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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-12

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. 29/09 12.02.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Hasan Ercakica: In the Autumn an agreement text might appear in the scene
  • [02] Turkeys EU Chief Negotiator described the Cyprus problem as the countrys national cause
  • [03] The Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus stated that the TRNC will be kept alive until the end and that the TRNC flag will never be lowered
  • [04] Nami rounded up his contacts in Brussels
  • [05] A decision for a general strike was taken for the 18th of February
  • [06] The self-styled ministry of economy and Pegasus Airlines signs protocol for flights between Germany and occupied Cyprus
  • [07] EP Committee on Foreign Affairs approves draft report on Turkey
  • [08] US seeks to withdraw from Iraq using Turkish soil
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Turkish columnist on the intensive diplomatic activity of FM Babacan
  • [10] Highlights: From the Turkish Press of 11 February 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Hasan Ercakica: In the Autumn an agreement text might appear in the scene

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (12.02.09) under the title In the Autumn an agreement text might appear in the scene reports on the statements of the Turkish Cypriot leaders spokesman Mr Hasan Ercakica regarding the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to AKIS program broadcast by illegal BRT, Mr Ercakica referred to the Cyprus problem and the ongoing negotiation process for finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem and said that an agreement text might appear in the scene in autumn. Mr Ercakica stated also that the negotiation process goes on well and added the following: Until July, when the two leaders will proceed to the second round of the negotiations, they will enter into a serious give and take process. At the end of this period it is expected that the political struggle will get also hard and during the summer period it is expected that the main lines of the solution will be shaped. In the third round of the negotiations, the issues on which no agreement was possible will be put on the table. In this way, it is possible that in autumn a comprehensive agreement may come up, Mr Ercakica said.

    Mr Ercakica went on and said that these constitute their personal target and underlined that at this phase there is no agreement with the Greek side regarding such a timetable. He also said that the increasing interest of the international community to the process encourages them.

    (A.K.)

    [02] Turkeys EU Chief Negotiator described the Cyprus problem as the countrys national cause

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Turkeys new Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis has strongly emphasized that it is not right to present the Cyprus issue as a breaking point in Turkey-EU relations.

    At a press conference in Brussels, Mr Bagis said Turkey was confident with its Cyprus policy- which he described as the countrys national cause.

    Turkish chief negotiator stressed that no one could blame Turkey on the Cyprus issue anymore as the current Turkish policy has changed the balances.

    [03] The Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus stated that the TRNC will be kept alive until the end and that the TRNC flag will never be lowered

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (12.02.09) reports in its first page that the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, lieutenant general Hilmi Akin Zorlu, visited yesterday the Turkish Settlers Mutual Aid and Solidarity Association. The Turkish Commander stated, inter alia, that the TRNC will be kept alive until the end and that the TRNC flag will never be lowered. He also stated that they are ready to offer to the TRNC people every help possible and noted that the Turkish Cypriot people should not have worries at any issue.

    (CS)

    [04] Nami rounded up his contacts in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (12.02.09) reports that the delegation headed by Ozdil Nami, advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, rounded up its contacts in Brussels and returned to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus yesterday. The delegation met with Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner responsible for the enlargement and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, as well as with the permanent representatives in Brussels of some EU member-countries. The delegation met with people from some think-tank institutions and informed them about the Cyprus problem.

    The delegation consisted of Erhan Ercin, Chairman of the EU coordination centre and Mr Armagan Candan, advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on European Affairs. Mr Candan, replying to questions by the illegal TAK news agency, said that during their contacts in Brussels they had preparatory talks prior the visit of Olli Rehn in Cyprus and added that they also discussed with Mr Barroso the details regarding the Cyprus Follow-up Committee. Mr Candan also said that they met with the representatives of EU permanent representatives of the countries of Germany, France, Britain, Italy as well as Sweden which will hold the EU presidency after the Czech Republic.

    (DPs)

    [05] A decision for a general strike was taken for the 18th of February

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.02.09) reports that during a meeting organized yesterday upon a call of the TURK SEN Trade Union, it was decided that a general strike be held on the 18th of February in case the self-styled government does not withdraw until the 16th of February, a draft law regarding the salaries and other benefits of the workers in the public sector. It will be a one-day warning strike. The decision was taken by 28 Trade Unions which yesterday evaluated the new draft law.

    (CS)

    [06] The self-styled ministry of economy and Pegasus Airlines signs protocol for flights between Germany and occupied Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (11.02.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Pegasus Airlines is to start scheduled flights between third countries and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This move will not only help the tourism industry in the Republic but will also lead to it being more recognized.

    The flights will be launched as from the 1st of April with the aim of bringing more tourists to the Republic by offering cheap flights. Pegasus will bring tourists to the Republic after a stopover either in Istanbul or Antalya but the price of the tickets will be equal to those being offered for flights between Turkey and third countries.

    The Airlines will first launch flights from German cities of Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Koln, Dusseldorf and Hannover to the TRNC.

    The flights will be carried out within the framework of a protocol signed between the Ministry of Economy and Tourism and the Pegasus Airlines. The scheduled flights from the six German cities will be launched on the 1st of April. The objective is to carry 800 tourists to the Republic every month.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony of the protocol, the Minister of Economy and Tourism Erdogan Sanlidag said that one of the obstacles in the way of developing the tourism sector was transportation and that his Ministry was taking steps with the aim of eliminating all the problems being faced by the sector.

    The Minister complained that the Greek Cypriot Administration was trying to block the way of every single step taken by the TRNC towards easing the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot People, adding that the Ministry has decided not to make public any new initiative to be launched before the realization of the objective.

    The Director of the Pegasus Airlines Ali Sabanci, for his part, said that the Airlines will establish links between the TRNC and 57 different destinations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Denmark.

    [07] EP Committee on Foreign Affairs approves draft report on Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.02.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has approved the draft report on Turkey.

    During the voting, 65 MEPs cast their votes in favour of the draft report while four rejected it and one abstained.

    Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten said that the report would add momentum to Turkey EU relations after being approved by the European Parliament. In the report, the European Parliament welcomes Turkey's new National Program, beginning of broadcast in Kurdish language and appointment of Egemen Bagis as state minister and chief negotiator.

    Oomen-Ruijten said that Turkey needed some new systematic reforms, adding that the negotiation process aimed at turning Turkey into a modern, democratic and prosperous country.

    [08] US seeks to withdraw from Iraq using Turkish soil

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (12.02.09) reports the following:

    As the United States weighs several options for withdrawing US troops from Iraq, with timetables ranging from President Barack Obama's campaign pledge to remove all combat troops within 16 months to a 23-month option, the US administration is contemplating whether the troop withdrawal could take place via Turkey.

    The US administration has begun preliminary talks with Turkish officials over a parliamentary motion that would allow US troops deployed in Iraq to withdraw from the country through Turkish soil.

    On March 1, 2003, the Turkish Parliament rejected a motion to allow US troops to open a northern front before the Iraqi war started; however, the prospect of a second motion has been generally welcomed by Parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government is not against the withdrawal of US land forces from Iraq via Turkey and wants the US administration to set an exact withdrawal timetable. During the talks, which were held recently, officials discussed the prospects of withdrawing US troops first through northern Iraq and then transferring them to Adana and Iskenderun through the Habur border gate.

    According to US withdrawal plan, the US troops would withdraw from Iraq within 16 months, concluding the withdrawal process in 2011. There are 142,000 US troops in Iraq, and 30,000 of these troops are expected to be shifted to Afghanistan. According to the same plan, US troops would be withdrawn from Iraqi districts and towns by June 30, 2009, and would be totally withdrawn from the country by Dec. 31, 2011.

    Since the start of Iraq war in 2003, the US Army has lost 4,238 troops in the country, and it is feared that attacks against US troops by Iraqi insurgent groups will intensify during the withdrawal process.

    The US administration is seeking ways to ensure a withdrawal with the least number of casualties.

    A Turkish government official who requested anonymity told Today's Zaman that preliminary talks between the US and Turkish officials about a motion for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq can be considered an exchange of views at the moment. The same official said Turkey advised the US to withdraw gradually because stability has not yet been fully maintained in Iraq, warning that an opposite situation may further escalate chaos in the war-stricken country.

    Subtitle: A motion is necessary

    A motion passed in Parliament is necessary in order to allow US troops to use Turkish soil while withdrawing from Iraq, according to AK Party Kirikkale deputy Vahit Erdem, the head of the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He said a US withdrawal from Iraq via Turkey was obligatory given the current circumstances in Iraq.

    Another AK Party member, group deputy chairman Nihat Ergun, agreed that a motion was necessary in order to allow US troops to use Turkish soil while withdrawing from Iraq.

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Adana deputy Kursat Atilgan, a retired general, said withdrawing military troops from a country was more difficult than deploying troops there, adding that the US has no safer option than withdrawing its troops via Turkish soil.

    The US is in need of Turkey while withdrawing from Iraq. According to the military tactics, you cannot withdraw your troops by turning your back; you have to take care of your front and back sides, Atilgan told Today's Zaman. The US troops should withdraw from Iraq with their faces turned to Iraq; otherwise, they may lose more troops during the withdrawal process than they have lost so far. Hence, they have to withdraw from Iraq's north because, except for the autonomous Kurdish administration in Iraq, the United States has many foes in the country. The US withdrawal will take place via northern Iraq and Turkey. But the Kurds in northern Iraq will need a protector during the US withdrawal. Turkey should never assume such a role. The government should bargain with the US administration about a withdrawal schedule from Iraq.

    Subtitle: Kurdish deputies oppose US withdrawal plans

    Some 75 deputies of Kurdish origin within the ranks of the AK Party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), most of whom opposed the March 1 motion, also oppose the US withdrawal plans from Iraq on the grounds that it will lead to new turmoil in the country.

    AK Party Gaziantep deputy Nurettin Aktas, who voted against the March 1 motion, said it is impossible for the US to make plans in the region without Turkey's support.

    The US has no other choice than to withdraw its troops from Iraq via Turkey. But I do not believe that the US will be able to fully withdraw from Iraq, he said. If the US does not fully withdraw from Iraq, Turkey should not allow it to use Turkish soil for partial withdrawal. Otherwise, there will be a much chaos in Iraq.

    In addition to Kurdish deputies, AK Party Cankiri deputy Suat Kiniklioglu said a motion that allows US troops to use Turkish soil while withdrawing from Turkey will pass Parliament comfortably.

    I do not think Turkey will say 'no' to US withdrawal plans. After all, what Turkey demands is a gradual withdrawal plan. If such a motion comes to Parliament, there will certainly be debates. We told the US not to enter Iraq, so telling it not to withdraw from Iraq would be contradictory, Kiniklioglu noted. What we demand from the US is that it does not spoil the current stability in Iraq and that it let Iraqi officials reach the point of ensuring their own security so that no outside intervention will be needed to restore stability.

    AK Party Duzce deputy Saban Disli agreed with Kiniklioglu in that the Turkish Parliament would not oppose the US withdrawal plans from Iraq. Turkey should help US with the withdrawal, he said. "Yet, what kind of contribution the US withdrawal will make to Iraq at the moment should be examined thoroughly.

    Subtitle: What happened on March 1, 2003?

    The AK Party government prepared a motion that would cover a period of six months on March 1, 2003, which sought permission to deploy Turkish troops in Iraq and to allow US troops to use Turkish soil for deployment in Iraq. The motion was rejected in Parliament because it failed to receive the vote of the absolute majority as suggested by Article 96 of the Constitution. Out of the 533 deputies who attended the voting, 250 of them voted against the passage for the motion while 264 deputies voted in favour of it; 19 deputies cast a blank vote. Rejection of the March 1 motion led to disappointment in the United States, prompting the US Army to enter Iraq from the country's south because they were not allowed to use Turkish soil or airspace, causing more US casualties.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Turkish columnist on the intensive diplomatic activity of FM Babacan

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.02.09) published the following commentary by Cengiz Candar:

    There is nothing at first glance. But if you are the foreign minister of Turkey, if your name is Ali Babacan and if you meet U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, U.S. National Security Chief Adviser Gen. James Jones and super diplomat in charge of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations Richard Holbrooke at the Munich Security Conference in the morning and then if you meet Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in the Azeri capital Baku to discuss Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia relations in the afternoon, yes there is a relation.

    Babacan is an extremely modest foreign minister who doesn't show his qualities very often. If you look at the last half century of Turkey, you see Fatin Rustu Zorlu, Ihsan Sabri Caglayangil, Turan Gunes, Ilter Turkmen, Mesut Yilmaz, Hikmet Cetin and finally Abdullah Gul in the foreign minister seat. And if you compare Babacan with any of them, he may not seem strong enough. But such comparison may also invite a misperception because Babacan, compared to his predecessors, is remarkably active.

    He took a significant step in Turkey-Caucasus relations, Turkey-Armenia in particular, and that may raise him to the Turkish foreign policy pantheon among others.

    Besides, most of the Turkish foreign ministers in the past did not have a chance to meet even half of the predecessors of the aforementioned names Babacan met in two days in Munich.

    This perhaps could be explained by the profile of Turkey getting stronger in the changing world and its pro-active foreign policy. But we should give Babacan credit for his being a modest hard worker. We flew from Munich together and as soon as we landed in Ankara, he rushed to welcome Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin. After a few hours Babacan will fly again to spend the night in Luxemburg and then will come back Ankara to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mobarak who will pay an official visit to Turkish capital today. Babacan will head to Latvia afterwards and then to Moscow. He had to postpone a trip to Lithuania for 10 days due to this hectic diplomacy traffic. Such a dizzying schedule seems to become his way of life.

    People who are chronically ill and an opponent of anything may criticize him. I think I hear what they say Constant trips here and there do not mean foreign policy. That's correct, but as so many countries want to have contacts with Turkey and as their top officials are eager to visit Turkey, we couldn't say that they are awarding a country with no foreign policy.

    In the near future, Turkey will be at the centre of international politics and balances. We have had the hints in Munich. In the short-run, the Caucasus dimension of Turkish foreign policy may give birth to quite striking developments.

    This is not originating from my impressions that I had with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammedyarov from whom we heard the course of the Azerbaijan-Armenia relations and the progress they make. This is the conclusion I have reached after learning about the content of Babacan's meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, twice and with the Armenian President Serge Sarkisian once in Munich.

    Let me make a confession here. Mammedyarov is such a straight forward, sincere man that he shared everything about the Azerbaijan-Armenian talks. He answered all of our questions without hesitation, and without seeking shelter in the state secret. We were able to squeeze a few words out of Babacan thanks to Mammedyarov. After realizing that we learned quite many things from his Azerbaijani counterpart, Babacan loosened up a bit.

    Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia relations are like two trains that will meet on the same cross at some point. There is progress and this is definitely not slow.

    Babacan headed to the Baku Haydar Aliyev airport after meeting Ilham Aliyev. We were three journalists on the plane visiting the area covered by Turkish foreign policy. If you plan to write your memoirs in the future, where will you place the Caucasus among Turkey's priorities in 2009? I asked Babacan. He replied in a split second, In the top five. Then he added, But it could rise on the list in the next few months.

    The first top-level contacts between Turkish diplomats and the Obama administration were held in Munich. At the dinner by the Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, Biden was sitting on Stoiber's right and Babacan was on Biden's right. Estonian President was sitting on Babacan's right. At the other side of the big round table, there were two more presidents, Hamid Kharzai of Afghanistan and Mikhael Saakashvili of Georgia.

    Stoiber didn't speak English so that helped! Because Biden then turned to his right and talked to Babacan for one and a half hours, especially about the latest developments in the Middle East and Iraq. Babacan in return gave Biden the details of the Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia talks and the progress made in the Caucasus.

    The Turkish foreign minister also met Henry Kissinger to talk about the global strategic issues with a focus on Turkish-American relations. Babacan talked with Gen. Jones about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Iraq issue as he met Holbrooke for the Afghanistan-Pakistan issue.

    I met with Jones at the entrance of the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. Jones was still wearing his military jacket with the emblem of the SACEUR, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Jones doesn't look like an ordinary general. I said: I think you will have to visit Turkey as part of your new duty. Certainly, he said, I, as SACEUR, visited Turkey quite often because it's a NATO country...

    In the meantime, let me remind you here that Babacan was in Kosovo last week. He met Macedonian Prime Minister Antonio Milososki and Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Munich to talk about the Balkans. Babacan came together with the European Union's next term president Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the same panel.

    If you are the Foreign Minister of Turkey, in an international meeting you have to make a 360 degree panoramic tour on foreign policy in 2009 regardless of the place. You don't have to run after anyone. Everyone is coming to you.

    And yes, they will do so.

    The most important thing here is the attitude of the key country in the world, the United States. All of the American officials I met said: 'We will hear you and consult with you'. And yes they did indeed. Right now, from Afghanistan to the Middle East there is not a crystal-clear U.S. policy. They will listen and consult, Babacan said, then smiled and added: We'll see for how long this consultation will continue. I hope they will not come four months later and say Now you listen, I said in return.

    Joking aside, they cannot. The limits of a global power were strikingly revealed during the George W. Bush administration so very clearly that the new United States will have to look at most of the global issues in a 360 degree angle and so many American officials will have to visit Turkey.

    But of course this is as long as they have addressees who know how to view the world from a 360-degree angle.

    [10] Highlights: From the Turkish Press of 11 February 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 11 February 2009:

    Local Elections

    A column by Rusen Cakir of Vatan views the AKP deputies' expectations regarding the outcome of the local elections to be held on 29 March. He quotes an AKP deputy as saying that according to a public opinion poll conducted by the party before the Davos incident, the AKP would emerge as the leading party by securing almost 50 percent of the votes. Cakir asserts that considering the public support for Erdogan's walkout in Davos, the AKP believes that it might even surpass the 50 percent threshold on 29 March. He says that the party's failure to nominate "bright candidates" in Diyarbakir, Izmir, Eskisehir, Mersin, and Adana and its decision to re-nominate the mayors in Ankara, Samsun, and Erzurum might weaken the AKP's election chances. The corruption claims against the Erdogan Family and certain party officials and the recent CHP initiatives on religious issues might also lower the public support for the party, he says. On the other hand, Cakir asserts that he believes Erdogan's strong reaction to Israeli President Peres in Davos and the opportunities granted by the government to the AKP municipalities will increase the party's chances of winning the elections.

    In an article entitled "I believe the CHP is only promoting the AKP's interests", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the Republican People's Party, CHP, candidate for mayor of Istanbul, is following a line that is set to backfire in using allegations of corruption against AKP officials as part of his election campaign rather than filing official complaints against these officials based on these allegations. He also claims that the Dogan news media's support for Kilicdaroglu casts doubt on the seriousness of his accusations against the AKP.

    In an article entitled "Election rivalry takes the form of hostility against the poor", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal describes the AKP's distribution of coal, food, and white goods to the people in various parts of Turkey as a manifestation of the fact that the Republic of Turkey is a social state, as declared in the Constitution. Unal objects to the aid campaign being characterized as a pre-election manoeuvre and argues that opposing this aid effort, as part of the news media and certain political parties are doing, amounts to opposing the fundamental principles of the Republic.

    b) Middle East Conflict/Israeli Elections

    Drawing attention to the strengthening of the "hawks" in Israel, a column by Taha Akyol of Milliyet says that Israel is an example of an "unstable democracy" in the world. According to the columnist, moderate parties are unable to secure the support of the Israeli voters because none of those parties have managed to become institutionalized organizations thus far. He says: "Political parties' weakness increased the military control over politics. The non-solution process and the war radicalized the masses and led them to support the military." Arguing that HAMAS was established as a reaction to the Israeli militarism, he expresses the hope that Iran and Syria might stop supporting HAMAS if Netanyahu decides to establish dialogue with the two countries in line with the Obama administration's policies.

    In his article in Milliyet, columnist Fikret Bila highlights the messages conveyed by Palestinian leader Abbas in Ankara, saying that Abbas held HAMAS responsible for the violence in Gaza and criticized it for refusing to extend the cease-fire process in the region. Pointing out that he observed a similarity between the approach adopted by Abbas and Israeli Ambassador in Ankara Gaby Levi, Bila asserts that Abbas is willing to maintain the peace talks with the Israeli administration with the participation of a less influential HAMAS. Meanwhile, Bila asserts that Levi, who has an "optimistic" approach to the problem, believes that it is possible to achieve peace in the area if HAMAS stops firing missiles and recognizes Israel. The columnist quotes the ambassador as reiterating that "Israel officially supports a policy based on a two-state settlement."

    An article by Cengiz Candar in Referans focuses on the role Turkey might assume in the Middle East, despite the Davos crisis and the Western world's willingness to have Egypt play a leading role in the region. Candar notes that it might be difficult for the West to have Egypt act as a mediator in the region because its relations with Gaza are similar to the relations between Turkey and northern Iraq. According to the columnist, "Israel will have to knock on Turkey's door" when Egypt fails to take the expected steps. However, he notes, this scenario might not work if Israel refuses to maintain the "peace process" supported by the US administration and decides to pursue an "aggressive policy" in the Middle East.

    c) Turkey and the Jewish Lobby

    In an article entitled "Jewish lobby, Armenian resolution and possibilities", Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes asserts that if "the worst-case scenario" regarding the Armenian issue happens and the US administration passes an Armenian genocide resolution with the encouragement of the Jewish lobby, "Turkey may shut down the airbase at Incirlik without hesitation."

    Under the headline, "Synagogue in Edirne," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which criticizes the Directorate-General of Foundations for preparing to restore the Grand Synagogue in Edirne, "one of the two biggest synagogues in the world," despite the fact that Edirne is without a resident Jewish community.

    EG/


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