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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-06-25

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. 117/09 25.06.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Mehmet Ali Talat: What we shall agree on, we shall hand it over to constitution writers or to whoever will do this work, a Turk, a Greek Cypriot, perhaps a constitution expert from Turkey, or perhaps from other places
  • [02] Hasan Ercakika stated that a possible settlement must pass as valid in accordance with the EU primary law
  • [03] Erdogan to visit Brussels to support Turkeys EU bid and Albania
  • [04] Davutoglu to visit Greece in order to attend OSCE, NATO Meetings
  • [05] OIC to open office in Brussels to fight Islamophobia
  • [06] Turkey denies reports on secret agreement with US and Kyrgyzstan about Manas base
  • [07] Turkeys importance for Britain was stressed during meetings in Ankara and London.
  • [08] Statements by Ozurgergin on the EU document about Turkey and illegal immigration
  • [09] DTP leader met with ambassadors of EU countries represented in Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist in Todays Zaman on Erdogans dinner to the 26 of the 27 Ambassadors of the EU member states represented in Turkey
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 June 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Mehmet Ali Talat: What we shall agree on, we shall hand it over to constitution writers or to whoever will do this work, a Turk, a Greek Cypriot, perhaps a constitution expert from Turkey, or perhaps from other places

    Under the front page title Christofias does not have the power and courage to sign, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (25.06.09) reports on statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on the course of the Cyprus negotiation process during a visit he paid to Halkin Sesi offices yesterday.

    According to the paper, Mr. Talat said he maintains hopes for a referendum to be held on both sides before April 2010 and that this is among the Turkish Cypriot sides expectations. Replying to a question on who has the courage and the power to sign the agreement to be reached as a result of the two leaders meetings, and who does not, Mr. Talat said that he has concerns on this issue and underlined his belief that the Turkish Cypriots will support with a strong yes the referendum in case this is set in 2010.

    Reminding that the day before yesterday he briefed the so called assembly on the course of the Cyprus negotiation process, Mr. Talat said that the briefing took place after the comments made by some deputies that there is secrecy and black out on the course of the negotiations, while he gave emphasis on the fact that he conveys to the assembly all the notes he holds during his meetings with President Demetris Christofias.

    Referring to the advantage from the face to face negotiations, Mr. Talat said: The Presidents advantage is that he has the possibility to discuss other issues as well which he would not be able to discuss with our teams and the UN in particular. For instance, I had warned him [President Christofias]: Look, if you hold such a stance on this issue, then you cannot make a step back in the eyes of the public. If I say in front of the public that there will be a solution with an agreement reached between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot state and when I sit on the table the Greek Cypriot side rejects this right away and insists that there will never be a solution in this framework, and I am forced to make a step back, what shall I do? The Greek Cypriots do this. On this issue I have the opportunity to make a warning. And he, of course, adjusts himself accordingly.

    Replying to a question whether an agreement is being prepared by international circles and whether there will be a referendum or not, Mr. Talat said: What we shall agree on, we shall hand it over to constitution writers or to whoever will do this work, a Turk, a Greek Cypriot, perhaps a constitution expert from Turkey, or perhaps from other places. We have universities now. As a result, we shall prepare the foundations. In the past the sides talked, the UN were writing and were saying these are the middle points of your negotiations, we are proposing these to you. Now it seems that it will not be this way. We have around 30 common texts. The Greek Cypriot proposals in these texts are written in blue, the Turkish Cypriot proposals in red and the common views, which constitute the majority, are in black. For the time being we are working on eliminating the blue and the red texts.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader made also a reference to the importance he attaches to the visit paid to him by the Vice President of the EU Commission, Gunter Verheugen, a meeting which took place regardless of the pressures posed by the Greek Cypriot side.

    On the property issue, Mr. Talat said that the issue will be determined based on new legislation that will be created.

    (ML/KV)

    [02] Hasan Ercakika stated that a possible settlement must pass as valid in accordance with the EU primary law

    Illegal Bayrak Television (24.06.09) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has touched upon the possibility of coming up with a final decision on the Yesilirmak [occupied Limnities] Gate during this weeks meeting between the two Cyprus leaders.

    Mr Ercakica is hopeful for receiving good news on both the Yesilirmak Gate and the Territory chapter at the end of the next round between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias this Friday.

    At his weekly press briefing, the Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica referred to the Cyprus visits of high level officials from the European Union and underlined the need for taking up these visits in positive terms.

    He said, no matter what intention lies behind those visits, they create an opportunity for the Turkish Cypriot Side to reiterate its willingness for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Ercakica also touched upon the Greek Cypriot Sides repeated call on Turkey to recognize it as the government of the so-called Republic of Cyprus and open Turkish ports to the use of Greek Cypriot-registered ships. As a response, he accused the Greek Cypriot Side of trying to block Turkeys path towards the EU membership.

    The Presidential Spokesperson noted that the Greek Cypriot Side is trying to use Turkeys EU membership process as a tool for imposing a Greek Cypriot-favoured settlement in Cyprus, too.

    Hasan Ercakica went on to say that there is no possibility for the EU to play an effective role in the solution of the Cyprus problem as a result of the Greek Cypriot Sides unilateral representation within the Bloc.

    He said South Cyprus plays a role within the EU institutions and therefore, it is impossible for the Bloc to come up with balanced and neutral decisions on Cyprus.

    Mr Ercakica added that a possible political settlement in Cyprus must pass as valid in accordance with the EUs primary law.

    [03] Erdogan to visit Brussels to support Turkeys EU bid and Albania

    Todays Zaman newspaper (25.06.09) publishes the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan will start a difficult visit to Brussels today, trying to revive a European Union entry bid that is facing new signs of hostility from some member states.

    Erdogan's second trip this year to EU headquarters comes as membership talks are almost at a standstill, raising doubts over whether Turkey's decades-old dream is attainable. The success of conservative parties opposed to Turkey's membership in this month's European Parliament election, in which EU enlargement fatigue and hostility to Ankara became a campaign issue in some countries, has dealt a blow to its hopes.

    Reforms long demanded by the EU, such as reforming the military-inspired constitution, have fallen prey to Turkey's chronic political infighting. Further darkening the mood is an alleged plot by the Turkish army to undermine Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party). If proved authentic, it would confirm critics' fears that the "old Turkey" of generals meddling in politics has not been banished to the past.

    We are getting very close to a crunch, said Amanda Akcakoca, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. Turkey needs to think outside of the box and do something unexpected to impress Europe.

    Any sign that Turkey is throwing in the towel on its EU campaign, an anchor for political and financial reform in a country prone to instability, would have negative consequences for investors and would unsettle markets.

    Leaders in France and Germany have revived calls to offer Ankara a "privileged partnership" rather than full membership. Adding to a sense that time is running out, the European Commission, which has frozen eight out of 35 chapters (negotiating areas) over the Cyprus dispute, will in December review Ankara's promise to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.

    Pro-Turkey Sweden has said it might not be possible to open new chapters during its six-month EU presidency which starts July 1, raising the specter of a standstill in talks.

    Erdogan, who will be accompanied by Turkey's EU negotiator, Egemen Bag1, during his visit on Thursday and Friday, told EU ambassadors this week that he is committed to EU reforms but that he will need more than words to convince his European audience.

    The days when Turkey could say it was committed to reforms aimed at joining the EU and would win applause in Brussels are becoming fewer and fewer," said Hugh Pope, analyst for the International Crisis Group and author of books on Turkey. I don't think we are on a collision course but in a cyclical low point. Turkey needs to address a credibility gap.

    Turkey has so far opened 10 out of 35 negotiating chapters and hopes to start a new one this week on taxation.

    The EU wants Ankara to reform its constitution, improve free speech, grant more rights to minorities and curb the power of the army, which has a long history of intervening in government.

    A newspaper report this month that the army had drawn up a plan to stop the AK Party and an influential religious movement from "destroying Turkey's secular order and replacing it with an Islamist state" has sparked a political storm at home.

    The General Staff denies all knowledge of the plot, but it has hardened perceptions that some members of the powerful military still harbor anti-democratic impulses.

    Erdogan told EU ambassadors this week Turkey had entered an irreversible path towards democracy and rule of law, but the report has nonetheless raised concerns in Europe.

    [04] Davutoglu to visit Greece in order to attend OSCE, NATO Meetings

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.06.09) reported the following from Ankara: The Turkish foreign minister will travel to the Greek island of Corfu, his office said on Wednesday. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will participate in the informal meeting of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers and informal NATO-Russia foreign ministers meeting in Corfu.

    The OSCE ministers will discuss the future of Europe's security in the Greek island on June 27 and 28. The NATO-Russia foreign ministers meeting will take place in the same island on June 27.

    Executives from Turkish Foreign Ministry, permanent representation of Turkey to NATO and OSCE will accompany Davutoglu during his visit to Corfu.Davutoglu is also expected to meet some of his counterparts, including the foreign minister of Greece, holding the rotating presidency of OSCE.

    [05] OIC to open office in Brussels to fight Islamophobia

    Todays Zaman newspaper (25.06.09) reports that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will open a representative office and appoint an ambassador to Brussels to fight more effectively against Islamophobia in Europe.

    This office will provide the West and Islam the opportunity to work coherently, said Ekmeleddin 0hsanoglu, the Turkish secretary-general of the organization, to Today's Zaman. The office will cooperate with the European Parliament and the European Council to develop the initiatives for interfaith and intercultural dialogue and institute contacts with nongovernmental organizations. The office will also be effective in efforts aimed at preventing discrimination against Muslims and fighting anti-Islam propaganda. Of course fighting anti-Islam propaganda is one of the main aims of the office. Intercultural and interfaith dialogue constitute the priorities of the office in Brussels, 0hsanolu said.

    0hsanoglu, who had talks in Washington this week, will meet with the Belgian minister of foreign affairs in Brussels in the coming days. An agreement regarding the establishment of the OIC office in Brussels will be signed at the meeting.

    The OIC already has offices in New York and Geneva. The new office in Brussels will advance relations between Europe and the Muslim world. With this office, we can create close institutional cooperation with the member countries of the European Union, 0hsanoglu said.

    [06] Turkey denies reports on secret agreement with US and Kyrgyzstan about Manas base

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.06.09) reported the following from Ankara: Turkey denied news report claiming that a secret agreement was signed among the United States, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan about the Manas Base and that Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Kyrgyzstan in May was related with the base.

    The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: A newspaper published a news report today with reference to the Russian Ria Novosti and Interfaks news agencies and claimed that the United States, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan signed a secret agreement about the base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and that President Gul's visit to this country between May 26-27 was related with the base. This news report is totally baseless.

    The bilateral and regional developments, political, cultural and economic issues, and existing relations between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan were high on the agenda of President Gul during the visit. Signing of a secret agreement among our country, the United States and Kyrgyzstan about the use of the Manas Base was not brought onto the agenda during the visit in any way, it added.

    [07] Turkeys importance for Britain was stressed during meetings in Ankara and London.

    Hurriyet DailyNews.com (25.06.09) reports the following from Ankara:

    While they enjoy friendly political ties, Turkey and the United Kingdoms partnership has not been equally reflected in economics. Now, after nearly a decade, a U.K. trade minister visited Ankara on Wednesday seeking investment opportunities to boost economic relations.

    Turkey is a very good gateway to the Middle East and the U.K. is a good gateway to Europe," U.K. Minister for Trade, Investment and Business Mervyn Lord Davies told a small group of journalists at a breakfast. I think we need to put more efforts to build trade.

    The U.K. minister attended a dinner late Tuesday with representatives of the Turkish private sector. Early in the day, he signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkey's Industry Minister Zafer Çaglayan to establish a joint economic and trade committee.

    Turkey has to develop companies at the international level, using the true means of brand names and image on the global stage. This is a huge country with a braving economy but it's going to need some national champions that really take those brands and go worldwide, said Davies. He drew a parallel between the challenges facing Turkey and the United Kingdom. We have got a very diverse economy in the U.K. 20 years ago we had old-fashioned industries that had to be replaced urgently. And now we are investing more in the right skills, the right partnerships, the right type of skilled workers, he said.

    I think the one thing we have done well in the U.K., and we have got the results published last week, is we are still the number one in terms of foreign direct investment and despite all the problems in the global economy we were up 11 percent last year. I think what we have done well to attract foreign investment in the U.K. and I think that foreign investment came because we are a very open market.

    Subtitle: So far so good.

    The economic crisis that has shocked the global system was so extraordinary that it took a few months to realize its impacts, according to business circles. Economy chiefs look to the matter from the pessimistic end of the spectrum, raising serious concerns over the implications of the global crisis, but they also believe crises could be turned into a window of opportunity. According to many, the crisis tested Turkish economy, which passed through an economic slump in 2001, handled the current wave of global fluctuations well compared to most Western markets.

    The Turkish economy is so far so good, said a business figure who attended the meeting with the U.K. minister. "After the initial impacts of the crisis, the Turkish economy has started to grow despite the fact that it is not a huge growth period.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.06.09) reported the following from London:

    A member of the British House of Commons and a deputy of the Conservative Party Liam Fox said Wednesday there is no other country more important for Britain's national security than Turkey.

    Speaking at a meeting co-hosted by the Conservative Party Friends of Turkey group, Fox said that Turkey carries high importance based on its geopolitical status, existence in NATO and its role in energy security.

    However, anti-Turkish sentiments and xenophobia in the European Union (EU) all risk Turkey's status, Fox said.

    Warning those against Turkish membership in the EU, Fox said that, if Turkey does not become an EU member, Turkey may turn its face towards Russia and the Middle East.

    Turkey is both politically and militarily important for Britain as a partner. Turkey has an important place in the Islamic world, Fox also said.

    [08] Statements by Ozurgergin on the EU document about Turkey and illegal immigration

    HurriyetDailyNews.com (25.06.09) reports the following from Ankara:

    The reference made to Turkey in an EU document is not reflective of our partnership understanding, says a Foreign Ministry spokesman. 'We want to share the illegal immigration burden on our country with our European partners. This would be the right approach,' he argues.

    Turkey said Wednesday that a European Union document referring to Turkey and illegal immigration was not reflective of the partnership understanding between the EU and Turkey.

    We are not a third party but a negotiating country. Our expectation from the EU is burden sharing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozurgergin told reporters at a weekly press conference.

    Greek efforts to secure support from the EU for its fight to curb illegal immigration was met with success after EU leaders agreed at a summit on June 18-19 that agreements must be honored. Following the summit, the released final declaration made a reference to Turkey.

    The reference made to Turkey [in the document] is not reflective of this partnership understanding, Ozurgergin said. We want to share the illegal immigration burden on our country with our European partners. This would be the right approach, he added.

    This issue could appear on a meeting agenda between Turkeys Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Greek counterpart, Dora Bakoyannis, in the Greek island of Corfu over the weekend. Davutoglu will participate in the informal meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.When asked if the Turkish foreign minister would meet with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, in Corfu, the spokesman did not rule out a contact but said the ministry was working on a program and only the meeting with Bakoyannis was clarified.

    Subtitle: Various levels to normalize bilateral relations

    Upon questions on Turkish-Armenian ties, Ozurgergin said negotiations were ongoing at various levels to normalize bilateral relations. Negotiations [with Yerevan] are continuing on the basis of principles set by Mr. Prime Minister, he added. When asked when the roadmap with Yerevan would be made public, the spokesman said it would be disclosed when the circumstances were ripe.

    When commenting on Turkeys EU process, Ozurgergin said the negotiations were expected to begin on the taxation chapter at an intergovernmental conference later this month. When asked about Ankaras expectations for the incoming Swedish presidency beginning in July, he said, If a chapter is technically ready to open, that chapter needs to be opened. He said Turkey failed to close the chapters due to the blockade, but that has nothing to do with the process. But will we ever stop? No, we wont stop. The best answer to this situation would be to continue the reforms at home. Thats what we are doing, he added.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will make a visit to Brussels on Thursday. He is trying to revive the EU entry bid that is facing new signs of hostility from some member states, including France. Erdogans visit is the second trip he has made to the EU headquarters this year.

    On the topic of post-election protests in neighboring Iran, Ozurgergin said it is believed that Iran has the capability to find a solution to the debates by keeping open its paths to seek rights. He said that Iran is a very important country for Turkey, and said the country is also important for regional stability. He said Turkey hoped Iran would conclude the unfolding political debates in a short period of time and that every decision made would be met with respect by Turkey.

    [09] DTP leader met with ambassadors of EU countries represented in Turkey

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (25.06.09), under the title Turk hosted the EU ambassadors, reports that the leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), Mr Ahmet Turk, hosted EU member countries ambassadors to Ankara to a dinner.

    During the dinner, Mr Turk explained to the ambassadors the view of his party regarding the point reached for a solution to the Kurdish problem and asked for their contribution so that the ceasefire decision of the PKK is taken seriously.

    (KV)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist in Todays Zaman on Erdogans dinner to the 26 of the 27 ambassadors of the EU member states represented in Turkey

    Under the title Back to Europe?, Todays Zaman newspaper (25.06.09) publishes the following commentary by Ibrahim Kalin:

    In a lunch meeting with the ambassadors of EU countries on Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his government's commitment to the goal of joining the European Union.

    He stressed once more that Turkey will not accept anything short of full membership. Any other offers will further derail Turkey's EU membership process and Turkey will look for other ways. This was the gist of Erdogan's message on Monday.

    Erdogan not only rejected the privileged partnership offers of France and Germany, but also expressed his concerns over making Turkey a domestic political issue in Europe. The parliamentary elections in Europe resulted in big wins for the conservatives, most of whom oppose Turkey's EU membership. Unlike any other candidate country, Turkey was once more part of the election campaign debates. At a time of deepening uncertainties, job losses and economic crisis, some European voters may like the idea of excluding Turkey to secure Europe's future. But is this really in Europe's long-term interest?

    In an excellent piece on June 19, Hugh Pope, a long-term observer of Turkish affairs and project director at the 0stanbul branch of the International Crisis Group, asked a very simple question: What does privileged partnership mean exactly? German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted to journalists last week that he does not know what privileged partnership means. Pope's search has yielded that those who advocate privileged partnership for Turkey have failed to explain its precise nature, scope and mechanism. The only document, Pope notes, is by Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the current German minister of economics and technology. Zu Guttenberg's outline, which is the most detailed available, offers nothing more than an observer status to Turkey on key economic, political and security issues.

    But Turkey is already a full member of many European initiatives and institutions. Turkey is a founding member of the Council of Europe and a long-term member of NATO. Turkey already signed the customs union agreements over 10 years ago. Privileged partnership brings no new incentives to Turkey and does not make Turkey-EU relations any better. Why would Turkey or any other country agree to such conditions?

    There is a delicate balance between the technical and political sides of the EU process for Turkey. On the technical side, there is a lot of work to be done. Implementing the EU acquis -- chapters during the negotiation period -- is key to opening and closing new chapters, and this requires a lot of technical work on everything from trade and fishing to competition laws. There is a lot that needs to be done here and the Turkish side must move speedily with their European counterparts. We hope the Swedish presidency will witness the opening and closing of two more chapters over the next six months.

    But the real problem, as everybody knows, is political. As Prime Minister Erdogan said in his speech on Monday, some chapters have been blocked for purely political reasons. The Cyprus issue is the number one political issue. But there are others including the Armenian genocide claims and the opening of the Halki seminary. None of these issues are impossible to overcome. Turkey has shown its resolve to address the most difficult and sensitive issues in Turkey including the Kurdish and Alevi issues, the rights of religious minorities and constitutional reforms. The problem is that the steps taken in this direction have not helped the EU process in any significant way.

    Those who argue that the government has lost its desire for the EU should remember what happened in Turkey in 2007 and 2008. The ideological opposition to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government led to a crisis over the presidential elections, then early elections, then the closure case against the AK Party, then increased outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks and then the economic crisis. All of these cost Turkey two precious years not only for the EU process but also for Turkey's democratization process.

    There is no reason why the government should not move ahead with a renewed sense of excitement and zeal for the membership process. The question is whether the Europeans have the same desire and will.

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 June 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 23 June 2009:

    a) Taraf report on a Military Action Plan

    In an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila summarizes the lessons the military, the politicians and the media can learn from the ongoing discussions regarding the alleged military action plan drawn against the Justice and Development Party, AKP, and the Gulen group. One lesson to be learned is that the relations between the military and the government are still fragile in the country, Bila maintains, adding that another lesson is that every sector is united around the issue of democracy.

    Viewing the contradictory statements made by Prime Minister Erdogan regarding the alleged military action plan in his column in Vatan, Gungor Mengi questions why Erdogan, addressing some ambassadors of the 27 EU member countries, claimed that the "coup document" did not affect Turkey and that all its institutions are united around the concept of democracy. Recalling that the prime minister raised hell and asked that a criminal complaint be filed upon the emergence of such a document, Mengi is skeptical about the harmony Erdogan wants to paint in the higher echelons of the state. If the original of the document cannot be found this means that a document was forged in a bid to attack the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, claims Mengi, concluding that there should be a deterrent price to be paid for slandering the TSK.

    Commenting on the ongoing discussions on the alleged military action plan in an article in Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek questions why no one thought of investigating whether this document is the result of a "forgery operation" expertly prepared by certain individuals. Recalling the document that surfaced in the aftermath of the 27 May 1960 military intervention signed by Colonel Dickson and the announcement made at the time that such forged document operations are from time to time launched by the secret services of the Soviet Union and the United States to create disturbances in certain countries, Arcayurek wonders whether a plot is being hatched against Turkey through such a coup document.

    b) Turkish stance on the developments in Iran

    Speculating on how the developments in Iran will affect regional and world policies in an article in Milliyet, Sami Kohen believes that this all depends on who will be ruling Iran in the future. Recalling that the first steps of the Iranian nuclear program were taken during Musavi's premiership in the 80ies, Kohen adds that, however, his election platform indicated that he would adopt a more pragmatic approach in its relations with the West. Viewing the possibility of reelection as very small, Kohen goes on to speculate on the foreign policy to be pursued by Ahmadinezhad and US President Obama's stand in the event further blood is shed in Iran. Doubting that the US administration will want to hold talks and reach conciliation with the Ahmadinezhad government in the event of more violence and the detention of the opposition members, Kohen asserts that the events in Iran are further distancing the country from the West. Kohen then refers to Ankara's claim that the developments in Iran are that country's internal affairs and criticizes the Turkish government for its silence in the face of the developments in that country, maintaining that Ankara should announce its views and concerns regarding the developments in a neighbouring country.

    To fully comprehend the developments in Iran one has to know who Musavi is, writes Yasemin Congar in an article in Taraf. Describing Musavi's journey from a radical revolutionary to a moderate reformist who wishes to render the regime democratic without diluting its "Islamic" nature, Congar maintains that had Musavi's efforts to normalize Iran's relations with the world and to increase freedoms not been left unreciprocated because of the inapt policies of the West, then maybe the change the Iranian people are demanding now would have been realized years ago. Citing the promises made by Musavi for a wise economic policy, the dissolution of the morality police, the abolition of laws that limit the role of women in society, the privatization of the television channels, the normalization of relations with the United States, and the country's advancement on the path to becoming a "peaceful" nuclear power, Congar asserts that neither Musavi nor the protesters want to put an end to the Islamic regime.

    c) Cyprus Issue

    In an article in Cumhuriyet, Orhan Birgit refers to the recent visit of European Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen to Cyprus and to his remarks that Turkey is fomenting a non-solution in Cyprus and that there is no longer any need for Turkish guarantees. This proposal, which aims at severing Turkey's ties with Cyprus that is becoming a source of oil, is based on a plan to force the Turkish troops to withdraw from the island and to disrupt the balance of powers in favor of Greece, claims Birgit, drawing attention to the silence maintained by the Ankara administration on the issue.

    Commenting on Erdogan's address to some ambassadors of the 27 EU member countries, Birgit writes: "He did not even mention the EU proposal on the solution of the Cyprus problem that takes into consideration only the interests of the Greek Cypriot side and, therefore, those of Greece. Was he trying to say that he has digested those proposals?"

    Expressing his fear over the silence of the government officials on the issue, Birgit concludes: "The government seems pleased about presenting to the public in a planned manner the civilian authority-soldier dilemma because in this manner we are becoming a community unaware of and therefore insensitive toward the economic crisis and the ongoing major foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus, Kirkuk, and Azerbaijani problems."

    YH


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