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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-10

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. 148/09 08-10.08.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat to illegal BRT and Turkish state channel TRT
  • [02] Talat attended the commemoration ceremony in occupied Kokkina
  • [03] Nami: The demands of our people are on the table
  • [04] Turkish Cypriot parties evaluated the outcome of negotiations
  • [05] Eroglu inaugurated an Ataturk bust
  • [06] The self-styled minister of tourism, culture and environment of the occupation regime, Ersan Saner, is going to Ankara for contacts
  • [07] Agri Kobi in the occupied areas
  • [08] Alevi -Sunni conflict
  • [09] Turkey and Nakhchivan signed MoY on laying natural gas pipeline
  • [10] Ankara says deal with Russia doesnt change foreign policy course
  • [11] Turkey does no expect tension in the Aegean
  • [12] Davutoglu commented on Russia gas deal, Armenia and the Kurdish issue
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Turkeys borders
  • [14] From the Turkish press of 7, 8 and 9 August 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat to illegal BRT and Turkish state channel TRT

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07. 08.09) reported from occupied Lefkosia the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said late on Thursday that Turkey's guarantor status was inevitable. Turkish Cypriots wanted solution but they did not have high hopes, added Talat who spoke to BRT channel.

    Talat said that he warned Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias that Turkish Cypriots would not accept a structure which would not include Turkey's guarantor status. Talat said that he meant the current system while talking about the guarantor system. He added that a guarantor system which included EU countries was out of question.

    Talat said that first round of talks with Christofias to find a solution to Cyprus question was completed on Thursday. He added that they had not started to talk map issue yet.

    Turkish Cypriot President said that he did not have any problems with National Unity Party (UBP) government during negotiation process. He stressed that the government supported Cyprus talks and also there was not a problem with Turkey.

    Moreover, A.A. (08.08.09) reported from occupied Lefkosia the following:

    Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat said on Friday he was feeling weak and angry in peace talks with Greek Cypriot leader following European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on Orams case and a British court ruling that dismissed an application to overturn a ban on direct flights between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Britain.

    In a case known as "Orams case", the ECJ ruled in favor of a Greek Cypriot, Meletis Apostolides, who sued in 2004 in a Greek Cyprus court for the return of land his family abandoned after Turkey's military intervention in 1974.

    However, Talat said he was more hopeful when compared to one year ago when Cyprus peace talks were re-launched to settle the Cyprus problem.

    Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias have held 40 meetings since September 3, 2008 to reunify the island. They will start second round of talks on September 3, 2009. Turkish Cypriots aim to complete negotiations by the end of this year and hold a referendum at the beginning of 2010.

    "The most relieving thing for us is Turkey's support. Turkey is the only country that backs us," he told Turkey's state-run broadcaster TRT in an interview.

    Talat said a deadlock could emerge in negotiations with Greek Cypriots on property issue, adding that Greek Cypriots refuse the UN parameter of bi-communal solution.

    On the same interview, Turkish daily Todays zaman online (10.08.09) under the title Talat: Greek Cyprus sees KKTC citizens from Turkey as robocops', reported the following:

    The Greek Cypriot administration considers settlers from the Turkish mainland in northern Cyprus robocops who can create security problems, Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat has suggested.

    In an interview with Turkey's state-run TRT television station over the weekend, Talat was asked why Greek Cypriots are afraid of citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) who originally came from Turkey, the Anatolia news agency reported.

    They are equal citizens. Why are they afraid? What they suggest is actually comic; they consider them [settlers from Turkey] robocops' who are well trained by the Turkish military and who can create security problems; they consider them such creatures, Talat was quoted as saying by Anatolia in response, underlining that the main reason behind this fear was xenophobia among Greek Cypriots that amounted to racism. He mentioned the killing of a US ambassador in the southern part of Cyprus in 1974 as an example of such feelings.

    The fate of settlers from the Turkish mainland in northern Cyprus is one of the main disagreements stalling efforts to reach a solution on reunification of the ethnically divided island of Cyprus. Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Dimitris Christofias, have engaged in about 40 rounds of negotiation to reunite the island since September last year. Talat and Christofias wrapped up the first phase of talks last week and will resume negotiations in September. Talat hopes the talks will produce a deal by the end of the year so that it will be put to referendum on both sides of the island by early 2010, before presidential elections in Turkish Cyprus.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (09.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Evaluating the first round of the full-fledged talks on the Turkish State Television-TRT 1, the President said that he was more optimistic about the process than he was a year ago because the talks hadnt broken off despite the many crises experienced. Talat also said that he was most relieved by Turkeys open and unconditional support.

    What eases us the most is Ankaras clear support. Turkey is the only country which supports us and when it does, it does it by respecting the political will of the Turks of Cyprus. This of course disproves the Greek Cypriot Sides argument that we are Ankaras puppet, he added.

    Pointing out that the property issue could create a major stumbling block in the negotiations, the President complained that the Greek Cypriot Side was not accepting the principle of bi-zonality, one of the two main parameters set by the UN for a settlement.

    Talat also said that the Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias had rejected an offer from the UN Secretary-General to hold a trio-meeting in New York so as to prevent the UN from taking on a more active role in the ongoing process.

    [02] Talat attended the commemoration ceremony in occupied Kokkina

    Illegal Bayrak television (09.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Martyrs who fell during the Erenkoy [occupied Kokkina] Resistance, following the Greek Cypriot onslaught in 1974, were commemorated with the 45th anniversary yesterday. A commemoration ceremony was held at the Erenkoy Martyrdom in Erenkoy where the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat also attended.

    Government and military officials, representatives of civil society organizations also attended the memorial service alongside many members of the public. Around 2,000 people travelled by buses to Erenkoy yesterday morning via the soon-to-be opened Yesilirmak [Limnitis] crossing point in line with an agreement reached earlier between President Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Dimitris Christofias.

    Addressing the audience there, President Talat said that the Erenkoy resistance was a turning point in the history of the struggle of existence waged by the Turks of Cyprus. He stressed that the Erenkoy resistance had demonstrated the solidarity of the Turks of Cyprus.

    Talat also said that the Erenkoy resistance had also shown Turkeys capacity for tolerance and at which point it could use military force to protect the Turks of Cyprus.

    The President also underlined the importance of passing on the spirit of the Erenkoy struggle to future generations.

    Also speaking at the ceremony, the Commander of the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Lieutenant General Hilmi Akin Zorlu said that martyrs who lost their lives for the existence of Turks of Cyprus are the spiritual symbols of the everlasting existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    The Commander of the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces Major General Abdullah Recep, for his part, said that the current phase that Turks of Cyprus has reached is the result of unlimited self-sacrifice of martyrs.

    [03] Nami: The demands of our people are on the table

    Under the title The demands of our people are on the table, Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (10.08.09) publishes an interview with Ozdil Nami, advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, who stated that the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side at the negotiations are towards the demands of the people.

    In the interview Mr Nami stated, inter alia, that the first round of the negotiations was successful, however, not all the problems were settled.

    He repeated once more that they will not abandon Turkeys guarantees on the island.

    He said that the behaviour of their president is in the direction that all to whom we gave citizenship will continue to be citizens it the United Cyprus Republic. He also said that they conveyed to the Greek Cypriot side the number of the citizens and that more detailed discussions will take place on the issue while the process is progressing. However, he said, the Greek Cypriot side reacts strongly on this issue.

    Mr Nami also said that they hope that the second round of the negotiations will be completed by October.

    (CS)

    [04] Turkish Cypriot parties evaluated the outcome of negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (0808.09) broadcast the following:

    Political parties in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are evaluating the first round of full-fledged talks aimed at reaching a solution to the Cyprus Problem. With the completion of the first round of talks on Thursday, the BRT sought the views of political parties on the issue.

    Commenting on the issue, the Secretary General of the governing National Unity Party Irsen Kucuk argued that little convergence exists between the two sides in the areas of property, territory and guarantees. Accusing the President and his supporters of creating false hopes that a referendum will be held at the end of the talks, Kucuk said that such statements were nothing but a figment of imagination.

    Stating that the UBP will be supporting its own candidate in the forthcoming Presidential elections, the UBP Secretary General claimed that a newly elected President will be heading the talks after the elections.

    Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican Turkish Party has different views regarding the ongoing process. The CTP Secretary General Kutlay Erk said that his party will continue to support President Mehmet Ali Talat and his efforts to reach a settlement in Cyprus. He expressed his partys view that the give-and-take process, which will take place within the second round of talks, will be when the negotiations will intensify. While the two leaders will try to settle existing differences in the second round, we would like the UN to abandon its role of facilitator and to take on a more active role in the process he added.

    The smaller opposition Social Democracy Party has also projected a rather pessimistic outlook on the Cyprus Issue. Commenting on the process, the TDP Secretary General Meltem Samani said it was highly unlikely a settlement could be reached by the end of this year. There are fundamental differences on the outstanding issues but nevertheless one should not lose all hope she said, adding a settlement could be reached-with the necessary political will-and if the UN took on a more active role.

    [05] Eroglu inaugurated an Ataturk bust

    Illegal Bayrak television (09.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu inaugurated the bust at the Serdarli Village. Following the inauguration ceremony a minutes silence was observed and the flags were raised to the national anthem.

    Speaking during the ceremony Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that on the 1st of August 1964 he had been assigned as a doctor to the Serdarli village [occupied Chatoz], and added that it was here that he got news that an assault had been made against the Erenkoy village. The events lived 45 years ago and before that must not be forgotten, said the Premier.

    Mr. Eroglu said everyone must stand up for their state and national values and added that the solution to be found to the Cyprus problem must be based on the reality that two peoples and two states exist in Cyprus.

    Referring to the ongoing Cyprus negotiations, Mr. Eroglu said the Turks of Cyprus must be adamant regarding their needs during the talks, not the Greek Cypriots.

    Noting that the world was under the impression that the Turks of Cyprus were obliged to sign an agreement during the negotiations process in Cyprus, and for the Greek Cypriot side to sign an agreement Dimitris Christofias must first be satisfied, Mr. Eroglu said this is a misconception.

    Eroglu added that if an agreement is to be found it must be done so with our honour. The solution to be found must be based on the reality that there are two peoples and two states in Cyprus. The bitter experiences lived between 1963 and 1974 must not be repeated said the Premier.

    [06] The self-styled minister of tourism, culture and environment of the occupation regime, Ersan Saner, is going to Ankara for contacts

    Turkish Cypriot daily HAVADIS newspaper (10.08.09) reports that the self-styled minister of tourism, culture and environment of the occupation regime, Ersan Saner, is going to Ankara today upon an invitation of the Culture and Tourism Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Ertugrul Gunay. According to the paper, Mr Saner will exchange views with the Turkish Minister on the issue of introducing the tourism of the occupation regime to Turkey and on issues regarding tourism and culture. Mr Saner will also hold meetings in Ankara with the Turkish State Minister, responsible for Cyprus Affairs, Cemil Cicek and with the Minister of Environment and Forests, Veysel Eroglu.

    (CS)

    [07] Agri Kobi in the occupied areas

    Illegal Bayrak television (08.08.09) broadcast the following:

    An office on agricultural service has been opened in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The AGRI KOBI which was opened in the capital Lefkosa [occupied Lefkosia] yesterday will provide agricultural assistance to enterprises and producers with a staff of consultants and experts.

    The opening of such an office has been perceived as a motivating development for the implementation of the USAID-funded Economic Development and Growth for Enterprises project (EDGE) which aims to strengthen business associations in the TRNC through encouraging growth in economy and thus to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus.

    Delivering a speech at the opening ceremony, the Chief of EDGEs Agricultural Team Gerhard Zechner said the office team will provide technical assistance to agricultural enterprises and producers and do necessary research as well.

    Also speaking, the Director of Mission from the USAID Alan Davids stressed that a productive and sustainable agriculture will contribute to the economic development in the TRNC.

    The works of the office will be under the supervision of a consultant committee consisting of representatives from the EDGE, the European Union, UNDP-ACT, the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Agricultural Engineers as well as some other leading Turkish Cypriot authorities in agriculture.

    [08] Alevi -Sunni conflict

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (10.08.09) reports that the chairman of the Cyprus Master Sultan Abdal Culture Association, Selver Kaya, called on the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Yusuf Suicmez either to apologize or to resign, for some recent statements he made as regards the Alevi Houses, the places of worship and traditions of the Alevi-Bektashi population. Mr Suicmez has said in a written statement, inter alia, that these houses where Alevi gather for their praying do not exist in the history of Cyprus.

    (CS)

    [09] Turkey and Nakhchivan signed MoY on laying natural gas pipeline

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.08.09) reported from Nakhchivan the following: Turkey and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic signed on Saturday a memorandum of understanding on laying a natural gas pipeline. The pipeline will be laid from Turkey's eastern city of Igdir to Nakhchivan.

    "We will sign the memorandum of understanding for almost half billion cubic meters of gas a year," Turkey's Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said during the ceremony.

    Yildiz said Turkey's Pipeline Transportation Corporation (BOTAS) and Azerbaijani oil company SOCAR would hold talks on technical, commercial and legal aspects of the project.

    BOTAS and SOCAR executives would meet in Ankara in September to discuss details, Yildiz said.

    After the ceremony, Yildiz told AA correspondent that the aim of his visit to Nakhichevan was to work on natural gas agreements with Azerbaijan, and visit the Nakhichevan Supreme Assembly and learn their views and demands.

    Yildiz defined Azerbaijan as a country that had biggest natural gas resources in the region, a gas supplier and source country. "We want to increase our trade volume for the advantage of the two countries, and we have launched comprehensive energy diplomacy," he said.

    Yildiz said construction of a natural gas pipeline to Turkey via Syria or to Syria via Turkey was also under discussion.

    However, there was some problems in pricing transit passages, he said. "I believe we can overcome them," Yildiz also said.

    Also, Rovnag Abdullayev, the president of the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR, said that they could conclude transit passage prices.

    Abdullayev also said that gas would flow to Turkey with the Shah Deniz II project, and then to European countries via Turkey.

    The initial phase of Shah Deniz forecasts 318 billion cubic feet of gas production. That would increase to 706 billion cubic feet once Phase 2 comes online in 2012.

    Gas production at Shah Deniz began in December 2006.

    [10] Ankara says deal with Russia doesnt change foreign policy course

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman online (08.08.09) reported the following:

    Natural gas deals inked this week in Ankara by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will help make Turkey a regional energy hub but will not change its commitment to the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project, planned to deliver gas from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe, according to Turkish officials and experts.

    "Turkey's course and priorities have not changed," said a senior Turkish official on Friday, responding to suspicions likely to arise in the wake of Thursday's deal, under which Turkey allows Russia to carry out feasibility studies in its exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea for construction of the South Stream pipeline.

    Russia's South Stream pipeline rivals Nabucco, which has the backing of the European Union and the United States and would provide a supply of gas not subject to Russian control, thus helping Europe reduce its dependence on Russia.

    Without Turkey's permission, Russia would have been forced to construct its pipeline through the Black Sea waters of Ukraine, with which it has had bitter rows over gas pricing.

    As for Turkey, the deal came along with 19 other advantageous protocols, including one that promises Russian backing for a proposed oil pipeline that travels from the Black Sea city of Samsun to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Turkey hopes oil will then be shipped to Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel and even to India at later stages, making Ceyhan, already the terminus for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, a key energy hub. Turkish officials estimate that when the planned Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline becomes operational, 10 percent of the world's oil will transit Ceyhan. The proposed Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline will also provide an alternative route that bypasses the already congested Turkish straits.

    But the South Stream deal comes just weeks after Turkey and four European Union countries signed a high-profile intergovernmental agreement on July 13, allowing the planned Nabucco pipeline to transit their territory.

    According to Sinan Ogan, head of International Relations and Strategic Analysis Center (TURKSAM), the South Stream deal with Russia is completely contrary to the energy policies of the EU and US in the region. Speaking to Today's Zaman, Ogan said Turkey's participation in the rival South Stream will make Nabucco a "stillborn project" and means the loss of a significant trump card for Turkey in its relations with the EU.

    But Ankara insists the deal does not mean Nabucco is no longer the priority. Erdogan said after the signing ceremony that South Stream and Nabucco were not alternatives to one another, but rather reflected diversification in energy supplies. His comments were echoed by Putin, who said at a joint news conference: "Construction of the South Stream does not block Nabucco. Depending on demand from consumers, both projects can be realized."

    Officials in Ankara said Erdogan's remarks summed up Ankara's stance. "We see the two projects as complementing, not rivaling, each other," said an official. "They strengthen Turkey's position as an energy transit country and underscore its critical role."

    A country with almost no oil or gas resources of its own, Turkey finds itself in a very powerful strategic position, well placed to control the flow of gas from the energy-rich Caspian and Middle Eastern states to customers in the EU. The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline will further highlight this role, making Turkey a key transit route for delivery of Russian crude oil to customers in the Mediterranean.

    Sidelining Ukraine, not Nabucco

    Officials also underlined that Thursday's deal is only for Russia to conduct feasibility studies for construction of the South Stream pipeline and does not mean that Turkey is a partner in the Russian project. Underlining the Turkish suspicions on whether South Stream could ever be built, officials said the project's estimated cost, 20 billion euros, is quite high, particularly when compared with Nabucco's projected cost of 8 billion euros. Whether Russia will find enough gas supplies to fill the 63-billion-cubic-meter-capacity pipeline is also a major question that has not yet been answered.

    But Nabucco is at a much more elementary stage when it comes to securing gas supplies. None of the potential suppliers has so far made formal commitments to provide gas.

    Although some experts say the realization of one project would push back the other, others say both Nabucco and South Stream can easily coexist. "There will be sufficient demand for gas in Europe even if both Nabucco and South Stream become operational. Turkey itself is a big market for gas," said Sedat Laciner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic and Research Organization (USAK). "There is an ever-growing demand for gas."

    According to Laciner, Russia's main motivation in signing a deal with Turkey is to bypass Ukraine, which is the transit country for 80 percent of Russia's gas exports to the EU, not to sideline Nabucco.

    According to Mitat Celikpala, the deputy head of the international relations department at TOBB-ETU Economy & Technology University, Turkey is likely to get strong criticism from Europe over the South Stream deal. But Laciner says the EU does not have the right to criticize candidate Turkey because it is itself divided in common energy policy. "There are some principles, such as energy diversification; yet, the EU has failed to build a united foreign energy policy," he said. "Germany and France are not among the countries that will directly benefit from Nabucco. They have separate energy arrangements with Russia. Italy also wants to get something out of [this chaos] in line with its national interests."

    [11] Turkey does no expect tension in the Aegean

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.08.09) reported from Konya the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday that the Turkish government did not expect tension in the Aegean. Davutoglu's remarks came after claims about Greek efforts for oil exploration in the Aegean Sea.

    Asked about claims that Greece has launched oil exploration, violating the six-mile continental shelf, Davutoglu said it was unnecessary to speak about assumptions. "In the end, the status in the Aegean is certain. We fully believe that parties would comply with this status," Davutoglu said.

    "Turkey will continue to protect its interests. In this sense, we do not expect tension," he added.

    [12] Davutoglu commented on Russia gas deal, Armenia and the Kurdish issue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.08.09) reported the following:

    The Turkish foreign minister said on Sunday that different energy corridors were not the alternatives of each other.

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the energy deals signed with Russia this week created the north-south corridor, similar to the east-west corridor of the Nabucco pipeline.

    "Therefore, they are not alternatives of each other," Davutoglu told a TV program on private Kanal 7 channel.

    Davutoglu said Turkey did not have endless natural gas or oil resources. "However, we have such a geography that if we use it well, we can use the resources we do not own for our own advantage," he said.

    The South Stream project would partly replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria, and is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline. The completion is due by 2015.

    The Nabucco project represents a new gas pipeline connecting the Caspian region, Middle East and Egypt via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary with Austria and further on with the Central and Western European gas markets.

    Davutoglu said Russia was Turkey's number one trade partner with 40 billion USD of trade volume, and Turkey was Russia's number five partner.

    Davutoglu said that Turkey and Russia signed customs agreements that would eliminate problems. Also, he said rapprochement with Russia would definitely contribute to settlement of Upper Karabakh dispute.

    "Because, we have to avoid the regional and global dispute area risk in the Black Sea and the Caucasus," he said.

    Davutoglu said Turkey's perspective on the Caucasus was to normalize relations between itself and Armenia and between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    The minister expressed Turkey's determination to normalize its relations with Armenia, and said talks were under way.

    Davutoglu said normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations would contribute to solution of Azerbaijani-Armenian problem.

    On the "Kurdish move" of the government, Davutoglu said this move should not be regarded as a move aiming at a certain group, but as a historic unification move. "There may be circles who want to make these brothers enemies, but statesmen and intellectuals have a responsibility to protect this brotherhood," he said.

    Davutoglu said no freedom should be intimidating, what was intimidating should be narrowing democratization, not broadening it.

    The minister underlined the importance of brotherhood and democratization in this process, and said he would visit Iraq in the coming days.

    On July 29, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay made public the "Kurdish move" of the government with a press conference, expressing the government's belief that the so-called "Kurdish issue" would be solved with an egalitarian approach through democratization.

    On August 2, Atalay met a group of journalists at a workshop titled "Solution of the Kurdish Issue: Towards a Turkey Model" at the Police Academy in capital Ankara.

    A statement released after the meeting said the participants had a "fruitful brainstorming", and discussed ways to manage the different dynamics of the process, as well as short, medium and long-term measures needed to be taken within the framework of the democratization process.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Turkeys borders

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News online (08.08.09) published the following commentary by Cengiz Aktar:

    Turkey has foreign policy positions, all linked to national issues that remind of trenches dug for battle. These policies, as old as the Republic, were conceived as solutions to the de facto situation that occurred after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Every ethnic group separating from the empire formed a nation-state. Turks, or rather Muslims, had no chance but to become a nation as well. Problems that emerged within this frame have always hunted us in the form of ghosts or violence or enmity. All have been reflected in our foreign and domestic policies. These are the Armenian, Kurdish, and Greek or Helen questions. However, aside from the Annan Plan, which became an open-and-shut case in 2004 for a solution in Cyprus, there has been no significant policy change in these three questions since 1923.

    After some 80 years, we see that these policies are becoming obsolete, as the high walls surrounding them are becoming cracked, and the physical and mental barriers are being torn down. Artificial constructions of the republican period are being criticized as all sorts of boundaries are being forced. This is obviously a painful process, but it is equally fascinating. Official diplomacy is running after the achievements and activities of a pushy civilian diplomacy. But most of the time it fails.

    The Armenian border

    In late July, Armenian President Serge Sargysan said that in order for him to attend the soccer game between Turkey and Armenia to be played in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri in the fall and to accept Turkish President Abdullah Güls invitation, the sealed border between the two countries should be opened. Expectations about the re-opening of the border reached a peak before the April 24 Armenian Remembrance Day. As a result of this oriental artlessness, the issue of opening the Armenian border was closed again. The border with an unknown future even has a Web campaign of 25,000 signatures that opposes any overture: www.turkiye-ermenistan-kapilar-acilmasin.org

    The Iraq-Kurdistan border

    In Oct, 2007, I wrote the following: Domestically, political reforms of the period 2002-2004 are not supported by any economic structuring in the region as the PKK violence, which has started to show itself again in July 2004, quickened a shift to the same old military measures in the solution of the Kurdish issue. In fact, an AKP failing to design a detailed Kurdish policy on its own, is always prone to accept classical positions of the state on the matter. So once again, the 'solution' was sub-contracted to the military. Now, the AKP has given up all its claims to be on a new and different policy course.

    The Kurdish Initiative released in late July proves that the government is prudently getting away from this policy line. Obviously, we are taking a new turn where various boundaries, borders and limits will have to be removed as part of the initiative while we are moving into a brand new era. Though we are right at the beginning, I hope it would be finally understood that the Kurdish question is not just a security and law enforcement issue.

    The Cyprus border

    Another well known question that we will face once again in the fall is the Cyprus problem. The border dividing the island and Lefkosia (Nicosia) is known as the Green Line in Turkish, but Necri Zoni (Dead Zone) in Greek. For the complete removal of this border, presidents Dimitri Christophias and Mehmet Ali Talat, have been involved in reunification talks since mid-2008. Against all the odds, the talks proceed. In the north, although the National Unity Party, or UBP, which considers no solution is the solution, won the recent parliamentary elections and formed government, they do obey Ankara who tells them not to impede the course of the reunification talks.

    Solution in Cyprus is directly related to Turkeys accession talks with the European Union. As we become an EU member in the future, the Cyprus border will be removed completely.

    Turkeys borders, set as red-lines, are now slowly turning pink or they are becoming green - I mean open borders.

    [14] From the Turkish press of 7, 8 and 9 August 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 7, 8 and 9 August 2009:

    On Prime Minister Putins visit to Turkey

    Assessing Russian Prime Minister Putin's visit to Ankara as one of the most fruitful visits made by a foreign dignitary in recent times in his article in Milliyet (07.08.09), Sami Kohen sees this visit as an indication that the "multidimensional cooperation" document signed during Putin's 2004 visit to Turkey has not remained on paper but has, to a great extent, been realized. The personal relations between Putin and Prime Minister Erdogan have played a role in the advancement of bilateral relations, maintains Kohen, adding: "However, the most important reason, within the changing international conjuncture, is the fact that Ankara and Moscow do not view one another in opposing blocs, but, on the contrary, feel that their interests and views are close to one another in bilateral relations as well as on regional and global issues." It is said that the energy agreements signed between the two countries on 6 August are based on a "give and take" and a "win, win" situation, writes Kohen, adding that time will show whether this balance has truly been achieved. Declaring that these agreements have made Turkey an international player in the energy field, Kohen argues that they now grant Turkey the opportunity to play its "energy card" in the global arena.

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (07.08.09), Yusuf Kanli sums up the energy deals concluded between the Turkish and Russian prime ministers witnessed by their Italian counterpart. Describing the Turkish, Russian and Italian prime ministers as "comrades in politics," Kanli goes on to detail the "intense cooperation schemes" plotted among "Erdogan's Calik Holding, Berlusconi's Eni SpA and Putin's OAO Gazprom."

    Viewing the concerns of experts over the Turkish-Russian nuclear energy agreement in an article in Hurriyet (07/08/09), Gila Benmayor quotes Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency who said: "Turkey procures three fourths of its natural gas from Russia. Dependence on the same country in the field of nuclear energy is wrong." Birol's concerns are shared by many energy experts, writes Benmayor, asking whether Russia will not use natural gas to threaten Turkey if Turkey changes its mind about purchasing the electricity generated by the nuclear plant. Referring to claims that Russian nuclear technology is not as advanced as that of the West, Benmayor points out that the tender won by Atomstroyexport, Inter Rao, and Ciner is not in line with international norms. The writer goes on to question why the "green light" has been given to the South Stream project that conflicts with Nabucco. On the purchase of gas, Benmayor notes a positive development: If Turkey finds the price is too high, it has the right to negotiate; it also has the right to sell to a third country the surplus gas it has contracted to purchase.

    The proposal submitted by Ankara regarding a "Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform" during last year's Georgian crisis changed Kremlin's view of Turkey, claims Erdal Safak in an article in Sabah (07/08/09), adding that Putin's current visit has transported Turkish-Russian relations to a different dimension. Asserting that these two countries will be the major players in the Caucasus and in the security of its energy corridors, Safak claims that the first signs of the strategic dimension of Turkish-Russian cooperation will be felt in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, adding that the recent revival felt in the Minsk group attests to those signs.

    Viewing the issues discussed during Putin's visit in his article in Sabah (07/08/09), Emre Akoz is confident that the Kurdish problem will be solved. Expressing his previous concerns about the disarmament of the PKK, uncertain of Russia's stand in the Middle East and Eurasian equations, Akoz argues that the discussion of issues such as the extension of the Blue Sttream-2 natural gas pipeline till Israel, the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Stream natural gas pipeline, the construction of a nuclear energy plant, and the construction of natural gas depots under Tuz Lake indicate that the Kurdish issue is now becoming the problem of Russia and Israel since these two countries will not allow the PKK to sabotage these projects. In conclusion, Akoz declares that the solution of the Kurdish issue is in the general interests of the United States, Russia, and Israel.

    Summing up the various meetings held between the prime ministers of Turkey and Russia in the last five years in an article in Cumhuriyet (07/08/09), Ozgen Acar points out to the trade imbalance between the two countries, declaring that the ratio is one to five to Turkey's detriment. Until now Turkey was dependent on Russia in its purchase of oil, petroleum products, natural gas, and coal, writes Acar, adding that with the agreements concluded on 6 August a dependence on nuclear energy will be added to the list.

    In an article under the title "Two Central Eurasian players rock the world", in Yeni Safak (08/08/09) columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the agreements signed between Turkey and Russia during Vladimir Putin's visit to Ankara yesterday are crucial enough to impact the course of global political developments in the next 100 years, determine the fate of conflict areas and the shape and content of reconciliation models, and deeply affect US and European calculations regarding Eurasia. He also claims that the said agreements will cause the Black Sea, particularly the Eastern Black Sea, to become one of the world's most sensitive regions.

    In an article under the title: "An energetic tour by an energetic leader" in Milli Gazete (08/08/09) columnist Mustafa Ozcan comments on the Russian energy policy as revealed by the agenda of Putin's visit to Ankara. He claims that Russia is trying to use Turkey as a means of achieving its strategy to set up an energy monopoly in Europe. He criticizes Moscow's objections to the Nabucco project and asserts that Ankara needs to understand that the diversity of regional energy routes is in Russian as well as Turkish and European interests. He also asserts that "Russia needs to know its place" and that "it will become our rival rather than our partner if it does not endorse this diversity."

    Turkey is an important actor in the energy field, argues in Milliyet (08/08/09) Sami Kohen in his column and maintains that the agreements signed with Russia empowers Turkey's strategic status and role further. Pointing out that allowing the South Stream pipeline to pass through Turkey's territorial waters in the Black Sea after signing the Nabucco project appears to be a contradictory step, Kohen adds that some circles in the West view this step as "playing a double game" or as another sign that "Turkey is moving away from the West." Both Russian and Turkish prime ministers stressed that the two projects are not competitors of or substitutes to each other, Kohen recalls, and agrees with Erdogan who said that in the long term even these two pipelines possibly will not be enough to meet Europe's natural gas demand. Kohen quotes Turkish officials as saying: "The route of Turkey's foreign policy has not changed. Ankara still gives priority to its ties with the West. In line with its interests, it is exerting efforts toward building better ties with other countries and toward adopting more balanced policies. In this regard, Turkey is implementing a proactive strategy in the energy field." Kohen concludes that the energy policy is becoming a determining factor in shaping Turkish foreign policy in a more independent way.

    Describing the Turkish-Russian protocols and agreements signed during Putin's one-day visit as "historic," Yusuf Kanli recaps the agreements signed in his column in Hurriyet Daily News.com. (08/08/09). Kanli notes that, by agreeing to cooperate with Russia in the South Stream gas pipeline project, Turkey contributes to the energy security of Europe and helps Russia to provide "stable" gas to Europe. Maintaining that the agreements boost Turkey's importance for the energy security of Europe as well as provide "an opportunity to accelerate its industrial advance through the transfer of Russian peaceful nuclear know-how," Kanli concludes that "Turkey has definitely become closer and far more important for the EU with these agreements for enhanced cooperation with Russia."

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News.com on (08/08/09), Gila Benmayor again quotes Fatih Birol, chief economist in International Energy Agency, IEA, asking: "Will Europe be able to consume the natural gas supplied both by Nabucco and the South Stream?" Birol argues that Europe will have an abundance of natural gas in the next decade, and wonders if Europeans will need so much gas. Benmayor concludes: "If the IEA chief economist says so, then Ankara should lend him an ear."

    Today's Zaman (08/08/09) carries a front-page report entitled "Ankara says deal with Russia doesn't change foreign policy course," which quotes "a senior Turkish official" as saying in response to "suspicions likely to arise in the wake of Thursday's deal" between Turkey and Russia that "Turkey's course and priorities have not changed."

    In a commentary entitled "Vladimir Putin's visit and its importance" in Milli Gazete (09.08.09) columnist Oya Akgonenc argues that the results of Putin's visit to Ankara illustrate how Turkey can take advantage of the benefits of its geopolitical position to determine independent policies without having to seek the blessing of the EU.

    Viewing the economic cooperation forged between Ankara and Moscow during Russian Prime Minister Putin's recent visit to Turkey in an article in Milliyet (09/08/09), Semih Idiz argues that one cannot ignore the fact that mutual interests based on economic cooperation might eventually lead to political and military cooperation, which he believes is the reason why the United States and the EU have been following the Putin visit so closely. French President Sarkozy will not be pleased with this Turkish-Russian cooperation, maintains Idiz, adding that, however, it would be wrong to interpret the Putin visit as a defiance of Europe. Idiz continues: "Naturally, messages have been conveyed to Europe. However, Turkey is, in principle, doing what is rational and is keeping all its options open." In short, Turkey is safeguarding its national interests by weaving a net of cooperation stretching from Europe to Central Asia and the Middle East, concludes Idiz.

    Assessing both the Nabucco project and the energy agreements signed during Putin's recent visit in an article in Cumhuriyet (09/08/09), Ilhan Selcuk argues that these developments, which are being portrayed as the achievement of the AKP and Erdogan, are actually the achievements of our geographic position. Arguing that the West needs Turkey and Russia does not want to be excluded from this Turkish-European rapprochement, Selcuk maintains that the competition and rivalry between the superpowers over Turkey has begun. The writer warns the government against being exploited while drawing the map of the pipelines in Anatolia, stressing the need for a map in line with international realities as well national interests.

    Finally under the headline "We are serving zionism with Russia," Milli Gazete (09/08/09) carries a report which highlights comments made by Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the National View movement, who argued that Zionists are ruling the world and exploiting Turkey and other Muslim countries, adding that a new world order must be established.


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