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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-07

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. 64/09 07.04.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] How the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish newspapers cover the address of the U.S. President at TGNA
  • [02] Talat stated that it is necessary for the UN to abandon the position of a bystander
  • [03] Talats adviser Nami said that the U.S.A will take an initiative on the Cyprus problem and that with the Swedes they are working on direct trade
  • [04] Bagis discussed with the Swedish Foreign Minister about the chapters to be opened during Swedens presidency. He repeated that Turkey supports Talat
  • [05] Izcan made a statement regarding the resignation of 13 persons from his party
  • [06] Omer Adal: It is not in our interest or of our states interest for the Federation to become member of KOP
  • [07] Acres of virgin land in the Karpaz are being offered for development with a price tag of millions
  • [08] Erdogans Senior Foreign Policy advisor Ahmet Davutoglu to be recommended for the position of MIT Chief
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] From the Turkish Press of 6 April 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] How the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish newspapers cover the address of the U.S. President at TGNA

    Todays Turkish Cypriot newspapers (07.04.09) report on the visit of the U.S. President Barack Obama in Turkey. Following are the headlines of the papers:

    KIBRIS: Obama is ready to help for a solution in Cyprus. The paper reports that the U.S President Barack Obama, addressing the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), said that they are ready to help for finding a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal solution to the Cyprus problem.

    STAR KIBRIS: The Turkish-American spring. The paper reports that Obama wrote the following in the guest book at Ataturk's mausoleum, in An1tkabir, Peace at home, Peace in the world . Addressing the TGNA, Obama said the two community leaders in Cyprus have made a lot of efforts as regards the commencement of direct negotiations for a Cyprus solution and added that the UN and the U.S.A are willing to support the two communities for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation that would reunify the island and bring peace to both sides.

    YENIDUZEN: Two unified communities in Cyprus. The paper reports that U.S. President gave important messages during his visit in Turkey and did not forget Cyprus.

    VOLKAN: Obama came to Turkey and defended the views of the Greek Cypriots and Armenians at the TGNA. The paper reports that Obama said that they want a united, bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus.

    GUNES: A praise from Obama to Turkey. The paper reports that U.S. President said: I want to stress here the importance of Turkey. I want to stress the importance of Turkey not only from the aspect of the U.S.A but also from the worlds aspect.

    ORTAM: Obama: Every community is obliged to reconcile to its past.

    KIBRISLI: Let the EU take the U.S.A as example. The paper reports that U.S. President Barack Obama referred very little and generally to the Cyprus problem.

    AFRIKA: Obama addressed the TGNA.

    HALKIN SESI: Support from Obama to the efforts for a solution.

    VATAN: Obama at the TGNA.

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (07.04.09) in its front page and under the title We should all change from now on reports on a historic speech, as it describes the address of the US President Barack Obama yesterday at the Grand National Assembly (TGNA), and writes that during his speech, President Obama underlined that his visit to Turkey is a clear message to the world. He also gave the message of change, the paper notes. All of us have to change, but sometimes change is not easy at all, President Obama said and without using the word genocide he referred to the Armenian genocide issue and said: Addressing this Assembly, of course I have to refer to the bad incidents which took place in 1915. These are problems which Armenians and Turks should solve together, not me, Obama said.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said also the following: "Some people have asked me if I chose to continue my visits to Ankara and Istanbul to send a message. My answer is simple: Yes."

    Obama, added, inter alia, the following: "This morning I visited the tomb of the founder of your country. I was deeply impressed by this beautiful memorial to a man who did so much to shape the course of history. But it is also clear that the greatest monument to Ataturk's life is not something that can be cast in stone and marble. His greatest legacy is Turkey's strong and secular democracy, and that is the work that this assembly carries on today."

    The U.S. President expressed also the United States strong support to Turkey's EU bid to become a member of the European Union.

    Turkish dailies report extensively on Obama´s contacts in Turkey starting with his visit to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Republic of Turkey and later on his meeting with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul at Cankaya Presidential Palace. President Obama was also received by the Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan with whom he had a 15- minute face to face meeting. He then held five-minute separate meetings with the leaders of the opposition parties. Later, President Obama addressed the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The US President met afterwards with the Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (07.04.09) reports in its front page on Obamas address at the Turkish Grand National Assembly under the title The Ankara manifesto of Obama.

    The paper writes that the U.S. President gave important messages both to Turkey and the world in his address at the Turkish assembly. His speech was broadcast live on many TV channels like CNN and Al Jazeera.

    As the paper reports, Mr. Obama has three requests from Turkey: 1. Armenian border: An open border will lead Turkish and Armenian peoples live in peace and prosperity and will be in the benefit of the two countries. 2. The bad incidents that occurred in 1915 should also be discussed at this Assembly. The peoples of Turkey and Armenia should solve this problem together. 3. Theological School: Freedom of religion will lead to a vivid civilian society. The opening of the Theological School of Halki will give a message to the world in this respect.

    Moreover, Hurriyet in its economic pages reports that during the meeting the US President Barack Obama had with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the two leaders decided, inter alia, the establishment of an Economic Working Group between the US and Turkey. Gul stated the following: Turkey is a strong country in the area from the economic point of view. We have to deepen our relations in the fields of politics and military and in the economy as well as. The paper reports that Obama supported fully Guls statements and said that Turkey has a strong economy. He also stated that with President Gul they discussed about trade and the business world and he also said that there are a lot of things that the two countries could do in the field of economy.

    (DPs /AK)

    [02] Talat stated that it is necessary for the UN to abandon the position of a bystander

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.04.09) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, stated that the UN needs to get away from the position of a bystander.

    Illegal Bayrak went on and broadcast the following:

    Talat made the statements to the BRT newsroom after delivering the Turkish Cypriot stance on the solution process in Cyprus to international figures in Sweden and France, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, from the first hand. The President also had the opportunity to explain the Turkish Cypriot approach to the Swedish and French press. Referring to the official meeting he held with Mr Ban in Paris, Mr Talat said the meeting was very much important in terms of discussing what else could be done to help the solution process.

    As for his meetings with the EU officials, he said he asked for their initiatives in order to motivate the Greek Cypriot Administration for a lasting political settlement on the island. The President stated that the Turkish Cypriot policy over the Cyprus problem is now being largely welcomed by the international community.

    `As a result of this, weve had an increase in our foreign contacts` he said.

    Noting that full-fledged negotiations continue uninterrupted, although not in the desired rapidity, President Talat said it should not be that surprising to observe both agreed and disagreed views between the two sides while trying to reach a political agreement on a long-lasting problem.

    [03] Talats adviser Nami said that the U.S.A will take an initiative on the Cyprus problem and that with the Swedes they are working on direct trade

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.04.09), under the title Nami focused on Obama, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talats adviser, Ozdil Nami replied to the questions of the journalist Ipek Col during the programme Free Area broadcast yesterday by the Turkish Cypriot local television channel ADA TV.

    During the programme, Mr Nami said that with President Obama the U.S. Administration, which has been in silence since the Annan plan, will undertake an initiative again for finding a solution in Cyprus. Evaluating the stance of President Obama during his address at the TGNA on the Cyprus problem, Mr Nami said that they want to go to a referendum at the end of the negotiations.

    Commenting on whether Turkey will open its ports to the Cyprus vessels, Mr Nami said that the EU officials will not do anything that will affect the process of the negotiations and that because Turkey supports the negotiation process, the port issue will be postponed and discussed later.

    Referring to a possible meeting of the Turkish Cypriot leader with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr Nami said that the date of the meeting has not been determined yet.

    Referring to the meeting of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat with the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, he said that they talked to the Swedish officials that Turkey supports a solution in Cyprus and reminded them of the promises given to them by the EU. We are working on the direct trade, he said. Mr Nami also said that their target is to conclude the first round of the negotiations by the end of April and after the give-take procedure to go to the referendum.

    (DPs)

    [04] Bagis discussed with the Swedish Foreign Minister about the chapters to be opened during Swedens presidency. He repeated that Turkey supports Talat

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.04.09) reports the following:

    Turkish state minister & chief negotiator for the EU talks Egemen Bagis met on Monday the foreign ministers of Malta, Sweden, Estonia and Slovenia within the scope of "The Alliance of Civilizations Second Forum".

    Bagis met Tonio Borg, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Malta; Carl Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden; Urmas Paet, foreign minister of Estonia; and Samuel Zbogar, foreign minister of Slovenia. The meetings were closed to the press.

    In his meeting with Borg, Bagis thanked to support of Malta to Turkey's EU membership process and Turkey's non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council. The meeting focused on probable contributions of Turkey and EU to each other.

    During the meeting with Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden that will assume the rotating presidency of the EU in the second half of 2009, the parties assessed the chapters that would be opened during Sweden's presidency. Bagis and Bildt decided to meet at Stockholm on April 23.

    On the Cyprus question, Bagis said Turkey supported President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and would continue to advocate every kind of initiative for a permanent and fair solution.

    Turkey's EU membership process was assessed during Bagis's meeting with Estonia's foreign minister Paet and Slovenia's foreign minister Samuel.

    Prior to the opening session of "The Alliance of Civilizations Second Forum", Bagis met Greek foreign minister Theodora Bakoyannis. The two parties focused on Turkish-Greek relations, Cyprus question as well as Greek support to Turkey's EU membership.

    [05] Izcan made a statement regarding the resignation of 13 persons from his party

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.04.09) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has noted that the resignation of 13 persons of Turkish origin from his party, two of whom were members of the BKPs council, is a clear indication of the oppressive regime which exists in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Izcan noted that it is everybodys duty to question the citizenships granted in the occupied areas of Cyprus in a manner contrary to the international law. He said, inter alia, the following: The resignation of the members, the origin of whose is the Republic of Turkey, is a clear indication of the oppressive regime in the country.Since its establishment, the BKP has struggled with determination for the protection of the identity and the existence of the Turkish Cypriots, their self-administration, the salvation of the laborers and for reaching a united, independent and federal Cyprus. The BKP has made no discrimination in this struggle looking at the origin of the people and gave them various duties in the organs of the party. The population policy in northern Cyprus has turned the Turkish Cypriot community into a minority in its own country and reached a dimension which threatens its fundamental right of existence.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Omer Adal: It is not in our interest or of our states interest for the Federation to become member of KOP

    Turkish Cypriots daily Cyprus Times newspaper (07.04.09) reports the following under the title Out of question:

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

    In a statement he made to the TAK news agency, Mr Adal said for a long time discussions had been taking place between FIFA so that Turkish Cypriot football teams can play matches abroad, but due to the precondition FIFA put, that being the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation must become a member of KOP, this is unacceptable.

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

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

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

    [07] Acres of virgin land in the Karpaz are being offered for development with a price tag of millions

    Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today (4-10.04.09) publishes the following exclusive report:

    ACRES of virgin land in the Karpaz are being offered for development with a price tag of millions.

    Up to 1,000 government-owned and 178 privately-owned donums at Balalan [occupied Platanissos] on the north coast of the Karpaz are up for grabs for £10.5 million, while 257 donums with an asking price of £15 million are being offered at Esentepe [occupied Ayios Amvrosios].

    Projects being floated on a New York-based real estate website for the land include a golf course, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars and about 2,200 homes in total 1,600 at Balalan.

    It talks of creating bars, taverns, restaurants and boutiques at that site to achieve its own High Street.

    The TRNC government is believed to have approved a blueprint for development in the areas paving the way for the schemes, although question marks still remain over whether licenses and permits have been granted for either project.

    The Northern Coastal Road is set to be extended by 20km to Balalan to open up the area for development.

    The proposals have been criticized by Lois Cemal, chairman of the Friends of the Karpaz, who said: Karpaz is our greatest asset. Once you build on it, its lost.

    Balalan is a historic Cypriot hamlet, surrounded by unspoiled countryside with picturesque beaches to the north.

    Beyazit Adalier, mayor of Mehmetcik [occupied Galateia], whose province includes Balalan, said the Karpaz already had the Bafra [occupied Vokolida] tourism area, and Im not sure that more of the same is the way to go.

    We want development here. Will this benefit us? We just dont know, he said.

    While Esentepe Mayor Erdal Barut said: Selling the TRNC off like this, piece by piece, is a big mistake. There should be more local consultation and debate before these projects are approved.

    Dogan Sahir, of the Green Action Group, added: We do not have enough nature left to sacrifice it like this.

    Gray Rider Real Estate Company, based in New York, talks of the land becoming available for development once the Northern Coastal road, linking Esentepe to Kaplica [occupied Davlos], is extended to the isolated area.

    It talks of 20 villas with a price tag of £1 million next to a new golf course, together with hotels with no height restrictions and even a marina.

    Only prospective buyers who can show they have the money to prove they are serious will be given further details.

    Gray Rider claims someone putting down £10.5 million for the Balalan government land, being offered on a 49-year leasehold, could realistically be commanding in excess of £60 million in three to five years.

    For the Esentepe initiative, it talks of a £50 million projected return for investors. Gray Rider claims all permits have been applied for and received at Esentepe. The options at Esentepe include two hotels, up to 600 apartments, bars, tavernas, restaurants and boutiques to achieve its own High Street.

    Jennifer Horabin, of C&T Construction and Estates, Haspolat, who is representing the sellers, said: Although sales have been quiet over the past year, we are now getting lots of inquiries from America.

    It is very difficult to keep tabs on websites. We certainly did not say that hotel height was unlimited, nor make claims about planning permission. These are more in the nature of ideas.

    Acar Acarbey, of European Estates, Salamis, which is the prime mover behind the plans, told Cyprus Today he understood concerns about churning up green fields for concrete cities.

    He said: I agree we need to keep green areas. This area has been zoned for development by the government.

    We have had interest from two groups. Some Americans wanted to build a very big project including a hotel and private hospital but we feel a gold course and hotel is more suitable. The golf course project includes a desalination plant.

    We are only building on one per cent of the land. A lot of villagers complain about mass development but this country needs income.

    [08] Erdogans Senior Foreign Policy advisor Ahmet Davutoglu to be recommended for the position of MIT Chief

    Turkish Istanbul Gazete Haberturk (06.04.09) publishes an article by Murat Gurgen under the title Senior Advisor Davutoglu Top Choice for Spy Chief".

    The article is as follows:

    Barring any last-minute surprises MIT [National Intelligence Organization] Under Secretary Emre Taner, whose term in office has twice been extended despite his being too old for the job, is going to retire in May. It has been learned that Prime Ministry Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ahmet Davutoglu is going to be recommended by Prime Minister Erdogan as Taner's replacement at the National Security Council (MGK) meeting this April. MIT has been run by the military or by diplomats for many years now. It was expected that AG or AS, who have been serving as "proxy" assistant under secretaries as part of a "principle ruling" made in 2005 to have an undersecretary appointed from within MIT, would be appointed. When appointing Taner to the job in 2006 the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government followed this principle ruling. However, the likelihood of either of these assistant under secretaries being appointed to the job is slim because their appointments were only proxy.

    The appointment process will begin by Erdogan informing the MGK of his choice because the person in question has been serving directly subordinate to the prime minister. Afterwards, Erdogan will notify Cankaya [Presidency] of the name then the new MIT Under Secretary, who then takes up office with the President's approval. Before the new under secretary was identified MIT was restructured in the New Year with the purpose of increasing coordination.

    It is "highly" unlikely that Assistant Under Secretary AG, whose name made the headlines in the final months of 2008 as "MIT's Iron Lady Boss," stands any chance of getting the job because her appointment was not an actual one, only a proxy one. Before she was made assistant under secretary she ran MIT's Adana District Offices earning the title "First Woman District Chief." The other assistant undersecretary AS was appointed in the fall and [he] is senior to AS. However, [he] is staying on in this position.

    Prof Davutoglu was born in 1959 and graduated from [Beykent] University Economy and Political Sciences Faculty. He taught at the Malaysia International Islamic Institute. He later became Head of International Relations at Beykent University. In 2002 he became Gul's senior advisor and in 2003 he was given the title of ambassador without leaving the country on duty. He was expected to go to Cankaya along with Gul but instead he remained in the Prime Ministry.

    Davutoglu is known as the man who has been directing Turkish foreign policy since 2002. Davutoglu is also known for the active policies pursued in the Middle East and for the negotiations conducted with the United States since the start of the Iraq operation. Davutoglu has published two books in English: Alternative Paradigms plus Civilian Transformation and the Muslim World. He also has a book in Turkish called "Strategic Depth." In the preface to that book Davutoglu writes: "Turkey as a country is a strategic nexus. If it fulfills its responsibilities it will become a central country entering under better conditions a more stable international state of affairs in which new balances will take shape."

    Davutoglu was the person who organized the controversial HAMAS visit to Turkey. His latest visit to the United States in March was remarkable for its content. Davutoglu met with important figures like National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Assistant Secretary of State James Steinberg. In the light of developments leading to his surprise appointment Davutoglu's contacts in the United States are being seen as "readiness to take up this duty."

    Known as a close friend of both President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, Davutoglu is a well respected figure within the AKP. During his visit to Syria Davutoglu met not only with Syria's President Beshar al-Asad but also in secret with HAMAS leader Halit Mish'al. When confronted by criticism Erdogan replied: "A lot of speculation has been made about Davutoglu. This is upsetting to me and my friend. My friend is a scholar. He left his profession and was given the title of ambassador with the President's approval. We send him to Syria as our special envoy and this is followed by unseemly comments and criticism. Envoys do not explain or justify their every move. There are some things that only history will explain."

    When the need emerged in Ottoman times to monitor the activities of other world states focused on the Middle East, the foundations for MIT were formed by Enver Pasha in 1913 and was known as Teskilati Mahusa. It was restructured into the National Intelligence Organization in 1965 passing on intelligence that has been obtained to the pertinent departments.

    Among the organization's duties are meeting the intelligence requirements of national security policy and protecting the state against intelligence operations conducted against Turkey.

    The MIT Under Secretary is answerable to the prime minister. Appointments to MIT are published in the Official Gazette but apart from the under secretary the names and salaries of all MIT personnel are kept classified.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] From the Turkish Press of 6 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries selected items from the Turkish press on 6 April 2009:

    a) Obama visit to Turkey

    Taha Akyol notes in his column in Milliyet that by stressing diplomacy to resolve international disputes, Obama has already started to improve American image in the world, with the result that the Turkish-US interests now coincide. He says the NATO crisis was diffused precisely because of this harmony in Turkish-US policy. Akyol quotes Turkish policy-maker Ahmet Davutoglu as saying, therefore, that "the Turkish-American relations have entered a golden period."

    Under the headline, "Admit Turkey to membership, make peace with Islam," Yeni Safak carries a front-page report which highlights a statement by US President Barack Obama ahead of his arrival in Ankara saying that the West should bring about a rapprochement with the Islamic world and that the admission of Turkey to EU membership would be a crucial step to that end.

    In an article entitled "The cute face of US imperialism", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak criticizes Barack Obama for what he describes as his failure to change Washington's policy of using the activities of al-Qa'ida and Taliban as an excuse to foment discord in Pakistan with the ultimate purpose of dividing this country and confiscating its nuclear arsenal. He describes Obama's visit to Ankara as an effort to win over the Islamic world with the help of Turkey and claims that the US president is "not welcome" in this country.

    In an article entitled "Continue to ignore it", Yeni Safak columnist Tamer Korkmaz criticizes the Hurriyet daily for not publishing any reports or commentaries on what he describes as a recent incident during the G20 summit in London where President Obama "almost bent double" before the Saudi King Abdullah in shaking hands with the latter. Korkmaz asks Hurriyet Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok whether he has the courage to ponder the role that Turkey has played in bringing Saudi-US relations to its current status, where the US leader "bows down" to his Saudi counterpart.

    In an open letter to "Mr Barack Hussein Obama", Vakit columnist Hasan Aksay warns Obama about the "disastrous" consequences of a US war on Pakistan, asserting that using the situation in Afghanistan as a pretext to "turn Pakistan into another Iraq" would be perceived as a continuation of the Bush policy of "you are against us if you are not with us." He calls on Obama to adopt peace rather than military deployments as the watchword of his term and asserts that "our hopes [about what your administration stands for] are strong against all odds. We believe that you recognize humanity and God rather than power and policies of oppression as your guide and hope to witness developments that can strengthen this conviction."

    In an article entitled "A new period with the EU, the US, NATO, and the IMF", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Obama's visit to Turkey is taking place at a time when Ankara has indicated its "red lines" to the IMF, the EU, the United States, and NATO. He argues that NATO is entering a new period when it will support the disbanding of organizations like Ergenekon in Turkey and implement a policy of peace based on dialog between civilizations, adding that "this new process is set to strengthen Ankara's hand during Obama's visit." He also claims that Obama's visit will take place in the same "climate of thought" that characterized the G20 summit and the NATO elections and that found expression in Obama's recent remark that "the world is not dominated any more by white people with blue eyes."

    In an article entitled "Obama's visit: reasons, risks, and expectations", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts that Obama's visit to Turkey suggests changes in both Washington and Ankara's foreign policy concepts: "The fundamental change in Washington's outlook under the new administration is a tendency to realize finally that presenting key allies with faits accomplis is a policy that backfires. The most important change on Ankara's part is seen in its self-confidence indicated by its refusal to accept faits accomplis from any countries."

    In a commentary entitled "Turkish-US relations in the Obama Era: Is a common vision possible?", Zaman writer Ibrahim Kalin argues that Obama's visit to Turkey should be used as an opportunity to "develop the multi-faceted structure of Turkish-US relations" and make contributions to regional peace. He claims that the Obama administration should change the fundamental approach of the US foreign policy rather than conduct a new PR campaign to be able to win Muslim minds and hearts. He also discusses Turkish-US relations under such headings as "Turkey Wants Guarantees Concerning PKK," "The Armenian Lobby and Turkey-Armenia Relations," "The Absence of Variety in Bilateral Relations," "Iraq in the Post-US Era and Turkey" and "[No Lasting Peace Between the US and the Muslim World] Until Mideast Problems are Solved."

    In an article entitled "Obama in Turkey, Turkey in Europe", Today's Zaman columnist Omer Taspinar argues that the "symbolism" of Obama's visit to Turkey, taking place following visits to London, Strasbourg, and Prague rather than to Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, and Riyadh, gets across a "crystal clear" message: "Turkey belongs in Europe."

    In an article entitled "Walk under the ladder, Obama", Milli Gazete columnist Huseyin Akin asserts that Obama's visit to Turkey is intended to use the theme of the Alliance of Civilizations as a façade to achieve three objectives: 1. Obtaining Turkey's support for an effort to extricate the United States from the "morass" in Iraq with minimal damage. 2. Securing Turkey's contributions to efforts to consolidate the US military presence in Afghanistan. 3. Cooperating with Turkey in implementing a "hawkish" agenda to eliminate Iran's nuclear capabilities and bring this country to heel.

    Gundem Online reports that DTP co-leader Emine Ayna belies various newspaper reports on DTP plans to convey to US President Obama the message that PKK is ready to lay down arms and that Kurds demand "democratic autonomy". Ayna pointed out that such reports aim to sabotage the meeting, adding: "Obama is the president of another country. Kurdish problem is Turkey's domestic problem and will be resolved with Turkey, that is, with Turkey's internal dynamics." Criticizing the Turkish government for looking for a solution outside Turkey, Ayna said that Prime Minister Erdogan does not discuss the Kurdish issue with the Kurds but with the United States. With regard to PKK laying down arms, Ayna maintained that it is the PKK and not the DTP that will make that decision. Ayna concluded that the DTP can only ask President Obama to extend support to resolving the Kurdish issue, adding that the DTP will hand a file to President Obama on the party's views regarding the issue.

    b) Turkeys role in Rasmussens appointment

    In his column for Hurriyet, Mehmet Ali Birand says the uproar raised by Turkey over Rasmussen appointment as NATO chief was a well calculated political ploy that brought dividends to Turkey. Birand says: "I do not think that Turkey's stance over the caricature incident is consistent. It is an event that happened two years ago. It upset the Muslim world, but it passed. Even Iran and Saudi Arabia forgot the incident and what is more interesting is that they did not oppose Rasmussen's candidacy to the NATO post of secretary general by pointing to the incident. So, why did we oppose it? Behind this stance, there is not a will to make Rasmussen offer an apology but to draw the sympathy of the Muslim world. Raising this matter has increased the prestige of Muslim Turkey, a member of the Western world. Turkey showed that it is not a toy dog that does everything the West says and it can utter the sensitivities of the Muslims. 'I can convey your sensitivities to the Western World when required. And I can call them to account for,' was Turkey's message to the Islamic world. When compared to the past, it has adopted a different stance. Erdogan's second reason was Rasmussen's stance about Roj TV. Indeed, what was done is a part of a play but this time, Ankara played its part well. If Turkey suffers because of PKK terror, a TV channel supports this terrorism and a country, which accepts us as an ally, protects the channel, then I have a right not to fulfill what this country demands. The prime minister raised the tension and made U.S. President Obama intervene. By this way, before Obama's visit to Turkey, the prime minister had clearly showed him how much further he could carry his sensitivity over the PKK. He did the right thing. We cannot know whether the promises that were made thanks to Obama will be fulfilled. However, Turkey delivered its message and showed its sensitivity on the subject. Even this is enough."

    In a column for Hurriyet Daily News, Serkan Demirtas concludes his analysis of Turkey-NATO crisis by saying: "According to some foreign diplomats, Turkey's open opposition did significant damage to the image and credibility of Rasmussen. His tenure will not be an easy one compared to those of his predecessors. What Turkey did was legitimizing the entire Muslim countries' concerns that could lead to unwillingness to cooperate with the alliance. For Turkey, the agreed package that would satisfy its concerns is a very positive result, though it is a verbal one. Not only for the content but also for its guarantor, Barack Obama. Placing a Turkish aide on Rasmussen's team, securing good command positions at NATO headquarters and getting the promise of a Turkish official to represent the NATO in Afghanistan for another term are important achievements. But when it comes to stopping the broadcast of Roj TV, known as mouthpiece of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, its realization could take longer than it is thought, because the issue is rather a judicial one and is evaluated on the grounds of Denmark's broad freedom of expression principles. Having said this, it should be noted that Turkey has won another argument against Copenhagen in its struggle against Roj TV. The first round of the crisis seems to be over. But Turkey's stance against Rasmussen would likely to find its place in the annual Progress Report of the EU this fall. We hope to see that Olli Rehn will not take personal issue when penning the report."

    Commenting on the fallout from Turkey-NATO dispute in a column for Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli says: "At this junction, we may have two different approaches to the issue. Firstly, while the Strasbourg Rasmussen trading ended with smiles on the faces of both Gul and Erdogan, it has to be perhaps questioned to what extend it will help Turkey's long-term strategic interests, like EU membership. It is obvious that at one point France and Germany will make Turkey pay for the Strasbourg Rasmussen trading, though through Obama's intervention they might be compelled for the time being a tit for tat deal they might be not so comfortable. On the other hand, it could as well be argued that Turkey has finally learned the EU-style policy making, devised a very well calculated 'tension policy', held the entire NATO hostage to its demands and at the last minute, when all hopes of compromise started to fade away, agreed to a lucrative way out and helped resolution of the crisis in exchange of some very advantageous gains it would otherwise not have had the chance to obtain. Which one of these evaluations is more realistic and can indeed be the eventual outcome of the Rasmussen trading will become clear of course sometime later, perhaps towards the end of this year when the European leaders will converge to make an assessment of the Turkish conformity with the terms and conditions of the accession talks process. The contacts and remarks of President Obama in Turkey today and tomorrow, as well as the expected press occasion Rasmussen may hold on the sidelines of the Alliance of Civilizations summit on Tuesday will perhaps help shed more light to the terms of the Strasbourg horse trading. The bottom line, however, is the fact that NATO has averted one of its most important internal crisis with the skilled diplomacy of Obama and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi."

    Semih Idiz, in his column in Milliyet, warns that by objecting to Rasmussen mostly on Prophet cartoon crisis Erdogan unnecessarily turned Turkey into autocratic Islamic world's spokesman in Europe. Idiz also blames Erdogan for first forcing Gul to adopt a tough position against Rasmussen and then, feeling isolated, backing down with a facing-saving formula from Obama.

    Tufan Turenc, in his column in Hurriyet, says PM Erdogan will emerge from his NATO foray not with victory but defeat, despite the argument to the contrary by the pro-Erdogan press, for the EU has now drawn the conclusion that Turkey under the AKP has based its foreign policy on religious grounds. Besides, it did not befit Turkey to lift its objections on the basis of vague guarantees secured by Obama.

    A report in Gundem Online, recounts a news conference held by Democratic Society Party, DTP, co-leader Ahmet Turk to condemn the intervention of security forces in the march Kurds staged on the occasion of Abdullah Ocalan's 60th birthday on 4 April. Turk also refers to the double standards adopted by security forces in the demonstrations that took place throughout Turkey in reaction to the results of local elections held on 29 March. Criticizing Turkish government's use of Kurdish Roj TV in the negotiations regarding the appointment of NATO secretary general, Turk pointed out that DTP expectation of holding dialogue after the elections were not met. Turk added that he will hand US President Barack Obama a file on DTP's views regarding the solution of Kurdish problem. Mark Inappropriate

    EG/


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