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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-12-22

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. 244/08 20-22.12.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor to Cyprus set forth his final opinion to Ankara and Athens: 2009 is the last chance for peace in Cyprus
  • [02] Babacan claims that in 2009 the EU will not issue a warning report, but a situation evaluation report for Turkey regardless whether the Cyprus problem is solved or not
  • [03] Statements by Babacan after the 6th Turkey-EU Accession Conference in Brussels
  • [04] Soyer evaluates 2009 as an election year
  • [05] Avci accuses the Cyprus government for conducting oil research in the Mediterranean Sea
  • [06] The self-styled mayor of occupied Lefkosia said that they will desalinate water from occupied Karakoumi
  • [07] Replies to questions on Cyprus by the head of Turkish Studies at the Institute Francais des relations internationals
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 December 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor to Cyprus set forth his final opinion to Ankara and Athens: 2009 is the last chance for peace in Cyprus

    Under the above title Sabah newspaper (20.12.08) reports the following:

    The UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor in his latest visit warned Greece and Turkey: The UN is tired. We will scrap efforts for solution. The island will be divided conclusively.

    Following are the views of the UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor to Cyprus Alexander Downer, former famous Foreign Minister of Australia, who met with the Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and undersecretary Ambassador Ertugrul Apahan in a 48-hour lightning visit to Ankara and Athens, where he set forth his final opinion: Everybody should know well that this is the last chance, either the problem will be solved or the island will be divided conclusively;

    1. I was surprised when the UN Secretary-General proposed to me to solve the Cyprus problem. I did not have enough information about Cyprus. I see that there is a last chance for reconciliation as a result of coming to power of two leaders in the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides who are ideologically close to each other. Thus I accepted the duty.

    2. I have still an important question in my mind as regards the Cyprus problem. I could not understand why the British, as guarantor state did not do anything against the coupists who wanted in 1974 to annex the island to Greece. Had Britain moved Turkey would not have been landing troops unilaterally.

    3. There is, even if it is limited, progress in the five-months old talks going on between Mr Christofias and Mr Talat. However, the negotiations progress slowly.

    The year 2009 is the last period that we could secure an agreement. We will speed up the process in March and April so that until Autumn a conciliation will be worked out.

    4. I am trying to help Christofias and Talat to reach conciliation. Solution in Cyprus could only be possible, by accepting the conciliation through a referendum by the two communities. For the last 23 years I am involved in diplomacy. No agreement could last if not approved by the people through a referendum.

    5. The Turks want to have equal rights with the Greek Cypriots in governance. This is a vital issue for the Turks. Also, they want Turkeys guarantorship for the federation to be established. If the Greek Cypriots refuse to accept sharing governance with the Turkish Cypriots then there will be no solution.

    6. If the two leaders are unable to reach an agreement until the autumn, then the solution of the problem will enter into an impass, because in 2010 there will be presidential elections in North Cyprus and Talat could not be elected again. The UN will be forced to start from the beginning.

    The UN is tired of the Cyprus problem.

    7. The Annan Plan was a big chance for the solution of the Cyprus problem, but it was missed. The EU committed a major strategic and tactical mistake. Had they not promised membership, the Greek Cypriots would not have rejected the plan. Some politicians in the EU whom I met with, admit this mistake.

    8. If no reconciliation is reached between the two leaders the new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will not mediate as Mr Annan did. He will not present a new plan. He will not fill the gaps in which the sides failed to reach agreement. We will abandon solution of the Cyprus problem if an agreement is not reached by the end of 2009.

    9. If Christofias and Talat reach an agreement during the negotiations, the agreement will be put in referendum in both sides. The solution will be implemented if the two peoples approve it. If one of them refuses again, then a federation in Cyprus will be an illusion. The island will be divided conclusively.

    10. 2009 will be the last chance to solve the Cyprus problem, to which a lot of efforts were put until today. If agreement is not reached federation will be an illusion. The island will be divided conclusively. Will it pave the way for the recognition of the TRNC?. No one knows.

    [02] Babacan claims that in 2009 the EU will not issue a warning report, but a situation evaluation report for Turkey regardless whether the Cyprus problem is solved or not

    In an exclusive interview to Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (22.12.08) to its Brussels correspondent Zeynel Lule, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan referred to the Cyprus problem and said that he opposed to the evaluations that the negotiations regarding the Cyprus problem could be cut in 2009.

    He said that the EU commission will compile a situation evaluation report as regards the opening of the ports and airports. He said that this report will not be a warning report, but setting the facts. Babacan further added that a few countries could raise the issue of suspension unless the Cyprus problem is settled, however, this decision is only possible with the approval of 27 countries, Babacan added.

    He went on and said: The Cyprus negotiations cannot go on forever, we want a time table. He concluded by saying that it will not be a surprise if Greece returns to its national position and implements its old policies once Turkeys EU accession process advances.

    (MHY)

    [03] Statements by Babacan after the 6th Turkey-EU Accession Conference in Brussels

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.12.08) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister and the Chief Negotiator with the EU Ali Babacan has pointed out that any political deadlock which will occur between the two sides in Cyprus and guarantor powers will hinder Turkeys EU accession negotiations.

    Mr Babacan called on the EU to put pressure on the Greek Cypriot side towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Babacans words came at a press conference held after the 6th Turkey-EU Accession Conference hosted in Brussels yesterday. Touching upon the Cyprus problem, the Turkish Foreign Minister stressed the importance of the setting up of a time-table in the Cyprus solution process, saying the negotiations should include the fear of time.

    Underlining the need for looking into the Cyprus issue from a larger perspective and bringing the lasting settlement, he said the EU has a big role in maintaining this.

    The EU should encourage South Cyprus, which is a unilateral member of it, for a settlement. Otherwise, there will be different alternatives of solution is the two Cyprus leaders are left face to face in uncertainty, Babacan stressed.

    Explaining that the Annan Plan gained its final version when the UN Secretary-General filled in the gaps remaining, Mr Babacan said this is what has to happen today too.

    We are the one to call for an urgent solution and go in for an examination. And, we are fully determined on that. We believe the solution of the Cyprus problem will contribute to security in the Eastern Mediterranean region the Minister stated.

    Within the framework of yesterdays accession conference, two more chapters on Free Movement of Stocks and Knowledge Society and the Media have been opened to negotiation with the fulfillment of criteria in the fields, in addition to 8 chapters previously opened as part of Turkeys EU accession process.

    The EU was represented by the term-president Frances EU Minister Bruno Le Maire and the Head of Turkey Desk of the EU Commission Jean Christophe Filori at the Conference, while Babacan was representing Turkey.

    There are now 10 chapters in total opened to negotiation for Turkeys EU membership.

    [04] Soyer evaluates 2009 as an election year

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.12.08) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that 2009 will be an election year.

    The Premier said that the elections could be held in 2010 but a date for the election would be set in 2009.

    Because of this, 2009 will be an election year as from the first of January, he said.

    The Premier said he believed that the parliamentary elections will be held next year but added that neither his party nor the junior partner of the coalition Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) has taken any decision towards that direction.

    Mr Soyer added that his government would continue to look for solutions to the problems being faced in the country instead of delaying these after the elections.

    [05] Avci accuses the Cyprus government for conducting oil research in the Mediterranean Sea

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.12.08) reports that the so-called deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Turgay Avci, in a written statement, said that the Greek Cypriot leadership, who are turning a blind eye to the reality that both sides should benefit from the natural resources of the Cyprus Island, is creating new problems with the irresponsible policies instead of exerting efforts to push the ongoing solution process. Avci said that the initiatives that the Greek Cypriot Administration took by making agreements with third countries and by searching for oil in the Mediterranean Sea are destabilizing the island and the region.

    Mr. Avci also urged the third countries to give an end to this stance of the Republic of Cyprus, which has become a reason for unnecessary tension in the island and in the region. He also described the statement of the British High Commissioner Peter Millet that the activities of the Republic of Cyprus are legitimate as unacceptable.

    (DPs)

    [06] The self-styled mayor of occupied Lefkosia said that they will desalinate water from occupied Karakoumi

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.12.08), in its front page under the title We will supply drinkable water to the tap of our Lefkosia people, reports that the so-called mayor of occupied Lefkosia Cemal Bulutoglulari announced that they are working on a joint project with the self-styled municipalities of the occupied towns of Keryneia and Kioneli in order to solve the water problem in occupied Lefkosia. Bulutoglulari said that they will bring quality water to Lefkosia by desalinating water from the sea at the occupied village of Karakoumi in Keryneia. The project will be completed in 2010.

    (DPs)

    [07] Replies to questions on Cyprus by the head of Turkish Studies at the Institute Francais des relations internationals

    Following are the replies to questions on Cyprus from an interview of Dorothee Schmid, head of the Turkish studies program at Institut Francais des relations internationals (Ifri) with Todays Zaman (22.12.08):

    Question: What is the next strategy going to be?

    Answer: We are dealing with the financial crisis now, following which we have to solve the institutional problem on the EU side. And then, maybe, comes dealing with the political issue of Turkish accession. Bureaucratically, negotiations are going on and the opening of [negotiation] chapters proceeds more or less at the same pace every year. The European Commission started to stress getting out of the Cyprus deadlock as soon as possible so that the pace of opening two chapters a year can continue. Also, the EUs progress report on Turkey was quite moderate. We are in a better situation than last year. We can see that by comparing this years and last years conference at Ifri on Franco-Turkish relations and its EU extensions. Last years meeting was more of a diplomatic exercise than this years outspoken tone. Apparently, the level of mutual trust has improved. People were more personal, maybe even more worried and more critical, but they could do it because it is easier to talk to each other.

    Question: But as the anti-Turkey camp in the EU continues to block the opening of chapters over the Cyprus issue, how can it be possible to continue with negotiations at the same pace?

    Answer: We have to rely on the diplomatic efforts of both sides of the island in the Cyprus issue. The commission is concerned that the Cyprus issue is going to block the bureaucratic pace of the negotiations. They want to have it solved one way or another, but they will offer no solution themselves.

    Question: There has been talk of suspending the negotiations

    Answer: Partial suspension already occurred for eight chapters in 2006 precisely because of the Cyprus issue. Apparently, suspension was again mentioned informally after the opening of a closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn issued an awkward statement when he said the closure case could hurt democracy in Turkey and that if things evolve in a negative way, the EU could consider suspension. Later, the commission realized that they were going much too far and that this kind of a statement falls on EU member states to make and not on the commission. Although the member states were cautious on this issue, they never took sides.

    Question: As you said, the EU blocked eight chapters because of the Cyprus issue. Turks do not think that it is fair to tie the issue to Turkeys membership and insert obstacles.

    Answer: Cyprus is a problem in the background of the EU-Turkish relationship that has to be solved anyway if we want negotiations to get anywhere in the end. We know the main mistake was not solving the problem before admitting Cyprus into the EU. Now the Turks tend to consider the Cyprus case as a political variable in a process of bargaining with the EU while the commission is stuck in a legal approach and some member states envisage it as a test of the normalization of the Turkish political system.

    Question: France alone blocked five chapters that have no direct link to Cyprus. Why?

    Answer: The official position of France is that we want to discuss chapters that are at the core of the accession process not now but later, at the end of the schedule. Turkey holds the opposite view.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] From the Turkish Press of 19, 20 and 21 December 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 19, 20 and 21 December:

    a) Initiative to apologise for the Armenian genocide

    In Milliyet (19.12.08) columnist Ece Temelkuran accuses Prime Minister Erdogan of inciting "conservative and nationalist hit teams" to harm her for having signed the petition of apology to the Armenians. In a commentary, the columnist announces that on 18 December, after she had written an article on the Armenians the previous day, she received 200 e-mails, 150 of which were letters of hate, insults, and threats. She also accuses the prime minister of dividing the nation into two mutually hostile camps, of deceiving the intellectuals, of instigating the same hit teams against them, and last but not least, of bringing mayor Melih Gokcek as a scourge on the nation.

    In Referans (19.12.08) Cengiz Candar charges that lately, the prime minister is focused exclusively on the coming local elections and refrains from commenting on other matters. In his article that appears also in Hurriyet and Radikal, the columnist argues that Erdogan is not concerned that the left is a threat for the AKP, so he tries to make sure the party does not lose any votes to the right, to the Nationalist Action Party, (MHP). That is why, Candar says, the prime minister used harsh words against the apology campaign and also against the Kurdish Democratic Society Party, (DTP), accusing it of being "Nazi." The columnist faults Erdogan for accusing the DTP of pursuing "identity politics," asking, "what is wrong with pursuing identity politics?" The prime minister's nationalist discourse may one day come back to haunt him, Candar warns.

    Under the banner headline, "Anger grows against traitorous signatures," Vakit (19.12.08) publishes a front-page report which asserts that "anger is mounting" against the "apology campaign" for the events of 1915 involving Ottoman Armenians started by a group of "so-called intellectuals." According to the report, politicians and NGOs critical of the campaign as well as the public agree that the organizers of this campaign are trying to create a crisis in the country.

    In an article entitled "Will these intellectuals apologize to Azerbaijan and Turkey, Too?", in Milli Gazete (19.12.08) columnist Afet Ilgaz asks the "intellectuals" who organized the online "apology" campaign for the events of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey whether they intend to apologize to Turkey and Azerbaijan on behalf of the Armenians who carried out "massacres" against Azerbaijani Turks in Hojali in 1992.

    In an article entitled "Making apologies is not always a virtuous thing", also in Milli Gazete (19.12.08) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan accuses the organizers of the signature campaign seeking an apology for the 1915 events of promoting Armenian efforts to represent the said events as genocide. He asserts that the campaign amounts to declaring the entire Turkish society guilty on the basis of unproven allegations which Armenia refuses even to help Turkey investigate. He also criticizes the campaign as a manifestation of a personal inferiority complex and of the extent of the signatories' vulnerability to "baseless propaganda."

    In an article entitled "Mr. Prime Minister and 'Overstepping bounds,'" in Hurriyet Daily News (20.12.08) columnist Cengiz Candar criticizes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's comments about a petition launched by a group of intellectuals who offered their apologies to Armenians for tragic events which occurred in 1915. He cautions: "The danger is the failure to send the monster coming out of the Aladdin's Lamp by Erdogan's 'nationalist discourse' back to the lamp again. The danger of 'nationalism' may gobble down Erdogan himself someday."

    In an article entitled "The apology issue," in Milliyet (20.12.08) columnist Derya Sazak says that he has decided to sign the petition about Armenians in order to protest against what he describes as fascist and racist attacks targeting the intellectuals who have signed the petition. He says: "Those events which historians could not describe so far were actually an 'ethnic cleansing' rather than genocide. Thus, I feel sorry for the tragedy suffered by Ottoman Armenians in 1915. But, I wonder whether or not Armenian intellectuals will offer an apology to the families of Turkish diplomats assassinated by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia."

    In an article entitled "They acted Rashly," in Vatan (20.12.08) columnist Gungor Mengi criticizes the intellectuals who launched the petition for unintentionally undermining a process of normalization between Turkey and Armenia. Arguing that Turkey is unjustifiably blamed for perpetrating genocide by some circles which, he asserts, exploit the tragic events witnessed in the 1910s, Mengi says: "The leaders of the campaign who have apologized to Armenians should issue another statement apologizing for the damage they have caused to the new process which had given rise to optimistic expectations because their move raised expectations on the other side while causing angry reactions among the Turkish public." Mengi concludes by saying that Turkish intellectuals supporting the petition will be used by Armenian organizations for convincing US President-elect Barack Obama.

    In an article entitled "An apology offered by those who are not aware of their nationality," in Ortadogu (20.12.08) columnist Yildiray Cicek accuses the intellectuals organizing the petition of contributing to plans aimed at destroying the Turkish nation and their homeland. Asserting that the petition is linked with a recent informal visit paid by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Armenia, Cicek comments: "Those so-called 'intellectuals' who stabbed innocent Turkish people who were the real victims in the back while disregarding atrocities committed by Armenian militia against Turkish nation in the past are a source of shame for our country."

    In an article entitled "Aritman must be expelled from the CHP [Republican People's Party]," in Milliyet (20.12.08) columnist Sedat Ergin argues that CHP deputy Canan Aritman must be expelled from her party because of her recent remarks that President Abdullah Gul's mother is of Armenian origin. He also criticizes CHP leadership for remaining silent about Aritman's allegation which, he notes, reflected a racist approach.

    In an article entitled "It is so sad" in Yeni Safak (20.12.08) columnist Ali Bayramoglu expresses regret at what he describes as the sharp criticisms and accusations sparked by the "apology" campaign for the events of 1915 involving Ottoman Armenians launched by a group including himself. He discloses that while he has not been surprised by the reactions to the campaign from the General Staff and Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli, he has been taken aback by the way the campaign has been slammed by Prime Minister Erdogan and Islamic and conservative circles in general. He also contrasts these reactions with a statement by President Gul that cited the campaign as proof of the existence of a free and democratic discussion environment in this country.

    In an article entitled "Intellectuals' flawed dissent" in Yeni Safak (20.12.08) columnist Yasin Aktay criticizes the "intellectual despotism" of the organizers of the apology campaign for the events of 1915 in "disregarding the complicated nature of these events" and "asking [critics of the campaign] how they can fail to see these events as they do." Aktay calls attention to the "serious problem" posed by the fact that "history writing has never been about enlightening the past in an objective way." He also argues that rather than promoting friendly ties between Turkey and Armenia, the campaign is set to undermine the recent rapprochement between the two countries by fuelling nationalist sentiments.

    In an article entitled "To set an example" in Yeni Safak (20.12.08) columnist Fehmi Koru lambastes Republican People's Party, CHP, Deputy Canan Aritman for her remarks linking President Gul's stance on the apology campaign for the 1915 events to what she claimed to be Gul's Armenian lineage on his mother's side. Koru calls on the CHP to expel Aritman from its ranks, adding that it is also incumbent on Parliament to dismiss Aritman from the National Assembly to "prove that Turkey is not Nazi Germany."

    A report in Vakit (20.12.08) entitled "We deserved the deportation," quotes Hovhannes Katchaznouni, "the first prime minister of Armenia," as saying, "We went to war with the Turks to sabotage the peace. We killed and got killed. We were blinded by the Sevres Treaty and the dream of a great Armenia. We were deceived by the West and we ended up being annexed to Russia. The deportation was right." The report describes these remarks as "a slap in the face" for the organizers of the apology campaign for the events of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey.

    In an article entitled "I understand Aritman", in Vakit (20.12.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak expresses disapproval of "the shape, timing, and style of the apology campaign" for the events of 1915 and asserts that "before we apologize to anyone, others should apologize to the children of this land, namely, the US, British French, German, and Russian governments, Sabbatean-Zionist Masonic groups, the Progress and Union junta, putschists, and the single-party administration." He also accuses CHP Deputy Aritman of committing a crime in "despising both Gul and Armenians" by "implying" that Gul's mother is an Armenian.

    In an article entitled "Apologizing does not mean accepting responsibility for a crime", in Zaman (20.12.08) columnist Faik Akcay lauds the apology campaign for the 1915 events as a "beautiful move" intended to "erase the racist and isolating perception that Turks have no friends except Turks" and to "pull down the walls of enmity not only between us and Armenians but also between us and humanity as a whole."

    Under the headline, "State says 'No' to apology campaign," Today's Zaman (20.12.08) carries a front-page report which says that a number of "high-ranking government officials added their voice yesterday to Prime Minister Erdogan's disapproval" of the apology campaign for the events of 1915, "the Ottoman killings of Armenians ... which Armenians claim constituted genocide."

    In an article entitled "Let us set up our own Historical Committee Independently of Armenians" in Today's Zaman (20.12.08) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici asserts that the debate caused by the apology campaign for the events of 1915 "may serve as an occasion for us to start thinking about what possible measures we can take against the [US Congress'] passage of a genocide bill ..."

    In an article entitled "Apologizing to the Armenians" in Today's Zaman (20.12.08) columnist Mehmet Kamis describes the apology campaign for the 1915 events as an act of "courage" and asks rhetorically whether there are any Armenian intellectuals able to say, "We apologize for breaking down our 1000-year-old friendship with the Turks. We apologize for the Muslims we killed."

    According to a report by Mansur Celik in Milliyet (21.12.08), the claims made by Republican People's Party, CHP, Izmir deputy Canan Aritman to the effect that President Abdullah Gul's mother is of Armenian origin has been criticized by party leader Deniz Baykal and by his colleagues. Baykal, in his criticism of Aritman, has said that no one's ethnic origins should be questioned, notes the report, adding that if Aritman insists on her stand she will be referred to the party Disciplinary Council.

    Criticizing the weak reaction shown within the CHP to Aritman's "racist" claims about President Gul's origins in an article in Milliyet (21.12.08), Derya Sazak says that this issue once again raises questions regarding the "social democratic" identity of the party. Recalling that the CHP Statutes and Program Congress is expected to convene in Ankara today, Sazak draws attention to the new party program that advocates a free and pluralistic path which considers different identities and cultures as a source of richness, adding that if the CHP is to embrace these principles it should expel Aritman from the party.

    Pointing out that he does not see the need to seek forgiveness from the Armenians for the 1915 incidents in an article in Hurriyet (21.12.08), Cuneyt Ulsever maintains that, however, those signing the declaration should not be condemned or insulted. Arguing that in a free society individuals have the right to express their views, Ulsever hopes that the views expressed by the prime minister will make the intellectuals realize that he is not such a democratic person after all. Referring to the statement issued by the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, on the declaration, Ulsever describes it as an act that shows that some soldiers have yet to digest the concept of freedoms. Commenting on the fear expressed by some that this campaign might lead to the recognition of Armenian genocide claims and to compensation, Ulsever writes: "This paranoia should be considered normal in my country that lives on fear and intimidation." No one should be concerned because the stand of the signatories is not binding on the state just as the stand of those refusing to sign will not help the state, writes Ulsever, adding that the state has no reason to be so frightened from the stand adopted by individuals.

    Viewing the ever increasing number of signatories of the declaration in an article in Sabah (21.12.08), Soli Ozel says that one can no longer label this campaign as the "treason of certain intellectuals." Commenting on the "diplomatic risks" claimed by some regarding the campaign, Ozel argues that "this initiative will be one of the most important pillars that will enable Turkey to hold its head high during the discussion of the Armenian issue in the world." Aritman's claims that Gul's mother is Armenian because the president adopted a democratic approach to this declaration can be described as racism, writes Ozel, adding that only in fascist countries can the ethnic origins of individuals be a measure of their patriotism. Agreeing with Milliyet editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin that the CHP's stand on Aritman is the party's test of humanity and civilization, Ozel asserts that the CHP has failed this text.

    Referring to the criticism leveled by CHP deputy leader Cevdet Selvi to the declaration of intellectuals in an article in Taraf (21.12.08), Murat Belge writes that contrary to the claim made by Selvi this declaration was not issued in the name of the nation or the state. Selvi's objections to the declaration were expected, writes Belge, adding that so were the objections of the TSK and the Foreign Ministry. Accusing the Foreign Ministry of following the TSK suit, Belge addresses his Armenian brothers expressing his extreme sorrow over the 1915 incidents and calling on them to come and discuss the issue and to understand one another.

    In an article entitled "Is not apologizing to Armenians Akin to apologizing to Bush?" in Vakit (21.12.08) columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu criticizes intellectuals spearheading the petition offering an apology to Armenians. He comments: "Those people who are eager to offer an apology are repeating the same mistake made by Iraqi officials who apologized to Bush on behalf of Al-Zaydi. If you do not have sufficient information about past events that prompted Al-Zaydi to commit that act just like the ignorance of those who are keen to apologize to Armenians, you could conclude that it was wrong. You could, therefore, say that he had no right to throw his shoe and humiliate him in front of so many people. But, if you know Bush, you would certainly say that what he did was not enough." Karahasanoglu concludes by saying that the petitioners should have said that both sides made mistakes and the Armenian community should not have rebelled against the Ottoman State during the invasion of some parts of the country in the 1910s.

    In an article entitled "All eyes are on Armenian intellectuals," in Zaman (21.12.08) columnist Hamdullah Ozturk argues that Armenian intellectuals should apologize for massacres perpetrated by Armenian militiamen in collaboration with enemies which invaded some parts of the Ottoman state in order to reciprocate for an apology offered by a group of Turkish intellectuals. He says: "Armenian intellectuals are facing a great challenge. If they avoid responding to that challenge and say that Turkish intellectuals did not consult them before making that move, then our intellectuals who have offered an apology will be regarded as tools used by Armenian diaspora."

    In an article entitled "We should thank the racist CHP [Republican People's Party] deputy," in Sunday's Zaman (21.12.08) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz criticizes CHP deputy Canan Aritman for claiming that Turkish President Abdullah Gul's mother is of Armenian origin. He says: "Ms. Aritman is doing Turkish democracy a service by drawing attention to the racist and fascist inheritance of her party, the CHP, which is the ideological successor of the Ottoman period's Union and Progress (Ittihad ve Terakki) Party."

    b) Turkeys EU course and Cyprus

    In a commentary entitled "The Best Option for EU Negotiations" in Zaman (19.12.08), AKP Ankara Deputy Haluk Ozdalga argues that EU circles opposed to Turkey's membership bid have "unfortunately" made significant headway toward achieving the following three goals of their policy on Turkey: 1. Breaking Turkey's resolve to enter the EU. 2. Creating the impression that Turkey would be willing to consider options other than full membership. 3. Undermining support for Turkey's membership within the EU. Ozdalga stresses what he describes as Turkey's need to mobilize its resources to press ahead with its efforts to join the EU in accordance with "a new and well-designed action plan" and warns that progress in the accession process is essential if Ankara is to avoid a crisis in the Cyprus issue in 2009.

    c) Turkeys nuclear plant

    According to a front-page report in Todays Zaman (19.12.08) entitled "Russia to build Turkey's 1st Nuclear Plant," the Turkish atomic energy agency, TAEK, has decided that "the Turkish-Russian joint venture Atomstroyexport-Inter Rao Park Teknik, the only bidder in a tender for the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant," is "technically competent" to undertake the project.

    EG/


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