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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-05-07

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.86/07 05-07.05.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat in occupied Morfou
  • [02] Statement by Soyer in Germany
  • [03] Statements by Hasan Ercakica
  • [04] Pertev held contacts in Brussels
  • [05] CTP was represented in Socialist International meeting in Napoli
  • [06] Gul withdraws his candidacy
  • [07] British Minister participates in CTCCs anniversary celebration in London
  • [08] Sonay Adem off to Pakistan
  • [09] Themistokleus wants the present Cyprus leadership to be changed
  • [10] Cypriot Armenians visit their dilapidated monastery
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] The Turkish Press of 5 and 6 May on political developments in Turkey regarding the election of the 11th President
  • [12] The end of the Turkish model?

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat in occupied Morfou

    Illegal BAYRAK television (04.05.07) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat was a guest speaker at a public debate meeting known as the `Thursday Debate` in (occupied) Morfou which was organized routinely by the Association of Improvement and Development of the district of (occupied) Morfou..

    Speaking at the event, Mr Talat reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot people had faced serious isolation from the rest of the world before the April 2004 referendum, but had achieved important economic progress in the period that followed.

    Reminding that the former UN Secretary-General had presented a report to the UN Security Council stressing that it was unnecessary to impose sanctions anymore against the Turkish Cypriot people, Mr Talat said the isolation has yet to be lifted although the efforts were still being made towards realizing this.

    Expressing his belief that it was highly unlikely that a solution will be found to the Cyprus Problem anytime soon, Mr Talat underlined the need to encourage the Greek Cypriot side to return to the negotiating table.

    Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side did not perceive the Turkish Cypriot people to be its political equal and was against the idea of power sharing, Mr Talat said the Turkish Cypriots were nevertheless, politically, an equal partner on the island.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriots will never give up their goal to achieve a political settlement on the island, the briefed the citizens on the 8-July process.

    He said it was important for the Turkish Cypriots to develop politically, economically and socially to prevent the Greek Cypriot Side from realizing its overall aim to gain control of the whole island.

    He added that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to resume the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Also commenting on the economic development being experienced in the (occupied) Morfou district, he said the government was continuing to work towards developing and increasing investments in the area.

    Noting that for years, (occupied) Morfou remained to be an area which always easily bargained away, Mr Talat underlined the importance of developing Morfou and raising its economic value.

    He said that the universities in the area could foster economic development.

    Answering a question on the opening of a new crossing point in Limnitis, he, said that they could evaluate the possibility once a crossing point in Ledra street area (Lokmaci) was opened.

    [02] Statement by Soyer in Germany

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (04.05.07) reported from Berlin that the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer arrived in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday to hold a series of talks.

    Soyer said after his arrival that they did not want to live on a divided island.

    "We are in favour of Cyprus envisaging political equality of the two communities on the basis of the United Nations proposals," he said.

    Soyer called on the EU to keep its promise to lift the isolation of Turkish Cypriots as soon as possible.

    "A secular and democratic society to be formed by Muslim Turkish Cypriots and Christian Greek Cypriots will create a good example for the Middle Eastern countries," he said.

    Referring to economic developments, Mr Soyer said that total trade volume of the occupied areas increased to 2 billion euro from 985 million euro during their political power.

    Soyer and the accompanying delegation will attend a meeting on "Reality of Cyprus" at Turkish-German club on Sunday evening.

    Soyer will hold talks in Hessen state, and also attend a meeting of a European working group at state assembly.

    The self-styled Public Works and Transportation Minister Salih Usar, as well as occupation regimes representative in London Yonca Senyigit are accompanying Soyer.

    On Mr Soyer´s visit to Germany illegal BAYRAK television (05.05.07) broadcast that Mr Soyer evaluated his contacts in Germany at a joint press conference with German Social Democrat Deputy Jurgen Walter at the Frankfurt Press Club.

    For his part the Mr. Jurgen Walter said that the German Parliament was preparing to take several important decisions regarding North Cyprus, and that a document was being prepared within this context.

    Mr Soyer was invited to Germany by deputy-Chairman of the SDP Parliamentary Group - MP with the Social Democrat Party from Hessen, Jurgen Walter.

    Speaking during the press conference, Mr Soyer described his contacts in Germany as a positive first step in establishing a stronger relationship with Germany.

    He also drew attention to the fact that the Greek Cypriot Side enjoyed equal political rights with Germany within the European Union despite having a much smaller population.

    Underlining the need for the so-called international isolation on occupied Cyprus to be removed, Mr Soyer said that it was the Turkish Cypriot peoples desire to be recognized within the EU as one of the two politically equal partners on the island.

    He also underlined the urgent need for the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process under the UN Umbrella.

    Also speaking at the press conference, the self-styled Minister of Public Works and Communications Salih Usar said that various German companies were interested in investing in the occupied by Turkish troops part of Cyprus.

    Touching upon the efforts to start direct flights to occupied Cyprus, Mr. Usar reminded that the illegal regime was continuing its legal battle against the British Civil aviation authority in a bid to overturn the British governments refusal to allow direct flights between occupied Cyprus and the UK.

    Meanwhile, the German Social Democrat Deputy Jurgen Walter said that the German Parliament was planning to take several important decisions regarding the occupied by Turkish troops part of Cyprus, and that a document was being prepared within this context.

    He said that there were provisions within this document regarding direct trade with occupied Cyprus, which envisaged easier access for Turkish Cypriots to open up to the European market.

    Stating that his party was working hard to help solve the Cyprus Problem, the German Social Democrat MP said developing the occupied area´s economy will ease efforts to find a political settlement on the island.

    Pointing out that they will continue to work towards establishing direct trade and flights to and from the occupied by Turkish troops part of Cyprus, Mr. Jurgen highlighted the need for the European Union to pay heed to the Turkish Cypriot peoples expectations on the removal of the isolations.

    He said that Germany can play an important role in this perspective.

    Meanwhile, Mr Soyer said that he had found the opportunity to examine the document being prepared by the German parliament which he added had positive statements.

    Mr Soyer said that the document touched upon the need to remove the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people and for contacts to be established with the TRNC parliament as well as Civil Society Organizations in order to achieve this.

    Mr. Soyer said that the document also included a provision on the withdrawal of Turkish armed forces from the island.

    Commenting on this provision, Mr Soyer repeated that the Turkish Armed forces will leave the island as and when a comprehensive solution will be found to the Cyprus Problem.

    He said that the Turkish Cypriot people had made this openly clear by voting in favour of the Annan Plan during the April 2004 referendum.

    We support the demilitarization of the island. Armies on both sides of the island must be disbanded simultaneously, together with a political settlement on the island he said.

    [03] Statements by Hasan Ercakica

    Illegal BAYRAK television (05.05.07) broadcast the following:

    In a statement, the Presidential Spokesman Hasan Erçak1ca said that there was no problem being faced regarding the 8-July process and that the Package of Proposals prepared by the Turkish Cypriot Side was on the table.

    He said the Turkish Cypriot Side was in support of the continuation of the process towards realizing its objective.

    Progress completely depends on the Greek Cypriot Side as the Turkish Cypriot Side is at the table with its proposals and good will, he said.

    Asked to comment on President Talats works that the 8-July process was full of intrigue and manipulation and that it had been turned into a muddle, Mr Erçak1ca said that the President s comments came as an evaluation of the whole process.

    Explaining that the negotiations carried out between the two sides within the 8-July process were taken into account in preparing the latest package of proposals, he said that changes could be made to these and that the committees should immediately start functioning once the sides reached agreement.

    He noted that the Turkish Cypriot Side welcomed the idea of setting up of new committees in addition to those agreed to be formed.

    The spokesman said the Turkish Cypriot Side has also proposed the setting up of sub-committees on the issues of economy and the European Union, in line with a request from the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopulos.

    He said that the property issue which is an issue to be discussed as part of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem should be taken up by working experts groups, not by technical committees.

    We dont want the issue to be discussed by technical committees in a way that can deteriorate relations between the two peoples of the island he said, warning that such a move would make it impossible to achieve progress in the 8-July process.

    Responding to a question, the Presidential Spokesman referred as unfounded and biased the UN Secretary Generals Special Representative for Cyprus Chief of Mission Michael Mollers words that no proposals was brought to the table.

    He said that Mr Mollers denial of the Turkish Cypriot Sides concrete proposals was just an attempt aimed at supporting the Greek Cypriot Sides position and misleading the public opinion.

    [04] Pertev held contacts in Brussels

    Illegal BAYRAK television broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev has completed his high level contacts with EU officials in Brussels on the implementation of the EU Direct Trade Regulation.

    Mr. Pertev who is being accompanied by the EU Affairs Director of the TRNC Presidency Armaan Candan and the Chief of the EU Coordination Center at the Prime Ministers Office Erhan Erçin is expected to return to the Republic tonight.

    The Presidential Undersecretary is expected to come together with Tasos Tzionis-an aid to the Greek Cypriot leader Tasos Papapadopoulos on Monday to continue talks on the 8-july process.

    The meeting will be held at its usual location at the office of the UN special representative to Cyprus Michael Moller in the Buffer Zone.

    [05] CTP was represented in Socialist International meeting in Napoli

    Illegal BAYRAK television (06.05.07) broadcast the following:

    The Republican Turkish Party-United Forces is being represented at the meeting by the Foreign Relations Secretary Unal F1nd1k and Kutlay Erk - a member of the Foreign Relations Office.

    During the meeting two representatives from the CTP-BG made a call for the lifting of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People and for the implementation of the direct trade regulation.

    Twenty one socialist political parties from 17 countries are participating at the meeting of Socialist International Mediterranean Committee which started yesterday.

    [06] Gul withdraws his candidacy

    All the local Turkish Cypriot papers of today (07.05.07) report that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul announced yesterday that he withdraws from the presidential race following yesterdays inconclusive parliamentary session where no quorum was secured for the election. According to the Turkish Constitution, the parliament needed 367 deputies in order to have a quorum for the first round of election.

    During yesterdays session first roll calling there were 356 deputies and in the second roll calling this figure reached to 358 which was less than the necessary quorum number 367.

    Gul announced that after this result he considers the 9 May round meaningless so he officially withdrew his candidacy.

    (MHY)

    [07] British Minister participates in CTCCs anniversary celebration in London

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS (07.05.07), the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce (CTCC) established in Britain under the chairmanship of Eden Valley owner Ibrahim Durmus has celebrated its first anniversary with a ball at the Chancery Court hotel in London.

    Present at the ball was British Home Office under- Secretary of State for nationality, citizenship and immigration Joan Ryan. Speaking during the evening Ryan said that he welcomed the activities of the CTCC in Britain and urged the business community in Britain to work closely with the CTCC to increase prosperity and provide better life.

    (MHY)

    [08] Sonay Adem off to Pakistan

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS (07.05.07) reports that the so-called Minister of Labor Sonay Adem left for Pakistan for consultations with the Pakistani authorities on the project To prepare and give vocational training and to provide jobs to the assistants and technicians for the TRNC building sector. Adem is heading a delegation from the so-called Lefka European University (LAU).

    (MHY)

    [09] Themistokleus wants the present Cyprus leadership to be changed

    In an exclusive interview to the Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (07.05.07) former minister of agriculture and a candidate for the next years presidential elections Costas Themistocleus, said that if the present leadership continues to rule the country then I think that we will be heading for an everlasting division of the island.

    When asked to comment on the phrase pseudo president used for Talat Mr.Themistocleus said: What does this mean. Mr. Talat is the President of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots after 1963 and 1974 live in a region belonging to them and as a result they have their rule in the region.

    (MHY)

    [10] Cypriot Armenians visit their dilapidated monastery

    Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM (07.05.07) newspaper reports under banner headlines in its front page Harisa Day and writes that a group of Armenians from the Armenian community in Cyprus visited yesterday the Surp Magar Armenian Monastery in the occupied area and celebrated the Harisa Day. Since 1974 for the first time the Armenians visit their now dilapidated monastery, writes ORTAM

    (Tr. note Harisa is an Armenian dish prepared with whole wheat and lamb meat)

    (MHY)


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] The Turkish Press of 5 and 6 May on political developments in Turkey regarding the election of the 11th President

    On 05 and 06 May 2007 the Turkish newspapers cover the developments after the Turkish parliament failed to elect a new president as follows:

    In a commentary entitled "When you are not at home" in HURRIYET (05.05.07), Bekir Coskun writes that "there is only one reason for the AKP decision to advance the elections to 22 July: to prevent those who pursue a modern life and go to holiday and the beach from voting ...." Coskun further explains that the date AKP chose shows that it is not interested in the vote of those who are vacationing in holiday resorts because it knows that it will be difficult for them to cut their holiday and come home to cast their votes in the summer heat. As conclusion, Coskun writes: "They will hold the elections when you are not at home."

    In a column entitled "Producing crisis from crisis" in MILLIYET (05.05.07), Fikret Bila explains that "the manner in which AKP managed the presidential election process prompted a crisis. The "double path" AKP pursued in the wake of the Constitutional Court's decision, in turn, has some hitches that may constitute grounds for new crises.

    Writing in HURRIYET (05.05.07), Emin Colasan calls on the left and right parties to form an alliance in his commentary entitled "Citizens' Warning to Party Leaders." Explaining that he is one of the journalists who receives the most messages from readers and that these days he has been receiving some 1,000 messages a day, Colasan adds: "The masses want one thing from party leaders: Form an alliance before the elections. Otherwise, you will get disappointed once again like in 2002." Noting that his warning is directed against all the party leaders; in particular Baykal, Colasan writes: "Time is running out. If you enter these elections on your own (except CHP) you may not pass the election threshold. Let alone not passing the threshold, you will also endanger your chances of coming to power if you do not form this cooperation-unity of forces (whatever name you would like to call it)."

    Writing in MILLIYET (05.05.07), Can Dundar warns of "two Turkeys" in his column entitled "Do Not Stretch Turkey Too Much." Starting his column by explaining the polarization in Turkey, Can Dundar writes: "The 'Two Turkeys' are speedily moving far away from each other and becoming more polarized. The ripple effect of the tensions created by Cankaya, the Assembly, the General Staff, and parties are turning into storms. Noting that the fast-breaking developments difficult to keep up, Dundar warns of a snap in the already too tense cord binding Turkey. "Even before the fate of the Constitution was clear, the movement in the streets escalated. The panic is growing. Under this environment, we; mainly the politicians, military, and the writers should all try to prevent the deepening of the polarization and the emergence of "two Turkeys."

    In a column entitled "The Great Joke" in HURRIYET (05.05.07), Ertugrul Ozkok writes about the Izmir Port and the extent that it has become an opening for the "export boom" of the past 10 years. After explaining that a consortium won a bid of approximately $1.3 billion for the operating rights of the Izmir Port, Ozkok shares with his readers the following question, which he writes has been in his mind: "How come a consortium, which includes foreigners as well, takes the risk of investing $1.3 billion in country, which is undergoing a serious political crisis." Ozkok continues by noting that "the same day, the car manufactured by Koc together with Italy's Fiat is introduced" and continues: "Yes, how come foreigners are continuing to trust in the country and invest without waiting for the outcome of the crisis?" In reply to his question, Ozkok writes that the only reason could be that foreigners were not taking Turkey seriously, that they are saying "the Turks are like this. They quarrel but their country is sound. It will continue to develop. It seems we are trying to create such an image in the world. In other words, those who consider Turkey 'a great joke' are increasing." Ozkok then assesses a survey conducted by CNN International on whether "the military's memorandum undermined Turkish democracy" and its outcome that "76 percent thought it did not." "Does this mean that nobody is taking our democracy seriously?" asks Ozkok and adds: "Does it rather mean that the Turkish secular people's fear of the Islamist danger is shared by a great many people around the world? Just think, when Turkish columnists, including me, think that the military's memorandum is not good in terms of democracy, the majority of the CNN viewers are not of the same view."

    Writing in MILLIYET (05.05.07) Metin Munir draws attention to the lack of a panic in the markets in his 500-word column entitled the "Indiana Jones market." Explaining that the previously the markets would have entered into a panic if "a button of the general's uniform would fall," Munir adds: "Whereas, now the military issued a memorandum against the government, the government defied the military. Early elections, whose outcome is unclear, will be held on 22 July, constitutional amendments are on the agenda," ... "and still "the markets are as calm as Indiana Jones in face of these crises. I conducted a small research among the market actors yesterday and heard the following: Most of the analysts and general directors in Turkey's finance sector are nowadays Turks and they had a cautious and calm approach to the crisis. In the reports they send abroad, they noted that the risks are increasing but emphasized that there is no need to panic." "In any case," Munir continues, "the crisis will not go away without leaving some marks. The fact that the government managed badly the presidential elections freshened Turkey's image as a 'country that nobody knows what will happen.'" Munir further explains that "another thing that may have a long-term outcome emerged: The ideological obsessions and ambition of the Erdogan-Gul-Arinc trio, which prevails over AKP's fate, rules over their rational behavior. This same trio proposed an Islamist banker for the Central Bank governor risking a crisis. A couple of days ago, AKP took even a greater risk in trying to have an Islamist assume a more important position. For Erdogan-Gul-Arinc, Cankaya is the Everest of the political. Hoisting the AKP flag there is more important than anything.

    Under the headline, "Surprise Meeting at Dolmabahce," YENI SAFAK (05.05.07) publishes a front-page report which asserts that Prime Minister Erdogan and Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit made "a general situation assessment" at their meeting at the prime minister's office next to Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul yesterday.

    In an article entitled "You Can Be Proud of This Modern Iconoclasm (or Can You?)", VAKIT (05.05.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil who argues that secularism as it is applied in Turkey represents a despotic creed that does not recognize the right to existence of any other beliefs and cites "the dictatorship of justices" [signified by the recent Constitutional Court ruling] and Sezer's announcement that he will not stand down as president until the next president has been elected among the manifestations of this attitude.

    In an article entitled "The Economy of 27 April", ZAMAN paper (05.05.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Ali Bulac who argues that the process started by the General Staff statement issued on 27 April is a continuation of the 28 February process ten years ago when a debate over secularism and reactionism was used as a means of diverting attention away from a scam whereby certain quarters raked in illegal profits to the tune of $54 or $70 billion at the public's expense. Bulac also underlines the importance of obstructing efforts to derail democracy.

    Under the headline, "Is This a US Scenario?" MILLI GAZETE (05.05.07) runs a front-page report which provides highlights from an "interesting statement" yesterday by US Ambassador Ross Wilson "regarding the ongoing process" in Turkey. The report quotes Wilson as saying that they knew a few months ago that very heated political debates were going to start in Turkey.

    MILLIYET (06.06.07) announces in a banner-headline that the General Staff removed its recent memorandum from its website following a meeting between the chief of the General Staff and the prime minister. According to this report, the General Staff also removed all past press releases from its site.

    Derya Sazak in MILLIYET (06.05.07) comments on the meeting between Erdogan and the general, expressing the belief that Buyukanit visited Erdogan on a Sunday possibly to urge him to refrain from electing Gul as president during the Assembly elections. In an article, Sazak points out that the suspicion that the Justice Development Party, AKP, would have been able to bring in a majority of at least 367 deputies at today's Assembly session had caused tension. "At this stage, the nation's democratic will must be expressed in the 22 July elections, not before," he stresses, "and the AKP must trust the people and direct its energy to the elections. You cannot elect a president or change the Constitution by means of last-minute maneuvers.

    In an article entitled "Secular and islamist servants of the United States are not our allies", VAKIT newspaper (06.05.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Lutfu Oflaz argues that anti-imperialist people should be regarded as allies even if a part of them has secular and the other part has Islamist views. He says: "What difference would have secular or Islamist views make if one is not opposed to imperialism? The main question is whether or not one is against this system which actually serves the United States and its collaborators in our country."

    In an article entitled "Minority Syndrome", VAKIT newspaper (06.05.07) publishes an article by columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak who argues that pro-secular rallies staged in various cities actually represent a campaign launched by "semi-official" media, NGOs, and some groups interfering in politics in a bid to regain their position and to defeat the AKP in the general election after realizing that they are losing their privileges. Dilipak comments: "They are using techniques peculiar to special warfare and psychological warfare. But I do not think that those methods will yield the results that their organizers expect to achieve. On the contrary, they will be ostracized by the public and cause the other camp to regain strength rather than strengthening solidarity among them."

    In an article entitled "DYP-ANAP Alliance", ZAMAN newspaper (06.05.07) publishes an article by columnist Mumtazer Turkone who says that the upcoming election will be a showdown between the AKP and what he calls a "Party of State Establishments" serving as an umbrella organization for the other political parties. Noting that the election should also be regarded as a referendum where voters will make a choice between democracy and the bureaucracy, Turkone comments: "Only the AKP will advocate democracy while the other parties will be overwhelmed by the burden that they have taken over from the bureaucracy." Turkone predicts that the alliance formed by the ANAP and the DYP would benefit the AKP because alienated ANAP voters would prefer the latter.

    Finally in an article entitled "Are the United States and the EU anxious?" MILLI GAZETE newspaper (06.05.07) publishes a column by columnist Afet Ilgaz who asserts that the United States and the EU are concerned because their plan to pave the way for a confrontation between people holding secular and anti-secular opinions seems to have been thwarted by the Turkish people. She says: "Comments made in the United States about the recent rallies laid emphasis on 'secularism.' Does that mean that they have abandoned or will abandon 'moderate Islam'? In other words, will they stop interfering in our religion?" Ilgaz also argues that the United States is now looking for a political party which could substitute for the AKP.

    [12] The end of the Turkish model?

    Under the above title TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (07.05.07) publishes the following commentary:

    In 2003, as the United States embarked upon the invasion of Iraq and a push for reform across the Islamic world, Turkey was the model on which it hoped to build a new Middle East. In the words of President Bush, Turkey has provided Muslims around the world with a hopeful model of a modern and secular democracy. There was good reason for this selection. Of all the countries in the Islamic world, Turkey had come closest to democracy. No Muslim country in the Middle East had a comparable tradition of pro-Western foreign policy. These crucial factors and geographic proximity to Syria, Iraq, and Iran made Turkey the only regional candidate providing a democratic model worthy of emulation.

    However, while there were crucial lessons that could be learned from Turkey, the target audience for such a model, the Arab world was not willing to share Americas enthusiasm for the Turkish example. In the eyes of many Muslims in the Middle East the problem lied with Turkeys authoritarian secularism. Moreover, where Americans saw the only Muslim, democratic, secular and pro-Western country in the Middle East, Arab countries saw a former colonial master that turned its back on Islam.

    There was indeed a widely shared feeling among Arabs that Turkeys radical cultural revolution in the 1920s and 1930s had come at the expense of the countrys Islamic identity. According to this point of view, Turkish secularism lacked popular legitimacy because its survival depended on the vigilance of the military. Most of the Arab intellectuals, let alone pious Muslim masses were therefore unimpressed by the idea of following a Turkish path to modernity. They did not want secularism at the expense of democracy.

    It turns out America was wrong and the Arabs were right. It is hard to deny that Turkish democracy often displays tendencies that can be termed as illiberal and undemocratic. Last weeks memorandum is a great case in point. For Turkeys politically powerful military, Kemalism is still a political religion that represents a defensive and protective political reflex. Today, any deviation from the Turkish character of the nation-state and the secular framework of the republic presents an existential challenge to the Kemalist identity. Any public assertion, no matter how minor, of Kurdish ethnic identity is perceived as a major security problem, which endangers Turkeys territorial and national integrity. And a similarly alarmist attitude characterizes the militarys approach to Islam. Islamic sociopolitical and cultural symbols in the public domain are seen as harbingers of a fundamentalist revolution.

    This transformation of Kemalism from progressive ideology to conservative reaction creates a great paradox because it also turns Kemalism into a reaction against democracy. This is why for a Turkish model that can truly provide inspiration, better harmony between Muslim tradition and secularism must be found. The Justice and Development Party presented a crucial opportunity for reconciling Turkeys Muslim roots with democracy. The relationship between this moderately Islamic political party and the staunchly secularist military was to provide a litmus test of democratic maturity for the Turkish model. The significance of this political experiment was going to have much larger implications hinging on the compatibility of Islam, secularism and democracy.

    Such hopes are now history. After last weeks memorandum, it is hard to be optimistic about the Turkish model anymore. Americas lack of criticism against the military memorandum was equally depressing for Turkish democrats. Do you remember the days when democratization was Americas top foreign policy priority in the Middle East? Not too long ago, in 2005, President Bush was still waxing poetic about his administrations lofty ideals. But the Bush foreign policy took a decidedly different turn over the last two years. Idealism is now out the window while realism is back with a vengeance.

    It is truly disturbing to see such a drastic U-turn in Americas the democracy and freedom agenda. Whether we like it or not, external pressure for democratization often helps. Turkish democratization is a case in point. Turkey would simply not be a democratic today without external pressure. From the decision to hold multi-party elections in 1946, to the abolition of the death penalty in 2000, most turning points in Turkish democratization were greatly related to external incentives. Liberalism and democracy in Turkey will still need external support. But unfortunately neither the United States nor the European Union seem much committed to the idea of a truly democratic Turkish model, in peace with its Muslim and democratic identity.

    EG/


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