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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-18

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] Statements by Hasan Ercakica: Process speedily heading towards a nature deadline
  • [02] Ankara Anatolia and illegal TAK on the Turkish sides proposals regarding foreign affairs
  • [03] Turkey urges more Cyprus talks, slams oil search. Statements by the Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Burak Ozugergin
  • [04] Avci expresses consternation regarding Cyprus Presidents statements on Papadopoulos funeral
  • [05] US Ambassador to Cyprus visited the newly elected UBP leader
  • [06] An American company will establish bio-diesel refinery in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [07] Prime Minister Erdogan and DTP deputies accused each other of being a Nazi
  • [08] Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Burak Ozugergin on Uzbek General Rashid Dostum
  • [09] Turkish police arrest 30 Al-Qaida suspects in Istanbul
  • [10] Seven mosques were burned in Istanbul

  • [11] Columnist assesses that Turkey will not abide by its EU obligations regarding the Customs Union agreement with Cyprus by the deadline set and considers positive the fact that the Czech Republic and Sweden will hold the rotating EU presidency during this period
  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 17 December 2008


    [01] Statements by Hasan Ercakica: Process speedily heading towards a nature deadline

    Illegal Bayrak television (17.12.08) broadcast the following:

    Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has said that the Cyprus negotiations process is speedily heading towards a natural deadline.

    Ercakica told reporters at the weekly briefing today that the Turkish Cypriot Side was deeply disturbed by the Greek Cypriot administration using its diplomacy to prevent a settlement on the island.

    He said that recent developments that have taken place on UN and EU platforms are clear proof of this.

    Stating that the efforts put forward by the Greek Cypriot side to destroy the 23rd of May agreement, which refers to the political equality of two constituent states, should be perceived as an effort aimed at preventing a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem, Ercakica stressed that any solution to be found to the Cyprus Problem must be on the basis of agreements reached by the two leaders.

    Referring to the recent resolution adopted by the EU Council regarding Turkey, the Presidential Spokesman complained that the resolution reflected the Greek Cypriot sides views.

    The Greek Cypriot Side is trying to delay a political settlement on the island by imprisoning Turkish-EU relations with the Cyprus Problem, he said.

    Stressing that Turkeys accession into the EU and a political settlement in Cyprus simultaneously was highly unlikely; Ercakica said that efforts to pressure Turkey through the EU will only lead to a loss of time in reaching a solution to the Cyprus Problem.Touching upon the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacans latest statement highlighting the need to set a deadline in the Cyprus talks and for the UN to take on a mediating role, the Presidential Spokesman said that Greek Cypriot accusations that the Turkish Cypriots wanted the UN as a mediator because it did not want a solution, were illogical and ill intended.

    Responding to a question, the Presidential Spokesman said that the Turkish Cypriot Side would not be disturbed by the UN taking on a mediator role.Reminding of the upcoming elections at the European Parliament next year and the TRNC Presidential Elections in 2010, Ercakica said that it was important to prevent the talks from becoming campaign propaganda.

    He said that the best way of averting this was by complete negotiations and voting on the final settlement plan by the end of next summer.

    The Presidential Spokesman also announced the schedule for next months negotiations, stating that the two leaders will be meeting on the 5th, 12th and 16th of January.

    [02] Ankara Anatolia and illegal TAK on the Turkish sides proposals regarding foreign affairs

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.08) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Turkish Cypriot state made its foreign affairs proposals on Wednesday, the official news agency said.

    The proposals of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus regarding foreign affairs had become definite, the official news agency of TRNC said.

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias discussed management and share of power, particularly foreign affairs, in their Tuesday's meeting.

    TRNC has proposed that the founder states should consent to decisions regarding foreign affairs and to be made in the level of the federal government if the issue was one concerning them, the Turkish Agency-Cyprus said.According to the news agency, the founder states will only be consulted in other foreign affairs issues.

    TRNC has also proposed that founder states shall appoint representatives that have a diplomatic status in issues concerning their own field of authority. These representatives will be in the list of diplomats of the united federal state.Also, founder states can sign agreements on all issues under their field of authority. However, the federal government can prevent agreements under some circumstances defined beforehand.

    According to TRNC's proposal, the federal government can suspend any agreement process if a founder state try to sign an agreement with a state that is not recognized by the federal government or that has no diplomatic relations with the federal government.

    Any agreement of the federal state shall be enacted after ratification of the legislative organs of founder states. The TRNC also proposed that the ambassadors and their deputies in foreign representations of the United Cyprus should be appointed from different founder states. It also said that the heads of mission to be sent to the United Nations, European Union and the Council of Europe, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Greece and Turkey should be equally shared by the two founder states.

    The federal decisions on some important issues like recognition of a state, establishment or interruption of diplomatic relations can be made by the chairmanship council.

    The Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides will continue discussing foreign affairs on Monday.

    [03] Turkey urges more Cyprus talks, slams oil search. Statements by the Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Burak Ozugergin

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.12.08) reports the following:

    Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on reunifying the divided Mediterranean island should move faster and should not be open-ended, a Turkish foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the two communities resumed talks in September to end the partition of Cyprus, but have recently accused each other of undermining a fragile peace process in a dispute over Greek Cypriot oil exploration.

    We are pleased to hear Greek officials see slow movement because we also say that progress is extremely slow, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told a news conference.

    Perhaps the frequency of the talks may be increased, perhaps the modalities of the talks can be reviewed...The Cyprus issue must be given a timeframe. It cannot remain open-ended.

    In a growing dispute, Cyprus has accused Turkey of harassing research vessels on four occasions since November 13 in areas it has earmarked for future oil and gas exploration. Turkey has said the ships were on its continental shelf.

    Cyprus was split in a Turkish intervention in 1974 triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. Greek Cypriots represent the island internationally and in the European Union, which Turkey seeks to join.

    Ozugergin said plans by Greek Cypriots to press ahead with oil exploration while reunification talks were under way were part of the Greek Cypriots' adventurist psychology.

    Turkey has accused Greek Cypriot leaders of using their veto rights over Turkey's bid to join the EU to strengthen their position at the negotiating table on the issue of reunification.

    We don't see how Greek Cypriot (oil) explorations would conform to the interests of the EU. We repeat at every opportunity that there is no place for opportunism in Turkish-EU relations, Ozugergin said.

    Turkey started EU entry talks in late 2005, but they have been hobbled by its refusal to recognize Greek Cyprus. Turkey has repeatedly criticized the 27-member bloc for freezing sections of its entry negotiations over Ankara's refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriots.

    Putting the Cyprus issue as an obstacle before Turkish-EU relations will make things more difficult and I don't see that it will contribute to a solution in Cyprus either, Ozugergin said.

    A settlement on Cyprus has eluded diplomats for decades, most recently in 2004 when then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan drew up a plan for a settlement that was put to referendums on both sides of the island. It was approved by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.

    [04] Avci expresses consternation regarding Cyprus Presidents statements on Papadopoulos funeral

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.12.08) reports that the self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus Turgay Avci, in a written statement referred to President Demetris Christofias speech delivered at the funeral ceremony of the former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos last Monday during which President Christofias inter alia said:

    Papadopoulos did not struggle only for the acquisitions of the Greek Cypriots but of the Turkish Cypriots as well. Mr. Avci expressed consternation about the Presidents expression and claimed that this was perceived as insult by the Turkish Cypriot side. He claimed that this statement is not compatible with the historic realities in the island. Citing the late presidents firm stance against the Annan Plan during the referendum Mr. Avci said that with this stance Mr. Papadopoulos had precluded a new partnership between the two peoples which was going to be the biggest acquisition ever possible.


    [05] US Ambassador to Cyprus visited the newly elected UBP leader

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.12.08) reports that the US Ambassador to Cyprus Mr. Frank Urbancic, paid a courtesy visit yesterday to the newly elected leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dervish Eroglu.

    According to a statement issued by the party, Mr. Frank Urbancic, wished Dervish Eroglu success in his new post.


    [06] An American company will establish bio-diesel refinery in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.12.08) reports that an American company will establish a bio-diesel refinery in the occupied areas. The paper adds that the American firm will have 49% of the shares and a local firm 51% in the refinery. The paper does not give the name of the American company.


    [07] Prime Minister Erdogan and DTP deputies accused each other of being a Nazi

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily (17.12.08) reported the following:

    The Turkish parliament on Tuesday began its debates on the draft budget for 2009. However mutual accusations from the Turkish prime minister and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) have dominated the first day of the debate.

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused the DTP of trying to win votes by threatening people and extended his support to the views of the nationalist party on the homeland issue, while DTP leader Ahmet Turk slammed the prime minister over his remarks.

    Under the roof of this parliament some people, who do not want the prime minister to visit some cities in the country, have emerged, Erdogan said in his speech to parliament.

    While we were implementing our democratic right and I, as the prime minister of Turkey, was attending some ceremonies (in the southeastern provinces), it was very interesting to see some people, who couldn't accept this, setting cars on fire and breaking the windows of my party's building. Is this democracy? Is this freedom? Is this human rights? You can't attain freedom or democracy like this, the path of democracy is the polls, Erdogan added. His words incited reaction from DTP deputies.

    A deputy from the DTP, Hasip Kaplan, referred to Erdogan as Le Pen, in reference to the far-right French politician. You are the Le Pen. You raised Nazism in this country, Erdogan replied to Kaplan.

    "You are the Nazi and you represent Nazism. We have democratic rights. You cannot address us like this," Kaplan said in response to Erdogan's criticism.

    DTP leader Turk slammed Erdogan in his speech, rejecting the claims that they want to divide the country and urged for official recognition of the Kurdish identity.

    We defend the brotherhood of nations. We believe this could only be ensured by showing respect to citizens' identities and cultures. The one who is disrespectful and raises the chauvinism is you (Erdogan), Turk added.

    [08] Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Burak Ozugergin on Uzbek General Rashid Dostum

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin has said that Uzbek General Rashid Dostum can leave Turkey whenever he wants or he can stay in Turkey as long as he wants.

    In reply to a question on the issue during his weekly news conference, the spokesman affirmed that Dostum had come to Ankara in order to visit his family during the Feast of Sacrifice and also to hold certain contacts.

    Ozugergin denied that Dostum was deported or that an investigation was under way against him in his country. Therefore, the spokesman said, Dostum could leave Turkey whenever he wants.

    Referring to reports that Dostum had asked for asylum in Turkey, Ozugergin stated that the general had not expressed such a desire. "Consequently," Ozugergin said, Dostum can leave whenever he wants, or he can stay as long he wants.

    The spokesman said, as far as I know, Dostum did not hold any talks at the Foreign Ministry."

    [09] Turkish police arrest 30 Al-Qaida suspects in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The number of suspects detained in Istanbul and two other provinces in an operation against the terrorist organization Al-Qa'ida has risen to 30.

    Counterterrorism teams are carrying out an operation to catch persons they have determined are linked to Al-Qa'ida. The teams first detained 15 persons, but the number has now risen to 30.

    Organizational documents and equipment have reportedly been seized.

    Ankara Anatolia also reported that police captured 12 suspects in an operation conducted against Al-Qa'ida in Izmir. According to this story, "one of the suspects, B.O. (37), received training in Al-Qa'ida camps in Afghanistan and is reported to be the leader of the group that was planning to carry out an act of terrorism in Izmir... The 12 suspects were caught for their links to eight Al-Qa'ida members who were caught in Izmir's Torbali and Buca Districts two months ago.

    [10] Seven mosques were burned in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (15.12.08) reported the following:

    In the past three days, seven fires occurred in mosques of Istanbul, with five of these happening on the same day. Police and fire fighters have said the cause of the fires may have been faulty electrical wiring; however, arson has not been ruled out.

    The latest blaze occurred yesterday at a mosque in the Maltepe district of Istanbul. The muezzin room of the mosque burned before afternoon prayers. Local residents intervened and removed the furniture from the room, gaining entry by breaking the windows.

    On Saturday, fires started in five mosques, though some were put out with minimal damage. The first two mosques, which saw simultaneous blazes early in the morning, were in the Samandira district of Istanbul. The fires occurred in the mufti rooms of the mosques. Later in the evening, blazes began in two mosques in the Kad1koy district of the city. The last mosque fire on Saturday was in the Pendik district.

    The head of the Kucukbakkalkoy Mosque Association, Nurettin ^iranli, said two minutes before the fire, a person with a bag in his hand came to the mosque. The claim of Siranl1 strengthened the suspicions of arson.

    Stating that a small fire had occurred in the depot of the mosque on Friday evening, Muslum Demir, the imam of the Hac1 Akif Demir Mosque in Kadikoy, said: We were suspicious of thinner addicts in the neighbourhood regarding the fire, yet it turned out to be unrelated. Before the fire, I had left the mosque, turning the air-conditioners off. Then I saw the mosque burning and called the fire station. They extinguished the fire quickly. The blaze burned all books, carpets and other furniture in the mosque.

    Before the five fires, on the third day of Eid al-Adha, December 10, one mosque in Umraniye district caught fire, but the blaze was extinguished quickly by fire fighting teams.

    Stating that they do not have specific information about the fires, Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Cagrici said the fires might have occurred because of electrical components, according to the information provided by police and the fire department. Cagrici also noted that the causes will be confirmed after the report being prepared by the fire and police departments is released.


    [11] Columnist assesses that Turkey will not abide by its EU obligations regarding the Customs Union agreement with Cyprus by the deadline set and considers positive the fact that the Czech Republic and Sweden will hold the rotating EU presidency during this period

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (18.12.08) publishes the following:

    If expectations for the French presidency were high, then in complete contrast, expectations for the Czech presidency are low. In a couple of weeks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will hand over the EU baton to the Czech Republic.

    It will probably have to be pried from his hand as he has reveled in his role as chief of Europe for the last six months and would like it to go on forever. To say the least, it has been an action-packed period, and it was fortunate that the EU was led by such a dynamic personality who was able to guide the EU through the choppy waters of the financial crisis, war in Georgia and tense times with our friends in the Kremlin.

    Therefore it is not surprising that as his time draws to a close, Sarkozy and perhaps a few other leaders, too, may feel like shedding a tear or two at the prospect of handing over responsibility to the Czechs. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is passing through a period of domestic political difficulty, with infighting among political groups discrediting the country. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is desperately trying to reach an agreement to prevent internal infighting from negatively affecting the Czech Republic's presidency efforts. However, until the Lisbon Treaty is ratified -- something the Czech Republic will do on February 3 -- and implemented, there can be no change to the rather chaotic six-month rotating presidency system.

    Sarkozy will be a difficult act to follow, and some people, including Czech President Vaclav Klaus, have been quick to say that Prague won't be able to achieve very much. However, history has shown that other small nations have achieved success and often far outperformed presidencies held by bigger and more experienced EU member states. So we should give them a fighting a chance.

    The Czechs have a long list of priorities, but the three E's -- economy, energy diversification (the Czech Republic is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas) and Eastern Partnership -- will dominate. The Eastern Partnership initiative has a special place in the Czechs' hearts, and they will want to drive it forward during their short time in office. After events in Georgia, it has become clear that the EU's eastern neighborhood requires greater attention to move the region closer to the EU in as many different areas as possible. A special summit will take place in April with the EU-27 plus Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    The Czechs will also have to pick up where the French left off with the cunning Russian bear, including on the difficult new negotiations on a new agreement with Moscow. No one can expect the same friendly relations that Sarkozy mustered with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, and the Czechs will probably be more rigid and frosty in dealing with the Kremlin. This will not be helped by the ratification in the Czech parliament -- also on February 3 -- of the missile defense radar with the US, something the Russians remain extremely unhappy about.

    Furthermore, Prague has already said the EU should not negotiate the Medvedev proposal for a new pan-European security pact unless it is with the US and on neutral ground. The Czechs will have the important job of hosting the first EU-US summit with President-elect Barack Obama early on in the presidency. Prague is keen to rapidly invigorate the transatlantic agenda and has invited Obama to come to Prague for a special meeting with all 27 member states in the spring.

    Regarding Turkey, the Czechs believe that the Georgian crisis highlighted once again the strategic importance of Turkey, and Prague is eager to push for progress in the accession negotiations. According to the Czech ambassador in Brussels, at least two new negotiating chapters will be opened during their presidency. Actually the Czechs should be happy that they have the first six months of the year rather than the second. During this time, it is highly likely that a new crisis will hit the relationship as the deadline (set in December 2006) for Turkey to extend its EU Customs Union to the Republic of Cyprus will be reached at the end of the year, and unless there is a miracle, i.e., a resolution on the Cyprus issue, Turkey will not have done it and all hell will break loose. Sweden will have the pleasure of handling this, which some people are already saying will end in a freezing of negotiations. Given the importance of this relationship, I would have my doubts about things going that far, but nevertheless, it would represent another big catastrophe in the already fragile relationship.

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 17 December 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 17 December:

    a) Economy:

    Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz has said that the liquidity problem might be exacerbated in the second half of 2009 and that loans will be extended to banks that might be in need of liquidity. According to a report in Milliyet, the Central Bank has prepared a road map for 2009 in which the effects of the global crisis are expected to be more devastating. Asked about the financing of the loans, Yilmaz is reported to have said that the Central Bank will be printing more money, adding that interest rates might be reduced further.

    Assessing the 2009 budget Finance Minister Unakitan presented to the Turkish National Assembly on 16 December, Milliyet columnist Hursit Gunes criticises the minister for saying that he wants Turkey, as a member of the G-20, to contribute to the solution of the global crisis. Gunes writes: Would it not be better for Unakitan to rescue Turkey instead of attempting to save the world?" Refuting Unakitan's claim that Turkey is one of the countries that has been affected the least from the global crisis, in his column Gunes writes: The situation is just the opposite. Turkey will be the country that is most affected from among the developing countries. The growth rate in Turkey will be two percent in 2008, and it might even shrink further in 2009. What more does he want? Referring to the estimated 15.5 percent increase in revenues in the 2009 budget, Gunes views them as an illusion, warning that no one should expect the revenues to increase in this period of stagnation.

    It is wrong to assume that we are once again in need of the IMF because of the global crisis, claims Yalcin Dogan in his column in Hurriyet, arguing that Turkey would have been forced to knock on the door of the IMF even in the absence of a global crisis because alarm bells were ringing in the country way before the global crisis in the form of an inflation rate that exceeded its target, an increasing current account deficit, a shrinking economy, and a rising rate of unemployment. In actual fact, the global crisis has concealed the incompetence of the Justice and Development Party, AKP, government, maintains Dogan, charging that the government will sell its soul to the IMF provided it is allowed to implement an election budget up until the March local elections.

    Describing the budget discussions being held in parliament as a tasteless piece of diet bread in an article in Sabah, Muharrem Sarikaya stresses that there was no excitement among the deputies during the discussions. It was as if the deputies were refraining from creating a crisis within a crisis, writes Sarikaya, relating the interpretation of Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal regarding the atmosphere in parliament who argued that the government was silenced and crushed by the opposition. As for Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli, Sarikaya quotes him as having said: Everyone is aware that this budget is not realistic and that it will be replaced by a new one after the negotiations are concluded with the IMF in about 15 days. This must be the reason for the lack of enthusiasm.

    Focusing on the data announced by the Turkish Statistics Institute, TUIK, in an article in Vatan, Aydin Apaydin quotes the growth and unemployment rates for September, saying that the growth rate which had been around 8 percent in recent years was .5 percent in the third quarter of 2008. Declaring that the rate of unemployment for September 2008 was 10.3 percent compared with 9.3 percent last September, Apaydin concludes: "It is definite that we will end this year with worse figures. This means that the affects of the global crisis will be more devastating in the coming year."

    The budget announced at the National Assembly yesterday clearly shows that the government has no vision, writes Bilal Cetin in a column in the same daily. Finding the four percent growth rate envisaged in the 2009 budget totally unrealistic, Cetin claims that the figures on public imports, the payment of interest rates on loans, the tax revenues on imports, and the foreign currency exchange rates are also far from being realistic. Predicting that the budget will be endorsed in its current state, Cetin adds that, however, these figures will have to be readjusted in line with the technical negotiations to be held with the IMF in January. Even now it is apparent that the expenditure targets to be endorsed by the parliament will be chopped up, argues Cetin, adding that the budget that will be implemented will be under the supervision of the IMF.

    Criticizing the social welfare bill prepared by the government in the first article in Ortadogu, Orhan Tahsin describes the monthly payments to be paid to the unemployed and the needy as the "salary of laziness." Drawing attention to the irony of paying the same amount, that of 1,250 Turkish Lira, to a teacher who has served the country for 30 years and to a person "who has never considered working in his life," Tahsin argues that this is nothing other than an election strategy. Citizens should be encouraged to work, he argues, adding that in most world countries unemployment topples governments whereas in Turkey unemployment will increase the votes of the governing party thanks to the new methods being generated.

    Agreeing with the criticism leveled by Baykal against the economic policies of the AKP government in an article in Taraf, Suleyman Yasar finds the proposals made by the CHP leader during his address in parliament yesterday to counter the economic crisis wanting. Noting that Baykal has brought no proposal to deal with the rising unemployment, the writer accuses Baykal of being blind to the shortage of 140,000 teachers that, according to Yasar, can be used to alleviate the unemployment problem. The CHP leader behaves as though there is no current account deficit in the country, claims Yasar, adding that Baykal has failed to bring forth a proposal to close that deficit. In his speech Baykal does not refer to proposals to reduce the inflation rate, to diminish military expenditures, to speed up Turkey's relations with the EU, to solve the problems in the health sector, to prevent the increase in foodstuff prices, and to deal with the 13 million needy citizens in the country, writes Yasar, observing that the CHP lacks a good economic team. In conclusion, Yasar laments that the AKP is lucky to have such an opposition.

    b) Initiative for the Armenian genocide:

    In his column in Milliyet, Hasan Pulur publishes a declaration issued by former ambassadors in response to the statement issued by intellectuals who seek forgiveness from the Armenians. Pointing out that he generally does not sign declarations but prefers to express his opinions through his articles, Pulur says that this time he has chosen to sign the declaration issued by the ambassadors who argue that the initiative taken by the intellectuals is a wrong and a unilateral one that disrespects our history.

    Referring to the declaration of forgiveness prepared by a group of intellectuals in his column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz describes the incidents of 1915 as a "tragic event," questioning, however, whether holding the Turks responsible is the right stand, and whether the British, the Americans, the French, and the Russians did not have a role in the incidents.

    Clarifying the reasons why he is signing the declaration prepared by a group of intellectuals in an article in Referans, Cengiz Candar says that he is seeking the forgiveness of Hrant Dink for not having stood by him during his trial in which he was prosecuted for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Candar explains that he related to that trial as a daily event that many of his colleagues keep facing, forgetting that Dink was an Armenian and that the consequences would be different. The writer laments not having foreseen that Dink would be assassinated and not having persuaded him to leave the country for a while. Viewing the declaration as a "citizens' movement" and not as an "intellectuals movement" that symbolizes the outcry of our conscience, Candar writes that the moment he agreed to sign the declaration he felt as though Dink was watching him from above and that he was seeking Dink's forgiveness.

    Concerned that the initiative launched by the group of intellectuals will be more detrimental than beneficial in his article in Sabah, Erdal Safak argues that it will be perceived on all platforms and in all countries that take an interest in the issue including Armenia as a confession and an acceptance of the Armenian "genocide." Maintaining that this initiative adversely affects the proposal of the Turkish State and government that a committee composed of historians be set up to investigate the incidents, Safak adds: This initiative will render the continuation of Turkey's Armenian overture difficult because of the polarization it will create in the public and because of the psychological pressure it might create." Safak maintains that "this initiative provides US President Obama, who promised to recognize the Armenian genocide during his election campaign, with an unexpected and extraordinary justification to fulfill his promise. In conclusion, Safak states that he is ready to a discussion of the 1915 events by historians on international platforms but he is against an "execution without trial," whereby Turkey will be branded as a "state that has committed genocide.

    The number of readers she has disappointed by signing the forgiveness declaration is far greater than the number of those who have signed that declaration, writes Mine Kirikkanat in an article in Vatan. Actually I should be the one who is disappointed by this reaction, states the writer, adding that she did not have to wait for this campaign to seek forgiveness. In response to the question of who should seek forgiveness from whom, Kirikkanat stresses that the oppressor should seek forgiveness from the oppressed, reminding her readers that as a result of the forced emigration a community of only 90,000 Armenians remain within the borders of the Turkish Republic, a territory that had been the homeland of Armenians even prior to the arrival of Turks in the region. This fact goes to show who the oppressors and the oppressed are, Kirikkanat argues, concluding that seeking forgiveness makes her feel better.

    Responding to those who do not feel the need to seek forgiveness from the Armenians Taraf columnist Umit Kivanc argues that one of the rules of history is that fascists kill and good people seek forgiveness in their name. German Chancellor Willy Brant sought the forgiveness of the Jewish people for the crimes committed by the Nazis, writes Kivanc, adding that this act won him the respect of the world. Commenting on the nitpicking of certain individuals regarding the wording of the declaration, Kivanc states that while showing his reaction to an attempt to annihilate the masses and to a subsequent arrogant denial of the facts, he did not find it appropriate to find fault with the text.

    In an article entitled "Apology campaign: History, reality and conscience", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu asserts that the recently launched "apology campaign" for the events of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey reflects a sense of responsibility toward history and for the "pains" experienced by Armenian people during their deportation. He claims that the campaign is part of a process whereby the Turkish identity is maturing, being democratized, and becoming stronger.

    In an article entitled "Yes, but who will apologize to my grandfather and grandmother?", Today's Zaman columnist Bulent Kenes criticizes the online signature campaign seeking an "apology" for the "great catastrophe" involving Ottoman Armenians. He argues that if there was "systematic genocide," the question of why the Ottomans chose to carry it out at the nadir of their power "needs some explanation." He also calls for an "apology for the Armenian massacres which orphaned my grandmother and grandfather at an early age."

    In an article entitled "Public apology stirs controversy, angers, breaks new ground", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar refers to the "apology" campaign for Ottoman Armenians organized by a group of "Turkish intellectuals" as "the most daring" attempt to date "to dig a hole in one of the most persistent taboos in the country. He also asserts that "a crucial question is ... whether the public apology will be beneficia[l] or harmful to the rapprochement ... between Turkey and Armenia."

    In an article entitled "So much apology is not enough", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren criticizes the recently started "apology campaign" for Ottoman Armenians by ironically apologizing to the "Bulgarian gangs that "massacred, and raped" Turkish people in the Balkans, to "the Armenian gangs that worked hand in hand with occupying Russian troops in killing women, children, and old people in villages in eastern Turkey," to the "local Greek gangs" that cooperated with invading Greek troops in carrying out acts of "carnage" in Turkey, and to the Anzacs, "who came from distant lands with a mission to civilize us but whom we met with weapons [in the Gallipoli Campaign]." He also asserts that it will not be a surprise if Turkey is urged to apologize to the PKK, too, in the near future.


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