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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-24
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 158/09 22-24.08.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Ercakica insists on the guarantees and the issue of the primary law of the EU; Turkish Cypriot daily describes contradictory statements by Talat, Ercakica and Nami on the issueIllegal Bayrak Television (23.08.09) broadcast the following:
The Turkish side remains sure-footed over the issues of agreement within the Cyprus negotiations process.
TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talats Special aide in charge of negotiations Ozdil Nami has said President Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Dimitris Christofias have reached a substantial consensus at negotiations.
Mr Namis words came in response to the statements by the former Greek Cypriot Leader and current head of the working group on EU issues - George Vassiliou.
Mr Vassiliou evaluated the Cyprus negotiations process to a Greek Cypriot news agency. He said the two sides reached consensus on all issues in general, particularly on the chapter of EU matters. Vassiliou was also quoted as admitting the mistakes of Greek Cypriots and Greece in the bitter history of the Cyprus problem. He expressed the view that there isnt such an issue called guarantees in Cyprus as the island is a member of the EU. I now believe more that Talat and Christofias are obliged to bring a settlement in Cyprus. This is the first time such a genuine negotiations process is taking place in Cyprus, Vassiliou said.
Evaluating these statements to the BRT newsroom, Mr Nami said, what Vassiliou was speaking about the history of the Cyprus problem was the reflection of reality at a significant level.
On the issue of guarantees, Nami said that the EUs system of guarantee is not very much adequate for Cyprus due to the islands unique position.
Moreover, Illegal Bayrak Television (23.08.09) broadcast the following:
The Turkish side continues responding to the recent statements by the former Greek Cypriot Leader and the head of the Greek Cypriot working group on EU matters George Vassiliou over the Cyprus negotiations process.
TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talats special aide Ozdil Namis reply follows another response by the Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica.
Mr Ercakica told the BRT newsroom that Mr Vassiliou, who said the resolution agreement of the Cyprus problem will not become a primary law within the European Union and agreement was reached on this with the Turkish side, was the witness to the negotiation round on EU Matters during which the relations between the Cyprus state -to be formed under a political settlement- and the EU were discussed.
Vassiliou was a member of the Greek Cypriot negotiating team for that chapter. He witnessed to the Turkish sides insistence on making the possible political agreement a primary law of the EU, Ercakica stressed. The Presidential Spokesperson went on saying that such attempts to mislead the public opinion can only hamper the negotiations process.
There is a need to reiterate the fact that the Turkish side is still insisting on making the resolution agreement a primary law of the EU, once the agreement is approved by the two peoples of Cyprus during the simultaneous referenda. Necessary arrangements to make this happen are part of the possible resolution agreement we aim to reach. All peaceful efforts to come up with an agreement for the solution of the Cyprus problem will be left meaningless if the solution does not become a primary law, he stressed.
As for the issue of guarantees which Vassiliou disregarded by saying that it was a matter of the EU, and not Turkeys, Hasan Ercakica underlined the need for meeting the security need of Cyprus Turks which derived from the Cyprus history. He said this is a must for a settlement. The Greek Cypriot sides EU membership, which was gained unjustly and unilaterally, cannot have a determining force in shaping the works for the solution of the Cyprus problem, he added. The Turkish side has made its decision. We are in favour of maintaining the current system of guarantorship in Cyprus. If the EU is going to adapt itself into the agreement we sign in Cyprus, then this means it is also going to respect our decicion on the issue of guarantorship, he went on saying.
Presidential Spokesperson Ercakica also commented on George Vassilious statement that the Turkish Peace Operation- which he called an occupation- would not take place if the Greek coup did not happen in Cyprus with the mistakes of Greek Cypriots and Greece.
Mr Vassiliou also claimed that Turkey used the Treaty of Guarantorship for occupation in Cyprus. In response to this, Mr Ercakica stressed that Turkey used its rights deriving from the guarantorship only to protect the life and property of Cyprus Turks.
Other military interventions took place in 1964 and 1967. 1974s comprehensive intervention only came because the Greek Cypriot side did not take the necessary lesson from the previous interventions. Then there was a need to re-evaluate the situation in Cyprus, in the light of realities experienced after 1960. It will be easier to reach a solution if the Greek Cypriot side does not distort the Cyprus history, Ercakica said.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (24.08.09) reports that while the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat give contradictory information regarding the Cyprus talks, the statements made by his close working partners Ozdil Nami and Hasan Ercakica are contradictory as well. Under the title What is happening, the paper argues that while the allegations that Mr Talat says one thing to the Greek Cypriots and different to the Turkish Cypriot community are being strengthened, the former President Vasiliou stated that there is consensus on all issues, the agreement will not become primary law of the EU and there is no need for guarantees. The paper writes that Mr Nami made some statements which had the character of confirming Mr Vasiliou. Mr Ercakica, on the other hand, denied what Mr Vasiliou said. This caused confusion, argues the paper.
Moreover, under the title Vasiliou is lying, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (24.08.09) reports that in statements to illegal Bayrak television, Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, said that the Turkish side insists on the guarantees and on the issue of the agreement becoming primary law of the EU. He alleged that an agreement which will not become primary law of the EU will be meaningless.
 The Turkish Energy Minister reacts against the activities of the Republic of CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (23.08.09) broadcast the following:
The Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz has reacted against the Greek Cypriot Administrations oil exploration activities in the Mediterranean.
'This is not what the international law requires from the Greek Cypriot side' he said.
The Minister said Turkey knows its borders and duties well and expressed the belief that other countries will do so. 'Everyone needs to show respect' he stressed.
Speaking to the Anatolian News Agency, Taner Yildiz said Turkey has friendly relations with Greece and underlined the need for putting signature under joint projects.
Stating that Turkey has already deserved to become an EU member with the NABUCCO project- a project part of energy policy-, Yildiz said there should not be a comparison between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot Administration.
 Irsen Kucuk announced that Eroglu may run as a candidate in the forth coming presidential elections in the occupied areasIllegal Bayrak television (21.08.09) broadcast the following:
The Secretary-General of the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) Irsen Kucuk has said its a very big possibility for Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu to run as a candidate in the presidential elections scheduled to take place in April next year.
Mr Kucuk was answering questions at a programme on BRT this morning.
He said the final decision on the UBPs presidential candidate will be given by party organs.
The UBP Secretary-General expressed his ambition that, just as it happened in the early general elections last April, the UBP will again come out as the winner of elections next year.
'We will win the elections and sit at the negotiations table to maintain the talks' Kucuk said.
He noted that his party is in favor of the continuation of the Cyprus negotiation process.
 Land in occupied Lefka area is given to a company from Sweden and NorwayTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.08.09) reports that Mehmet Zafer, self-styled mayor of occupied Lefka village, has secretly and without opening tenders made an agreement with a company from Norway and Sweden regarding a land of 260 donums [Tr. Note: A land measure of 1000 square meters] in Lefka. This company will reportedly build an installation for eco-tourism in the area.
Mr Zafer said that during a visit to Sweden with some other mayors he invited to Cyprus some investors, who told him that the island is an appropriate place for eco-tourism. He noted that he is a mediator for this investment and that he arranged a meeting of the investors with the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA). He noted that the investors liked a plot of land in occupied Ambelikou village, but this land had been given to the illegal European University of Lefka and this is why they gave the above-mentioned area in Lefka to the company. He said that the self-styled minister of internal affairs approved the allocation of the land.
 The relation of Ergenekon with Cyprus is discussed again in the pressTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (24.08.09) reports that no murder or bomb attack carried out in the occupied areas of Cyprus was included in the Ergenekon files in Turkey. Noting that this causes surprise, the paper points out that after Galip Mendi was appointed to the post of Education and Doctrine Commander in Ankara, the expectations for carrying out investigations regarding the activities of Ergenekon in the occupied areas of Cyprus were proved to be in vain.
Galip Mendi was a colonel in the occupied areas of the island in 1996 and commander of the Civil Defence Organization. His name was involved in the raid into Saint Barnabas Monastery and the assassination of journalist Kutlu Adali. He was also the commander of the so-called security forces when bomb attacks were carried out against Afrika, notes the paper adding that no one investigated his activities in Cyprus. It points out that neither Mehmet Ali Talat nor Dervis Eroglu knows who put a bomb in front of their houses in the past. The fact that no commander who served in Cyprus is included in the suspects for the Ergenekon attracts the attention, writes Afrika.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (24.08.09) refers to the Ergenekon case as well under the title Big conspiracy and reports that the documents which have been published recently regarding this case showed that a big conspiracy has been prepared by the so-called nationalists in Turkey and the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to prevent the referendum which was suggested by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and should have take place on 12 December 2003.
The paper cites information published yesterday by Turkish Star newspapers editor-in-chief, Mehmet Altan and writes that these efforts were successful and the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, the Gendarmerie Commander Sener Eruygur, the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu and the then ambassador to Ankara Ahmet Zeki Bulunc. Mr Altan alleges that the conspiracy helped the Republic of Cyprus to join the EU and left the Turkish Cypriots outside the Union, while it took away the biggest trump card from Turkey and the TRNC, the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.08.09) refers to the same issue and reports that the chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Ferdi Sabit Soyer called on the self-styled prime minister Eroglu to issue a statement and explain to the community the involvement of the name of Mr Bulunc in the indictment for the Ergenekon in Turkey.
 Strikes continue in the occupied areas of CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (22.08.09) broadcast the following:
Cyprus Turkish Airlines Flights have been disrupted following an ongoing strike at Ercan Airport by the Cyprus Turkish Civil Aviation Workers Trade Union-UC Sen.
The trade union started its action at 1 am this morning on grounds that a protocol for the end-of-year 13th pay wage was not signed with them.
The strike action will end at 12 midnight tonight.
Speaking to the BRT, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Civil Aviation Workers Trade Union Tamer Azizoglu said that the 13th month wages due for June had not been paid.
He said that the trade union had conducted talks in good will to solve the problem but that they had failed to receive an assurance in that direction.
Pointing out that the union had met with the companys board of directors demanding a protocol guaranteeing the payment of the wage to be signed; the UC-Sen President said that they had decided to go on strike after their demands had not been met.
Reminding that all CTA staff for the exception of flight personnel was members of UC-Sen, Azizoglu said that all members were taking part in the strike and that most CTA flights would be disrupted today.
Also commenting on todays strike action, the Minister of Public Works and Communication Hasan Tacoy said that 13th month wages will only be paid if the necessary financial resources are found.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (21.08.09) broadcast the following:
Doctors trade union (TIP-IS), Custom Workers Trade Union (GuÁ-Sen) and the Union of Nurses and Midwives have decided to continue their actions calling for the withdrawal of the statutory decree on overtime payments.
The decision was announced at a press conference by the Presidents of the three trade unions which have been continuing protest actions for some time.
The unions will stage a warning strike on Wednesday between 9am and 11.30am.
They will also hold a protest action in front of the Prime Ministers Office where the Council of Ministers is to convene.
The unions say they will take further action if the government fails to give a positive response to their demands.
Commenting on the decision, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that the unions are making a mistake.
The Premier said every single problem can be solved through dialogue and complained that the unions are first staging protest actions before engaging in dialogue.
He noted that measures are necessary to pull the country out of economic crisis.
 Turkish Cypriot daily reports that the villages of Anatolia are moving into the occupied areas of Cyprus because of the strikesUnder the title The villages of Anatolia are moving into Cyprus with bundles, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.08.09) reports that products are still entering into the occupied areas of Cyprus without any control, due to the protest activities of the workers at the customs, which continue for three weeks now.
Many passengers, who came from rural areas of Turkey, entered through the port of occupied Keryneia carrying bundles, sacks and bags, notes the paper adding that when some of these bags and sacks were worn out, it was seen that the passengers were carrying with them various belongings from their houses as well as fruits, vegetables, dried meat, tomato paste and pickles. People who saw this said that the villages of Anatolia are moving into Cyprus with their bags, adds the paper.
Moreover, journalist Resat Akar, editor-in-chief of Kibris (24.08.09) reports that the strike at the customs benefited the workers from Turkey who are employed in the occupied areas and can bring their families here as well now. Houses in small villages of Anatolia are messed up, things are put into bags and bundles and are carried to Cyprus with ferryboats, notes Mr Akar.
 Obstacles by the breakaway regime to the French diplomatsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.08.09) reports that the French Embassy to Lefkosia has stopped the procedure of issuing entrance visas for passports of the breakaway regime which have been issued or renewed by the self-styled Turkish Embassy in the occupied areas of Cyprus, explaining that it does not recognize the above-mentioned.
According to information acquired by the paper, the self-styled foreign ministry reacting to the action of the French embassy, decided to take some diplomatic measures, by lifting the V.I.P. status of the French Embassy at the Ledra Palace barricade. In this way, since last Thursday, the French diplomats cannot use the Ledra Palace barricade cross over to the occupied areas of Cyprus and the only way to use this crossing point is to have a special invitation by the illegal regime. The diplomats, if they want, will be able to cross over through the barricade of Ag. Dometios. As the paper writes, the breakaway regime has informed the French Embassy to Lefkosia in writing about its decision.
 Data on the exports of the breakaway regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.08.09) reports that the exports of halloumi cheese and citrus fruits decreased in the first five months of 2009 in comparison with the same period of 2008. The exports of citrus fruits decreased from 75 thousand tons in 2008 to 60 thousand tons in 2009. The exports of halloumi cheese fell from 2.100 kilograms in 2008 to only 822 kilograms until May 2009, while it is expected that this number will increase to 1.700 kilograms by the end of 2009.
On the other hand, the exports of raki (arrack) increased from 2.254 litres in the first five months of 2008 to 2.920 litres in the same period of 2009. An increase was also observed in the exports of chicken in the same period. While 175.239 kilos of chicken were exported in the first five months of 2008, this number increased to 267.986 kilos in the same period of 2009.
 The Turkish Cypriot national team in handball is participating in a tournament in BudapestTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.08.09) reports that the so-called national team of the breakaway regime in handball (men under 21) has arrived in Budapest, where it will participate in the 29th FRADI CUP Handball Tournament. Teams from Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia and the Czech Republic will participate in the tournament.
 Illegal UKU signs protocol agreement with the British Universities of Sunderland and WolverhamptonTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.08.09) reports that the illegal Cyprus International University (UKU) in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus has signed a protocol agreement with the British University of Sunderland and the University of Wolverhampton. The protocol foresees that the students of the illegal UKU will be able to obtain a double diploma after completing a 3-year-study in the UKU and one-year-study either in the University of Sunderland, or the University of Wolverhampton in UK.
 Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey to participate in a joint NATO exerciseTodays Zaman newspaper (24.08.09) reports the following:
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will be among participants of a joint exercise to be held by NATO in Kazakhstan in September, according to an announcement released by the Prime Ministry General Directorate for Emergency Management.
NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) is organizing a Consequence Management Field Exercise in cooperation with Kazakhstan, the host nation, which will be conducted on Sept. 5-11.
The exercise ZHETYSU 2009 is in accordance with the Civil Emergency Planning Exercise Policy and the Exercise Program for 2009-2013. It is a contribution by Kazakhstan to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. It will be the ninth EADRCC field exercise and the first EADRCC exercise hosted by Kazakhstan.
'The Prime Ministry General Directorate for Emergency Management, which is the EADRCC's contact point in our country, is also assuming coordination of all activities concerning the exercise. In addition to our country, the United States, Germany, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Armenia, Finland, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine will participate in the exercise', the announcement said.
For more than one-and-a-half years, Turkey and Armenia have been holding closed-door talks, mediated by Switzerland, to restore their relations. But the process stalled after Ankara said progress in normalization efforts was linked with progress in Armenia's Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Armenia rejects any link between the two issues.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 21 - 23 August 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 21 - 23 August 2009:
Fikret Bila argues in a column in Istanbuls Milliyet newspaper (21.08.09) that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's proposals for the solution of the Kurdish problem are disappointing. Recalling Ocalan's call for the recognition of the right of Kurds to become a nation and to establish a defense force to be able to solve their own problems, Bila stresses that he proposed the establishment of a fully fledged state by the Kurds with its parliament, government, army, judicial organs, police force, and directorate of religious affairs. He notes that Ocalan weakened the government's hope to solve the Kurdish problem and says: The only option left for the administration is to disclose that Ocalan will not be viewed as an interlocutor on Imrali Island. Bila concludes: While, on the one hand, Ocalan tries through utopian statements to create the impression that he has given up his demand for an independent state, on the other, he calls for the establishment of a nation state by the Kurds.
Taha Akyol criticizes the CHP [Republican People's Party] and MHP [Nationalist Action Party] for their reaction to the Kurdish overture in a column in the same newspaper. Describing the CHP approach as unconstructive and the MHP stand as harsh, he views the CHP concept of social democracy and argues that the party is responsible for the weakness of the left wing in the country, noting: The CHP has deprived Turkey of the opportunity the left wing has to create integration. He asks "Why should the secular Kurds not support a political party other than the DTP [Democratic Society Party] which is a PKK organization?" and argues: The CHP is fully responsible for that. It must act like a social democratic party. Akyol concludes by informing his readers that he will discuss the stand of the MHP in his next column.
A report by Turan Yilmaz in Istanbul Hurriyet (21.08.09) cites Felicity Party leader Numan Kurtulmus disclosing his party's overture for the solution of the Kurdish problem in Diyarbakir on 20 August. It sums up the party's proposals as follows: The government must apologize to the martyrs families for the loss of their sons. It must also apologize for the crimes that have been committed by the deep state, the failure of the administration to solve many crimes, and the torture of many citizens. A parliamentary committee must be set up to investigate allegations of torture in the penitentiaries in Diyarbakir. The crimes committed by the Ergenekon group in the eastern part of River Euphrates must be included in the investigation that is carried out to bring to light the group's activities. Expressions in the public sector that recall ethnic discrimination, including "Andimiz" [our oath], which is recited in the primary schools every morning, must be removed. The use of the mother tongue is a right. It must not be debated in any way. An amnesty should be declared for the organization's members who have been used, members who are not in the leading cadres. They must be given an opportunity to return to normal life. The terrorist organization must declare that it has unconditionally laid down its arms. Meanwhile, the routine military operations must end.
Commenting on Abdullah Ocalan's views on the solution of the Kurdish problem, Gungor Mengi argues in a column in Istanbul Vatan (21.08.09) that the leader of an organization, which kills children to put pressure on its own community, cannot be a side in the talks. He stresses that the initiatives to be made to solve the problem must provide economic and cultural rights to help the citizens of Kurdish origin to get rid of the separatist organization's influence and says: The political parties in the parliament must repair the damaged bridges to improve the situation. Obviously, a divided parliament cannot find a way to remove the separatist terror in the country.
Hasan Celal Guzel in Istanbul Radikal (21.08.09) applauds the administration's overture to solve the Kurdish problem and describes it as a new initiative for democracy, saying that it should apply not only to the Kurds but also to all the people in Turkey. Focusing on the views that are outlined by Prime Minister Erdogan and the other officials on the project, he argues that they should avoid making concrete statements before the present process ends and notes: However, a guarantee must be given to the opposition parties on Turkey's red lines to secure their contribution. Guzel concludes: We are opposed to any change in Turkey's national and unitary structure. Turkish must remain as Turkey's official language. An amnesty must not be declared for the terrorist chieftain. Those are our red lines. They do not conflict with democracy. They mark the limits of the new initiative for democracy.
In an article entitled "'A battering ram,'" Yeni Safak (21.08.09) columnist Tamer Korkmaz asserts that the PKK has been formed as an armed wing of Ergenekon, a shady organization accused of plotting against the government which he describes as an operational force of a secret government in Turkey. He comments: "The process of disbanding the PKK has reached its final phase and there is an unprecedented opportunity to find a solution to the Kurdish problem which is directly related to the abolishment of a secret government ruling Turkey. The Kurdish overture which is making progress based on the joint efforts of government organs is a historic step which will bring about unity rather than division."
In an article entitled "It was the same government which banned Kurdish and headscarf" Zaman (21.08.09) columnist Ihsan Dagi argues that the Kurdish question can be resolved by switching from an authoritarian-bureaucratic government to a democratic one, recognizing Turkey's multi-ethnic character. He says: "There is no difference between the mentality which banned women's headscarf and the other which prohibited people from speaking their mother tongue, changed the names of their villages, towns, and cities, forced people to give only permitted names to their children, and attempted to decide the language that they should speak. Opposing one of the policies being pursued by the same government while supporting the other would be paradoxical. Pious people should think about this during the holy month of Ramadan."
The National Security Council, MGK, meeting changed the balances in Ankara, Murat Yetkin argues in a commentary in Radikal (22.08.09). According to the columnist, the MGK statement issued at the end of the six-hour meeting shows that the army supports the government's Kurdish overture. This will ease the pressure on the Justice Development Party, AKP, which was being viewed by some as the only body responsible for the overture, Yetkin says, and it should also assuage the fears of the Republican People's Party, CHP, that the country will be divided. As for the MHP, Yetkin says, "It looks like it is angry both at the MGK and the military for assuming responsibility for and supporting the move. Devlet Bahceli is accusing the MGK -- the highest consultative body of the state -- and the military of going against their duties toward the state." It is becoming very difficult for the AKP to bridge its differences with the MHP, Yetkin concludes.
We are obviously facing a very new situation when Bahceli publicly and unexpectedly criticizes the MGK -- one of the foremost institutions of the Turkish state -- in the harshest of manners, Rusen Cakir writes in an article in Vatan (22.08.09). "His remarks indicate that Bahceli is about to burn the bridges between the MHP and the persons and institutions that constitute the state's summit," Cakir argues, speculating that the MHP leader's real aim is to kill the Kurdish move by nipping it in the bud, and also to have the military openly declare its position and clarify if there is, indeed, a consensus among the state institutions on the issue, as charged by President Gul.
Milliyet's Hasan Cemal (22.08.09) publishes a letter by Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, chair of the Turkish Businessmen's and Industrialists Association or TUSIAD, who replies to the columnist's previous article which had been critical of TUSIAD's indifference to the Kurdish question and to the latest government move. In her letter, Yalcindag refutes Cemal's claim, stressing that TUSIAD supports all democratic moves. She says: "Whatever its name, it is obvious that there is a grave social problem in the country. As we have clearly indicated in our reports, there is a need for cultural, social, and economic moves to solve the Kurdish problem. We sincerely wish to see the problem resolved, to have all citizens live under equal conditions, and to witness regional development. Ending the violence that has cost our country dearly for the past quarter century and stopping the bloodshed are priority issues."
Viewing the MGK statement on the government's Kurdish move, Cumhuriyet's (22.08.09) Arcayurek argues that the AKP government changed the structure of the MGK. "For the past three to four years," the columnist says in an article, "the majority of the MGK has been composed of government members. A pro-AKP President heads it. Considering all that, the MGK decision on the Kurdish move surely reflects the government policy and not a state policy."
In an article entitled "To treat him as a counterpart or not to treat him as a counterpart, Yeni Safak (22.08.09) columnist Hakan Albayrak criticizes President Gul for the "anti-diplomatic style" of his following response to questions about the "road map" expected from "Imrali" [where PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is serving his prison sentence]: "Forget about Imrali or whatever. They are not a counterpart [in negotiations for a solution to the southeast issue]." Albayrak asks whether Gul does not know that "millions of Kurds feel loyalty to 'Imrali or whatever' in this or that way," adding that if he were in the president's place, "I would not feel the need to say such a thing even if I thought that Ocalan and the PKK should not be treated as counterparts. On the contrary, I would feel the need to avoid saying such things and would never make such provocative and insulting remarks during a process like this."
In an article entitled "Is it possible to regard the opposition's attitude as Auspicious?, Yeni Safak (22.08.09) columnist Yasin Aktay takes issue with certain commentators over their "Hegelian" argument that in maintaining sharp opposition to the Government's latest Kurdish initiative, Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli is secretly cooperating with the ruling AKP by acting as a safety valve for the tensions brewing within certain social sections that have been angered by the said initiative. Aktay asserts that it would be possible to attribute such a positive function to Bahceli's objections to the Government's "overture" if the initiative had indeed caused a dangerous polarization, adding that rather than alleviating any existing tensions, Bahceli's harsh style, exemplified by his threats to launch a counterinsurgency, is encouraging conflict by raising baseless suspicions about the Kurdish plan.
In an article entitled "The state dimension of the overture", Zaman (22.08.09) columnist Ali Bulac asserts that the latest effort to address the Kurdish problem is a "state project" rather than a government initiative. He discusses the question of why the Turkish state "suddenly swung into action and launched this project by mobilizing society via the ruling AKP although it did not do anything between the years 1999 and 2004, when the PKK laid down arms." He notes two factors as a possible cause for this situation by linking the said project to US President Obama's call for Turkey to solve the Kurdish issue during his visit to Ankara and PKK leader Ocalan's disclosure of a plan to announce a "road map" on the Kurdish problem.
According to a report by Turan Yilmaz in Hurriyet (23.08.09), Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, stressing that both the Turkish and the Kurdish peoples are in need of peace, explains that the fact that the names of the places were changed in the Kurdish region has led to separation. Noting that well-trained teachers are required for teaching Kurdish as an optional course, Eker also calls for the establishment of Kurdish research centers. Describing Diyarbakir as a refugee camp, Eker underlines that the Justice and Development Party, AKP is the only party that is capable of resolving this problem.
The latest MGK meeting has proven that there is an agreement at the top of the state regarding the Kurdish overture, says Kadri Gursel in a commentary in the same newspaper (23.08.09) and refers to Ocalan's wish to be accepted as an interlocutor. Ocalan's influence over the nationalist Kurdish public and the PKK-DTP line is undeniable, but due to legal reasons it is impossible to accept him as a political interlocutor, argues Gursel, adding: "Nonetheless Ocalan is a 'Kurdish reality' and apparently he is exerting efforts for opening and expanding 'play area' that will enable him to become one of the 'de facto recognized' political actors." Asserting that Ocalan's statements show that he is quite confused, Gursel explains that despite the fact he claims the opposite, Ocalan demands a federate Kurdish state. With these statements he is merely supplying ammunition to the "Turkish rejection front" and he is harming the overture planned by the government, points out Gursel and says: "By imposing pressure on the DTP, Ocalan also decreases this party's ability to develop policies. Furthermore the efforts to prevent Ocalan from speaking are wrong in the current political process. If he wants to announce a plan under the title of 'road map,' he should be allowed to do so following the MGK statement... If Ocalan keeps away from reality and paralyses Kurdish politics, the government will be forced to act subjectively and all this process will lead to nothing."
Analyzing recent developments in Turkish-Armenian relations in an article entitled "Turkish-Armenian Relations and Others," Today's Zaman (23.08.09) columnist Dogu Ergil draws attention to a letter sent by more than 80 pro-Armenian members of the US House of Representatives to US President Barack Obama, complaining that Turkey refuses to keep its pledge to take steps in order to normalize bilateral relations with Armenia. Pointing out that relations between Ankara and Yerevan are not getting better, Ergil says that the process will require able diplomats and moderation on the part of politicians.
In an article entitled "What kind of an overture?" Milli Gazete (23.08.09) columnist Mustafa Ozcan argues that Turkey should find its own solution to the Kurdish issue, disregarding advice given by the United States because, he asserts, it is one of the countries causing the problem to exacerbate. He comments: "The ultimate goal in the Kurdish issue should be an overture comprising the whole region rather than the PKK. Such an approach would balance the issue with its all aspects. In other words, Turkey should reach out to those problematic areas and bring them under its control again whether directly or indirectly because Turkey has suffered the biggest harm as a result of uprisings led by various organizations such as the PKK and Turkey is the only country in the region which is capable of resolving the matter. Turkey would be weakened if it pays heed to US advice. If, however, it takes its own decisions, it could turn the crisis into an opportunity."
In an article entitled "Gareth's report and the targeted NATO commander," Today's Zaman (21.08.09) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici says that the third indictment in the Ergenekon case indicates that there was a plot to assassinate a NATO commander serving in Izmir. He says: "A CD seized from Hayati Ozcan describes in detail how Spanish commander Eduardo Zamarripa Martinez, who was working as the aide to the commander of the NATO air base in Izmir, would be silenced in 2006. The CD also contains a chart of the headquarters, a description of what should be done in case of problems and how the building next to the open parking lot would be hired, etc. You can read the details on page 45 of the indictment."
Despite the arguments to the effect that the Ergenekon investigation is a plot that has been developed by Tayyip Erdogan and his followers for intimidating the opposition, Ergenekon is a bloody plot that targets democracy and the law in Turkey, underlines Hasan Cemal in an article in Milliyet newspaper (23.08.09). Drawing attention to the recently exposed plans for the assassination of Prime Minister Erdogan, Cemal says: "Who are the people who have threatened the prime minister? Who wanted to kill the prime minister? When did the prime minister find out about these plans? ... I do not know. I only know the following: If you take democracy and the law seriously and if you want to live in peace and according to the law, you should take Ergenekon seriously.