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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-27

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. 76/09 25-27.04.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu claims that solution in Cyprus can only be achieved with the existence of Turkeys guarantorship and Turkish occupation army
  • [02] Statements by Emine Erk on the Orams case: Tomorrows statement by the European Court of Justice is very important for the Orams case, but it is not the end of the world
  • [03] Erdogan views foreign policy issues, among them Cyprus, with Aspen Atlantic Group
  • [04] Turkey to cooperate in defense with Syria, Germany and Kuwait
  • [05] Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff paid a 12-hour visit to Ankara
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] From the Turkish Press of 24, 25 and 26 April 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu claims that solution in Cyprus can only be achieved with the existence of Turkeys guarantorship and Turkish occupation army

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.04.09) broadcast the following:

    The winner of Sundays parliamentary election, National Unity Party (UBP) is in support of the solution of the Cyprus problem and the European Union process.

    The UBP leader, Dervis Eroglu, reacted against the claims that UBP did not want peace in Cyprus, during last nights victory celebration. The UBP organized a special public event to celebrate the election victory at the Inonu Square in capital Lefkosia.

    They are trying to present us as the party standing next to the non-solution. However we are in favour of an honorable political settlement in Cyprus, Eroglu stressed in his address at the event.

    He said that UBP is a supporter and protector of peace.

    Underlining the need for achieving a guaranteed solution, Mr. Eroglu stated that this guarantee will only be there with the existence of Turkeys guarantorship and the Turkish Armed Forces.

    Some say guarantorship is not concordant with the EU but guarantorship is what derived from international agreements, Eroglu emphasized.

    Further, illegal Bayrak television (25.04.09) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Dervis Eroglu, has given an interview to the BRT newsroom. Here he answered questions about what his party hopes to achieve in the future.

    Upon being asked if he will be setting up a majority government, the UBP leader replied: Yes, we are going to use this opportunity to set up a majority government, plus this has already been approved by the partys assembly.

    Eroglu did, however, add that during the next week he would start meeting with other political parties to hear their views regarding this decision.

    Reminding that he will be taking over the government as of the 1st of May Mr. Eroglu said: I will be setting up the new government within 3 to 5 days. With the government program being announced and a vote of confidence taking place it will probably take us 15 to 20 days to complete our workings.

    Noting that he would be keeping his word to the people by taking up the issue of the economy first, Mr. Eroglu said: We must start taking measures straight away to prevent the situation from becoming worse.

    Upon being asked his views about the free zone the party had pledged to set up during its election campaign, the leader of UBP said that within the first 100 days his party takes control of the government, they will prepare a law and will start putting this into action stage by stage.

    Asked his views regarding the Cyprus problem, Mr. Eroglu criticized statements that were being made by Greek Cypriot sources. The Greek Cypriot side is the side that is continuing with its intransigent attitude. They are trying to trick the world into believing that its the Turkish Cypriot side that is intransigent. We as the National Unity Party are in favor of the continuation of the negotiations process. No one should be worried, we will not be the side that leaves the negotiating table, said Mr. Eroglu.

    We will be in constant consultations with the President during the negotiations process, we too want peace and a solution to the Cyprus problem, he added.

    [02] Statements by Emine Erk on the Orams case: Tomorrows statement by the European Court of Justice is very important for the Orams case, but it is not the end of the world

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (27.04.09) in its front page and under the title They are testing themselves reports on the statements by Mrs. Emine Erk, chairperson of the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation (KTIHV) who has evaluated the decision of the European Court of Justice on the Orams case which is expected to be announced tomorrow. Mrs. Emine Erk, said, inter alia, that tomorrows statement by the European Court of Justice is very important for the Orams case, but it is not the end of the world.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (27.04.09), reports on the same issue under the title The eyes are focused on the Orams. The paper reports that tomorrows decision of the European Court of Justice is the most crucial and the most important of the decisions which have been taken until today about the TRNC.

    (AK)

    [03] Erdogan views foreign policy issues, among them Cyprus, with Aspen Atlantic Group

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.04.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has talked about Turkey's facilitator role for solution of problems of third countries while receiving the Aspen Atlantic Group (AAG) in Ankara on Friday.

    During his meeting with the Aspen Atlantic Group, Erdogan criticized the EU member countries for not reacting to Greek Cypriot administration's efforts to place obstacles in Turkey's EU process.

    Erdogan discussed issues such as the EU, NATO, Turkey's relations with its neighbors, EU process, relations with Armenia, Cyprus problem, G-20 and recent developments in the energy field with members of the group.

    The Aspen Atlantic Group is a non-partisan initiative of former serving North American and European foreign ministers. The group seeks to develop concrete recommendations to help the two sides of the Atlantic address common global challenges.

    On the issue, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (27.04.09) reports that the AAG signs up senior foreign policymakers who seek to develop concrete, non-partisan recommendations to help the two sides of the Atlantic address common global challenges. The recommendations adopted by the AAG have an impact on others because the members of the group have leverage as leaders of opinion, and most serve as advisors to governments and political parties across the spectrum. The group has addressed such issues as Iraqi reconstruction, Iran's nuclear program, the fight against terrorism, peace in the Middle East, humanitarian intervention and reform of the transatlantic architecture.

    Aspen Atlantic Group former foreign ministers who attended the meetings in Ankara are Madeleine Albright (United States), Malcolm Rifkind (United Kingdom), Lamberto Dini (Italy), Lloyd Axworthy (Canada), Igor Ivanov (Russia), Jozias Van Aartsen (Netherlands), Joschka Fischer (Germany), Niels Helveg Petersen (Denmark), Hubert Védrine (France), Donald McKinnon (New Zealand), Jan Eliasson (Sweden), János Martonyi (Hungary), Rosario Green (Mexico), Ana Palacio (Spain), Halldór Ásgrímsson (Iceland) and Mircea Dan Geoana (Romania).

    [04] Turkey to cooperate in defense with Syria, Germany and Kuwait

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (27.04.09) reports the following:

    As a sign of increased confidence in relations, Turkey and neighboring Syria plan to sign a letter of intent giving the green light for cooperation in the defense industry. The letter of intent will be signed on the sidelines of the 9th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF'09), due to start today in Istanbul at the Tuyap Fair, Convention and Congress Center in Istanbul's Buyukcekmece.

    Turkish defense industry sources told Today's Zaman that the letter of intent to be signed between the two countries is a sign of the level of political relations reached between Turkey and Syria.

    Otherwise, it does not mean that the two countries will immediately enter into cooperation in arms production, the same sources emphasized.

    The letter of intent is expected to be signed between visiting Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani and Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul either today or tomorrow.

    In 1999 Turkey and Syria signed what was known as the Adana agreement following the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who is currently serving a life term at the prison island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara that envisaged security cooperation among the two countries. Ocalan was allowed to reside in Syria for decades before he was deported from this country and was finally apprehended in Kenya in 1999. Since then Turkish-Syrian relations have improved both in terms of security as well as in the economic and political arenas.

    As a sign of Damascus' trust, Turkey has played the role of facilitator between Syria and Israel to solve their disputes stemming from the control of Golan Heights. However, the talks were ended because of Turkey's strained relations with Israel due to the Israel's attacks on Gaza and the national elections held in Tel Aviv.

    Subtitle: Turkey, Germany to cooperate in defense

    In a related development, Turkey and Germany today will sign an agreement over cooperation in defense equipment research, development, production, procurement, support in training and industrial cooperation on the sidelines of the IDEF'09 in Istanbul.

    The agreement will lay the groundwork for a strategic partnership between the two countries in the defense industry, said a statement released by the German Embassy in Ankara on Thursday.

    Turkey's intention to forge cooperation with Germany in the production of strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which can fly at an altitude of over 30,000 feet and have a long range, has prompted Ankara to sign defense industry cooperation with Berlin. The EADS consortium of Germany and France is currently developing a strategic UAV.

    The agreement will also pave the way for Turkish-German cooperation in the production of standard jammers for the air force that prevent enemy radars from detecting F-16 fighter jets.

    However, the Undersecratariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), Turkey's main civilian procurement agency, is said to be in favor of cooperation with Germany on the acquisition of standard jammer systems while the Turkish Air Force Command has allegedly been opposing cooperation with Germany.

    In a separate development, Germany has refused to provide Turkey with the national software source codes of submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. The SSM selected Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and Marine Force International (MFI) to provide its Type 214 (AIP submarines) craft in July 2008.

    Contract negotiations for the 2.5 billion euro program are continuing and the boats are to be built at Turkey's Golcuk naval shipyard, with the first boat to be delivered in 2015.

    On Turkeys defense cooperation, Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.04.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey and Kuwait will have military cooperation, the Turkish General Staff said on Sunday.

    Turkey and Kuwait would sign a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation, a General Staff information note said.

    Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug and Gen. Fahd Al-Ameer, the chief of defense of Kuwait, will sign the agreement in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Monday on the sidelines of the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF'09).

    The fair will open at the TUYAP Fair, Convention and Congress Center in Istanbul on Monday. It will stay open till April 30.

    [05] Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff paid a 12-hour visit to Ankara

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (27.04.09) under the title, He held a 4-hour meeting with Basbug, reports that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), was in Ankara for a 12-hour visit.

    According to the paper, Mr Mullen met only with the Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug. The meeting of the two Chiefs lasted for four hours and issues such as the fight against terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan and Caucasus were on the agenda.

    (EA)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] From the Turkish Press of 24, 25 and 26 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 24, 25 and 26 April 2009:

    a) Turkeys conditions for agreement with Armenia

    Stressing that "the realization of the agreement between Turkey and Armenia depends on an agreement between the Azerbaijanis and the Armenians regarding Karabakh," Mehmet Ali Birand, in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (24.04.09) cites Ahmet Davutoglu, chief adviser to the prime minister, as saying that Turkey has already informed Azerbaijan on all the developments between the two countries. Birand adds, however, that Azerbaijan's strong reaction to the efforts made for normalizing the ties between Turkey and Armenia is justified and says: "They are suspicious and concerned about any change after 17 years of status quo. They want to be on the safe side of things in the new balances to be formed."

    In an article in the Hurriyet Daily News (24.04.09), Yusuf Kanli draws attention to the differences in the statements issued by Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan regarding the talks with Armenia and emphasizes that "the normalization of the relations with Armenia should not come as a payback to a bonus of the American President not using the 'genocide' word." Arguing that if Obama talks about "genocide" on 24 April, he will have used the last card for blackmailing Turkey, Kanli asks whether Turkey should turn its back to Azerbaijan just for the sake of preventing Obama from using the "contentious word."

    The statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the evening of 22 April merely aims to show Washington that "Turkey is carrying out the instructions given by President Obama regarding the normalization of the ties with Armenia," says Tufan Turenc in an article in Hurriyet (24.04.09) and draws attention to the statement issued by Erdogan to the effect that "Turkey will never do anything to upset Azerbaijan and that the borders will not be opened until Armenia ends the occupation." In other words, Turkey's policy is based on defiance at home and compliance abroad, notes Turenc and, recalling that contrary to Erdogan's statements Rasmussen has neither apologized, nor banned Roj TV, says: "Given that Erdogan is not able to make anyone listen to him abroad, he pushes away the laws and democracy at home and satisfies himself by using the power of the state for eliminating those who oppose him. Today Turkey is a police state in the leadership of an autocratic prime minister and it is moving toward becoming a society that lives in fear."

    Also questioning whether the statement issued by Ankara and Yerevan to the effect that an agreement has been reached on a road map merely aims "to throw a rescue line to Obama," in Hurriyet (24.04.09) columnist Ferai Tinc asserts that "normalization of the ties with Armenia should not constitute a cosmetic remedy, but a serious change that will strengthen the ties." Criticizing the prime minister and the Justice and Development Party, AKP, for not informing the opposition parties about the developments and not taking Azerbaijan's concerns seriously, Tinc underlines that the United States primarily and the entire world are aware that it is impossible to achieve normalization in the region without resolving the Karabakh issue. Tinc says: "It is important to enlighten the publics and to bring about the suitable mental environment for normalization. Similar to the way that Clinton has briefed the US Congress, the [Turkish] Government should eliminate the opposition's question marks. A road map that will be developed without taking these steps will merely remain as an effort to put off an additional 24 April. It will be a pity."

    Following the statement issued by Turkey and Armenia regarding the agreement reached on the road map, Obama will probably refrain from saying "genocide," asserts Fikret Bila in an article in Milliyet (24.04.09) and talks about the details of the road map. Referring to Azerbaijan's concerns regarding the talks between the two countries, Bila points out that Ankara has already informed Baku that it will not take any steps that will upset Azerbaijan. Ankara continues to hold talks for the normalization of the ties with Armenia on the one hand, and, on the other, it imposes pressure on the United States and Russia for the acceleration of the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, says Bila, adding: "Ankara believes that if the two processes develop in a parallel manner and in a way that support each other, the results that will be achieved will bring about an environment that will be very positive for the Caucasus."

    If the normalization of the ties between Turkey and Armenia will be linked to the solution of the Karabakh issue, this may take a long time, points out in Milliyet (24.04.09) Sami Kohen in a commentary. Agreeing that following the recent developments Obama will not say genocide, Kohen questions whether the Aliyev administration will change its recent stand against Turkey following Ankara's assurances. The implementation of the agreement announced by the Foreign Ministry is dependent not only on Baku's stand, but also on the determination that will be displayed by the Turkish Government, underlines Kohen.

    The chances for progress regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue have increased with the road map for the normalization of the ties between Turkey and Armenia, argues Cengiz Candar in an article in Radikal (24.04.09). Explaining that within the framework of the road map an inter-governmental conference will be held for initiating diplomatic ties between the two countries, Candar also notes that a joint committee of historian will also be established for handling the Armenian genocide claims. The normalization of the ties between Turkey and Armenia is an inevitable step of history, geography, the 21st century, and the current conditions, says Candar, adding: "May God speed Turkey in its journey to the Caucasus with 'the road map.' We should know that this journey is a short cut for Turkey's journey to Europe."

    Praising the efforts for the normalization of the ties, in Radikal (24.04.09) columnist, Hasan Celal Guzel says however, that President Obama or the "24 April blackmail" should not overshadow the ties between the two countries. In an article Guzel stresses that he wants to believe that the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan will end as a result of the development of the ties between Turkey and Armenia. Nonetheless, adds Guzel, I want to underline that if we are forced to make a choice between Armenia and Azerbaijan, we should choose Azerbaijan without any hesitation, not only because it is our brother, but also because it is the most important country in the Caucasus and because it is right.

    In an article under the title "Opening borders with those who have overstepped the mark", in Vakit (24.04.09) columnist Ahmet Varol asserts that Ankara should not fail to continue linking a possible rapprochement with Armenia to the resolution of the Karabakh issue. He claims that the way for Turkey to show that it is exercising free will regardless of international pressures in determining its foreign policies would be to insist that Armenia withdraw from Karabakh before opening the Turkish-Armenian border.

    In a commentary in Zaman (24.04.09) entitled "Debating 24 April between Borders", Associate Professor M. Vedat Gurbuz argues that Baku is pursuing a policy that threatens to alienate Turkey, isolate Azerbaijan from the international community, and force it into Russia's orbit in declaring Russia a "strategic ally" in response to the efforts to bring about a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. He also explains in what sense Turkey is using a "highly successful tactic" in stopping insisting that Armenia give up its claims of genocide in return for the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and starting to link the resolution of the border issue only to the ending of the Karabakh dispute.

    In a column in Milliyet (25.04.09), Sami Kohen views the initiatives that have been made for an agreement between Turkey and Armenia and notes the importance of Ankara taking all the necessary steps to avoid upsetting Azerbaijan. In a column he warns against the leaking of information on the agreement Turkey has reached with Armenia and the way it will be realized, saying that it will seriously harm the process that will be put into effect. Kohen asserts: The occupation of Azerbaijan's territory is the priority problem at the present time. It seems that an agreement is about to be reached on the return of five of the seven areas occupied by Armenia to Azerbaijan. That will be a very important step. Undoubtedly, Turkey's dialogue with Yerevan on the matter will facilitate the return of Azerbaijan's territory.

    In an article entitled "The framework of the road map agreement with Armenia", Milli Gazete (25.04.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan argues that the Erdogan government is deceiving the Turkish public in making an agreement with Yerevan on a road map for normalizing relations without first requiring Armenia to stop its "blood feud" against Turkey and withdrawing from Karabakh. He claims that the said agreement does not include any provisions on the state of Karabakh, a situation that he claims conflicts with Prime Minister Erdogan's repeated statements announcing that Turkey would not open its border with Armenia as long as the latter failed to resolve its dispute with Azerbaijan over Karabakh.

    Questioning whether the Turkish-Armenian border will be opened in an article in Milliyet (26.04.09), Hasan Pulur predicts that it will. Wondering whether the border will be opened after Armenia recognizes Turkey's current borders or whether Armenia will insist on the borders that it has drawn, which show certain Turkish provinces such as Van, Ardahan, and Artvin within Armenian territories, Pulur is dismissive of Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks that the Azeris will not be compromised in the Turkish-Armenian negotiations, arguing that similar promises made by Erdogan on the appointment of Rasmussen as NATO Secretary General were not kept and the Danish politician was appointed to head NATO although he did not apologize for the Prophet Muhammad cartoons, Roj TV has not been closed down, and a Turk has not been appointed as one of the deputies to the NATO Secretary General. Pulur concludes: "The border will be opened because Obama has so decreed."

    It seems as if Turkey will open its border with Armenia before Armenia withdraws from Karabakh and the other Azeri territories it is currently occupying, charges Hikmet Bila in an article in Vatan (26.04.09). Dismissing the Azerbaijani factor as the fundamental problem in this equation, Bila argues that the issue at stake here is Turkey's own borders and its sovereignty rights. Turkish officials are still unaware that Obama has used the word "genocide" albeit in Armenian, maintains Bila, adding that Turkey is being pushed to admit that it has committed genocide. In conclusion, Bila writes: "How and when Turkey will use that word is still unknown, but it is certain that the 'Armenian problem' will begin when that word is used."

    Under the headline, "Ankara insists on 'Two States one Nation,'" Yeni Safak (26.04.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that Ankara is determined to maintain relations with Azerbaijan on the basis of the "two states, one nation" principle despite Baku's sharp response to the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement process. According to the report, the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia and the "tension" between Ankara and Baku will be discussed at the National Security Council, MGK, meeting on 28 April.

    b) Reactions to President Obamas statement on the Armenian genocide

    A report by Ahu Ozyurt in Istanbul Milliyet (25.04.09) says that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has adopted a cautious approach on the term President Obama used in the statement he made on the occasion of the activities that have been organized to remember the Armenians who died early in the past century. The report says that Foreign Minister Babacan held an urgent meeting on the matter.

    Viewing President Obama's 24 April speech in his article in Hurriyet (26.04.09), Oktay Eksi stresses that he is an expert in playing with words. Although during his visit to Turkey, he gave us hope and created the impression that he would not use the word "genocide" while referring to the 1915 incidents, Eksi says that the US president did not make any promises, on the contrary, he did emphasize that his views on the incidents have not changed. By using the Armenian expression "Meds Yeghern," a term used by the Armenians themselves to refer to the 1915 incidents, Obama, in a way, kept his promise to the Armenians although he did not use the English word "genocide," Eksi maintains, adding that the US president can still claim toward Turkey that he did not refer to the incidents as genocide. Describing this play on words as a lack of honesty and sincerity, Eksi declares that now we will doubt the meaning of every word he utters.

    Assessing President Obama's speech and the Turkish-Armenian negotiation process in his article in Hurriyet (26.04.09), Enis Berberoglu focuses on two points. The omission of the world "genocide" has avoided turbulence in Turkish-US relations, maintains Berberoglu, adding that although the Armenian expression equivalent to a "Great calamity" was used by Obama, one can say that the worst is behind us and that the probability of Obama using the world genocide in future years has diminished. Berberoglu, however, points to another problem in the normalization process regarding the Turkish-Armenian-Azerbaijani triangle, that being the differences in the positions adopted by the prime minister and the president regarding the issue. The president, far from political concerns, favors proposals for a solution, while the prime minister is concerned about his voters and the conditions for opening the Armenian border, explains Berberoglu, questioning whether this difference in positions will endanger the process.

    The term used by President Obama to refer to the 1915 incidents is irrelevant since his definition of the incidents attests to genocide, writes in Vatan (26.04.09) columnist Okay Gonensin in an article. With the exception of a few Western academicians and Turkey, the world accepts this definition, maintains Gonensin, adding that the Turkish public was kept ignorant of those incidents for many years. Being locked on what Obama said or will say does not contribute to the solution of the issue "for the good of humanity," concludes the writer.

    Viewing Obama's reference to the 1915 incidents as "Meds Yeghern-Great calamity," the expression in Armenian to describe those incidents, in Radikal (26.04.09) columnist Murat Yetkin in his article details the reaction of the various sectors and countries to the speech of the US president. Obama's speech did not satisfy anyone, writes Yetkin, adding: "Neither the US voters, nor Turkey, nor Armenia, nor Azerbaijan found what they wished for in this announcement. On the other hand, this vessel was rescued from being grounded and continued to sail even if through discontent. In politics sometimes the common denominator is found not in everyone's satisfaction but in everyone's dissatisfaction."

    In an article entitled "It means the same thing in Turkish: Great catastrophe", in Yeni Safak (26.04.09) columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes US President Barack Obama for his "unfortunate" use of the Armenian term "Meds Yeghern" [Great Catastrophe] in reference to the events of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey. He asserts that Obama's "surprise" move will not please anyone expect a restricted number of "radicals" in Armenia and "Diaspora fanatics who have made it their raison d'etre to make sure Turkey is punished" over the said events. He claims that it is not appropriate for the United States and its president to make "one-sided accusations" against Turkey over historical incidents or use these incidents for political purposes, adding that Obama's "mistake" is set to undermine Turkey's "painstaking" efforts to bring about a rapprochement with Armenia.

    Under the headline, "First fiasco," Vakit (26.04.09) carries a front-page report which asserts that Barack Obama has failed to deal successfully with "his first diplomatic challenge," namely the presidential statement on 24 April. According to the report, Obama's use of the term "Great Catastrophe" instead of "genocide" in reference to the 1915 events has failed to satisfy anyone. Published along with the report is a cartoon showing President Obama having a hard time trying to perform a balancing act on a balloon of "Armenian lies" placed precariously on the peak of a mountain that represents "Turkish-American relations."

    In an article entitled "Letters from Armenians dated 1914", in Vakit (24.04.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin asserts that Barack Obama "lost his credibility with the Turkish public" when he made "lavish promises" to Armenians to recognize the events of 1915 as "genocide" during his election campaign. He claims that "true leaders" would never accuse a country of committing genocide in the absence of strong evidence to support such an allegation. He asserts that it is not to Obama's credit that he did not use the word "genocide" in his 24 April statement given how he referred to the said events as "the Great Catastrophe." He also highlights passages from "letters by Armenian rebels" in Turkey before the deportation in 1915 disclosing how "Armenians joined the Russian army in great numbers to fight the Turks" and how they tried to establish an independent Armenian state on Turkish soil by supporting Russian, British, and French plans to partition Turkey.

    In a commentary entitled "Obama's speech is a great catastrophe" in Milli Gazete (26.04.09) writer Oya Akgonenc compares Obama's 24 April statement with former US presidential statements on Armenian Remembrance Day and claims that Obama's remarks include the most scathing comments on the 1915 events ever made by US leaders. She claims that Obama's statement indicates that Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia have not made any favorable impression on the US president. She also criticizes Washington for not making any mention of the "mass massacres" committed by Armenians in eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey during the last years of the Ottoman Empire or the assassinations carried out by ASALA against Turkish diplomats and putting the Armenian death toll in the 1915 events at 1,5 million in line with Armenian allegations in disregard of documents in Ottoman archives that give the lie to such claims.

    Finally an article entitled "Obama proves a politician", in Bugun (26.04.09) columnist Erhan Basyurt asserts that Barack Obama's remarks in his 24 April statement lauding Armenians for the "dynamism, talent, and resilience" that have enabled them to "resist those who tried to destroy them" and for their "contributions" that have "enriched" the United States indicate that the US president will act like a politician rather than a statesman. He also calls attention to the US "deportation" of Japanese citizens in the United States following the Pearl Harbor attacks as well as to the loss of "over 1,5 million" Iraqi lives since 1994 owing the US embargo and occupation campaign against Iraq and says he wishes Obama, who referred to a Turkish saying in his address to the Turkish parliament in Ankara, had been reminded of the saying that "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones" before releasing his 24 April statement.

    EG/


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