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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-02

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. 21/09 31.01-02.02.2009

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Kutlay Erk: The majority of the properties in the north will be ours
  • [02] Ozdil Nami: The goal is a referendum before the end of the year
  • [03] Statements by Bagis and Avci after meeting in Ankara
  • [04] Talat addressed the competitiveness forum in occupied Keryneia
  • [05] International uro-oncology symposium to take place in the occupied part of Cyprus
  • [06] The occupation regime distributed more TRNC citizenships
  • [07] The number of foreign students in the Illegal universities has increased
  • [08] Gospel and other Christian objects were spotted at a lowland between occupied Livadia and Galatia villages
  • [09] Employees of the illegal assembly met Joan Ryan in London
  • [10] Omer Adal rules out membership to KOP
  • [11] The Turkish General Staff on the execution of prisoners of war in Cyprus and relations with Israel
  • [12] Attack on Media Organs blamed on Erdogan
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 30, 31 January and 01 February 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Kutlay Erk: The majority of the properties in the north will be ours

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.02.09) publishes an interview with Kutlay Erk, special representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, who described the property issue as one of the most complicated issues of the Cyprus problem, but not the most difficult one.

    Mr Erk noted that the criteria on the property issue will be the return, compensation or the exchange of property and alleged that the approach of the Greek Cypriots that the first owner of the property will have the final say would create confusion.

    Mr Erk argued, inter alia, the following:

    We believe that if we as Turkish Cypriots are going to administrate the northern part of Cyprus, if the majority of the population will be Turkish Cypriots, if the administration will be Turkish Cypriot, the majority in the pattern of the properties will belong to the Turkish Cypriots. The property regime will also be applied by the Turkish Cypriots. This is bi-zonality. It is for this reason that we say that whatever the current proportion of the Greek Cypriot properties in the north is, after the solution, their majority should pass to the Turkish Cypriots. .

    Mr Erk alleged that the structure of the federation will not be strong if the Turkish Cypriots have a federal state where the majority of the property will not belong to them. This would be tantamount to building a house on the property of another person, he said and added:

    If bi-zonality is going to be our first principle, and this is accepted and is not disputable, then the majority of the immovable properties in our own area will belong to the people with population majority. Using the criteria we will return property, we will exchange, but a significant part of the Greek Cypriot properties will pass to the ownership of Turkish Cypriots. This is an important criterion for us.

    Mr Erk alleged, inter alia, the following:

    The property regime agreed by the two leaders and approved by the two peoples should not be spoiled and watered down with a court decision. We want security, stability and certainty in the property regime and pattern.

    (AK)

    [02] Ozdil Nami: The goal is a referendum before the end of the year

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (02.02.09), under the title The goal is a referendum before the end of the year, publishes an interview given by Ozdil Nami, advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat in the negotiations, to the program the voice of the economy and writes that Mr. Nami has said, inter alia, that negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem could be concluded and a referendum could be held by the end of the year. Mr. Nami has said also that the process goes on positively and that he is hopeful. He then said that he believes that the differences of opinion on the chapter Governance and Power Sharing could be overcome.

    (AK)

    [03] Statements by Bagis and Avci after meeting in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.01.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's State Minister for European Union membership talks Egemen Bagis mat on Friday with Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Turgay Avci in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

    Appearing at a joint press conference after the meeting Bagis said the Cyprus issue was "a national cause" for Turkey.

    "And for this national cause our hearts are beating as one with the government and the opposition. We are working together in coordination with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as well," Bagis said.

    Avci said on his part that Turkish Cypriots could not live in security and independently if it were not for Turkey's support.

    "Turkish Cypriots trust in Turkey alone, not in Greek Cypriots, European Union countries or any other country. We are grateful for Turkey's unconditional support," Avci said.

    On the meeting illegal Bayrak television (31.01.09) broadcast the following:

    Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci who flew to Ankara has met with the Turkish Minister of State and chief negotiator Egemen Bagis.

    The two came together yesterday to evaluate the latest stage reached on the Cyprus issue and the developments that have taken place within the European Union.The meeting was held at the EU General Secretariat in Ankara. Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that without Turkeys support, Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus couldnt exists or be independent. Avci thanked Turkey for its unconditional support in all fields.

    For his Party Turkish Minister of State Egemen Bagis said the Cyprus issue is a national issue for Turkey.

    Whether we are the government or the opposition the Cyprus issue is a national cause for everyone he added.

    Noting that the Turkish government and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus were working hand in hand for the Turkish Cypriot people, Mr. Bagis said the TRNC and Turkey were working in coordination for this to become realized.

    [04] Talat addressed the competitiveness forum in occupied Keryneia

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.01.09) broadcast that the Competitiveness Forum which put to the table occupied Cypruss competitive abilities was held in occupied Keryneia on Friday.

    The competitiveness forum which was made possible by the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce, Investment Development Agency and the illegal State Planning Organization, was attended by many business owners and self-styled government officials.

    At a time when intense efforts are underway for Turkish Cypriots to integrate with the world and improve its standards to that of the European Union, the Forum intends to discuss where the Turkish Cypriot economy is at and evaluate its developments.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, made the opening speech at the forum and noted that the time had come to discuss the Turkish Republic of Northern Cypruss competitive abilities.

    Unfortunately businesses in Northern Cyprus are prevented from competing with others, he alleged.

    Underlining the fact that apart from the Green Line Regulation there are no other means for Turkish Cypriots to compete with, Mr Talat said the Direct Trade Regulation is not valid and therefore there is a need for the Green Line Regulation to be improved.

    Following MrTalats speech, the forum began with a discussion on what competitiveness is by Howard Rosen, the Executive Director of the Competitiveness Policy Council of America.

    Economists Unal Akifler and Yenal Surec then presented their report on Northern Cyprus Competitiveness.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.02.09), under the title, Northern Cyprus Competitiveness Report announced: In productivity we are Africa, reports about the results of the Competitiveness Report released in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to the report, the consumption level of the occupied Cyprus is at the standards of Africa as compared to the productivity of Europe. The report was made in the framework of the Northern Cyprus Competitiveness Forum with the participation of representatives from various sectors of the social and economic life.

    As the paper reports, the forum was attended by representatives of the business world, the political parties, the bureaucracy, the unions, the academic world and the media. The attendants decided that an institutional dialogue must be created for the solution of the problems. The outcomes of the forum, which was closed to the press, were announced by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

    According to the results, the economy of the Northern Cyprus is ranked 117th out of the 135 world economies. It was also reported that the so-called TRNC has been registered in the three first places, in the field of epidemic diseases protection, high student enrolment and mobile telephone use but in the last places as regards the expenses for research and development, the access to bank credit and the institutional productivity of the public sector.

    (EA)

    [05] International uro-oncology symposium to take place in the occupied part of Cyprus

    Under the title, More than 500 experts from 10 countries are coming, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.02.09) reports that the occupation regime will host the third international uro-oncology symposium between February 4-8. The symposium is being organized in cooperation of the Health Ministry of Turkey and the Turkish Association of Urology with the contribution of Turkish Cypriot doctors.

    As the paper reports, the symposium will be attended by more than 500 experts from 10 different countries. The symposium, which will last for five days, will be composed of 25 different sessions at the Acapulco hotel in occupied Keryneia. According to the paper, the congress will have a great influence on the tourism sector due to the fact that the participants will come with their families. Well-known experts from the USA, Italy, Syria, Egypt, Azerbaijan and the Lebanon will address the symposium.

    (EA)

    [06] The occupation regime distributed more TRNC citizenships

    Turkish Cypriot daily Africa newspaper (02.02.09), in its front page under the title citizens in four months reports that the breakaway regime continues the distribution of the illegal Turkish Cypriot citizenship. The paper reports that the self-styled Ministry of Interior distributed the TRNC citizenship to a couple which got married four months ago in spite of the fact that the regulations foresee that in order for someone to have the right to take the TRNC citizenship, he must complete one year of marriage with a Turkish Cypriot citizen.

    (AC)

    [07] The number of foreign students in the Illegal universities has increased

    Under the title Abundance in the higher education, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.02.09) reports that the number of the students in the illegal universities of the occupied areas of Cyprus increased from 28.950 in 2003 to 44.494 in 2008. The paper notes that this is an increase of 75 % and adds that the number of foreign students increased from about 19 thousand in 2003 to 34 thousand in 2008. The number of the students from Turkey increased from 17.350 in 2003 to 30.804 in 2008. The number of the students from third countries increased from 1.800 in 2003 to 3.610 in 2008.

    The contribution of the universities to the economy of the breakaway regime was $150 million in 2003, while now it increased to $350 million.

    (AC)

    [08] Gospel and other Christian objects were spotted at a lowland between occupied Livadia and Galatia villages

    Illegal Bayrak television (31.01.09) broadcast the following:

    Three historical artifacts were found by the TRNC Police Directorates Narcotics and Trafficking prevention Department yesterday.

    The artifacts were found at the lowland between Sazlikoy [occupied Livadia] and Mehmetcik [occupied Galatia] villages.

    The three artifacts comprise of a gold hand written book dating back to 1500-2000 years ago, a vow statue and a stone with a Jesus embossed design on it.Four suspects were arrested in connection with the artifacts.

    Yesterday the Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] District Court ordered the 4 suspects to be held for a further three days pending a further investigation.

    [09] Employees of the illegal assembly met Joan Ryan in London

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.02.09) broadcast the following:

    Delegation from the TRNC Parliaments Administrative and Social Works Committee which attended a two-day training program in London returns to the Republic today.

    During their stay, the members of the delegation also met with the British Labor Party MP from Londons Enfield constituency, Britains former Cyprus Special Representative Joan Ryan.

    At the meeting which took place at the British parliament, Joan Ryan said that the works being carried out towards public reforms and harmonization with the EU are very important for both the constitution of the Turkish Cypriot People and the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    She also said that the works by TRNC Parliaments Administrative and Social Works Committee will be a big step in case of the establishment of a federation in Cyprus.

    [10] Omer Adal rules out membership to KOP

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.02.09) broadcast the following:

    The President of the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation Omer Adal has said that it is out of question for the Federation to accept becoming a member of the Greek Cypriot Cyprus Football Federation KOP.

    In a statement he made to the TAK news agency, Mr. Adal said exchanges had been taking place between FIFA for some time now so that Turkish Cypriot football teams could play matches abroad, but due to the precondition put forward by FIFA requiring the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation to register under CFA, this is unacceptable.

    Our members and our football teams refuse to become a member of CFA, he added.

    Explaining that President Mehmet Ali Talat has also looked poorly on the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation becoming a member of CFA, Mr. Adal said at a time when the Cyprus negotiations are taking place, it is not in our interest for the Federation to become a member of KOP.

    He concluded by saying that the Cyprus Turkish Football Federations boards of directors and its football teams did not see it as appropriate to becoming a member of the Greek Cypriot CFA.

    [11] The Turkish General Staff on the execution of prisoners of war in Cyprus and relations with Israel

    Todays Zaman newspaper (31.01.09) publishes the following report:

    The Turkish General Staff yesterday highlighted the importance of protecting the nations interests in military relations with other countries.

    It is our principle to act in line with the national interests in bilateral military relations with all other countries, Brig. Gen. Metin Gurak, head of the General Staffs communications department, said yesterday at a press briefing in Ankara. Guraks remarks came in response to a question about whether ongoing developments in Turkey and the world would affect Turkeys military relations with Israel.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked out of a debate on the Middle East at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday, saying he had been upset with the moderation of the debate and Israeli President Simon Peres manner, an unexpected reaction that raised questions over whether military cooperation between Turkey and Israel would be negatively affected.

    Gurak also spoke about the weapons and explosives seized by police in several cities as part of the Ergenekon investigation. Scores of explosives and thousands of bullets have been discovered in isolated places over recent weeks in a number of cities. We have completed counting the weapons seized as part of the Ergenekon investigation, he said. The investigation we have launched into the issue is ongoing.

    Gurak said discussions were under evaluation over whether Turkey would send a peace force to Gaza, adding that the General Staff was closely monitoring the developments related to scandalous remarks by a Turkish actor, Atilla Olgac, who said in a television interview last week that he shot a 19-year-old Greek Cypriot prisoner of war and killed another nine people when he was a conscript during the Turkish intervention on Cyprus.

    Later in the day, however, Olgac retracted his statement, saying it was false. Olgacs remarks caused tension between the Turkish and Greek governments, and Greek Cyprus urged Turkey to account for some 1,500 people missing since its intervention on the island 35 years ago.

    [12] Attack on Media Organs blamed on Erdogan

    According to a report in Istanbul Hurriyet (01.02.09), entitled "Prime Minister Erdogan is Responsible for the Attack," the Chairman of the Press Council Oktay Eksi has issued a written statement to hold Recep Tayyp Erdogan responsible for the attack on the journalists during the recent inauguration of the Sishane-Maslak subway line in Istanbul. The report quotes Eksi as saying: We wish to reiterate that we will hold Prime Minister Erdogan responsible for every attack that prevents our colleagues from fulfilling their duties. Some of the extremist elements punched the journalists during the ceremony. Many others insulted the journalists. Many of our colleagues were verbally harassed when they tried to leave the area. We are including all that in the records we keep on Prime Minister Erdogan's political behavior.

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 30, 31 January and 01 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 30, 31 January and 01 February2009:

    a) Davos Crisis

    A report entitled "High tension in Davos" in Milliyet (30.01.09) relates how Prime Minister Erdogan stormed out of a debate on Gaza held within the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos. According to the report, Erdogan, who explained the reason for his storming out of the debate as a reaction to the moderator who would not grant him sufficient time to expresses his views, has threatened to never attend a Davos meeting again.

    A report in Hurriyet (30.01.09) relates the "diplomatic crisis" in Davos under the headline "The Davos Spirit Has Died." Commenting on the debate, Mrs. Erdogan is reported to have said: "Everything Peres said was a lie. The paper also details some of the reactions to the Davos incident. Republican People's Party, CHP, deputy leader Onur Oymen is quoted as saying: "Today Erdogan is finished for the civilized world." Retired Ambassador Inal Batu is quoted as having said that in the foreseeable future Turkey will no longer have the status of a country respected by all the forces in the region.

    Viewing the Davos incident in an article in Hurriyet (30.01.09), Oktay Eksi states that the world has witnessed that Turkey is being administered by a politician "who cannot control himself." The prime minister might be justified in feeling frustrated by the fact that he was granted much less time than Israeli President Peres to express his views at the panel, writes Eksi, adding that, however, only those who are in control win in diplomatic environments. Maintaining that bilateral relations will be affected as a result of this diplomatic incident, Eksi expresses the hope that the phone call made by Peres to Erdogan in the aftermath of the incident will calm the prime minister down.

    The prime minister's anger has led to a diplomatic scandal in Davos, writes Gungor Mengi in his article in Vatan (30.01.09). Asking Erdogan if he thought that reprimanding a statesmen by telling him 'you are an expert in killing' and accusing the viewers who applauded Peres of committing crimes against humanity would contribute to a solution, Mengi argues that the prime minister, because of his sentimental approach, has acted like an amateur who is incapable of establishing a dialogue. The writer continues: "We all need to understand what concerns have lead the prime minister to be more pro-HAMAS than the Arabs while even President Gul and Foreign Minister Babacan refrain from seeming to be the supporters of HAMAS." Arguing that "yesterday's disgrace has damaged Turkey's role as a mediator in regional issues," Mengi reacts to Erdogan's defense that he is not a "meek lamb," stating: "No one demands that he be a meek lamb. What we expect from him is to act like a statesman!"

    Erdogan has yet to understand that as the prime minister of Turkey he has no right to act as the defense attorney of HAMAS, writes Okay Gonensin in an article in Vatan (30.01.09), arguing that his speech in Davos yesterday has placed Turkey next to HAMAS and not next to Palestine. The political balances and clashes within Palestine are not Erdogan's problem, maintains Gonensin, adding that he will be remembered as amateur politician who has weakened Turkey's hand. Stressing that the Palestinian problem is not Erdogan's personal problem, Gonensin points out that his ultimatum of never returning to Davos has shown that Erdogan has reduced the issue to a personal level. The writer continues: "Erdogan has failed in foreign policy in the worst possible manner and has damaged Turkey's interests. At the very least, he has blocked Turkey's path to contributing to the peace process and to playing an effective role in the region."

    According to a last minute report in Vatan (30.01.09), the General Staff has issued a statement in connection with the Davos incident saying: "One acts in line with national interests in bilateral relations. National interests are in the foreground in relations with Israel."

    Viewing the Davos incident in an article in Radikal (30.01.09), Murat Yetkin says that a certain sector of the society might applause Erdogan and view Peres's subsequent phone call as a victory. This incident might even bring more votes to the AKP in the local elections, writes Yetkin, questioning whether this storming out of the panel will be beneficial for Turkey. The writer goes on to ask the following questions: "How will Turkey conduct its mediation activities in the region from now on? Wasn't Turkey's most important characteristic its ability to talks with Israel, Syria, and Iran at the same time? Is there anyone who is not aware that from the viewpoint of Turkey, relations with Israel are tantamount to relations with the United States? Is it not a known fact that good relations with Israel mean good relations with the United States as well?" Quoting a foreign diplomat who maintained prior to the Davos incident that Turkish-Israeli relations are not that damaged and that a visit by President Gul to Israel in the coming months would save the situation, Yetkin wonders whether Gul and the Foreign Ministry will now be able to improve the situation. In conclusion, Yetkin claims that after the Davos incident, Turkish diplomacy might be forced to begin from zero in many fields.

    Under the banner headline, "A historic slap in the face," Yeni Safak (30.01.09) runs a front-page report which lauds Prime Minister Erdogan for "rapping" Israeli President Shimon Peres "before the eyes of the world" at a panel meeting in Davos yesterday. Erdogan sharply criticized Israel at the meeting for "massacring civilians and children in Gaza and accused this country of turning Gaza into an "open prison," the report says.

    Also front-paged in Vakit (30.01.09) is a report entitled "An Ottoman slap in the face for Israel," which quotes Prime Minister Erdogan as having told Peres as the meeting in Davos yesterday that "you know very well how to kill people." The report also outlines the chain of events that led Erdogan to storm out of the meeting, saying, "Davos is over for me." According to the report, Peres called Erdogan later to offer apologies for what had transpired.

    In an editorial entitled "The Same Language Again," in Hurriyet (31.01.09) columnist Oktay Eksi criticizes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for making harsh remarks and displaying a bullying attitude during a row with Israeli President Shimon Peres in a panel discussion in Davos. Asserting that Peres actually deserved a response because of his unconvincing arguments aimed at justifying Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, Eksi comments: "But, the response should have been given cleverly and elegantly rather than using the language preferred by Erdogan who began with saying that Peres was his elder (implying that he would have treated him differently if he were not). After saying that he is not the prime minister of a tribe, he should not have acted like one. We should not forget that no bill remains unpaid, particularly in international relations."

    In an article entitled "Historical meaning of leaving the table," in Hurriyet (31.01.09) columnist Ertugrul Ozkok says that pro-Erdogan demonstrations staged in the Gaza Strip yesterday indicated that he is regarded as a charismatic leader in the region which, he notes, can be translated into a very crucial step for achieving peace in the Middle East. He says: "After making those critical remarks about Israel, Erdogan should tell the HAMAS to stop firing missiles and carrying out terrorist attacks, to accept Israel's existence, and to sit at the negotiating table for achieving peace. Erdogan has the right to tell this more than any other leader in the region because his reaction could entail a very high price for Turkey in the long term. He, therefore, has the right to expect Palestinians to take those steps."

    A report entitled "Scenes of Jubilation in Gaza, Erdogan hailed" in Hurriyet (31.01.09) quotes Khalil al-Khaya, a leading figure within the HAMAS, as saying during a pro-Erdogan rally in the Gaza Strip that Erdogan is a great leader who showed Arab leaders how history can be made. The report also quotes Turkish President Abdullah Gul as saying that Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas will pay a visit to Turkey at his invitation.

    In an article entitled "A shocking shock in Davos," in Milliyet (31.01.09) columnist Osman Ulagay says that Turkish businessmen attending the World Economic Forum in Davos are deeply concerned that Erdogan's strongly-worded remarks about Israel may deliver a lasting blow to Turkish-Israeli relations at a time when inflow of foreign capital into Turkey declined to a minimum level and relations with the IMF are at a critical point.

    In an article entitled "Erdogan was right," in Milliyet (31.01.09) columnist Fikret Bila argues that Peres deserved Erdogan's strong criticism because of his provocative remarks and gestures. Drawing attention to fears that Erdogan's remarks could entail a high price to be paid, Bila comments: "Those concerns are unfounded. Israel ignores international organizations, international community, and international norms. Banking on strong support given by the United States, it acts as it pleases. Nobody can say anything or criticize it. Somebody had to do that. Erdogan warned Israel. There is no cause for concern. It will not be the end of the world. Indeed, Israel had to alleviate tension and Peres called Erdogan and made statements intended to appease Erdogan and Turkey."

    In an article entitled "Psychotherapy," in Cumhuriyet (31.01.09) columnist Mumtaz Soysal criticizes Erdogan for making remarks that could be detrimental to Turkey's foreign policy, albeit his party will reap some benefits. He says: "The event witnessed in Davos will cause another line to be drawn through the name of a politician who has already been crossed out in Western capitals due to his stance in the past couple of months. From that perspective, it is highly likely that the incident will be regarded as a kind of 'suicide attack' carried out by a politician. We can do nothing other than hoping that it does not turn into a suicide for the Turkish foreign policy."

    In an article entitled "Erdogan is now the protector of helpless people in the Middle East," in Radikal (31.01.09) columnist Cengiz Candar says that Erdogan became the hero of the Middle East and the whole Muslim world within "five dramatic minutes" in Davos. Emphasizing that Erdogan's emotional but real anger gave the process of transformation in the Middle East and the rest of the world a new impetus, Candar comments: "I cannot predict what will happen in the future. But, I can guess that conventional approaches and methods will no longer be valid when analyzing the situation in the Middle East."

    In an article entitled "People who do not call him 'Conqueror of Davos' are Labeled as Traitors," in Vatan (31.01.09) columnist Rusen Cakir says that Erdogan has clearly confronted the Jewish lobby in the West after the row with Peres which, he predicts, will entail a price to be paid one way or the other despite arguments that Turkey and Erdogan have strengthened their hands as a result of the incident. He also criticizes Erdogan for not ostracizing his party's supporters with fascist tendencies.

    Also front-paged is a report entitled "[Erdogan:] Nobody can treat us with disrespect," which highlights Erdogan's messages to the public upon his return from Davos. The report quotes the prime minister as saying that a new era has started in the world when everybody has to factor in Turkey in determining their policies.

    In an article entitled "Conspiracy in Davos" in Yeni Safak (31.01.09) columnist Taha Kivanc [pseudonym for Fehmi Koru] argues that in storming out of the panel meeting in Davos as he did, Prime Minister Erdogan might have foiled a "conspiracy" by David Ignatius, who moderated the meeting, to place him in the position of a "whipping boy." Kivanc cites the story of Ignatius' book Body of Lies as evidence of his predilection for conspiracy, adding that the sequence of events at the meeting in Davos until the moment when Erdogan walked off - Erdogan being allowed to take the floor first only to find himself having to listen to Peres "reprimand" him later on without being allowed to respond to the Israeli President's remarks - lends credence to this theory.

    In an article entitled "Erdogan between politics and diplomacy", in Yeni Safak (31.01.09) columnist Yasin Aktay lauds what Erdogan did at the panel meeting in Davos as a striking manifestation of how easy it actually is to break certain seemingly unbreakable taboos or overcome apparently insurmountable challenges. He claims that criticisms against Erdogan from Turkish diplomatic circles over his behavior in Davos reveal a "fear" of Israel that explains how Israel can be so powerful even when it can be "so guilty" and "so in the wrong" for what it has done in Gaza. Aktay also argues that the prime minister showed by what he did that "politics is the art of expressing and obtaining your rights."

    Under the banner headline, "World Changes Its Tune," Vakit (31.01.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that Erdogan's "proud" walkout in Davos has brought "everybody including particularly the Zionist media" from "wondering what the United States, Europe, and Israel would say [if we did not toe their line?]" to "realizing that a solution that does not factor in Turkey is impossible."

    In an article entitled "An honorable stance" Vakit (31.01.09) columnist Ahmet Varol asserts that Erdogan's "dignified" reaction to Peres and "his Western supporters" in Davos "has found an echo in the conscience" of everybody outraged by Israel's "brutal massacres" in Gaza. He also claims that the extent of support for Erdogan's behavior in Davos indicates that "the voice of the masses can overpower that of Jewish lobbies."

    In an article entitled "This is a watershed: Before Davos, after Davos", in Vakit (31.01.09) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that Erdogan "expressed not only Turkey's attitude" but also the feelings of all the oppressed peoples of the world including chiefly the Palestinian people in walking off the stage at the panel meeting in Davos. He claims that nothing will be the same in the world in the wake of what happened in Davos because "Erdogan has rocked the world and the Middle East. From now on no puppet leaders in any Arab states can be assured of their seats or pursue Israeli-guided policies ... because ... people in Islamic countries like Palestine are carrying Turkish flags and Erdogan posters and shouting slogans in favor of Turkey."

    In an article entitled "Why the Prime Minister is right", in Zaman (31.01.09) columnist Sahin Alpay explains in what sense Prime Minister Erdogan was "essentially" right in what he said and did in Davos. He asserts that Erdogan expressed the truth in saying that Israel committed crimes against humanity in Gaza and violated UN Security Council resolutions, adding that Peres behaved in an unacceptable manner in "attempting shamelessly to tell off Erdogan." He proceeds to claim in response to commentators who assert that Erdogan's behaviour is set to harm Turkish-Israeli relations that Turkey has no reason to be worried about a deterioration of its relations with Israel as long as Israel is not concerned that its policies might compromise its relations with "a very valuable ally" like Turkey. Alpay also calls attention to aspects of Erdogan's behavior that he does not endorse, arguing that Erdogan fails to be consistent in criticizing Israel's "crimes against humanity" yet "remaining silent over the crimes of humanity Sudan has committed in Darfur" or "inviting Israel to engage in dialog with the elected Hamas government yet refraining from even shaking hands with DTP [Democratic Society Party] deputies at home."

    In an article entitled "How is Davos perceived in the US?", in Today's Zaman (31.01.09) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici discloses that "none of the people I spoke with [in Atlanta] said they looked at [Erdogan's behaviour in Davos] positively." He asserts that it would make sense to pay heed to "the outside world's coolheaded reactions" to what happened in Davos, asserting that it is "Turkey's difference from other countries" that allowed it to become co-chair of the Alliance of Civilizations Project and enables it to maintain "good relations with both the West and the East."

    In an article entitled "I applaud the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic", Today's Zaman (31.01.09) columnist Mehmet Kamis warns Israel about the "serious risks" associated with "its strategy of ignoring Turkey and pursuing offensive policies."

    Under the headline, "We will stand by you as long as you maintain a proud stance," Milli Gazete (31.01.09) publishes a front-page report which highlights remarks by Felicity Party, SP, leader Numan Kurtulmus thanking Erdogan for "expressing our nation's feelings" in reacting to Peres as he did in Davos.

    In an article entitled "This is the true Davos spirit", in Milli Gazete (31.01.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan asserts that the aim of Davos meetings is to promote "Israeli and Zionist interests" and that there is a vast difference between the apparent and real agenda of international events organized in Davos. He claims that this explains why Erdogan was allocated 12 minutes at the panel on Gaza while Perez was allowed to speak for 25 minutes. He also asserts that Erdogan's behavior could have consequences like Jewish efforts to take the Armenian issue to the US Congress before he proceeds to ask, "Are we supposed, though, to turn the other cheek when we are slapped in the face out of concern they might do this or that? Are we supposed to watch from the sidelines meekly while our brothers are being massacred? Is this what diplomacy is about?"

    Commenting on Erdogan's reaction in Davos to the way Israel used its military forces against the Palestinians in Gaza, Fikret Bila lauds Simon Perez's decision to adopt a reasonable approach to defuse the tension between his country and Turkey. In his column in Istanbul Milliyet (01.02.09), entitled "Perez Preferred To Adopt a Reasonable Approach," he argues that the relations between the two countries must be strengthened and notes that Turkey severing its relations with Israel will harm its national interests. Bila warns: Ankara must not create the impression that it supports the HAMAS. Any country that is able to criticize Israel must also be able to criticize the HAMAS. Ankara calls for the right solution: One Palestine, two states. Israel and HAMAS must change their policies to be able to achieve that objective. Meanwhile, Turkey might maintain a balanced position between the two sides.

    Writing also in Milliyet (01.02.09), Kadri Gursel believes that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan inappropriately used his right to reply to Simon Perez during the panel discussion in Davos. He argues in his column entitled "The Davos Analysis: What Have We Lost and Gained?" that Erdogan created a scandal in diplomacy and criticizes the AKP [Justice and Development Party] for trying to exploit the incident in domestic politics to strengthen its position in the local elections. He notes: Erdogan has suddenly become the hero of the people in the Middle East. However, Turkey does not have the strength to lead the sympathy that has been expressed for him to achieve success. It will be observed in a short period that the affection expressed for Erdogan in the Middle East will not create tangible results for Turkey. Claiming that Erdogan seriously harmed his and his party's image in the Western world, he notes: Obviously, the patriotic Turkish diplomats will have to work hard to remove the effects of the incident on Turkey's relations with the United States.

    In a report in Istanbul Milliyet, (01.02.09) entitled "Commendation from Middle East envoys," Bahar Bakir says that Palestinian Ambassador Nabil Maruf, Iranian Ambassador Bahman Hosseinpour, and Saudi Arabian Ambassador Mohammad al-Hussaini praised Prime Minister Erdogan's reaction in Davos. He quotes Maruf as saying that the Palestinians are proud of Erdogan, Hosseinpour as saying that the Simon Perez is to blame for the incident in Davos, and al-Hussaini as saying that Erdogan's reaction greatly reflected the Turkish people's sentiments and approach.

    According to a report by Ihsan Dorkardes and Nurettin Atmaca in Milliyet (01.02.09), entitled "They laid roses at the Turkish Embassies in Tehrana and Damascus," many Iranian and Syrian people laid roses at the Turkish Embassies to thank Erdogan for his reaction in Davos. The crowd that gathered in front of the embassy building in Tehran chanted slogans against Israel and the United States.

    A column by Ferai Tinc in Istanbul Hurriyet (01.02.09), entitled "To be or not to be the Arab world's leader," wonders to what extend Prime Minister Erdogan's reaction in Davos represents Turkey's policy on the Middle East. Claiming that Erdogan's behavior in Davos has created a critical situation in Turkey's foreign policy, it notes: Erdogan will now have to decide whether he will support the political demands of HAMAS or maintain the position Turkey held to mediate between Israel and the organization thus far. It draws attention to the need for fine tuning by Erdogan and says: If he fails to adjust his position, he will have to support the HAMAS. Consequently, Turkey will find it difficult to distance itself from the polarization in the Middle East.

    Soli Ozel believes that the views Prime Minister Erdogan outlined prior to his dispute with Simon Perez during the panel discussion in Davos showed that Turkey plans to influence political developments related to the Palestinian problem and that Ankara wants the countries concerned to realize that Turkey's position might weaken Iran's influence on HAMAS. Soli notes in his column in Istanbul Sabah (01.02.09), entitled "King of the World," that Erdogan conveyed this message in Davos: Israel's security cannot be effectively maintained without Turkey on the scene. So, Ankara's role in the region must be maintained and the initiatives it makes must be appropriately assessed. The US decision to return to the region must not undermine the area Turkey created during the past few years for the strategic maneuvers it might make to contribute to the solution of the problem. Turkey's foreign policy must be a part of the effort that is made to find a solution to the problem in the region. Ankara's views must be considered.

    Writing in Istanbul Vatan (01.02.09), Yigit Bulut applauds Erdogan's reaction to Israel's attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza during a panel disucssion in Davos. In a column entitled "Bravo for Our Prime Minister," he argues that the his outburst signaled an uprising against the foreign forces that have tried to oppress Turkey for many years and notes: Erdogan has launched a new Ergenekon movement against the pressure we have been subjected to for many years... However, we expect a similar reaction against the EU for diviiding Cyprus, the United States for placing bags on the heads of our troops in northern Iraq, and Mas'ud Barzani for taking up arms against the Turkish military forces... Turkey is the leading country in the Turkic and Islamic worlds. It has a strong position in the Middle East and Central Asia becuase of its geostrategic location and historic relations. Let us not overlook that. And let the uprising in Davos be taken as an opporotunity for our country.

    On his part Gungor Uras criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan's outburst in Davos. In his column in Vatan (01.02.09) entitled "Was it planned?" he argues that Erdogan is wrong to believe that he can mediate in a negotiations process that will include the HAMAS and that he seems to have forgotten that even the European and the Arab countries do not support the organizaation. Uras says: Whether Erdogan's show will be enough for him to become the leader of the Muslim countries in the world is very doubtful. The Turkish flags and the green HAMAS banners that have been carried by the demonstrators in Gaza will not be enough for Erdogan to assume such a role.

    Ahmet Altan, in a column in Istanbul Taraf (01.02.09) entitled "Rules and leader," argues that Prime Minister Erdogan adopted a harsh approach in Davos. However, he believes that those who have criticized him by saying that he is unaware of diplomatic rules are wrong and notes: The Western countries might claim that he has adopted an unrefined approach. Nevertheless, they will feel the need to assess his popularity in the Islamic world in the future. Erdogan has taken his place among the world leaders who are carefully followed. Expressing the hope that Erdogan will maintain a sensitive approach on the oppression of all the peoples in the world, particularly those in southeastern Turkey, Altan wonders whether those who have supported him in the country will continue to do so when he moves to defend the children in Israel. Asking whether he will be supported only when he criticizes Israel, he notes: You want a strong and respectable leader. But, you have to be a strong and respectable people to be able to create the leader you want.

    In an article entitled "Shouting facts to the Tyrant's face in Davos," in Yeni Safak (01.02.09) columnist Tamer Korkmaz ascribes Erdogan's remark that Israelis know how to kill people during a row with Peres to Turkey's increasing regional power rather than an emotional outburst or personal reaction. Emphasizing that events witnessed in Davos showed that the situation had changed in Turkey and the Middle East and forced Peres to call Erdogan in a bid to mend the damage, Korkmaz says that analysts who argue that Erdogan's harsh reaction will be detrimental to Turkey's interests either do not know Turkey's growing influence or are trying to hide it. He comments: "Pro-Israelis and pro-Americans in our country who conceal their true identity are extremely anxious because Turkey has become a regional power, acts independently of and refuses to yield to the US-Israeli alliance, and has become the engine of the Middle East."

    In an article entitled "Who did Erdogan challenge?" in Vakit (01.02.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak lauds Erdogan for his critical remarks about Israel and says that a political earthquake is taking place in the region while Ottomans are rising from their ashes. Dilipak also argues that Turkey should not act as a mediator because it is not consistent with its key role and mission, adding that Erdogan's protest will offer a ray of hope in the Muslim world.

    In an article entitled "Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister!" in Vakit (01.02.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin says that it is not possible to predict how Israel will retaliate against humiliation suffered by Peres during his row with Erdogan. He says: "We should not forget that Israel which even considers exploding its nuclear bombs in order to establish 'God's rule in the world' may directly or indirectly cause serious harm to Erdogan and Turkish people who applaud him if it finds an opportunity." Bilgin concludes by saying that it is a duty for all Turkish people to rally behind Erdogan because he voiced the feelings of all Turks, Muslims, and oppressed people in the world.

    A report entitled "Eighty Percent of Public Support him" in Zaman (01.02.09) says that an opinion conducted by Metropoll in 30 provinces showed that 78.2 percent of the Turkish public shared the view that Erdogan did the right thing by walking out of the panel discussion in Davos. The outcome of the survey also showed that Erdogan's popular approval rating went up from 55 percent on 24 January to 74 percent on 30 January. Almost half of the respondents said that they would vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, if an election was held on 1 February.

    In an article entitled "Living in fear would mean dying everyday," in Milli Gazete (01.02.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan criticizes some columnists in Turkey for expressing fears that Turkey could face serious troubles if her relations with Israel are strained. Pointing out that the current crisis that Turkey is experiencing would not further exacerbate because of deterioration in bilateral relations with Israel, Ozkan says: "Damage that could be caused to our country would be minimized if we present a united front. But, if Israel and Jewish lobbies in different countries, particularly those in the United States as well as the United States find some collaborators in our country and create an atmosphere in their favor through those collaborators, they would certainly be encouraged to carry out activities against our country. We should, therefore, assess the Davos incident from the perspective of our national interests, rather than an political and ideological angle."

    In an article entitled "You should both calm down and..." in Milli Gazete(01.02.09) columnist Zeki Ceyhan criticizes David Harris, Chairman of the American Jewish Committee for describing Erdogan's protest as a scandal and urges Jews not to despise and offend other nations. He says: "Jews gradually become more unlikable in the eyes of the international community as they attempt to make the Muslim world to pay for atrocities they suffered in the past."

    Finally a report entitled "Laciner cautions Erdogan about attempt on his life" in Bugun (01.02.09) quotes Sedat Laciner, President of the Institution for International Strategic Studies, as saying that Erdogan should avoid being in the limelight by making strongly-worded statements because he could be "hit by a stray bullet any time." Asserting that Ergenekon which he describes as a terrorist organization has links with Israel, Laciner says: "If a Jewish businessman is assassinated by using Ergenekon as a tool, it could lead to a plan intended to overthrow the AKP. Israel could cooperate with any group for that purpose behind closed doors if not overtly."

    EG/


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