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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-07-16

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. 132/09 16.07.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ozugergin alleges that Turkey is showing good will on the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Cicek stated that the whole world should know that if a lasting solution is not found by the end of 2009, neither Turkey nor TRNC will be responsible
  • [03] Eroglu: Important progress has not yet been achieved at the negotiations
  • [04] YKP: It is not possible for someone to give credit to the statements made by Talat and Gul that their target is reaching a solution in Cyprus until the end of the year
  • [05] BKP says it is unacceptable to ask for the continuation of the guarantees after the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [06] The breakaway regime has started building a monument of Ataturk in Kantrara area which could be seen even from Anatolia
  • [07] The assembly adopts a controversial law which is allegedly giving all powers to Dervis Eroglu; Eroglu declared his assets
  • [08] While the Turkish Cypriots complain about the embargo imposed by the Greek Cypriots, the Customs of Mersin did not allow tons of sugar from the occupied areas to enter into Turkey
  • [09] The imports and the exports of the breakaway regime decreased during the first five months of 2009
  • [10] The number of the unemployed persons in Turkey increased by 5% - This years six-monthly budget deficit has reached 23.2 billion Turkish Lira
  • [11] Another case of the H1N1 virus established in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] Ozurgergin on President Mahmoud Abbas visit to Turkey. He said that the issue about Abbass statements was over
  • [13] Ozurgergin comments on the Aegean dispute between Turkey and Greece. He stated that problems in the Aegean can be solved only if they are handled as a whole
  • [14] Turkey welcomes China's invitation of Turkish journalists to Xinjiang
  • [15] Turkish President Abdullah Gul held bilateral talks in Egypt
  • [16] Turkish Interior Minister and the Minister of Justice to participate in an informal meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers in Stockholm
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [17] Cengiz Candar assesses the signing of the Nabucco project deal as entailing the potential of burying the Serves Syndrome
  • [18] From the Turkish Press of 15 July 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ozugergin alleges that Turkey is showing good will on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Burak Ozugergin has referred to the possibility of reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem until the end of the year and said that the important thing is showing good will. Mr Ozugergin was responding to questions yesterday during his weekly press briefing.

    When reminded of statements that the Greek Cypriot side does not anticipate a solution to the Cyprus problem within this year and asked whether the Turkish side anticipates a solution until the end of 2009 and what policy the Turkish side will follow after the visit of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to Ankara, the spokesman said that the visit of Mr Talat was very useful and that he informed the government of Turkey on the stage at which the negotiations have reached. Noting that the UN Secretary General has a good offices mission and that the leaders met 37 times, Mr Ozugergin reminded that the issues on which agreement is reached are put aside and those on which agreement is not reached will be discussed again. He added:

    The first round is about to be completed. In the next stage it is provided for discussions to be held for bringing the positions of the sides closer. We have been always saying that we support the constructive efforts of esteemed Talat. During this visit we stated this stance of ours again on various occasions.

    Noting that the important thing is showing good will, he claimed: The important thing here is the good will. We think that we exhibited good will. We believe that this job will be finished in case the sides approach the issue with good will until the end of the year. We are exerting efforts for this, if it does not come about, that is, if a result is not reached, the side which exerts efforts and the side which balks will be revealed and if you look at the picture it is obvious that Turkey is the side that exerts efforts.

    [02] Cicek stated that the whole world should know that if a lasting solution is not found by the end of 2009, neither Turkey nor TRNC will be responsible

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.07.09) broadcast the following:

    The Turkish Minister of State deputy-Prime Minister Cemil Cicek has said that neither Turkey nor the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be responsible for the result if a lasting settlement was not found to the Cyprus problem by the end of 2009.

    Responding to a question after a meeting of the Turkish Cabinet concerning the talks between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Talat, he said `From time to time, Prime Ministers, Presidents from the TRNC come and hold talks. The Cyprus issue is a national cause for us, a national cause for all governments`.

    He stated that Ankara has been in support of the efforts aimed at making it possible for the TRNC to stand on its own feet, adding that further talks would be held with officials in the TRNC during the visits to be paid to the country for the 20 July Peace and Freedom Day celebrations.

    The Minister stressed that both the TRNC and Turkey have been doing their utmost to bring a lasting, comprehensive and just solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of the year.

    `If a lasting solution is not found by the end of 2009, neither Turkey nor the TRNC will be responsible for the result. The whole world should know this. Because, we have always been in support of a settlement, so does the TRNC` he said, complaining that in spite of this reality, those who backed non-solution, were preferred by some instead of Turkey and the TRNC in the international arena.

    But, he noted that intense efforts were being made to settle the Cyprus problem by the end of the year.

    [03] Eroglu: Important progress has not yet been achieved at the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.07.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that finding a solution to the Cyprus problem until the end of the year seems very difficult.

    The Premier told Turkeys TRT-Turk channel that important progress has not yet been achieved at the negotiations continuing between the two sides.

    He stated that it is too bad not to have an alternative while continuing the negotiations process and said `what is strengthening the hand of the President Mehmet Ali Talat at the table is the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus`.

    Asked to comment on the statements by the Greek Cypriot Administration that a solution is not possible until the end of 2009, Mr Eroglu said it seems very difficult to reach this target as the Greek Cypriot side is working hard to prevent the realization of this objective drawn up by the TRNC people.

    The Premier added that it is not possible to say that important progress has been achieved on the six chapters discussed at the talks so far.

    On Guarantees and Security chapter which is now being discussed by the two leaders, Mr. Eroglu said the agreements giving the guarantor powers the right to intervene are very important for the two peoples of the island.

    He noted that the issue of guarantees is concerning the Turks of Cyprus as well as the three guarantor powers Turkey, Greece and Britain.

    `The removal of Turkeys guarantee and the withdrawal of Turkish troops will raise concerns about our existence and future. We are tired of thinking what will happen to us` he said.

    The Prime Minister noted that the Turks of Cyprus are getting tired of hearing questions like which places are to be given, how many Turks who came to Cyprus will return to Turkey and how many will not and how many will be displaced again, at the launch of a new negotiation process.

    He stressed that the TRNC people is in favor of a solution which will maintain Turkeys position as a guarantor power and which will not force the Turks of Cyprus who were displaced three times - to be made refugees again.

    Mr. Eroglu also said that the latest surveys showed that the Turks of Cyprus have started to support the existence of two states instead of a federation.

    Asked to comment on media reports that the TRNC leadership is abandoning the idea of two founding states, he said we are insistently saying that we are supporting our President at the talks, however, we are also saying that it is a mistake for President Talat to sit at the table as if he has no other alternative. From time to time, he (President Talat) should give the Greek Cypriot Leader Christofias the message that he has got alternatives`.

    Stressing that the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is strengthening the hand of the President at the table, Mr Eroglu said that President Talat should use this as a weapon when necessary.

    `If Christofias says that he will leave the negotiation table if the Turkish Cypriot side does not accept single sovereignty and single identity, President Talat should show the courage to tell him that he can leave if he wants, he noted.

    The Premier stated that nothing is worse than not to have an alternative in a negotiation process.

    [04] YKP: It is not possible for someone to give credit to the statements made by Talat and Gul that their target is reaching a solution in Cyprus until the end of the year

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the New Cyprus Party (YKP) has noted that it is not possible for someone to give credit to the statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the Turkish President Abdullah Gul that the target is to reach a solution in Cyprus until the end of the year.

    In a written statement regarding the latest Gul-Talat meeting in Ankara, the YKP noted: They tried to convince everybody that they want solution until the end of the year. They gave the message that they are doing everything they can for this. However, the projects which Turkey is financing in Cyprus are not in the direction of creating a united Cyrus until the end of the year.

    The YKP noted that if the Turkish government wants to be convincing, it has to convince its own people first, change the projects it is financing, put an obstacle to the deep state and show respect to the administration of northern Cyprus. Moreover, the statement points out that the change of the structure of the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus should stop and the breakaway regime should be given the opportunity to stand on its own feet.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] BKP says it is unacceptable to ask for the continuation of the guarantees after the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.07.09) reports that Abdullah Korkmazhan, member of the executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has condemned the coup carried out against President Makarios on 15 July 1974 and led to the Turkish invasion on 20 July 1974 and the division of the island. He noted that it is unacceptable to ask for the continuation of the guarantees of Britain, Greece and Turkey after the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The breakaway regime has started building a monument of Ataturk in Kantrara area which could be seen even from Anatolia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the breakaway regime has started building a monument of Ataturk in occupied Kantrara area. The monument will be so big that it could be seen even from Anatolia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The assembly adopts a controversial law which is allegedly giving all powers to Dervis Eroglu; Eroglu declared his assets

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu has declared his assets. Addressing the assembly yesterday and responding to allegations of Sonay Adem, MP with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Mr Eroglu said that with his own money he bought only one apartment and three plots of land. He noted that he also owns four apartments and two shops in two apartment blocks, built on two plots of land given to his wife in return of her property in Pafos.

    The paper writes that the assembly adopted yesterday with majority the so-called Prime Ministry Auditing Commission Law. Mr Eroglu said that the aim of the commission will be to hold investigations and it will not work alone. The role of the commission will be to control, investigate, establish and prosecute any kind of financial, administrative, legal and technical corruption, irregularity and/or violation of regulations. The commission will inform the office of the self-styled prime minister about such situations. The paper writes that the MPs of the opposition parties abandoned the room when the voting was held in order for quorum not to be secured.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.07.09) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) described this draft-law as the most dangerous draft-law, which reminds the working method of the SS in the period of the Nazis. He said that they will apply to the constitutional court on this issue.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (16.07.09) reports that Sonay Adem, MP with the CTP, said that it is not possible for such an antidemocratic law to be implemented and survive in the road which leads to the EU. Moreover, the chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Turgay Avci argued that a law which aims at gathering all the powers on one person includes insults towards all the constitutional institutions.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] While the Turkish Cypriots complain about the embargo imposed by the Greek Cypriots, the Customs of Mersin did not allow tons of sugar from the occupied areas to enter into Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.07.09) reports that while the Turkish Cypriot industrialists complain about the Greek Cypriot embargo, similar problems are experienced in the exports to Turkey. The paper notes that tons of products exported from the occupied areas to Turkey are not allowed to enter the Customs of Mersin since May 2009, with the pretext that they will lead to unfair competition.

    Ahmet Cirakli, director of the Cirakli Co. Ltd, exported to Turkey five tons of sugar used for making sweets. The Customs of Mersin seized 2.3 tons of the product and did not allow its import into Turkey showing as pretext that the price of sugar is lower in the occupied areas of Cyprus than the price in Turkey and this will cause unjust competition for the industrialists in Turkey. Mr Cirakli said that he exported the product after carrying out all the necessary procedures and asked for respect to the protocol signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime. He argued that the Customs of Mersin had no right to do what it did and added that such a stance means that the Customs does not recognize the TRNC State Laboratory. He said that according to the protocol signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime, Turkey accepts all the reports given by the self-styled ministry of health.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The imports and the exports of the breakaway regime decreased during the first five months of 2009

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the exports and imports of the breakaway regime decreased in the first five months of 2009 in comparison with the same period of 2008. According to data given by the self-styled Trade Department, the imports between January and May 2009 fell by 43% in comparison with the same period of 2008 and decreased to $422.2 million. The exports fell by 24% and decreased to $34.9 million. In this framework, the imports from Turkey fell from $508.4 million to $268.5 million. While the exports in the first five months of 2008 were $25.5 million, in the same period of 2009 they fell to $19.3 million.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The number of the unemployed persons in Turkey increased by 5% - This years six-monthly budget deficit has reached 23.2 billion Turkish Lira

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the number of the unemployed persons in Turkey increased by 5% and the unemployment rate reached 14.9% in April 2009. The number of the unemployed persons in the above-mentioned period was 3.6 million, according to the Statistics Institution of Turkey.

    In addition, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (16.07.09) writes that this years six-monthly budget deficit has reached 23.2 billion Turkish Lira (TL). The deficit grew by 13 times compared to last year.

    (IT/CS)

    [11] Another case of the H1N1 virus established in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (16.07.09) reports that the established cases of the H1N1 virus increased to 19 in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The self-styled ministry of health announced that one out of three persons who were examined yesterday was proved to have the virus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Ozurgergin on President Mahmoud Abbas visit to Turkey. He said that the issue about Abbass statements was over

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.07.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine is expected to arrive in Turkey to hold a series of talks with Turkish officials.

    Speaking at a weekly press briefing on Wednesday, spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Burak Ozugergin said that the Palestinian leader would hold talks in capital Ankara on Thursday and Friday.

    Abbas is expected to meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as part of his visit to Turkey. Upon a question on the allegations claiming that Abbas had delivered statements supporting Greek Cypriot theses during his recent visit to Cyprus, Ozugergin said such issue was over.

    Ozugergin said that the Palestinian ambassador's recent statement denying such allegations clarified the issue and informed the public correctly.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Greek Cypriot administration on July 8 and had a meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias. The Greek Cypriot media wrote that Christofias and Abbas reciprocally supported each other in the meeting. The media also wrote that Christofias thanked Abbas for Palestine's support to the "struggle" of the Greek Cypriots and for bringing up the Greek Cypriot theses during the meetings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Upon such allegations, the Palestinian ambassador in Ankara Nabil Maarouf released a written statement and said that Abbas did not deliver any remarks regarding the domestic matters of Cyprus during his visit to the island. Maarouf also said that the news published by the media did not reflect the truth. Afterwards, Maarouf was invited to the Turkish Foreign Ministry HQ in order to brief Turkish officials on the Palestinian president's remarks.

    Maarouf told officials that the Cyprus issue was not on the agenda of Abbas' talks and only the situation in Palestine, the Middle East peace process and bilateral relations were discussed.

    [13] Ozurgergin comments on the Aegean dispute between Turkey and Greece. He stated that problems in the Aegean can be solved only if they are handled as a whole

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.07.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey regards the Aegean as a sea that unites Turkey and Greece, not as a source of confrontation, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

    There are many problems regarding the Aegean, and they can be solved only if they are handled as a whole, ministry spokesperson Burak Ozugergin told a weekly press briefing in Ankara.

    Ozugergin said the new claims of Greece regarding the air space over the Aegean Sea can be solved when the two countries see each other as the two partners of the future, and reaffirmed that they are heading towards a partnership in the European Union (EU).

    We discuss our problems with good will and bring the issues on which we have reached a compromise to the third parties, Ozugergin said.

    The spokesperson also said that there was a mutual compromise on some issues concerning the Aegean, but there were also many problems connected to each other. It is not possible to solve these issues by handling them in pieces; i.e., it is not possible for us to solve all problems completely this way, Ozugergin said. Ozugergin said that it could be seen that problems could be solved if handled as a whole when the international legal structure and the provisions regarding the Aegean were taken into consideration.

    The spokesperson said Turkey and Greece continued exploratory talks, and expressed Turkey's belief that the current problem could not be solved by causing tension. We will sit down and solve it, he said.

    The islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean which were not ceded to Greece by international treaties; the decision of Greece to broaden its territorial waters over 6 nautical miles; continental shelf; air space; the flight information region; and demilitarization of islands are the top Aegean problems between Turkey and Greece. Turkey believes that all problems should be addressed as a whole together within the whole range of means for their peaceful solutions that are set forth in Article 33 of the UN Charter while Greece advocates that there is no problem in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece other than the delimitation of the continental shelf which should be resolved only through recourse to International Court of Justice.

    [14] Turkey welcomes China's invitation of Turkish journalists to Xinjiang

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.07.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey has welcomed an invitation by Chinese officials to have Turkish media members in Xinjiang after violent incidents left scores of people dead in country's Uighur Autonomous Region, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

    We appreciate China's invitation for media members to the region to cover and observe the incidents there. We believe that it would be the best way to pass on right information, Burak Ozugergin told a weekly press conference.

    China's official news agency reported that death toll had climbed to 192, with over 1,000 injured and 1,434 detained in a civil strife in Xinjiang since July 5.

    Ozugergin said Turkey considered Uighur people as our kin and it is natural that we are concerned about their fate. What we have been asking of China is to maintain stability in the region and we are ready to help Chinese authorities to that end.

    Moreover, Todays Zaman newspaper (16.07.09) reports, inter alia, the following under the subtitle No talk through press with China:

    Ozugergin, meanwhile, declined to give a direct response to an official Chinese daily which earlier this week called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take back remarks likening the ethnic violence in China's northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang, which killed 184 people, to genocide.

    There is no need to give each other messages through the press, Ozugergin said, while noting there have been regular contacts between Turkish and Chinese authorities concerning the course of affairs in Xinjiang.

    Our interest in the fate of our kin is extremely natural, he also said, displaying images posted from the Xinjiang region as the main reason for the sadness and indignation existing among the Turkish public.

    [15] Turkish President Abdullah Gul held bilateral talks in Egypt

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.07.09) reported the following from Sharm el-Sheikh:

    The Turkish president held bilateral talks with in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Wednesday.

    Turkey's President Abdullah Gul had bilateral meetings with his counterparts on the sidelines of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Sharm el-Sheikh. Gul is participating in the summit as a special guest.

    President Gul met President Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Bahraini Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, and Arab League's Secretary General Amr Moussa.

    The NAM is made up of 118 developing countries and aims to represent the political, economic and cultural interests of the developing world.

    Gul is the first ever Turkish president to attend the Summit of NAM. Turkey was represented on the level of deputy prime minister at the 14th NAM Summit in Havana in 2006, and on ministerial level in last year's summit in Tehran.

    [16] Turkish Interior Minister and the Minister of Justice to participate in an informal meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers in Stockholm

    Ankara Anatolia agency (15.07.09) reported the following from Stockholm:

    Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin have arrived in Swedish capital city of Stockholm on Wednesday where they will attend an informal meeting of the European Union (EU) justice and interior ministers.

    Atalay and Ergin were greeted at the airport by the Turkish Ambassador in Stockholm Necip Eguz. Speaking to AA, Atalay said that the EU, especially in the past few years, has extended great support to Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

    We are pleased with the support the EU provides to Turkey in the fight against terrorism. Topics such as human trafficking, illegal migration, seeking refuge and illegal drug trafficking are ones that get attention from both Turkey and the EU, Atalay said.

    Sweden has, of course, another quality. Aside from being the EU term president, Sweden extends support to Turkey at all levels. We are happy to be here. We will hold talks with Swedish authorities, Atalay stressed.

    The informal meeting will begin on Thursday and end on Friday afternoon.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] Cengiz Candar assesses the signing of the Nabucco project deal as entailing the potential of burying the Serves Syndrome

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.07.09) publishes the following commentary by Cengiz Candar under the title Nabucco is death certificate of the Sevres:

    The Nabucco natural gas pipeline project was signed in Ankara the other day between Turkey and four European Union countries, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, in addition to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The importance of this project will be understood when natural gas flows through the pipeline to be built by 2015, or possibly even later.

    Nabucco has strategic importance to the West, particularly as it seen as freeing Europe from Russia's energy monopoly.

    As soon as Nabucco kicks in, especially as gas is pumped into Germany via the Baltic region, Gazprom will still hold the title of the world's number one gas supplier, but the Russian "gas transit monopoly" trump card will come to an end; a card that Russia holds to mould international politics according to its own needs.

    Nabucco is a giant project worth eight billion that envisages the transfer of Caspian and of Middle Eastern natural gas to Europe. We're talking here about an approximately 3,300 kilometer long pipeline from the Azeri shores to Austria, with roughly 2,000 kilometers of it (two thirds) passing through Turkey.

    With a break in the Russian monopoly:

    1. Turkey's geopolitical role will become more important. Turkey will become an alternative route to Russia between the West and the former Soviet Union

    2. Since Russian hegemony over European energy security can be broken-up by Turkey, Turkey's integration with Europe, and the West in general, becomes an "inevitable strategic option".

    One of the key features of Nabucco for Turkey is its potential to bury the "Sevres Syndrome". Attempts by Westerners to divide a Turkey that will provide the longest energy transit route for Europe, and is the most important political-geographical armor for European energy security, will remain as nothing but a bad joke.

    Yes, Nabucco happens to be a vital relief valve that Turkey has attained for its territorial integrity.

    Of course, we still have a long way to go after the signing ceremony held in Ankara the other day. And of course various accidents are possible along the way. It is even doubtful if there will be enough gas to pump through the pipeline after construction is completed. Even more, its biggest rival still remains as Russia's 10 billion euro "South Stream" project that is designed to negate Nabucco.

    At any rate, the signatures placed on the Nabucco project signal that a very important threshold has been crossed. Even if the supply of Azeri gas for Nabucco is insufficient, it is predicted that gas from Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan can be transferred once its construction is complete. One of the leading figures of the Euroasia Group made a striking remark that Nabucco faces major obstacles - supply being just one of them. Without guaranteeing energy supply, there cannot be a pipeline. But you cannot guarantee supply without the pipeline.

    At this time, while Americans do not entertain the notion of Iran being a potential energy supplier, so too are Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. A meeting of former Soviet republics Kazakhistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in May in the Czech capital Prague resisted lending their support to Nabucco. Azerbaijan, however, was seeking a deal to sell natural gas to Russia. And the point we are at today, Turkmenistan President Berdimohammedov has said his country has an abundance of natural gas to sell and that it is ready to sell to anyone, including Nabucco. He therefore signals Turkey's increasingly strategic role in the future. And Kazakhstan is also a potential supplier.

    When Russia limited gas flowing to Europe via Ukraine in the winter of 2006, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania were forced to close schools and factories due to freezing temperatures, while Austria, France, Germany, Hungary and Poland suffered cuts in gas supplies. European Union countries therefore, are without doubt, relieved about the Nabucco project.

    All this means that Turkey is becoming a key strategic actor in international politics in an extremely vast region, stretching from Central and Eastern Europe, to Central Asia and the Middle East.

    If you become an international energy cross-road you not only acquire international assurances on your territorial integrity, but you are also awarded the opportunity to have political influence in a wider geopolitical area.

    As we look ahead the road that Nabucco has opened or will open, we will see that any perception of a threat needs to be radically changed. The threat of religious backwardness will unavoidably become a fantasy for the political-elite dinosaurs, so to speak. But indeed, what could be possible threats to Turkey in the short and middle term?

    Professor Mustafa Aydin provides an intriguing answer to this question. "The biggest threat is not conventional. It needs to be explained in a non-conventional way. The biggest threat for Turkey in the future is not being in the European Union. More precisely, Turkey remaining outside the family of European states. If Turkey doesn't become part of Europe, or the West, it will become a country in limbo and will lose its direction, even if it doesn't split completely from the West. In this instance, we will have to consider the alternatives and not make a sound decision. Internal politics will influence external politics. Such a Turkey will become xenophobic, ultra-nationalist and introvert. Everything will affect Turkey's economic stability."

    This may really be a threat for Turkey in the short and middle term, but it will not happen. Why? Well, go back to the start and read this over again...

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 15 July 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 15 July 2009:

    a) Nabucco Pipeline Project

    Describing Russia as Europe's most important and problematic energy provider in his article in Milliyet, Metin Munir argues that it is not a reliable source since it uses gas as a political weapon. Explaining that Europe's search for alternative gas sources has led to the Nabucco project, Munir asserts that the actual architect of Nabucco is the United States although it is not one of the signatories of the intergovernmental agreement signed two days ago. Stressing that one of the cornerstones of the US energy policy is to reduce Europe's energy dependence on Russia and to provide to the Caspian Basin countries alternative export channels, Munir underlines that Moscow has no intention of losing countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan that are supposed to provide gas for Nabucco. According to the writer, the fact that the EU countries do not have a joint policy against Moscow and act in line with their individual interests further complicates the situation. Detailing the various bilateral energy agreements different European countries have signed with Russia, Munir states that through these agreements Moscow is trying to curb the appetite of European countries to purchase gas from Nabucco.

    The most important problem regarding the Nabucco project is to find the gas that will flow through the pipeline, underlines Erdal Safak in an article in Sabah. Recalling the assurances given by the Iraqi prime minister that his country will supply 15 billion cubic meters of gas annually, Safak says: "One can assume that the problem has been surmounted for the first few years of the pipeline. However, this would be misleading because it is almost impossible for Iraq to reach that level of production by 2014." Explaining the reasons why this is an impossible feat, Safak underlines that drilling has not even begun in North Iraq's gas beds and construction of another pipeline to bring the gas in the south to the north seems impossible before security is ensured in Iraq. Viewing the problems involved regarding the second candidate supplier, namely Turkmenistan, Safak points out to the need for constructing a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to bring Turkmen gas to Turkish borders which cannot be accomplished because an agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea has yet to be signed by the littoral countries. Transporting the gas via sea to Azerbaijan is also impossible given the cold relations between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, claims Safak, adding that the only solution is to convince Azerbaijan to be a provider of the gas as well as a transit country.

    Assessing the importance of the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement in an article in Vatan, Can Atakli points out that "the product that is to flow through pipeline is not ours, we will not be making any money out of it, and we will not be getting as much as we desire from the product flowing through the pipeline. We are only the transporter. Anyway, the function to be performed by this pipeline was being performed by TIR's for decades." Those watching the news might mistakenly think that the pipeline is ours, that we will be selling the gas to whomever we choose, and that we will be acceding to the EU, declares Atakli, adding that even the gas that will flow through the pipeline has yet to be ensured.

    Ridiculing Prime Minister Erdogan for trying to present the signing of the Nabucco agreement as though it were an achievement in an article in Cumhuriyet, Deniz Som enumerates the "gains of imperialism" from this project, underlining that the $450 million to be given to Turkey does not even cover the security expenses. Pointing out that there is currently no gas for the pipeline, Som maintains that the EU and the United States will use Turkey to apply pressure on the Turkic states. Viewing the political problems involved in the project, the writer believes that Turkey will become more dependent on "Western imperialism" and the project will foment Turkish-Russian enmity.

    b) Xinjiang Incidents

    Viewing the government stand regarding the incidents in Xinjiang in an article in Milliyet, Sami Kohen says that the statements being issued and the reaction being shown since the beginning of the incidents create serious doubts as to whether the government has formulated a sound and harmonious policy on the issue. Assessing the "genocide" accusations leveled by Prime Minister Erdogan to the Chinese government as a "disproportionate" reaction, Kohen recalls that such excessive declarations in the past placed Turkish diplomacy in a difficult position and failed to yield any results. It was once again up to the Foreign Ministry to explain Turkish policy in a coolheaded manner, concludes the writer.

    Examining the reasons why Uyghur activist Rabiya Kadir was not granted a visa to address a meeting in Turkey in his column in Hurriyet, Yalcin Dogan argues that the United States is behind this move. Drawing attention to the fact that all meetings regarding the Uyghur, East Turkestan, and Kyrgyz Turks are held in Turkey with US initiative, Dogan views them as part of a US plan to inconvenience China and the Xinjiang incidents as China's reaction to US policies.

    In an article in Hurriyet, Hadi Uluengin examines the conspiracy theories regarding East Turkestan and the theory that the United States, viewing China as its adversary, is using Uyghur activist Rabiya Kadir as a "provocateur" in a bid to create ethnic unrest in China.

    Hurriyet columnist Eyup Can, in his article, dismisses theories that Rabiya Kadir is not an innocent leader struggling for the rights of the Uyghur Turks but an agent of the United States, which is trying to divide China, and that the timing of the Xinjiang incidents is not a coincidence but an orchestrated move to prevent the Chinese leaders from attending the G-8 summit, thus foiling the Chinese move to oppose the use of the US dollar as a reserve currency.

    Viewing the Xinjiang incidents in an article in Referans, Cengiz Candar draws a parallel between the Uyghur Turks and the Kurds in Turkey saying that if Xinjiang can be mentioned as East Turkestan then we should not oppose the use of the term Iraqi Kurdistan. Detailing Chinese media articles on the incidents that call on Turkey to withdraw its support from these "street hooligans" and "separatists" and that describe Turkey as "another axis of evil," Candar believes that they reflect the official Chinese view on the issue, assessing that Turkish-Chinese relations have reached a state that will be very hard to repair.

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Burak Bekdil ridicules the boycott of Chinese products by Turkish consumers predicting that Chinese exports to Turkey are bound to rise in the future as had been in the case of past boycotts of French and Italian products. "Collective consumer/corporate/government behavior is not the only Turkish hypocrisy when the Turks detect a foreign insult/threat to either their Turkishness or Muslimness," writes Bekdil, recalling a government decree banning most of Uyghur activities in Turkey signed by Devlet Bahceli a decade ago, as well as the refusal to grant a visa to Uyghur activist Kadir.

    Arguing that China does not have any rights over East Turkestan except those derived from the use of power, Radikal columnist Namik Kemal Zeybek, in an article, stresses that the language of East Turkestan is Turkish and that its religion Muslim. Describing China's occupation of this autonomous region as a threat to humanity, Zeybek warns that condemnations and harsh statements will not affect the negative course of events. Calling on the Muslim world to take a stand against the oppression of the people of East Turkestan, Zeybek also underlines the importance of establishing a Union of Turkic States in order to be effective.

    In an article entitled "Using Islam to stop China", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the events in Urumqi constitute an example of the way in which the West is using Muslim minorities in China, India, and Russia to destabilize these countries. He goes on to highlight the significance in this sense of the "British origin" of recent reports alleging that Al-Qa'ida has issued a statement threatening to attack Chinese people in South Africa to avenge the Muslim killings in Xinxiang. He claims that what is in question is "a new British imperial strategy" where the West is trying to stop the rise of China and India through violence and terrorism.

    Finally, in a commentary entitled "Rethinking Ankara's response to the Uighur massacre", Mehmet Kalyoncu, an international relations analyst, argues that Prime Minister Erdogan was "wrong" to use the term "genocide-like" in reference to the Chinese reaction to the Uyghur protests in Urumqi. He urges Ankara to treat the Urumqi events as an "internal Chinese matter" and maintain "a neutral distance from all parties to the conflict, in this way "positioning itself as an able and desirable mediator between the Chinese government and its Uighur minority."

    EG/


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