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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-26

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. 160/09 26.08.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The breakaway regime has launched ferryboat trips between the occupied port of Famagusta and the Tripoli port of Lebanon
  • [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference
  • [03] A written statement by Ozgurgun
  • [04] Turkish Commander Zorlu visited Bozer and Ozgurgun. Bozer said that Turkeys guarantee rights are not open for bargaining
  • [05] The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly will visit the occupied areas on Thursday 27 August 2009
  • [06] An activity against the trade unions which oppose to the Koran lessons was carried out yesterday
  • [07] CTPs youth organization says that efforts for the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots are exerted
  • [08] Evkaf administration submitted a criminal report" against the former CTP government
  • [09] The first step for the establishment of a Union of the Universities of the Turkic World was taken during the 2nd World Gagauzia Congress
  • [10] Members of the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Press Union is holding contacts abroad in the framework of a joint programme with the EU
  • [11] Turkey and the breakaway regime signed a cooperation protocol for agricultural research
  • [12] Turkeys veto to the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in NATO will reportedly be the main issue on Rasmussens agenda during his visit in Ankara
  • [13] The meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) was held in Istanbul
  • [14] Davutoglu met with Canadian and Swedish Foreign Ministers
  • [15] Turkish Energy Minister met with Iraqi Oil Minister
  • [16] Turkish Military outlined its red lines on the Kurdish issue
  • [17] Reactions to Basbugs statements
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [18] A Turkish columnist views factors behind the Kurdish issue
  • [19] From the Turkish Press of 25 August 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The breakaway regime has launched ferryboat trips between the occupied port of Famagusta and the Tripoli port of Lebanon

    Under the title Quietly and unobtrusively trips to Lebanon, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.08.09) reports that the breakaway regime has launched ferryboat trips between the occupied port of Famagusta and the Tripoli port of Lebanon, without announcing it from before. The ferryboat under the name of Akgunler 1, which started from occupied Famagusta and arrived in the above-mentioned city of Lebanon through the Syrian port of Latakia, was received at the port with folk dances performed by a Lebanese group. The ambassador of Turkey to Beirut, Serdar Kilic, his spouse Ugur Kilic, the owner of the company which organized the trip Sami Safin and Lebanese officials participated in the ceremony organized on the occasion of the first voyage of the ship.

    In statements to Anatolia news agency, ambassador Kilic described the trip of the ferryboat to Lebanon as very important step and said: The fact that this ferryboat came here has two dimensions: For the first time a passenger ship under the Turkish flag entered into the Port of Tripoli after approximately 100 years. Moreover, a trip of a ship of the TRNC carrying passengers from Famagusta to a second country in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea after Syria was materialized. Our efforts for the trips having more connections will continue.

    The ferryboat will be departing from Lebanon every Thursday and arrive in the occupied areas of Cyprus though Latakia. It will depart from the occupied areas of Cyprus on Mondays. It has the capacity to carry 200 persons. The four-day trips from Lebanon to the occupied areas of Cyprus are organized by Prime Tours Company.

    (ITs)

    [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.08.09) broadcast the following:

    While the Turkish side is preparing for the second round of talks set to begin on the 3rd of September, the Greek Cypriot side is continuing to issue negative statements on the process. The Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has reiterated the Turkish sides determination to continue doing its part in order to ensure efficient process in the negotiations process.

    Meanwhile, the spokesperson has announced that a second meeting regarding the process will be held this coming Friday with representatives of political parties in the Assembly. He said that the aim of the meeting will not be to brief political parties but to evaluate the ongoing process and to listen to their views and concerns.

    Speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing, the Presidential Spokesperson said that the second round of talks will primarily focus on the issues of Governance and Power Sharing as well as property.

    Drawing attention to recent negative statements made by the Greek Cypriot side, Ercakica said that such statements were clear proof that the Greek Cypriot Administration is exploiting its EU membership as a means to blackmail Turkey and the Turkish side.

    Referring to the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofiass recent statements regarding Turkeys EU bid, Ercakica called on Christofias to openly declare the changes he expects in Turkeys stance towards the Cyprus Problem.

    The Presidential Spokesman reminded that Turkey was a country which consistently and unfalteringly supports a peaceful and comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, something he added, Christofias was well aware of.

    Responding to questions, the Presidential Spokesman said that the Turkish side still believed a solution was possible before the end of this year. The period ahead may seem short but a settlement is within reach if the necessary political will is demonstrated. This is why we do not support temporary formulas for a solution, he added.

    Asked to comment on reports that the chapters on governance and power sharing as well as property will be negotiated as one in the second round, Ercakica said: Were not marking livestock. Every issue is important within itself. Governance and Power Sharing is an important issue for us.

    [03] A written statement by Ozgurgun

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.08.09) broadcast the following:

    Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Huseyin Ozgurgun has stressed that an agreement to be reached in Cyprus should become the primary law of the European Union. This is a commitment made by the European Union, he said.

    The Minister strongly rejected the claims voiced by the Head of the Greek Cypriot team negotiating EU matters George Vasiliou who said the Turkish side agreed with the Greek Cypriot side that the resolution agreement will not become a primary law of the European Union.

    In a written statement, Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun Ozgurgun said: It is the Greek Cypriot side who wanted not to make the comprehensive resolution plan a primary law of the EU. The fact that the Turkish side has strongly rejected this view is very well known by all parties concerned, particularly the Greek Cypriot negotiating team. The Minister accused the Greek Cypriot Administration of trying to create an artificial agenda within the Cyprus negotiations process, a move, which he said is hardening the process.

    He reminded that relations between the United Cyprus State envisaged to be formed and the European Union were discussed as part of the negotiation process under the title of EU Matters. He made it clear that there is no change in the position of the Turkish side that the comprehensive agreement should become primary law of the European Union. The Union has the responsibility to accommodate a settlement to be found by the two sides to the Acquis Communautaire and it promised to do that. It is out of question for us to accept the opposite, he said.

    Referring to Vasilious claims that the issues of guarantorship is an issue concerning the European Union, he accused the Greek Cypriot Side of trying to pull the Union into the Cyprus question, to exert pressure on the Turkish Side. Mr Ozgurgun reminded that the rights of guarantorship were introduced by international treaties and that these rights cannot be removed unless all parties concerned reach a consensus on changing the treaties.

    The Foreign Minister repeated that the Cyprus Turks will never say YES to an agreement which does not protect Turkeys guarantorship rights stemming from international treaties.

    [04] Turkish Commander Zorlu visited Bozer and Ozgurgun. Bozer said that Turkeys guarantee rights are not open for bargaining

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The Commander of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus Lieutenant General Akin Zorlu paid courtesy visits to the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Hasan Bozer and the Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun today.

    The Commander was accompanied by the Commander of the 28th division Major General Berkay Turgay, the Commander of the 14th armored brigade Brigadier General Izzet Cetingoz and the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus, Staff Colonel Sedat Ozuer.

    Speaking during the visit, the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Hasan Bozer said that he was pleased to receive the commanders at the TRNC parliament. Stressing that Turkeys guarantor rights were very important and indispensable in the ongoing Cyprus negotiations process, Bozer said that the issue was not open to bargaining in the talks.

    The Commander of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus Lieutenant General Hilmi Akin Zorlu for his part said that the Turkish Peace Forces has been maintaining peace and security in Cyprus for the past 35 years.

    Pointing out that the Turkish Armed Forces was always by the side of the people of the TRNC, General Zorlu reminded that the presence of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus stemmed from international treaties. We (the Turkish Armed Forces) shall continue to be by the side of the Turks of Cyprus, day and night. We shall not the betray the trust our people has found in us, he said.

    Later, General Akin Zorlu and his entourage paid a visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Huzeyin Ozgurgun.

    [05] The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly will visit the occupied areas on Thursday 27 August 2009

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.08.09) reports that the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), Mehmet Ali Sahin will visit the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus on Thursday 27 August 2009, after an invitation by the speaker of the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime, Hasan Bozer. During his one-day visit, Mr Sahin is expected to hold contacts with state and government officials. Nevzat Pakdil and Meral Aksener, MPs with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Kahramanmaras and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) in Istanbul respectively will be accompanying Mr Sahin.

    (ITs)

    [06] An activity against the trade unions which oppose to the Koran lessons was carried out yesterday

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.08.09) reports that members of the movement under the name I Defend My Faith and My Freedom of Religion carried out an activity yesterday in the occupied part of Lefkosia in order to protest against the trade unions which oppose to the Koran lessons. After gathering in a park, the participants in the activity marched towards the headquarters of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS). They shouted slogans such as let the hands trying to touch the Koran be broken and Allahuekber [Tr. Note: Allah is the most great]. The protesters left a black wreath in front of the entrance of KTOS building.

    The paper writes that KTOS replied with counter-activity to this protest and carried the back wreath to the so-called embassy of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia, noting that the real owner of this is the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The teachers attempted to put the wreath in front of the building o the embassy, but a riot took place between the officials of KTOS and the police.

    In statements in front of the embassy, the chairman of KTOS, Guven Varoglu said: The separatist structure, which wants to put us sit at the position of being guilty in this country as a result of the change of the demographic structure, has been revealed. We strongly protest against this. We are handing it over [Tr. Note: The wreath] to its real owner. The real address is the AKP. Moreover, Mr Varoglu noted that they oppose to every effort towards dividing the Turkish Cypriots and changing their demographic structure.

    Meanwhile, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOEOS), Adnan Eraslan, who participated in the protest of KTOS, said: This country is ours. Let everybody know this. We shall not allow the transferred population and a dictated mentality, which is not in harmony with the culture of the country, to pass.

    Mr Eraslan noted that the principles of Ataturk are valid in this country and that they will not permit for the minds of the children to be poisoned under the name of Koran lessons.

    The officials of the trade unions noted that this situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus has been created by the AKP and the National Unity Party (UBP) and expressed the opinion that efforts are exerted for turning the Turkish Cypriots into a minority. They said they will carry the issue to international platforms and they will continue to struggle at every platform. They argued that in 1974 Turkey came to the island in order to protect the Turkish Cypriots, but now it is trying to annihilate them and they protested against Turkey. They said they will not permit their will to be changed with the population transferred from Turkey.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (26.08.09) refers to the same issue and reports that the teachers shouted slogans such as Ankara remove your hands from us, End the occupation, end it, end it and Ankara, we are not your puppets. The paper notes that the movement under the name I Defend My Faith and My Freedom of Religion consists of inhabitants of the occupied villages of Gypsou, Kythrea and Yerolakkos.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (26.08.09) reports that the number of the participant in the protest against KTOS was around 250 persons. However, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.08.09) notes that this number was 400 persons.

    (ITs)

    [07] CTPs youth organization says that efforts for the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots are exerted

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.08.09) reports that the youth organization of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) protested yesterday against the efforts for changing the history books in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the compulsory religious education and the Koran lessons. Members of the organization marched yesterday towards the self-styled ministry of national education, youth and sports. The chairman of the organization Hasim Kiracioglu expressed their sorrow for the fact that the UBP government allowed the Koran lessons in an illegal manner.

    He said: We believe that the developments which are happening in our country during the past few days are a small part of a big plan. The change of the history books, the inclusion of the compulsory religious education in the curriculum, the construction of more mosques than it is needed, the monuments constructed at the roundabouts and all the other similar decisions serve a common goal. This goal is our country entering into a dark period again by increasing chauvinism and reactionism.

    Mr Kiracioglu noted that the same developments were observed before 2003 as well and added that the aim is the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (ITs)

    [08] Evkaf administration submitted a criminal report" against the former CTP government

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.08.09) reports that the administration of the Evkaf religious foundation has submitted a criminal report to the self-styled attorney generals office regarding the decisions of the former Republican Turkish Party (CTP) government to finance the exhibition under the name The Evkafs Records in Cyprus ...400-year old inheritance which had taken place in Istanbul, Brussels and London and to lease the Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia and plot of land of 43 donums [Tr. Note: A land measure of 1000 square meters] which belongs to Evkaf on the main road towards the illegal airport in Tymvou. The paper writes that the general director of Evakf, Mustafa Kemal Kaymakzade visited yesterday the attorney-generals office holding a heavy file.

    (ITs)

    [09] The first step for the establishment of a Union of the Universities of the Turkic World was taken during the 2nd World Gagauzia Congress

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (26.08.09) reports that after a proposal made by Dr Suat Gunsel, the founding rector of the illegal Near East University (YDU), the first step for the establishment of a Union of the Universities of the Turkic World was taken during the 2nd World Gagauzia Congress, which took place at the city of Komrat, the capital of the Autonomous Territorial Administration of Gagauzia, between 18-20 August.

    In statements Mr Gunsel said, inter alia, that while the works for the establishment of the union are continuing, the YDU will take the first step on this issue and increase the possibilities for students from Gagauzia to study in the occupied areas of Cyprus, by offering 12 more scholarships to students from Gagauzia. According to the plans made by the YDU, the number of the students from Gagauzia who will receive scholarship will reach 50 in five years.

    (CS)

    [10] Members of the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Press Union is holding contacts abroad in the framework of a joint programme with the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (26.08.09) reports that a group of nine Turkish Cypriot journalists, members of the Foreign Press Union (DBB), is visiting Berlin, Germany, for contacts. The delegation visited the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) yesterday and met with Hakki Keskin, MP with the Left Party. The group will meet with Prof. Ali Ucar of Berlin Technical University today and attend a dinner with Mr Husnu Ozkanli, president of the Berlin-Brandenburg Turkish-German Businessmen Union tomorrow.

    According to statements made by DBBs president, Mr Fevzi Tanpinar, this visit is being held in the framework of a joint programme with the EU and their aim is to develop a working network between the media in Europe and the media in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Mr Tanpinar said they held meetings with representatives from political parties, NGOs and media organisations.

    (EA)

    [11] Turkey and the breakaway regime signed a cooperation protocol for agricultural research

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.08.09) reported the following:

    Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) signed on Tuesday a protocol to make cooperation on agricultural research. TRNC Agriculture & Natural Researches Minister Nazim Cavusoglu and Turkish Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker signed the protocol.

    Speaking after the signing ceremony, Eker said TRNC was a Mediterranean country and has the risk of drought and water shortage problem. He said utmost care should be shown to agricultural products that need water and animal husbandry.

    TRNC minister Cavusoglu said food health meant human health, noting that: "Our government announced package programs to improve agriculture. I believe that this protocol will further strengthen the development."

    [12] Turkeys veto to the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in NATO will reportedly be the main issue on Rasmussens agenda during his visit in Ankara

    Under the front page title NATO General Secretary Rasmussen: Ankaras veto to the Greek Cypriots is causing harm, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (26.08.09) publishes an exclusive interview with NATOs General Secretary, Anders Fogh Rasmussen given to journalist Semih Idiz at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

    As Semih Idiz writes, Mr. Rasmussen made him feel that during his visit in Ankara he will mainly discuss the issue of Turkeys veto to the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in NATO. Mr. Rasmussen said that because of this problem the troops of NATO in Afghanistan and the Balkans are put in danger.

    The paper publishes Mr. Rasmussens statements on Cyprus, under the subtitle The Cyprus problem is causing a threat for our army and writes:

    Question: You have said that you will give priority to the Cyprus problem. NATO circles claim that the embargo which Turkey imposes against the Greek Cypriot sector harms the alliance. How do you expect success to be achieved on this issue which lasts for 35 years and the solution of which is not easy at all?

    Answer: You are right. This is also one of my issues of priority. It is a very difficult issue. Yet, we must intensify our efforts in order to solve the problem, because this issue is not only causing problems within the alliance, but at the same time it causes abnormal results from the point of view of the relations between the EU and NATO. Let me give an example: Because of this disagreement, we cannot make an arrangement between the NATO military forces in Afghanistan and police force which is bound to the EU. This puts our personnel in danger. We need to protect them against the terrorist attacks. That is why it is needed for us to make a security arrangement, but because of this problem we cannot. I do not think that any responsible politician wants to block this kind of arrangement. At the end of the day, however, this is the abnormal result of this issue. That is why I know that this is a difficult issue. At this moment, I do not know how I will solve this problem. However, I will meet both with Prime Minister Karamanlis and Prime Minister Erdogan and ask them to exert every effort they can in order for us to overcome this.

    Question: The veto of Turkey in NATO is related with the Greek Cypriot vetoes in the framework of the EU. If the Greek Cypriots could be convinced, Turkey will behave in a flexible manner as well.

    Answer: I know all the arguments. Besides, I know the positions of all sides. I only say this: In the world of today, this disagreement creates abnormal problems. If people knew these, they would not accept them. I think that reasonable politicians should do whatever is needed for solving this problem which is actually a simple one and for positive relations between NATO and the EU.

    Question: In brief you are saying that Turkey should look at this issue from a broader aspect, because the security of its own troops in Afghanistan is also in question.

    Answer: Not only in Afghanistan. We are experiencing problems in the Balkans as well and in arrangements needed for the operations carried out jointly by the forces of the EU and NATO. That is why I urge all sides to look at this issue from a broader point of view.

    (ML)

    [13] The meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) was held in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.08.09) reported the following:

    Pakistani foreign minister urged international community to help his country develop its economy, citing energy and agriculture as two sectors needing immediate attention.

    Countries around this table are those with powerful economies and we think that they can come to Pakistan and play a major role in economic development, Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a ministerial meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) in Istanbul.

    The meeting brought together foreign ministers of Turkey and Pakistan as well as Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Canada, and high level officials from other countries. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan also participated in the meeting.

    Qureshi said Pakistan's friends had made a number of pledges during an earlier meeting in Tokyo, expressing hope that the pledges would be fulfilled in time.

    The Pakistani minister said a trilateral meeting was expected to take place between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey in November this year.

    The FoDP was launched in New York in September 2008 on sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly Session.

    The founding member states of FoDP included the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy plus the United Nations and the European Union.

    The Istanbul meeting aims to provide assistance to the Islamabad government in the field of education, health, energy, economy and local administration.

    While the main focus of assistance would be the fight against terrorism and stability in Pakistan, the ministerial level meeting would also discuss results of the private sector meeting and a pilot project for reconstruction in Malakand region of Pakistan.

    A declaration was also issued after Tuesday's meeting which called for efforts to boost Pakistan's internal strength, to create permanent partnerships, to widen economic opportunities and to focus on the development of energy sector in the country.

    [14] Davutoglu met with Canadian and Swedish Foreign Ministers

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.08.09) reported the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held Tuesday bilateral meetings with his Canadian and Swedish counterparts on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP).

    In the meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, ways to revive the relations between the two countries --which was strained after the tension over the Armenian allegations regarding the events of 1915- was discussed. The two ministers drafted a two month plan of action for enhancing relations.

    In the meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, chapter headings in EU negotiations likely to be opened under the Swedish EU Presidency, and possible obstacles like the Cyprus issue which Turkey could face, were discussed.

    The two ministers also discussed the proposal for assessment of the Swedish and Spanish terms of EU presidency as a single term and creation of a plan of action accordingly, which came up during the trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Spain at the recent Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting.

    [15] Turkish Energy Minister met with Iraqi Oil Minister

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.08.09) reported the following:

    Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz met with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani at Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace on Tuesday.

    Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Yildiz said that Turkish Petroleum Corporation might offer bids in oil and natural gas tenders in Iraq as direct operator in 6 fields and as part of a consortium in 4 fields.

    TPAO can offer bids in all the 10 tenders and I hope we will underline the cooperation between Turkey and Iraq by a winning a tender there, Yildiz told reporters.

    Responding to a question on possible Iraqi contributions to the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, Iraqi oil minister said his country could provide natural gas to the pipeline if Iraq produces more gas than it currently needed.

    [16] Turkish Military outlined its red lines on the Kurdish issue

    Ankara Office of the Chief of the General Staff website (25.08.09) published the following statement on the occasion of the August 30th Victory Day by General Staff Chief General Ilker Basbug:

    We are experiencing the thrill of celebrating the 87th anniversary of the Great Victory, which was the final link in the independence struggle waged under the leadership of our eternal Commander in Chief, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

    Victory Week began with artillery fire conducted from Kocatepe on the morning of 26 August 1922, and ended with the entry of Turkish forces into Izmir on 9 September, and the liberation of Izmir.

    Ataturk related the Great Offensive and the Great Victory as follows:

    "I cannot recall any battle that has had such decisive results, and which has had such absolute consequences in giving direction to all history, not just our history but world history, as the victory that the Turkish nation won here. There should be no doubt but that the foundation of the new Turkish state, the young Republic of Turkey, was strengthened here. Its eternal life was crowned here."

    The Great Offensive and the Great Victory were the beginning of the revolution that led to the birth and the development of the Republic of Turkey. This incredible revolution, which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk achieved by creating out of an impoverished people both an army and a nation, was a revolution that gained for the Republic of Turkey the characteristics of a secular, social, and democratic state of law.

    We bow in respect before our dear martyrs and heroic veterans, who lost their lives in this struggle and who today defend, by laying down their lives in every corner of our homeland, the gains of that incomparable victory, and particularly before our Commander in Chief Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his heroic comrades in arms, who won this incomparable battle and carried out the revolution.

    As is stated in article 3 of the Constitution, on which no proposal for amendment may even be introduced, "The Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible whole. Its language is Turkish." The Turkish Armed Forces are a party, and will continue to be a party, to the defense of the nation-state and unitary state structure of the Republic of Turkey, in the form bequeathed to us by Ataturk and set forth in article 3 of the Constitution.

    There is a price for preserving the unity of countries and nations. The Turkish Armed Forces are conscious of the historical duties and responsibilities that are incumbent upon them in terms of this price.

    The Turkish Armed Forces, which to date have lost 5,003 of their sons in the struggle against the separatist terrorist organization, will continue henceforth, with increasing resolve, the struggle that they have waged to date, with a degree of success and self-sacrifice unique in the world, against the separatist terrorist organization, within the framework of the Constitution and the laws.

    The Turkish Armed Forces believe that, while continuing resolutely the struggle being waged against the separatist terrorist organization, it is important that measures also be taken by the state in the economic, socio-cultural, and international areas, apart from the security area.

    It is considered that, although the views on these topics of the Turkish Armed Forces are known, it is useful to state our thoughts and our stance on these issues yet once again on the occasion of this week in which we celebrate the incomparable Great Victory.

    The Turkish Armed Forces

    - Cannot accept damage being done to the nation-state and unitary state structure, upon any rationale whatsoever.

    - Are respectful toward cultural differences. They cannot, however, see the politicization of cultural differences, or in other words their being a means of political representation, or their being made an element of social political identity, as possible within the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey.

    - Cannot engage in any activity which might lead to the establishment of relations with the terrorist organization or its supporters.

    - Cannot accept those who utilize the areas of opportunity presented by democracy tolerating, for any reason, terrorist activities that target the right to life, which is the most fundamental right of individuals.

    - Believe, taking as the point of departure that procedure and method determine the basis that care should be taken in the procedures and methods to be followed.

    - Believe that the freedom of being able to discuss any topic should not include topics that would place the existence of the state at risk, or which would embroil the country in an atmosphere of polarization, disintegration, and conflict.

    The Turkish Armed Forces, with their heartfelt adherence to the principles of secularism, democracy, and a social state of laws that are the fundamental characteristics of the Republic of Turkey, with their concept of superior discipline, with their established traditions, with their moderate and resolute approach, and, most important of all, with the strength that they derive from the Turkish nation, will continue to fulfil successfully, both today and in the future as well, every duty that they take on.

    There is no doubt but that "A Strong Military Means a Strong Turkey."

    The Republic of Turkey, with its people who love their country and their nation remaining in unity and loyalty to the country within the sensitive geographical area in which it is placed, must take the place it deserves among contemporary societies.

    We most sincerely congratulate all the members of the dear Turkish nation, and of the Turkish Armed Forces, on the occasion of Victory Week.

    [17] Reactions to Basbugs statements

    Under the title Military lambasts opposition, reaffirms position on initiative Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper online (26.08.09) reported, inter alia, the following:

    In what seems to be a tug of war between the government and opposition parties over a democratization package aiming to solve Turkey's long-standing Kurdish issue, the top military brass for the first time broke its silence yesterday and issued a strong statement refuting the opposition's accusations that the army had become involved in breaking apart the country and dissolving the nation's unity.

    ...

    The statement was interpreted as a strong response to harsh criticism levelled by the leaders of both the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP), who had said the government's recent move has not unified Turkey but rather polarized it and put the unitary structure of the state at risk. They accused the military, which gave the move its stamp of approval through the National Security Council (MGK), of being partially responsible for this.

    Both opposition parties lambasted the government and military after the MGK meeting last Thursday resulted in complete agreement within the state establishment on resolving the Kurdish issue. A statement released after the meeting was seen as the military lending full support to the government's initiative, as President Abdullah Gul stressed.

    There was nothing unexpected in the TSK's statement yesterday but rather it appeared the military felt the need to stress its known position once again amid rising speculation. Recalling that the TSK will not be involved in any activities that aim to establish relations with terrorist organizations and their supporters, Gen. Basbug noted that it is unacceptable for those who take advantage of the opportunities provided by democracy to tolerate terrorism, which targets people's basic right to live.

    Suat K1l1c, an AK Party Samsun deputy and a deputy chairman of the party's parliamentary group, told Today's Zaman that the opposition campaign targeting the TSK for days forced the military to issue a statement. I find the opposition's smear campaign against the military incompatible with the rule of law, democracy and civilian politics, he said. It also confirms that the opposition has failed to produce its own solution package regarding the long-running Kurdish issue and they are desperate to enlist help for their campaign, he added.

    The AK Party deputy further noted that the military did not declare anything new in its statement and reaffirmed its well-known views on the unity of the state. We have never opened the unitary structure of the state to debate. Any attempt to portray this democratization package otherwise will not help to the solution, he underlined.

    ......

    MHP Deputy Chairman Mehmet Sand1r, however, saw the statement differently and described it as support for the opposition's claims. Describing the initiative as treason and a project of devastation, Sand1r argued that the launch of the government's democratization package has effectively ended with the TSK's statement. There is no need to deepen the divisions and increase tension in society after this statement, and the government should end this endeavour. If the government insists on keeping this initiative, it means it is violating the nation's laws, and this amounts to high treason, he said.

    Commenting on Bagbug's remarks, Kemal Anadol, deputy chairman of the CHP parliamentary group, said the top general simply restated the articles of the Constitution that refer to the unitary structure of the Turkish state and its official language being Turkish. [It was a] nice emphasis he [Basbug] made in the statement. I wish the same determination to fight with terror would have been included in the last MGK statement, he noted. The TSK's statement said the army would maintain its drive against terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    The statement from the military, however, indicated that it would back the government's efforts to grant more rights to Kurds and improve the economy of their region. It reiterated what many see as red lines such as negotiating with the PKK or making Kurdish an official language. The government has rejected claims that it would talk to the PKK and said time and again that it has no plans to make Kurdish an official language.

    Bekir Bozdag, deputy chairman of the AK Party parliamentary group, told Today's Zaman that Gen. Basbug was simply responding to unjust criticism and accusations leveled by the opposition parties. He stressed the importance of the campaign against terror and underlined the unity and wholeness of the Turkish Republic, he noted, adding that the opposition sees the statement from its vantage point and tries to exploit it for its own political purposes.

    The democratization package was discussed in the MGK meeting, where the top military brass was represented. The MGK concluded that this initiative will strengthen the unity and peace in the country and decided to pursue it further. The president of Turkey had responded to accusations of MHP and CHP leaders targeting the MGK meeting and describing it as high treason, Bozdag explained.

    He also noted that the military had expressed its dissatisfaction with the level of debate and the way the initiative was being discussed in public. What they are saying actually is that everyone should be responsible when discussing the initiative in public and should be careful to use the right tone and language, he said. Basbug noted that the freedom to debate cannot include topics that put the existence of the state at risk and cause polarization, division and conflict in the country.

    In a written statement yesterday, the Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) expressed its concern over the fate of the Kurdish initiative and called on the government to be more responsible and courageous in taking bold steps to solve the problem. It said the statements of both the MGK and Basbug indicate that the government's renewed initiative may just be a mere attempt to repackage the old state position on the Kurdish issue. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) joined with the opposition in assaulting the values of Kurdish people in a disrespectful way, it said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [18] A Turkish columnist views factors behind the Kurdish issue

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (25.08.09) published the following commentary by Sami Kohen under the title "The Foreign Dimension of the Overture":

    It cannot be said that the debates in Turkey over the "Kurdish overture" have drawn all that much interest abroad. There are "more pressing" matters that are currently occupying the international community...

    But foreign diplomatic and think-tank circles that deal with Turkey are watching with interest the government's initiative, as well as the passionate debates that this has led to.

    In recent days, the things that some countries' Ankara Ambassadors, particularly those of the United States and Great Britain, have said on this topic, and additionally the things that EU officials in Brussels have said, have been reflected in the Turkish media.

    In general, these comments have been positive. In other words, Turkey's endeavour, by means of a new initiative, to solve the Kurdish problem, is a courageous step, both appropriate and timely, in the eyes of the foreigners.

    One should not be surprised at such a reaction from foreign circles. For quite some time now, suggestions have been coming from Western countries, in particular (and occasionally from others as well), that Turkey, while working to put an end to PKK terrorism, also needs to take up the issue in its political and social aspects as well.

    That the government is, this time, with a new overture, taking up the Kurdish issue in a comprehensive way along with the terrorism problem, is being linked by circles who oppose this initiative to "foreign indoctrination" or even openly to "pressures from the United States."

    It is true that "suggestions" from the United States and certain European countries in terms of a "political solution" to the problem have recently become more frequent. Some of these suggestions have been made during discussions by various Turkish leaders with top-level officials of these countries. And some have been voiced, either orally or in writing, by Turkey experts in various think-tanks.

    The Real Reasons

    These may indeed have had a certain influence over the Turkish government's decision for an "overture." But to think that Ankara has launched such an initiative merely due to demands and pressure from the United States or the EU would be to become fixated on only one point in a broad scene.

    There are a number of factors that played a role in Turkey's deciding, after assessments that went on for months, to determine a new strategy in the Kurdish issue. To summarize these:

    1- Starting early last year, the operations conducted against the PKK both within the country and in Northern Iraq shook and weakened the organization. The PKK leaders began to speak of ending the conflict, and of peace.

    2- Turkish diplomacy advanced the dialogue with the Iraqi government and the Kurdish administration in Northern Iraq on the issue of putting an end to the PKK presence, and began to get results along these lines. Meanwhile, the support provided by the United States, and its plan to withdraw from Iraq, also contributed to this.

    3-The view gained strength in Turkey that the terrorism problem would not be able to be solved through military methods alone, and that the time had come for the problem to be dealt with by means of more comprehensive measures. The open expression of this view by TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] commanders as well gave courage to officials.

    4- The longing for an end to the tears and bloodshed, and to enter into a new era, began to make itself felt among the people.

    5- The idea was adopted that a democratic solution of the problem would strengthen the regime domestically and enhances prestige abroad.

    The "Foreign Hand"

    To attribute the Kurdish overture solely to "foreign pressures," without taking any of these factors into account, that is, disregarding the domestic dynamics and the international conjunction of forces, would be disrespect toward Turkey's capability to make its own decisions in accord with its own interests, and toward its self-confidence.

    In particular, to take the things that civilian organizations or experts in certain Western countries have said or written as the basis, and to insist on seeing a "foreign hand" behind the new overture, would be deceptive.

    Turkey should have overcome these complexes a long time ago.

    [19] From the Turkish Press of 25 August 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 25 August 2009:

    Kurdish Issue

    In an article entitled "Another step toward a Civil Coup," Hurriyet columnist Enis Berberoglu reiterates his warning that the government's overture to Kurds may eventually lead to a civil coup although it has been initiated with good intentions. Pointing out that the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, is now facing two new challenges, namely Turkish nationalism which, he notes, is a dogma of the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, and unitary state which is upheld by the Republican People's Party, CHP, Berberoglu says: "It seems that Turkish nationalism and the unitary state have been put in jeopardy from the standpoint of almost half of the voters and the opposition parties. Tension is, therefore, mounting in politics which is reminiscent of the one which resulted from controversy caused by headscarf. The dispute over headscarf led to an unbridgeable rift between the ruling party and the main opposition party. The Kurdish overture destroyed the bridges of good will between the ruling party and the MHP."

    A report entitled "It is solely Erdogan's decision" in Hurriyet highlights a letter sent by David L. Phillips, author of a report entitled "Disarming, Demobilizing and Reintegrating the PKK" which was cited by MHP's Oktay Vural as a proof that the Turkish Government's plan to resolve the Kurdish question is actually a US project, to Hurriyet in response to Vural's allegation. Hurriyet report quotes him as saying that no US or Turkish official has been influenced the findings or the recommendations of the report, adding that Erdogan's approach is fully based on Turkey's national interests.

    In an article entitled "The Phillips report," Milliyet columnist Melih Asik says that there is a growing conviction that the AKP is guided by Phillips's report. Asserting that the report does not specify any sanction that could force the PKK to disarm its men in return for steps advised in the document, Asik comments: "What could they gain as a result of this unilateral overture? They would actually prepare the ground for the foundation of a new state within the existing one as Apo [PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan] said some time ago. They would put the country in a process leading to fragmentation."

    In an article entitled "A war Asylum," Taraf columnist Ahmet Altan criticizes the DTP for suggesting that the government must negotiate a peaceful solution with the PKK. He says: "The PKK may undermine the peace process if it insists on having the leading role in the process. I think that the PKK wants to be the only party leading the war while conducting negotiations to reach a solution. But, it is not a realistic demand. Firstly, it would be tantamount to excluding the DTP totally. Secondly, the PKK is not the only representative of Kurds in politics. Kurds have many Kurdish political organizations and each of them have their own opinions to be voiced

    Under the headline, "American project documented," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which highlights a statement by AKP Deputy Bekir Bozdag "in response to Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli's violent opposition to the Government's democratic overture" on the grounds that it is a US project. The report quotes Bozdag as saying that an actual American project was a decision endorsed by MHP leader Bahceli as a coalition partner in the Ecevit government to "save" PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan from being hanged.

    In an article entitled "Two parties in the process", Yeni Safak columnist Akif Emre asserts that it would be nave to assume that there are no "foreign factors" involved in the process started by the ruling AKP's "democratic overture," adding that it is yet "paranoid" to believe that the Kurdish initiative is an entirely foreign undertaking. He also argues that if the said process leads to a "paradigmatic" change in Turkey's government structures, this could result in a crucial redefinition of what it means to be a "state party. In other words, the AKP could replace the CHP [Republican People's Party] as a state party. After having come to power by campaigning on a dissenting platform and as a representative of the sociological other, the AKP will have completed its integration with the system in this way. The CHP's concern stems probably from its perception that it is losing its privileged position as a state party."

    In an article entitled "Is the Kurdish Overture an American Project?", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven argues that the AKP's Kurdish "overture" is not a US project but an initiative whose implementation is being aided by the United States. Explaining the motive behind the US backing for this project, he claims that thanks to its signing of the Nabucco and South Stream agreements, Turkey has become an indispensable energy corridor whose security has become synonymous with the security of the world and that there is no place for a terrorist organization like the PKK in this new situation. Arseven also responds to allegations linking the said initiative to a US think tank called the Atlantic Council.

    In an article entitled "From Idris-i Bitlisi to Ocalan", Vakit columnist Mustafa Ozcan makes out a case for the adoption of the "Ottoman model" in addressing the Kurdish problem. He argues that this model would be based on the intellectual heritage of a 15th century Kurdish politician named Idris-i Bitlisi [Idris from Bitlis] who, he claims, stood for "Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood" unlike Abdullah Ocalan, who espouses secession based on Western projects and whose "Marxist" and "secular" ideology has served to alienate the Kurds from their own historical identity as well as from the Turks.


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