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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-12-27

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.248/07 22-27.12.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Landmine clearance agreement signed between CTSF and UNFICYP
  • [02] Soyer: Reaction of the Greek Cypriots reflects their opposition to a solution
  • [03] Reaction over President Papadopoulos statement for a solution plan
  • [04] Cumhuriyet: The Latakya Famagusta trips temporarily stopped, but efforts are being made for their resumption through the waters of Turkey
  • [05] German investors have applied to operate occupied Dome Hotel; Cakici accuses the government of bribing the Germans
  • [06] Turkish company to invest in occupied Karavostassi
  • [07] The Turkish embassy distributes forms to the citizens of Turkey to declare the address they live in the occupied areas
  • [08] More illegal immigrants from Syria are arrested
  • [09] The amendment of the law for the Registration of Immovable Property Purchased by Foreigners is discussed
  • [10] Avci will visit Australia in February
  • [11] Talat will visit Turkey next week
  • [12] Turkey is becoming an investor country. The highest number of Turkish companies in occupied Cyprus
  • [13] Erdogan: Turkey will not give the US certain things in return for its support of cross-border operation
  • [14] Gul will meet Bush on the 8th January
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From Turkish Press of 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 December 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Landmine clearance agreement signed between CTSF and UNFICYP

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.12.07) broadcast the following:

    A new Landmine Clearance Agreement has been signed between the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces (CTSF) and the UNFICYP concerning the issue of landmine clearance in Cyprus. The Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has said that reports in the Greek Cypriot press claiming that the deal had been shelved after the Turkish Cypriot side had demanded that the agreement be signed between the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces Command and UNFICYP were false and baseless.

    Commenting on the issue during his weekly press briefing, the Presidential Spokesman said the mine clearance agreement had been signed and put into force by means of exchange of letters between the Commanders of the Security Forces Major General Mr. Mehmet Eroz and the UNFICYP Major General Mr. Rafael Jose Barni on the 13th of December 2007.

    He said the agreement, in principle, aims to broaden the landmine clearance agreement and to determine the principles of the cooperation of the two forces in clearing the mines.

    Referring to reports in the Greek Cypriot press last week which claimed that the deal had been shelved, the Presidential spokesman said the reports were false and baseless.

    He said works concerning the said agreement had been finalized during the days the UN Security Council resolution was being discussed and therefore was quite clear why no reference has been made to this issue in the UN Security Council Resolution.

    [02] Soyer: Reaction of the Greek Cypriots reflects their opposition to a solution

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.12.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that the Greek Cypriot sides strong reaction to the news that talks are to be held on 12 chapters for Turkish Cypriot sides harmonization with the EU, is reflecting its opposition to a solution in Cyprus.

    Speaking to reporters before entering todays meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Premier reminded that the talks are to be held within the framework of discussions on the Direct Trade Regulation.

    Pointing out that there have been strong reactions to this development, he said `this is not an artificial storm. It reflects the Greek Cypriot sides opposition to a solution in Cyprus`.

    Explaining that the aim of the Direct Trade Regulation was to prepare the Turkish Cypriot people to a solution and narrow the gap between the two economies of the island, he complained that South Cyprus has been acting contrary to EU decisions by blocking the implementation of the Regulation.

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriot people has achieved important progress towards improving its economy since 2004 referenda on the island, he said the Greek Cypriot Administration, which is unwilling to accept the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot side, has been trying to stop the development in the North.

    Referring to the statement issued by the Speaker of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives Dimitris Christofias during a visit to the Greek Cypriot National Guard, he said such statements are merely sowing hatred between the two peoples of the island.

    He noted that peace can only be brought to the island through cooperation between the two sides.

    [03] Reaction over President Papadopoulos statement for a solution plan

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.12.07) broadcast the following:

    Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has described the so-called `solution plan` brought to the agenda by Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos as worthless.

    In a written statement today, Mr Avci stressed that the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey over the island are issues that cannot be bargained.

    Strongly reacting to the so-called `solution plan`, Mr Avci said: Papadopoulos who first destroyed the UN peace plan drawn up at the end of years long negotiations by dynamiting the Annan Plan, and then brought the 8 July process into a deadlock by pursuing an intransigent attitude, and rejected the time table drawn up by the Turkish Cypriot side for a solution in Cyprus - is now talking about a peace plan in an attempt to gain the sympathy of his own people and the international community.

    Mr Avci stated that the so-called peace plan, which proposes the withdrawal of the Turkish Peace Forces which he said, is the only guarantor of peace in Cyprus - is worthless for the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Noting that the statements issued by the Greek Cypriot Leader are reflecting his real intentions, Mr Avci said: We hope all international institutions, especially the United Nations, are also listening to the statements issued by Greek Cypriot leaders.

    He stressed that the Turkish Cypriot people will not allow the EOKA gangs, of which Papadopoulos was a member, to carry out new massacres and will not allow them to prepare a future for it with their bloody hands.

    He also added that the Turkish Cypriot people maintains its willingness towards bringing about a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem based on a bi-zonal and bi-communal order and political equality of the two sides.

    `Turkeys effective guarantee and its right to intervene are sine qua nons of a solution in Cyprus, Mr Avci said, adding that the Turkish Cypriot peoples independence and legitimate rights over the island cannot be bargained.

    [04] Cumhuriyet: The Latakya Famagusta trips temporarily stopped, but efforts are being made for their resumption through the waters of Turkey

    Under the title The Latakya Famagusta trips stopped and subtitle The attempts of the Greek Cypriot Administration to Syria, Georgia and the EU concluded to result, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (26.12.07) reports that as a result of the attempts of the Cyprus Government the trips between the occupied Famagusta port in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Latakya port in Syria have temporarily stopped.

    The paper writes: The Foreign Minister of the Greek Cypriot Administration Erato Kozakou Markoullis, under the allegations that human trafficking is taking place through the ships belonging to Akgunler Tourism which use the illegal Famagusta port and travel to Latakya, is behind the intensive attempts to the Syrian government.

    Markoullis who has previously failed to persuade Syria due to the recent improvement of the relations between Turkey and Syria has this time blockaded the road through Georgia. The ships under the names Akgunler 1 and Su performing the trips between Famagusta and Latakya are registered in Georgia.

    The EU had asked the trips not to be carried out under the Georgian flag and warned the Tiflis administration after the Greek Cypriot Sector conveyed to the EU that human trafficking is being carried out under these ships.

    According to the paper, the ships were later registered in Uzbekistan, but the Damascus administration informed the company that they will not allow the ships to enter the port.

    In a statement issued by the so-called ministry of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, it was said that the information regarding the postponement of the trips was not true, that the trips stopped due to the weather conditions and that they will be re-launched the latest during the first week of January in case the weather permits it.

    Invoking a source close to the Akgunler Maritime Company, the paper reports that no trips were performed during the last two weeks and that the problem derives from the flag on the ships. The source also said that in case the trips do not resume directly, from now on the only solution is for the ferry boat to travel to Syria through the waters of Turkey. However, this will not be very different from the isolation applied on the illegal Tymbou airport, the paper notes.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (25.12.07) writes that according to the so-called ministry of foreign affairs they are working in order to carry on the trips under the Turkish flag.

    [05] German investors have applied to operate occupied Dome Hotel; Cakici accuses the government of bribing the Germans

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (27.12.07) publishes exclusive statements by the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Soyer who said that they have discussed with German investors, but the issue of selling or leasing the Dome Hotel was not on their agenda. He noted that they discussed to jointly operate the Dome Hotel. He noted that there is nothing final yet and that there is still a contract for another five years regarding the Casino of the Dome Hotel and that bringing about a change is not on the agenda.

    Noting that the speculations regarding Dome Hotel are not true, Mr Soyer said, inter alia, the following:

    The sale or the privatization of Dome Hotel is not on the agenda. We explained this to the German investors who applied for the Dome Hotel and we suggested a 50-50 partnership. The proprietorship will continue to remain in the Foundation [Evkaf Religious Foundation]. They are planning to make an investment of five million dollars in the Dome Hotel. They will invest 15 thousand dollars for each room. Meanwhile, they will overhaul the swimming pool and the entire infrastructure, the exterior front of the hotel and turn it into a trademark hotel. The Dome Hotel is in loss today because of the excessive expenses for personnel. We do not have the possibility of making investment. The hotel stands on its feet with an annual contribution that exceeds two million dollars. However, we are still at the stage of discussions with the German investors. It is not yet clear whether the Germans will invest here. The German investors promise to keep the Dome Hotel fully busy with tourists both in the summer and in winter.

    Meanwhile, Mutlu Esendemir, journalist of Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (27.12.07), reports that the German firms represented by Former German Eruo MP of Turkish origin Mr Ceyhun, in parallel to the Dome Hotel, have also applied for the parking place of the illegal Tymbou airport and the occupied Lefkoniko airport.

    Furthermore, under the title TDP chairman Cakici: Plots of land have been offered to German MPs in order to make investments, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.12.07) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), has said that the government is trying to secure benefits in the occupied areas of the island for some politicians and MPs of the German Social Democrat Party (SDP) in order to carry out lobbying activities.

    In a written statement issued by the press office of the TDP, Mr Cakici noted that plots of land have been offered to the German MPs through the former German member of the European Parliament of Turkish origin, Ozan Ceyhun, so that they make investments. He said that one of these places is the Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia. Mr Cakici called on the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer to inform the public on this matter.

    Mr Cakici noted that Mr Ceyhun, replying to questions of a journalist in the local Turkish Cypriot press, said that he is the mediator for some German MPs to invest in the occupied areas of Cyprus and added that the German MPs will support the TRNC in the lands they will make investments. Pointing out that it is very obvious that bribery has been offered to the German MPs with the aim of their defending the northern Cyprus and carrying out lobbying activities, Mr Cakici wondered: Who are these German MPs? What promises were made to these politicians and MPs? Who will take the Dome Hotel and in return of what? Do the German SDP Headquarters know about these briberies? What is the role of Ozan Ceyhun in the government?

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (27.12.07) refers to the same issue under the title Fight for Dome, Cakici: The CTP is offering gifts and reports that Mr Ceyhun rejected the allegations made against him and he is applying to court. Mr Ceyhun issued a statement noting that he will file a lawsuit against Kibrisli newspaper, which published an article full of insults about him. Mr Ceyhun accuses the correspondent of Kibrisli of distorting his statements.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (27.12.07) reports that Turkish Cypriot businessmen have criticized the fact that the Dome Hotel will be given away to members of the CTP without the proper procedures and without any tender and noted that they are also applying for the hotel.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Turkish company to invest in occupied Karavostassi

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (25.12.07), under the banner front-page title 100 million dollar investment, reports that the Turkish Galata Shipyard Ltd company is coming to the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to build the biggest shipyard of the Mediterranean Sea at occupied Karavostassi area.

    According to the paper, the company will come to the occupied areas this week in order to file its application for the shipyard where 600 persons are expected to be employed.

    In statements to Sozcu, Ipek Cavusoglu, responsible for the public relations of the company, said that the area where the investment will be made will be developed within a short period of time and noted that they are examining the area in Karavostassi for the last six months. He noted that within nine months after they secure the necessary permits, they will build the fist sliding ways and launch the production of the first ship. We are planning to complete the entire investment within 18 months, he said and added: The shipbuilding industry will not bring a gain only to the shipyard. It will also bring a gain to the surrounding area. Therefore, we will give jobs to the entire industrial sites which will be built in the area. Five thousand persons will indirectly eat bread from the sector which we will establish. We will apply in the Morfou area a product system which is one of the economic models applied in the world. Morfou will become the economic capital of the Mediterranean Sea. You will see this change within a short period of time.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The Turkish embassy distributes forms to the citizens of Turkey to declare the address they live in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (26.12.07) reports that the so-called Turkish embassy to the occupied part of Nicosia has been forced to reply to rumors that it began to distribute forms to the citizens of Turkey who live in the occupied areas of Cyprus so that the citizenship of the breakaway regime is granted to them. In a statement, the embassy noted that it distributes forms to the Turkish citizens so that they declare the address they live in the occupied areas. In the statement it is noted that filling up and signing an Address Declaration Form is a legal obligation of the Turkish citizens who settled in the occupied areas of the island.

    The information declared in the above-mentioned form will be taken as basis in the elections, population census and all the bureaucratic procedures, it is noted. The paper publishes the information under the title is it a line for citizenship? and reports that the above-mentioned rumors emerged because of the long queues of people which existed in front of the Turkish embassy.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (26.12.07) refers to the same issue under the title The new citizenships are on their way! and reports that the preparations for 50 thousand new citizenships have started. Long queues have been created at the Turkish Embassy for the application forms which are distributed, notes the paper reminding the information which had been published in the press and alleged that the AK Party government would secure extra money to the budget of the TRNC on condition that 50 thousand new citizenships are distributed to Turkish settlers.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] More illegal immigrants from Syria are arrested

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.12.07) reports that the self-styled police of occupied Trikomo village arrested yesterday 23 Syrian illegal immigrants who had been brought to the occupied areas of Cyprus by an unknown boat. The paper notes that the illegal migrants paid millions of dollars to the merchants of people in order to bring them to the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus, but they were abandoned in the occupied areas and were told that this is south Cyprus. The paper publishes the information under the title Immigrants again, Syrians again.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The amendment of the law for the Registration of Immovable Property Purchased by Foreigners is discussed

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.12.07) reports that the legal and political affairs committee of the self-styled assembly met yesterday under Kadri Fellahoglu, so-called MP with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), and discussed the draft-law (amendment) regarding the Registration of Immovable Property Purchased by Foreigners. According to a statement issued by the assembly, the aim of the amendment draft-law is the overcoming of the difficulties faced during the implementation of the law.

    The statement points out that these difficulties mostly derive from the lawsuits which are not concluded in the courts. It notes that with the amendment, rearrangements will be made on the issue of which documents will be accepted at the court. With the amendment the possibility of accepting official documents brought from South Cyprus will be provided and the court will be given the discretion to decide on this matter, notes the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Avci will visit Australia in February

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.12.07) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci met yesterday with Huseyin Mustafa, chairman of the Turkish Business Council in Australia and General Director of the South East Department of the Australian Commonwealth Bank.

    According to a statement issued by the ministry, Mr Mustafa, who is of Turkish Cypriot origin, invited Mr Avci to Australia in mid February within the framework of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the migration of the first Turkish Cypriots to Australia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Talat will visit Turkey next week

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.12.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat will visit Ankara on 3 January as official guest of President Abdullah Gul. Mr Talat will also meet with the Prime Minister Erdogan and the Speaker of the Assembly, Koksal Toptan. The so-called minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci will be escorting Mr Talat.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Turkey is becoming an investor country. The highest number of Turkish companies in occupied Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish businessmen invested 778 million USD in foreign countries in 2006; while this figure is expected to exceed 3.5 billion USD this year.

    Turkey´s investments in foreign countries reached 11.5 billion USD since 1999, sources said.

    Turkish businessmen prefer to invest in Netherlands, Azerbaijan and Malta. Turkish companies have investments in 90 countries throughout the world. Highest number of Turkish companies operates in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

    Turkish companies are mainly active in sectors such as food, energy, household appliances and electronics.

    Analysts presume that investment of Turkish companies in foreign countries can reach 5 billion USD in 2008.

    Recently Turkish Ulker Company bought Godiva chocolate company for 850 million USD.

    [13] Erdogan: Turkey will not give the US certain things in return for its support of cross-border operation

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.12.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday allegations that in return for United States' support of Turkey in cross-border operation, Turkey will give the U.S. certain things are not accurate.

    Speaking live on Turkish Kanal 7, Erdogan told that such evaluations are ugly and base less.

    Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey is not as dishonorable as to make such a deal with the U.S., Erdogan noted.

    Such an understanding also talks on Cyprus with the same mentality. We are accused of giving away Cyprus. What have we given in Cyprus to date? Erdogan said.

    We must all conduct politics in an honest way. If an individual is not acting honestly, the people of Turkey will give him the appropriate response, Erdogan added.

    [14] Gul will meet Bush on the 8th January

    Under the headline Gul will meet with Bush in the USA Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (26.12.07) writes that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul will meet with the US President George Bush during the first week of January 2008. Gul will be in the States between 6-9 January, following his visit to Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Northern Iraq and PKK will be among the issues of discussion, the paper notes.

    Reporting on Guls visit to the US, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (26.12.07) writes that the Turkish President will meet with his US counterpart on 8th January in the White House.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] From Turkish Press of 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 December 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 December 2007 on relations between Turkey and the U.S. and discussion on Islam and Christianity in Turkey:

    a) Discussion on Islam and Christianity:

    In an article entitled "American Irfan", in Zaman (22.12.07) columnist Turan Alkan criticizes columnist Mehmet Ali Birand for saying that pro-secular Turks should staunchly support Turkey's bid to join the EU in order to avoid a possible attempt to establish a theocratic regime in Turkey as a result of rising conservative tendencies . Pointing out that there is actually a process characterized by urbanization rather than a tendency to become more conservative and religious, Alkan says that conservative tendencies should be regarded as temporary resistance to change. He also predicts that pro-secular people in Turkey should not be concerned about conservative tendencies because they reached their peak in the last general election and will unavoidably decline in the future.

    Commenting in Radikal (22.12.07) on a statement made by Erdogan to the effect that Muslims do not kill people, Turker Alkan wonders how the prime minister could have made such a generalization. In his column assessing the fear of Islam, Alkan agrees that Muslims are not murderers but admits that there is a reason for this fear. Recalling all the recent terrorist attacks launched in the name of religion by Al-Qa'ida and other radical Islamic organizations, the writer questions why moderate believers of Islam are not critical of religious terror. Noting that many try to find excuses such as claiming that the United States itself bombed the twin towers, Alkan believes that this attitude blurs the line between radical Islamist trends and Muslims in general, thus creating this fear of Islam. He concludes by saying that only by criticizing and rejecting religious terror can Muslims be convincing.

    In an article entitled "Fear of Islam", Yeni Safak (23.12.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Hayrettin Karaman who emphasizes that people who act in good faith and respect other people and their rights should have no reason to fear Islam. He cites passages from an article written by an unidentified columnist who argues that people in Western countries justifiably fear Islam because there are terrorist organizations like Al-Qa'ida in Muslim countries. Karaman points out that Muslims who are defending their country against invaders and some Muslim groups which misinterpret Islam and resort to terrorism should not be lumped together.

    In an article entitled "Enhanced role for the OIC" in Sunday's Zaman (23.12.07) by columnist Ihsan Yilmaz points out that the Fethullah Gulen community has opened six schools and is about to open a university in northern Iraq and says that the Organization of the Islamic Conference should spearhead a campaign aimed at providing scholarships for young people from all ethnic and religious groups in Iraq in order to enable them to attend schools in other countries.

    In a column entitled "It is not enough to say Happy Christmas" in Milliyet (24.12.07, Semih Idiz criticizes the "feeble" condemnations issued against the knifing of a priest in Izmir and the "judicial and security scandals" experienced in connection with the Malatya and Hrant Dink cases. Idiz welcomes Prime Minister Erdogan's recent Christmas message and his interpretation that the recent attacks on Catholic priests and missionaries are not compatible with the spirit of Islam, but states that this is not sufficient. We must conduct serious self-criticism and adopt concrete measures "against the dangerous trend that is becoming increasingly more apparent in Turkey," Idiz argues. He adds that these incidents are also tarnishing Turkey's image abroad.

    In an article entitled "The forbidden months" in Vakit (24.12.07) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak explains the significance of the current period of "forbidden months" in the Muslim calendar as a time when it is contrary to Islamic principles to wage war or launch military operations "in the absence of a clear and present threat against you" and when Muslims would be well advised to grant an amnesty for "prisoners of war" as well as for "political convicts." He also underlines the importance of meeting demands for religious freedoms and the right of conscientious objection and asserts that nobody should be made to feel more loyal to one's state than to one's religion.

    In an article entitled "We need to be watchful" in Vakit (24.12.07) columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil relates how an unidentified person contacted him on the Internet recently to voice their displeasure that the Government has still not taken any measures against missionary activities "despite our warnings" and the killing and wounding of a number of priests and disclose that their next target will be one "M."

    Under the headline, "This is Islamic brotherhood," Milli Gazete (24.12.07) runs a front-page report which lauds Turkish charities like Cansuyu [Lifewater], Lighthouse, and the Red Crescent Society for "for teaching a lesson in humanity to certain global rogues" by donating the meat and hides of sacrificial livestock to distressed Muslims worldwide in the Feast of Sacrifice.

    Under the headline, "Accused of promoting Islam," Vakit (25.12.07) publishes a front-page report which links the "arrest" and "maltreatment" of Pittsburgh Islamic Center Imam Kadir Gunduz to the fact that Gunduz has converted "many Christians" to Islam.

    In an article entitled "It is Iskilip not Menemen that we should be discussing today", in Vakit (26.12.07) by columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak who describes the killing of Second Lieutenant Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay in the so-called Menemen incident in 1930 as a "state conspiracy" and an act of "cheap provocation" intended to create excuses for denigrating Islam and Muslims and suppress the "political opposition" to the regime founded by Ataturk. Dilipak asserts that "those who are calling us to account" for this incident today should be called to account themselves for the execution of Imam Atif of Iskilip in 1926 on account of his opposition to some of the reforms passed by Ataturk.

    b) Turkish-US Relations

    Assessing the amelioration in Turkish-US relations in a column in Milliyet (22.12.07), Semih Idiz writes that the general belief is that the two countries "kissed and made up" as a result of the aid the United States extended to the Turkish operations in north Iraq. The writer maintains that during the cooling period of the bilateral relations, the political and military decision-makers in both countries realized the extent of their interdependency. Likening the relations to a bad marriage, Idiz argues that if relations are not severed after having reached their lowest point, then this is an indication of a "strategic" reason. Arguing that the recent support the United States extended to the TSK during the cross-border operations aimed at preventing a Turkish "occupation" of north Iraq, the writer believes that Washington will now increase its warnings to Ankara to "stay away from the political formation in north Iraq" because it views the Iraqi Kurds as its "strategic partner" within Iraq.

    Assessing the reasons why US Secretary of State Rice chose to visit Kirkuk despite the dangers involved, in an article in Sabah (22.12.07), Meliha Okur maintains that she wanted to renew the dialogue among the Turkomans, Kurds and Arabs in the city. Arguing that the United States does not want Kirkuk to turn onto a second Jerusalem in the Middle East, the writer maintains that the United States needs Turkey more than ever given the fact that it has such a serious issue as the Iranian problem on its agenda.

    In an article entitled "A new chapter in Turkey-US relations?" in Today's Zaman (24.12.07) by columnist Sahin Alpay who asserts that President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan's declaration of the PKK a "common enemy" and the United States' subsequent provision of "actionable intelligence" against the PKK might "signal the end of Washington's so far lacking determination to try to reconcile the interests of two of its important allies in the Middle East, the Turks and the Kurds."

    In an article entitled "The PKK is just a bait", Milli Gazete (24.12.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Suleyman Arif Emre who warns Ankara about what he describes as the real motives behind the US support for the recent Turkish cross-border operations against the PKK. He claims that the United States is using the PKK as a "bait" in a plan to bring about a rapprochement with Turkey where it would be able to talk the Erdogan government into recognizing "the illegitimate Kurdish state they [Washington] have founded in northern Iraq."

    Fikret Bila in his commentary in Milliyet (25.12.07) comments on the way the government plans to fight the PKK militarily and politically, and on the help it has been getting from the United States. Quoting highest-ranking state officials in Turkey, Bila says that the relations with the United States have never been this good ever since the 1 March motion was turned down by the Turkish parliament.

    In a commentary in Hurriyet (25.12.07), Mehmet Y. Yilmaz welcomes the General Staff announcement that it will soon disclose the details of the operations on north Iraq because, he says, the public is currently doubtful about those results. The first reason for the doubt, the columnist opines, is that the public does not trust the United States. The Turkish people think that it may have tipped off the PKK before it approved the air raids on north Iraq. The second reason, Yilmaz says, is the way the government delayed ordering the military to carry out the operations once parliament approved the relevant motion. Thirdly, the columnist stresses, "in a democratic country, the public has the natural right to know the real results of a cross-border military operation."

    In an article entitled "Where are the Johnnies? Why is Barzani whimpering?" in Milli Gazete (25.12.07) by columnist Hasan Unal reminds Mas'ud Barzani ironically of his "threats" to stir unrest in Turkey in the event of a Turkish cross-border operation into Iraq. Commenting on Barzani's question of "why the United States is not defending him and the PKK" against Turkey, Unal claims that the latest Turkish strikes have established that there is a limit to what Washington could do as well as indicating that if the United States is forced to make a choice between Barzani and Turkey, "you should have no doubt that it will sell you out ... just as it sold out the PKK immediately when forced to choose between Turkey and the PKK."

    Sami Kohen in his column in Milliyet (26.12.07) argues that Barzani's outbursts against Turkey amount to nothing more than meek complaints, pointing out that Barzani should accept the fact that after the Bush-Erdogan meeting and 16 December raid the US policy on Iraq has changed and, therefore, he cannot anymore rely on the unequivocal support of the United States and international community. Arguing that Barzani has been internationally isolated and has no power to prevent or restrict Turkish operations anymore, Kohen advises Barzani to stomach this reality and seek good ties with Turkey.

    Ergun Babahan in his column in Sabah (26.12.07) writes that the Turkish government and the Army are working on a project that would disarm the PKK under the "law on return to home" [a euphemism for amnesty]. The sticking point is who these arms will be handed over to. The solution to that problem, Babahan says, lies in Talabani's statement to Taraf that in case of an amnesty the PKK militants are ready to surrender their weapons to the United States or the Iraqi government. Babahan notes that the government and the military does not like the word "amnesty" and the "law on return to home" may overcome that semantic problem.

    Hasan Bulent Kahraman in his column in Sabah (25.12.07) argues that after getting US support for the military operation it will be hard for the Turkish government not to involve the United States in the amnesty process and in the "southeast problem," which is now called the Kurdish problem. He believes the latest relationship that Turkey established with the United States not only improved the bilateral ties between the two countries but also weakened the Kurds' position in the region, and an amnesty will now be introduced to eliminate factors that fuel Kurdish nationalism and support for the PKK. But Kahraman believes the solution for the Kurdish problem would for now consist of democratic measures, as a federal solution is for now impossible.

    Murat Yetkin in his column in Radikal (26.12.07) writes that the real damage inflicted on the PKK "was political and psychological," for it eliminated the moral support the Iraqi Kurds were deriving from the United States. Yetkin quotes Ahmet Davutoglu, the architect of Erdogan's foreign policy, as saying that at the diplomatic level Turkey has created a basis for the application of "hard-power" against the Kurds. But Yetkin believes Turkey received the US support because of the "comprehensive package" for Kurds that Rice spoke about, adding that this is the political basis that has facilitated the use of "hard-power" in Iraq without fear from Greece.

    EG/


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