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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-06

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. 25/09 06.02.2009

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Babacan and Talat after their meeting yesterday
  • [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister met with the self-styled prime minister and the so-called minister of foreign affairs
  • [03] Talat urges Greek Cypriots to realise that they will be jointly governing Cyprus
  • [04] Talat says that if the Cyprus problem is not solved now it will be difficult even to imagine reaching a solution
  • [05] Egemen Bagis: When the sun rises in the morning in Cyprus, it rises for two separate republics which function perfectly
  • [06] The speaker of the self-styled assembly Ekenoglu met with Tayyip Erdogan
  • [07] Melih Bulu, AKP vice president in Istanbul, held contacts with the chairman of HIS
  • [08] The Muslims of Western Thrace to struggle for minority rights
  • [09] Statements by Omer Adal: I would sign the agreement which foresees our membership to KOP, in spite of Talat in case FIFA accepted the proposals of CTFF
  • [10] Egemen Bagis held a telephone conversation with Caroline Flint
  • [11] A Turkish court has sentenced a DTP deputy over speech
  • [12] IMF: Turkeys economy to shrink by 1,5% in 2009
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Experts analyze Erdogans angry walkout from Davos
  • [14] The use of the expression red lines in diplomacy is a Turkish innovation
  • [15] A Turk retired public prosecutors view of Ergenekon, NATO and Masonic lodges
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 05 February 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Babacan and Talat after their meeting yesterday

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.02.09), under the title Everybody should be focused on the solution, reports that the ongoing negotiating process on the Cyprus problem was discussed in a comprehensive manner yesterday at the self-styled presidential palace in the occupied part of Lefkosia between teams headed by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Babacan. The two teams evaluated the latest stage of the Cyprus problem. In statements after the meeting, Mr Talat and Mr Babacan said that during the negotiations all sides should approach the procedure in a positive manner and asked from everybody to be focused on the solution. Talat and Babacan held a face to face meeting before they joined the discussion between their teams.

    In statements after the meeting, Mr Talat said they held a very useful discussion and examined the problems being faced at the negotiating process. He noted that they saw the support of Turkey to the determination of the Turkish Cypriots for the solution. He said that they are in continuous consultations with Turkey and added that during the meeting they established Turkeys support to the negotiating process in the most powerful manner. We really need this. The Turkish Cypriots are supported unconditionally only by Turkey. Therefore, this support is important for us, noted Mr Talat who complained once more for the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots.

    In his statements, Mr Babacan said that the established UN parameters and the agreements between the leaders should be respected in the solution to be found in Cyprus. Political equality, bi-zonality in the real sense and a new partnership formed by two constituent states with equal status will constitute the basis of this solution, added the Turkish Minister. Mr Babacan reiterated the Turkish view that the continuation of the treaty of guarantee and alliance is an indispensable element in the solution to be reached in Cyprus. He said that as a guarantor power, Turkey will continue to carry out with sensitivity its responsibilities which derive from the international agreements on the basis of the new partnership which will be materialized within the framework of the solution.

    When reminded by the journalists the aggressive statements by the Greek Cypriot leadership regarding the presence of the Turkish army on the island and the issue of the ports, Mr Babacan replied that all sides should approach with a positive perspective the negotiating process and claimed that it is not possible to reach a solution with a policy carried out with statements over negative things.

    (I/Ts)

    [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister met with the self-styled prime minister and the so-called minister of foreign affairs

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.02.09) reports that yesterday at noon Mr Babacan and his delegation visited the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and afterwards the so-called minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci. During the meetings he said that Turkey has full faith in the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and the government of the TRNC, as he described the breakaway regime set up by Turkey in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. He said that Cyprus is a national cause for Turkey and expressed his sorrow for the isolations applied for years against the country. He noted that Turkey is exerting great efforts so that these isolations are overcome and added that the breakaway regime is trying to overcome these isolations with new openings.

    In his statements Mr Soyer said that Turkey always supports the Turkish Cypriots in their political struggle and added that their target is to reach a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution in the negotiations where the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot constituent states will be participating with political equality, on an equal status with each other under the roof of a single common state. He noted that the solution should include the guarantees of Turkey. Mr Avci thanked Turkey for its support and said that the fact that negotiations are being held at the table does not mean that the Turkish Cypriots will accept any solution.

    (I/Ts)

    [03] Talat urges Greek Cypriots to realise that they will be jointly governing Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.02.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat underlined the need for Greek Cypriots to realize the fact that they will be jointly governing Cyprus with their Turkish Cypriot partners under equal conditions. He said the Greek Cypriot leader and other politicians have an important responsibility in spreading and contributing this understanding.

    Mr Talat believes in the solution of the Cyprus problem if, he says, the opening commitments at the negotiations process are kept.

    The President provided information and exchanged views on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus negotiations, with members from the Public Workers Union- (KAMU-IS), during a visit to the KAMU-IS headquarters today.

    We have completed negotiating the first chapter of peace talks on governance and power-sharing. I think this was the most important subject of negotiations because problems in power sharing were one of the main reasons for the start of the Cyprus problem, Mr. Talat stressed. Stating that there are other subjects and additional components to the issue of governance and power-sharing, he said there was general convergence on the first chapter between the sides.

    Pointing to the difficult and complicated nature of the property issue, the current chapter being taken up in the talks, Talat said the issue of property emerged after the Cyprus problem began. The property issue is a hard issue because it involves every single individual. Thats the case for both sides. In the end, some will be pleased with the outcome, and some will not Talat stated. The President explained that the Turkish Cypriot side supported the solution of the property dispute through compensation, exchange and restitution- which he said was in accordance with standing UN parameters.

    Underlining the need for the Greek Cypriot Administration to prepare its people for a joint administration with Turkish Cypriots on the basis of equality, President Talat reminded that Turkish Cypriots proved their readiness on the issue with a yes vote to the Annan Plan. Greek Cypriots should understand the fact that a partnership established by the two sides is for benefit of the whole of Cyprus. In fact, there are enough encouraging elements for Greek Cypriots on this he said.

    Talat said the partnership will also play an important role in terms of stability in the region.

    [04] Talat says that if the Cyprus problem is not solved now it will be difficult even to imagine reaching a solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (06.02.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, stated that there is an advantage for the solution of the Cyprus problem since the two leaders of the two sides of the island want solution and since Turkey has shown a clear attitude for the solution. If under these conditions the Cyprus problem is not solved, from then on it will be difficult even to imagine reaching a solution, he stated. He went on and added that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be a positive development for the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots, Greece, Turkey and the region and added that the solution will serve the Greek-Turkish relations and Turkeys EU accession.

    Mr Talat made these statements speaking at the 3rd International Uro-oncology symposium which is taking place in the occupied areas 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.

    [05] Egemen Bagis: When the sun rises in the morning in Cyprus, it rises for two separate republics which function perfectly

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (06.02.09) reports that the Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks, Mr Egemen Bagis, referred to Cyprus during his speech at the Turkish American Relations in the new Period Conference organized in Izmir by the Turkish American Businessmen Association (TABA).

    Mr Bagis stated that Turkey sees the US support regarding the Cyprus problem. He said that after the Annan Plan some members of the US Congress visited the occupied areas via the Tymvou airport and added that after this development visits from other countries have started. Mr Bagis went on and said the following: Six countries have opened representation offices in Cyprus. Both in the East and in the West, Cyprus started to find acceptance. When the sun rises in the morning in Cyprus, it rises for two separate republics which function perfectly, with two separate states, two presidents of the republic, two prime ministers, two assemblies, its legal and infrastructure system and everything.

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.02.09) reported the following from Izmir:

    A Turkish state minister defined on Thursday the United States as a critical country for Turkey. Turkeys State Minister Egemen Bagis described the United States also for a country of vital importance for Turkey. Turkey is a critical and vital country for the United States, so does the United States for Turkey, he said during a conference on new era in Turkish-US relations in the Aegean city of Izmir.

    Bagis said that Turkish-US relations were based on mutual interests, and said that Turkey had always seen the US support for Cyprus problem and the United States, which was the first country that declared the PKK as a terrorist network, had an effective role in changing the perspectives of European countries on the terrorist organization.

    The minister also expressed thought that Turkeys strategic relations would improve rapidly also with the new US administration.

    (CS)

    [06] The speaker of the self-styled assembly Ekenoglu met with Tayyip Erdogan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.02.09) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan met with Fatma Ekenoglu, the speaker of the self-styled assembly of the occupation regime. Mrs Ekenoglu is visiting Turkey, heading a delegation, upon an invitation of the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Koksal Toptan. According to a statement issued in the internet by the Turkish Prime Ministry, Mr Erdogan stated during the meeting the following: The Republic of Turkey is supporting the Turkish Cypriot peoples cause today, as in the past, and will continue to do so from now on. According to the statement of the prime ministry Mr Erdogan and Mrs Ekenoglu discussed during the meeting the political, economic, cultural and diplomatic relations between Turkey and the TRNC.

    The meeting between Mr Erdogan and Mrs Ekenoglu lasted 45 minutes and took place behind closed doors. The State Minister and deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, also participated in the meeting.

    Kibris also writes that the parliamentary delegation will continue its contacts today and notes that Mrs Ekenoglu will have a tet a tet meeting with Mr Toptan.

    (CS)

    [07] Melih Bulu, AKP vice president in Istanbul, held contacts with the chairman of HIS

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.02.09) reports that Dr. Melih Bulu, vice president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul, visited yesterday the Politics for the People (HIS) party and met with its chairman, Ahmet Yonluer. The recent developments in the occupied areas and economy were discussed during the meeting. In statements after the meeting, Mr Bulu said Cyprus has very big advantages and added that what is necessary is to put forward and implement projects by people who have the abilities to use these advantages. Mr Bulu claimed that it is obvious that the Dubai and Taiwan model suggested by Mr Yonluer is successful and added: It is possible for this model to be materialized in the TRNC in six months. In one and a half years at the latest the country will feel its economic fruits in the budget of the people, of the families. I told Yonluer that we are ready to provide gladly any help in this and similar efforts they will exert.

    (I/Ts)

    [08] The Muslims of Western Thrace to struggle for minority rights

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.02.09) reports that a congress under the title III Congress for Studies of the Turks of Western Thrace has taken place at Park Hotel Therasian Hohe in Munich, Germany. According to the paper, the historic structure of the Turks of Western Thrace, the various problems they experience contrary to the human rights and their cultural values were discussed academically at the congress. The paper writes that the consul general (of Turkey) in Munich, the consul general in Stuttgart, the Director- General of the Research and Education Centre of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mahmut Evkuran, the representative of Chechnya, Tekin Yilmaz, the representative of the Bulgarian Turks, Ramis Rumeli and academicians from Germany, Holland, the occupied areas of Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Ukraines Republic of Crimea, Russias Republic of Chechnya, Switzerland and Greece participated in the congress.

    Addressing the opening ceremony of the congress, the chairman of the Centre for Studies of the Turks from Western Thrace (BATTAM), Dr. Ozkan Huseyin said that as Greek citizens living in Greece they are determined to continue their democratic struggle in order to acquire the minority rights recognized to them with international agreements and added that such meetings will be held in the Greek cities of Xanthi and Komotini in the future.

    In his address during the second day of the congress, the Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr Mahmut Evkuran said that as ministry they will support any effort to be exerted in the field of culture and they will always be by the side of the scientists and researchers.

    (I/Ts)

    [09] Statements by Omer Adal: I would sign the agreement which foresees our membership to KOP, in spite of Talat in case FIFA accepted the proposals of CTFF

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (06.02.09) in its sports pages reports on the statements of the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation, Mr. Omer Adal under the title Talat rejected it before being informed. Speaking at a panel which took place yesterday in the occupied areas, Mr Adal said, inter alia, that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat rejected the issue of their membership to KOP without being informed about the content of the proposals. Mr Adal in his speech briefed the participants at the panel about their contacts and talks with FIFA, UEFA and KOP and added the following: I would sign the agreement which foresees our membership to KOP, in spite of Talat, in case FIFA accepted the proposals of CTFF. Talat rejected the proposals without being informed and this situation brought us in a difficult position. He then reiterated that according to the information he received, the result of the rejection of their proposals by FIFA for their membership to KOP, is that FIFA has put the relevant file on the shelf. Mr Adal added that if there is a new development on the matter in the near future, they were told that the file could be opened again.

    (A.K)

    [10] Egemen Bagis held a telephone conversation with Caroline Flint

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks, Egemen Bagis, held a phone conversation with Caroline Flint, Minister of State for Europe at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, upon a request by Flint on Thursday.

    Congratulating Bagis for having been appointed as Turkey's new chief negotiator, Flint said that the United Kingdom always supported Turkey's EU process and that she is ready to work with Bagis in this direction.

    Flint told Egemen Bagis that he has assumed a difficult position. Convincing 70 million Turks about the benefits of EU membership and convincing 450 million Europeans on the contributions Turkish membership would make to the union are tough tasks," Flint told Bagis.

    Bagis, on his part, told Flint that the year 2009 would be a year of reforms in Turkey on the way to EU membership. Turkey has displayed its approach to this matter by the arrangements it made recently, Bagis told Flint. In the recent past, the National Program was published in the Official Gazette and went into effect. Also, in this period, Turkey's state-run TRT tv channel began broadcasting in various languages, late poet Nazim Hikmet's Turkish citizenship was restored, and a state minister was appointed as Turkey's new chief negotiator, Bagis informed Flint.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Brussels on January 19 reflected the beginning of a new era with the EU as this was the first visit by a Turkish premier since 2004. Turkey expects a favourable response from the EU upon all of these positive developments, Bagis told Flint.

    We expect the Czech EU Presidency to help the opening of important chapters and the United Kingdom government to help this process. I will meet with the UK Ambassador in Ankara Nicholas Baird next week, Bagis told Flint.

    The topic of 'energy' also came up during Bagis's phone conversation with Flint. Flint stressed the importance of Turkey in resolving Europe's energy crisis.

    [11] A Turkish court has sentenced a DTP deputy over speech

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (06.02.09) reports the following:

    A Diyarbakir court has sentenced a pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputy to one and a half years in prison for spreading the propaganda of an outlawed terrorist group.

    The Diyarbakir 4th Higher Criminal Court decided yesterday that DTP Diyarbakir deputy Aysel Tugluk be sentenced to one and a half years in prison due to a speech she delivered in May 2006. Tugluk is expected to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    Tugluk said in a speech she delivered in a DTP congress in south-eastern Batman province on May 16, 2006, that the DTP would not be able to appear before the public if its officials called jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan a terrorist. The prime minister tells us to label the PKK a terrorist organization so that he will meet with us. If we declare the PKK a terrorist group, this problem will not be solved. Those people whom you call terrorists are heroes for others. We cannot appear before the public if we call Ocalan a terrorist. Kurdish people chose to carry out their fight through democratic means, she said. But if you ban people from even using their own language, you will prepare the way for violence.

    [12] IMF: Turkeys economy to shrink by 1,5% in 2009

    Ankara Anatolia news agency reported the following from Washington D.C.:

    Turkish economy is projected to shrink by 1.5 percent in 2009 and to grow 3.5 percent in 2010, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.

    A note prepared for a meeting of G-20 deputies in British capital of London that took place January 31-February 1, the IMF portrayed a grim outlook for the global economy.

    IMF said in the note that inflation figure in Turkey would decrease to 7.9 percent in 2009 and 6.9 percent in 2010.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Experts analyze Erdogans angry walkout from Davos

    Todays Zaman (06.02.09) publishes the following commentary by Fatma Demirelli:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent walkout from a Davos meeting after an angry exchange with Israeli President Shimon Peres was, for some, a vivid illustration of Turkey's gradual detachment from the West and turn to the East. But others say this is a misreading of what is happening in reality.

    The idea that Turkey is drifting -- or being led -- toward a new 'Orientalism' is too simple, wrote Ian Lesser, a senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in a recently published analysis. "The real issue is the recalibration of Turkey's Euroatlantic relations, not a turning away from the West -- a meaningful shift but not a revolutionary one.

    Turkey, under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, has expanded its influence in the Middle East, most of which was governed by the Ottoman Empire until a century ago. It restored ties with Iran and Syria, mediated peace negotiations between Syria and Israel and got involved in efforts for peace in Lebanon and between Palestinian factions.

    Although the AK Party brought Turkey closer than ever to achieving its goal of membership in the European Union, it has also been receiving criticism for putting the membership process on the back burner over the past couple of years.

    Despite the slow pace at which the EU membership process proceeds, its expanded focus on the Middle East gave Turkey a privileged stance in the troubled region. Amid strained ties between regional actors and the West, Turkey's renewed interest in the Middle East, coupled with its unique identity as a Muslim country with a pro-Western foreign policy, gave Turkey a special role as a mediator in regional issues and international disputes involving the region, such as Iran's contentious nuclear program.

    But for critics of the government, the latest incident in Davos was an opportunity to argue that Turkey is turning away from the West to pursue an Islamic agenda built on cooperation with Middle Eastern countries. "Liberal political trends are disappearing, EU accession talks have stalled, ties with anti-Western states such as Iran are improving and relations with Israel are deteriorating," wrote Soner Cagaptay, a Turkish analyst with the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy, this week. Issuing what appears to be a veiled warning to Ankara, Cagaptay also argued that Turkey was being alienated from the West. If Turkish foreign policy is based on solidarity with Islamist regimes or causes, Ankara cannot hope to be considered a serious NATO ally, he said.

    According to Cagaptay, Erdogan's spat with Peres at the Davos panel discussion in Switzerland was an example of this trend. He also claimed that Turkey should not expect to be the "favourite Muslim country" of new US President Barack Obama if it remains on this path.

    When it comes to killing people, you know it well, an angry Erdogan told Peres, seconds before he stormed off the stage, vowing never to come back to Davos. He was given a hero's welcome by thousands of Turks who greeted him at the airport in Istanbul at about 3 a.m. in the morning.

    But Hugh Pope, an analyst with the respected International Crisis Group (ICG), dismissed suggestions that the Davos incident and the Turkish reaction towards Israel's Gaza operation in general were an indicative of Turkey turning away from the West. It is wrong, said Pope at a panel discussion at a US think tank on Wednesday, to turn the Davos incident into a question over Turkey's Western orientation.

    Public resentment of Israel is growing in Turkey in the aftermath of a deadly operation in Gaza, which left more than 1,300 Gazans, most of whom were civilians, dead. Street protests have been held throughout Turkey, newspapers printed photos of Palestinian children killed or injured in the Israeli attacks and several aid campaigns have been launched to help Gazans devastated by the operation. Despite weak criticism for ignoring diplomatic rules of courtesy, Erdogan has been widely held as reflecting the Turkish frustration with the Israeli operation in the face of not-so-polite remarks in defence of Israel's actions by Peres at the Davos panel.

    Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul have also spoken firmly to state that Turkish criticism was not against the Jews and to warn against discrimination toward the Turkish Jews.

    "Prime Minister Erdogan has underlined on a number of occasions that he criticizes Israel's policies in Gaza, not Israelis or Jews per se. Indeed, he has said that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity," said Suat Kiniklioglu, the AK Party's deputy chairman for external affairs, in a letter to The Washington Post, which had earlier published Cagaptay's article. He also said its ties with Israel were still important to Turkey and that Ankara intends to maintain this "special relationship" despite its criticism of the Gaza operation.

    "Since 2002, the AK Party has pursued a vigorous regional policy that aims to correct an anomaly of the Cold War era," said Kiniklioglu. Far from being a choice, this is a necessity because of our geography. Our outreach to our neighbours is not done at the expense of our relationship with the West. On the contrary, it is complimentary to it. Interpreting our regional policy as a shift in our orientation misses the sophistication behind our efforts to stabilize a troubled neighbourhood.

    Behind claims that Turkey is moving away from the West, one can sense a subtle conviction that Erdogan and his AK Party have a hidden Islamic agenda to break Turkey's ties with the West and bring it closer to the Muslim Middle East. Erdogan rejects the "Islamist" label, saying his party is committed to democracy and political reform to help Turkey meet European standards.

    The definition of "Islamist," said Pope, includes a demand for the establishment of Islamic Shariah rule. In Turkey, however, there is no voter group making such a demand.

    Subtitle: Managing ties with Israel

    Although the government is vocal in stating that its criticism targets only Israel's policy in Gaza and that it is committed to maintaining special ties with Israel, the tone of the criticism and intensity of public anger with Israeli actions may well be a sign that maintaining those ties might require extra effort in the future.

    The Gaza crisis, says Lesser, revealed the "depth of Turkish affinity for the Palestinians and the reservoir of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiments" in the Turkish society. The tension between the strategic logic of Turkish-Israeli relations and the strident anti-Israeli sentiment in Turkish public and political opinion may not be reconcilable forever, said Lesser. How long can this 'strategic' relationship remain decoupled from the broader conduct of Turkish foreign policy in which public opinion has come to play a substantial role?

    [14] The use of the expression red lines in diplomacy is a Turkish innovation

    Under the title Will Erdogans new Kasimpasa style prevail in Turkish policy? Hurriyet Daily News.com (06.02.09) publishes the following commentary in the column Opinion:

    There is a famous unofficial caricature in NATO depicting the characteristics of the diplomats of member countries. "Organized like an Italian," is written under the caricature of an Italian diplomat looking absolutely disorganized. "Humorous as a German," is another example.

    "Relaxed like a Turk," is written under a not very relaxed looking Turkish diplomat. In other words the profile of a Turkish diplomat is depicted as one that does not feel as "one of us," who is always suspicious something is cooking behind his back.

    "Mon cher," is the general word used with a negative connotation to depict a Turkish diplomat. As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has implied, the general image of a Turkish diplomat at home is one that is doing nothing but hopping from one cocktail to the other with a whisky glass in his hands. The perception of Turkish diplomats abroad is however, totally different than the one at home.

    Especially on multilateral platforms where consensus is the key word, Turkish diplomats are known to be very intransigent and inflexible. Probably, the use of the expression "red lines," (meaning being close to discussion from a certain point) in diplomacy is a Turkish innovation.

    I have known many diplomats that have contributed to that perception. For this reason, I was particularly happy to see Erdogan defy the strong "no solution in Cyprus" lobby in the foreign ministry bureaucracy. Erdogans whole strategy was based on breaking the image of "Turkish intransigence in Cyprus." He gave the message to the world that Turkey would do much more than the Greek side to find a solution to the problem.

    Nowadays Erdogan has been suggesting for Turkish diplomats to behave more aggressively. He seems to propagate a confrontational attitude to a one that is consensus seeking. And he does so at a time when as the non permanent member of the Security Council, Turkish diplomacy should be excelling on consensus building.

    This obviously is not the only contradiction in prime ministers recent behaviour. He has been arguing for dialogue with Hamas. "Until Hamas renounces terrorism we wont talk to Hamas," says the international community. "How can you exclude Hamas, which came to power through elections?" asks Erdogan. This is the same person who said he wont talk to Democratic Society Party, or DTP, until it stops supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party. Do we need to remind him that the DTP entered the parliament through elections? It is not for the first time that Israel has heard from Turkish officials the need to talk to Hamas, the need to lift the embargo on Gaza strip. But obviously a diplomatic rhetoric was used while conveying these messages. Prime Minister has apparently decided that diplomatic rhetoric is not effective enough. But as of today, his aggressive behaviour has not led to a change in Israels views on Hamas. To the contrary, we might even have reached the point where Israel might review its relations with Turkey.

    Shimon Perez has personally used his credit many times on behalf of Turkey. He personally worked for Turkey and I am among those convinced that he is a statesman that genuinely believes in the importance of Turkey. He absolutely did not deserve being told that "he knows very well how to kill people." There is no doubt that Turkish-Israeli relations will suffer from the Davos episode in the short- and mid-term. I am, however, among those who believe that the two countries will overcome this crisis. Obviously the strategic interdependence is the key reason why the two countries will not let relations go down the slope. But most probably the Israeli administration also questions to what degree the Prime Ministers recent rhetoric will prevail over the whole foreign policy of Turkey in the mid- to long-term. In fact this is the question the international community started to ask more frequently. Foreign observers are waiting for the aftermath of the local elections to find the answer.

    [15] A Turk retired public prosecutors view of Ergenekon, NATO and Masonic lodges

    Under the title: NATO has names of Ergenekon founders, claims retired prosecutor Todays Zaman newspaper (06.02.09) publishes the following by Fatih Yalciner:

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has in its records the names of the individuals who form the nucleus of Ergenekon, a clandestine terrorist organization charged with scores of unsolved murders and other atrocities conducted for the purpose of ruling the country from behind the scenes or triggering a military takeover, according to a claim put forth by Gultekin Avci, a retired public prosecutor experienced with shadowy formations and illegal gangs inside the state.

    Avci claimed that the names of the members of the illegal network were kept at centres of intelligence services in Washington and London, but he did not specify the names of the agencies. Avci said these records held names of civilian and military members of Ergenekon. He also claimed that if NATO wanted to, it could share this information with the prosecution to help the Ergenekon investigation.

    He also pointed to the similarities between Ergenekon's organizational structure and NATO's experience, noting that Ergenekon bears the basic qualities of Operation Gladio -- a stay-behind army set up in NATO countries during the Cold War years to counter a communist invasion.

    Avci said in NATO's experience, stay-behind organizations were formed at the level of generals. He stated that over time, the confidential elements inside these armies, which hold great power given to them by the state, have gotten out of control and have recruited more civilians.

    "In all these structures, the techniques and system used were the same. Intelligence units trained these agents. They set up secret burial sites to store munitions, wireless devices and similar equipment," he said. "The major contributors to these behind-the-scene networks that were established all over Europe were these countries' armies and military intelligence services. All of these secret networks were set up under the supervision and directive of the military intelligence services of the given country."

    Avci also claimed that Turkey's illegal structures are backed by important Masonic connections and individuals, recalling the ties of the Masonic lodge P2 in Italy to the Gladio network. He said if NATO shared its records with the prosecution, it would be of significant help to the investigation; but he also noted that this was a distant possibility.

    Recalling the munitions found buried underground, Avci said most clandestine organizations tended to have secret arms depots and underground arms caches to avoid being left without munitions. He also expressed his belief that there could not be fewer than 200 such munitions burial sites in Turkey.

    He claimed that heads of separate units in the military knew the locations of these arms caches and were given maps to these places by their superiors. "When these weapons and ammunitions are needed for an operation, they can easily be obtained," he said. "Those who are at the level of hit men do not know the location of a given arms cache. The prosecution has to compare every single item of weapons or ammunitions found during the investigation to the inventory of the Special Forces Command and military intelligence units. But we are seeing that the General Staff has not been so helpful thus far regarding this."

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 05 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 05 February 2009:

    a) Turkey and US, Israel, Mideast

    In his commentary in Milliyet entitled "The Middle East, Israel, the United States, and Turkey in Davos," Hasan Cemal assesses a "worst-case scenario" in the relations between Turkey and the United States if the Armenian genocide bill passes from the US Congress. Explaining that "Anti-Americanism will erupt at once if the genocide bill passes from the US Congress," Cemal writes the following scenario: First stage ... the Jewish lobby will be indifferent when the genocide bill is submitted to the Congress. President Obama keeps his word and the bill passes from the Congress. Second stage ... Anti-American and anti-Israel feelings erupt with a great nationalist wave in Turkey. The relations with both countries are dealt a heavy blow. The neo-nationalist, radical Islamist movements gain force in Turkey. Third stage ... The normalization of the Turkish-Armenian relations is left to another spring as fanatics and extremists in both sides gain force."

    In his column entitled "Erdogan's Darfur contradiction" in Milliyet, Semih Idiz notes that "Prime Minister Erdogan and his supporters, who stirred up the world and turned the Turkish foreign policy upside down on behalf of humanity on the issue of Gaza, remain silent when the issue is about Sudan and Darfur." Idiz points out that Erdogan applies "double-standards" because on the one hand he says he is acting from humane reasons on Gaza, and on the other, he welcomes Sudan's vice president, accused of recruiting and unleashing militias on ethnic Africans in Darfur.

    In his commentary in Hurriyet Daily News.com, Mehmet Ali Birand notes that "Erdogan has just opened such a Pandora's box and let spirits escape" asking whether Erdogan will be able to "take HAMAS under control." Birand concludes that "the Middle East is a region in which games are played within another game. Nobody knows what will be tomorrow or who will betray whom. I especially don't believe that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration will be able to solve this chaos."

    In his commentary entitled "HAMAS" in Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek points out to a "strange situation, a contradiction" in which "this government" on the one hand signs an EU document that included HAMAS in its terrorist organizations list, on the other, "this government" supported HAMAS since the beginning of the Gaza attack and also said that it will defend HAMAS in the UN Security Council.

    In an article entitled "The importance of Turkish-US Relations", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan calls on US President Barack Obama to make a thorough analysis of Turkey's "importance" and reflect the results of this analysis in his policies toward Turkey. In explaining what he describes as Turkey's critical relevance to regional and international issues, Dogan asserts that if the US president were to visit Turkey, the following issues would have to be on his agenda: "The expansion of NATO, energy security, the Turkish military's role in Afghanistan, Turkey's potential missions in Pakistan, Iran's nuclear program, the political balances in Iraq, Balkan-related developments, the Cyprus issue, Russian efforts to seize regional initiatives, Israeli relations with Syria, Palestine, and Pakistan, etc.

    In an article entitled "Armenian Genocide hypocrisies", Today's Zaman columnist Kerim Balci calls attention to "the internal inconsistency" of the "open or implied threats" of "Washington-based Jewish lobbies" to stop supporting Turkey against Armenian efforts to have the US Congress pass a bill recognizing the events of 1915 as genocide.

    A commentary entitled "A conflict with Turkey would mean the suicide of Israel", Ahmet Turan Ayhan, "a political analyst," argues that "given that the Israeli policy that drives the country forward is its friction with 'radical Iran' and its challenges against Iran, a conflict with Prime Minister Erdogan ... one of the most respected leaders in the world ... ... would be the end of Israel's survival strategy in the region."

    In an article entitled "What was the point of it all?", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that Turkish government statements issued in the wake of Erdogan's walkout from the panel meeting on Gaza in Davos indicate that Erdogan's "defiant" posture did not signify an objection to US, Israeli, EU, and IMF pressures on Turkey in the past six years or to the "injustices, hypocrisies, and lies" that characterize Western and EU policies on northern Iraq and the Cyprus and Armenian issues. He goes on to ask what purpose Erdogan's Davos "bluster" might have been intended to serve if Turkey's current "submissive" foreign policy is to continue.

    b) Gul Visit To Saudi Arabia

    In a commentary entitled "Saudis' Interest in Gul is political, ours economic" in Milliyet, Gungor Uras details the great attention bestowed upon President Gul during his visit to Saudi Arabia. Uras notes that "the importance of Turkey for Saudi Arabia has increased. The loose relations of the past have become tighter. Obviously, the fact that Turkey has assumed an active role in the Mideast politics has attracted the interest of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia. Uras also points out that "Saudi Arabia is unhappy with Iran's increasing influence in the region. Turkey's support, therefore, is very important for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." "Turkey's expectation," Uras continues, "is to expand trade relations with Saudi Arabia."

    c) Local Elections/CHP's Koran Courses

    In a commentary entitled "Left of centre in Istanbul?" in Milliyet, Taha Akyol notes that "the province in which CHP [Republican People's Party] will be the most active will be Istanbul. According to A & G, CHP's votes increased from 28 to 37 percent with a popular candidate such as Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

    In his column entitled "Baykal's Koran courses opening" in Milliyet, Fikret Bila refers to CHP leader Baykal's support for his party's mayoral candidate Sefa Sirmen's pledge to have "Koran courses" in his district. Bila continues: "I talked to Baykal yesterday. He explained they will have Koran courses in the Community Centres they will open in neighbourhoods if there is interest." Bila concludes by noting that the "change" in the CHP and its opening up to the religious shows that it "aims at reaching the religious sector. It is understood that Baykal believes psychological obstacles are being posed against the CHP on the issues of dress and religion. CHP is trying to show that it is against having religion being exploited for political purposes, not that it is against religion." "The CHP is trying to build bridges with that sector of the society which is religious but not against republican values."

    Under the headline, "Chador initiative ends in 87 days," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the Republican People's Party's "chador initiative" ended in failure yesterday with veiled female members of the CHP removing their party badges at a news conference where they said they had been deceived into joining the CHP by party officials who fear that the CHP will pay a political price for its endorsement of the headscarf ban at universities.

    d) Turkish Media as 'Black Box'

    In his commentary entitled "Mehmet Emin Karamehmet" in Taraf, Mehmet Altan notes that "the 'black box' of this country in the media. It is a media, which is designed to keep facts secret, not reveal them. Therefore, all the facts are hidden at the peak points of the media. Only when we learn all the details of the relations between the bosses of newspapers with the 'state' and more important with the 'deep state' can we finally see the real face of Turkey. Which newspaper owner is meeting with which general? Why are they meeting? What are the relations between bosses and generals? What kind of service are they rendering each other?" Altan continues by explaining that retired General Levent Ersoz, who was arrested yesterday within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation, talked about Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, the owner of Cukurova Holding, Aksam daily, Show TV, and Skyturk TV. In addition, he is the founder of a big telephone company. What does this man want from generals?" As his concluding remarks, Altan says he thinks that "the secrets of Turkey's 'black box', the media, will unfold when Karamehmet's relations with the generals are brought to light."

    EG/


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