Browse through our General Nodes about Greece Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Monday, 24 January 2022
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-07-06

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>



  • [01] The Republican Turkish Party calls for early so-called elections on 26 September
  • [02] Talat says that they are trying to eliminate the 1994 decision of the European Court of Justice; He will soon be visiting France
  • [03] Statements by Rauf Denktas on the opening of crossing points between the free and the occupied areas of Cyprus and the information regarding the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops
  • [04] YENI DUZEN says that the EU will be directly granting financial aid to the Turkish Cypriots
  • [05] An archaeological treasure of 26 bronze items dated on the 13 century BC was discovered near the occupied Galinoporni village
  • [06] Unrest within the Republican People's Party of Baykal continues: Edirne deputy tenders his resignation from the party

  • [07] Former Indian Ambassador to Turkey analyses the shifts in geo-strategic parameters in the Middle East


    [01] The Republican Turkish Party calls for early so-called elections on 26 September

    Illegal BAYRAK television (05.07.04) broadcast that the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces [RTP-United Forces] General-Secretary Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, and "deputies" Ahmet Barcin, Ali Seylani, and Salih Izbul held a press conference at the "Republican Assembly" press centre yesterday. Speaking at the press conference, Mr Soyer accused the National Unity Party [NUP] of obstructing the convocation of the "Republican Assembly" by refraining from participating in the general assembly sessions. He said that the NUP wants to create a crisis.

    Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer said: "The bill related to the traffic accidents, in which several people have been killed, are on the Republican Assembly's agenda. All of them were unanimously supported by the committees. With a view to create a political crisis, the NUP leaders failed to attend the general assembly session today, regardless of the fact that bill we submitted was jointly drawn up with the representatives of the civilian organizations and the pertinent state organs. It can be said that the NUP wants the suffering in our country to continue. The design was realized because of the two votes we did not have in the Republican Assembly. They are the votes of Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and one of our deputies, who are making an effort abroad to promote the Turkish Cypriot people's interests. The NUP approach is unacceptable. Considering all that, the RTP-United Forces submitted a draft bill to the Republican Assembly Chairmanship Council calling for early elections on 26 September. The initiative is very important for the effort that is made to remove the political crisis in our country. The bill is signed by our party leader and deputies. We submitted it to the Republican Assembly today. We will submit a motion on Thursday to call for urgent action on the bill. We decided to submit the motion on Thursday in order to allow all the political parties to assess the situation. We do not want them to think that we are trying to create a fait accompli. We want them to have an opportunity to assess the situation."

    Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer further said that the proposal on early elections was one of the reasons for the decision the NUP made not to attend the general assembly session. He claimed that the NUP was the main responsible element for the problems the Turkish Cypriots encounter in Cyprus and abroad. Arguing that the NUP is concerned only with its economic and political interests, Soyer recalled that EU Commissioner Gunther Verheugen and the EU officials will disclose the documents that are related to the Turkish Cypriots on Wednesday, and added: "The NUP wants to create a political crisis for the sake of its petty interests at such an important time. It is opposed to initiatives that will allow the integration of the Turkish Cypriots with the EU. Had the party members stood at a different point, they would have refrained from walking in banana groves during the Copenhagen process. They would not have allowed their policies to create an opportunity for the Greek Cypriot administration's accession to the EU in the Hague".

    [02] Talat says that they are trying to eliminate the 1994 decision of the European Court of Justice; He will soon be visiting France

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, has said that the aim of the Turkish Cypriots to put an end to the "unjust isolation", which is a result of the wrong policy they had been following for 40 years, would not be realized soon.

    In statements to KIBRIS' correspondent in London, Mr Talat noted: "'We are trying to eliminate the decision of the EU Court of Justice. Because the court has not taken its decision within a day, changing it will not be done within a day. This is a long term struggle. We shall be proceeding step by step. We have slowly reached this point and we shall slowly be getting away from it".

    Mr Talat, who concluded his visit to Britain and today will be returning to the occupied areas of Cyprus, said also that he had received an official invitation from France, but the date of his visit has not yet been determined. Mr Talat said that during his visit to France he will be meeting with the French Minister for EU Affairs.

    [03] Statements by Rauf Denktas on the opening of crossing points between the free and the occupied areas of Cyprus and the information regarding the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.07.04) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas said yesterday that the occupation regime was discussing the opening of only one crossing point between the free and the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Asked to comment on Mr Mehmet Ali Talat's statement that the occupation regime is prepared for the opening of two crossing points, one in Morfou area and one in Nicosia, Mr Denktas noted: "When we discussed this issue with the government, we talked about opening only one gate. We thought and decided that only one gate could be opened, because of the personnel and the expenses. I saw in the press that Mr Prime Minister speaks about two gates. What I know is that the opening of one gate is discussed. If we think for opening another gate afterwards, we may do it, but first let this gate be opened. And we shall see what we will do accordingly. I know that the decision is taken for a gate in the area of Morfou".

    Referring to the information published in the Greek Cypriot press that Prime Minister Erdogan would withdraw Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus and hand over the occupied closed city of Varosha to the United Nations in return for the opening of the Famagusta Harbour, Mr Denktas said he knew or heard nothing on the issue and that the Greek Cypriots are trying to spread information over what they want to see to be realized.

    [04] YENI DUZEN says that the EU will be directly granting financial aid to the Turkish Cypriots

    Under the banner front - page title "Direct aid", Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (06.07.04) reports that it has succeed in getting hold of the text of the decision of the EU which Commissioner Gunter Verheugen will be announcing tomorrow regarding the financial aid of the Commission to the Turkish Cypriots, aiming at the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    The paper writes that this aid will be directly granted to the Turkish Cypriots without the involvement of the Republic of Cyprus. The Commission will give the Turkish Cypriots six million euros for the year 2004, 114 million euros for 2005 and 139 million euros for 2006. The money will be spent on feasibility studies.

    [05] An archaeological treasure of 26 bronze items dated on the 13 century BC was discovered near the occupied Galinoporni village

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (06.07.04) reports that 26 bronze items were found buried in an earthenware jar in a rocky hill near the occupied Galinoporni village, in the Karpass Peninsula.

    According to the paper, the items are 3200 years old, and are dated in the late Bronze Age. The excavations were conducted by the so-called Famagusta branch of the Department of the Antiquities and Museum of the pseudostate. Among the 26 items which were found, were two well preserved censers, one shovel for coals, of which only a few pieces are known to exist in Cyprus and the Middle East, a closed jug with a handle, five pieces of hook and three large bronze kettles. The paper writes that similar items were found in 1970 near the occupied Sinta Village. These items are now in the Saint Varnavas Museum.

    [06] Unrest within the Republican People's Party of Baykal continues: Edirne deputy tenders his resignation from the party

    According to the Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (06/07/04), the unrest against the leadership in the main opposition party in Turkey, the Republican People's Party (RPP) of Deniz Baykal continues unabated despite last week's extraordinary General Congress in which Baykal was re-elected as party leader.

    The paper reports that the Edirne Deputy Necdet Burak has tendered his resignation from the party. He said that he has lost hope that within the RPP structure the party is in a position to develop policies which would be geared to solving of the country's problems.

    The paper reports that if the leadership resorts to disciplinary actions against those who oppose the leadership then there would be mass resignations within the party.


    [07] Former Indian Ambassador to Turkey analyses the shifts in geo-strategic parameters in the Middle East

    Under the title "Turkey and the great game in the north of Iraq" and subtitle "Israeli interference in the north of Iraq", Turkish Daily News (05.07.04), publishes the following interesting article by K. Gajendra Singh, who served as India's Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan and who is currently chairman of the Foundation of Indo-Turkic studies.

    "An article by Pulitzer Prize winning U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh that Israel has been fishing in the Kurdish region of the north of Iraq has caused much controversy and exchanges in the area. The report was based on information from former and current intelligence officials in Israel, the United States and Turkey. (Israeli activities in north Iraq were mentioned in "Coming out of Chakravhyu- U.S. Iraq Exit Policy 15/1/04" ).

    Writing in New Yorker magazine Mr. Hersh says that Israel is helping to build up Kurdish military strength to counter the growing Shiite militias in Iraq and create a base to spy on Iran, specially its nuclear programme. Its agents are active in the Kurdish areas of Iran, Syria and Iraq and provide training to commando units and run covert operations, which could further destabilise the region and upset Turkey with whom Israel has almost ally-like relations.

    "If you end up with a divided Iraq, it will bring more blood, tears and pain to the Middle East and you will be blamed," a senior Turkish official told Mr. Hersh. "The lesson of Yugoslavia is that when you give one country independence, everybody will want it. Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq. If something happens there, it will be impossible to contain the crisis," he said.

    A recent Intel Brief -- an intelligence newsletter circulated by former CIA chiefs -- stated that the Israeli actions were placing increasing stress on its relationship with Turkey, which was already strained over the Iraq war. "The Turks are increasingly concerned by the expanding Israeli presence in Kurdistan and the alleged encouragement of Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state," it said.

    "Israel has always supported the Kurds in a Machiavellian way; as a balance against Saddam," said one former Israeli intelligence officer. "It's realpolitik. By aligning with the Kurds, Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq and Syria. The critical question is, 'What will the behaviour of Iran be if there is an independent Kurdistan with close ties to Israel? Iran does not want an Israeli land-based aircraft carrier on its border,'" he added.

    According to Mr Hersh, Israel decided to step up its role in Kurdistan last summer when it was clear that the United States incursion into Iraq was unravelling. Israel feared the results would strengthen Iran. In the autumn, the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that the United States had lost out in Iraq. Israel "had learned that there's no way to win an occupation," he told Mr Cheney and the only issue was "choosing the size of your humiliation."

    Since July last year, the Israeli government put into operation what one former Israeli intelligence official called "Plan B" to protect itself from the fallout of the chaos following U.S. failure in Iraq. If the June 30 transfer of sovereignty did not go well, "there is no fallback, nothing," a former National Security Council member told Hersh. "The neo-cons still think they can pull the rabbit out of the hat in Iraq," he added. "What's the plan?" They say, 'we don't need it. Democracy is strong enough. We'll work it out,'" he continued.

    It is believed that what Israel has been doing in Kurdistan was not so unacceptable to the Bush administration, which has fully supported Ariel Sharon's policies in Palestine too.

    Israel, Shah of Iran and the Kurds

    Israel's relations with the Kurds stretch back to half-a-century and can be found even in books on Mossad. Kurds provided intelligence to Mossad and caused instability in the Middle East, thus generally helping Israeli objectives. Israel's strategic concept required allies against Arabs to make up for its constricted location with only four million resident Jews surrounded by 200 million Arabs, who remain deeply resentful of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Golan Heights (and Sinai) after the Arab-Israeli wars. Israel sought cooperation with the other non-Arab Muslim nations in the region from the very beginning. The United States encouraged Israel to have a secret alliance with Iran and its gendarme in the Gulf. Israeli and Kurdish politicians once held meetings in Tehran.

    After the overthrow of the Hashemite dynasty and the military takeover in Iraq in 1958, Israel, in cooperation with Iran, gradually began to arm and train the Kurds in northern Iraq to enable them to stand up to the New Leftist Baghdad regime. Israeli aid was increased in 1963 with the flow of weapons and military advisors to the region via Iran. Israeli military instructors organized the first course for Kurdish peshmergas in the mountains of Kurdistan in 1965. Israel also disbursed $50,000 per month to the Kurds.

    But in 1975, after the famous handshake between Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran in Algiers, relations between Iran and Iraq were normalized. Then Israeli assistance to the Kurds via Iran stopped and the Kurdish revolt petered out. Israel's secret alliance from 1972-79 with the Shah of Iran disintegrated when the Shah was forced to flee after a year-long political upheaval led by pro-Khomeini forces. However, during the Iran-Iraq war the Kurds continued their cooperation with Israel, which was renewed after the 1991 Gulf war.

    Tensions in Turkish-Israeli relationship

    Recently Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies in the occupied territories, accusing Israel of "state terrorism." Members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has Islamic roots, were much harsher and lambasted U.S. policy in Iraq. The Turkish-Israeli relationship consequently reached its low point. Both Turkey's ambassador and its consul general in Israel were recalled to Ankara temporarily. Now, the New Yorker revelations have made the differences public. Turks appear to be aware of Israeli activities in the north of Iraq.

    On June 23, the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Pini Aviv denied the New Yorker magazine report that Israel took advantage of the U.S. occupation of Iraq by expanding the Israeli presence in the north of Iraq. He told the Turkish ITV news network that he had reassured the Turkish foreign ministry that Israel had decided long ago not to meddle in Iraqi affairs.

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in public at least, appeared to be convinced by Israeli denials of reports of training Kurdish peshmergas and spying on Iran in collaboration with the Iraqi Kurds. "The Israelis tell us those allegations are not true. But everybody understands both regional and Turkish sensitivity to this issue, so we have to believe what we are told," the semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted Gul as saying. "I hope our trust [of Israel] won't prove misplaced," he added. The foreign ministry had heard allegations and rumours and had received information, but Gul did not specify the sources.

    Relations were further strained when Israeli airline El Al suspended all its flights to Turkey from June 25 following the reduction of Israeli guards permitted at Istanbul airport. According to Radio Israel, the decision to stop El Al's six weekly flights to Istanbul was taken on the advice of Israel's Shin Bet Security Service. Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman David Saranga said his office was holding "intensive and ongoing contact with the Turkish authorities to try to find a solution." A large number of Israeli tourists find Turkey a safe destination. There has been wide ranging economic and military cooperation, but Turkey's almost ally-like relationship is now coming under great pressure. The AK Party government is trying to come closer to its Arab neighbours and Iran.

    Earlier, the Turkish media reported that former Israeli Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Alon Liel said that, "the idea of an independent Kurdish state was not distressing to Israel," but added, "Israel is aware of Turkey's sensitivities on this issue and there was no attempt by Israel in that direction."

    The Turkish media also reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, while briefing members of the Israeli Parliament's Foreign Relations and Defence Committee, said that the relations between Turkey and Israel should be evaluated from three aspects. These were security, economic cooperation and touristic activities. "We should place priority on protecting our strategic relations with Turkey, however, Israel may no longer wait to answer criticism (of state terrorism) levelled by the Turkish premier," said the Israeli minister.

    History of Turkish-Israeli Relationship

    Throughout history, Turks always had a good relationship with the Jews. When the latter were expelled from Spain, the Ottoman Empire gave them shelter. Even after the gut-wrenching events of World War I, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Armenians were massacred, Christians were exchanged with Turks from Greece, Jews continued to live in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul. They provided the financial acumen earlier provided by Armenians and Christians. Throughout history there has been no love lost between Arabs and Turkic people. Turks have never forgiven them for stabbing the Ottomans in the back in World War I by the Lawrence of Arabia-led Arab revolt. In the final analysis, the Sultan Caliph in Istanbul was the guardian of the Muslim sacred shrines in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

    Turkey, after the 1967 war, and even after the 1973 war when Arabs exploited their oil weapon, did not break their relationship with Israel. While there was no de facto strategic alliance, there was close cooperation regarding rightist, leftist and revolutionary student movements, especially during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, Turkish students had picked on and assassinated an Israeli Consular General in Istanbul, who was a former senior Mossad officer.

    Israel has also developed a top rate defence industry based on support and cooperation with the United States. After the end of the Cold War, Turkey, especially its armed forces, felt a little left out. So Turkey sold itself as a barrier between Europe and the Middle East and the Caucasus, both cauldrons of fundamentalism and chaos. Its informal alliance with Israel was useful, with the latter's influence in Washington being exploited for U.S. grants of sophisticated arms and equipment.

    After the fall of the Berlin wall, there have been far-reaching shifts in geo-strategic parameters. The potential threats from the Middle East have grown with many Middle Eastern countries acquiring stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and arsenals of ballistic missiles. Beyond the potential threats from neighbouring states, terrorist groups like the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) based in the region, and others, are another menace in that they could acquire chemical and biological weapons. Then Sept. 11 made things even more complicated; Turkey could no longer afford to overlook possible new threats from the Middle East.

    While it started changing its orientation towards Israel in the early 1990s, in 1996 Turkey and Israel went public and signed an agreement for military cooperation. Much was written about this evolving relationship, with some political analysts calling it an "axis," an "entente," even an "alliance." Of course, there are no explicit commitments to assist one another in the event of an armed conflict, and thus making it an alliance, but a careful interpretation of the provisions of the document shows that it opened the door to a much enhanced cooperation between the two countries; a cooperation that could reach levels usually seen only between allies.

    Many joint military air and naval exercises have been carried out since 1996. For example, the so called "Anatolian Eagle" took place in central Anatolia in early July 2001. It included air force units from Turkey, Israel and the United States and the air defence systems of all three countries. The exercise simulated defence as well as combat operations against a comprehensive air attack. "Anatolian Eagle" involved 46 Turkish aircraft of various categories; 10 Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft, as well as two tanker aircraft and helicopters and six U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft. Such trilateral military exercises have put in place a mechanism for advanced military coordination

    But the Palestinian cause has always had supporters on the religious right and the "progressive" left, even in the Turkish mainstream. The Palestinians remained faithful to the Ottoman Empire throughout World War I, indeed, many had held high Ottoman posts and intermarried with Turks. Media coverage of the Palestinian intifada deeply affected much of the Turkish public. Then, in the Nov. 2002 elections, the people, by giving two-thirds of the seats to the AK Party that has Islamic roots, gave a clear indication. Over 90 percent opposed the U.S. invasion of Muslim Iraq, which the military was very keen to join.

    Turkey's problem with its own Kurds

    Turkey has serious problems with its own Kurds, who form 20 percent of the population. But after five years of comparative peace and quiet in Turkey's southeast, there is an upsurge in violent rebel activity. The rebellion, which began in 1984, against the Turkish state led by Abdullah Ocalan of the PKK cost over 35,000 lives, including 5,000 soldiers. To control and neutralize the rebellion, thousands of Kurdish villages were bombed, destroyed, abandoned or relocated; millions of Kurds were moved to shantytowns in the south and east or migrated westwards. The economy of the region was shattered. With a third of the Turkish army tied up in the southeast, the cost of countering the insurgency at its height amounted to between $6 billion to $8 billion a year.

    Whenever there has been chaos and instability in the north of Iraq, as during the Iraq-Iran war in 1980s, or after the 1991 Gulf war, PKK activity increased in Turkey. Eventually the rebellion died down after the arrest and trial of Ocalan in 1999, when a cease-fire was declared by the PKK. After a Turkish court commuted to life-imprisonment the death sentence passed on Ocalan in 2002, Parliament granted rights for the use of the Kurdish language, which was one of the root causes of the Kurdish rebellion. TV broadcasts in Kurdish have already begun. Until the mid-1980s, the use of the word 'Kurd' was taboo, and could even lead to imprisonment.

    The PKK (also now known as KADEK or Kongra-Gel) shifted most of its 4,000 cadres to the north of Iraq. But they refused to lay down arms as required under a new Turkish "repentance law," as it provided only partial immunity. Many remain ensconced along the border between Iraq and Iran. The United States' priority to disarm the PKK cadres, despite promises to Turkey, has not been very high. It has its hands full with the troubles in Sunni and Shiite Iraq.

    In fact, the United States wants to reward Iraqi Kurds who have remained loyal and peaceful. But Iraqi Kurds have been ambivalent towards the PKK, helping them only on occasions. Ankara has entered northern Iraq from time to time -- despite protests -- to attack PKK bases and its cadres and it keeps many thousands of troops in the region. Ankara has also said that it would regard an independent Kurdish entity as a cause for war. Turkey strongly opposes Iraqi-Kurdish control of the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk through planned ethnic migrations that would change the demographics of the city.

    Turkey fears that any moves to bolster Iraqi Kurd's autonomy could pave the way to the formation of a Kurdish state in Iraq, and could eventually fuel separatism amongst its Kurds in the southeast. Turkey also wants to protect the rights of its ethnic cousins the Turkomen, traditionally settled around Kirkuk. But since the growing of fierce Iraqi resistance to U.S. occupation, Turkey has toned down the rhetoric.

    The roots of the Kurdish problem were sown during the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Turkish Republic after World War I, when northern Iraqi Kurdistan was detached from the Ottoman Kurdish region by the British and joined with the Arab provinces of Baghdad and Basra to create Iraq, because of the oil reserves around Kirkuk. Northern Iraq was proclaimed as part of the Turkish republic territory by its founders who were led by Kemal Ataturk. It has been a Turkish dream to retrieve this land.

    Turkey and Iraqi Kurds

    After the New Yorker report, Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) came to Ankara and met with Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. He dismissed the New Yorker report as a "total fabrication" at a press conference on June 21 and denied any cooperation between Israel's Mossad and the Kurdish peshmerga forces.

    Prime Minister Erdogan had earlier called Iraqi Turkomen Front (ITF) leader Faruk Abdullah to Ankara who reported that the situation on the ground was different than stated by Iraqi Kurdish leaders. During the meeting with Talbani, Erdogan reportedly complained about the Turkomen's lack of representation in the new Iraqi administration. Talabani replied that he too was distressed but the United States and the Iraqi Arabs were responsible for that. He stressed that his group favoured representation of the Turkomen on all platforms. Talabani said that his party wanted the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to have a special status with a joint Turkomen, Arab and Kurdish administration. Erdogan underlined that Turkey would not welcome any formulas giving one group domination over others. "We don't want division of the region," Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani said recently in an interview with Turkish daily Yeni Safak: "Israel is a reality, a nation and a state. There is a relationship between Israel and the Arab states," he added.

    Turkey's special Iraq representative Ambassador Osman Koruturk went to Erbil last week and met with Massoud Barzani, who is expected to visit Ankara soon. But his spokesman Nechirvan Barzani said, "The geopolitical realities are not permitting any relationship with Israel."

    Foreign Minister Gul stressed that Ankara would continue to closely monitor the situation in northern Iraq. He said that Ankara was keen to maintain the territorial integrity of neighbouring Iraq and that they cannot tolerate any "political activities in [northern] Iraq which would influence the future of Iraq."

    Despite assurances to the contrary from Israel and the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, Turkey remains deeply concerned about the presence of Israeli operatives in northern Iraq and their cooperation with the Kurdish community. A retired Turkish general told Turkey's NTV network recently that the Israeli presence in northern Iraq was "natural." It served Israel's long-standing policy to "tear apart the Arab world by playing the Kurdish card against Syria and Iran."


    There is now speculation about what the competing powers and players want in Iraq (and the region ) and what might happen. Even the world's only superpower [the United States] could not have things its own way in Iraq. It is clear that if people are prepared to resist they cannot be cowed down and colonized. But the chaos and the manoeuvrings in the north of Iraq have become like another "Great game."

    The Turkish media wrote: "The United States has the unpleasant choice of alienating its indispensable Turkish ally, or its loyal partners in Iraq, the Kurds. The Iraqi Kurds are apparently worried of a Shiite-Islamist-Arab domination of Iraq that would be reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's days that deprived them of their basic rights. Above all, they want a chance of self-rule. The unfolding events threaten the gains that they have made over the last 13 years since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, thanks to the U.S. security air umbrella from bases in Turkey. Iraqi Kurds may decide to move closer to Turkey. Turkey, in turn, is gradually beginning to perceive the benefits of rapprochement with the Kurds who will have a say in determining the future of Iraq."

    Jalal Talabani has talked of a "strategic vision" vis--vis Turkey. Perceiving that the Iranian and Iraqi Shiites, and the Iraqi Sunni Arabs together with the rest of the Arab world would have a strategic dimension that could be detrimental to the fortunes of Iraqi Kurds, he is anxious to promote a similar relationship between them and the reliable and powerful neighbour in the north, Turkey. "Kurds are, as well Turkey, surrounded by Syria, Iran and Iraqi Arabs who are all extremely sensitive towards any sort of contact with Israel. The last thing that the Kurds would think of is to take steps that could create fatal trouble for themselves," he said.

    Then there is Turkey. While it has recently not laid any claims on the north of Iraq as it did in before the Iraq war, it has left no one in any doubt of its stance on the issue. Once again on June 23, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said that regional countries would have the right to speak on the future of Iraq if the Iraqi people failed to reach a compromise on the territorial integrity of Iraq and engage in civil war. "Iraqi people should reach a compromise on this issue. If the Iraqi people fail to reach a compromise, and if eventually civil war emerges in Iraq, then the regional countries and the international community will have the right to intervene," he said, adding that the most important issue for Turkey concerning Iraq was its territorial integrity. Tan stressed that the U.N. Security Council resolution also stressed the territorial integrity of Iraq.

    A Turkish journalist wrote: "The Iraqi Kurds have raised concerns that the Shiite and Sunni Arabs can join together and take action against them after the withdrawal of the United States. While the Iraqi Kurds are trying to increase their advantage despite Turkey, they should also consider Turkey as a security insurance for their own future. Furthermore, the Iraqi Kurds admit that the only realistic window for opening towards the West is Turkey."

    We have not speculated on whether a pro-Iran Shiite dominated Arab state will come into being, but what would be the implications for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and other countries with Shiite populations.

    If the United States cannot enforce things according to its plans, how can Israel hope to shape the region to its own will. Disruption and chaos could ensue. And if the United States were forced to withdraw, even with a face-saving solution with help from the international community, it might look for a scapegoat. It is not only the Muslim world, but others too who have been upset by Sharon's bloody and unilateral policies".

    Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2022 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    tcpr2html v1.00 run on Tuesday, 6 July 2004 - 13:02:30 UTC