ISRAELI MINISTER CALLS ON U.S. TO HIT SYRIA AND IRAN
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, speaking to Reuters, invited the West to hit Iran and Syria, because they killed more of their citizens than Libyan leader Moamar Gadhafi.
"The west is reluctant to flesh out the crimes which Iran and Syrian Governments committed against their people. Their crimes doubled the ones which Libyan leader committed," Lieberman did.
MOTION PASSED WITH LIGHT SPEED
The parliament adopted a government-sponsored resolution allowing the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to send troops to foreign countries in order to ensure stability and security in Libya. In addition to the ruling Justice & Development Party, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the other main opposition party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), backed the measure. The Peace & Democracy Party (BDP) voted no. The law will be valid for one year.
LIBYA MISSION COMMANDER IS UNDER ARREST
Since the Turkish parliament passed a resolution to send troops abroad yesterday, four frigates, a support vessel and a submarine are on their way to Libya.
The fleet is under command of Turkish Navy South Sea Area Command. The fleet erstwhile commander, Vice-Admiral Kadir Sagdic, is under arrest for charges relating to the Sledgehammer case.
South Sea Mission Group commander Rear-Admiral Cem Aziz Cakmak and Submarine Fleet Commander Rear-Admiral Ahmet Turmen are also under arrest for the same charges.
ERDOĞAN DECRIES FRENCH OFFICIAL'S USE OF 'CRUSADE'
When French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who called the operation over Libya as a "crusade," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responding by saying Turkey's European Union membership would make the East and the West understand each other.
"However, some people did not want to perceive this. They are confusing [public opinion] regarding the operation over Libya. Unfortunately, they are using inconsiderate definitions like 'crusade.'"
ERDOGAN ACCUSES FELLOW NATO ALLIES OF BASE MOTIVES
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the West to ignore the underground riches of Libya. "I hope those who only see oil and gold mines, when they look at the East and the South, will start looking at these regions with a little bit of conscience from now on," Erdoğan said.
IMMEDIATE DISCLAIMER FROM RASMUSSEN
The aim of France, which wanted to hand over the command of the operation over Libya to NATO, has crumbled.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and briefed him on France's goals. When Davutoğlu said, "Arab countries do not want NATO either," he heard a surprising reaction. Rasmussen said: "This is not true, the foreign minister of United Arab Emirates is beside me and he is not telling so. Arab countries want NATO to undertake the responsibility of the operation. I can put you through him and he can explain it to you."
UAE's Foreign Minister Abdallah bin Zayid al Nuhayyan backed Turkey's concerns, and opposed France. He said, "We do not have such a stance."
COMMAND BELONGS TO NATO
The uncompromising stance of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who warned that the intervention in Libya should not turn into an invasion, yielded positive results. France, which attempted to act as the leader of the operation despite the UN decision on the matter, lost in the end, and the command of the operation was handed over to NATO in line with Turkey's demands.
TURKEY, UNITED STATES ALMOST LIKE MINDED ON NATO ACTION, SAYS U.S. AMBASSADOR
Turkey and United States share almost the same views on military action in Libya, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey said on Thursday.
Ambassador Francis Ricciardone said that Turkish and U.S. officials were in talks in Brussels after the Turkish parliament approved a motion that allowed Turkey's participation in military operations over Libya.
Ricciardone said officials of the two countries were in close contact with NATO.
Pointing out that the two countries had shared the same concerns about Libya, Ricciardone said there was a very complex and multidimensional operation in Libya in line with UN Security Council resolution. He said the most important thing was to protect the people of Libya, adding, "this is our concern and we agree on that."
Ricciardone also said that Turkey had a unique role in the region and a special expertise because of historical and cultural reasons. "We can work together," he said.
TURKEY'S SENIOR GENERAL MEETS NATO COMMANDER
Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner met NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stravridis in Ankara on Thursday. Earlier on Thursday, Turkish government submitted a motion to the parliament to send troops to foreign countries.
In the motion, the government said the turmoil in Libya began on February 15, and the United Nations' Security Council adopted two resolutions on February 26 and March 17 in order to end the violence in that country.
The government, in its motion, requested the parliament to allow it and the Turkish Armed Forces to send troops to foreign countries.
The parliament is expected to debate the motion later on Thursday.
Turkey will make the largest contribution to the NATO mission with a confirmed fleet of 16 warships and submarines.
NATO agreed on Tuesday to enforce the arms embargo and completed plans to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone if needed.
Under the NATO plan, Italy will provide the command and control ship of the naval mission. Canada, Spain, Britain, Greece, Italy and United States will contribute one ship each. Turkey and Italy will also allocate two auxiliary ships.
TUNCEL ON STAGE AGAIN
Peace & Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel, who slapped a police officer in the face in Silopi town of the eastern province of Şırnak, caused more chaos at the Bilgi University yesterday.
Tuncel said that she did not feel any regret for what she did. "The state should regret. I would like to slap the state, not a police officer," she added.
AND THIS HAPPENED TOO
A first happened in Turkey yesterday. The draft of Ergenekon detainee Ahmet Şık's book 'İmam'ın Ordusu' (The Army of Imam) was considered as an "organizational document."
Police raided the building of Radikal newspaper to demolish the draft. Police said that the book, which concerns the alleged infiltration by the Fethullah Gülen movement of police departments, was written to boost morale to Ergenekon (an alleged criminal network), and it was considered as an organizational document, and not a book, since it had not been published yet.
On the basis of this decision, police raided the İthaki Publishing House, and the draft of the book was erased from computers. Then, police raided the Radikal newspaper where Ahmet Şık was working. According to the decision of the court, those, who have a draft of the book but hide it, will be considered to have aided the organization.
BOOK HUNT MOVES TO RADIKAL DAILY'S OFFICE
Police searches for possible drafts of what was said to be an unpublished book by journalist Ahmet Şık extended to the offices of daily Radikal on Thursday.
Officers who went to the the Medya Towers building asked for copies of the 'The Imam's Army' draft from journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu based on a court decision that called it an 'illegal organizational document.'
Police operations against copies of a "draft book" spread to the offices of a mainstream newspaper for the first time Thursday, as officers raided the headquarters of Radikal, a sister newspaper of the Hürriyet Daily News.
Acting upon a court decision accompanied by orders from Ergenekon Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, two police officers entered the Hürriyet Medya Towers in Istanbul's Güneşli neighborhood, going to the 13th floor to confiscate "a possible copy" of the unpublished manuscript from investigative reporter Ertuğrul Mavioğlu.
The "draft" was written by journalist Ahmet Şık, who currently is under arrest in the Ergenekon case. Two police officers asked for a copy of Şık's draft of "The Imam's Army," confiscated it in printed form and told Mavioğlu to delete it from his computer.
The court decision characterized the draft as an "illegal organizational document."
The decision by the 12th Court for Serious Crimes read: "It was understood that directives and notes written by the organization's prominent name Soner Yalçın were inserted into the drafts of a book being written by Ahmet Şık. It was pointed out that the drafts contained propaganda for the Ergenekon terror organization, and aimed at affecting a fair trial and causing disinformation and sensation among the public, thus giving organization members moral support and motivation."
"Ahmet had given me the draft previously to have a look at it," Mavioğlu said as the police operation proceeded. "I have had a look but have no clear idea on its content." "I feel so sorry that I live in this country, that such a thing could be done to journalists," he said.
A complicated agreement
After talks with lawyers from the Hürriyet Media Group, of which Radikal is a member, the police decided to retrieve a printed copy of the draft and then delete the copy on Mavioğlu's computer. The police also took images of the draft book from the computer screen. The draft was not handed over in an electronic format, due to suspicions by both parties that something could be added afterwards to the digital copy. The empty portions of printed pages were also marked by lawyers who wrote: "This page is empty" on empty back pages, in order to avoid anything else being added afterward.
"I am not pleased even with this agreement; this is such a bad thing that's been done to us," Mavioğlu said in the hall outside the paper's office. The police did not allow their images to be recorded by photographers or camera operators.
According to the court decision that resulted in the raid, Şık's writings "do not have the characteristics of a book," but represent the Ergenekon organization's "orders and directives to be included in the manuscript," which "have been placed between paragraphs" and thus the text carries "characteristics of an organizational document."
TURKISH POLICE RAID PRINTING HOUSE, ERASE UNPUBLISHED BOOK
Istanbul police raided a printing house Wednesday evening in search of computer files containing an unpublished book by an arrested suspect in the Ergenekon coup-plot case and erased the digital draft.
The printing house, İthaki, was the publisher that owned the rights to "İmamın Ordusu" (The Army of the Imam), an unpublished book by journalist Ahmet Şık, who was arrested two weeks ago. The book was found in digital form on a computer at the office of the dissident online news portal OdaTV; Şık has stated he did not know how it got there.
Şık's arrest has been criticized in legal circles since the evidence against him was not revealed to his lawyers.
His unpublished book deals with the alleged organization founded within the Turkish police by the Fethullah Gülen religious community. This fact has led to suspicions that Şık was arrested due to the book's contents, rather than his involvement in the alleged Ergenekon gang, which he has worked as a journalist to expose.
Ergenekon Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz said Şık was not arrested due to his book.
After raiding the printing house, the police erased the digital copy of the book found there and continued their search for other digital copies. Şık's wife, Yonca Şık, was told by the police Thursday that she and any other parties who have a digital copy must turn them in or they would be accused of "aiding a criminal organization."
The prosecution also asked for the copies in his lawyers' possession, prompting questions about how they will be able to come up with a defense. Lawyer Tora Pekin told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday that they thought things could not get any stranger after the evidence against Şık was declared secret but the latest incident showed "there is still a considerable distance to be covered."
Intervening in a book before it is published is unlawful even if it contains illegal material, because it is akin to arresting someone before a crime is committed, Pekin said. "The next stage is to perform a lobotomy on Ahmet Şık's brain," the lawyer added.
Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist, part of a shadowy gang accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup, initially by spreading chaos and mayhem. Some believe it to be an extension of the "deep state," an alleged shadow organization of bureaucracy and military within the state whose existence was voiced by people including presidents but for which an exact definition has never been made.
JOURNALISTS NOT FREE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN TURKEY, SAYS POLL
Nearly 50 percent of people in Turkey believe journalists and writers cannot express their opinions freely, according to a survey conducted by the MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center.
Some 43 percent of respondents to the survey said journalists and writers could express their ideas freely while 7 percent said they have no idea about the issue.
The Ankara-based MetroPOLL survey company surveyed 1,532 people in 31 provinces on March 16 to 19.
Some 71.7 percent of the people surveyed said they could share their opinions freely while 26.3 percent said they could not do so.
Asked whether they would prefer a single-party government or a coalition government, some 75.3 percent of the respondents said they would prefer a single-party government while 17 percent said they favored coalition governments.
Some 45.1 percent said they supported the 10 percent election threshold to enter Parliament, while 38.8 percent opposed it and 14.9 percent said they had no idea.
The majority of respondents, 78.1 percent, said it would be normal to have a female deputy who wears a headscarf, a view with which 19.5 percent disagreed.
In response to a question about whether they found it right for suspects in the ongoing Ergenekon coup-plot case to be nominated as deputy candidates in the upcoming general election, 63.8 percent of those surveyed said they found it wrong while 19.4 percent said they found it right.
Participants were also asked whether they thought the secular lifestyle was under threat in Turkey. Some 56 percent said they thought it was not threatened while 36.9 percent said they thought it was.
Asked whether a presidential system should be applied in Turkey, some 39.6 percent said they favored the shift while 36.9 percent opposed it and 22.2.percent said they had no idea.
Some 60.5 percent of respondents said they saw the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, as unsuccessful while 29.4 percent said they found him to be successful.