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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-09-30

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. 185/09 30.09.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat was booed in Istanbul; How the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish press cover the issue
  • [02] Ercakica comments on Talats meeting with the UN SG
  • [03] The illegal workers in the occupied areas of Cyprus are reportedly thirty five thousand
  • [04] The British High Commissioner to Lefkosia visited the headquarters of the Kibris Media Group
  • [05] The CTP argues that it is absolutely necessary for the United Nations to undertake a more active mission in the second round of the Cyprus talks
  • [06] The BKP rejects the involvement of foreign powers and the arbitration in the Cyprus talks
  • [07] Forty seven organizations send a letter to Erdogan and Eroglu
  • [08] The 3rd Agri-Cyprus Agricultural Fair will be organized in the occupied areas of the island
  • [09] TDP General Secretary resigns
  • [10] Turkish Foreign Minister reviews his meetings in New York; The Cyprus problem was discussed with the ICG President
  • [11] Failure in talks spells indefinite partition in Cyprus, warns ICG
  • [12] ECHR ruled in favour of Fokas brothers finding Turkey guilty of denying to them the right of inheriting property
  • [13] Turkish Finance Minister invites Multinational companies to invest to Turkey
  • [14] Erdogan wins law case against Baykal
  • [15] Turkish Assembly to examine extension mandate for N. Iraq operations
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [16] Turkey should try to mediate with Iran despite limited room for maneuver

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat was booed in Istanbul; How the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish press cover the issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) reports that when the airplane of the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines (KTHY) delayed for 2.5 hours in Istanbul in order to wait for the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his spouse, the passengers protested against Mr Talat, who was forced to come down the airplane. The airplane should have departed from Istanbul for the illegal Tymvou airport at 09.30 hours last night. After the pilot announced that they were waiting for a VIP passenger, the rest of the passengers started to protest. In the end the Talat couple did not travel with that airplane. A passenger, who did not want to reveal his name, told Kibris that the majority of the passengers were Turkish citizens.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title Talat was booed on an airplane of the KTHY. The paper reports that officials of the illegal airlines stated that the delay had nothing to do with Mr Talat and that the reason for it was a technical problem. Some passengers reacted to the fact that Mr Talat was booed and stated that this was disrespect both to the president and the Turkish Cypriot people, writes Afrika, which also refers to news published in Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper under the title Big protest against Talat! Hurriyet noted that one of the biggest problems in Turkey is the fact that roads are closed up and airplanes are forced to wait for officials and influential persons.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title Interesting protest and notes that the protest of the passengers was an important issue yesterday in the Turkish media.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title Inexpressible mistake on a scheduled flight!

    Under the title Tension for the delay, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (30.09.09) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesperson of the Turkish Cypriot leader, stated that according to information they acquired from the KTHY, the reason for the delay was not Mr Talat.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title They got angry for the airplane which broke down and protested against Talat.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title They exploded for the lie.

    Furthermore, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (30.09.09), in its front page under the title Dont dare to come and you will be booed, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his wife Oya Talat, who arrived to Istanbul with one-hour delay with the Turkish Airlines, were transferred by the VIP officers to the plane of the illegal Cyprus Turkish Airlines, which had been waiting for them for one and a half hour. The passengers in the plane booed the Talat couple and forced them to get off the plane. Mr Talat said to the paper: They told me that the plane was waiting due to tyre problem. It did not wait for me.

    The paper reports that it is believed that the reason of the protest is the pilots statement that they were waiting for Talat.

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (30.09.09), in its front page under the title A protest forced Talat to get off the plane, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who delayed the plane in order to fly to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus from Istanbul during his return from the United States, had to get off the plane when the passengers booed him. It is expected that Mr Talat will fly to the occupied areas this morning.

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the issue under the title The protest that forced Talat to get off the plane.

    (I/Ts DPs)

    [02] Ercakica comments on Talats meeting with the UN SG

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.09.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has described President Talats contacts in New York as very useful. Mr Ercakica told BRT that the meeting between the President and the UN Secretary-General was held to make contributions to the ongoing negotiation process.

    He said that the President informed the UN Chief on course of the talks and reaffirmed the Cyprus Turkish peoples will in support of a settlement.He noted that according to diplomatic sources, its almost certain that Mr Ban would visit the island next month but added that President Talat had encouraged the UN Chief for such a visit when it had been learned that the visit was not certain.

    Responding to a question, the spokesperson said that President Talat, who was expected to return to the Republic this morning, would arrive in the TRNC at 10.00 tonight. The President is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow.

    [03] The illegal workers in the occupied areas of Cyprus are reportedly thirty five thousand

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (30.09.09) reports that the self-styled minister of labour and social insurance, Turkay Tokel has stated recently that there are 35 thousand illegal workers in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The paper notes that only 2.171 were benefited from the amnesty given by the breakaway regime and points out that the deadline for this ended on 17 September 2009. Havadis writes that 33 thousand workers continue to be illegal.

    Under the title 33 thousand illegal workers will be searched for, Havadis reports that the director of the self-styled ministry of labour and social insurance, Erman Yaylali stated that the families of the illegal workers are also included in the above-mentioned number (33 thousand). He said they will soon start the controls regarding the working conditions.

    Employers told the paper that the illegal workers constitute a great obstacle for the development of the economy in the occupied areas of the island. Hurrem Tulga, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Tradesmen and Craftsmen, said that the number of the illegal workers increases every day and added that more effective controls should be carried out. He noted that the illegal workers are the reason for the fact that the number of those who are paying social insurances decreased from 70 thousand last year to 50 thousand this year.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.09.09) refers to the same issue under the title Thousands of files have been closed by the Ministry! The paper cites information it acquired and reports that while only very few applications have been filed by illegal workers for being benefited from the arrangement made by the breakaway regime, thousands of files have been closed after a decision of the ministry and the entrance of these persons in the occupied areas of the island has been secured.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The British High Commissioner to Lefkosia visited the headquarters of the Kibris Media Group

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) reports that Peter Millet, the British High Commissioner to Lefkosia, visited yesterday the headquarters of the Kibris Media Group and met with its general director Resat Akar, the editor-in-chief of Kibris newspaper Ali Baturay and the news coordinator of the paper, Serhat Incirli.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The CTP argues that it is absolutely necessary for the United Nations to undertake a more active mission in the second round of the Cyprus talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) reports that Erkut Sahali, foreign affairs secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has argued that it is absolutely necessary for the United Nations to undertake a more active mission in the second round of the Cyprus talks in order for convergence to be achieved in the issues that will be discussed. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Sahali alleged that in order for an early solution to be reached, together with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and Britain as well as the European Union should exert efforts with a constructive stance.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The BKP rejects the involvement of foreign powers and the arbitration in the Cyprus talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) reports that Abdullah Korkmazhan, member of the central executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), has issued a written statement noting that his party is against the involvement of foreign powers and the arbitration in the Cyprus problem. He said: In order for progress to be achieved and a solution to be reached in the negotiating process, leaders with will are needed and not the involvement of the USA, Britain and the UN.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Forty seven organizations send a letter to Erdogan and Eroglu

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.09.09) reports that the representatives of 47 Turkish Cypriot organizations, the Association for Recognition of the TRNC, are gathering today in front of the office of the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu. The organizations have prepared a letter which they will submit to Mr Eroglu and read to the press in order to be conveyed to the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the letter, the organizations are expressing their determination on the issue of the continuation of the existence of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The 3rd Agri-Cyprus Agricultural Fair will be organized in the occupied areas of the island

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (30.09.09) reports that the 3rd Agri-Cyprus Fair will be organized in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus by the Unifex Fair Ltd. Ambassadors of the EU member countries to Lefkosia have been invited to the fair. The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture will be represented by the General Director for Protection and Control of the Ministry, Dr. Muzaffer Aydemir. The director of Unifex Fair Ltd, Umit Erhan said that every year the number of the participants in the fair increases and added that this number was 42 in 2007, while it increased to 54 in 2008 and 70 in 2009. He noted that officials from the EU Agricultural Fund will also participate in the fair.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] TDP General Secretary resigns

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.09.09) broadcast the following:

    Meltem Onurkan Samani has resigned from her post as the General Secretary of the Social Democrat Party (TDP). A statement from the TDP's press office said that Mrs Samani resigned from her position to dedicate more time for academic works. It said that Samani would not be standing as a candidate for any posts at the TDPs Congress which is to be held on the 18th of October.

    [10] Turkish Foreign Minister reviews his meetings in New York; The Cyprus problem was discussed with the ICG President

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.09.09) reports the following from New York:

    The Turkish Foreign Minister said on Tuesday that all interlocutors of Turkey had admitted the increasing diplomatic influence of Turkey. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said every one he met during the 64th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly had accepted Turkey's increasing diplomatic influence. This is a very important development, Davutoglu told a press conference at the Turkish House in New York after completing his talks in this city.

    Davutoglu had held more than 60 bilateral and 10 multilateral meetings in New York last week. The Turkish minister said that his interlocutors had asked Turkey to intervene in several crises in far-away regions and make positive contributions. This indicates how much Turkey contributes to global issues, thanks to its performance after it became a (non-permanent) member of the UN Security Council, he said.

    Davutoglu enumerated the main topics as the Balkans, Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.

    Also, Davutoglu said he met his Uzbek counterpart Vladimir Norov and defined Central Asia policy as one of the most important factors of Turkey's foreign policy. Davutoglu said he discussed not only bilateral relations but also balances and strategies in Asia with the Uzbek minister. The Uzbek minister would extend full support to Turkey's observer membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Davutoglu said. Uzbekistan is actually holding the rotating presidency of the organization. Davutoglu said he once more reaffirmed the importance Turkey attached to Uzbekistan's stability and welfare and said Turkey's support to Uzbekistan in both regional and global and international developments would continue. Turkey is closely monitoring developments in Central Asia, and Uzbekistan is also important for Turkey as a neighbour of Afghanistan, he said. Davutoglu said Norov and he agreed to meet more often from now on, and would pay mutual visits to each other's countries.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Davutoglu met UN Under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, and discussed Cyprus issue with Louise Arbour, the president of the International Crisis Group (ICG). Holmes welcomed Turkey's assistance and aid to many world countries.

    Davutoglu also received representatives of American Jewish Committee before he departed from New York.

    [11] Failure in talks spells indefinite partition in Cyprus, warns ICG

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.09.09) reports the following:

    A leading Brussels-based think-tank has expressed serious concern over the course of affairs in the ongoing reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, warning that the absence of a resolution at the end of these talks would lead to an indefinite partition of Cyprus, which would not be beneficial for either the Greek or Turkish Cypriots or international organizations such as the European Union and NATO.

    Three decades of efforts to reunify Cyprus are about to end, leaving a stark choice ahead between a hostile, de facto partition of the island and a collaborative federation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities living in two constituent states.

    Most actors agree that the window of opportunity for this bi-communal, bi-zonal settlement will close by April 2010, the date of the next Turkish Cypriot elections, when the pro-settlement leader risks losing his office to a more hard-line candidate, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a draft report which is expected to be made public in Brussels today.

    Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat broke a four-year stalemate on talks in March 2008 and have engaged in about 40 rounds of negotiations to reunite the island since September last year. Talat and Christofias wrapped up the first phase of talks in late August and resumed negotiations in September. Talat hopes the talks will produce a deal by the end of the year so that it will be put to referendum on both sides of the island by early 2010, before the presidential elections in Turkish Cyprus.

    The EU opened accession talks with Ankara -- an EU candidate since 1999 -- in October 2005, but negotiations have been progressing slowly amid opposition from France and Germany. The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974, and the division is a key obstacle to Turkey's bid to join the EU. In 2006, while blocking eight chapters of accession negotiations with Ankara due to its refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic, the European Council said it would review the situation by the end of 2009. The 2006 European Council decision has been widely considered a strong motive for Greek Cyprus to drag its feet in reaching a resolution before the end of the year.

    The ICG underlined the fact that if no accord is reached by April 2010, it will be the fourth major set of UN-facilitated peace talks to fail, and there is a widespread feeling that if the current like-minded, pro-compromise Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders cannot agree on a federal solution, nobody can.

    To avoid the heavy costs this would entail for all concerned, the two leaders should stand shoulder to shoulder to overcome domestic cynicism and complete the talks, Turkey and Greece must break taboos preventing full communication with both sides on the island, and EU states must rapidly engage in support of the process to avoid the potential for future instability if they complacently accept continuation of the dispute, said ICG in the draft report.

    A real chance still exists in 2009-2010 to end the division in Cyprus in conformity with the long-established negotiating parameters of a federal reunification. The current Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders share more common ground than any of their predecessors and have gone some distance over the past year toward a comprehensive settlement. But failure will mean an indefinite partition of the island, leading to more strains in EU-Turkey relations, new frictions in the east Mediterranean, less EU-NATO cooperation, acceleration of the centrifugal forces scattering the Turkish Cypriots and new risks to the prosperity and security of Greek Cypriots, the ICG warned.

    The ICG report comes only a few days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that Ankara might revise its pro-reunification stance, in effect since it first came to power in 2002. In his address to the UN's 64th General Assembly last week, Erdogan warned the international community that the status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) as an independent state will have to be acknowledged if ongoing talks to reunite the island fail.

    Many Cypriots expect that de facto partition would be a benign continuation of the status quo. New dynamics already in play following the Greek Cypriots' 2004 entry into the EU as the Republic of Cyprus show this to be false. Greek Cypriots have become the most visible technical obstacle to Turkey's EU accession process and have eagerly used all the levers available to them to pursue what they see as their national interest and need for justice. Ankara's frustrations are contributing to frictions over offshore oil exploration rights, including in waters disputed with Greece, that have brought opposing gunboats into close proximity, ICG said.

    Today's stronger, more prosperous Turkey is more ready than in the past to defy the EU and risk irreversible damage to the relationship over what it also sees as issues of national interest and justice. This fault line will be tested again in discussions leading up to December's EU summit, in which the heads of state and government (the European Council) must decide what to do about Turkey's failure to implement its signed obligation to open its ports to Greek Cypriot air and sea traffic.

    [12] ECHR ruled in favour of Fokas brothers finding Turkey guilty of denying to them the right of inheriting property

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (30.09.09) reports that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that two Greek brothers named Ioannis and Evangelos Fokas, who have filed an application to the Court because Turkey has not accepted them as inheritors of the property of their family in Turkey, were right. The members of their families were Turkish citizens of Greek origin.

    [13] Turkish Finance Minister invites Multinational companies to invest to Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.09.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    The Turkish finance minister invited on Tuesday European investors to Turkey. Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek called on 130 Belgian and multi-national firm representatives to invest in Turkey in a meeting in Belgium.

    The Belgian Ministry of Economy, the Turkish Private Sector Association in Belgium, and Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey organized a meeting in Brussels, Belgium on "Turkey and Belgium: Business and Investment Opportunities."

    During the meeting, Simsek said the world was gradually overcoming the global crisis. It is still early to say that the crisis is over, and we should behave cautiously. There are still much to do in the medium and long term, Simsek said. Simsek said Turkey and Belgium could cooperate and join their forces in every field, which would make them stronger in other markets.

    The Turkish finance minister defined Turkey as a big market, and said Turkish executives wanted Belgian businessmen to invest in Turkey. We need partners for more prosperity, he said.

    Also speaking in the meeting, Belgian Minister of Enterprise and Administrative Reform Vincent Van Quickenborne called on Turkish businessmen to invest in his country. Quickenborne defined the Turkish Airlines (THY) as the fourth biggest airline company in Europe, and said Turkish banks were strong and among the best banks in Europe. The Belgian minister said his country was extending full support to Turkey's European Union (EU) membership bid. We will welcome Turkey's accession to the EU when it fulfils (required) reforms, he said.

    Also, Simsek said Turkey needed Europe, but at the same time European needed Turkey.

    Participants are discussing attractive sectors in Turkey and Belgium: opportunities and incentives, doing business in Turkey and Belgium: practical keys and tools, Turkey, Belgium and Europe: how to enhance common opportunities?, and "enhancing Belgium: Turkish Business and Investment Relations."

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.09.09) reported the following:

    Turkish finance minister was invited as honorary guest to a meeting to be attended by Belgium's Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy together with 12 Belgian ministers.

    Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek who participated in the meeting titled "Turkey and Belgium: Business and Investment Opportunities" in Brussels told reporters that he was invited as honorary guest to a meeting which would be held on Tuesday evening and would be attended by Rompuy and 12 Belgian ministers.

    Simsek said that he would have opportunity to have talks with the most of Belgian ministers this evening.

    [14] Erdogan wins law case against Baykal

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.09.09) reports the following:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won TL 5,000 in damages in a case he filed against Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal for defamation of character.

    The case was heard yesterday at the Ankara 13th Civil Court in a hearing attended by lawyers representing Erdogan and Baykal.

    Erdogan took legal action against Baykal early this year after the publication of an interview in the Radikal daily on Feb. 27. In the interview with the daily's Murat Yetkin, Baykal said Erdogan was not paying any heed to the CHP's well-intentioned and constructive attitude, telling the party to take care of its own business.

    He said for the CHP to come to power, it has a very long way to go. Now I ask, what kind of a politician are you? He constantly uses the language of a street bully and Turkey watches this. Will all this recklessness go unnoticed? Will there be an end to this street bully language? Baykal said in the interview.

    Baykal's lawyer Ilsu Catak argued that his client's remarks should be considered in the frame of criticism and requested that the court annul the case.

    However, the judge who presided over the case, Mahmut Ulgey, said the case had already been partially accepted and ruled that Baykal would pay TL 5,000 to Erdogan in damages as compensation.

    [15] Turkish Assembly to examine extension mandate for N. Iraq operations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.09.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish government will ask parliament to extend the mandate for cross-border military operations for another year, government spokesman said on Tuesday.Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek told a press conference after the meeting of Council of Ministers that the government decided to ask the parliament to debate the request as soon as possible after the parliament enters the new legislative year on October 1.

    Turkish military has carried out several air and land operations in the past against targets of the terrorist organization PKK based in the north of Iraq. The mandate for cross-border action is voted by the Turkish parliament on a motion submitted by the government. The current one-year mandate expires on October 17.

    Apart from that, Cicek also said that the government had decided to extend the cash repatriation law until the end of this year.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] Turkey should try to mediate with Iran despite limited room for maneuver

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (30.09.09) publishes the following:

    To avoid being caught in a brawl between the West and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program, Turkey should increase its efforts to mediate between the two sides, even if the room for maneuver is limited, pundits suggest.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Tehran next month to discuss Iran's nuclear program with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Turkish officials were among the first to congratulate him after his controversial re-election in June. The planned trip will be Erdogan's third since becoming prime minister. During the visit, it is expected that trade agreements will be signed increasing Turkey's trade volume with Iran to $20 billion.

    The bilateral trade volume hit $10 billion in 2008, compared to $1 billion in 2000. Iran supplies close to a third of Turkey's gas needs.

    The two countries are also planning to establish joint free trade and industrial zones. Turkish Trade and Industry Minister Nihat Ergun, during a recent visit to Van, a border city with Iran, said that establishing free industrial zones with Iran had been suggested by Tehran last year and would be finalized this year.

    In addition to boosting economic relations, Turkey also plans to suggest discussing a possible high-level strategic council, an enterprise resulting from the recent Turkish foreign policy that not only aims to have zero problems with neighbors but also maximum cooperation. A high level strategic council agreement would call for joint cabinet meetings at least twice a year and as much economic integration as possible. Turkey has signed similar agreements with Syria and Iraq.

    But all these developments come amid a new wave of discussions on additional sanctions against Iran after Tehran's disclosure of a second nuclear enrichment facility.

    Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is constructing a second plant for uranium enrichment. Tehran suggested that it had released the information in line with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which gives a country the right to a full nuclear fuel cycle if used for peaceful purposes. However, US President Barack Obama called the Iranian nuclear facility a direct challenge to the basic foundation of the nonproliferation regime, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Tehran of taking the world down a dangerous path.

    Still, it is expected that Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, will hold talks on Oct. 1 in Geneva. Turkey offered to be the host of this meeting, a suggestion welcomed by the West but not commented on by Iran.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutolu is expected to visit Tehran at the same time as the talks.

    Subtitle: Turkey has good reasons to mediate

    Bayram Sinkaya from the Middle East Strategic Research Center (ORSAM) told Today's Zaman that Turkey is trying to mediate between Iran and the West since it is worried about the possibility of being caught in the middle if there were to be a show down. In such a situation, Turkey is one of the main actors that will be affected, as was the case in Iraq, Sinkaya said.

    When he was asked about a military intervention in Iran, Erdogan said on Sunday, upon his return to Turkey after attending the UN General Assembly, that it was obvious what had happened in Iraq. One million people lost their lives. An important civilization came to the brink of collapse, he said.

    Sinkaya said that there are some other reasons Turkey was trying to mediate between the West and Iran. Actually, if Iran acquires the power to produce nuclear weapons, one of the countries who will not like this will be Turkey because it will harm the equilibrium between the two countries. Turkey is in a position of defending Iran in order to mediate for it. This is not only because of its policy aiming at zero problems with neighbors but for other reasons, he said.

    According to him, the second reason why Turkey wishes to mediate is to be part of the process. If there are to be negotiations between the West and Iran, these negotiations will be based on shaping the Middle East; there will be talks about giving and taking. Turkey, of course, wants to learn about those bargains, it wants to intervene in them and naturally wants to be part of this process, Sinkaya underlined.

    He pointed out that the third reason for Turkey's effort includes Israel's nuclear capacity and the future of the Middle East. Some countries in the region, including Turkey, want to use Iran's nuclear power as a bargaining chip to control Israel's nuclear power. They say that if Iran is forced to give up, Israel should first become a part of the NPT.

    Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey is completely against nuclear weapons in the Middle East and criticized Israel.

    Israel is not a member of the IAEA, while Iran is. Moreover, phosphorus bombs were used in Gaza. What is this? A weapon of mass destruction, he underlined, referring to the deadly offensive the Israeli army launched against Gaza last December, which left more than 1,300 people dead. These issues are never brought to the table, and this personally annoys me as a person who is in an office [that carries with it] responsibility, Erdogan said. That is to say, we need to be fairer. We have to act honestly if we want global peace, he added.

    According to Sinkaya, despite all these reasons and the direct interests of Turkey, it is doubtful if there is any room for Turkey's mediation especially if there are direct talks between the two sides.

    Retired Ambassador Temel Iskit agrees with Sinkaya, noting that Turkey's efforts to mediate are unrealistic since there are direct talks, but it is useful to play a softening role, although it is doubtful that this role will have any impact.

    My personal idea is that it is not very beneficial to be seen as the defender of Iran against the West in the long run. At the end of the day, Turkey will be tested on it at the UN Security Council as a temporary member. It is hard to imagine Turkey giving a vote of no' or abstaining while the Western countries are saying yes', Iskit told Today's Zaman.

    According to him, even if Turkey sides with Western countries when the day comes, its trade with Iran will not be harmed.

    I don't think that the trade volume will drop even $10 for two reasons: We are Iran's door to the West, and they need us; secondly, they know very well that Ankara, at the end of the day, has to side with the West, he said.

    When Erdogan asked if Turkey would support fresh UN Security Council action against Iran, he did not say yes or no but pointed out that it is difficult to say. Without seeing what would be in the resolution, it's difficult to say. We would look at the text, and we would make our contribution and then we would make a decision, Erdogan said.

    According to Professor Cagri Erhan from the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), the difficulty facing Turkey's mediation efforts is not only the lack of room for them but the position of the US and Iran.

    Erhan points out that US policy is based on putting pressure on Iran and it expects its allies to contribute to this policy, but Turkey, by making trade agreements with and supportive remarks regarding Iran, is in conflict with this policy. But, on the other hand, for the future of Iraq, especially for the northern part of it, the US administration needs Turkey. By using this as leverage, Turkey can try to convince the US administration, he said.

    Cagri suggested that maybe Iran is playing a dangerous game and aiming to escalate the situation in order to make bargains with the West. If this is Tehran's policy, it does not need Turkey's mediation, and besides, it is having direct talks with the West anyway. But Iran knows very well that Turkey is the best for mediation when it is needed, he added.

    EG/


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