The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.


Turkey's president on Monday lambasted an Israeli inquiry that had cleared its military and government of any wrongdoing in a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound international flotilla as having "no value or credibility." President Abdullah Gül said the findings illustrate "Israel's spoiled attitude, that has no regard for the world or for international law."

Nine pro-Palestinian activists — eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish American — were killed when Israeli commandos boarded a ship in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, on May 31.

An Israeli panel that investigated the raid said Sunday that the armed defense of Israel's maritime blockade of the coastal strip was justified under international law. Turkey condemned the report Sunday, saying it was "surprised, appalled and dismayed."

Gül added his voice to the criticism on Monday.

"What Israel did has nothing to do with international law. This is Israel's own document and it has no value or credibility in terms of international law," he told reporters.

The aid group, İHH, that organized the flotilla campaign also denounced the report on Monday, saying the panel's findings were pre-ordained by the Israeli government.

"With this so-called report, this report created on orders, with this disinformation, they have, in a way, agreed that they are guilty," İHH President Bülent Yıldırım, who was among activists on board the Mavi Marmara, told reporters.

The Israeli commando raid sparked a wave of international condemnation and lead to an easing of Israel's blockade on the coastal territory.

The raid further damaged already strained relations with Turkey, formerly one of Israel's closest allies. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and is demanding an apology and compensation for the victims before ties can return to normal.

The nearly 300-page report echoed Israel's earlier military investigation that faulted the planning and execution of the operation. Even so, it said the blockade of Gaza and the raid were legal and justified.

An official Turkish commission investigating the incident denounced Israel's findings Sunday, saying the blockade amounted to illegal "collective punishment" of Gaza's 1.5 million people." It also accused Israel of using unnecessary and excessive force.

Both soldiers and activists involved in the raid have said they acted in self-defense.

Israel convoked the official inquiry two weeks after the incident.

The commission, headed by retired Israeli Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel, included four Israeli members and two international observers — David Trimble, a Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland, and Brig. Gen. Ken Watkin, Canada's former chief military prosecutor. All signed off on the conclusions.

A fifth Israeli participant, 93-year-old international law expert Shabtai Rosenne, died during the deliberations.


Venezuela's offer to Turkey to provide "oil in exchange of trade" could be a solution to Turkey's current account deficit problem and its high cost of oil. If the offer made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is implemented, Turkey could buy oil for about $40/barrel.

A Turkish delegation will travel to Caracas, Venezuela on February 10 to discuss Venezuela's offer.


A new draft law on the judiciary, submitted by the government to the parliament, will reshape the structure of the Supreme Court of Appeals and Council of State.

The draft law includes several radical provisions. According to the bill, the number of people working in the chambers of Supreme Court of Appeals will be increased. The number of members of the court will be increased to 387 from 250, the bill foresees. The number of members of the Council of State will also rise to 156 from 95.


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has strongly reacted to recent claims by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party was cooperating with Hezbollah. Erdoğan said that linking his party to a terrorist group was "tactless." Prime Minister Erdoğan said that Kılıçdaroğlu had to prove his claims.


A warning issued to a primary school teacher for talking about Darwinian evolutionary theory during class has sparked a debate over whether education in Turkey is becoming more religious.

"The real motive behind the warning is the conflict between those who are trying to build education on a religious basis and those looking to scientific origins," Zübeyde Kılıç, head of Education and Science Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen), a trade union defending the rights of teachers, told daily Radikal on Monday. She said a law suit would be opened in the administrative court to annul the warning shortly.

Süleyman Biçer, who has been teaching for more than 14 years, received a warning for talking about Darwinian evolutionary theory in response to a question posed by one of his students. Biçer, a teacher at the Mamak Trade Chamber Elementary School in Ankara, replied to a question from one of his students on the subject of whether human beings came from monkeys. The teacher reportedly told the class how human beings and other species have evolved over many years.

Following the class, the student reportedly told his parents about the remarks, leading the mother of the fifth-grade student to file a complaint against Biçer, claiming that the teacher had told students that monkeys were human beings' ancestors and that he had also read the Bible during class. The student's mother petitioned the Provincial Education Directorate, leading the Mamak Provincial Education Directorate to launch an investigation into the claims, with nine of Biçer's 42 students called to testify.

After three of the students confirmed that Biçer talked about Darwin during the class, a report was prepared by officials indicating that Darwin's evolutionary was not officially in the fifth-grade curriculum. Evolutionary theory does not even figure in eighth-grade curriculum, the report said. Biçer received a warning from the school administration.

"The teacher did not lecture about Darwinian theory. He replied to a question," Kılıç said. "We want students who question everything but we issue warnings to teachers just because they stepped out of the lines of the curriculum."

The debate on Darwinian theory is not something new. In early 2009, a huge uproar was caused when the cover story of a publication by Turkey's Research and Science Council (TÜBİTAK) was pulled allegedly because it focused on Darwin's theory of evolution. The incident led to intense criticism and resulted in finger-pointing by various officials of that publication and its parent institute. A few months later, the same article appeared as the publication's cover story.

Kılıç believes the reason behind these moves is that the Education Ministry favors the creationist approaches and opposes the Darwinian theory of evolution. Education Ministry officials were not available for comment.


Journalist Uğur Mumcu, who was killed in a bomb attack, was commemorated with ceremonies on the 18th anniversary of his demise.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP) who attended the ceremony in front of Uğur Mumcu's house in Ankara where he was murdered, offered his condolences to Mumcu's wife Güldal Mumcu, who is the deputy speaker of Turkish parliament, her daughter Özge and son Özgür. Kılıçdaroğlu said: "The state has not fulfilled its responsibilities so far."

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