The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
CHP DEPUTY WARNS PM ERDOGAN
Tacidar Seyhan, CHP Adana Deputy questions the reliability of the results of the referendum on Sept. 12, 2010.
He says the electronic logging system is not secure enough against possible tricks.
He submitted his questions in written to the Turkish Grand National Assembly to be answered by PM [Prime Minister] Erdogan: "Are we sure the electronic logging system is secure and protected for outside interferences. If not, did the Government and the High Election Council check the security of the system after 2007 and 2009 elections?"
He added that the system can easily be programmed to get the results as 53% "yes".
NO OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OTHER THAN TURKISH, ERDOĞAN SAYS
Speaking on a radio program on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that there could be no official language in Turkey other than Turkish. "We have never made a promise of a second official language in Turkey. The issue of a second language can hurt the unity of our country. We will never fall into that trap," Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan's comments came after the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP] demanded mother-tongue education in Turkey.
DAVUTOĞLU SENDS MESSAGE TO YEREVAN TO WITHDRAW FROM AZERBAIJANI TERRITORY
Holding talks in eastern Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that it was in the interest of all parties in the region to facilitate peace in the Caucasus. In order to facilitate peace, Armenia must withdraw from the Azerbaijani territory it has occupied, Davutoğlu stressed.
BOYCOTT MEANS 'YES'
Speaking to Milliyet, main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP] Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized people boycotting the referendum.
Kılıçdaroğlu said: "Not going to the ballot boxes means casting a 'yes' vote in the referendum. Instead, they should better go and cast that 'yes' vote."
AID TOUR TO PAKISTAN
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's spouse Emine Erdoğan left for Pakistan to deliver medicine and money collected to help the country. State Minister & chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bağış, State Minister Selma Aliye Kavaf as well as Caroline Koç and Muazzez Ersoy were in the delegation accompanying her.
DAVUTOGLU DENIES REPORT OVER U.S. HOUSE BLOCK OF WEAPONS SALES TO TURKEY
Turkish foreign minister on Wednesday denounced news reports alleging that the United States House of Representatives had bowed in to pressure from Jewish lobbies to cancel some weapons sales to Turkey.
"There has been a misunderstanding. Our ambassador in Washington has made the necessary statement. Relations between Turkey and the United States are as usual. Our Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ferdiun Sinirlioglu is continuing to work at the Congress over our defense needs," Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters during a visit to the eastern province of Igdir.
Relations between Turkey and Israel grew tense after a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy in late May. Eight Turkish people and a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed in the raid.
Several Turkish newspapers on Wednesday wrote that the U.S. House had postponed discussing the sale of Reaper drones and Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey.
BOYCOTT TILL ISRAEL APOLOGIZES
Prior to Şeker Bayram, Turkey's people united against Israel, which staged a raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship. Nongovernmental organizations and citizens decided to boycott products of companies supporting Israel until Tel Aviv apologizes.
U.S. PRESSES TURKEY FOR WARGAMES WITH ISRAEL: REPORT
The United States has told Turkey it will shun joint military drills in October if Israel is not invited, a Turkish newspaper reported Wednesday. The U.S. message was conveyed to Ankara after invitations were sent out to several countries but not Israel for the "Anatolian Eagle" air drills, held annually since 2001 in central Turkey, unnamed sources told the mass-selling Hurriyet daily.
The U.S. embassy in Ankara would not comment on the issue. Last year, Turkey for the first time excluded Israel from the exercises amid tensions between the once-close allies over the Jewish state's devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Turkey eventually cancelled the international section of the drills without explanation after the United States reportedly pulled out. Since then, Turkish-Israeli ties have hit a new low, raising concern in Washington, after Israeli forces killed nine Turks on May 31 in an operation to stop an aid flotilla that aimed to break Gaza's blockade.
Ankara recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and scrapped joint war games. The United States was also irked by Turkey's "no" vote to fresh sanctions against Iran, adopted by the UN Security Council in June over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme. Last week, senior Turkish diplomats went to Washington in a bid to dispel fears that the Islamist-rooted government is taking NATO's sole majority-Muslim member away from the West.
'YES,' 'NO' IN DEAD HEAT AHEAD OF TURKISH REFERENDUM
The fight between the "yes" and "no" camps in Turkey's constitutional referendum looks set to go down to the wire, with the deciding factor likely to be which leader makes the bigger gaffe, according to two heads of survey companies.
"What will be decisive in the referendum will not be the campaigns but the possible gaffes and mistakes by the political party leaders," Adil Gür, head of polling company A&G, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.
The political parties have intensified their election campaigns and adopted a much harsher tone toward each other while giving their messages to their voters ahead of the Sept. 12 referendum, during which Turkish citizens will vote on the government's constitutional reforms.
The ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has primarily based his referendum rhetoric on the settling of accounts with the perpetrators of the 1980 military coup, encouraging Turks to vote "yes" so that the coup plotters can be tried.
In an effort to steal the Kurdish and conservative votes, the Republican People's Party [CHP] leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on the other hand, revisited earlier proposals about creating a social consensus on a possible general amnesty for those accused of terrorism-related offenses with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] and the headscarf problem.
The line, however, is a mistake in terms of public perception, according to Gür. "It is Erdoğan who is carrying out the most successful referendum campaign thanks to the power of media and mass communication at his hand. The society, however, is so polarized that it is not affected by these campaigns [despite] the billboards and posters," he said.
"Kılıçdaroğlu's discourses on the general amnesty and the headscarf as the chief of a secular party along with Erdoğan's much-criticized remarks that 'those who fail to choose sides today will be set aside tomorrow,' indicate a gaffe in terms of voter perception," Gür said.
For Gür, Erdoğan's rhetoric on "settling accounts with 1980 coup via 'yes' votes" is not the correct line, Gür said, citing poll results that show that the number of people who suffered under the 1980 coup yet still said the military intervention was necessary at the time was higher than those who condemn the takeover.
Echoing Gür's remarks, Professor Özer Sencar, head of the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP]-affiliated MetroPOLL Research Company, said the possible gaffes would likely affect the "yes" votes in the referendum.
"Two factors will affect the referendum. One is a possible gaffe or mistake to be made by Erdoğan during his speeches and another is the stance of Kurdish voters," he told the Daily News.
Recent opinion polls
A&G conducted the recent poll among 2,405 people and revealed that 44 percent of those surveyed were planning to say "no" while 45.2 percent would say "yes." Some 10.8 percent, meanwhile, are still undecided.
Some 58.8 percent of those undecided were women, according to the A&G survey.
Thus, the political party that will win over the most undecided voters – especially women and youth, who are the most ill-informed about the particulars of the charter – will win the race, Gür said.
Meanwhile, 28.4 percent of the population will likely vote on the proposals without being familiar with them, Gür said, adding that these people will likely vote along party lines since many tend to vote ideologically.
MetroPOLL, on the other hand, held two surveys in August, one during the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, meeting in which the government clashed with the military about appointments, and one after the meeting.
The first half of its poll was conducted with 677 people while the second half was conducted with 839 people; both came out strongly in favor of the "yes" side, according to Sencar.
For Sencar, what is interesting is that the 13.8 percent of undecided votes in the first poll decreased to 7 percent after the government's clash with military in YAŞ, with almost half of the undecided votes going to the "yes" side.
"The crisis with the military usually serves to benefit the AKP and Erdoğan utilizes this situation very well. The public displays a silent reaction once the military intervenes in the incidents," Sencar said, implying that the government's relations with the military will also affect the AKP's votes in referendum.
Regardless of what polls currently indicate, both believe that the margin between "yes" and "no" votes is likely to be close in the referendum.
"I think the AKP will win the race with a very small difference," Sencar said.
Both Gür and Sencar agree that Kurdish votes will also affect the fate of the referendum, saying the voters of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, in the Southeast may not abide by the party's boycott decision, which would likely increase the number of "yes" votes.
"Most of the Kurdish votes already go to the AKP. The BDP's stance will rather affect the referendum results. I think the voters in the Southeast will go to the polls despite the boycott decision and say 'yes,' which will strengthen the AKP's hand," Gür said.
How closely the BDP's boycott call is heeded will be crucial for the "yes" vote, Sencar said.
"Intellectual Kurdish people are likely to vote in the referendum despite the boycott and say 'no.' But if the ordinary Kurdish origin public in the Southeast go to polls, they will probably say 'yes," Sencar said.
CHP SENDS LETTER TO EU
Meanwhile, the CHP sent a written message to the European Union via the party's representation office in Brussels, Kader Sevinç, explaining the reasons why the CHP opposes the constitutional amendments and the outcomes of the change on Turkish judiciary that would result from a "yes" vote on the amendments.
"If 'yes' is the result of this referendum, when you visit a court, you would see a plate on which is written 'justice is the possession of the minister,' behind the judge," Kılıçdaroğlu said in a press statement Wednesday.
"The standards are certain to form a HSYK [High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors] in EU. That is, there won't be a minister of justice and the undersecretary of the ministry in the council; members of the council will select their chairman and the authorization to launch an investigation on judges and prosecutors will be with the council not with the minister," he said.
He said the changes made by the ruling party kept the minister of justice as the chairman of the council. "The administration and the representation are given to the minister of justice. The authority of launching an investigation is with the minister," Kılıçdaroğlu said in his message.
The amendment on the HSYK meant the power of appointing the secretary general had been given to the minister, he said, adding that the HSYK would work in three departments and laws drafted by the government would define the formation and the division of labor.
Kılıçdaroğlu had said the EU had no idea why the CHP was voting "no" in the referendum in a previous interview with the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.