TURKEY tr-national

Turkish Press Scan for Feb 17

HDN | 2/17/2010 12:00:00 AM |

These are some of the major headlines and their summaries in Turkish press on February 17, 2010. The Hürriyet Daily News does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

From the Hürriyet Daily News:


-- No redneck townsman of mine

Istanbul’s Güngören district has sought to disassociate its community from an imaginary movie character, the daily Habertürk reported Wednesday. Recep İvedik, a fictional redneck character played by actor and director Şahan Gökbakar in a trilogy of movies of the same name, has disturbed Güngören residents. İvedik, whose comedy status is based on being a crude redneck, states several times in the movies that he is from Güngören. In response, the Youth Council for Güngören District Municipality made the decision to formally disassociate their community from İvedik, even though he is an imaginary character. Abdullah Yılmaz, president of the Youth Council, made a statement in front of a Güngören movie theater, saying: “We are uneasy that our district is being mentioned by a character like İvedik. Güngören is a district where educated and intellectual people live. It is not right to associate Güngören with an impolite character who does not know any manners.” The council has also decided that they will take all necessary action in order to prevent Güngören from being mentioned if a fourth installment of the series is produced. Gökbakar’s latest movie, “Recep İvedik 3,” opened in theaters last week, earning 10.5 million Turkish Liras in its first three days of screening, breaking a Turkish record in the process.


Press scanner Sabah

-- Security training by US Consulate General

Claims that the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is offering security training to religious minorities has been verified by consulate officials, daily Sabah reported Wednesday. The claim was made in December by Numan Kurtulmuş, leader of the Saadet (Felicity) Party, but the Istanbul Governor’s Office said they had no information on such matter. Sharon Anderholm Wiener, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, replied to the  request for information from Erol Erdoğan, head of Saadet’s Istanbul Provincial group. Wiener said they offer training for security personnel of organizations who have American members or guests at their request. The Consul General described this action as “unofficial consultancy” and added the practice started a year after the bombings of the British Consul General of Istanbul, the HSBC Bank Center building and some synagogues in 2003. “Some of those who partake in this training are members of religious minorities; the schools, hotels, private businesses and business organizations that host American visitors, and Turkish government institutions with which we have had long-term working relationships,” said Wiener in a written statement. She said the practice aims to increase general understanding of security in areas visited by U.S. officials.


-- School bus used for prostitution

A Bulgarian woman and the driver of a school minibus were taken into custody for engaging in prostitution while the driver waited outside, the daily Hürriyet reported Wednesday. Police received a notification alleging that a school minibus was being used for prostitution, along with a telephone number for the minibus. Police called the number and asked for a meeting while masquerading as a customer. A police officer made a deal for 60 Turkish Liras with Nushka Yordanova Karmazova, the 40-year-old Bulgarian woman. They then boarded the school bus operated by Ramazan Kocaman. The driver stopped the minibus in a side street and went outside to wait. Police units that had followed the minibus raided the operation and took both Kocaman and Karmazova into custody. The woman was released after questioning while Kocaman was arrested for providing a place for prostitution and being a facilitator for the act. Karmazova said she gave 10 liras of her earnings to the driver for the use of the vehicle. Karmazova, who is married to a Turk, was taken into custody one year ago for prostitution at a pickle shop. In Turkey, minibuses are generally used to transport students home from school. 


-- Marmara lacks economically valuable fish

Recent research has shown there are no longer any fish of economic value left in the Sea of Marmara, the daily Star reported Wednesday. Last year, the Erdal-Sevinç İnönü Foundation began preparing a study entitled “Watching the changing oceanographical structure of the Sea of Marmara.” Levent Artüz, a marine biologist and the project’s coordinator, said sea snails are the only form of marine life with any economic value left in the sea. “The sea snails came to the Sea of Marmara as invaders, but they have an economic value.” However, all other fish with economic value, including bluefish, tunny or horse mackerel, no longer live in the sea because of pollution, Artüz said, adding that the level of oxygen in the water is too low. “In our research, we made measurements in the Sea of Marmara and found out that, especially on the shores of residential areas and where discharge centers are located, the levels of oxygen are very low,” the biologist said. The pollution in the sea is mainly caused by waste from residential areas which are discharged into the sea. “The pollution on the shores is spread to Marmara Island and the area of Uçmakdere, which are known for their clean shores,” said Aktüz.

From the Anatolia news agency:



Durdu Kavak, chief prosecutor in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, argued that procedures regarding those who came to Turkey from Mount Qandil and Makhmour camp via Habur border crossing were carried out in line with the law and talked about that day.

Kavak said, "Four prosecutors went to Habur that day. After those people testified and most of them freed, only five of them were sent to court to be arrested. It was 3:30 a.m. The Silopi Criminal Court of Peace judge asked the suspects to be brought to court from Habur. However, security forces said those people could not be brought to Silopi for security reasons. Then the judge suggested that they go to Habur. The judge and secretary who were preparing the minutes were taken to Habur by an armored vehicle."

"When suspects say, 'I have left the organization and come here' as written in the second paragraph of Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code, they have the right to efficient repentance. They did not say, 'they repent,' but there is no obligation to say that under the article," Kavak also said.


The house and office of Ilhan Cihaner, chief prosecutor in the eastern province of Erzincan, were searched, and Cihaner was detained on charges of "being a member of the Ergenekon organization." Cihaner was brought to the eastern province of Erzurum while an authority rebellion occurred in Ankara.

Osman Sanal, a prosecutor in Erzurum with special powers, went to Erzincan with three other prosecutors with a search warrant from a high criminal court. Anti-terror teams also joined the six-hour search in which Cihaner's documents, notes, CDs and computer were seized.

The Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) showed the first reaction. It said, "This is a violation of the law made by unauthorized people regarding a public prosecutor who should be tried in the Supreme Court of Appeals." Thirty members of the Supreme Court of Appeals called on the chairmanship council to gather with a special agenda. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) decided to convene on Wednesday.



A chief prosecutor in eastern Turkey was taken into custody for allegedly being a member of the Ergenekon, a suspected criminal network that involves bureaucrats and military officers. The chief prosecutor of the eastern province of Erzincan, Ilhan Cihaner, was detained on an appeal by a prosecutor with special powers, Osman Sanal. Sanal on Tuesday searched Ilhaner's office and his house, seizing a number of printed and digital documents.


A team of troops with the 4th Commando Brigade in the southeastern province of Tunceli has launched an operation against the PKK after receiving intelligence that the organization would stage an attack on the anniversary of the capture of its terrorist head, Abdullah Ocalan. The team of commandos included only commissioned officers, petty officers and specialized sergeants.


Britain's capital markets regulatory authority has fined Mehmet Sepil, CEO of Turkish Genel Energy — owned by Cukurova Group — 967,000 pounds for insider trading with shares of Heritage Oil. The fine is the biggest ever that has been imposed on an individual for "market abuse" in Britain.



Two important developments took place within the scope of the Ergenekon probe on Tuesday. For the first time, the admirals testified to prosecutors in Turkey. Adms. Kadir Sagdic and Mehmet Fatih Ilgar, who are accused of being members of consultative committee of the Kafes (Cage) Action Plan, testified in Izmir upon the request of special prosecutors.


Police detained Erzincan Chief Prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner on Tuesday after a search at his office and house as part of the ongoing probe into Ergenekon, a clandestine group charged with plotting to overthrow the government. Cihaner is accused of "implementing the Action Plan against Reactionary Forces" in Erzincan.



Ilhan Cihaner, chief prosecutor in the eastern province of Erzincan who launched an investigation into congregations, was raided at the courthouse by his colleagues. Cihaner's house and office were searched, and he was interrogated at night.

Cihaner's name was first heard with an investigation into Ismailaga congregation in Erzincan in 2007. But Cihaner was discharged from this investigation upon a tip-off letter that "Ismailaga congregation was armed," and Osman Sanal, a prosecutor in the eastern province of Erzurum with special powers, was entrusted with the investigation.

Osman Sanal came to Erzincan with two other prosecutors at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Prosecutors entered Cihaner's office in the courthouse with police officers, showed the "search, seizure and detention" warrant and seized some files and CDs. Cihaner's house was also searched simultaneously.

Cihaner was detained on charges of "being a member of Ergenekon organization, forgery, defamation and threat," and he was taken to Erzurum for interrogation. This development had a bomb impact on Ankara. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will convene Wednesday to discuss the developments. The Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) said, "It was a serious violation of laws."


When Bulgaria opened the dam gates on the Arda River, the northwestern province of Edirne turned into a lake for the first time in four years. News agencies took photographs of Edirne, which resembled Venice as the Tunca and Meric rivers overflowed. Pazarkule road, connecting Turkey to Greece, was closed because of the floods. Military vehicles rescued people who were stranded in the floods in Karaagac town where schools were also closed.



For the first time in Turkish history, the office and the residence of a chief prosecutor were searched under orders of Special Prosecutor Osman Sanal. Sanal also participated in the search, during which piles of documents belonging to chief prosecutor of Erzincan were seized.

Cihaner who was taken into custody under charges of forgery, slandering, threatening and being a member of the Ergenekon, was taken to Erzurum. Lawyer Turgut Kazan who pointed out that first class judges and prosecutors could only be tried at the Supreme Court, said "What has been done is a clear violation of the laws."


Union of Judges and Prosecutors or YARSAV called on the justice minister to resign and Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors will get together at an extraordinary meeting.

The judiciary which reacted strongly to the arrest of the chief prosecutor, said it would have legal consequences that went beyond the chief prosecutor in person. YARSAV said the arrest of the chief prosecutor by unauthorised personnel was a clear violation of the laws.

"The government is attempting to take over the judiciary. It is trying to bring into line the judges and prosecutors whom it can not influence. We will file a criminal complaint," said YARSAV.

The arrest caused uneasiness at the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors and the Supreme Court.



Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu paid a visit to Iran to convince Iranian authorities to reach an agreement on a row over the country's nuclear program. Davutoglu had meetings with Iranian authorities during his visit. Davutoglu said, "we are not mediator but we are partners for regional peace." Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin said, "we conveyed our offers to Iranian authorities. We made several proposals which can solve deadlock."


Two admirals, Mehmet Fatih Ilgar and Kadir Sagdic, gave testimonies in Izmir within the scope of Ergenekon probe. Upon demand by special prosecutors who have been conducting the Ergenekon probe, Ilgar testified at the Izmir Court House on Tuesday. Police also detained Erzincan Chief Prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner after his office and house were searched.



Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired a salvo of harsh criticisms against the main opposition leader, Deniz Baykal, over his remarks that prosecutors, who processed a group of PKK members surrendered to security forces at the southeastern Habur border gate, were "fixed" on an instruction from Interior Minister Besir Atalay. "Baykal is lying. Prosecutors went there because of security reasons under related laws," Erdogan told lawmakers from his Justice and Development (AK) Party. The Republican People's Party (CHP) leader has said that they would table a motion of censure on the interior minister.


Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu paid a visit to Tehran and he met with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Motaki. Touching on Iran's nuclear program, Davutoglu said Turkey favored a region of stability. "We are against tensions. We want the Middle East to become a region of stability and we expect Iran's positive contributions to that end," he said.



The Ergenekon investigation in the eastern province of Erzincan is broadening. Erzincan chief prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner's office and house were searched under a court decision, and Cihaner was detained. Many documents and CDs were seized under the instructions of Osman Sanal, a prosecutor in the eastern province of Erzurum with special powers. Cihaner is accused of being a member of Ergenekon terrorist organization, forgery in documents, defamation and threat. He was taken to Erzurum for interrogation.


When Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was holding talks in Iran on Tuesday, Marc Otte, special representative of the European Union (EU) to the Middle East, arrived in Ankara. Otte met a number of Turkish journalists, and talked about Turkey-Middle East relations and Israel. Otte said the Turkish government was not assuming an anti-Semitist attitude but this discourse was used as a weapon by Israel. Otte said the harsh criticisms that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made about Gaza were also voiced by the Europeans.



President of Turkish Football Federation Mahmut Ozgener reached an agreement with Guus Hiddink of the Netherlands for coaching the Turkish national team. The contract will be signed in June when Hiddink's contract with the Russian national team expires.


Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who went to Tehran to find a the solution to the nuclear crisis called on President Mahmud Ahmedinejad and Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki to make contributions to solution. Following his meeting with Davutoglu, Ahmedinejad made a call to the West: "If you provide us with fuel, it is still not late for an agreement."



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