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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-08

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. 65/09 08.04.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat met with the President of the Turkish Jewish Community of Istanbul
  • [02] Avci criticized President Christofias for his statements on Varosha
  • [03] Soyer and Eroglu participated in a debate on the upcoming elections
  • [04] Obama is quoted by Radikal to have said that the Cyprus problem has become a Gordian knot
  • [05] Exclusive statements to Hurriyet by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon: I am still optimistic about the future of the Cyprus problem
  • [06] HAVADIS paper reports that Turkish Minister Bagis will visit the occupied areas
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] From the Turkish Press of 7 April 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat met with the President of the Turkish Jewish Community of Istanbul

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.04.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Speaking during the visit, the President of the Turkish Jewish community based in Istanbul, Silvio Ovadia expressed his communitys readiness to support the Turkish Cypriot people in any way possible.

    For his part, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot people, who supported policies accepted by the international community, needed more support than any other community in the world. He said that everyone knew the injustice of the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Reminding that Turkish Cypriots had been labelled as intransigent and uncompromising until 2004, Talat said that this had changed following the 2004 referendum and that the Turkish Cypriot people still desired a peaceful solution to the Cyprus Problem. He however pointed out that the international isolations still continued.Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot Administration, well aware of the Turkish Cypriot Sides willingness for a solution, was touring around the world and using its EU membership to pressure Turkey, the President reminded that Ankara supported a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. Talat also complained that the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias had used his opportunity to meet with US President Obama at the NATO summit to complain about Turkey. Just think about ityou walk up to someone you are meeting for the first time and then you complain to them, said the President.

    Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot Sides willingness for a peaceful settlement despite all the negative developments, Talat said: We are deeply grateful to you and for the support you have shown us along the way. You have also supported us in the international arena. I am extremely pleased.

    Asked to comment about the US Presidents words on the Cyprus Problem, the President said that they welcomed the interest shown by Washington for a settlement. President Talat said that they expected the United States, as a superpower, to show interest and contribute to efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution on the island.

    [02] Avci criticized President Christofias for his statements on Varosha

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.04.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Deputy Prime Minister- Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has criticized the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias for his recent statements on the issue of Maras [occupied Varosha].

    In a statement, Mr Avci said the Turkish Cypriot side was uncomfortable with the initiatives launched by the Greek Cypriot side away from the negotiation table.Earlier, Christofias was quoted as saying that Maras was a region under invasion and promising his people to bring a solution to the problem through initiatives to be taken away from the table.

    In a statement, Mr Avci criticized Christofias for his remarks, and stressed that any initiative to be taken unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot Side would remain barren. If we are to speak of an invasion in Cyprus, we can speak of the Greek Cypriot invasion of the 1960s Republic of Cyprus in 1963 by force of arms, Avci went on saying. The Minister pointed out that Maras was a TRNC land and was completely under the TRNC sovereignty. The issue of Maras will only be resolved through negotiations, he stressed.

    In his statement, Avci called on the Greek Cypriot Leader to give up with such initiatives, which he called useless, and to make his best to help bring about a sustainable and functionable settlement in Cyprus. Christofias is invited to seriously negotiate with the Turkish Cypriot side, which is the equal partner of the Greek Cypriot side, Avci said.

    He stated that the Greek Cypriot Administration was mistaken by expecting to strike a pro-Greek Cypriot solution to the Cyprus problem by exerting pressure on the TRNC and Turkey with its unilateral initiatives.

    The Foreign Minister also warned that bringing the negotiation issues onto the EU basis or any other international platform would hamper the peace progress in Cyprus.

    [03] Soyer and Eroglu participated in a debate on the upcoming elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.04.09) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG) and so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dervis Eroglu took part last night in The last situation programme on the Turkish Cypriot local television channel KIBRIS TV. The programme was presented by the journalist Resar Akar within the framework of the upcoming elections. The leaders debated for three hours the economic and political issues in the occupied areas.

    Mr Eroglu asked Mr Soyer whether the CTP has made an agreement with President Christofias regarding the Cyprus problem. Mr Soyer said that Mr Christofias and CTP made an agreement in principle for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution in Cyprus and he criticized Mr Christofias that he does not comply with that. On this issue, there was a quarrel between the two leaders. Mr Soyer said that Mr Eroglu is an ally with Christofias and reminded that AKEL and UBP voted for NO in the referendum regarding the Annan plan in 2004, but CTP and the Democratic Rally Party (DISY) voted YES.

    Commenting on the U.S. President Obamas statement on the Cyprus problem, Mr Eroglu said that a federal solution could be lasting and just in case it was made between two equal sides. He also said that Mr Obama declared his support for the Cyprus settlement only in Ankara and criticized the fact that in Mr Obamas statement there was no support for lifting the imbalance between the two sides on the island.

    On his behalf, Mr Soyer, referring to the same issue, said that he is satisfied with Mr Obamas statements regarding Turkey and Cyprus. Commenting on Mr Eroglus statement that Mr Obama did not mention the lifting of isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, Mr Soyer reminded the statement by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to Turkey when she said that the isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted. Reminding that the principle of UBP was only negotiations between states, Mr Soyer said that during the UBP period only the view of confederation and not federation was put forward, the EU was described as a mincing machine and UBP put obstacles to the foreign ambassadors for crossing in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    (DPs)

    [04] Obama is quoted by Radikal to have said that the Cyprus problem has become a Gordian knot

    Under the title Is the Turkish army sacrificed for Obama?, Turkish daily Radikal newspaper (07.04.09) publishes details on the meeting held the other day between the US President Barack Obama with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul. Cyprus, Afghanistan, PKK and Armenia were the issues discussed.

    According to the paper, during the meetings held between the delegations of the two countries, as well as during the meeting held between the two Presidents at the Cankaya Palace, Barack Obama affirmed his countrys support to Turkey as regards Cyprus and the fight against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). On his part, Abdullah Gul affirmed Turkeys support on the withdrawal of the United States from Iraq and on the issue of Afghanistan.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Ankaras ambassador to the USA Nabi Sensoy, Chief advisor on foreign policy issues to Premier Erdogan Ahmet Davutoglu, President Guls diplomatic advisor Gurcan Turkoglu and Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan were also present at the meeting.

    As Radikal writes, President Obama had conveyed the following message on the Cyprus problem:

    The Cyprus problem will be solved: We are aware of the fact that Cyprus is weakening the relations between Turkey and the EU and the people on the island and that this issue has been transformed to a Gordian knot at international level. Under the auspices of the UN, we will use all of our power in order to solve this problem taking into consideration the revision of the Anan Plan as well.

    [05] Exclusive statements to Hurriyet by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon: I am still optimistic about the future of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (08.04.09) reports in an exclusive reportage on the statements made by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the paper. The UN Secretary-General who started his statements with the Turkish phrase Tesekkur Ederim [Tr. Note: A Turkish phrase which means Thanks], as the paper writes, at the private office of Ciragan Palace where he went for the 2nd Alliance of Civilizations Forum, referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and said: I am still optimistic about the future of the Cyprus problem. I met last week in Paris with the leader of the Turks, Mehmet Ali Talat. He gave me a positive picture regarding the negotiation process. A friendship was born between Talat and the Greek leader Christofias. I think that this friendship will play an important role in the solution of the Cyprus problem. From here, I call on the two leaders to show the maximum flexibility for the solution. The UN work at full speed for Cyprus. Of course, I do know that matters such as Governance and Power Sharing, Security and the Property distribution are very sensitive. However, Mr. Talat told me that they exert every effort to cooperate on these matters.

    (AK)

    [06] HAVADIS paper reports that Turkish Minister Bagis will visit the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (08.04.09), reports the following in the column Free Platform:

    Egemen Bagis comes for ORP.

    While it is expected with interest whether the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will meddle in the elections in the TRNC, it has been found out that the Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief negotiator, Mr Egemen Bagis will come to the TRNC with a group of friends the week before the elections.

    While there is an allegation that AKP, which has sent election busses with an election consulting firm, will support the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) even though not as a party, but through the mediation of some deputies, it is reported that the target of the operation is to make ORP the junior coalition partner in the coming period. Meanwhile, it is said that the other parties, which participate in the general elections will follow step by step Egemen Bagis visit and make a complaint to the Prime Minister Erdogan in case they notice a meddling.

    (DPs)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] From the Turkish Press of 7 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 7 April 2009:

    a) US President Barack Obamas visit to Turkey:

    Istanbul Referans carries an article entitled "Barack Hussein Obama: Honest, sensitive, friendly" by Cengiz Candar who says that Obama's number one priority is to rebuild relations between the West and the Muslim world in a peaceful manner excluding the use of force. Noting that the new US government regards Turkey as a Muslim country where East and West come together although it is a part of the West, Candar comments: "If closer relations are to be established between the West and the Muslim world as envisaged by Obama, there is a special role to be played by Turkey in that regard. But, Turkey needs to be tightly anchored to the West in order to play that role successfully. If its membership in NATO is not complemented with EU membership, Turkey could not serve as a model for the Muslim world as imagined by Obama's America. Therefore, the United States will continue to give strong support for Turkey's accession to the EU during the Obama presidency. This is probably the most important aspect of Obama's visit."

    Candar points out that the concept of "strategic partnership" between Turkey and the United States will assume its true meaning during the Obama presidency. He goes on to say: "This will be a 'model' or an 'exemplary' partnership. Turkey will be regarded as one of the most important countries in the world and treated accordingly. A kind of company is being jointly formed by the United States and Turkey in order to cooperate and address various problems in the world. Everything and all of us are at the beginning of a new period."

    Istanbul Milliyet carries an article entitled "Obama and the Caucasus" by Taha Akyol who writes that a better era in Turkish-American relations has begun with Obama. He comments: "The most important 'common interest' between the United States and Turkey is preventing ethnic, religious, and ideological extremists from undermining international relations and violating borders by resorting to violence and to preserve stability. Bush attempted to achieve it by using weapons and he created a worse situation. Obama intends to achieve it by using politics and this coincides with Turkey's fundamental preferences."

    Pointing out that individual problems should not be allowed to hurt the common interests of the two countries, Akyol concludes by saying that achieving stability in the Caucasus and normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations would be facilitated if the United States puts pressure on Armenia for settling the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.

    In an article entitled "Partnership model proposed by Obama," Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila says that Obama gave strong messages indicating that a new period has started during his visit to Ankara. He says: "He made comments which were much different than those of former US President Bush. He portrayed a world based on peace, compromise, and dialogue rather than military force not only for Turkey, but for all countries."

    In an article entitled "President Obama delivered a nice and balanced speech," Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal says that Obama advised Turkey straightforwardly that it should resolve its problems with Armenia as well as the Kurdish and Cyprus questions. Pointing out that Obama also reiterated his country's strong support for Turkey's accession to the EU, Cemal says: "If you ask what the common denominator of Obama's messages was from Turkey's standpoint, the answer is Turkey's stability. In other words, Turkey would make more progress if it presses ahead with its democratization drive and continues to uphold the notion of the rule of law, gives reforms required by the EU a new impetus, comes to terms with its past, normalizes its relations with Armenia, finds a solution to the Kurdish issue and the stalemate in Cyprus."

    Istanbul Radikal publishes an article entitled "Obama took Ankara by storm" by Murat Yetkin who argues that Obama's reference to "strong, vibrant, secular Turkish democracy" which he described as Kemal Ataturk's legacy apparently pleased Turkish generals as well as Republican People's Party and Nationalist Action Party leaders who were present in the plenary session of the National Assembly. He says: "I think that everybody heard a part of what they were expecting to hear in Obama's speech. They also saw that comments which they did not want to hear were made in a careful manner without bringing disagreements to the fore."

    In an article entitled "The result of shaking Obama's hand," Radikal columnist Nuray Mert says that current problems in the Middle East, Iran, and Afghanistan were the main reason for Obama's visit to Turkey, predicting that the United States may ask Turkey to send more troops to Afghanistan and to permit a wider use of Incirlik air base for operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She comments: "In short, it is evident that Obama will leave balls of fire in our hands while shaking them. Both the ruling party and the opposition parties should, therefore, begin brooding over what we are going to do with those balls while taking a more realistic approach."

    Istanbul Yeni Safak carries an article entitled "Obama's visit to Ankara" by Fehmi Koru who says that the Obama presidency will probably let the whole world to breathe a sigh of relief after the Bush presidency, which, he asserts, also made Americans feel ashamed. Pointing out that the term "model partnership" will probably be used for describing Turkish-US relations in the future, Koru comments: "A warning would be appropriate here. We should better not leave the task of determining the scope of 'model partnership" to the United States although it has been conceptualized there. Turkey should present itself as a model with its existing values rather than being a 'partner' that the United States would like to see."

    Istanbul Anadolu'da Vakit carries an article entitled "What if it happens although he said that it would not happen?" by Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu, where he criticizes Obama for not mentioning current restrictions on wearing headscarf and what he describes as discrimination against the graduates of theocratic high schools in Turkey although he commented on various issues, which are regarded as Turkey's internal affairs. Karahasanoglu also argues that Obama's statement that the United States has never been at war with Islam is not true because it has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Emphasizing that Obama should refrain from giving messages amounting to interference in Turkey's internal affairs and set a date for withdrawing US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, he concludes by saying: "I do not even say that he should side with the oppressed. He should at least remain impartial and not support tyrants."

    Milli Gazete Online carries an article entitled "Not listening to the US President" by Osman Toprak who argues that the United States and its allies should immediately withdraw their troops from countries, which they have invaded if they sincerely desire a reconciliation between civilizations. He says: "Otherwise, Obama would not convince except for several political actors who believe that the American dream is not harmful even if he goes on pilgrimage and try to make amends to Muslims in Kaaba."

    In an article entitled "Obama: Turkey's chance", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu comments on statements by Barack Obama in Ankara yesterday calling on Turkey to open its border with Armenia, establish close relations with the Iraqi Kurdish administration, and promote the democratic rights of its Kurdish citizens as well as the religious freedoms of its "minorities." Criticizing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Osman Bolukbasi for voicing disappointment at the similarity between the EU and Obama's expectations from Turkey, Bayramoglu argues that Obama expressed "the spirit of the times" in urging Turkey to press ahead with democratization. He also claims that it is because he represents "the spirit of the post-Bush era" by virtue of his emphasis on such themes that Obama was elected into office in the first place.

    In an article entitled "Is the US war on Islam over?", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul poses the question whether Barack Obama's "hope-inspiring" remarks announcing that the United States has never been and will never be at war with Islam marks a reversal of an ongoing historical process characterized by a major rift between the Muslim and Western worlds. He argues that while Obama deserves to be lauded for getting across such messages toward the Muslim world, there is reason to be sceptical about the prospects he holds out given how NATO is conducting all its operations in or around Muslim regions, how the alliance has perceived Muslims as its "enemy" ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union some 20 years ago, and how Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen has been appointed as secretary-general of NATO regardless of the way he allowed his country to "curse the sacred values of hundreds of millions of Muslims" by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

    In an article entitled "Obama's lie and a dissolution plan", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven accuses Barack Obama of telling a lie and "treating billions of Muslims as fools" in asserting that the United States has never been and will never be at war with Islam. In disputing Obama's claim, Arseven asks whether US soldiers in Iraq did not use copies of the Koran for target practice, whether US troops in Afghanistan did not provoke major street protests by burning copies of Muslims' holy book, whether Bush mentors like Benny Hinn, Franklin Graham, and Jimmy Swaggart did not openly say that they had waged war on the Prophet Mohammad and Islam, whether US General James Mattis, "one of the architects of the Al-Fallujah massacre in Iraq," did not say that he derived a lot of pleasure from killing Muslims, etc. Arseven also argues that in "resorting to the lie that the US has never declared war on Islam," Obama is disclosing a new strategy based on the perception that "there is no sense in targeting all Muslims." He claims that this strategy, detailed in a study entitled "Back to Balancing in the Middle East," is aimed at eliminating popular anti-US leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad and disbanding Hezbollah and Hamas.

    Finally, in an article entitled "Complicated relations", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren asserts that the Islamic world "looks at Obama with cautious optimism. The caution stems from the conviction that the United States' principal policies cannot be changed by its leaders whereas the optimism is a result of the perception that Obama was actually elected president unexpectedly in a country like the United States and that he will take world realities more seriously than his predecessors." Tasgetiren also claims that the messages Obama has conveyed in Turkey so far include elements that could counterbalance "European insensitivity" toward Turkey.


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