The following are translated excerpts from articles that appeared in the Turkish press.
RECENT SURVEY SAYS 'YES' VOTES SURPASS 'NO' VOTES AHEAD OF REFERENDUM
According to the latest survey conducted by the MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center, the proportion of people who intend to say "yes" to the constitutional amendment package proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] is 49.6 percent, whereas those saying "no" comprised 33.6 percent of respondents.
The significant rise in the "yes" votes since May could be related to the prime minister's attitude during the Supreme Military Council [YAŞ] meetings, the survey underlined. Research conducted before and after YAŞ demonstrated that voters' support of the package increased.
While the ratio of people supporting Erdoğan's attitude in YAŞ was 48.3 percent, 32.8 percent did not support it. The leader of Republican's People Party [CHP] Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's statement that the "government should not intervene in soldiers' practices" was well-received by 36.4 percent of poll respondents and criticized by 51.5 percent of respondents, noted the survey.
Another reason for the increase of "yes" votes is because the parties and party leaders conducting the "no" campaigns have been unable to persuade the masses, the survey said. Their failure to tangibly illustrate why people shouldn't say "yes" led to the powerful loss of "no" votes against "yes" votes, stated the survey.
Another issue that occupied the agenda was related to the positions of the Nationalist Movement's Party [ MHP] and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party's [BDP] voters, the survey said. Just 27.5 percent of those voting for the MHP in the March 29, 2009 local elections, and 30 percent of those voting for the BDP in that election., said they would vote "yes" in the referendum, the survey said.
If parliamentary elections happened today, 43.1 percent would vote for the AKP, 24.5 percent would vote for the Republican's People Party [CHP], and 9.4 percent would vote for the MHP. While the MHP's votes declined by 6.5 points, the CHP's votes stayed the same compared to their vote tally in last year's elections. The ruling party increased its votes nearly 5 percentage points, the survey noted.
While Prime Minister Erdoğan tops the list of the most trustable party leaders, with 46 percent saying they trust him, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu follows him in second with 20.9 percent. MHP leader Bahçeli trails in third with 5.7 percent, the survey said. The statistics also indicated that expected "yes" votes are higher among men and uneducated and unqualified people.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said that he expects 58 or 60 percent of the population will vote "yes," the daily, Hürriyet, reported on Sunday. Indicating that the potential of 60 percent of people saying "yes" exists in Turkey, Arınç said that the opposition is using the constitutional amendment as a vote of confidence. If more "yes" votes come out, that would be an encouragement for the AKP. If the people vote "no," the opposition parties can share it among themselves, said Arınç.
A previous survey by the Sonar Research Company found that 50.8 percent of respondents said they would vote "no," whereas 49.2 percent said they would vote "yes" on the constitutional amendment package.
ZEWAHIRI: "SECULAR TURKEY SHALL NOT LEAD MUSLIMS"
Second in cimmand to Al-Qaeda Ayman Zewahiri says" If Turkey wants to prove its sympathy to the Muslim World, then she should pull back her military forces from Afghanistan and cut her economic and military ties with NATO and Israel." In his speech of 20 minutes, Zawahiri accuses the Turkish Government of killing Muslims with its NATO allies in Afghanistan, and continuing its partnership in economic and security issues with Israel. He said: "Turkey is not sincere while she is condemning Israel for various issues such as Gaza Strip, Palestinian freedom and Mavi Marmara incident". A recent report by a prestigious think tank, the Brookings Institute, titled "A surprise Enemy of Al-Qaeda: Turkey" says that Al-Qaeda does not want Turkey to play a leading role in conflicts between Muslim and Western world.
PKK'S ARMS TO UNITED NATIONS
Ahmet Türk, former leader of the outlawed Democratic Society Party [DTP], said that the United Nations could mediate to find a solution to the Kurdish issue. "In that case, the PKK can lay down its weapons in a camp," he said.
PRAYERS FOR NINE OTTOMAN SULTANS AT SUMELA MONASTERY
There was a mass at the ancient Sümela Monastery, on the side of a mountain in northern Turkey, for the first time in 88 years. Some 500 people traveled to the Byzantine-era monastery of Sümela to attend the service led by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. During the service, Patriarch Bartholomew I and the participants prayed for nine Ottoman sultans who supported the monastery.
OBAMA WARNS TURKISH PM OVER STANCE ON ISRAEL, IRAN
United States President Barack Obama warned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Ankara's position on Israel and Iran could lessen its chances of obtaining U.S. weapons, a report said Monday. "The president has said to Erdoğan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill (Congress)," a senior administration official was quoted as saying in the daily paper.
These questions centered on "whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally," said the official. "That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like in order to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] will be harder for us to move through Congress." The United States voiced disappointment after Turkey voted against fresh U.N. sanctions on Iran, which the United Nations Security Council adopted in June. Ankara argued that Tehran should be given a chance to carry out a nuclear fuel swap deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil. Relations between Turkey and Israel were thrown into crisis after a deadly Israeli raid targeting Gaza-bound aid ships on May 31 that left eight Turkish activists and a Turkish American dead. Obama called on Turkey to cool its rhetoric about the raid when he met Erdoğan at the G20 summit in Toronto in June.
EUROPE STILL NOT AWARE OF TURKEY'S POTENTIAL
Professor Jack Goldstone, an American sociologist and political scientist specializing in studies of social movements, revolutions, and international politics, said that Europe must certainly accept Turkey as its full member. Goldstone earlier said Turkey would become one of the six leading countries in the world by 2050.