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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-03-17

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. 51/09 17.03.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Egemen Bagis wants sanctions to be imposed on the Republic of Cyprus by the EU in case a solution to the Cyprus problem is not reached
  • [02] Discussion at the illegal UKU University between four party leaders on The First 100 Days after the elections
  • [03] Izzet Izcan said that the period when Ankara decides and Nicosia implements should end
  • [04] The deadline for submitting objections to the candidatures in the elections ended; 359 candidates are competing for 50 seats in the assembly
  • [05] Avci alleges that Ankara is not meddling in the elections in the occupied areas; He said he expects the property issue to last for 4-5 months
  • [06] The Istanbul Technical University is planning to open campus in occupied Rizokarpasso and in Nicosia areas; The Black Sea Technical University wants to open campus in occupied Mesaoria area
  • [07] Reports that Kibris Media Group will follow a softer policy towards the CTP, during the elections as a result of bargaining with the Ministry of Finance over its due taxes
  • [08] Serdar Denktas attacks the EU for allegedly not keeping its promises to the Turkish Cypriots
  • [09] Bush sent a letter to the European Commission President regarding Turkeys membership just before leaving office
  • [10] Babacan said Cyprus is on the agenda of Obamas talks in Turkey
  • [11] Gul warns that unless measures are taken Turkey will become poor in water in 2010
  • [12] Turkeys unemployment rate reached to 13.6%
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 16 March 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Egemen Bagis wants sanctions to be imposed on the Republic of Cyprus by the EU in case a solution to the Cyprus problem is not reached

    Under the title Positive signal, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.03.09) reports in its first page that Egemen Bagis, Minister for EU Affairs and Turkeys Chief Negotiator, stated that the negotiations between President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat are in a good path.

    Mr Bagis, who made statements to the Turkish Star newspaper, said that the world has accepted that the side which blocks the process for the solution is neither the TRNC, nor Turkey. He said that the Greek Cypriot side continues to delay the process and added that the EU is responsible for the difficulties faced by the Turks in Cyprus. He also said that he believes the EU member countries must encourage and motivate the solution.

    Asked what he expects as regards Cyprus in the year 2009, Mr Bagis responded that they receive positive signals regarding the negotiations. However, he said that he is not sure whether the problem which was not solved for 50 years could be solved in six months or in one year. He also said that the European Union feels regret for the things it made in Cyprus in the past. He said that the fact that the Greek Cypriots became unilaterally member of the EU has become a problem and added that important mobility is taking place within the EU in order for this problem to be eliminated.

    He noted: However, we should not be concerned with the Cyprus analysis which will be published in the end of 2009. Cyprus should not be seen as guillotine from the point of view of Turkeys accession to the EU, because what Turkey has done and what it has not been done for the promises given to Turkey will be included in that analysis. .

    Mr Bagis went on and said the following: I see in many places in the EU this regret. However, I do not see the will in the issue of responsibility, because no administration that took this decision represents any EU member country today. They do not want to accept the responsibility, but they do not agree to pull this burden out of Turkey either. Therefore, we have to use the creativity of diplomacy and produce interim formulas.

    Mr Bagis referred to the Annan Plan and its rejection by the Greek Cypriot community and concluded: What the EU countries should do now is to declare from now what sanctions they will impose on the Greek Cypriot sector in case of a second rejection.

    (C/S-I/Ts.)

    [02] Discussion at the illegal UKU university between four party leaders on The First 100 Days after the elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.03.09) reports that a seminar was organized last night at the illegal International Cyprus University (UKU) under the title The First 100 Days with the participation of the chairmen of the four parties which seem to be in the first four places according to the public opinion polls and approximately 200 candidates of these parties for the forthcoming elections. The seminar was broadcast live by Kibris TV.

    Addressing the seminar, Dervis Eroglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), argued that the occupied areas have been turned into a place where only ashes remained after a fire. He said that the most important problem is the difficulties in the economy. He noted that in case they win the elections the micro and macroeconomic policies will be determined by a council that would be established at the prime ministers office. He reiterated the new vision they prepared for turning the occupied areas of Cyprus into a free economic zone. He said that they will bring water, electricity and natural gas from Turkey and revive the constructions sector. Mr Eroglu noted that there are 25 thousand buildings which cannot be sold and 10 thousand buildings which cannot be completed in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister and chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) argued that the accusations that the country has been burned and only ashes remained do not reflect the reality. He said that many positive developments have taken place in the occupied areas and the government made many positive actions. During the last years thousands of buildings were constructed. I somehow did not understand what place has been burned in a country where thousands of buildings were constructed, noted Mr Soyer, who said that their first target during their new administration is the tax reform.

    Moreover, the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), Serdar Denktas referred to the changes they plan to do in the economy and especially in the tax system. He said that for years they exerted efforts to protect the state from the external and the internal dangers, but in this effort they forgot the people and did not attach the necessary importance to the people.

    Finally, the chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said that when they come to power they will deal with the problems created by the former governments and argued that a collapsed structure exists under every stone in the occupied areas. He referred to the economy and to the legal system in the occupied areas, which exists from the 19th century.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.03.09) reports that the live broadcast stopped when Mr Eroglu was asked a question regarding the TRNC citizenship and the identity card granted to persons the name of whose is involved in Ergenekon case in Turkey. The paper notes that in the debate which started afterwards Mr Eroglu said: Let us not open the past account books. These people were friends who carried out the duty of ambassador of the TRNC to the Republic of Turkey. In any case, no Ergenekon, no Susurluk existed then. I do not believe that these people are guilty.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Izzet Izcan said that the period when Ankara decides and Nicosia implements should end

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.03.09) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has said that the period when Ankara decides and Nicosia implements should end and the period when Nicosia will decide and Ankara will respect this decision should start. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Izcan noted that all the problems of the occupied areas until today derive from being administrated with remote control. He said: Everything is a result of this system, the population policy which has taken away our political will from us, the unstable monetary policies which led all of us to bankruptcy, the devastated environment, and the puppet governments which came on duty until today.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The deadline for submitting objections to the candidatures in the elections ended; 359 candidates are competing for 50 seats in the assembly

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.09) reports that the deadline for submitting objections to any candidate the name of whose is included in the list announced by the self-styled Supreme Election Council last Saturday has expired. According to the timetable of the elections, the names of the candidates will be finalized on 22 March and be announced on 23 March. In case the names of all the candidates are finalized, 359 candidates will compete for 50 seats in the assembly. In parallel to the candidates of the Democratic Party, the Republican Turkish Party, the National Unity Party, the Social Democracy Party, the Freedom and Reform Party, the United Cyprus Party and the Politics for the People Party, nine independent candidates are also participating in the elections. Four of the independent candidates are participating in occupied Nicosia, three in occupied Morfou, one in Keryneia and one in Trikomo.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Avci alleges that Ankara is not meddling in the elections in the occupied areas; He said he expects the property issue to last for 4-5 months

    Under the title Ankara is not meddling in the elections, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.09) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime and leader of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), has stated that the elections of 19 April are an internal matter of the breakaway regime and added:

    The local elections in Turkey will be held before ours. Ankara will not meddle in our elections, just like we are not meddling there. In statements to Star Kibris, Mr Avci said, inter alia, the following:

    The demand for meeting with [the Turkish President] Mr Gul came from us and we discussed everything, the relations between the two countries, the Cyprus problem. Nothing could be more normal than meeting often the President of the Republic of the Motherland as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC. Especially these days when the negotiations continue, this is also valid for exchanging views. When the issue is Cyprus and the Turks of Cyprus, we have no differences with our motherland. We shall always walk together in this hard and long process. I am happy that I saw this once more during this visit of mine. The solution in Cyprus depends on the stance of the Greek Cypriots as well. The Turkish side has always exerted and will continue to exert efforts for the solution.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (17.03.09) refers to statements made by Mr Avci to Anatolia news agency and reports that he argued that the joint statement issued during the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mrs Hilary Clinton to Turkey is a very important message to the Greek Cypriots. He said that the reference to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is very important and added:

    This being put forward especially by the US Secretary of State has the following meaning: This is a very important message to the Greek Cypriots. It is the message that the view that the negotiations will last for another 40 years and the isolations on the Turkish Cypriots will continue for another 40 years is not a correct view. This is a meaningful message which we have been expecting and asked for it for a long time.

    Mr Avci reiterated the known Turkish views regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem and referring to the property issue he said he expects it to last for 4-5 months, because it is one of the most important and difficult issues. He noted that the discussion of this issue between the leaders was closed and transferred to the committees because the property issue entered into a deadlock. He alleged that this is due to the stance of the Greek Cypriot side, which thinks that it owns all the land. He argued that the Greek Cypriots are dreaming when they say this.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The Istanbul Technical University is planning to open campus in occupied Rizokarpasso and in Nicosia areas; The Black Sea Technical University wants to open campus in occupied Mesaoria area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (17.03.09) reports that the self-styled assembly adopted yesterday a draft-law regarding the construction of a campus of the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in the occupied areas of Cyprus. At the first stage a Maritime Sciences Faculty will be opened in occupied Rizokarpasso village and a Fine Arts Faculty in Famagusta. It was noted that ITU is planning to establish a conservatoire in the area of the occupied part of Nicosia within the walls and to this end it will restore a historic building.

    During the discussion of the draft-law, Nazim Cavusoglu, MP with the National Unity Party (UBP) said that this is the best of the draft-laws and noted that his party would vote for it.

    Mustafa Gokmen, self-styled minister of environment and natural resources, noted that with the approval of the law, occupied Karpass area will acquire a university with prestige. Mr Gokmen said that there is a demand for building a university campus in occupied south Mesaoria area, that that Black Sea Technical University wants to come to the occupied part of Cyprus and that they are working on this issue.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (17.03.09) reports also that the assembly adopted yesterday unanimously a draft-law regarding competition. This is the first time a law for protecting competition is voted in the occupied areas of Cyprus, notes the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Reports that Kibris Media Group will follow a softer policy towards the CTP, during the elections as a result of bargaining with the Ministry of Finance over its due taxes

    Under the title Has Kibris newspaper changed direction, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (17.03.09) reports that the fact that the opposition of Kibris newspaper against the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has softened after the agreement reached between the Kibris Media Group and the self-styled ministry of finance is drawing attention. The paper notes that it has been announced that the meetings between the sides would start yesterday, but the result of the meeting was not known.

    Ali Erel, chairman of the EU Association made a call on the sides to publicize their agreement, but he received no answer, writes the paper adding that the public fears that an agreement is reached for Kibris newspaper not to publish anything against the CTP until the elections in return of delaying its liabilities to the tax department.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Serdar Denktas attacks the EU for allegedly not keeping its promises to the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.09) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) has evaluated the Progress Report for Turkey adopted by the European Parliament (EP) and alleged that the EU has surrendered to the Greek Cypriots and the Republican Turkish Party surrendered to the Greek Cypriots.

    In a written statement, Mr Denktas described the statements made by Olli Rehn, Commissioner for the Enlargement, as one-sided and far from being impartial. He alleged that Mr Rehn insistently refrains from seeing the whole picture in Cyprus because he expects support to the negotiating process only from Turkey.

    Mr Denktas reiterated the accusations against the EU that it has not fulfilled its promises given to the Turkish Cypriots five years ago.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Bush sent a letter to the European Commission President regarding Turkeys membership just before leaving office

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (17.03.09) under the title in its world-news pages, Bush wrote a letter to the EU regarding Turkey before leaving office, reports that before concluding his term, the former US President George Bush sent a letter to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, demanding acceleration of Turkeys membership process.

    Replying to a question of the Greek Cypriot Parliamentarian, Mr Marios Matsakis, whether he received a letter from the former President Bush demanding the acceleration of Turkeys accession process and the opening of new chapters, Mr Barroso said that the letter was sent to him by President Bush, before Obama came to the Presidency on January 20 and he confirmed that Mr Bush referred to Turkeys accession process. Mr Barroso added that he shares the view that they are ready to open new chapters with Turkey and that from the technical point of view Turkey is ready to open the energy chapter, and added: On this chapter (energy) it is the responsibility of the member-states to take the relevant decisions.

    (EA)

    [10] Babacan said Cyprus is on the agenda of Obamas talks in Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.03.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish Foreign Minister said on Monday that the U.S. earlier told Turkey that it might need Turkey in a general sense while withdrawing its troops from Iraq.

    In an exclusive interview with Kanal 24 tv channel, foreign minister Ali Babacan said the U.S. has not yet made plans about the number of soldiers and the route it would withdraw the troops.

    Babacan said the United States would inform Turkey about its plans and Turkey would make assessments about it.

    The Iraqi people supports withdrawal of the U.S. soldiers and they want this to take place soon, Babacan said and noted that Iraq had given a signal to Turkey to assist this. Babacan said Turkey would of course consider its own conditions on the matter.

    Asked to comment on the scheduled visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Turkey, Babacan said this was a result of the positive impact of Turkey's influence both in its own region and in the world.

    When asked what would be the agenda of the meeting with Obama, Babacan said Afghanistan-Pakistan, developments in the Middle East, Iran, the Caucasus, Balkans, Cyprus, Armenia, as well as Iraq would be discussed during the talks.Responding to a question about relations with Armenia, Babacan said: More than 1.5 years have passed since the start of talks. The process progresses well. We target normalisation of relations and important steps have been taken in this respect.

    [11] Gul warns that unless measures are taken Turkey will become poor in water in 2010

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.03.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday global challenges must be given global answers. If we do not act as such, great disasters are inevitable, Gul said.

    Speaking at the inauguration of the Fifth World Water Forum in Sutluce Congress and Culture Center of Istanbul, President Gul said that unless precautionary measures are taken, Turkey will become a country poor in water resources in 2010. This situation shows that Turkey is not a country rich in water resources as some predict it to be.

    Individuals living in countries with rich water resources consume 10,000 cubic meters of water on an annual basis. In Turkey, an individual, on the average, consumes 1,830 cubic meters of water per year, Gul said.

    "Countries that do not have rich water resources, as Turkey, need to use water in a just manner and must be able to manage water resources well, Gul said.

    We believe that water should be a unifying force in the world and not a source of divisions, Gul said.

    The international community can not have a future without water. The road to eradicating existing problems goes through investments to be made by respective governments in water issues. Infrastructure projects aiming to increase the amount of potable and clean water must be given high attention, Gul said.

    We must stop looking at water as an endless source and must begin consuming it with an understanding about its limited presence, Gul said.

    I would like to use this opportunity to invite you all to embrace water so that we can leave behind a sustainable 21st century to our children, Gul said.

    We are obligated to give global answers to global problems. If we do not see this reality, we can not escape from great natural disasters, Gul also said.

    [12] Turkeys unemployment rate reached to 13.6%

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (16.03.09) reported the following:

    Turkey's unemployment rate jumped to 13.6 percent in the three months through January, official data showed Monday as falling orders from home and abroad sparked job losses in manufacturing.

    The Turkish Statistical Institute said in a statement the rate rose from 10.6 percent in the same period of last year. The jobless rate was 12.3 percent in the month-earlier period.

    The unemployment rate, measured on a three-month moving average, stood at 10.6 percent in November-January period in 2007. The unemployment increased by 838,000 people in 2008, the statement added.

    Economists say the record-high unemployment rate will make it difficult for the government to take steps demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

    Turkey's economy grew 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the slowest in six years. The global crisis has slashed demand from Europe for Turkish-made goods such as cars, prompting manufacturers here to suspend production and shed jobs.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITIORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 16 March 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 16 March 2009:

    a) Local Elections

    A report in Milliyet quotes Adil Gur, president of the A&G Research Company, to have said that the Republican People's Party, CHP, will emerge "most advantageous" from the local elections. Adil Gur stated also that if the elections were held today the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), might get even less than 40 percent of the votes because of the affects of the economic crisis.

    Viewing the election atmosphere in the country in an article in Sabah, Mehmet Barlas argues that it is impossible to maintain a health democracy "in an environment in which the hatred of those with different opinions are considered to be a 'political stand' and in which pluralistic democracy is understood as a 'division into enemy camps.'" So long as the transformation of the oppressed of the past into the oppressors of the present is viewed as "divine justice" Turkey will never free itself of this vicious circle, writes Barlas, stressing the importance of coexistence between winners and losers. The writer continues: "Whatever the outcome of the 29 March local elections, Prime Minister Erdogan should make a peace and conciliation appeal to the opposition and to all the sectors of the civilian community. On 30 March, Turkey should definitely leave behind the tense atmosphere of the election campaign. We should definitely expect the AKP government to urgently embrace the EU harmonization reforms."

    In an article entitled "Vatan's Prediction of the Results of the 22 July Elections", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu disputes the results of a survey conducted by the Vatan daily, suggesting that the local elections will be a close run thing between the AKP, the CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, in Ankara and that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, is set the win the elections in Diyarbakir by a large margin against the AKP. Karahasanoglu claims that the Vatan daily similarly represented public support for the AKP as being lower than it actually was before the 22 July elections in 2007.

    Under the headline, "Felicity everywhere," Milli Gazete publishes a front-page report which asserts that the turnout at the Felicity Party's election rallies in Adiyaman and Sanliurfa provinces yesterday reflected the SP's political strength in the southeast.

    b) Ergenekon case

    According to a report by Turker Karapinar in Milliyet the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office has requested permission from Prime Minister Erdogan to launch an investigation against Senkal Atasagun, former undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization, MIT, regarding a list of 69 people showing the structure of the Ergenekon organization. The report adds that the list includes several politicians such as CHP leader Deniz Baykal, former chiefs of the General Staff, journalists, and businessmen.

    Criticizing certain circles for trying to erode the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK), in his article in Vatan, Hikmet Bila accuses some press organs of turning the military officers being prosecuted within the framework of the Ergenekon case into targets of attacks although they have not yet been found guilty of any crime. The writer reminds these circles that despite their erosion campaign, they will not be able to change the people's opinion that the army is "the most trustworthy institution" in the country. Reminding those who attack the military that we do not have a second army, Bila continues: "One can achieve short-term political benefits by attacking the army, but nothing can survive in this country, not politics, not the economy, not anything else, with an army that has been eroded."

    Under the headline, "State Council dossier fails to come from Ankara to Istanbul in 54 days," Zaman carries a front-page report which highlights the "interesting developments" that have been taking place since the Supreme Court ruled that the State Council murder case should be merged with the Ergenekon investigation. According to the report, the dossier relevant to the armed attack in 2006 on a group of State Council justices, which was sent by an Ankara court to the Istanbul court that is trying the Ergenekon case, has been "missing" for 54 days.

    c) Kurdish problem

    In an interview with Yeni Ozgur Politika, Democratic Society Party, (DTP), leader Ahmet Turk comments on elections, Turkish President Gul's statement that "good things are going to happen in the Kurdish issue," and on reports that President Obama will arrive in Turkey with a new project for the solution of the Kurdish problem. Turk says time will show if Gul is sincere in his desire to solve the Kurdish problem or is simply being used by Erdogan to win Kurdish votes. As regards reports on a US initiative on Kurdish issue, Ahmet Turk says the Kurds, especially the PKK and the DTP, have to be taken as interlocutors in any serious attempt to solve the Kurdish problem.

    Under the banner headline, "We handled the Kurdish issue wrongly," Yeni Safak publishes a report which quotes former Naval Forces Commander Salim Dervisoglu as saying that the Kurdish issue cannot be solved through military means, that "we have failed to take the necessary economic steps to deal with this problem" and that "instead of trying to integrate those people [citizens of Kurdish origin], we have tried to assimilate them."

    Today's Zaman runs a front-page report entitled "Dizayee: General Amnesty is a Pragmatic Solution" by Lale Sariibrahimoglu, who quotes Sefin Dizayee, "head of the International Relations Department of the Massoud Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party," as saying in a "telephone interview" with this daily that a general amnesty would be a "pragmatic" way of "render[ing] the PKK ineffective." Dizayee also disclosed plans to hold a "Kurdish conference" in Arbil with a view to "promoting peace while denouncing violence," the report says.

    In an article entitled "Can Ocalan play a constructive role in addressing the Kurdish question?" Today's Zaman writers Emre Uslu and Onder Aytac argue that "addressing Kurdish cultural rights and granting more freedom to Kurds may not be enough to bring the PKK to an end." They also assert that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan might want to be allowed to "play a constructive role in addressing the problem" in return for having his prison sentence eased.

    d) President Obama's expected visit to Turkey

    An article in Hurriyet Daily News, Maria Ferentinou assesses the visits of US Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama to Turkey and the probable changes the US Administration will bring into its relations with Turkey. Speculating whether Obama will abandon his predecessor's approach of viewing Turkey as a "moderate Islamic" country and focus his policies on the secularist democratic character of the country, Ferentinou says that Obama's visit to Turkey bypassing Greece has created the impression in Greece that the age-old American foreign policy principle of treating Turkey and Greece on the basis of a fine political balance has been broken.

    Assessing Turkish-US relations in an article in Sabah, Omer Taspinar points out that a quick look at the world map shows us that most problems are in close geographic proximity to Turkey, adding that under normal circumstances the United States should have maintained much closer relations with Turkey. With the Obama Administration, the United States is adopting a more peaceful stand and Turkey is being granted the importance it deserves, writes Taspinar, describing the upcoming surprise visit of Obama to Turkey as a clear indication of this new vision. Referring to Obama's promises regarding Armenian genocide claims, Taspinar warns the government against "lassitude" on the issue and advises caution. He continues: "It is one thing to attach importance to Turkey, and another to accept the 1915 incidents as genocide. In other words, Obama might remain loyal to his views on the issue of genocide. Since he is not an ordinary politician, he may even view this issue as a matter of principle and intellectual integrity. However, in that case, the US Administration will have to bear the consequences of its stand. Washington is aware of how serious Ankara is on the issue. It is aware that Turkey might create a lot of problems in retaliation such as limiting the use of the Incirlik Air Base. Therefore, Obama's visit is not only aimed at 'winning Turkey,' but it is at the same time aimed at 'not losing Turkey.'" Obama should be encouraged to pressure the US Congress in favor of Turkey by opening the borders with Armenia, underlines Taspinar, urging the government to be courageous in its decisions.

    In an article entitled "Our recovering alliance with the US", in Today's Zaman, columnist Sahin Alpay sees it as "highly likely that Washington and Ankara ... will leave behind disagreements and move towards deepening cooperation" during Barack Obama's term as US president.

    In an article entitled "Time to reward Obama", in Today's Zaman columnist Omer Taspinar asserts that "an important part of President Obama's visit to Turkey is about averting a major crisis in relations because of the Armenian genocide issue." He also claims that a decision by Turkey to open its border with Armenia is "exactly what President Obama needs" to be able to refrain from fulfilling his promise to recognize the 1915 events as "genocide."

    e) War of words between the General Staff and the Speaker

    In an article entitled "Why Such a Reaction to Bulent Arinc?", in Yeni Safak, columnist Hakan Albayrak criticizes the General Staff press statement in response to recent remarks by former Speaker of Parliament Bulent Arinc which accused certain retired generals of engaging in politics, looking into overthrowing the Government, and dealing with anything but their own profession and expressed thankfulness for the fact that Turkey did not go to war against any country while these generals were actively serving the armed forces. Albayrak asks why the General Staff should be annoyed by a statement "targeted at the architects of the 28 February process," why it should level accusations of bias against a politician who is warning that military officials who do not concentrate in their own job could compromise national defense, and whether the General Staff sees no harm in members of the Turkish Armed Forces giving precedence to politics over the military profession.

    In an article entitled "If putschists go to war", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes the General Staff for "taking offense" at Bulent Arinc's recent criticisms of certain "putschist military officials." He also expresses support for Arinc's remarks censuring what he described as the practice of performing the National Anthem at irrelevant occasions like mass rallies, sports events, conferences, etc.

    In an article entitled "Discrediting the Military, did you say?", in Zaman, Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli accuses the mainstream news media of using Bulent Arinc's remarks about certain retired generals as a means of trying to create tension between the military and the civilian authority by misrepresenting Arinc's statement as one targeted at the entire military rather than only at Retired Gendarmerie Commander Sener Eruygur and "his team," who are accused of planning to stage a military takeover.


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