Turkish Press Scan for June 8
HDN | 6/8/2010 12:00:00 AM |
These are some of the major headlines and their summaries in the Turkish press on June 8, 2010. The Hürriyet Daily News does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
From the Hürriyet Daily News:
-- Ergenekon suspects get new hospital option
The number of personnel and units in the Silivri State Hospital has been increased, the daily Akşam reported Tuesday. The hospital is close to Silivri Prison, where Ergenekon defendants are being kept. In the last four months, seven new services have been opened and the number of doctors doubled, meaning that the locals of Silivri district and Silivri Prison’s inmate population of 11,000 should all benefit from the hospital’s increased services. New services in heart surgery, cardiology, plastic surgery, psychiatry and treatment of thoracic disease and have been opened. With the expansion, the number of doctors in the hospital has increased to 50 while in the past it was only 27. The chief physician, Ulvi Yılmaz, said, “There is no lack of expertise anymore. Patients will not be sent to other hospitals from now on.” This also includes Ergenekon defendants who were being sent to other hospitals. The Ergenekon case started in June 2007 with the discovery of 27 hand grenades in a shanty house belonging to a retired noncommissioned officer. The discovery led to scores of arrests and has put nearly 200 journalists, writers, military personnel, gang leaders, scholars, businessmen and politicians in detention in what has become a terror investigation into an alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang known as Ergenekon.
-- Villagers protest headman at election
Villagers in the Küçük Hacılar village of the Aegean province of Isparta elected five villagers with mental disabilities to the local muhtar, or headman’s, committee to show their discontent with his administration, the daily Sabah reported Tuesday. Ali Çönür gained his post in the local elections on March 29, 2009. The members of the village committee resigned from their posts one by one due to alleged disagreements with the muhtar, making it necessary to call elections. In the new polls held by the decision of the District Committee for Local Elections on Sunday, 550 registered electors protested the muhtar’s candidacy by not voting while 48 voters wrote down the name of five people with mental disabilities on the voting list, electing them. Reacting against the election results, Çönür said the villagers’ boycott would lead to giving their settlement a bad name. The results of the election caused dispute among the villagers as well, while some of them agreed with the muhtar’s opinion, others considered the results a chilling surprise. Among the new committee members are Ömer Ç., Hidayet Y. and Mehmet Ü.
-- Refugee camps against human dignity, report says
A report by the parliamentary committee for human rights has shown that refugees, illegal immigrants and asylum seekers kept in camps across Turkey are living under inhumane conditions, the daily Radikal reported Tuesday. Those in the Gaziosman Paşa camp in the Thracian province of Kırklareli complained that they and their visitors had been mistreated by camp police and officials who allegedly did not even allow married couples to hold hands. Meanwhile, those in a “Refugee Guesthouse” in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat complained about the slow progress in their legal cases. According to the report, the camp in Kırklareli shelters 24 refugees of African and Asian origin, including Iranians sent from Camp Ashraf in Iraq who are waiting for a conclusion to their cases at the European Court of Human Rights. The refugees and migrants claimed that the mistreatment from the camp police and officials involved insults and physical insensitivity during body searches and stemmed from their misconception of and prejudice that refugees are terrorists. The illegal immigrants in the Edirne camp said they were deported by Greece, a statement also supported by the police department’s chief for foreigners Ali Türedi, who said the Aegean neighbor had been unlawfully dumping immigrants across the Turkish border so as to avoid paying the deportation costs for each illegal immigrant.
-- Militarism marching in a recreational region
The local Ayvalık municipality in the Aegean province of Balıkesir has been broadcasting the national anthem three times a week with the ceremonies attended by a military parade, daily Birgün reported Tuesday. Referring to a tradition that dates back many years, Deputy Mayor Fatih Ayyürek from the Republican Peoples’ Party, or CHP, said: “The people of Ayvalık are content with the practice and want it to go on. There is no legal obligation.” Every week for 20 years, the national anthem is played at 9 a.m. on Mondays and at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays. It is broadcasted through loudspeakers installed around the city by the municipality. Although Ayyürek said there is no opposition from the people of the district, the practice allegedly causes tension among the populace. According to the claims, those who do not stand up to pay respect to the anthem are warned, and sometimes even exposed to harassment and violence. At times, they are even accused of high treason. Foreign tourists in the region are allegedly under the same pressure. While the anthem is played a military parade allegedly marches to the Cumhuriyet (Republic) Square and holds a ceremony there. Defending the practice, Akyürek said that people were warned but not forced. “Tourists are also very respectful of the practice and even the people of eastern Anatolia origin living here show the same respect.”
From the Anatolia news agency:
-- PROPOSAL TO ‘BECOME A CONFESSOR’
Two prosecutors joined the interrogation of Ibrahim Fırtına, former air forces commander, on Feb. 25, 2010, within the framework of the case ‘Balyoz’ (Sledgehammer). Before questioning the retired general, the prosecutors told him he could make use of efficient repentance and his punishment would be reduced if he made confessions.
Fırtına then said: "I have not committed a crime that requires me to make use of this provision. I do not definitely admit the accusation," and turned down the proposal.
The same proposal was offered to retired Gen. Engin Alan, but not to retired Gen. Engin Doğan.
-- GAS OF FRIENDSHIP
Turkey and Azerbaijan reached a compromise on natural gas bargaining that has been going on for two years. The two countries did not make public the price, but said the price crisis was solved. Turkey and Russia put their historic signatures under the agreement in Istanbul on Monday. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the signing ceremony of Shah Deniz 1 and 2 agreements that envision transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey by the Botas-Socar Shah Deniz Consortium. Accordingly, the natural gas price was re-arranged retrospectively.
-- SUMMER RAIN CLOSES SCHOOLS
Istanbul surrendered yesterday to the heavy rain that has been hitting the Marmara region for a couple of days. Numerous houses and shops, particularly at the Anatolian side of the city, were flooded, and primary and secondary schools were closed for half a day due to heavy rain. The intensity of the rainfall was 56 liters per square meter in Istanbul's Göztepe district.
-- ‘MON CHER’ CRITICISM NEXT TO AL-ASSAD
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered harsh statements about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint press conference with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he met in Istanbul on the sidelines of a conference on cooperation in Asia. "If we will talk about any act of hatred and terror in the Mediterranean, that would be the hatred and state terror of the Israeli government," Erdogan said during the press conference.
Erdogan, who had earlier used the expression of "mon cher" for retired ambassadors, again asked the "mon cher" in Turkey to stop trying to teach him about diplomacy.
-- ISRAEL IS MADDENING
After his meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "If one needs to speak of hate in the Mediterranean, that is Israel's hate. Those who killed a 19-year-old innocent volunteer should not blame others for terrorism. They should look in the mirror," said Erdogan.
"We will not remain silent as long as there is blood and tears in Gaza. The time to lift the blockade in Gaza has come. Innocent people cannot be imprisoned in an open-air jail. Those who give consent to such a thing are committing a crime against humanity," said Erdoğan.
-- RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL IS A MUST
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the fate of relations with Israel depended on its response to international investigations.
"If Israel abstains from the UN committee, normalization of relations is out of the question," said Davutoğlu.
-- MISSILE SHIELD TENSION WITH ISRAEL
Israel, this time, reacted to I-Hawk missile defense system established in Turkey's Iskenderun town. Israeli jets had crossed the border via Iskenderun and bombed a nuclear facility in Syria in September 2007. Last May, Turkey assembled an advanced air defense system named I-Hawk in Iskenderun's Kale village, which was near its border with Syria, to prevent Israel from violating its air space. This move of Turkey concerned Israel. The missile shield restricted the capacity of Israel’s jets to hit Hizbullah or Syria in a possible conflict.
Debka website, close to Mossad, said "Turkey took Israel's two enemies under protection." The site referred to the allegations that "PKK attacks in Iskenderun might have a connection with Israel" and said, "The two countries could come to the edge of war."
-- TURKISH-ARAB BLOOD HAS INTERMINGLED
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his country would support every decision Turkey would make. Visiting Istanbul for an Asian conference, al-Assad said Turkish and Arab blood had intermingled, which would have an important role in the history and geography of the region, particularly after the attack on the aid convoy.
-- BUSY TRAFFIC ON EVE OF CICA SUMMIT
Turkey will host Tuesday the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Turkey is exerting efforts to put remarks condemning Israel in the final document of the summit. But if Israel attends the summit, unanimity will not be secured and Turkey will have to suffice with a presidential statement it will make on its own.
-- CHILDREN WERE SENT TO DEATH INSTEAD OF MPs
In response to Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who accused him of acting like a lawyer of Israel, Republican People's Party (CHP) chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said he was the lawyer of the people. "If he is looking for a lawyer, he should look at the one on his right hand side. He will see Arınç," said Kilicdaroglu. Kılıçdaroğlu, who questioned why the Justice and Development (AK) Party officials did not board the ship, said: "Correspondences with Israel should be promulgated. Lawmakers did not get on the ship, and children were sent to their deaths."
Deputy Premier Bulent Arınç said Kılıçdaroğlu was outrageous. Arınç, who referred to former CHP leader Deniz Baykal, said: "Baykal also said he was the lawyer of certain circles with certain agendas. This cost him dearly. If Kılıçdaroğlu insists on this wrong impression of his, it might cost him dearly."
-- FELLOWSHIP OF NATURAL GAS
Signatures were put down for the "Shah Deniz" project, which will carry Azerbaijani natural gas to Turkey. Shah Deniz I and Shah Deniz II agreements, envisioning the transfer of the Azerbaijani gas to Turkey by Botas-Socar consortium, were signed yesterday. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said such agreements would open the way for pipeline projects like Nabucco and ITGI.
-- JUNE RAIN HITS ISTANBUL
A "June flood" warning was made in Turkey's west, especially in Istanbul. Primary and secondary schools were closed due to heavy rain yesterday, while physically impaired civil servants were given a leave of absence. Rain will continue in the Marmara region today.
-- PRESSURE FOR INVESTIGATION
Turkey, Europe and the UN are exerting pressure on Israel for an "international investigation." Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu objects to the launching of an international inquiry, pressure continues. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said studies concerning an investigation continued, while NATO said it considered the Israeli attack a serious issue.
-- TEL AVIV SETTING UP INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE
The Israeli government announced it would launch an investigation into the deadly raid and will look for other ways to sustain the blockade. Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce their decision to establish an investigation committee.
-- IF MILITARY AGREEMENTS ARE CANCELLED, THIS MIGHT COST ISRAEL ITS EARS
The Sunday Times wrote that Israel might lose its ears and eyes if things went on like this. The newspaper said Israel might shut down its intelligence centers in Turkey, including the one near the Iranian border, which closely monitors Tehran.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who commented on the possibility of the cancellation of military agreements, said: "We are considering it. The fate of this issue lies with the position to be adopted by Israel."
-- SECRET CONNECTIONS IN JUDICIARY DECIPHERED
Telephone conversations of former Justice Minister Seyfi Oktay, who was detained within the framework of investigation Ergenekon, revealed the secret relations in judiciary. Oktay's phone conversations were tapped with a court decision. During election of Supreme Court members, Oktay gave the member list to Kadir Ozbek, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). This meant that judges and prosecutors who wanted to become a member of the board were requesting Oktay's help. Oktay was then meeting Ozbek and lobbying for those judges and prosecutors. These people then managed to become members of the Supreme Court.
-- GAS AGREEMENT SIGNED WITH AZERBAIJAN, WAY FOR NABUCCO PAVED
Significant developments have occurred regarding the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, which is to transport Central Asian and Caspian energy resources to Europe, bypassing Russia. A historic agreement was signed in a ceremony at the Ciragan Palace on Monday, which was attended by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and his Azerbaijani counterpart Natiq Aliyev signed the memorandum of understanding on transportation and sale of Azerbaijani natural gas to Turkey and to Europe via Turkey.
-- IF LAW EXISTS, NATION WILL SAY WORD
The Constitutional Court will assess today the case filed by Republican People's Party (CHP) for the annulment of the constitutional amendment package. Legalists say the court should act in accordance with the law and dismiss the demand for annulment. They also agree that the nation should say the last word.
-- OPERATION COMPLETED IN SHAH DENIZ
An agreement was reached on the Shah Deniz natural gas with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who came to Istanbul to attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA). Moreover, three protocols were signed. According to the agreement, Turkey will get "not too cheap" but "cheap" natural gas from the Shah Deniz I zone, while gas valves at the Shah Deniz II zone will also be opened for it.