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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-07-15

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. 131/09 15.07.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat: The European Union has no capacity of providing guarantees for Cyprus; Cicek will attend the celebrations for the Turkish invasion
  • [02] Talat interviewed with Hurriyet Daily News.com. He assessed the negotiation process in Cyprus and stated that the Turkish Cypriots aim is a referendum to be held before the presidential election in the occupied areas
  • [03] Reactions to the fact that Huseyin Ozgurgun did not participate in the delegation of the Turkish Cypriot leader during his visit to Ankara
  • [04] Irsen Kucuk describes the statement of Mr Talat regarding holding a referendum in 2010 as a tactical move for the illegal presidential elections
  • [05] Ozgurgun discussed with the permanent representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe issues regarding the European Court of Human Rights
  • [06] The BKP opposes the treaty of guarantees and calls on the three guarantor powers to apologize
  • [07] Vodafone officials discussed with the self-styled minister of public works and transport planned investments in the occupied areas
  • [08] Villas planned according to the Islamic way of life are being built at occupied Agios Epiktitos
  • [09] Stolen antiquities were found in occupied Famagusta
  • [10] A solar energy station in the capacity of producing one megawatt will be built in the occupied areas of Cyprus with the financing of the EU
  • [11] Todays Zaman: European Parliament names pro-Turkey Buzek as president
  • [12] Koksal Toptan asked China to allow a parliamentary delegation to visit Xinjiang region
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 14 July 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat: The European Union has no capacity of providing guarantees for Cyprus; Cicek will attend the celebrations for the Turkish invasion

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.07.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the guarantees in Cyprus cannot be changed and that the only system the Turkish Cypriot side trusts and could trust is the current one. The European Union has no capacity of providing such a guarantee, alleged Mr Talat in statements at the illegal Tymvou airport yesterday after his return from Ankara, which he visited upon an invitation from President Gul.

    Mr Talat described as extremely useful his visit to Ankara and said that during his meeting with Gul they evaluated both the developments regarding the Cyprus problem and other issues concerning the occupied areas of the island. He noted that he also met with the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and examined with him the current stage of the negotiating process for reaching a solution on the island and evaluated what should be done in the next stages of the negotiations.

    Mr Talat said that during the meeting he held with Mr Egemen Bagis, the Turkish chief negotiator with the EU, they evaluated especially the relations with the EU, the relations of northern Cyprus with the Union and the support which Turkey could provide to the breakaway regime on this issue.

    Referring to his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan, Mr Talat said that they assessed various issues, including the Cyprus problem. No statements were made after this meeting, reports the paper.

    Mr Talat noted that when the process is intensified they will need the help of Turkey more and added that Turkey has stated at every level that it is ready to mobilize all its possibilities for them.

    Noting that in case it is proved that there is no need for guarantees, this could be discussed, Mr Talat alleged the following:

    However, the fact that the Greek Cypriot side says that Cyprus is in the EU and has no need for guarantees means nothing for us, because we see and know that the EU has no capacity to provide such a guarantee. The only guarantee system we trust and will trust is the current guarantee system. It has been seen that this guarantee system works, even if with difficulty. In fact it worked late. Unfortunately it was not able to work, it did not work from 1963 until 1974. The Turkish Cypriots suffered a lot, therefore the guarantee system which the Turkish Cypriot people supports, wants and desires a lot, is of vital importance for us.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (15.07.09) reports that responding to a question Mr Talat said that he invited Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to participate in the celebrations for the anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, but they will both not be able to attend. Mr Talat said that Cemil Cicek, state minister responsible for Cyprus, will visit the occupied areas on this occasion, in case there is not any important obstacle. Moreover, he said, officials representing the Turkish President and the Prime Minister will go to the occupied areas.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat interviewed with Hurriyet Daily News.com. He assessed the negotiation process in Cyprus and stated that the Turkish Cypriots aim is a referendum to be held before the presidential election in the occupied areas

    Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.07.09) reports the following:

    Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat said Tuesday that Turkish Cyprus is aiming for a referendum on a plan to reunify the divided island before the April 2010 presidential election in Northern Cyprus.

    His comments clarified the Turkish timetable revealed by President Abdullah Gul on Monday and confirmed that the announcement for a referendum is an open call to international players to push for a rapid solution.

    We have already scheduled our meetings with the Greek Cypriot side through October. Then the real bargaining, the give-and-take process will start. We anticipate a referendum before the presidential elections on our part of the island. If there is a solution then there is no need for a presidential election. A new formula shall be found to abide with a new federal structure of the island. That is why our target is to finalize a solution before the election, said Talat in an interview with the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review in Ankara on Tuesday.

    Talats remarks on the timetable that would lead to a second referendum for reunification of the island, in fact, does not contradict President Guls statement for 2009 but rather puts the Turkish perspective in a clear light. Talat points to the importance of a campaign to raise maximum public support for a peace deal on both sides of the island, which would require a couple of months. Thus if the decision to hold a referendum is made before the end of 2009, then the process would be completed within the first months of 2010.

    Although Talat did not rule out the possibility of rapid progress that may lead to a referendum even before the end of 2009, his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias immediately denied such possibility.

    The timetable is not the only dividing line in negotiations for a peace deal, which started in September 2008 between Talat and Christofias. Whether the new plan will include Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom as guarantor countries remains among the fundamental issues.

    Guarantorship which was established by an agreement signed in 1959, secures the rights of Turkey to intervene in case of a constitutional breakdown or if Turkish Cypriots come under threat of attack.

    Talat insisted their firm position has not changed on keeping guarantor rights; however, he confirmed Greek Cypriot requests to totally abolish or amend those rights. He maintained that this issue would be discussed at the final phase of negotiations along with territorial issues, signaling that those two areas would be bargaining chips when the two sides are close to a deal.

    Christofias, however, came up with a clear-cut rejection of Turkish security guarantees in a statement Monday. As a people who have suffered so much, under no circumstances would we want this supervision by whichever country to continue through these guarantees, he was quoted as saying by international agencies.

    Referring to poisonous effect of the Cyprus problem in Turkish-Greek relations, Talat said a peace deal on the island would serve interests of all sides and create a special region within the European Union, or EU.

    When there is a solution this means cooperation of Turkish and Greek Cypriots. This would bring a natural cooperation between Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, which would create a new region of cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Just like the Union for Mediterranean, said Talat.

    He expressed belief that this sort of a mechanism could well be put in practice even before Turkeys accession and further developed after Turkey becomes a full member of the EU.

    Upon a question on the possibility of a review of Turkish candidacy in autumn due to the failure of opening Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot vessels, Talat argued that Turkey should not be the party to be punished.

    The EU should be criticized, not Turkey. Believe me even the United Nations will come to a point of openly criticizing the EUs stance. We already have an important number of countries inside the EU that admit Greek Cypriot accession was a big mistake.

    The U.N.-sponsored Annan Plan for reunification was accepted by Turkish Cypriots and voted down by Greek Cypriots in a referendum in 2004. Cyprus joined the EU shortly after, but only Greek Cypriots enjoy membership benefits.

    [03] Reactions to the fact that Huseyin Ozgurgun did not participate in the delegation of the Turkish Cypriot leader during his visit to Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (15.07.09) refers to the reactions to the fact that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun did not participate in the delegation of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat during his visit to Ankara. The general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Kutlay Erk argued that the UBP does not support Talats and Turkeys vision on the issue of Cyprus. The general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Meltem Onurkan Samani said that Mr Ozgurgun should have gone for the sake of formality. The general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Ejder Aslanbaba argued that the UBP did not send Mr Ozgurgun to Ankara in order to retaliate to the fact that Mr Talat did not appoint Ozgurgun in his negotiating team. The general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), Sener Elcil noted that nobody has to go to Ankara. In any case Ankara is here since 1974 with all it has, he noted and pointed out that what is important are the openings for respecting the political will of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Irsen Kucuk describes the statement of Mr Talat regarding holding a referendum in 2010 as a tactical move for the illegal presidential elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.07.09) reports that Irsen Kucuk, MP and general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), has expressed the opinion that holding a referendum in the beginning of 2010 regarding the Cyprus problem is not realistic.

    Responding to questions of Halkin Sesi, Mr Kucuk argued that the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat that a referendum will be held in 2010 is a tactical move he uses to ask for the vote of the people again. I do not believe that there will be a text on which the two sides will agree in 2010, he noted.

    Mr Kucuk said that the candidate who will have the most chances to be elected in the presidential elections in 2010 will be the candidate of the UBP. He added that after the so-called election in 2010, the elected by the UBP president will be holding the Cyprus talks on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots. He said that as it has been seen from the statements made during the recent visit to Ankara of the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun, there is no difference of opinion between Turkey and the UBP.

    Replying to a question, Mr Kucuk reiterated the support of the UBP to Mr Talat in the negotiations towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, but he underlined that this does not mean that the UBP supports the views of the Republican Turkish Party and Mr Talat. He reiterated the demand of the UBP that Mr Talat should appoint a representative of the government in his negotiating team.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ozgurgun discussed with the permanent representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe issues regarding the European Court of Human Rights

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.07.09) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun met yesterday with the permanent representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe, ambassador Deryal Batibay.

    In a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, it is noted that Mr Ozgurgun said that they are very satisfied from the efforts exerted at the Council of Europe by Mr Batibay regarding the cause of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Mr Ozgurgun noted that they discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and that they will continue to exchange views during the future process. Meanwhile, Mr Batibay said that during his stay in the occupied areas of Cyprus he will exchange views on issues regarding the European Court of Human Rights.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The BKP opposes the treaty of guarantees and calls on the three guarantor powers to apologize

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (15.07.09) reports on statements made by the United Cyprus Partys (BKP) Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Zeki Besiktepeli, regarding statements made by President Christofias that Cyprus does not need guarantees and the guarantors. In a written statement, Mr Besiktepeli, said that the agreements of guarantee and alliance do not belong to Cyprus and the Cypriots. He noted that these treaties exist to protect the interests of imperialism and added that the guarantors must apologize to the Cypriots.

    Mr Besiktepeli stated that the opening of the chapter, concerning guarantees and security during the negotiations, is very important for a free future of the Cyprus people and added that as BKP we are opposing to the system of the guarantees. He went on and said that with the solution, Cyprus must be purified from all the foreign armies and military bases and be reunited in full independence. Moreover, Mr Besiktepeli said: We will not need the guarantees of any country, we will be the masters of our country. He concluded that there is a need to continue the determined struggle towards a completely independent federal Republic of Cyprus.

    (EA)

    [07] Vodafone officials discussed with the self-styled minister of public works and transport planned investments in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.07.09) reports that Hasan Tacoy, self-styled minister of public works and transport met yesterday with the president of Vodafone, Mr Beyazit Husamettin, the regional CEO of the company, Mr Ian Gray and its official, Mr Paul Byan. Mr Tacoy stated that they will make the necessary infrastructure and legal changes for the development of the communications and technology. Mr Gray said that they visited Mr Tacoy in order to discuss the investments which Vodafone will make in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the situation in the sector.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Villas planned according to the Islamic way of life are being built at occupied Agios Epiktitos

    Under the title Islam period in the constructions, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (15.07.09) reports that a company under the name of Medview Homes, which sells villas in occupied Ayios Epiktitos village, advertises these houses on the internet by saying: We are presenting with pride the Irem Villas Catalkoy [Ayios Epiktitos], which is north Cyprus first and only project for life planned according to the Islamic way of life.

    The paper writes that two swimming pools are built in these villas, one for men and one for women. Furthermore, there are separate dressing rooms, separate gathering places and separate centres for sports and other activities. The building of a mosque is also planned in the project which is expected to be completed in Spring 2010.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Stolen antiquities were found in occupied Famagusta

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.07.09) reports that the self-styled police in occupied Famagusta seized five antiquities belonging to the 19th century. Three statues and three icons were found in the yard of a house. Four persons were arrested. It is estimated that the value of antiquities is 320 thousand Turkish liras.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] A solar energy station in the capacity of producing one megawatt will be built in the occupied areas of Cyprus with the financing of the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.07.09) reports that Hasan Tacoy, self-styled minister of public works and transport, has said that a solar energy station in the capacity of producing one megawatt will be built in the occupied areas of Cyprus with the financing of the European Union. Mr Tacoy made this statement yesterday during a meeting with a delegation of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Electrical Engineers. Mr Tacoy asked the support of the chamber for producing more electricity from solar panels.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Todays Zaman: European Parliament names pro-Turkey Buzek as president

    Under the above title Turkish Todays Zaman newspaper (15.07.09) reports the following:

    European Parliament lawmakers elected former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek as president of the 736-member assembly, making him the first leader from a former Soviet bloc country to hold one of the European Union's top posts.He has also been an advocate of Turkey's membership in the EU.

    Buzek, 69, won the backing of 555 lawmakers in the legislature on a first ballot vote Tuesday. His election was the first order of business of the assembly's inaugural session since an election in June at which the centre-right candidates emerged as the strongest force.

    Although the post is largely ceremonial, Buzek's appointment is a symbolic gesture to the new EU member states from eastern and central Europe which often complains their views are not heard by the 27-nation union's traditional powers.

    I see my election as a sign to these countries. I also regard it as a tribute to millions of citizens of our countries who did not bow to a hostile system, Buzek told the EU Parliament in France's Strasbourg celebrating the enlargement of the EU which brought in 10 new member states in 2004 and two more in 2007, most of them from central and Eastern Europe.

    The new president of the EU Parliament also supports Turkey's membership to the EU. In a past interview to the European Voice, Buzek had said that he went against the mainstream in his Christian Democrat party.

    I have become an advocate for Ankara for Turkey's membership in the EU, he had said adding that Turkey needed to continue to adopt reforms required by the EU and then it should be a full member.

    The EU Parliament's priorities include tightening regulation of the financial system to help prevent another global economic crisis and helping the EU agree a common position for talks in Copenhagen on a new global deal to limit harmful emissions.

    Its approval is also needed for the EU's annual budget and for the appointment of a new European Commission, whose five-year term expires in November.

    EU leaders have backed Portugal's Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as European Commission president, but his foes in the assembly have put off an approval vote until at least September.

    A former member of the Solidarity trade union that ended communist rule in Poland in 1989, Buzek is the first leader from Eastern Europe to head one of the EU's three big institutions.

    The European Parliament shares powers with the European Commission executive, a powerful regulatory body, and the Council of EU heads of state and government. Its main function, shared with the other institutions, is drafting and passing laws. These powers will grow if the Lisbon treaty, intended to overhaul EU institutions and streamline decision making in the EU, is passed by all member states.

    Buzek was prime minister of a coalition government in Poland from 1997-2001 and has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004, shortly after Poland joined the EU.

    [12] Koksal Toptan asked China to allow a parliamentary delegation to visit Xinjiang region

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News (14.07.09) reported the following:

    Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan has asked China to allow a parliamentary delegation to visit the Xinjiang autonomous region, where two weeks of unrest between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese have claimed the lives of at least 184 people.

    Toptan made the request during a meeting with current and former Chinese ambassadors to Turkey, namely Gong Xiaosheng and Aiguo Song, late Monday, the Daily News has learned from reliable sources.

    We are concerned about the incidents. We want to visit the area and see what happened with our own eyes, Toptan told ambassadors. According to sources, the Chinese envoys positively responded to the request but said they first had to ask Beijing for approval. If the Chinese government allows Parliament to send a delegation, a small mission would be established.

    Toptan also asked the ambassadors for an open and comprehensive investigation and punishment for those responsible. Some Chinese officials' statements that said capital punishment would be given to those who took part in such riots did escalate our concerns. Security forces should not use disproportionate force against the demonstrators. The violations of fundamental human rights make us more nervous, Toptan stated, according to sources who were familiar with the talks.

    The parliament speaker repeated Turkey's official position on the territorial integrity and political unity of China. Such problems should be resolved within the territorial integrity of China, he noted.

    China was also planning to allow a group of journalists to visit the area and conduct interviews with local people in order to compile stories.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 14 July 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 14 July 2009:

    a) Nabucco Pipeline Project

    Welcoming the signing of the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol explains that in addition to its financial benefits, this project will enable Turkey to integrate into the world economy, will increase Turkey's political power, and will encourage the flow of foreign investment. Furthermore, Akyol argues, since Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan support this project, it means that Turkey's Armenian initiative has not adversely affected Baku. Although Russia seems to be opposed to this project, it might later join in instead of remaining totally outside, claims Akyol, adding: "The project needs Iranian gas but Iran's situation is uncertain! The West is hesitant on the issue of Iran. This means that, being in conflict with the international community is not beneficial, it is detrimental." Asserting that Turkey has become the "central country" of this giant project not only because of its geographic position but also because of its liberal economy, its democratic judicial institutions, and its pro-West tendencies, Akyol underlines that Turkey is a "reliable" country in the eyes of both the West and the East.

    Also commenting on the Nabucco project in the same daily, Sami Kohen in his article notes that this intergovernmental agreement has granted Turkey a "strategic trump card." Noting that this agreement constitutes the legal foundation of the project, Kohen explains that the Nabucco agreement represents the political will and determination of both the consuming and the supplying countries. Concentrating on the political and strategic dimension of the project, Kohen says that this project has once again underlined Turkey's role as a bridge between the East and the West. Arguing that this project strengthens Turkey's hand in international relations, Kohen claims that Nabucco might create a rapprochement between Turkey and the EU, adding that however, it might not prompt countries such as France and Germany to change their views on Turkey's accession.

    In Milliyet columnist Gungor Uras, in his article, is concerned that the Nabucco project might distance Turkey from Russia. The writer states: "It should not be forgotten that this project poses the danger of further exacerbating our relations with Russia which are not good to begin with." Recalling that Turkey has an energy dependence on Russia, Uras claims that Turkey is obligated to maintain good relations with Russia and that the Nabucco project will not solve Turkey's problems with that country regarding energy routes. Enumerating Turkey's various expectations from Russia with regards to energy routes, Uras points out that the United States wants to use Turkey in breaking Russia's energy monopoly in the Black Sea region, a feat that might turn Russia against Turkey.

    One of the benefits of the Nabucco project for Turkey will be to purchase natural gas at an advantageous price, claims Yalcin Dogan in his column in Hurriyet. He points out, however, that the EU is opposed to this because it will reduce the cost of Turkey's industrial products. Stressing that the Nabucco project also provides a "serious political advantage," Dogan notes that Turkey will thus have the opportunity to shape its foreign policy based on the energy card.

    In an article in Hurriyet, Erdal Saglam notes that Turkey has failed to play the Azerbaijan card well with regards to the Nabucco project. Drawing attention to the absence of Azerbaijani President Aliyev at the signing ceremony, Saglam goes on to explain the importance of Azerbaijan in the Nabucco project as well as in the "world energy game," adding that Russia was the first to sign a gas procurement agreement with Azerbaijan because of Turkey's incompetence. The writer hopes that Turkey will take the first initiative when it comes to the energy sources in Iraq.

    Referans columnist Cengiz Candar, in his article, stresses the "historic" importance of the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement, pointing out that it has the potential to break Russia's energy monopoly even if it will not eliminate its position as the number one country as the supplier of gas. The agreement will also end the "Serve syndrome," claims Candar, adding that it will strengthen Turkey's geopolitical position.

    Describing the 21st century as the century of natural gas in his article in Sabah, Erdal Safak maintains that this project has the power to reestablish the balances in the region. Viewing the project as a strong bridge between Turkmenistan and the EU, Safak believes that it has the power to open Iran to the world. Raising the possibility that the project "might become the guarantee of Iraq's territorial integrity and of a lasting peace among its ethnic and sectarian groups," Safak predicts that "Nabucco will play the role of a lever for peace and stability in the Middle East." In conclusion, Safak assesses Turkey's role in the project, saying that it, above all, confirms Turkey's position as the "central country" and opens a new page in Turkish-EU relations, namely that of "economic integration" and a "partnership of destinies." In short, Safak underlines that "not only gas but peace, stability, and security will also flow through the Nabucco pipeline."

    Describing the Nabucco project as an EU project in her article in Sabah, Meliha Okur says that with the signing of the intergovernmental agreement Turkey will no longer be viewed as the country obstructing the project, adding that the next stage is the signing of the host countries agreement. Explaining that Nabucco began with the goal of "30 billion cubic meters of gas in 30 years," Okur adds that now the project is advancing on its way with the hope that 15 billion cubic meters will be procured. For the time being there is no gas, maintains Okur, asking whether the 4 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas will come to Turkey or go to Russia. While it is yet not known how Turkmenistan will overcome the legal obstacle of the Caspian Basin, there is also no hope of getting gas from Egypt whose gas is hardly sufficient for itself, states Okur. Claiming that the United States is against Russian involvement in the project, Okur says that the South Corridor, which is the fourth corridor of the project, will be bypassing Russia.

    Questioning whether the Nabucco project is as important for Turkey as it is made to be or whether it has been exaggerated, in an article in Vatan, Aydin Apaydin underlines that Nabucco is not the project of Turkey but that of Europe, which has initiated this project with the aim of reducing its energy dependence on Russia knowing that Putin cannot be trusted and that he might turn natural gas into an important strategic weapon. Pointing out that the same threat is valid for Turkey as well, Apaydin goes on to note the soft belly of this project, namely the absence of the gas that is supposed to flow through this pipeline. Of the 31 billion cubic meters targeted for the project only 8 billion are guaranteed, writes Apaydin, adding that Iran, whose gas is important for the project, constitutes another problem. Predicting that the United States will not allow Iranian gas to pass through this pipeline, Apaydin questions the source of the remaining 23 billion cubic meters of gas. Turkey will not be receiving a share of the gas that is supposed to pass through Nabucco, points out the writer, adding that the green light has not been given to Turkey's request for purchasing at a reduced price 15 percent of the gas passing through the pipeline. The most important gain of the project for Turkey is that it will be free of the pressure of the "either purchase or pay" clauses put in Turkey's gas purchase agreements since it can transfer the surplus gas to this pipeline, concludes Apaydin, recalling that Turkey had to pay for the Iranian gas it did not use during its crisis period.

    In his article in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand claims that the Nabucco project will bring Turkey closer to Europe and will provide extremely important political and economic advantages. With this project Europe displays its trust in Turkey, argues Birand, adding that Nabucco officially transforms Turkey into an energy corridor between Europe and the Caucasus. Noting that Turkey will soon be perceived as a necessary part of Europe, Birand stresses that, however, Nabucco does not guarantee full membership in the EU.

    Disagreeing with all those who describe Nabucco as a strategic project in an article in Taraf, Suleyman Yasar argues that it is a commercial project that will be beneficial for Turkey. Describing the project as a strategic one gives the impression that it will be used as a political trump card, maintains Yasar, adding that Turkey's neighbors might become apprehensive, thus leading to unnecessary problems. Explaining why Nabucco is not a strategic project, Yasar says that natural gas can be liquefied and then transported via sea. The Nabucco project was not initiated by politicians and diplomats as presented to the public, writes Yasar, adding that it was initiated by three young bureaucrats employed by the Pipeline and Petroleum Transport Corporation, BOTAS, who in 2002 went to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria to explain the commercial importance of such a project and who gave the name Nabucco to the project after attending the opera Nabucco following their meetings in Vienna.

    b) Xinjiang Incidents

    In Hurriyet columnist Hadi Uluengin is critical of the government regarding its stand on the Xinjiang incidents. In his article, Uluengin focuses on the "almost genocide" phrase used by Prime Minister Erdogan when referring to the incidents. A country that has the stain of the Armenian incidents on its back should not use the term genocide with such lightness, claims Uluengin, adding that the word "almost" is also not appropriate when it comes to genocide. Furthermore, the prime minister should not forget that he is leveling these accusations against Beijing that has a vital role in world balances as well as in the strategies of Ankara.

    Viewing Turkey's reaction to the incident in Xinjiang in an article in Radikal, Deniz Zeyrek maintains that the government stand on the issue contradicts its stand adopted toward the Sudanese leader al-Bashir who was received as an esteemed and honorable guest despite the fact that he has been accused of genocide by the International War Crimes Tribunal. Zeyrek argues that describing the local clashes in China as genocide while not describing the massacres in Sudan as such makes one question the sincerity of the government.

    In an article entitled "A national reaction: Getting pissed off", Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for referring to the Chinese crackdown on the Uyghurs in Urumqi as "virtual genocide." Bumin describes Prime Minister Erdogan's response to the Urumqi events as a "reflex reaction" that reflects the following "national" assumption: "Everybody in the world from the Chinese to the Americans and from the French to the British have committed crimes that 'virtually' deserve to be called genocide with the exception of the Turks, who are the only nation against whom such an accusation cannot be made." He also contrasts the "haste" with which Erdogan "labeled" what is going on in Urumqi as "virtual genocide" with the way "you (as a state representative) have for years been maintaining that [the 1915 events in Turkey] are the subject of a legal controversy" in response to the Armenian claims of genocide.

    In a commentary entitled "Turkey's Uyghur policy", Associate Professor Birol Akgun argues that as a member of the UN Security Council that has undertaken to become a "global player," Turkey should take a close interest in the developments in Eastern Turkistan, Darfur, and Kirkuk, adding that Ankara should use "all platforms" to voice its "constructive criticisms" against Beijing over the Urumqi events "on the basis of modern and universal values." He also asks whether critics of the Government's "excessively" strong reaction to China are looking merely to defend Turkey's economic interests or "expecting Turkey to cooperate with China against the United States in the new world order." He ends by claiming that Turkey's position on the Urumqi events as expressed by Foreign Minister Davutoglu to his Chinese counterpart in a recent phone conversation is totally appropriate from an ethical and political viewpoint.

    In an article entitled "Limits of Turkey's soft power", Today's Zaman columnist Kerim Balci asserts that Washington's "silence" on the methods used by China to suppress the Uyghur protests in Urumqi has "damaged" the reliability of President Obama's pledges to listen to the "grievances of other nations."

    In an article entitled "Condemning China", Today's Zaman columnist Andrew Finkel asserts that Prime Minister Erdogan's use of the word "genocide" in reference to the Urumqi events "may come back to haunt him." He claims that "to react out of ethnic solidarity and not a universal concern for human rights is to risk appearing opportunistic with one's tears."

    Under the banner headline, "It falls to the nation again to say stop to tyranny," Milli Gazete carries a front-page report which highlights a statement by Felicity Party, SP, leader Numan Kurtulmus criticizing the EU, the Obama administration, human rights groups, "the kings, presidents, and prime ministers of Islamic countries" and the "world media" for their "silence" on the Chinese "oppression" of the Uyghurs in Eastern Turkistan.

    Finally, in an article entitled "Carnage in Eastern Turkistan", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal cites a growing public awareness in Turkey of the existence and plight of a people called Uyghurs in Eastern Turkistan as "the only beneficial aspect" of the ongoing Chinese "atrocities" in Urumqi. Unal also argues that there is no point in raising "ideological" objections to US support for Eastern Turkistan, adding that if the United States wants to use the situation in Urumqi as a means of "curbing China," it should be allowed to do so as long as this serves Turkish and Uyghur interests.

    EG/


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