The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
I STAND AGAINST GENERAL AMNESTY
"I cannot ignore the cries of mothers of soldiers (who were killed in the fight against terrorists) just because I have an authority to proclaim general amnesty," [Turkey's] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told TGRT Haber TV. "If you go after ideology, you cannot achieve success. Speaking about general amnesty for a crime of thought is one thing while an amnesty for terrorists is another thing."
THREE COMMANDERS APPLY TO COURT
Two major generals and a rear admiral (all suspects of Balyoz case), who were not promoted by the Supreme Military Council, applied to the military high administrative court for relief, contending that their promotions were denied due to illicit reasons.
WE ARE OBJECTIVE BUT WE ARE NOT AFRAID
Gülseren Onanç, Chairperson of Association of Women Enterprises, said she preferred to be neutral during the referendum.
Commenting on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's statement that "those who are impartial will be eliminated," Onanç said, "this is a totalitarian statement."
TURKEY SAYS ARMENIA BORDER WON'T OPEN DURING NATO EXERCISE
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday that Turkey will not temporarily open its borders with Armenia during an upcoming NATO exercise, signaling a reversal of earlier [official] statements.
"This exercise is for entirely humanitarian purposes and it is about extraordinary circumstances. As a NATO member Turkey will, of course, participate in it," Davutoğlu told reporters in the Doğanşehir district of the central Anatolian province of Konya, when asked to comment about Azerbaijani opposition to a temporary opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. "As I have told the Azeri media earlier, opening of the border, even temporarily, is out of the question. Unnecessary rumors should be avoided," he said.
KING PROTECTS FUGITIVE UZAN
Hanefi Avcı, in his book "Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar," said Jordanian King Abdullah protected Hakan Uzan, who had been sought by Turkey for 7 years.
Avcı relayed how [Turkish police] followed fugitive Uzan while he was administering the [police's] Smuggling and Organized Crime Department.
"We learned that they had set up headquarters in Jordan. He gave automobiles and weapons to the King as present and paid millions of dollars without any reason....
"The Uzans had established joint companies with every prominent family or tribe in Jordan. They had formed different relationships with ministers and executives of foreign ministry, parliament, military and intelligence institutions. Jordan, which we could reach, despite all our efforts, continues to be headquarters of Uzans," wrote Avcı.
POLICE CHIEF TALKS ON LIVE TV ABOUT CLAIMS AGAINST GÜLEN COMMUNITY
A police chief in the spotlight for his claims about the political influence of a controversial religious group, with which he has close ties, addressed the issue for the first time in a live TV interview on Thursday.
"I am not against the activities of the [Gülen] community. It is beneficial to society, especially with its activities on education. I am against them investigating crimes as they come into [positions of power in the] police and court houses," Hanefi Avcı told the private news channel NTV.
In his book "Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar: Dün Devlet Bugün Cemaat" ('Devotee' Residents of Haliç: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation), Avcı alleged that members of the religious Fethullah Gülen movement have infiltrated the police force and other government departments, including the military and the judiciary. He also claimed they are using these positions to gather information about officials that they dislike and to use against [those officials] in the future. Avcı said he was one of the people illegally wiretapped while he was the police chief of the western province of Eskişehir.
Avcı announced on NTV at around 11 a.m. that he had petitioned the Interior Ministry to call him back to Ankara, a routine procedure for public officials who are being investigated. It was announced Thursday afternoon that his request was granted.
The Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office launched separate investigations into Avcı and into the allegations raised in his book.
Avcı has been open about the fact that he has close friends in the Gülen community and his children were educated in a Gülen school in Turkey, one of the many private schools the community – led by U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen – runs around the world.
The police chief said he spoke to some figures in and close to the [religious] community about his allegations, before the book was published, to warn them that he would reveal their wrongdoing--if his claims were not addressed. "I believe my message arrived to Fethullah Gülen; the reverse is unthinkable. They told me they would transmit what I told them to the necessary [people]," he said.
"However, around two months passed and I did not receive any response. When we look at the current developments, we can say they have not made any changes at all."
Responding to criticism that he did not present a compelling case in his book to support his allegations, Avcı said that, by law, he does not have the authority to collect evidence [to build a case], which is the job of prosecutors. "The book has many pieces of evidence and I have enough evidence as well. If I had added all of them to the book, many volumes would have been needed," he said.
"I tried to simplify what I wrote to keep people from getting scared," Avcı added, noting that he would share any documents or other evidence with prosecutors if asked.
Avcı was previously known for testifying during the investigations that followed the Susurluk accident in 1996, which exposed links between the police, mafia and politicians. After a car accident Oct. 3, 1996, in the town of Susurluk, in the northwestern province of Balıkesir, a former police chief, high-profile criminal Abdullah Çatlı and Sedat Bucak, a Kurdish landlord and deputy from the True Path Party, [DYP], were found in the crashed vehicle, along with weapons and identity cards.
Responding to criticisms that he wrote the book about the Gülen community for personal benefit, Avcı said he understood after the Susurluk period that he had no future in his profession.
In 1997, he testified to the parliamentary commission founded to look into the scandal; one year later, he was arrested for disclosing telephone numbers of National Intelligence Organization [MİT] officials. Avcı was subsequently released and returned to work.
WAR ON TERROR 'CANNOT BE WON WITHOUT GUNS,' SAYS NEW CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF
The general set to be appointed as the new Chief of General Staff on Friday said that the fight against terrorism cannot be won "without using weapons" and that a "single-type" of military service should be enforced.
Gen. Işık Koşaner, speaking at the handover ceremony Wednesday, said the fight against terrorism is the job of the Interior Ministry, supported by the Turkish Land Forces Command.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, Koşaner said the struggle would continue "as long as those with guns who threaten our unity, put lives in danger, commit countless murders, prevent our country from developing and pay no attention to our laws, remain in the mountains. There are no alternatives."
While Koşaner said he agreed that the fight against terrorism should expand beyond guns, he added: "It is not possible to win [the war] without weapons."
With reference to the legitimacy of the fight against terrorism, Koşaner said the legal responsibility belonged to law enforcement agencies tied to the Interior Ministry, supported by the Turkish Land Forces Command. "The Land Forces Command has completed all tasks at the risk of their own lives and will continue with the same determination."
Koşaner addressed media reports regarding soldiers who disobey orders. "Some media outlets have targeted the Land Forces based on speculation, even though the appropriate legal action has been taken against these soldiers," he said.
According to Koşaner, soldiers remain the key to success. "There is no task a well-trained soldier cannot overcome."
A "single-type" military service, in which everyone would serve under equal conditions, was suggested by the general to "better benefit from the educated manpower of the country for a longer period of time."
Koşaner countered criticism that non-commissioned officers and privates do not receive sufficient training, saying that personnel receive 10 weeks of basic and specialty training, followed by three weeks of orientation.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said he has positive feelings regarding payment for partial exemption from military service, reported Anatolia news agency.
"I have a positive attitude regarding paid military service. This is not a privilege. It is something practiced worldwide. And it has to be," Arınç told journalists. "In my opinion, if it is needed and necessary, paid military service may be introduced again in Turkey, just like in the past."
According to Arınç, the General Staff however, through the Defense Ministry, has declared that paid military service should not be considered because of the army's great need for soldiers. "Maybe the views of the new Chief of General Staff will be different from his predecessors. The opinions of the national defense regarding soldier demand are important to us. I would be pleased to see a softened attitude toward paid military service."