final. Commonsense and not polarization should dictate the process ahead of us."

Assessing the Constitutional Court decision in a column in Milliyet (07.06.08), Fikret Bila says that the court performed its fundamental duty of safeguarding the Constitution. Referring to criticisms leveled by pro-government sectors to the effect that the decision was a "judicial coup" or even "a declaration of war," Bila argues that presenting the case as an issue between those in favor and those against democracy is a deception, adding that the issue can be better described as one between the pro-secular and the anti-secular sectors.

In Hurriyet (07.06.08) Enis Berberoglu in an article relates the views of Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), leader Devlet Bahceli on the Constitutional Court decision. According to Bahceli, the AKP should not wait for the conclusion of the closure case and immediately establish another party. Only 39 deputies facing political bans should remain in the AKP, notes Bahceli, adding that the new party should go ahead and establish a new government. Berberoglu also interviews Hasim Kilic, chief justice of the Constitutional Court, who believes "in the necessity of coexistence despite everything."

Gungor Mengi asserts that the Constitutional Court has exercised its duty of safeguarding the Constitution by reaching the decision on the headdress. Criticizing those who claim that the decision was a political one in his column in Vatan (07.06.08), Mengi writes: "What is to happen if a party acquires the majority to amend the Constitution single-handedly and if it proposes to amend those articles of the Constitution the amendment of which cannot even be proposed? Will the Constitutional Court not supervise this development?"

Describing the court decision to annual the amendment on the headdress as a historic one, Mengi argues that this development will only improve Turkish democracy.

Describing the court decision as the "bankruptcy of the policy the AKP started implementing in the aftermath of the 22 July elections," in Cumhuriyet (07.06.08) Mustafa Balbay laments in his column the absence of a strong message from all the sides of the political spectrum to the effect that the nation should not be concerned, that the absence of the AKP from the political scene is not the end of the world, that Turkey will overcome this crisis as well, and that there is no such thing as a lack of alternative in politics.

In an article entitled "Let us give them their due", in Yeni Safak (07.06.08) columnist Fehmi Koru takes issue with the way the Constitutional Court's latest ruling has been described as the AKP's "first political defeat" by certain foreign and domestic commentators. He argues that the defeat of a political party or politician presupposes a political rival, adding that since the Constitutional Court is not a political body, it is a logical mistake to represent its verdict as a political defeat for the AKP or Tayyip Erdogan. He also asserts that the top court's decision signifies the success of a campaign against the Government conducted by part of the news media that accused Parliament of inviting "chaos" in voting to pass amendments to Articles 10 and 42.

The Justice and Development Party, AKP, is inclined to bring forth a constitutional amendment package that will not only change the structure and authorities of the Constitutional Court, but that will, at the same time, incorporate sweeping democratization measures. According to a report by Abdullah Karakus in Milliyet (08.06.08), a majority of the AKP Central Executive Council members are of the opinion that the Constitutional Court exceeded its authorities. The report adds that Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and various other leading names within the party are opposed to constitutional amendments, saying: "Let us not take any concrete measures. This might be against us. Let us submit our defense and let us wait. Let us see the result." The proposal of certain members not to submit a defense in connection with the closure case, however, was rejected at the meeting.

According to a report by Veli Toprak in Vatan (08.06.08), the AKP is concentrating on three alternatives in the aftermath of the Constitutional Court decision. One of the options is not to submit a defense, an option over which a binding decision has not been reached. The second option of constitutional amendments, which was widely discussed by AKP deputies since the filing of the closure case, has yet to receive the green light from Prime Minister Erdogan. The third option is holding early elections acting on the assumption that the AKP will be closed down.

Pointing out that the issue of the existence of democracy in Turkey has now been placed on the agenda because of the Constitutional Court decision, Melih Asik in Milliyet (08.06.08) questions if it existed at all. In the first section of his column, Asik asks whether one can say that democracy exists in a country where the national will is bought in exchange for rice and coal, where election promises are never kept, where the election threshold is kept at ten percent, where the president is elected by a single party leader, where only the rich can engage in politics, and where party leaders determine who will become deputies.

Lauding the Constitutional Court decision in an article in Hurriyet (08.06.08), Oktay Eksi says that the time has come to put a stop to the efforts being exerted for years by the ruling party to place the state and educational systems on a religious foundation. Citing all the moves made by the government to destroy the secular system and the Ataturk reforms and principles, Eksi calls on those who now protest the court decision to keep quiet since this decision is the outcome of all the anti-secular measures being taken by the government.

Assessing Toptan's proposals for constitutional amendments and a bicameral system in an article in Hurriyet (08.06.08), Enis Berberoglu says that the opposition did not take these proposals seriously but were open to his proposal to hold a leaders' summit. Pointing out that the opposition is not ready to negotiate with the government but is not opposed to sit at a round table with Toptan because "he has not yet used the credit extended to him by the opposition," a credit the writer says he acquired through the messages he conveyed on his way to his current position. Viewing Toptan as a candidate for the leadership of a party that might be established to replace the AKP, Berberoglu does not rule out the possibility of a presidency for Toptan in the event President Gul is forced to leave the Cankaya Mansion to head the AKP.

Assessing the current situation in the country in an article entitled the "Declaration of war" in Radikal (08.06.08), Turker Alkan views the headdress as the political symbol of shari'a and explains that the fear of the headdress felt by some sectors is not confined to universities but concerns the spread of the shari'a law into all spheres of our lives. Showing the headdressed wives of high-ranking AKP officials as an example, Alkan argues that the sight of these women do not inspire confidence that the secular principles will be safeguarded. Maintaining that this lack of trust is behind the court decision, the writer concludes: "The fundamental problem is the following: What did the AKP do to eliminate this concern and lack of trust? It would be beneficial for them to seek for an answer to this question before making rash decisions and declaring war."

In an article in Cumhuriyet (08.06.08), Mustafa Balbay interprets Koksal Toptan's remarks about the legislative power to mean that the AKP does not recognize the Constitutional Court. Pointing out that Erdogan is currently keeping silent and using his entourage to express his views, the writer bemoans the fact that the AKP's concept of conciliation is everyone towing the AKP line. Explaining AKP’s views on state institutions, Balbay writes: "Every institution will accept unconditionally the existence of the AKP. If they do not accept it, they will either be destroyed, or totally altered." Showing the Higher Education Council (YOK) as a concrete example of this attitude, Balbay recalls that when Erdogan Tezic headed YOK, the AKP tried to curb its authorities, whereas it adopted a totally opposite stand when one of its own came to head the Council. Arguing that the AKP view of the Constitutional Court is the product of the same mentality, Balbay says that the current AKP project is to draw a new roadmap without relinquishing power. The writer concludes by calling on Turkey to shake itself free of this project.

In an article entitled "A judiciary which cannot challenge military", in Vakit (08.06.08) columnist Lutfu Oflaz criticizes the judiciary for failing to remain impartial and independent in the face of the military's influence. He says: "It should challenge the military and declare that it is only guided by the universal principles of law rather than instructions given by generals."

In an article entitled "Stating the obvious," in Vakit (08.06.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that the current regime in Turkey could be described neither as a republic nor democracy because the Constitutional Court has effectively established an autocratic system. He says: "The legislature and the executive have been eliminated from the picture as a result of a judicial coup." He concludes by saying that social peace cannot be achieved in Turkey unless the Republic is liberated from its "saviors."

Finally, in an article entitled "What will happen now?", in Zaman (08.06.08) columnist Mustafa Unal says that a meeting expected to be held between Toptan and the leaders of major political parties next week should produce an action plan aimed at overcoming the current political crisis which, he notes, also offers important opportunities. He says: "The system cannot function and offer solutions in its present state. What should be done? The first step must be a judicial step and there is enough determination in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) to achieve it. It could be followed by constitutional amendments to redefine the principle of separation of powers more clearly."
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