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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-17

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. 153/09 15-17.08.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Evaluation of the negotiations by Anatolia news agency
  • [02] Halkin Sesi argues that the UN Secretary-General is expected to visit Cyprus in October
  • [03] Messages for the 35th anniversary of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus
  • [04] Eroglu claims that new plans on Cyprus are being prepared and calls on the Turkish Cypriots to be extremely sensitive
  • [05] Talat argues that the partnership rights in the Republic of Cyprus, their self-administration and the guarantees of Turkey are the basis of the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [06] The illegal universities are reportedly facing student shortage. The self-styled ministry is discussing the issue with the rectors
  • [07] 4.5 million Turkish liras from the prostitution
  • [08] High level delegation of Crimean Tatars visited the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [09] 1st Implementation phase of water project included in Turkeys 2010 investment portfolio
  • [10] Turkish Cypriots want to apply to ECHR
  • [11] Teachers exchange programme to begin between Spain and the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] The illegal regime to host the 15th Turkic World Youth General Assembly in 2010
  • [13] The Cyprus Turkish Coordination Council is organizing a congress in the occupied areas of Cyprus in November
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] Putin's visit has repercussions beyond Turkey and Russia
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 August 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Evaluation of the negotiations by Anatolia news agency

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.08.09) reported from the occupied Lefkosia the following:

    Turkish and Greek Cypriot parties still keep their differences on several issues taken up at talks which have been launched in September 2008 to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue.

    The first round of the Cyprus talks was completed with the 40th meeting between President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias at the buffer zone on August 6, 2009. The second round will begin on September 3, 2009.

    Turkish Cypriot party proposed the formulation in the Annan plan in regard to a new state, while Greek Cypriot party did not present any proposal. Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot parties discussed the Cyprus issue under the six chapters.

    The delegations of the two parties headed by Talat and Christofias discussed "Administration and Power-Sharing", "Property", "EU", "Economic Issues", "Territory" and "Security and Guarantees" during the talks.

    A joint document was prepared on issues on which both parties reached agreement under the "Administration and Power-Sharing", "EU" and "Economic Issues" chapters.

    Such document could not be prepared for the chapters; "Property", "Territory" and "Security and Guarantees" because the parties did not reach any consensus in these chapters.

    The parties will discuss federal execution under the "Administration and Power-Sharing" in the first meeting of the second round. The leaders will also take up "Property" chapter.

    There is a sharp disagreement between the two sides on how the new state will come into being. Turkish Cypriot party presented a paper on this matter to the UN and the Greek Cypriot party, but Greek Cypriot party refrained from discussing the matter.

    The two parties did not reach any consensus on the "Property", either.

    Turkish Cypriot party said that the solution needed for some deviation from EU rules for Turkish Cypriot Founder State to guarantee a bi-zonal, bi-communal structure based on political equality. However, Greek Cypriot party is against permanent exceptions.

    TRNC authorities and Greek Cypriot party held most of the meetings on the chapter "Administration and Power-Sharing". The two parties discussed the chapter for nearly five months. The parties reached rapprochement on federal powers, federal legislative power and federal jurisdiction, while they did not reach agreement on federal execution, hierarchy of norms, how the new state will come into being and citizenship in the united Cyprus.

    The Turkish and Greek Cypriot parties could not record any rapprochement on "territory", which is one of the main six topics under negotiation in the first round of full-fledged talks that started in September completed on August 6, 2009.

    No joint statement could be issued on the topic "territory", however the parties agreed on formation of a property commission to assess the criteria. The commission will make a decision by basing on this criteria.

    Turkish Cypriot party said although the property problem was essentially a political issue, it should be resolved within the framework of UN parameters that form the legal basis of the matter. Turkish party emphasized that a property regime should be developed that would protect the rights of both the former and the current owners of the property.

    Turkish Cypriot party said economic inequality between the two parties in Cyprus and time factor should be taken into consideration while resolving the property problem. It said the property regime should be secured within the scope of European Convention on Human Rights.

    Greek Cypriot party said former owner of the property should make the final decision, defending that compensation and barter alternatives should come to the agenda only when former owner does not demand restitution of the property.

    Greek Cypriot party said property, territory and TRNC citizens whom they described as "settlers" were interrelated, claiming that solution of the property problem would be easier as long as a rapprochement can be recorded on territory and "settlers".

    Turkish party proposed establishment of a central and independent property commission which would have sub-commissions in the founder states. However, Greek Cypriot party proposed only one central property commission that would have branches to accept applications only.

    The parties reached consensus to establish a federal EU ministry on relations with the EU. Under the consensus, federal EU minister and foreign minister from separate founder states.

    The parties also agreed that EU permanent representative and his assistant would be from separate founder states.

    Turkish and Greek Cypriot parties prepared six joint texts under the topic of "economy", and agreed that there would be only one Central Bank and it would have a branch in the Turkish Cypriot Founder State during the transition period.

    Turkish Cypriot party said the executive board of the Central Bank would have equal number of Turkish and Greek Cypriot members and the governors would take office on rotation.

    Regarding the development policy, Turkish Cypriot party says it should be left to the authorization of the founder states, and the Greek Cypriot party says it should be an authority belonging to federal government.

    Following long-lasting difference of view on the matter, the parties agreed that both the founder states and the federal government could have separate development policies.

    The parties also could not reach any agreement under the topic "security and guarantees".

    Turkish party also demanded political equality to be guaranteed and wants numerical equality in federal institution.

    Turkish Cypriot party said bi-zonal structure was vital for the agreement that would be reached, noting that it is important that the two founder states should have equal status.

    [02] Halkin Sesi argues that the UN Secretary-General is expected to visit Cyprus in October

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (17.08.09) reports that according to information gathered from reliable sources by the illegal Bayrak television (BRT), the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Cyprus in the second half of October. However, a door is left open that it is not definite, notes the paper adding that the UN Secretary-General will be informed on the process by the leaders and encourage them to move the process forward.

    Even if the Secretary-General does not enter into details, the process is expected to gain a serious momentum with his visit, writes Halkin Sesi adding that this symbolic visit is assessed to be important from the point of view of the leaders being focused on the difficult matters and giving a positive message to the people who have doubts.

    Citing reliable sources, the paper notes that the visit will be a good answer to the Greek Cypriots, who give the message that there is no progress in the negotiations. The sources believe that the UN Secretary-General will tell the Greek Cypriots that this process is the last chance and that if it fails the Cyprus problem will stop being on the agenda of the UN. It is noted that the final decision regarding the visit will be taken according to the results of the second round of the talks between the leaders, which will start on 3 September.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Messages for the 35th anniversary of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The 35th anniversary of the second leg of the 1974 Turkish Peace Operation in Cyprus is being marked with various events throughout the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Martyrs of Murataga [occupied Marath], Atlilar [occupied Alva] and Sandallar [occupied Santalaris] who include women, children and the elderly - were remembered with separate ceremonies.

    Speaking during the ceremonies the head of the Association for the Sustentation of Murataga, Sandallar and Serdarli [occupied Chatoz] Martyrs Ahmet Asir said as the Greek Cypriots were committing genocide in all three villages, the world just looked on as spectators, and this is unacceptable.

    Noting that after the dreadful experiences of the past, since 1974 the Turks of Cyprus had been living in peace, Mr. Asir said: We dont want to return to those horrible days and relive the past. We support a solution being found to the Cyprus problem but one that would make sure that no one would relive the bitter experiences of the past.

    We will never forget what the Greek Cypriots did to us. The Turkish Flag will continue to wave over our martyrs forever, concluded Mr. Asir.

    The Serdarli village - the first to have been freed then by the advancing Turkish forces - celebrated the anniversary of its liberation with a ceremony last night.

    A similar ceremony was held at Atlilar martyrdom as well.

    Today, martyrs of Taskent were remembered with a memorial ceremony in front of the Taskent Martyrs Cemetery in the morning.

    Most of the Turkish Cypriots who lived in Dohni in the Larnaca district were rounded up and killed by Greek Cypriots and those who escaped the massacre now live in Tashkent [occupied Vouno].

    Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Acting President and the Speaker of Parliament Hasan Bozer noted that the Turks of Cyprus had the chance to maintain their existence by paying very heavy prices.

    Expressing support towards coming up with a peace agreement at the end of the Cyprus negotiations process, Mr Bozer however said the Turks of Cyprus yet still have not forgotten the heavy prices they had to pay in the past and we should bear these in mind while working on an agreement.

    Bi-zonality is important. A possible solution to the Cyprus problem needs to be in the form of a partnership established by two states, he said.

    Stressing that there will never be any concessions over the state, the Parliamentary Speaker said Cyprus Turks do not wish to renounce from Turkeys guarantorship.

    Today, Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] also celebrated the 35th anniversary of its liberation with two special events.

    The first took place in front of the Zafer Monument and another at the Polat Pasa Boulevard.

    Lefke to the west, the last town to be liberated, will also celebrate the anniversary of its liberation with special ceremonies.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (14.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that the Turks of Cyprus owe their freedom and independence to the heroic struggle waged by the Cyprus Turkish Freedom Fighters and the Turkish Armed Forces.

    In a statement issued on the occasion of the second leg of the Turkish Peace Operation, the Prime Minister said that the timely intervention by Turkey, not only brought stability and peace to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but to the region as a whole.

    The people of TRNC are able to live in peace and prosperity, without the fear of any threat, thanks to the presence of motherland Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces he added.

    Noting that the unjust embargoes imposed on the TRNC continued, Prime Minister Eroglu drew attention to the fact that the Greek Cypriot Administration continues to pursue a campaign of armament.

    He said that this was the main reason why the removal of Turkeys effective and active guarantee was unacceptable for the people of the TRNC.

    [04] Eroglu claims that new plans on Cyprus are being prepared and calls on the Turkish Cypriots to be extremely sensitive

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (17.08.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu has said that they are receiving information that new plans are being prepared, like the period before the Annan Plan. In statements in occupied Lefka village on the occasion of the celebrations for the 35th anniversary of the occupation of the village by the Turkish army, Mr Eroglu said: We should be extremely sensitive on this issue. We are obliged to struggle in unity and solidarity, far from our views of 2004 and considering our future, in order to stand firm for reaching an agreement which will not condemn us to the mercy of the Greek Cypriots.

    Mr Eroglu alleged that in order not to live again under the Greek Cypriot slavery, the Turkish Cypriots should defend their state, trust their Motherland and the Turkish Armed Forces and act in unity and solidarity. He claimed that if these happen, they will be able to continue living sovereign and free. He noted that they are facing problems in the occupied areas, but they are trying to overcome them. He expressed the opinion that there are no problems which could not be overcome and added: However, efforts are being exerted for causing problems to us from outside. We should be very sensitive on this issue. Gatherings were materialized in front of the embassy of Turkey during the past few days; campaigns are conducted against Turkey showing as pretext some points. These could be the beginning of certain scenarios. We should be very careful.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Talat argues that the partnership rights in the Republic of Cyprus, their self-administration and the guarantees of Turkey are the basis of the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.08.09) reports that in a message which the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has sent to the celebrations in occupied Lefka village, he claimed that the partnership rights in the Republic of Cyprus, their self-administration and the guarantees of Turkey are the basis of the struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people today. Mr Talat alleged that the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 will fully achieve its target when we reach a guaranteed solution and the conditions which will secure the international relations of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The illegal universities are reportedly facing student shortage. The self-styled ministry is discussing the issue with the rectors

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.08.09) reports that the number of the students who applied for studying in the illegal universities in the occupied areas of Cyprus is by nine thousands shorter than the number of available places. According to the results of the 2009 examinations, 88.602 places remained empty in the illegal universities. The paper writes that 26.643 of these places concern undergraduate and 61.959 postgraduate students.

    Referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (17.08.09) reports that as a result of the fact that only 4.000 students from Turkey preferred to study in the occupied areas of Cyprus this year, the self-styled ministry of national education, youth and sports has invited the rectors of the illegal universities for a meeting tomorrow. The paper notes that it seems that the number of the students in the illegal universities will decrease by 30%. The universities will announce their final registrations during the first week of September.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (17.08.09) points out that the income from the illegal universities is 40% of the income in the GDP acquired by the breakaway regime from the services sector.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] 4.5 million Turkish liras from the prostitution

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.08.09) reports that in the year 2008 the breakaway regime received four million 594 thousand and 213 Turkish liras as taxes from the 37 night clubs which operate in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper reports that the situation was the same in the year 2007, when the night clubs had paid taxes of three trillion 173 billion 411 million Turkish liras.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] High level delegation of Crimean Tatars visited the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.08.09) broadcast the following:

    A high level delegation headed by the President of the Crimean Tatar National Assembly Mustafa Cemil Kirimoglu is in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    The delegation arrived in the Republic as guest of the Near East University, for the signing of a protocol which will provide scholarships for students of Crimean Turks. Members of the delegation were received by TRNC state officials today.

    The delegation was received by the Acting President and the Speaker of the Parliament Hasan Bozer in the morning. Mr Bozer expressed his desire towards improving bilateral relations in political, economic and cultural fields, while underlining the importance of improving relations with all Turkic republics. We have to unite, so that we can defend our national causes more effectively he said.

    Also speaking, the President of the Crimean Tatar National Assembly Mustafa Cemil Kirimoglu reminded of difficulties experienced by Crimean Turks following the Second World War. He said they were unfortunately treated as a national minority in their own land.

    Later, the delegation paid a visit to Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun. Referring to the significant and meaningful struggle waged by Crimean Turks, Ozgurgun pointed out that the Turks of Cyprus have reached success in their own cause after a years-long struggle. He noted that the Turks of Cyprus will continue their struggle as an independent state.

    [09] 1st Implementation phase of water project included in Turkeys 2010 investment portfolio

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.08.09) broadcast the following:

    A multi-million dollar project to supply drinking water to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus via a pipeline from Turkey is finally coming to life.

    The first implementation stage of the project that will supply some 75 million cubic metres of sweet water a year has been included in Turkeys investment portfolio for 2010.

    Speaking on BRT 1s morning news program today, the TRNC Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture Ersan Saner said that he had discussed the issue with Turkish Minister of Environment and Forests Veysel Eroglu during his contacts in Ankara. He described the multi-million dollar project as one of the largest in the world.

    Minister Saner also said that the water shortages experienced in the country will be solved once the project was completed in 2012. This project which will deluge Cyprus in water and will allow the island to regain its former title as the Green Island, he added.

    The project envisages transporting water from the Anamur Dragon Stream through an 80 km plastic pipeline that would be submerged 250 metres below the sea.

    The pipeline will be attached to large weights which are essential to prevent it floating on the surface. A pumping station to be constructed on the TRNC coast will then send the water to the Gecitkoy [occupied Panagia] and Alakopru dams along a 4km pipeline.

    The project which aims to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of TRNC up to the year 2035 is expected to cost 500 million dollars.

    [10] Turkish Cypriots want to apply to ECHR

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Members of the Association for the Sustentation of Martyrs of Murataga [occupied Maratha], Atlilar [occupied Aloe] and Sandallar [occupied Santalaris] are preparing to apply to the European Court of Human Rights for massacres carried out by Greek Cypriots. Members visited the TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu today to ask for his support in the process.

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu welcomed the delegation by expressing the desire that the bitter events of the past will be not be experienced ever again.

    He said many Turks of Cyprus fell as martyrs, became war veterans and had to leave their homes as a result of the Greek Cypriot dream of annexing Cyprus to Greece.

    The Premier emphasized that a possible solution to the Cyprus problem should be a lasting one which will not force us to look back for peace and security we have today.

    While sitting at the negotiations table, we have to think of the future, bearing in mind what to do in case Greek Cypriots decide to attack us again after 40 years Eroglu said.

    Prime Minister moved on by saying that the people of the TRNC should be at the negotiations table, not because the international community wants so, but because they want this themselves in order to protect their rights. Mr Eroglu said: The land we own has no value for the international world but its a value to us. We say yes to the maintenance of negotiations in order to prevent the repetition of the bitter past. We are in the government to ensure that the Turks of Cyprus live in security within the TRNC land.

    The President of the Association for the Sustentation of Martyrs of Murataga, Atlilar and Sandallar- Ahmet Asir for his part said these three villages witnessed one of the worst Greek Cypriot atrocities with the killing of many people, 80 % of them being women and children. He said the Association wants to bring this tragic fact onto the ECHRs agenda and asked for governmental support.

    [11] Teachers exchange programme to begin between Spain and the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.08.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) announced that an exchange programme between Italy and the occupation regime will begin. According to statements made by the General Secretary of KTOS, Mr Sener Elcil, during a meeting with Mrs Esther Sainz Pardo, representative of the Spanish Trade Union of Teachers and Workers in Education (STES-Confederation Intersindical), member of the Spanish Confederation of Trade Unions, they touched upon a teacher exchange programme.

    Mr Elcil, who stated that KTOS continues to take initiatives aiming at improvement of the international relations of the Turkish Cypriots through support on the social, cultural and educational field, said: Soon, discussions will be concluded and a teacher exchange programme between Spain and Cyprus will be put into practice.

    (EA)

    [12] The illegal regime to host the 15th Turkic World Youth General Assembly in 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.08.09) writes that the 15th Turkic World Youth General Assembly will be hosted in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus in 2010. The decision was taken during the deliberations of the 14th Turkic World Youth General Assembly that took place in Crimea and which was concluded the other day. Illegal regime has participated in the event with a delegation headed by the self-styled minister of national education, youth and sport.

    (ML)

    [13] The Cyprus Turkish Coordination Council is organizing a congress in the occupied areas of Cyprus in November

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.08.09) reports that a delegation from the Cyprus Turkish Coordination Council has visited the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun and the commander of the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus, lieutenant general Hilmi Akin Zorlu within the framework of its visits in order to explain the aim of its establishment and the activities it is planning to hold.

    The coordinator of the Council, Sema Sezer said they started the preparations for organizing a congress in the occupied areas of Cyprus in November with the participation of businessmen and scientists representing Turkish Cypriot organizations all over the world. The problems of the Turkish Cypriots and proposals for solutions of these problems will be discussed during this congress. Sezer noted that they will invite all these organizations to the occupied areas of Cyprus before the anniversary of the declaration of the breakaway regime and this will be a meaningful message to the international community.

    (I/Ts.)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] Putin's visit has repercussions beyond Turkey and Russia

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper oline (16.08.09) published the following commentary by Mahir Zeynalov:

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Aug. 6 visit to Ankara to sign an energy deal has sparked fears both in Armenia and Cyprus.

    Although officials in both countries have largely refrained from speaking on the issue, experts say closer ties between Turkey and Russia will have definite impacts on Armenia and Cyprus.

    Turkey agreed to a deal with Russia on the South Stream gas project just 24 days after signing a Nabucco gas pipeline agreement in Ankara on July 13, which Western observers regard as a rival project to Nabucco. Several media outlets in neighboring Armenia and Cyprus have raised concerns over the deal, expressing their hopes and concerns over the consequences of stronger Turkish-Russian relations.

    Speaking to Sunday's Zaman, Alexander Iskandarian, director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute (CI), said improving relations between Turkey and Russia is useful and beneficial for Armenia. Expanding on this idea, Iskandarian said Armenian foreign policy is unique in that having a pro-Russian policy does not necessarily mean that they are anti-Western and vice versa. Recalling recovering relations between Turkey and Russia, he said Armenia needs normal and good relations between Russia and Turkey to further normalize relations with Turkey.

    Currently, an oversupply of Armenian energy production creates a necessity of exporting the excess energy. Reminding of this fact, Iskandarian said, Turkey is the best country for Armenia to export its energy to among its other neighbors, Iran and Georgia. However, he also added that Armenia's nuclear energy company belongs to Russia and it is within Russian interest to export Armenian electricity to Turkey. Iskandarian said, the increasingly growing business cooperation between the two countries will help Armenia prosper.

    Head of the Armenian Atlantic Association Tevan Poghosyan made a surprising remark on the same day Turkey and Russia inked an energy deal, noting that Armenia loses when Turkey and Russia's interests are at stake. Speaking to the Novosti-Armeni news agency, the senior analyst said Armenia should take several steps if strategic ally Russia excludes Armenia's national interest. Armenia should formulate its own interests, claimed Poghosyan, and should correctly implement this. Do we really have such a policy? Pointing to historical precedence, the Armenian expert asserted that whenever Turkey and Russia agreed on common terms, Armenia loses. We need to be very careful, he warned.

    Similarly, Richard Giragosian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS), expressed Armenia's concerns in remarks to Sunday's Zaman, claiming that strengthening relations between Turkey and Russia in fact isolates Armenia. Stressing the importance of Putin's visit in terms of enhancing relations between Turkey and Russia in respect to energy, he also said: Putin's visit was further significant as part of the broader regional context, beyond the context of bilateral Turkish-Russian relations, offering Turkish leaders a new chance to bid for Russian assistance in overcoming their stalled effort to normalize relations with Armenia. And the energy aspect of Turkish-Russian ties is not promising for Armenia, which only feels more isolated and marginalized by recent energy developments in the region.

    Turkey-initiated attempts to normalize relations with Armenia have failed in recent months due to Azerbaijan's considerable opposition of Turkey developing close relations with Armenia. Some observers believe that Turkey's increasing dependence on Russia may help further develop its relations with Russia. There is also a domestic faction in Armenia that would prefer to stop the nascent relations between Turkey and Armenia. In this vein, commenting on Russia's influence for Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, Giragosian said for Turkey, which is now faced with the challenge of finding a balance between normalizing relations with Armenia and not sacrificing its strategic relationship with Azerbaijan, Russian cooperation may be key. As Ankara is beginning to realize, more than any other country Russia has the ability to exert new pressure on Armenia in order to sustain the tense and increasingly delicate development of Turkish-Armenian diplomacy.

    There were many concerns raised from Armenia warning that Armenia is losing its historic elder brother as Russia builds closer ties with Turkey, a country with a long history of disagreements with Armenia. Armenia is vulnerable to Russian pressure, especially given Moscow's dominance over much of the Armenian economy and Armenia's lack of any real leverage to dissuade or counter Russia, Giragosian added.

    Iskandarian also said that Russia is the strongest influence on Ankara in normalizing relations with Armenia. Recalling that there is also a strong push by the US and the EU, along with influence inside Turkey to open borders, Russia will exert strong leverage on Ankara to maintain relations with Armenia.

    Speaking about Turkish foreign policy on Aug. 9 in remarks made to Kanal 7, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said closer ties with Russia and Turkey will definitely have an impact on the solutions to conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Davutoglu said, We have to stop these local conflicts from becoming global conflicts. Speculating on this, Giragosian said the Turkish side needs to be doing more to solve problems. Thus, beyond the now obvious importance of Turkish-Russian relations, as seen in the roughly $40 billion in bilateral trade last year, the visit of the Russian prime minister may help to reinvigorate Turkish foreign policy, Giragosian said. He also added that the chance of success in the South Caucasus depends on the skills and flexibility of Turkish leaders. The real test now rests with Turkey, not Armenia, as Ankara may miss this opportunity for normalizing relations with Armenia. But no matter what happens in Turkish-Armenian diplomacy, it seems clear that Russia will emerge as the winner, enjoying both closer relations with Turkey and deepening ties to Azerbaijan, he concluded.

    Despite the absence of coverage in Turkish media, Russian news agency Interfax reported that Putin hinted that Russia will develop relations with the northern Cyprus government. Russia is perceived as the historical ally and friend of Greeks in both Greece and Greek Cyprus. In this respect, Putin's words may damage Russo-Greek relations. However, no Cyprus authority has raised reservations to Putin's remarks. In Greek Cyprus, a newspaper has criticized the authorities for not responding to Putin's statements in Ankara about the Blue Stream 2 gas pipeline, which passes through northern Cyprus. Russia has every right to sign co-operation deals with Turkey, but why are Cypriot politicians turning a blind eye to the close relations being forged between Moscow and Ankara? asked an opinion article in the Cyprus Mail. In this respect, it is clear that Turkish-Russian relations also affect neighboring countries, particularly Russia's historic allies, Armenia and Greek Cyprus.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 August 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 14, 15 and 16 August 2009:

    Kurdish issue

    Focusing on the recent remarks made by Emine Ayna, co-chairman of the Democratic Society Party, DTP, in an article in Milliyet (14.08.09), Fikret Bila claims that the DTP has doubts about the government overture. The supporters of the DTP and the PKK believe that it is the natural right of the DTP to have doubts, writes Bila, adding that, however, these same people do not believe that the Republican People's party, CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, have that same right to doubt the government overture. Recalling Ayna's remarks that there can be no peace process without the participation of Ocalan and the PKK and that the Kurds want peace but are ready for war as well, Bila continues: "Ocalan, the PKK, and the DTP, which is waiting for their instructions, have not yet made their decision. If they do not like the package to be announced by the government there will be no 'solution.'" Criticizing the government for not responding to the CHP principles of a unitary state and an educational system devoid of ethnicity, Bila concludes that so long as the government does not clarify its stand, a realistic discussion cannot be held on the issue.

    Ridiculing the government for initiating an overture that has no content in an article in Hurriyet (14.08.09), Bekir Coskun gives three reasons why its content is not explained: The government is aware that it is committing a crime against the country; there is the possibility of changing it so long as it is not declared; they are ashamed of announcing the content while soldiers continue to be martyred. Reminding all that 135 days have passed since government officials announced that "this historic opportunity" for the solution of the Kurdish problem should be seized; Coskun concludes that the time has come for the people to understand that Gul and Erdogan can become the president and the prime minister but they can never become "heads of state."

    Describing himself as one of those who are optimistic about the solution of the Kurdish issue in an article in Vatan (14.08.09), Rusen Cakir focuses on the interview Milliyet's Sevimay conducted with Ambassador Umut Pamir who has proposed that a referendum be held to determine whether the Kurds want to live together with the Turks. Disagreeing with those who have considered this proposal to be a "courageous" one, Cakir argues that it is an "apprehensive" proposal, underlining that it will block the process. Cakir is disturbed by the fact that Pamir has fallen into the dangerous trap of approaching the Kurdish issue as "we and they," adding: "How Pamir's proposal will technically be implemented is another issue." Cakir concludes by pointing out that any discussion to be held on the issue without safeguarding and strengthening Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood cannot contribute to either freedom or democracy.

    Raising the possibility of serious clashes between Arabs and Kurds in Iraq in the aftermath of the US troop withdrawal in an article in Radikal (14.08.09), Mehmet Ali Kislali declares that the continuation of the Kurdish entity established in north Iraq depends on the strong cooperation it will forge with Turkey. Arguing that this cooperation will depend on north Iraq no longer being a place of refuge for PKK militants to escape to after having launched terrorist acts within Turkish borders, Kislali maintains that this is the reason why the AKP government and Cankaya have launched the Kurdish overture with such urgency, but have failed to muster the support of the parliament on the issue. Declaring that the suspicious stand adopted by the two main opposition parties to this overture with lots of question marks but no content is justified, Kislali predicts many difficulties in the solution of this multi-dimensional problem which the AKP has attempted to solve, concluding: "Let us see what this attempt to solve first the PKK problem, and then the 'Kurdish problem' within a wider framework, will cost the AKP."

    If the government is not careful about its "Kurdish overture" it might muster some extra votes in certain regions but it might lose many more in others, writes Mumtaz Soysal in an article in Cumhuriyet (14.08.09), adding that the government, above all, should be careful about not granting a special status or different rights to citizens in any one region. Warning that the autonomous status granted to certain sectors in other countries will not be beneficial for Turkey, Soysal stresses that "the Republic should safeguard its nation-state structure and its national and territorial integrity." The language of education should be that of the official language, declares Soysal, cautioning that any deviation from this principle will not only increase ethnic differences but will cause the state to neglect one of its primary duties, that of teaching its citizens the official language of the country. Finally, there is no greater mistake than presenting the solutions to be reached through this "overture" as the result of negotiations conducted with whoever it may be, asserts Soysal.

    In an article entitled "If the government can change, so should the opposition", Yeni Safak (14.08.09) columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes the Opposition as represented by the Republican People's Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, for objecting to the ruling AKP's latest bid to solve the Kurdish problem in a way that suggests it "persists in its deviant notion that the duty of opposition parties is to be opposed to everything that the incumbent government does." He claims that if the Government's initiative to address a "fundamental" problem like the Kurdish question results in failure, the majority of the public will hold the CHP and the MHP rather than the AKP responsible for it. He also asserts that the AKP's readiness to take the "extraordinary risk" associated with its initiative to address Turkey's "most critical issue" should remind the Opposition of its own need to change its political style.

    In an article entitled "Either solve it now or be prepared for partition", Zaman (14.08.09) columnist Ihsan Dagi warns that the tension between the Kurds and the state is increasingly taking the form of a Turkish-Kurdish tension as a result of a rapid socio-economic transformation and that both the Kurds and the Turks will lose their will to coexist with one another if the current "rift" is not mended through a "political intervention." He also claims that Turkey cannot become a true democracy, or achieve economic prosperity, or ensure its national security without solving the "Kurdish issue."

    In an article entitled "A democratic opening" in Hurriyet Daily News.com (15.08.09), Yusuf Kanli notes that "the Kurdish, eastern or southeastern problem is not an isolated problem. Rather, it is part of a bigger democratization problem in this country. And like the chicken and the egg scenario, there is no consensus, even among the committed pro-settlement group, about whether a resolution of the Kurdish issue will play a catalyst role in resolving the overall democracy problems or whether a collective and comprehensive democratization drive would resolve the Kurdish issue."

    Writing in Hurriyet (15.08.09), Cengiz Candar suggests taking the Spanish Constitution of 1978 as an example in a solution to the Kurdish issue in his article. He refers, in particular, to changing the Turkish Constitution to reflect the preamble of the Spanish Constitution, which recommends to "consolidate a State ensuring the rule of law as an expression of the will of the people" and "protect all Spaniards and all the peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions."

    "The important thing is for the arms to be silenced" writes Hasan Cemal in his article in Milliyet (15.08.09), adding that this "issue is a process and will not end from one day to another." Cemal concludes by noting that "responsibility, patience, and seriousness is needed" from both sides for a solution.

    The Republican People's Party, CHP and the other parties have good reasons for not supporting the Justice and Development Party's, AKP's, Kurdish overture says Melih Asik in an article in Milliyet (16.08.09), adding that the government has not briefed anyone regarding the details of the overture. Drawing attention to the constitutional amendments that will be made within the framework of the overture, Asik says: "There is no doubt that if this had been a process that aimed at the elimination of the PKK and terrorism, it would have been supported by everyone. Erdogan, however, does not have such a condition or a vision. Neither Erdogan, nor the liberals who support him talk about the elimination of the PKK... This process will not lead to an environment of peace in Turkey. The organization that you accept as your interlocutor will get stronger and it will end the cease-fire whenever it wants. Holding arms, it will stand before you with new demands. The overture is moving in this direction."

    Stressing that Erdogan will not risk losing votes for the sake of the solution of the Kurdish problem, Kadri Gursel in a commentary in Milliyet (16.08.09) stresses Erdogan's meeting with DTP's Turk and the articles featured by the press organs affiliated with the AKP are part of the risk management efforts made by the ruling party with the aim of avoiding paying a heavy price for this overture. If Ocalan announces a road map that does not cause problems in terms of the unitary state and the nation state, the government will be charged with the historic duty of resolving the Kurdish problem, says Gursel and adds that the ruling party will eventually have to pay the bill for the rooted reforms that are required in this process. Gursel asserts that the ruling party will not wait until July 2011 and will hold early elections in 2010 with the aim of leaving behind its concerns about losing votes over the economic crisis and the solution of the Kurdish issue.

    A report entitled "Road map outlined in two notebooks" in Taraf (16.08.09) says that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan will not set any preconditions for peace in his road map expected to be outlined in two notebooks. Ocalan will say that PKK militants will lay down their arms if a sincere process aimed at achieving peace is launched, according to the report. Meanwhile, Ocalan's lawyers are reportedly concerned that prison officials may seize Ocalan's road map after their weekly meeting with Ocalan on 19 August on the grounds that they have to examine it first.

    Referring to Erdogan's statements that this is the most suitable time for solving the Kurdish problem, Gungor Mengi in a commentary in Vatan (16.08.09) stresses that the fact that the government is waiting for Ocalan's road map for announcing its solution plan proves that the National Assembly is not capable of solving this problem by itself and that there is another side to the problem. Arguing that Erdogan's statements beginning with "regardless of the price" further strengthen Ocalan, Mengi calls on the opposition parties to assume responsibility for ensuring that the "no-clash" process eventually leads to the elimination of the PKK. If the opposition undermines the process, no goal will be achieved says Mengi and underlines that all the phases of the overture should receive the full support of the parties in the assembly and that no one should have the impression that terrorism is able to bend the knee of the state. Recalling that the highest number of votes received by the DTP stands at merely 2,150,000, and that there are many Kurds in Turkey who view themselves as part of the nation and who are loyal to the state, Mengi emphasizes that "each and every step that means rewarding terrorism and racism will lead to disaster."

    In an article entitled "Kurdish overture, unamendable laws, and Ataturk," Zaman (16.08.09) columnist Hamdullah Ozturk draws attention to MHP leader Devlet Bahceli's warning that Erdogan and the members of his Cabinet may eventually stand trial as a result of their Kurdish overture because it conflicts with some articles of the Constitution which may not be amended. He comments: "Turkey is facing the PKK's terror campaign and the Southeastern question and people who intend to resolve it are threatened with a possible trial by the High Court by citing the unamendable articles of the Constitution. There is an Alevi problem and people who attempt to resolve it faces a similar threat just like those who want to resolve problems being experienced by Sunnis who cannot practice their faith like wearing headscarf. Are there people who are members of the Turkish nation and not affiliated with those three groups?"

    In an article entitled "What are not the characteristics of a 'Unitary State?" Zaman (16.08.09) columnist Mumtazer Turkone analyzes the concept of unitary state which, he notes, is being regarded by the leaders of the opposition parties as a sacred cow and cited as a reason for opposing the government's overture to Kurds. Emphasizing that "national identity" and the unitary state excluding Kurds cannot be sustainable, Turkone says: "The unitary state does not hinder a possible solution to the Kurdish question. It is a tool conducive to the settlement if a single judiciary and a single legislature as a common denominator. The most important issue is finding a definition of national identity which would be satisfactory to all parties concerned."

    EG/


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