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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-05

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] The Turkish Foreign Minister is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [02] Christofias and Talat held their 18th meeting
  • [03] Avci criticizes the government of Cyprus for negotiating a deal on natural gas with Israel and urges the international community to stop the deal
  • [04] The Swedish MPs continue their contacts in the occupied areas
  • [05] A public opinion poll conducted by KADEM shows the UBP as the first party with 40.7%
  • [06] The Turkish Embassy has provided 500 thousand Turkish Liras for the construction of a coastal road in occupied Keryneia
  • [07] The Turkish Net Holding Group to renovate and operate occupied Mare Monte Hotel
  • [08] A 331 square meters tract of land in Lefka was leased for 20 Turkish Liras to Sheikh Nazim Kibrisi
  • [09] Statements by Omer Adal: FIFA file will remain on the shelf
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot singer aims to compete for the Eurovision song contest
  • [11] Turkey and Syria to sign a cooperation agreement on tourism during an exhibition in Istanbul
  • [12] Turkish and Qatari Prime Ministers discuss over Gaza
  • [13] US Armenians launch new genocide' recognition campaign

  • [14] Erdogan, Peres and the unclothed emperor
  • [15] Armenian genocide hypocrisies
  • [16] Was Davos a theatrical bout?


    [01] The Turkish Foreign Minister is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title Full support from Babacan to Talat, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.02.09) reports in its first page that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, heading a delegation, has arrived in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, last night at 23.50. The Turkish Foreign Minister stated at Ankara that he supports fully the actions of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and of the TRNC. Mr Babacan was received at the illegal Tymvou airport by the self-styled foreign minister Turgay Avci and other officials, and did not make any statements upon his arrival.

    The contacts of Mr Babacan are starting this morning. He will first hold a meeting with the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, lieutenant general Hilmi Akin Zorlu and then he will meet with the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. The Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will host a luncheon in Mr Babacans honour at 13.00. At 14.30 Mr Babacan will have a tet a tet meeting with Mr Talat and after that the talks between the delegation of the Turkish Foreign Minister and the delegation of the occupation regime will begin. Mr Babacan will give a press conference before his departure from the occupied areas at 16.30. He will leave the occupied areas at 17.30.

    In statements he made prior to his departure to the occupied areas of Cyprus at Ankara Esenboga Airport, Mr Babacan stated, inter alia, that he supports fully the actions of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and of the TRNC. He also stated that they definitely want a solution in the framework of the UN parameters for the Cyprus problem.


    [02] Christofias and Talat held their 18th meeting

    Illegal Bayrak television (04.02.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The two leaders in Cyprus have met to continue their talks on property issue as part of the negotiations launched in September with the aim of finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    At todays meeting, President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias presented their views on what the other side has presented as the principles which will guide their discussions on property.

    Speaking on his return to the Presidential Palace, President Talat said criteria on property will be put on the table during the next round, which is going to take place on the 12th. Stating that preparations to complete with the set of criteria on the new chapter are still continuing, the President noted that the criteria will determine under what conditions the compensation, exchange and returns will take place. As we are still working on the setting up of criteria, its early to speak of any movement of drawing near on a common point. Things will become clearer with the next meeting, Talat said.

    Upon being reminded by reporters that oral offers were made on the football issue during the previous leg of negotiations, Talat avoided making any comments on the issue which he said was being exploited. Reading out a short statement at the end of the four hour long meeting, the UN Secretary Generals Special Representative to Cyprus Taye-Brooke Zerihoun said the two leaders have substantive discussions on the property issue, which is the second topic of the full-fledged negotiations. Each one presented their reactions, views on what the other side has presented as the principles that should guide the discussions on the property issue, Mr Zerihoun said. He added that Talat and Christofias agreed to meet again on Thursday, the 12th of February.

    The Special Representative also announced that the UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer will be arriving in Cyprus on Thursday to attend the meeting to be held on the same day. He also noted that Ozdil Nami and Yiorgos Yiakovou - senior aides of the two leaders - will meet on Friday for discussions in support of the leaders efforts on a board of issues.

    Talat and Christofias started their discussions on property issue at their previous meeting last Wednesday during which the two sides presented their written basic principles concerning the issue.

    [03] Avci criticizes the government of Cyprus for negotiating a deal on natural gas with Israel and urges the international community to stop the deal

    Illegal Bayrak television (04.02.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has criticized the Greek Cypriot Administration for starting to negotiate natural gas reserves found in the Eastern Mediterranean area with an Israeli company. The Foreign Minister also called on the international community to warn the Greek Cypriot administration to stop this deal, as it is deeply harming the negotiations process on the island and is threatening security in the region.

    The Greek Cypriot Administration usurped the rights of the government of the Cyprus Republic in 1963 and has taken many unlawful steps since that time. This action is just adding to that list. This latest action, is casting a shadow upon the negotiations process that is taking place between the two sides in Cyprus, he added.

    Explaining that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey had on many occasions reminded the Greek Cypriot Administration that it isnt the only one that has rights in Mediterranean waters, Mr Avci noted that the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey had voiced their objections to the United Nations and all circles involved in such issues.

    The one-sided step taken by the Greek Cypriot side is overriding the rights of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, and this is unacceptable said Avci.The Greek Cypriot side has no rights over the Turkish Cypriot side and therefore it cannot make any decisions regarding the islands natural resources, he added.

    [04] The Swedish MPs continue their contacts in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.09) reports that six Swedish MPs, who are visiting the occupied areas upon an invitation of the self-styled foreign minister Turgay Avci, are continuing their contacts and yesterday they held a meeting with Mr Avci. Speaking during the meeting Mrs Anne Ludvigsson stated that they have come to the island in order to observe the situation in the TRNC more closely and to gather information about the history, the universities and the students. She stated that they want to see the issue from the human rights angle and that they want to evaluate the universities and discuss the issue of Swedish students studying at universities in the occupied areas and their diplomas being recognized. Mrs Ludvigsson also stated that they will continue to follow closely the developments on the Cyprus problem and expressed the hope that a peaceful solution will be reached in the Cyprus problem in accordance with human rights.

    On his part the self-styled minister of foreign affairs stated that he has been extremely pleased with the contacts he held last November in Sweden and had then invited the Swedish MPs to visit the occupied areas and see the situation themselves. Noting that it is important for the Swedish MPs to see the opportunities for Swedish investments, the universities and their structure, as well as the realities of the Turkish Cypriots and added: We want to have direct flights to Sweden, be able to sell halloumi, potatoes and oranges, get rid of our isolations and be treated equally like other countries.

    Assessing the visit Mr Avci said this visit by the Swedish MPs to the occupied areas is sending a message to the world that Turkish Cypriot people do exist and deserve to be treated like any other country.


    [05] A public opinion poll conducted by KADEM shows the UBP as the first party with 40.7%

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.09) reports that the General Secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Nazim Cavusoglu, stated that according to a public opinion poll conducted by KADEM, UBP is the first party with 40.7% and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is second with 28.3%. Mr Cavusoglu stated that the public opinion poll was conducted in the middle of the year 2008.


    [06] The Turkish Embassy has provided 500 thousand Turkish Liras for the construction of a coastal road in occupied Keryneia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.09) reports that an agreement was signed yesterday for the construction of a 10 km costal road in the area of Karakoumi in occupied Keryneia. The agreement was signed between the self-styled Keryneia municipality and the Electronic Computer and Construction Foundation. In statements to Kibris the self-styled Keryneia mayor, Sumer Aygin, said that the Turkish Embassy has provided 500 thousand Turkish Liras for the project.


    [07] The Turkish Net Holding Group to renovate and operate occupied Mare Monte Hotel

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.09) reports that the Turkish Net Holding Group is getting ready to renovate and operate occupied Mare Monte Hotel in the framework of its tourism investments in the TRNC. The renovation project of the Mare Monte hotel, which was transferred to the Efkav Administration after the 1974 Turkish invasion, will be given the name Nostalgia Cyprus. According to the paper, the Mare Monte Hotel, which is built in a 470 thousand square meters building plot, will be opened for the local and foreign tourists after renovation according to current world norms.

    Details on the project were given yesterday during a broad meeting organized by the Merit International Hotel and Resort executive Committee chairman Reha Arar and the Deputy Chairman Responsible for Net Holding Investments, architect Haluk Elver.

    Reporting on the same issue, Halkin Sesi reports that the Merit Mare Monte Hotel will have an 1100-bed capacity, a 2000-seat conference centre, fitness clubs, shopping centre, teleferic, aquarium, botanic gardens and golf fields.


    [08] A 331 square meters tract of land in Lefka was leased for 20 Turkish Liras to Sheikh Nazim Kibrisi

    Under the title 331 square meters for Sheik Nazim as well, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (05.02.09) reports in its first page that the self-styled government of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) are continuing to hand out state land to their supporters and writes that they have leased to Sheikh Nazim Kibrisi, leader of world famous Nakshibendi Tarikat/Sufi Order, an area of 331 square meters which is located near the illegal Lefka University. The land was leased for 20 Turkish Lira. Invoking reliable sources, the paper writes that the owner of Kibrisli newspaper Dogan Harman who is a follower of Sheik Nazim and the deputy chairman of ORP, Okyay Sadikoglu are among the persons who mediated for the land to be leased to Sheik. According to the paper there is no information as regards the investments the Sheik is planning to do in the area.


    [09] Statements by Omer Adal: FIFA file will remain on the shelf

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.04.2009) under the title FIFA file has been put aside reports on the statements of the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation Mr Omer Adal who has said, inter alia, that the message they received yesterday from FIFA is that the FIFA file will remain on the shelf since they did not accept to sign an agreement when they were called upon by FIFA on February 2, since there was not any change on the basis of their proposals.

    Mr Adal also said that this issue has been discussed by Mr Talat and Mr Christofias, but still they have not been informed about anything the two leaders discussed.


    [10] Turkish Cypriot singer aims to compete for the Eurovision song contest

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily (05.02.09) reports the following from Istanbul:

    A Turkish Cypriot singer is competing to become the first northern Cyprus national to represent the whole island at the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Zelis Senol, a famous singer on the island, will compete this Saturday in the national finals, a public contest held in Greek Cyprus, which allows the country's public to vote between several singers, the Dogan news agency reported yesterday. Senol said participating in the Eurovision Song Contest has been her childhood dream and she is counting on Turkish Cypriots votes to win. Turkish Cyprus is an independent republic recognized only by Turkey. Greek Cyprus represents the whole island in the international arena, including the Eurovision Contest. This years competition will be held in Moscow in May.

    [11] Turkey and Syria to sign a cooperation agreement on tourism during an exhibition in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily (05.02.09) reports the following from Istanbul:

    Turkey and Syria will sign next week an agreement to cooperate in increasing tourism between the two countries over the next three years. The agreement will be finalized by Saadallah Aghaa Al Kala, Syrian Minister of Tourism and HYPERLINK "ünay/" \t "blank" Ertugrul Gunay, his counterpart in Turkey, at the opening of the Eastern Mediterranean International Travel and Tourism Exhibition 2009, or EMITT, in HYPERLINK "" \t "blank" Istanbul on February 12. EMITT is the biggest tourism fair in Turkey and among the largest in eastern Mediterranean. For the first time, the fair, which runs to Feb. 15, is featuring a so-called guest country, which this year is Syria.

    The fair will consist of approximately 3,000 exhibitors from some 50 countries and 100 places in Turkey, and is expected to attract some 100,000 visitors. Ahmet Barut, president of the Turkish Hotels Federation, or TUROFED, noted the number of exhibitors is up by 20 percent this year, regardless of the ongoing turbulence in the global markets.

    The growth in participant figures shows that many in the sector also outside Turkey see tourism as potentially the only sector that still offers hope, he said.

    New countries in the fair include Armenia. Israel, on the other hand, is not taking part in the fair although seven years ago it planned to attend. There was even an agreement that Palestine and Israel would share the stand at EMITT seven years ago. But Israel then cancelled, quoting security as a concern, Hacer Aydin, director of Ekin Fuarcilik, the fairs organizer, confirmed.

    Tulin Ersoz, advisor for the mayor of HYPERLINK "" \t "blank" Istanbul Greater Municipality noted that one of the aims of the fair is to highlight HYPERLINK "" \t "blank" Istanbuls role in world tourism.

    Istanbul, which has a history of nearly 10,000 years and an immeasurable cultural heritage, is aiming to become a world brand. We are not at all too far from reaching this target, she said.

    In 2008 some 26 million tourists visited Turkey, bringing in total revenue of $22 billion.

    [12] Turkish and Qatari Prime Ministers discuss over Gaza

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Qatar's prime minister said on Wednesday that his country desired to organize an international conference on rebuilding of Gaza.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani held talks at the Prime Ministry building in capital Ankara. During the meeting, al-Thani said that Qatar highly appreciated Turkey's sensitivity regarding regional peace and Gaza issue. His country desired to host an international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza in the upcoming days, Al-Thani said and asked for Turkey's support for such initiative.

    Premier Erdogan said during the talks that Turkey would carry on with its efforts to establish regional peace. Erdogan also described the conference planned by Qatar as a positive development.

    [13] US Armenians launch new genocide' recognition campaign

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.02.09) reports the following:

    An influential Armenian organization based in the United States has launched a new campaign to put pressure on the new US administration to officially recognize Armenian claims of genocide.

    The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on Armenian-Americans to send letters to both US President Barack Obama and the representative of the district they live in to urge them to officially recognize the alleged Armenian genocide, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

    We are optimistic concerning the recognition with the new Congress and the new administration, Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman close to the Armenian diaspora, was quoted as saying by Anatolia. Kirk is co-chairperson of the US Congress' Armenian Caucus.

    Late last month some 20 Armenian-American advocacies, civic, religious, charitable and educational organizations sent a joint congratulatory message to Obama to mark his inauguration while also outlining the Armenian community's expectations of the incoming Obama administration.

    Our government must clearly condemn the 1915 crime of race extermination by Ottoman Turkey that, during the course of eight years, killed 1.5 million Armenians, emptied vast areas of the Armenian homeland and inflicted grave material harm to every aspect of the Armenian people's cultural heritage, depriving it, to this day, of its right to exist on its native soil. Sadly, the inevitable consequence of Turkey's refusal to acknowledge this crime has been its inability to adapt to the changing realities in the region, the message said.


    [14] Erdogan, Peres and the unclothed emperor

    Under the above title Todays Zaman (05.02.09) assesses Premier Erdogans incident in Davos with Simon Peres as follows:

    The Gaza panel at this year's Davos meeting will be remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in the entire history of Davos. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's face-to-face blasting of Israeli President Shimon Peres was unprecedented, as was his storming out of the meeting.

    The gurus of world diplomacy found Erdogan's attitude hard to swallow. But Erdogan's point was clear: it is time to call the spade a spade. If no one has called the emperor naked before, it is their fault.

    This seems to be the logic behind Erdogan's critical attitude toward Israel's recent war on Gaza and its overall policy toward the Palestinians. At the now infamous panel, Peres not only defended Israel and implicitly endorsed the killing of hundreds of women and children, but also accused Turkey (i.e., Erdogan himself) of not knowing what went on. As he repeatedly turned to Erdogan during his speech and pointed his finger at him, his body language became offensive and arrogant. This was nothing new for Peres, but it was the wrong sign to be giving to someone like Erdogan. Erdogan was cut off by the moderator, David Ignatius, with repeated taps on his shoulder -- and the rest is history.

    What should we make of this dramatic incident? Erdogan's opponents fear that Turkey is in big trouble and will be punished by the big players in Washington and elsewhere. His supporters feel jubilant about the whole episode, praising him as the only political leader who can call a spade a spade. There are also those who feel that Turkey is going overboard and meddling in other people's business.

    Regardless of how one interprets it, the Davos incident represents a turning point in Erdogan's political career. He had similar dramatic moments in domestic politics when, for instance, he scolded a farmer in Mersin and called a Kurdish lawyer from Diyarbak1r a "liar." But never have we seen him unleash his true feelings as we saw in Davos. Was Erdogan trying to send a message? Or was he simply acting out of pure emotion?

    From a purely diplomatic point of view, Erdogan's reaction is more likely to cause concern than it is to bring comfort. But Erdogan is not a diplomat. He is a political leader. His frustration does not simply show the limits of one man's patience, but underscores the boundaries of how much progress one can make with puppet diplomacy. The Palestinians and Arabs have been playing the "peace process game" for the last two decades. As a senior Palestinian and Fatah member told me recently, since the Oslo Process started the Palestinians have gotten practically nothing out of the negotiations. Before and after Yasser Arafat, they made every concession possible to meet Israel's demands, but got nowhere. Fatah cannot get anywhere by extending the olive branch to the Israelis. Hamas cannot get anywhere by firing rockets into Israel. Neither peaceful negotiations nor armed resistance is working against Israel's increasingly isolated and self-enclosed politics. In the meantime, Israel keeps building more settlements, grabbing more land, humiliating more Arabs and killing more Palestinians. So what is left for the Palestinians to do?

    What Erdogan is saying is clear: If we are serious about peace, let's talk about it honestly and reckon with the ugly realities on the ground first. The corrupt and inept Arab leaders might be happy with the misery of the Palestinians because it gives them a comfort zone to manoeuvre domestically. Most of the Americans are clueless because they know only the Israeli side of the story, forgetting that there is never only one side to any story. Europeans are too lethargic and lack any strong vision. Like many Arabs, they are more interested in rebuilding what Israel destroys rather than stopping the destruction in the first place. Israeli hard-liners are proving themselves to be impossible to do honest business with. The recent Erdogan-Olmert episode is a lesson not only for Turks, but for everyone.

    Erdogan's reaction was directed not only at Peres, but at all of the above. He is frustrated because he sees no improvement on the ground. His mistake is to think that there will be a quick solution to the suffering of the Palestinians. Our current world order is too slow and indolent when it comes to acting in the name of justice. Erdogan is also mistaken to think that the Palestinian issue is self-evident and that everybody knows what needs to be done. It is far from being clear whether the Israelis and the Arabs, as well as the Americans, are ready to take the bold steps required to bring peace to the Middle East. Erdogan seems to be ready for that, but he must know that this is not a one-man war.

    Unless Erdogan strengthens his alliance of "truth-tellers," he will be isolated in the international arena. It takes more than one political leader to call the emperor naked. After Davos, he has to mobilize other actors to show courage and speak with honesty and integrity. But are there any others around to follow his lead? Let me know when you see one.

    [15] Armenian genocide hypocrisies

    Under the above title Todays Zaman newspaper (05.02.09) publishes the following commentary:

    Washington-based Jewish lobbies are angry at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It seems that at least some of them have already threatened Turkey with withdrawing their support against the repeated attempts of the American-Armenian diaspora to pass a resolution over allegations of an Armenian genocide.

    Even those who are not yet ready to burn bridges with Turkey are making implicit threats. Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), for example, is reported to have said that they would not support the Armenian genocide bill as long as the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic links continue to exist.

    Leave aside the fact that the alleged genocide never took place, and look at the internal inconsistency of these open or implied threats. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Denying a genocide claim, lobbying against that claim and supporting the antithesis of that claim necessitates a conviction that the alleged genocide never took place. The reverse is also true. An accusation of genocide necessitates a conviction that it took place. A deliberate, conscious false genocide accusation is a serious crime, and a deliberate denial of a genocide that is known to have happened is as serious as the first.

    Now the threatening Jewish lobbies are trying to say either one of these:

    1. We know that an Armenian genocide took place, but we supported the Turkish thesis because it best suited Israel's interests. But now, as Turkey has started to criticize our brethren in Israel about their policies in Palestine, we can abandon this deliberate denial of a fact position.

    2. We know that an Armenian genocide never took place, and we supported the Turkish thesis accordingly, but now, we have decided to consciously support a deliberate lie.

    3. We know nothing about what happened in 1915, and we actually don't care. We use this issue as leverage for and against Turkey, whenever and whichever fits Israel's interests.

    Subtitle: Which one should we believe?

    Look at the confusion Jack Lang caused in France. Lang is a former minister of culture, a Socialist politician and a staunch supporter of the Armenian genocide bill that was passed by the French Parliament in 2001.

    This Jack Lang appeared in a Web-broadcasted video record of an October 11 debate with the Liberté pour l'histoire (Freedom for History) association, a group led by historian Pierre Nora.

    Lang makes a mea culpa during his speech on the vote of French laws relating to the Armenian genocide. He claims that the parliamentarians voted for these laws not because of their allegiance to a nation or a history, but in order to garner votes. Lang labels the 2001 bill that recognized the Armenian genocide denial as a horrible mistake. Lang was then chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. So I am doubly guilty, if I may say so, because I was both the committee chairman and a member, he said.

    After the revelation of his mea culpa statement, Lang reverted to his former public position. In a letter sent to, where the revelation first appeared, he said he still believes that the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey should be a condition for Turkey's accession to the EU and that he will continue to fight in order to bring about worldwide recognition of the genocide of the Armenian people, including in Turkey.

    Lang legitimized his guilty plea by saying that he was speaking in the "context of a scientific debate among historians about the competence of parliaments to enact legislation on historical issues.

    What shall we believe now? A supporter of the genocide claim says that in a political context he supports the claim to the point of pledging a lifelong struggle for its recognition, and in a scientific context he feels guilty doing so!

    April is looming -- the Armenian diaspora has already started pressuring American politicians over the genocide resolution so that it will be brought before the House. With what motives will American politicians vote: political ones or scientific ones?

    Come on! Just support the truth for the sake of truthfulness! You may well be cheated by fake historical material fabricated by the Armenian diaspora and believe in the truthfulness of a lie. But being cheated by others is better than deliberate hypocrisy.

    [16] Was Davos a theatrical bout?

    Under the above title Hurriyet Daily (05.02.09) publishes the following in the column Opinion:

    There are some interesting developments that tempt many people believe in plot theories. How accurate they are or to what extent they support scores of plot theories developed with different and even totally opposing designs?

    First of all, it has become clear for everyone interested in indeed what has happened at the Davos panel on Gaza that organization of the panel was demanded by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a precondition for his participation at this years Economic Forum meeting. Apparently Erdogan himself or the office of Erdogan told the organizers of the Davos event that it would be great if, besides Erdogan, the Gaza panel was attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

    Secondly, before he travelled to Switzerland, Erdogan told his deputies at a meeting in Parliament and the Turkish media at a press conference that he would be travelling to Davos to raise the immense human sufferings of the Palestinian people. He was even quoted as saying that one strong reason behind his Davos participation was to tell to the face of the Israeli leader that what his country was doing in the Gaza Strip amounted to crime against humanity.

    Indeed, it was seen during the panel that both Prime Minister Erdogan and Israels President Peres were quite prepared for a confrontation. Erdogan had even collected a set of quotes from critical Jewish personalities, all condemning the Israeli operation. Furthermore, writing in the prestigious Jerusalem Post, Herb Keinon provided very important background information which if true can be considered as evidence that the Davos clash and the walkout might be nothing more than a theatrical event. According to Keinon some senior Israeli officials told him after the meeting between Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert and Erdogan, that took place on December 23, just few days before the start of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, that Erdogan told Olmert that he needed "a high-profile diplomatic success" to consolidate the legitimacy of his government against increasing secular opposition in Turkey. Keinon is a well-placed journalist and the article we are referring to was not denied by the Israeli prime minister.

    Subtitle: Restrain Israel!

    Was it normal for the president of Israel to call and talk in an apologizing tone with someone less than an hour later that person implied him a "murderer" and stormed out a joint panel? Furthermore, again from our readings in between the lines in the Israeli English-language online newspapers and Web-portals, we reach to the conclusion that Olmert has issued an order to his Cabinet members and asked them not to talk in a manner that could harm relations with Turkey. Even the statement of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni calling Turkey to respect the Israeli state was carefully worded not to further upset ties with Ankara. Could it be considered a "routine" for Israel to try to "constraint" its reaction to a statement declaring the president of Israel as someone "who knows well how to kill people"? Something weird is happening. Israel accepted Erdogans humiliation so easily. Even U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, one of the on the spot witnesses of the churlish attitudes of Turkeys angry man at Davos, has called on Erdogan to tell him "We need your leadership for peace in the Middle East." Arabs have almost declared Erdogan a caliph and we are reading all kinds of absurdities in the Arab media going as far as to a call to rehash the Ottoman Empire and make Erdogan its sultan and caliph of Muslims across the world.Were all these discussed between Olmert and Erdogan? There are even further details. Many people now started believing that there was no sudden burst of Erdogan at Davos and most likely everything was prepared well in advance with the aim and intention of giving some strong signals to the world, as well as to the Turkish public ahead of the March local polls. For example, could anyone provide a reasonable explanation why Erdogan rejected at the last minute a planned meeting with Peres hours before the panel? Did Erdogan cancel the meeting with Peres because after such a meeting he would not be able to have a public confrontation with the Israeli leader?

    What was the role of Erdogans former right-hand-man Cuneyt Zapsu in all this crisis scenario? Was Olmert and Zapsu the scenarists, Erdogan the chief actor and the rest, including Peres, played the secondary roles?

    Was Davos really a theatric bout? But why?

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 03 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 03 February 2009:

    Davos Walkout/Turkish-Israeli Ties

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand views Turkish-Israeli ties after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Davos walkout and notes that neither Israel nor Turkey can give up on each other. Pointing out that both countries mutually depend on each other in the international arena, Birand calls Turkey to "watch its relations with the United States and Israel much more carefully from now on" and to accelerate reforms and negotiations with the EU. Thus, he adds, the suspicion that Erdogan is Islamizing the Turkish foreign policy will be more balanced.

    In his article Milliyet's Fikret Bila opposes the two main comments that are made about the outcome of Erdogan's walkout in Davos: First, that Turkey is drifting away from the West and second, that Turkey is following HAMAS. Explaining that the government's recent reaction to Israel does not imply that Turkey is changing its direction, Bila adds that suggesting Turkey is joining another yet unexisting bloc is absurd. Maintaining that neither HAMAS nor another Arab country can be a power for Turkey to follow, Bila adds that let alone follow HAMAS, Turkey cannot even afford to continue supporting a HAMAS that does not renounce terrorism.

    In an article, Hurriyet's Ertugrul Ozkok evaluates Erdogan's call to US President Barack Obama regarding the "redefinition of terrorism in the Middle East and his address to Peres: You know how to kill very well. Ozkok criticizes Erdogan's call on Obama, pointing out that if Erdogan aimed at changing HAMAS's status, this could lead to PKK's legitimization as well. Ozkok expresses disapproval of Erdogan's remarks to Peres, noting that a Turkish prime minister should not use such subjective language. Ozkok maintains that if Erdogan wants to assume the role of the "defender of the destitute, he must also condemn other countries such as Sudan. He adds that if Israel is publicly condemned, HAMAS must be publicly condemned as well when it sends a rocket to Israel.

    In an article entitled Intellectual whores and the Israeli plan to bring down the ruling AKP, Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul slams certain Turkey experts in the United States, intellectual whores known for their domestic conflict scenarios, sectarian war projects, the roles they played in setting the stage for the mass carnage in Iraq, and the Crusade they are conducting for the sake of touching off a war of civilizations, for calling on the Obama administration to distance itself from Turkey in the wake of what happened at Davos and arguing that the ruling AKP should be overthrown in a coup. He goes on to comment on an Israeli Defense Ministry report leaked to the press on 5 July, 2007 which suggests a new 28 February scenario in Turkey based on a potential conflict between the AKP and the Turkish military over the EU accession process.

    Under the headline, "This is the photograph they miss," Vakit carries a front-page report that blasts the Turkish "media cartel" for making an "intense effort" to "cast a shadow on Prime Minister Erdogan's proud stance at Davos, which has been applauded by the entire world. According to the report, the mainstream media heaped praise on former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit over his visit to the White House in 1999 during which he was scandalously photographed in the Oval Office standing respectfully before Bill Clinton.

    In an article entitled Turkey's Nasser and Kissinger, Vakit columnist Mustafa Ozcan comments on recent comparisons between Prime Minister Erdogan and former Egyptian leader Nasser and between Erdogan's chief adviser Ahmet Davutoglu and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Ozcan identifies only a partial similarity between Erdogan and Nasser, asserting that Nasser's zigzag course in his relations with the Muslim Brotherhood could be compared to Erdogan's severance of his ties with the main movement [the National View Organization?] after the 28 February process.

    In an article entitled Davos as a Litmus Test: Both Economical and Practical, Zaman columnist Nihal B. Karaca argues that Erdogan's Davos walkout does not mean that Turkey has intervened in the Arab-Israeli dispute but that it has taken sides in a conflict between humanity and brutality and spoken on behalf of humanity. The worst murderer is not the one who says, 'I killed someone and I repent it' but the one who says, 'I killed someone and I am starting the auction for the prayer beads I made out of the spine of the victim at $1,000,000. Look at it and admire my art.' The whole world has seen in the person of Erdogan that there is one person at least who is capable of saying 'enough' to this.

    In an article entitled "Showdown at Davos", Today's Zaman columnist Dogu Ergil asserts that Israel must not be disturbed by Erdogan's critical [Davos] rhetoric as long as Turkey remains a democratic country, a member of NATO and an EU candidate. He also advises Israel "not [to] provoke the Armenian diaspora or push for the 'Armenian genocide' resolution ..."

    In an article entitled The Prime Minister Should Set the Bar Higher, Milli Gazete columnist Afet Ilgaz criticizes Erdogan for making what she describes as inappropriate remarks in his spat with Peres at Davos [You are older than me] and urges him to try to defeat your counterparts by relying on your intelligence, knowledge, and experience. She also contrasts Erdogan's reaction to Peres with what she describes as his failure to show a similar response to the EU over cartoons of Turkey showing it as a dog waiting before the EU, threats from northern Iraqi Kurdish politicians, and statements by Democratic Society Party, DTP, officials urging Ankara to recognize their territorial rights.


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