1. "LEADER: Turkey's bane", political uncertainty is proving once again to be the bane of economic recovery in Turkey.
2. "EU reforms increase tension among parties", SP presents its proposal to enable broadcasting in mother tongue.
3. "Jailed Kurdish MPs awarded damages by European court", Leyla Zana and 12 other Kurdish MPs who have been in Turkish prisons since 1994 were each awarded €50,000 (£33,000) in damages by the European Court of Human Rights yesterday. In a damning verdict, the court ruled that Turkey had violated the basic principles of democracy.
4. "Ankara Criminal Court continues trying Ocalan and 101 suspects", Ankara Criminal Court No. 8 continued trying top members of the Kurdish outlawed PKK, yesterday, including its leader Abdullah Ocalan, his wife Kesire Ocalan, and 101 other high ranking members.
5. "Cyprus Reunification Talks Stall", talks to reunify Cyprus' Greek and Turkish parts are deadlocked and Turkey is threatening to annex the Turkish area, the head of a legislative delegation said Thursday.
6. "Kilinc: We will intervene if a Kurdish State is established in Iraq", speaking to Lebanese daily An-Nahar, National Security Council (MGK) General Secretary Gen. Tuncer Kilinc yesterday said that establishing a Kurdish state in Iraq would constitute a reason for Turkey to intervene.
1. - Financial Times - "LEADER: Turkey's bane":
14 June 2002
The vagaries of Turkish politicians have had a consistently devastating impact on the Turkish economy. Their petty squabbles triggered the foreign exchange crises of 2000 and 2001. Now the doubts about Mr Ecevit's health and policy disputes inside the coalition could easily undo the latest economic reform programme.
The underlying source of this vulnerability is fragile confidence in the sustainability of public sector finances. Interest rates shoot up whenever confidence in political discipline is shaken. These high rates damage the economy and worsen the debt dynamics. The combination then threatens a self-reinforcing spiral into default.
Before the recent upheavals, the economy showed signs of recovery from its deep recession. Inflation was down to 46 per cent, on course to hit the target of 35 per cent for the year. Nominal interest rates had fallen to 53 per cent. The latest rise in interest rates would make economic recovery implausible and debt sustainability close to inconceivable.
Confidence must be restored at once. That can be achieved only by a credible guarantee of continued reform, fiscal discipline and political stability. The problem is that Mr Ecevit is thought to be the only man who can hold together the unwieldy ruling coalition in Ankara, which combines his own centre-left party with the rightwing nationalist MHP led by Devlet Bahceli and the centre-right Motherland party of Mesut Yilmaz.
The cohesion of the coalition is already threatened by reforms being introduced to open Turkey's path to membership of the European Union. The MHP will not support abolition of the death penalty, or lifting the ban on Kurdish-language broadcasting and schooling. The moves can succeed only with support from the opposition.
All this requires strong leadership, which Mr Ecevit no longer seems able to provide. He needs to spell out a clear plan for his succession if the whole programme of his government is not to be undermined. The laudable ambition of joining the EU has done much to galvanise political and economic reform. But the endless jockeying for power between the political parties, at the expense of vital economic reforms, suggests Turkey still has a long way to go.
2. - Turkish Daily News - "EU reforms increase tension among parties":
SP presents its proposal to enable broadcasting in mother tongue
ANKARA / 14 June 2002
Holding a press conference in Parliament, SP Deputy Group Chairman Vehbi Hatipoglu said they have presented a law proposal to the Parliament Speaker's Office in order to lift the ban on broadcasting in the mother tongue. Saying that the EU debate has turned into a chaotic situation, Hatipoglu noted that the Democratic Left Party (DSP) deputy group chairmen have asked for an appointment with them in order to tackle the amendment planned on the death penalty issue. He added that they would meet with the DSP deputies on Monday, stressing that they would also ask the DSP deputies to support their proposal.
Holding a separate press conference in Parliament, MHP Deputy Group Chairman Ismail Kose noted that any amendment to the draft law lifting the death penalty in line with a previous constitutional amendment would be like dynamite being placed under reconciliation and harmony. Kose recalled that the arrangement pertaining to the abolition of the death penalty was included in Turkey's National Program for the EU, adding that a constitutional amendment had recently been enacted for this reason.
Stating that the draft law on this included neither Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) chieftain and death row inmate Abdullah Ocalan, nor the abolition of the death penalty for crimes of terrorism, he added that the motion prepared by some DSP deputies in order to amend this bill with the aim of lifting the death penalty for crimes of terrorism was wrong.
"This motion foresees the abolition of the death penalty by including Ocalan and his friends, PKK members and traitors. We cannot accept such a situation. The style is wrong. Nobody has the right to alter the bill signed by the MHP leader and ministers," Kose said.
Kose emphasized that the MHP leader and ministers would never sign a draft law that would lift the death penalty for terrorist crimes. He said that if such a draft law was prepared, it would mean dynamiting the coalition harmony and reconciliation.
Kose claimed that the EU would also ask for concessions on the Cyprus problem following the abolition of the death penalty and education and broadcasting in the mother tongue.
Commenting on the SP's proposal on broadcasting in the mother tongue, Kose stated that this proposal was against the Constitution, adding that such attempts carried a characteristic of political exploitation.
3. - The Independent - "Jailed Kurdish MPs awarded damages by European court":
12 June 2002 / By Justin Huggler
When Turkey is trying to improve its human rights image, yesterday's decision comes as a blow. The court ruled that Turkey had violated the human right to free elections when it stripped the Kurdish MPs of their membership of parliament because they belonged to a pro-Kurdish party.
"The jailers who lock my body behind the thick walls of an Ankara prison do not have the power to prevent my spirit from travelling freely," Ms Zana once said. Her case came to symbolise the plight of Turkey's Kurdish minority. Turkey refuses to recognise its 12 million Kurds as a minority and restricts the use of their language. Kurdish areas are under emergency military rule.
Ms Zana, the first Kurdish woman to be elected to Turkey's parliament, was howled down with cries of "Traitor" and "Arrest her" from other MPs when she took her oath of office in 1991, and added a few words in Kurdish. What she said was: "I shall struggle so that the Kurdish and Turkish people may live peacefully together in a democratic framework."
In 1994, the Turkish authorities closed down the pro-Kurdish Democracy Party of which Ms Zana was a member, accusing it of separatism, and arrested her and several other MPs from the party. They were put on trial for treason. Those charges were later reduced to membership of an illegal armed group.
An additional charge against Ms Zana was wearing the Kurdish colours of red, yellow and green, which was considered a crime.
Ms Zana and the other MPs were each sentenced to 15 years in prison. The human rights court had already ruled, in a separate decision last year, that that trial was unfair. Some of those who testified against the accused MPs later said they had lied, and their statements had been extracted under torture.
While Ms Zana and the other party members lost their liberty, millions of Kurdish voters lost the MPs they had chosen. As soon as the Democracy Party was closed, Ms Zana and the other MPs were stripped of their membership of parliament. The court ruled yesterday that that decision "was incompatible with the very essence of the right to stand for election" and "infringed the unfettered discretion of the electorate which had elected the applicants".
The court award of €50,000 to each of the 13 Kurdish MPs is a particularly damning ruling for Turkey. But the chances are it will do little to end Ms Zana's prison sentence. The Court of Human Rights does not go so far as to demand that unfair sentences are overturned. Its ruling that her prison sentence was unfair came last July but Ms Zana is still behind bars.
Devlet Bahceli, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, offered little hope of early reform yesterday. He said Turkey would not be able to enter the European Union for another decade, and therefore had no need to push through EU-demanded human rights reforms.
4. - Turkish Daily News - "Ankara Criminal Court continues trying Ocalan and 101 suspects":
ANKARA / 14 June 2002
The prosecutor asked for death sentences for the gang members, who are suspected of committing felonies in Sanliurfa, a province in southeastern Turkey, and environs before the army takeover on Sept. 12, 1980.
Ocalan's lawyers were available during yesterday's hearing, while all other suspects were tried in absentia. Judge Hikmet Uyar said that the Attorney General's written call for arresting suspect Kesire Ocalan had been returned, as the suspect was in Germany and her address was not available. Uyar said they were also unable to find addresses for some of the other suspects.
The court decided to wait for the identification of the unknown addresses, while ruling for the maintenance of the suspects' state of arrest. The court delayed the suit to a further date, while opting to hear the testimonies of the witnesses after hearing the defendants.
5. - AP - "Cyprus Reunification Talks Stall":
WASHINGTON / 13 June 2002 / by Barry Schweid
Turkey has sent 5,000 troops to the Turkish Cypriot sector in the past few weeks, adding to the 40,000 already there, Nicos Anastasiades, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Cyprus House, said.
"The main thing worrying us is open threats by Turkey that they will react without limitations," the legislator said. This could include attempted annexation, he said.
Meanwhile, four rounds of talks that included 39 meetings since January have produced deadlock, he said. The United Nations has set the end of June as a deadline for the negotiators for the two communities to reach agreement on key areas in dispute.
Anastasiades said the Cypriot government had made great concessions, proposing a federation between the Greek area and the Turkish Cypriot statelet, which was established after a Turkish invasion in 1974 and is recognized only by Turkey.
But, he said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is insisting on sovereignty for his community.
"He is asking for an independent, sovereign state with an umbrella to represent Cyprus in European and international affairs, Anastasiades said.
Some 85,000 mostly poor Turks have been sent into the Turkish Cypriot area by Ankara since the breakaway, while the resident population has shrunk from about 115,000 to 85,000 as Turkish Cypriots flee, looking for a better life away from the Mediterranean island, Anastasiades said.
Even if no settlement is reached, Cyprus intends to gain entry into the European Union and will not try to block Cyprus' accession, as well, he said.
The Cypriot delegation, which arrived Tuesday, has met with senior members of Congress, including the chairmen of the Senate and House foreign affairs committees, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill. The delegation also met with Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and Anastasiades spoke briefly with President Bush at a dinner.
"Our visit was just to motivate the interest of the administration, the congressmen and the senators about the threats we are receiving, but as well as the necessity of more active support for the negotiations," Anastasiades said.
"We have to say that we very much appreciate the stand the administration is keeping regarding the Cyprus problem since the creation of the problem... But I think, we also believe they could do much more," he said.
6. - Hurriyet - "Kilinc: We will intervene if a Kurdish State is established in Iraq":
14 June 2002
Kilinc also said that it would be impossible for Turkey to stand by and allow a Kurdish state to be established in Iraq. Turkey will not participate in any military operation against Iraq, Kilinc added. Kilinc stated that Turkeys strategic position vis-a-vis Iraq depends on its future territorial integrity.