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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 18-07-09

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 Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-07-09.07.18 No. 130/18

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

Contents

[A] Turkish Cypriot Press

[01] Akinci is going to Ankara for Erdogan's oath of Office while the Turkish President is paying his first visit "abroad" to the occupied area of Cyprus

[02] Akinci: "Lute's visit does not mean the start of a new negotiation process"

[03] CTP welcomes Lute's appointment

[04] The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce says that the trade of the Green Line Regulation is "a step in the ocean" for the Turkish Cypriots

[05] "Tourism Strategies 2024 Workshop", kicked off in the occupied area of Cyprus; Statements by Akinci, Erhurman and Ataoglu

[06] Erdogan will reportedly inaugurate the "Rauf Denktas university campus" which is to be built in a plot of land in occupied Gerolakkos village, "allocate as a present" to Denktas' family


[B] Turkish Press


[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

[01] 22 heads of states to attend Erdogan's inauguration which is to take place today

[02] Erdogan to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

[03] Turkish lawmakers take oath for Parliament as Y?ld?r?m nominated by AKP as new Speaker

[04] Over 18,500 Turkish public workers dismissed with new emergency state decree

[05] Turkey to chair UNRWA advisory commission for one year

[06] Three university students detained over placards insulting Erdogan

[07] "Turkey's second Republic"


[A] Turkish Cypriot Press

[01] Akinci is going to Ankara for Erdogan's oath of Office while the Turkish President is paying his first visit "abroad" to the occupied area of Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (09.07.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is going to Ankara today to attend the oath ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The ceremony will take place this afternoon. As the paper notes later this evening Erdogan will also announce the members of his new Cabinet of Ministers.

Reporting on the same issue, Hakikat (09.07.18) writes that Erdogan will pay his first official visit "abroad" tomorrow to the occupied area of Cyprus and adds that the Turkish President will hold meetings with Akinci and "prime minister" Tufan Erhurman. The paper notes that the evaluation of the Cyprus problem and the future steps that can be taken in the next period will be at the meetings' agenda.

Afrika writes about Erdogan's visit and notes that the program of the Turkish President is not clear yet adding that it is not certain that he will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Hala Sultan mosque in occupied Mia Milia village as it was announced before. The paper also issues a question regarding the place the meetings between Erdogan, Akinci and Erhurman will take place. "Will (Erdogan) go to the presidential palace to meet with Akinci and to the prime ministry to see Erhurman or will he invite them both to the Turkish embassy to Cyprus?", writes the paper.

(CS)

[02] Akinci: "Lute's visit does not mean the start of a new negotiation process"

According to illegal Bayrak television (07.07.18 -http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=un-envoys-visit-not-the-beginning-of-a-new-process), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci alleged that the upcoming visit to the island of UN Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute is not, as the Greek Cypriot side is trying to create the image of the start of a new negotiations process, but purely aimed at consulting with the two sides about the potential of new talks.

Ak?nc? argued that Lute was not appointed as a replacement to the former UN Secretary General's Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide. "She is merely a temporary envoy who will be meeting with both sides with the aim of probing the potential of the resumption of the talks".

Speaking to reporters following his meeting yesterday with the UN Secretary General's Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, Ak?nc? alleged that the Greek Cypriot side from time to time was attempting to create the image that the assignment of the UN Special Envoy will become the start of a new negotiations process.

Akinci said that Lute was expected to prepare a report to the UN Secretary General following her consultations with all parties to the Conference on Cyprus.

Akinci also said that his meeting with the UN Envoy will most probably take place in the week beginning with the 23rd of July. "We have stated that we are ready to meet with her if she wishes to come in July" he said.

Ak?nc? claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side had no desire of being part of a new round of never-ending and open-ended talks. "We no longer desire or have the intention of becoming part of an endless round of talks that keep going on and on as they have for the past 50 years. I have explained this time and time again and would like to do so one more time. We support the idea of achieving final results from any process that we shall take part in. I continue to maintain my position and insistence on results-orientated talks that will be held within a timeframe and on the basis of an understanding of a strategic package", he alleged.

Underlining the need for the Greek Cypriot side to accept and embrace the concept of political equality, Ak?nc? further argued that should a settlement be reached on the island, it will not be one on the basis of a unitary state in which a majority will impose its will on a minority.

He claimed that what has been agreed upon and aimed is a federal settlement on the basis of the political equality of the two sides.

Also, touching upon the issue of security, he repeated that the security of one side should not pose a threat to the security of the other.

He, however, alleged that the concept of 'zero troops and zero guarantees' did not address the Turkish Cypriots security needs. "This position or view does not comfort the Turkish Cypriots. It is time we deal with these issues on a realistic basis. We need to be reasonable and realistic", Ak?nc? argued.

He further said that he will be explaining to the UN Envoy how the Turkish Cypriot side thinks and added that a new short process with the participation of the guarantor countries could be if a similar willingness emerged on the Greek Cypriot side.

"I do not want to raise anyone's hopes right now but I also do not want to draw a grim picture and say that nothing will happen" he said.

[03] CTP welcomes Lute's appointment

According to illegal Bayrak television (07.07.18-http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=ctp-welcomes-appointment-of-lute), the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has welcomed the appointment of Jane Holl Lute as a temporary UN representative.

A statement issued yesterday by the party's press bureau said: "We hail the announcement of the upcoming visit to the island by the UN Secretary General's Antonio Guterres's envoy Jane Holl Lute. The Republican Turkish Party states that it will take all necessary initiatives to support negotiations which it hopes will start soon within the framework of the package envisaged by Mr. Guterres in order to achieve a federal Cyprus."

[04] The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce says that the trade of the Green Line Regulation is "a step in the ocean" for the Turkish Cypriots

Illegal Bayrak (09.07.18) broadcast that Turgay Deniz, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce speaking to illegal TAK news agency referred to the Green Line Regulation.

He claimed that the Regulation has come into question once again especially due to the increase in illicit trade and touched upon the trade that has taken place in the past 14 years through the Green Line Regulation and the problems that have been experienced.

He said that within the framework of the Green Line Regulation in 2017 4.7 million Euro worth of trade was realized and compared to the year before a 6 % increase had been seen and noted that the product traded the most was plastic.

He also touched upon the local products produced by the Turkish Cypriots and said that if the Turkish Cypriots could find buyers they could easily trade through the Green Line Regulation that they have prepared and has been in action for 14 years but added that no progress has been made within this period.

Explaining that they have met with the Greek Cypriot Chamber of Commerce on several occasions and asked for assistance in broadening the Green Line Regulation to cover different areas Deniz claimed: "The Greek Cypriots have always informed us that Turkish Cypriot produce creates unfair competition and therefore they have never supported the Green Line Regulation."

Touching upon the fact that the Greek Cypriot authorities are carrying out fuel checks at the "border" crossings he said that this only served to create psychological pressure on its citizens and has no legal founding.

"They are trying to prevent people from crossing over and shopping", he claimed.

[05] "Tourism Strategies 2024 Workshop", kicked off in the occupied area of Cyprus; Statements by Akinci, Erhurman and Ataoglu

According to illegal Bayrak television (06.07.18-http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=tourism-strategies-2024-workshop-underway), the "North Cyprus tourism strategies 2024 Workshop" aimed at determining a roadmap for the "TRNC tourism", kicked off in occupied Keryneia on Friday.

The two day workshop will concentrate on five main subjects those being 'Situation Analysis', 'SWOT analysis', 'Aims', 'Product Placements' and 'Internal tourism and transport'.

"Everything from the laws to promotional markets, cultural heritage, education to transportation" will be put to the table to be discussed extensively.

The opening ceremony of the workshop was attended by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak?nc?, so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, the so-called deputy prime minister and "foreign minister" Kudret Ozersay, the "minister of tourism" Fikri Ataoglu, the "minister of interior" Aysegul Baybars, the so-called Turkish ambassador to the occupied part of Lefkosia Derya Kanbay, the mayor of the occupied part of Lefkosia Mehmet Harmanci and other "deputies" and "sector representatives".

Delivering the opening speech, Ataoglu drew attention to the challenges faced by the "tourism sector" in a constantly changing world.

Pointing out that the key to success was to create a sustainable tourism structure, Ataoglu said that this was possible through reading changes correctly, which was why he added, it was crucial to establish and implement an effective strategy.

Ataoglu also drew attention to the importance of creating tourism alternatives so as not to be trapped in small local markets.

Speaking next, Erhurman drew attention to the importance of the "tourism sector" for the "country's economy" in terms of reducing the foreign trade gap.

Erhurman, however, pointed out that "the current revenues were still below the country's potential due to problems faced in the tourism sector such as accessing alternative tourist markets and becoming an attractive tourism destination, not just during the summer months but 12 months a year. The workshop will aim to address all these problems and to develop strategies aimed at overcoming them" he said, adding that tourism enterprises needed to acquire more services and goods from the local economy. He further pointed out that it was important to determine what the "TRNC" has truly to offer as a product in order to be able to persuade tourists to prefer north Cyprus over other competing destinations.

Addressing the workshop, Ak?nc? highlighted the importance of organising such a workshop in terms of developing a strategy for the "TRNC economy's most important locomotive sector".

Reminding that he had once served as "tourism minister" 19 years ago, Ak?nc? pointed out that most of the issues discussed back then were still on the table.

These he included were transportation, direct flights, how to conduct better promotion and how to increase the number of tourists. "There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Our beaches and sea is our product. But are we the only ones to possess this…no…so how do we persuade people to choose us over other destinations. We need to focus on our historical and cultural wealth such as our castles and monuments. Not to forget the fact that we have an incredible Mediterranean cuisine" he claimed.

Ak?nc? also pointed out that focus could be given to develop and offer alternative tourism products such as congress tourism, special interest tourism or even repeat tourism.

He expressed the view that it was important to slowly move away from mass tourism and to offer something which other countries do not possess. He said that it was extremely important to become environmentally aware, to keep the "country" clean and to embrace this as part of our culture.

Akinc also warned against over construction and urbanisation as a negative development for tourism.

On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (07.07.18) reported that so-called minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu, speaking during the "North Cyprus tourism strategies 2024 Workshop", alleged that the number of tourists in the occupied area of Cyprus has reached 1 million 114 thousand, the hotel capacity is 25,000 and the "revenues" from tourism reached to 796 million dollars.

Also, speaking at the same event, so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, referring to the tourism sector in the "TRNC" argued that only the 20% of the labour in the "sector" are "TRNC citizens". Erhurman described as unacceptable this percentage, taking into account as he said that the "unemployment rate especially in youth living in the TRNC", has reached 19%.

Referring to data provided by the "state planning organization", Erhurman said that according to these, 55% of the workers in the "tourism sector" in the "TRNC" are Turkish citizens, 25% are workers from third countries and only 20% out of them are "TRNC citizens".

(AK)

[06] Erdogan will reportedly inaugurate the "Rauf Denktas university campus" which is to be built in a plot of land in occupied Gerolakkos village, "allocate as a present" to Denktas' family

Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (08.07.18) under the title: "Again Denktas, again a bribe case", reports that the name of the so-called minister of finance, Serdar Denktas has been included again into the agenda of the "TRNC" and it is again related with a bribe case.

According to the paper, the "real estate and materials department" of the occupation regime has "allocate" without a "ministerial council decision", a 100 donum plot of land [Translator's note: donum: a land measure of 1000 square meters] to Rauf Denktas, son of the self-styled deputy prime minister and "minister of finance" Serdar Denktas and grandson of the late Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, at occupied Gerolakkos village, for the construction of a new "university campus" called "Rauf Denktas university campus".

According to the paper, the plot of land was "allocated" to the Denktas' family with nuisance value. The paper adds that the "construction works" in the area have already launched. According to allegations, the inauguration ceremony for the above mentioned "university" is expected to take place on July 10, by Turkish President Erdogan, within the framework of his "official visit" in the occupation regime, the first "official visit" abroad, after being elected as President.

It is further said that reactions were expressed by the "partners in the government", for the "allocation" of the "plot of land" to Denktas, since it would create fait-accompli.

The paper recalls similar attempts in the past to "allocate" to Denktas' family with a "council of ministers' decision" a 200 donum plot of land at the occupied Agios Dometios area, [translator's note: the area is known as Kermia among the Turkish Cypriot community) in order to construct the "Rauf Denktas' university". However, it adds that the "council of ministers' decision" was postponed due to several reactions expressed back then.

(AK)


[B] Turkish Press

[01] 22 heads of states to attend Erdogan's inauguration which is to take place today

Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.07.18- https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/22-heads-of-states-to-attend-erdogans-inauguration/1198135) reported that a total of 22 heads of states will attend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Complex on Monday.

The ceremony will also see the attendance of Vice Presidents, politicians, bureaucrats and Ministers from different countries, the presidential sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

At first, Erdogan will be sworn-in at the Parliament on Monday at 4.30 p.m. local time. Following the swearing-in ceremony, Erdogan will visit Anitkabir, mausoleum of the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. At 6 p.m. local time Erdogan's inauguration ceremony will be held at the Presidential Complex that will be attended by foreign dignitaries. Erdogan will make his first statement in front of representatives of foreign diplomatic missions based in Ankara, members of Parliament, and prominent figures from the business, culture, and sports worlds, as well as members of the press.

Following the reception, Erdogan is expected to announce the members of his Cabinet, as well as other officials who will take positions in relevant presidential agencies and offices at 9.00 p.m on July 9.

The Presidents of Bulgaria, Georgia, "Macedonia", Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Guinea, Zambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Mauritania, Gabon, Chad, Djibouti, Venezuela and the "TRNC" as well as the Emir of Qatar, will be among the officials guests.

Also, a total of 28 foreign dignitaries -- including Prime Ministers, Vice Presidents, Parliament Speakers and Ministers -- will also attend the ceremony.

Secretary Generals of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and D-8, and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs will also be among the attendees.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russian-pm-medvedev-to-attend-president-erdogans-inauguration-134278) reports that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is to lead the Russian delegation at the inauguration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 9.

Turkey's new executive presidential system will be officially launched on July 9 after President Erdogan takes his oath and announces his next government, while legislative works for further harmonization of current laws with the new governmental model are still underway.

[02] Erdogan to attend NATO meeting in Brussels

Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.07.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/erdogan-to-attend-nato-meeting-in-brussels/1197945) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend his first major international summit since getting re-elected on Wednesday when he attends the NATO heads of state and government meeting in Brussels.

The NATO meeting will take place for the first time at the new alliance headquarters.

At the meeting, Erdogan will meet and hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders, including American President Donal Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

It is expected that Erdogan and other leaders will discuss the support YPG/PKK terror group receives from some NATO member countries and the S-400 missile system that Turkey is getting from Russia.

Erdogan is also expected to meet European Council head Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. First Lady Emine Erdogan is expected to accompany her husband during the visit to Brussels.

[03] Turkish lawmakers take oath for Parliament as Y?ld?r?m nominated by AKP as new Speaker

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lawmakers-take-oath-for-parliament-as-yildirim-revealed-as-new-speaker-134287) reported that Turkish lawmakers started to take oaths to serve in Parliament, following last month's elections that have shifted more power to the Presidency, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nominated the outgoing Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m as the new Parliament Speaker on July 7.

Six hundred Parliamentarians from five political parties were swearing on July 7 in Ankara. Among them are 295 lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP and 49 from the allied Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)

Opposition lawmakers are from the Republican People's Party, Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and nationalist Good (IYI) Party.

Turkey's governing system is changing from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency, which abolishes the office of the Prime Minister and changes Parliament's responsibilities.

As predicted, the AKP nominated Y?ld?r?m for the seat of Parliament Speaker. The MHP had announced that it would support the AKP's candidate.

The number of lawmakers has increased by 50 seats and a majority in parliament now requires 301 votes.

[04] Over 18,500 Turkish public workers dismissed with new emergency state decree

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/over-18-500-turkish-public-workers-dismissed-with-new-emergency-state-decree-134290) reports that the Turkish government ordered the dismissal of more than 18,500 state employees including police officers, soldiers and academics, in a state of emergency decree published on July 8.

The Official Gazette stated that 18,632 people had been sacked including 8,998 police officers over suspected links to terror organizations and groups "acting against national security."

It also said that 148 others who had earlier been dismissed from public institutions and organizations were reinstated.

Some 3,077 army soldiers were also dismissed, as well as 1,949 air force personnel and 1,126 from the naval forces.

Another 1,052 civil servants from the Justice Ministry and linked institutions have been fired as well as 649 from the gendarmerie and 192 from the coast guard.

The authorities also fired 199 academics, according to the new decree, while 148 state employees from the military and Ministries were reinstated.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since shortly after the July 2016 coup attempt.

The Turkish media dubbed the decree as the "last" one, with officials indicating the state of emergency could end as early as July 9.

The emergency has been renewed seven times and the latest period is officially due to end on July 19.

Over 110,000 public sector employees have been removed previously from their jobs via emergency decrees since July 2016, while tens of thousands more have been suspended.

Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen and what the authorities call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO) of orchestrating the attempted coup.

The July 8 decree shut down 12 associations across the country as well as three newspapers and a television channel.

Turkey's Western allies have criticized the sweeping nature of the dismissals, including of many individuals not involved in the coup attempt, but Ankara says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 7 that restrictions imposed on the passports of 181,500 people in the wake of the July 2016 coup attempt will be lifted within a few days.

"A passport restriction was put in place for partners, children, and parents of a fraction of people who were arrested and convicted within the context of the struggle against FETO. After July 15 [2016], FETO members had started to run away to abroad with their families. One of the measures to prevent this was a restriction on passports," Erdogan said in a meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament.

"But as the investigations and cases came to a point, restrictions imposed on the passports of 181,500 people will be lifted in a couple of days. This way we are relieve the unjust treatment towards our citizens who could not get a passport due to the crime of their relatives," he said.

[05] Turkey to chair UNRWA advisory commission for one year

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-chair-unrwa-advisory-commission-for-one-year-134271) reported that Turkey took over the chairmanship of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Advisory Commission for one year on July 1, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

"The Advisory Commission with its 27 members provides assistance and advice to the UNRWA Commissioner General," said a statement by the Ministry.

It also said that Turkey made significant increases to contributing to the agency when it was vice chair during the last year.

"In order for UNRWA to continue its services without disruptions in the face of its growing financial problems, Turkey, as the chair of the Advisory Commission, will continue its efforts to place the agency on a more predictable, sustainable and sufficient financial footing," added the statement.

Turkey has advanced and transferred its annual $1.5 million contribution to the agency as well as $10 million in additional funding. It further granted $1.2 million to the World Health Organization for the treatment of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces and increased its annual flour contribution to 26,000 tons.

[06] Three university students detained over placards insulting Erdogan

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/three-university-students-detained-over-placards-insulting-erdogan-prosecutor-134275) reported that three students of the Middle East Technical University (ODTU) in Ankara were detained for carrying placards that insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Chief Prosecutor's Office said in a statement on July 7.

"An investigation has been launched into the incident and three people have been detained," the statement said, adding that the placards were carried during ODTU's graduation ceremony.

The Prosecutor's Office did not specify which placards came under investigation.

"We are saddened by the unpleasant incidents [during the graduation ceremony] and we do not approve them," the University's Rector's Office said in a statement on July 7.

Students carried placards with political messages during ODTU's graduation ceremony on July 6, as part of the 62-year-old university's tradition.

A number of placards referred to the July 24 elections won by President Erdogan, criticizing the government and supporting the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince.

[07] "Turkey's second Republic"

In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.07.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/turkeys-second-republic-134334) under the above title, columnist Murat Yetkin writes the following: "Turkey officially shifts to a new system in which President Tayyip ErdoGan will be able to use all executive powers after his oath-taking ceremony on July 9.

The Prime Ministerial position, which has existed for more than a millennium in the Turkish administrative system, from the Seljuk era, to the Ottoman times and the Republic since 1923, is now abolished. From now, the Cabinet will be formed by the President, which is the case in some countries in the world.

The difference in what they call the "presidential government system" is that the President will be able to stay as party chair too. So Erdogan will have the say in Parliament and as the chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), a situation which makes the line between the executive and legislative powers of the government not very thick. Erdogan says the new system will strengthen the separation of powers because he will not employ any Ministers to his Cabinet from the Parliament, and if he does, the MP would have to resign from Parliament. But that seems rather like a formality justification. The President's capacity to appoint some high judges to the Constitutional Court and some through his parliamentary power could be considered as a factor weakening the already-not-so-strong checks-and-balances system in Turkey, which is balanced on paper with a clause in the new Constitution that makes the president questionable by courts with a parliamenta ry majority.

This transformation was not that easy for Erdogan, and it took him some 11 years. When the AK Parti took power in 2002, Erdogan was against the presidential system and found it undemocratic. A series of unfortunate events starting in 2007 changed his mind radically. First, there were the military's statements against the election of AK Parti's candidate Abdullah Gul as president, and then by parliament. Erdogan called snap elections, refreshed his support and declared a referendum with the help of Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), for the popular election of the president. He got Gul elected with the support of Bahceli then too. At the same time investigations were launched into thousands of people in the military, judiciary, academia and media who were suspected of conspiring against the government with the help of police chiefs, prosecutors and judges who were already known to be under the influence of the U.S.-resident Islamist prea cher Fethullah Gulen.

As cases like Ergenekon and Balyoz were clearing the system of secularist elements as a result of those probes, Erdogan went for another constitutional change with a referendum in 2010 to increase the influence of the executive power on the judiciary. Gulen asked his supporters to bring even their "dead ones" if possible to cast votes for Erdogan to succeed in the referendum. He succeeded. But Erdogan and Gulen began parting ways in 2012 when Gulenists in the police force and the judiciary started making attempts to challenge Erdogan's power through elections. The rift grew with the corruption claims which took form as formal investigations in late 2013 and with the worsening of the Syrian civil war during which Gulenists in the system, at the time including those in the military, started to prevent the government's foreign policies throughout 2014. That was the year Erdogan was elected as the new President and had to leave as the chair of the party. He was not happy with the autonomous attitude of Ahmet Davutoglu, whom he handpicked to become Prime Minister and the party's chair as his successor. Soon after, he replaced Davutoglu with Binali Y?ld?r?m. He and the whole country faced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, accused to have been masterminded by Gulen's illegal network within state institutions.

The state of emergency which allowed Erdogan and Y?ld?r?m's government to bypass Parliament in key issues possibly made things clear in Erdogan's mind about abandoning the old system, which he considered as unnecessary and an obstacle slowing things down for the elected government. Again, with the help of Bahceli's MHP, Erdogan narrowly managed to get the "presidential government system" be approved through a referendum in 2017, to be in effect by late 2019. But when Bahceli took the initiative to have it earlier (because what was the point in waiting for another year?), the Turkish government had its twin early elections on June 24, when Erdogan got elected and the AK Parti-MHP alliance (not AK Parti alone) secured the parliamentary majority.

A new page is opening in Turkey's history: The second phase of the Republic, where all the executive power is to be in the hands of one person — the President. It actually coincides with the spreading "strong man" tendencies in world politics. Will it be good or bad for Turkey? Only time will tell"

TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

(AK / AM)


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