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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-20

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. 156/09 20.08.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Mehmet Ali Talat assessed the first round of the talks towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Talat argues that this is the last chance for a solution in Cyprus and that the problem could not be solved without the participation of
  • [03] Turkey has reportedly asked from Jordan to open an office in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] Statements by Ercakica during a press conference
  • [05] The platform for the condemnation of the ruling by the ECJ held a press conference
  • [06] Allegations by a Turkish retired colonel who participated in the preparations for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and in the invasion
  • [07] The founding rector of the illegal YDU has been offered a medal in Gagauzia for his services
  • [08] Cartoonists festival held in occupied village Ag. Sergios
  • [09] The chairman of YODAK stated that the illegal universities offered an exaggerated number of places this year
  • [10] Britain appointed new ambassador to Ankara
  • [11] Russia removed barriers to Turkish exporters
  • [12] Turkey sent observer mission for Afghan elections
  • [13] Vatan paper reports on MIT involvement in German terror case
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 19 August 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Mehmet Ali Talat assessed the first round of the talks towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem

    Under the title If we concentrate, a referendum will be held before the elections, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.08.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat replied to questions of the illegal TAK news agency on the negotiating process for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem and the developments which are currently on the agenda of the internal politics in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Mr Talat said that for the first time in the history of the negotiations in Cyprus, common texts with the issues on which the sides agree and disagree have been prepared and added that these common texts will constitute the backbone of a possible solution plan. That is, we are the one who will prepare the plan. There will be no imposed plan, he noted. Mr Talat described these texts as Convergence Documents and pointed out that 30 documents were prepared until now. Replying to a question, Mr Talat said that these documents are binding, but reminded the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    Mr Talat said he is hopeful for the negotiating process, the first round of which has been completed and the second round will start on 3 September. He expressed the view that a referendum could be held at the beginning of 2010 if the negotiations are intensified.

    Mr Talat noted that the issues of disagreement and mainly the executive power and the property will be primarily discussed in the second round of the negotiations. He said that in spite of the disagreements on fundamental issues such as the property, the guarantees and the executive power, the sides had the opportunity to find out and discuss in detail the stance of the each other on every issue. He noted that they will be focusing on the disagreements during the second round. Mr Talat reiterated that significant progress has been achieved on the issues of the economy and the EU, consensus to great extent has been reached on the legislative power and full agreement has been achieved on the chapter of the judiciary power.

    There is no reason for me to be hopeless, to sink into pessimism on the issue of the solution, said Mr Talat and described the stage the negotiations reached as positive but insufficient. It has been a negotiating process where for the first time so much progress is achieved, but it is not as much as we wish, he added. He claimed that if they had been concentrated only on the negotiating process since last September and if this was their only job, more progress would have been achieved. He argued that the Greek Cypriot side rejected the demand of the Turkish side on this issue and expressed the hope that the second round of the negotiations and the give and take process which is expected to start afterwards are held in a more intensified pace.

    When he was reminded of statements in both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities that the plan will be imposed on the two sides, Mr Talat said:

    There is no such plan on the agenda. The UN has no such mission. We are preparing the plan. The documents we prepare during the negotiations will constitute the backbone of the plan, the plan will come to surface starting from these and our experts, the Turks and the Greeks, will do this. An imposed plan might only come onto the agenda only in case the negotiations are blown up. Or if there are great differences in the prepared documents, perhaps the international community, the UN might interfere and fill up the gaps. However, there is no such situation, no such climate at the moment.

    Replying to a question, Mr Talat said the fact that the international community, the EU and the UN are not sufficiently concerned with the negotiations is due to the fact that they are fed up with the Cyprus problem.

    He said that when the two leaders accept a plan the possibility of this plan to be approved at a referendum will be increased and argued that the Greek Cypriot leader should prepare his people for the referendum.

    He alleged that the Turkish Cypriots want a solution in spite of their disappointment from the result of the referendum in 2004 and claimed that the fact that the National Unity Party (UBP) won the elections on 19 April 2009 has no relation with the will of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution.

    Asked what will happen if the UBP carried out a campaign for the rejection of a possible solution plan, Mr Talat said this would be an interesting situation and added: I do not know what kind of a situation will be created, but there was a similar situation in the past.

    Mr Talat said that according to the constitution of the breakaway regime it is not possible for the presidential elections to be postponed and reiterated that it would be beneficial if the referendum for the solution of the Cyprus problem was held before 24 April 2010. Replying to a question, he said that he will not be a candidate in the elections in case he is certain that there will be no solution to the Cyprus problem. However, in the current conditions my hope is high and it is still very early for the elections, he added.

    When he was reminded of the comments that Turkey might make an opening in the Cyprus problem similar to the one on the Kurdish issue, Mr Talat replied: Turkey made its opening for Cyprus in the year 2002. And the Turkish Cypriot side made its own opening in 2003. That is, there was a change of policy. And this opening is continuing, the negotiations are supported without hesitation. What other openings could be made?

    Mr Talat argued that the opening of the Turkish ports to the Republic of Cyprus or a step on the issue of the occupied closed city of Varosha could not be described as opening and alleged:

    The opening of the ports will not contribute to the negotiations. On the contrary, it will relax the Greek Cypriot side further. What is the opening in this? Turkey has many times explained its stance on this issue and it has our full consensus on this stance. Moreover, this kind of initiatives will impede the negotiations. Even with the opening of the gates at Ledra Street Lokmaci area and Limnitis there have been difficulties and delays in the negotiating process.

    Mr Talat said he is satisfied from the support which the assembly, the UBP government and the people are extending to him during the negotiations and added that in spite of some statements to the press, the UBP is supporting him in the negotiations.

    Referring to the internal developments in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Mr Talat called on everybody to a dialogue in order for the tension to be reduced. He said that in order for the overtime payments to stop, people should not be working overtime. Referring to the issue of the Koran lessons, he expressed the opinion that the religious culture should be taught within the framework of the curriculum and the religious education should not be compulsory.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat argues that this is the last chance for a solution in Cyprus and that the problem could not be solved without the participation of the international community

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.08.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the solution of the Cyprus problem is a condition now and reiterated the allegation that the ongoing negotiating process is the last chance for a solution. Mr Talat visited the occupied Chatoz village the night before yesterday and replied to questions of people living there.

    Justifying his view that this will be the last chance for a solution he said:

    Because if the people come many times in front of the door and cannot enter inside, that is, if they cannot solve the problem, they will be fed up and stop. He also alleged that the Cyprus problem could not be solved without the participation of the international community, because it is an international problem.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (19.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat has called on the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias to prepare the Greek Cypriots for a referendum on the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He also called on the Greek Cypriot leader not to repeat the mistake made in 2004.

    The Presidents call came in a statement he issued during a visit to the Serdarli [occupied Chatoz] village last night. President Talat was in Serdarli to mark the liberation of the village as he wasnt able to attend last weeks ceremonies.

    In a statement, the President referred to the Cyprus problem and complained that the Greek Cypriot side has said NO to all issues which are vital for the Turkish side, including the issue of guarantorship.

    Reminding that the Greek Cypriot side brought proposals onto the table which were out of the UN resolutions, Mr Talat said those views were unacceptable for the Turkish side.

    He pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side has been calling on Turkey to show flexibility on all issues but added that Turkey made no comment on any issues, except for the issue of guarantorship.

    The President said that the Greek Cypriot side has been trying to exert pressure on Ankara by using its EU membership process to force it to leave the Cyprus Turkish People alone. Some can call these negotiation tactics. But these only serve to weaken the trust of the two peoples in peace. And if this trust erodes, the mistake made in 2004 can be repeated. Thats a very sensitive issue Mr Talat added.

    Underlining the need for the Greek Cypriot Leader to prepare his people to a solution, the President said `he should avoid using rhetoric that could lead to concern among his people`.

    Pointing out that he is still hopeful for a political settlement in Cyprus, he once again laid stress on the fact that the current solution process is the last chance.

    He warned that, if the non-solution wins every time we reach the threshold for a settlement, the two peoples of Cyprus will fed up and back down.

    The TRNC President emphasized that the Cyprus problem is an international problem and it can only be resolved through international support.

    [03] Turkey has reportedly asked from Jordan to open an office in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title Jordan may open an office in the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (20.08.09) reports that the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Nasir Cevde [Tr. Note: The name is written as it is published in the newspaper] arrived in Turkey last night and held a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. Bilateral relations and regional issues have been discussed during the meeting. The Cyprus problem was also among the matters they discussed.

    As the paper reports, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu requested from its Jordanian counterpart for his country to open an office in the northern part of the island. Turkey told the Jordanian Minister that some countries have opened offices in the occupied part of Cyprus and call Jordan to do the same.

    Moreover, the Turkish Foreign Minister has asked from his counterpart to invite the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to Jordan. The paper adds that Ankara reminded that Mr Talat met with the leaders of several countries, and visited many countries, including Washington, and asked from Jordan to make a similar step. According to the paper, the response of the Jordanian Minister to the demand of Turkey was neither positive nor negative. However, officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: They have seen our demand positively.

    (AK)

    [04] Statements by Ercakica during a press conference

    Illegal Bayrak television (19.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has repeated President Talats call for the Greek Cypriot Administration to prepare its people for a solution.

    In his weekly press briefing, Mr Ercakica said statements made by Greek Cypriot diplomats are being watched closely by the Turkish Side adding that the Greek Cypriot side has put unrealistic targets for its people which will be hard to reach.

    While we are trying to create a joint future over again, we should take into account our experiences that we lived through, since 1963. We understand from evaluations by the Greek Cypriot side that they are trying to ignore these experiences and reach a solution of their own, and this is dangerous, Mr Ercakica stressed.

    He said that despite such statements by Greek Cypriot officials, the Turkish side welcomes the Greek Cypriot Leader Christofias statements stressing the necessity for a solution. He said Turkish side is determined to continue with its negotiations strategy in such a way that its security and existence is not endangered.

    On the issue of the Yesilirmak Gate [Limnitis crossing point], the presidential spokesman said work in the area is still continuing at project level.

    [05] The platform for the condemnation of the ruling by the ECJ held a press conference

    Illegal Bayrak television (19.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The organization calling itself, the Platform for the Condemnation of the Ruling by the European Court of Justice, has disclosed the replies it received to a letter and memorandum it handed to the United Nations, the European Union and the British Government in connection with the ruling the European Court of Justice took earlier this year concerning an immovable property in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Members of the Platform today held a press conference in Lefkosa [occupied Lefkosia] to give the details of the official replies they received to questions they put to the three, in a letter annexed to the memorandum.

    The letter and memorandum followed a mass protest rally in Lefkosa held on June 9 this year, after the controversial ruling by the ECJ concerning the property in question, which is currently being used by a British couple, but which used to belong to a Greek Cypriot family before 1974.

    Saying that the United Nations has yet to give its full and official response to the letter, a member of the organization Ergun Olgun said that the British Governments reply highlights the fact that the property issue can only be resolved through a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question, being a highly complicated and complex topic.

    He said that as the British government underlines the importance of the fact that personal law cases cannot take the place of a balanced settlement which will safeguard both sides interests, it also expresses the view, in the letter, that personal legal action will have an adverse effect on the whole negotiations process.

    Mr Olgun adds that the British government also expresses the view that London is aware of the economic hardships the ECJs ruling will incur on the Turkish Cypriot People.

    However, he says that the British governments view that there can be no intervention to the ORAMS court procedures and processes, is equally worrying.

    As for the EUs reply, Mr Olgun said that just like the British governments response, this had both - positive but some worrying tones as well.

    He said that while the EU acknowledges the need for a comprehensive settlement to accommodate a mutually acceptable solution to the property issue as part of a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus problem; its view that the E.C.J. ruling does not limit any sides bargaining position, is cause for concern.

    [06] Allegations by a Turkish retired colonel who participated in the preparations for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and in the invasion itself

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (20.08.09) reports that retired colonel Saldiray Hakguder, who has actively participated in the preparations for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and in the invasion itself, has alleged that the Turks have not killed any prisoner during the invasion. He claimed: During the operation we have not killed any prisoner. We gave our own food and clothes to 197 Greek Cypriot citizens that we had gathered in a school. The Greeks have committed the real crime.

    Mr Hakguder said he came to Cyprus secretly in September 1973 in order to organize some preparations and added that he was preparing the Turkish Cypriots for the invasion for a period of ten months. He argued, inter alia, the following: During the operation, I defended together with 800 soldiers six villages where the most intensive clashes were taking place. During our duty, I did not kill any Greek Cypriot who was captured. We shared our food and clothes with 197 Greek Cypriots whom I gathered in a primary school in Afania village for their own safety. We handed over all of them with their identity cards to the United Nations. The Greeks were those who committed the real crime. Around eight thousand Turkish Cypriots were murdered during the war. Tens of our captured soldiers were tortured and murdered. The Turkish prisoners were murdered without the UN to notice this. I am a living witness of these.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The founding rector of the illegal YDU has been offered a medal in Gagauzia for his services

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (20.08.09) reports that the speaker of the self-styled assembly, Mr Hasan Bozer, and the founding rector of the illegal Near East University (YDU), Dr Suat Gunsel, have visited the Autonomous Territorial Administration of Gagauzia as honorary guests for the 202nd anniversary of establishment of the region.

    During the celebrations, Dr. Gunsel was offered the Gagauz Yeri Honour Medal by the Gagauzia President Mihail Formozal for his service towards Gagauzia. As it was stated, YDU offers scholarships every year to 48 Gagauz students and Mr Gursel is widely appreciated by the Gagauz people.

    The same medal was also given in the past to the former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel. Among the honorary guests of the President of Gagauzia is YDUs Prof. Dr. Ata Atun, as well. According to the paper, during his opening speech for the 2nd World Gagauz Congress, Mr Gunsel proposed the establishment of a Turkish World Universities Union, something that was included in the final declaration of the congress.

    (EA)

    [08] Cartoonists festival held in occupied village Ag. Sergios

    Illegal Bayrak television (19.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The traditional Yenibogazici Pulya Festival continues.

    The 2nd International Aysergi-Pulya Cartoonists Gathering was also organized within the framework of the Festival.

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and First Lady Oya Talat were at the Festival last night to attend the awards ceremony organized for cartoonists. Delivering the first speech at the ceremony, Mayor of Yenibogazici [occupied village of Ag. Sergios] Cemal Biren said world-famous cartoonists attended this years event.

    He later presented a thanks plate to the President of the Federation of Cartoonists Organisations (FECO) - Peter Nievwendijk.

    FECO President responded to the plate by saying that he has been attending many festivals around the world since 35 years but he has never met such warm-hearted people before.

    Laterly speaking, President Talat described cartoons as an art that both teaches and amuses people.

    Awards to cartoonists, who made the grading among themselves, were later presented by the President. Iranian Sharam Rezai was the foreign winner while Huseyin Cakmak was chosen as the winner among local artists.

    The awards ceremony was followed by a spectacular concert by the famous Turkish music group Yeni Turku- which is celebrating its 30th year in music this year.

    [09] The chairman of YODAK stated that the illegal universities offered an exaggerated number of places this year

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.08.09) reports that the chairman of the Higher Education Consulting and Accreditation Board (YODAK), Prof. Dr. Hasan Ali Bicak has stated that one of the reasons of the fact that some places offered by the illegal universities in the occupied areas remained vacant is the exaggerated number of places which have been offered.

    He said that only 33-40% of the offered places were filled up and added that last year 48 thousand students studied in the illegal universities. He noted that after the graduations in February and in the summer, 40 thousand students are still studying in the occupied areas. Dr. Bicakli reminded that there are also students from third countries.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Britain appointed new ambassador to Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.08.09) reported the following:

    The British government has appointed David Reddaway as the chief of its permanent diplomatic mission in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Reddaway is set to replace Nick Baird, who has been serving in Turkey since 2006.

    Reddaway, former British ambassador to Dublin, is set to present his credentials later this month. Britain's new ambassador to Ankara also served as special envoy in Afghanistan in 2002.

    [11] Russia removed barriers to Turkish exporters

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.08.09) reported the following:

    Russia has cancelled a regulation against Turkish exporters, a move to restore trade between the two countries, a Turkish minister said on Wednesday.

    Russian authorities annulled Tuesday the regulation on full inspection of Turkish goods at customs gates, Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici said.

    Russia put into practice strict procedures against Turkish exporters in August 2008. Turkey's exports to Russia fell by 58 percent this year due to global economic crisis and Russia's customs practices.

    The problem was solved at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to Turkey early this month. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Putin on August 6 and the two countries inked a deal to lift restrictions on trade.

    Yazici said Turkey and Russia would continue previous practices on trade.

    [12] Turkey sent observer mission for Afghan elections

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.08.09) reported the following:

    Turkey has sent an observer team to Afghanistan for Thursday's vote and it had been making financial contribution to the country's general elections, a spokesman with Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

    "We attach great importance to Afghanistan's general elections which will produce a new government for the country. And we hope Thursday's vote will constitute a step forward for Afghanistan which is passing through dire times," Burak Ozugergin told the Anadolu Agency.

    Turkey has donated 3 million USD to support Afghan general elections.

    [13] Vatan paper reports on MIT involvement in German terror case

    Turkish daily Vatan newspaper (19.08.09), under the title MIT also implicated in Terrorist Case", published the following report:

    In the trial of the Turkish activists who were taken into custody during a raid conducted in 2007, and who had been planning to stage Germany's greatest terrorist attack, German officials have gone into action based on the statement that "Mevlut K., who had ties with Turkish intelligence, gave us the detonators for the bombs."

    MIT [Turkish National Intelligence Organization] was asked through official channels about the situation of Mevluk K. According to the claim of Der Spiegel [magazine], MIT provided the information that "he was our reporting asset until 2002, but we have had no contact with him since then."

    Taking the allegations seriously despite this, the German judiciary has issued an international arrest warrant (red bulletin) in order for Mevlut K to be arrested and turned over to them in order to be tried in Germany.

    It is stated that Mevlut K, born in Germany, is missing, and that he may have fled to Turkey.

    One of the suspects, Atilla Selek, cited an individual named Mevlut K in his testimony, which is over a thousand pages long. The suspect terrorist Selek, who claims that Mevlut K had established the connection between the Sauerland terror cell, on the one hand, and the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT) on the other, claims that the individual in question was MIT's "mole." Claiming that the individual who had supplied the explosives to be used in the attack, which had been planned in Istanbul, to the terrorist cell's leader, the German Fritz Gelowicz, had been Mevlut K, Atilla Selek also says that the individual in question had from time to time left the cell meetings and come back with new information a few hours later. Saying that "on one occasion, he even said that the German police were looking for an Islamist group, and that my name was also included in the list of suspects," Selek continued his statement by saying: "When we asked Mevlut K the source of this information, he said 'I stole it from German intelligence.'" An arrest warrant has been issued by the Federal Prosecutor's Office for Mevlut K, who was born in the German city of Ludwigshafen. It is reported, however, that the whereabouts of this individual are currently unknown.

    Der Spiegel takes the matter yet a step further, and alleges that an unofficial response has come from Germany's request for information. According to this, the National Intelligence Organization has confirmed unofficially that the aforementioned Mevluk K had worked on behalf of Turkish intelligence as a "contact man" until 2002. MIT, however, also stressed that, during the timeframe in which he was alleged to have provided the explosives to be used in the attack planned in Istanbul, Mevlut K had had no connection to MIT. The Sauerland group was exposed in operations conducted in 2007.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 19 August 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 19 August 2009:

    Kurdish Issue

    According to a report by Namik Durukan in Milliyet, Democratic Society Party, DTP, leader Ahmet Turk has asked writer Yasar Kemal to contribute to the solution process of the Kurdish issue. The report adds that Turk, DTP Mus Deputy Sirri Sakik, and DTP Batman Deputy Bengi Yildiz have called on Kemal and have invited him to participate in the 1 September Peace Rally to be held in Diyarbakir. Kemal is reported to have said that he is hopeful about the process, but it will be a long and arduous one, adding: "Everyone should contribute to the process."

    In a report in Milliyet, Namik Durukan reports that Osman Ocalan, who is waiting for a sign to be able to return to Turkey, has criticized his brother Abdullah Ocalan for being "hesitant and undecided," saying: "He is concerned because his situation has not gained clarity. I believe that he will covertly oppose the process." Commenting on the stand to be adopted by the PKK leadership in a phone conversation, Ocalan is reported to have said: "The PKK leadership, while pretending to contribute to the process, will in essence oppose it. While the leadership will gradually try to sabotage the process, Turkey will try to complement its political steps with military ones." Contrary to Abdullah Ocalan, Osman Ocalan argues that the Kurds "do not need an armed defense force," adding: "Insisting on an armed defense force is tantamount to rejecting a solution. The primary condition for a solution is the laying down of arms." Claiming that the PKK is not a force that can generate a solution, Ocalan underlines the necessity for a general amnesty.

    Describing Ocalan's road map as a "project for ethnic separation" in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol argues that this attempt to organize Turks and Kurds under separate institutions is a demand for a confederation. Underlining that the geography called Kurdistan has no defined borders, Akyol reminds all that 2.5 million persons were killed in the separation that created India and Pakistan. Warning against provoking sentiments, Akyol concludes: "Realizing that we are obliged to live not only side by side but also in an intermingled manner, let us refrain from political extremes. Let us reconcile in democracy. This is what the majority of our people want."

    Viewing the plan announced by Ocalan through his lawyers in his column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz concludes that Ocalan is very confused and has lost his sense of judgment as a result of spending so many years in solitary confinement because although he declares that he is against a federation he describes a Kurdish region that is actually the definition of a federation. Likening Ocalan's stance to a victorious commander presenting a peace plan to the defeated; Yilmaz writes: "The DTP stand is no different than that of Ocalan whom it considers to be the 'sole leader.'" Every step taken by the DTP is aimed at sabotaging the government overture, maintains Yilmaz, showing the festival organized to "celebrate" the PKK raid on Eruh as one such example.

    Asserting that the state should never negotiate with the leader of a terrorist organization in his article in Vatan, Reha Muhtar writes: "There is only one address for the democratic overture in Turkey, namely the Assembly... There is a faction that has been elected through democratic elections within the parliament; it is called the DTP..." Praising Turkey for remaining unified while the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia have disintegrated, Muhtar argues that democratic overtures and the granting of the right to speak and write in one's mother tongue only attest to the greatness of that country. In conclusion, Muhtar underlines that it is the duty of this generation to establish a dialogue with representatives within the parliament in a bid to hand over to the next generations a country in peace.

    Commenting on Ocalan's proposals that have leaked to the media in his article in the same daily, Mehmet Tezkan says that the first impression one gets is that Ocalan wants a single flag and a single state, but a closer look at those proposals makes one realize that he is trying to sabotage the process. Tezkan writes: "Apo's demand is the establishment of an Autonomous Kurdish Region. He wants a separate structure ranging from its administration to its education, from its mosques to its sports, even to its security force. If you want, we can hoist the Turkish flag, he says. What does this demand stand for other than dynamiting the process? Ocalan has drawn his red lines. If the DTP attempts to cross those lines, if it says this is too much, it will be declared as a 'traitor' by the 'radical nationalist Kurds.' Apo has tied the hands of the DTP. He has tied the hands not only of the DTP but of the armed militants in Kandil as well."

    The leftists in Turkey like to explain every problem as an "imperialist plot," writes Oral Calislar in an article in Radikal. Portraying the action taken by the government to solve the Kurdish issue as a US plot, the leftists have chosen to adopt a negative stand because they believe the United States is involved, argues Calislar, conceding that the positive stand adopted by the United States and the EU have influenced the government to take action. Pointing out that US President Obama is pursuing a policy that favors peace and not war in the region, Calislar stresses that the solution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey is one of the fundamental necessities for realizing peace in the region. Pointing out that the policies of the Turkish government and the US administration overlap, Calislar asks whether this is a bad thing and "whether there is a rule that says that the interests of imperialism should always be opposed to those of a solution." The fact that the leftist movement in Turkey sees imperialism under every wrong-doing, prevents it from understanding the fundamental realities, claims Calislar, questioning whether the denial of the Kurdish identity is also the doing of the United States.

    Announcing that he is not against the concept of a federation and the advantages of a federative system in an article in Radikal, Ismet Berkan believes that a federal solution will not be beneficial for the Kurds and the rest of the nation in the medium and long-term. Berkan goes on to explain why he thinks that a federative system will not be beneficial to a solution. Claiming that a federative solution is a sort of demand for "autonomy," Berkan argues that autonomy will breed ethnicity, adding: "Geographical regionalization based on ethnic roots, might bring along undesired developments such as tensions based on the demand for ethnic cleansing." Showing Belgium and Switzerland as examples of divided geographic regions, Berkan underlines that even these two countries, despite their long experience and their recent history which is devoid of bloodshed, prove that it is not easy to coexist in happiness.

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Joost Lagendijk writes that plans to change Turkey's extremely centralized decision-making processes will not be part of the "democracy package" being prepared by the government, adding: "There will be no mention of even the smallest increase in regional or local autonomy" because most Turks believe that a federal Turkey "means a weak and decentralized country where separatists have free reign."

    In an article entitled "Should we crucify Ozkok or suspend his retirement pay?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes certain commentators for "all but crucifying" Former Chief of Staff Hilmi Ozkok over his remarks in an interview with Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila asserting that "multi-ethnic" countries have been known to refrain from naming themselves after one specific ethnic group "although I would not want to be understood as proposing that Turkey's name be changed." Koru claims that there is nothing "surprising" or "original" about Ozkok's remarks since Former President Turgut Ozal made a similar statement in 1992 when he said "we would all be called Ottomans if Ataturk had chosen to call this country the Ottoman Republic instead of the Republic of Turkey." He goes on to argue that Ozal and Ozkok's remarks offer clues about the "psychological" quality of the Kurdish problem: "The need to use the word 'Turk,' which is actually the name of a race, to refer to citizens from other ethnic backgrounds, is treated as a serious problem by some people. ... This problem could have been avoided if Turkey had been called the Ottoman Republic or the Anatolian Republic. Since we cannot do that today, we need to find other ways to address that problem. It is the search for such a formula that the Government is currently engaged in."

    In an article entitled "The process is working", Yeni Safak columnist Resul Tosun argues that the Erdogan government is commendably involving the entire country in the dispute over its latest effort to solve the southeast issue by holding the door open to talks with any political or NGO groups. He claims that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's latest public messages, the proposals made by the Democratic Society Party, DTP, and the CHP and the MHP's harsh opposition to the Government's latest initiative are all contributing to the effort to solve the Kurdish problem by causing a public debate that can lead some of the parties to the dispute to rethink their "extreme" or "unacceptable" suggestions.

    EG/


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