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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-10-16

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. 196/09 16.10.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The breakaway regime is reportedly preparing to give its citizenship to more settlers from Turkey
  • [02] General Basbug visited the representation office in Pakistan of the regime Turkey established in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [03] Talat expresses the view that the Republic of Cyprus should be expelled from the international organizations in which it is a member
  • [04] Soyer said the Progress Report of the EU for Turkey is extremely positive
  • [05] Tordio: Turkey controls EU territory
  • [06] Olli Rehn argued that 2009 is not the final date for Turkey to open its ports to Cyprus
  • [07] Statements by Turkish Cypriot so-called MPs who are having contacts in Brussels
  • [08] Cakici argued that the proposals of the sides on the issue of governance and power sharing are far from reaching to an agreement and serious differences exist
  • [09] Eroglu: It is clearly obvious that there will be no agreement at the negotiating table
  • [10] The Young Fighters Association is acquiring 50 new members
  • [11] The National Existence Council calls on Talat to resign and objects to any solution which foresees the removal of the illegal regime
  • [12] British citizen accused of committing six crimes in Britain was taken to court; He is reportedly going to be deported or taken to Britain by the police of the breakaway regime
  • [13] The breakaway regime attempted to participate using its illegal flag in an international championship in Ankara
  • [14] The crisis between Turkey and Israel continues now with a TV series
  • [15] Former MIT deputy under secretary explains how the Kurdish problem is heading towards solution
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 15 October 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The breakaway regime is reportedly preparing to give its citizenship to more settlers from Turkey

    Under the banner front page title Panic for the citizenship, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that the rumors that the self-styled government will distribute the citizenship of the breakaway regime to thousands of people messed up the occupied part of capital Lefkosia. The paper reports, inter alia, the following on its front page:

    After a group of 35 persons was sent for the citizenship procedures, tense hours were experienced at the Dr. Burhan Nalbantoglu State Hospital. Some doctors rejected this duty and did not examine the candidate citizens. The doctors, who are sensitive on the issue of the granting of the citizenship, did not carry out the health test of the 35 persons and postponed the work for tomorrow. The boom of granting the citizenship started again, commented many doctors who reacted to the incident. The decree of closeness of some of the above-mentioned 35 persons to the government attracted the attention. The relatives of an MP of the National Unity Party (UBP) and a person who is the representative in the TRNC of a newspaper published in Turkey and works as speaker in the Kanal T are among those who will take the citizenship.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (16.10.09) refers to the same issue under the title Tension for the new TRNC citizenships at the hospital.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] General Basbug visited the representation office in Pakistan of the regime Turkey established in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Ilker Basbug has visited the representation office of the breakaway regime in Islamabad and met with the representative of the regime Hasibe Sahoglu. According to a statement issued by the office, General Basbug said the fact that the TRNC is represented in Pakistan, which is their sister country, makes them proud. Basbug signed the book of the visitors of the office. The Turkish General was accompanied by the ambassador of Turkey to Islamabad during his visit to the representation of the breakaway regime.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Talat expresses the view that the Republic of Cyprus should be expelled from the international organizations in which it is a member

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has said that during the Cyprus negotiations they were not able to agree on how the executive will be elected, but there is a development on this issue and they will continue the discussion. In statements after his return from the meeting with President Christofias yesterday, Mr Talat noted that they discussed the proposal of the Greek Cypriot side, the proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side and the weak and strong aspects of these proposals. He described the discussion as very sound. He said they put onto the table issues which respond to the concerns of each other, that the impression that reasonable and fair proposals were made and this is very important. He alleged that the proposal of the Turkish side is much more viable.

    Mr Talat said that they will discuss the foreign relations with President Christofias during their next meeting on Wednesday in the afternoon. He noted that they will continue with the property issue during their meeting on Thursday. He said they expect progress to be achieved on these issues, but added that he could not say that progress was not made.

    Asked whether there will be a third round in the negotiations, Mr Talat replied: We could say that it is in this round or we could call it third round. Let me not be absolute. The important thing is that this issue continues to be on the agenda, we did not put it in the freezer.

    Asked to comment on the Progress Report of the EU for Turkey, Mr Talat said he could talk only about the part concerning Cyprus and added that this is not positive. He described as evil intentions towards the Turkish Cypriots, insult and attack the fact that the EU asks from Turkey to normalize its relations with the Republic of Cyprus. He added: If Turkey normalizes its relations with the Republic of Cyprus, then why are we negotiating today, what are we trying to solve? There is no need for discussions. Then let us re-establish the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, which is what is asked from Turkey, and let this job finish. Why does the EU support these negotiations?

    Mr Talat claimed that all these derive from the fact that the Greek Cypriot side, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, is a member of the EU. Referring to the demand for Turkey to stop preventing the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organizations, Mr Talat alleged: This is also something that could not be accepted. I believe that the Republic of Cyprus not only should not become a member in new organizations, but it should even be expelled from the international organizations in which it is now, because it does not represent the whole of Cyprus. However, it is accepted in these organizations in the name of the whole Cyprus. It is asked from Turkey to lift this obstacle. These things cannot be accepted. I am sorry, but the Cyprus aspect of the EU Report and the Strategic Document is definitely not positive.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Soyer said the Progress Report of the EU for Turkey is extremely positive

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), evaluated the Progress Report of the EU for Turkey and described it as very balanced. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Soyer said this report did not respond to the expectations of those who were expecting interruption of either Turkeys EU accession course or of the negotiation process for reaching to a solution in Cyprus. It is extremely positive, he added. Mr Soyer noted that the fact that no sanctions were implemented against Turkey shows that the wrong policy of putting the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey into a difficult situation and securing advantages is not accepted internationally.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Tordio: Turkey controls EU territory

    Under the above title, Huseyin Ekmekci reports in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) that the EUs Spokesman for the Enlargement, Amadeu Tordio Alfada met yesterday with Turkish and Greek Cypriot journalists in Brussels and said the following responding to a question by a Greek Cypriot journalist on why the EU has not implemented sanctions on Turkey:

    The progress on eight chapters stopped. It could be stopped on another two chapters. In any case this is a very heavy decision for Turkey. Turkey is progressing in its own way. Turkey does not fulfill its obligations both towards Cyprus and the EU. Think a little. EU territory is under the control of Turkey. Therefore hard sanctions could be asked. And this might be more creative. However, the EUs approach is not the solution with pressures, because the only strange thing in the EU is not the fact that a candidate country does not recognize a member country. However, what was done in the last five years in Turkey is influential. The Armenian and the Kurdish openings are important. The fact that Turkey is settling accounts with its own past (Ergenekon) is important. The progress on eight chapters for Turkey stopped, they are not being discussed. The closing of two more chapters is on the agenda. And this is an indication that Turkey should settle its problems.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Olli Rehn argued that 2009 is not the final date for Turkey to open its ports to Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that the Commissioner for the Enlargement of the EU, Olli Rehn has said that Turkey does not have to open its ports to Cyprus until the end of 2009. Under the title 2009 is not the final date for the ports, the paper notes that Mr Rehn made this statement yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP). Reminding that there are chapters the opening of which is prevented by some member states, such as France and others, Mr Rehn said that if the conditions do not change, the chapters that could be opened will be exhausted in a short period of time. He noted that the decision on the issue of the ports depends on the member states. He noted that the report in 2006 was saying that the developments on the harmonization of Turkey with the Ankara Protocol would be examined in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and explained that the reason for this was the fact that elections would be held in some member states during those years. However, this is not the final date. 2009 is not the final date, because in that decision (taken in December 2006), there is a comma between the next years and the 2007, 2008 and 2009, he noted.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Statements by Turkish Cypriot so-called MPs who are having contacts in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (16.10.09) reports on statements by Ergun Serdaroglu and Salih Izbul, Turkish Cypriot self-styled parliamentarians with the National Unity Party (UBP) and Republican Turkish Party (CTP) respectively, who are having contacts at the EU institutions in Brussels. Speaking to the ABHaber news centre after the statements by the European Commissioner Responsible for the Enlargement, Mr Olli Rehn, at the Foreign Relations Committee of the European Parliament, both Turkish Cypriots expressed their disappointment over the Greek Cypriot and the Greek members of the EP, who during their statements did not refer to the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus. On the contrary, as Mr Serdaroglu stated, they were continuously referring to the sanctions that should be imposed on Turkey because of the Ankara Protocol.

    This indicates that the Greek Cypriots are not sincere at all at the negotiation table. They acted just as if the negotiations did not exist. The Greek Cypriots are talking some behind closed doors in the EU and some in front of the public. At the EP Foreign Relations Committee, for once more we observed that the Greek Cypriots do not refer at all to the negotiations, Mr Serdaroglu said.

    On his part, Mr Izbul stated that it was expected that the Greek Cypriots would have strived for a solution on the negotiating table and at least give their support to this process. Mr Izbul said: We did not see this and we faced a great disappointment. However, in our opinion it is a very important development that Mr Rehn, over the questions by the Greek Cypriot and Greek EMPs, made a call towards the sides to focus on the negotiations and to attach importance on them. He added that no one must forget that a solution of the Cyprus problem will be possible through the negotiations and with an agreement that will be accepted by both sides. He expressed the hope that the words of Mr Rehn would have a positive influence over the Greek Cypriot side.

    (EA)

    [08] Cakici argued that the proposals of the sides on the issue of governance and power sharing are far from reaching to an agreement and serious differences exist

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.10.09) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has argued that the deadlocks in the negotiating process could be overcome in case there is a wish and good will for this. Addressing the Second Regular Congress of the TDP in occupied Keryneia, Mr Cakici said President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have been assigned with the duty of finding an early solution to the Cyprus problem and added: Instead of both leaders playing with time, they should search for ways to create an early solution with good will and sincerity. Mr Cakici noted that the proposals of the sides on the issue of the governance and power sharing are far from reaching to an agreement and serious differences exist on issues such as the system. He reminded that the TDP have submitted proposals on this issue, which are satisfactory, put forward the equality, develop the cooperation, necessitates the joint actions and reduces to the minimum the possibility of any conflict.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Eroglu: It is clearly obvious that there will be no agreement at the negotiating table

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (16.10.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu has argued that the negotiations for reaching to a solution of the Cyprus problem will have no result. In statements to Ada television, Mr Eroglu alleged that it is clearly obvious that there will be no agreement at the negotiating table. He noted that the demands submitted by the Greeks and the Turks are far from each other. He said that a diplomat who visited him after the rejection of the Annan Plan told him that the Turkish Cypriots are obliged to agree and therefore there is nothing more they could do. You will satisfy the Greek Cypriot side to say yes, said the diplomat, according to Mr Eroglu.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The Young Fighters Association is acquiring 50 new members

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (16.10.09) reports that an oath-taking ceremony for the around 50 new members of the Young Fighters Association will take place tomorrow in occupied Melousia. Issuing a statement regarding the event, the vice president of the Association, Mr Ozen Hurses, inter alia, referred to the Cyprus negotiations and stated that there is no confidence in the negotiating team and the ongoing negotiation process, held on the principle of the so-called United Cyprus with single sovereignty, single identity and single citizenship.

    The announcement added: We are warning those who are trying to bargain the sovereign existence of our TRNC state and our people. We will not sign an agreement which will dilute our sovereignty, which will not contain the guarantees of our Motherland Turkey and which will turn the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC citizens into a minority in the future.

    (EA)

    [11] The National Existence Council calls on Talat to resign and objects to any solution which foresees the removal of the illegal regime

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.10.99) broadcast the following:

    A protest action was held in front of the TRNC Presidential Palace this morning by the National Existence Council.

    The Council handed a warning memorandum to be given to President Mehmet Ali Talat which called on the President to resign, if he fails to act in line with the public will as proved in early general elections last April. The group later laid a wreath in front of the Presidential Palace with a note 'Sovereign-the TRNC'.

    Before the action, the group gathered in front of the Ataturk Monument and opened a placard there which said 'TRNC forever'. Making a statement on behalf of the National Existence Councils central executive committee later, Kamil Ozkaloglu, said they vow to object to all political agreements which foresee the removal of the TRNC.

    [12] British citizen accused of committing six crimes in Britain was taken to court; He is reportedly going to be deported or taken to Britain by the police of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (16.10.09) reports that Michael William Bishop, who is accused in Britain of committing six crimes and had been arrested in the occupied areas of Cyprus, was taken to court yesterday. Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (16.10.09) reports that Bishop is expected to be deported or he will be taken by the police of the breakaway regime to Britain. He was staying in the occupied areas of Cyprus for ten months.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The breakaway regime attempted to participate using its illegal flag in an international championship in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (16.10.09) reports that a crisis was caused because of a flag of the breakaway regime which was placed next to the flags of the other countries in the room where competitions for the European Bocce Championship of Men would be held in Ankara. The officials of the European Bocce Association (EBA) reacted to the fact that the flag of the breakaway regime was placed in the room and told the organizers that the Turkish Cypriot team could participate with the name Turkey 2 Cyprus or with the flag of the Republic of Cyprus. The representatives of the Turkish Cypriot so-called federation described the incident as unacceptable and decided to participate with the first name (Turkey 2 Cyprus).

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] The crisis between Turkey and Israel continues now with a TV series

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (16.10.09), in its front page under the title Separation with Israel, reports that immediately after the crisis of the Anatolian Eagle military exercise, another crisis - a TV series crisis - appeared. The TV series titled Ayrilik (Separation) broadcast on state-run TRT channel caused tension with Israel as it narrates the incidents that occurred during the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. While the Israeli media was in rage, Mr Ceylan Ozen, charge d'affaires of Turkey to Israel, was called to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan left from Israel some weeks ago because he has been appointed Deputy Undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry.

    The paper also reports that the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: This was a serious provocation and it was done by state support. It would not be appropriate for a TV series showing Israeli soldiers as barbarian killers to be broadcast even by enemy states.

    Moreover on the same issue, the paper under the title Erdogan: We are a strong country, we take our own decisions, reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on his way yesterday to Iraq with nine ministers, replied harshly to Israel, who reacted to the postponement of the international part of the Anatolian Eagle military exercise at the last minute. Mr Erdogan said: We would like everyone to know that Turkey is a strong country and takes its own decision on its own. Turkey will not make decisions with some others' recommendation or order.

    (DPs)

    [15] Former MIT deputy under secretary explains how the Kurdish problem is heading towards solution

    Under the title: Cevat Ones: MIT holds the talks with the PKK Instanbul Taraf online (12.10.09) publishes the following interview with Cevat Ones, former deputy under secretary of the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT) by Nese Durel:

    Why: Cevat Ones

    Cevat Ones, who was appointed MIT deputy undersecretary after serving in MIT for 41 years, is a person who has inside information on the state's operations. Cevat Ones has voluntarily retired from the number two position in MIT in 2005. We, on behalf of Taraf, had also spoken to him two years ago. During this conversation which had coincided with Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to the United States Ones had noted that during the meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush it had been decided to eliminate the PKK. And the developments had confirmed Ones. Despite the fact that currently he does not carry an official title and despite the fact that he does not speak on behalf of any "institution," Cevat Ones is able to make an in depth analysis of the developments in Turkish politics and world politics. Cevat Ones explained how Turkey's role in the world has changed following the latest crisis and talked about the nature of this role. This way, he enabled us to understand all the ongoing overtures. As you listen to Ones, you understand that the social and the political balances in Turkey will seriously change in a very near future.

    Question: The government has launched a new Kurdish overture. It is noted that the state also supports this overture. Why has such an unprecedented determination emerged for the solution of the Kurdish problem?

    Answer: First, the solution of this problem has become imperative due to the developing internal dynamics in Turkey. Great change and transformation were realized as a result of the legal arrangements that had been made for adaptation to the EU especially between 2002 and 2005. Furthermore the AKP [Justice and Development Party] came to power alone in 2002 and political and economic stability was established in the country. The following developments occurred during such a stable period: The number of the Kurds, the Turks, and the members of various ethnic and religious groups who called for the end of bloodshed and the solution of the problem by raising the democratic standards increased. We embarked upon 2008 and the political government began to hear the society's demand for a solution. Of course, there is also the external dynamics.

    Question: What are the external dynamics that require the solution of the Kurdish problem?

    Answer: The withdrawal of the US troops appeared on the agenda during the last part of Bush's term. Signs that signaled that a new balance of powers would be established in the Middle East were seen. The global economic crisis emerged. With this crisis capitalism sought to renew itself. A restructuring process was witnessed in the balance of powers. All this formed the 'external dynamics" in terms of Turkey.

    Question: If the global economic crisis had not emerged, would Turkey not make the Kurdish overture?

    Answer: It would have encountered many difficulties. The global crisis should not be seen as a financial crisis that has emerged in the United States. This is a crisis in which capitalism repairs itself. This is a crisis that restructures the global balances of power and that assigns Turkey a new role in the world.

    Question: What kind of a role has been assigned to Turkey with the economic crisis in the world?

    Answer: The global economic crisis that emerged in 2008 has increased Turkey's importance. The balance of powers has entered the process of moving from Europe to the East and to Eurasia. Within the framework of the new balance of powers, Turkey, with its Muslim identity, has been assigned a leading role. Accordingly Turkey is expected to establish balance between the West and the East, to develop peaceful policies in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and in the Middle East, and to enable the transfer of energy. In order to be able to assume this role, Turkey was obliged to establish stability at home and to become trustworthy. To this end Turkey was obliged to resolve its democracy problem and to raise its democratic standards to the universal levels.

    Question: Does the army support the Kurdish overture?

    Answer: I do not have institutional information, but on the basis of the experience that I have gained during my long professional life and my observations from the political and social developments that I am trying to follow I can say the following about the process in question. It was decided during the MGK [National Security Council] to support the democratic overture. It is necessary to view the "daily" statements that have been issued following this decision as statements that do not affect the essence. This is because the MGK's recommendation shows that there is an agreement among the state institutions on the democratic overture and that the overture is being implemented as a state policy. Furthermore, when talking about Turkey's internal dynamics we should take the following into consideration. Despite the fact that it is very strong, the Turkish Armed Forces are no longer able to cope with being a force that constantly clashes with its own citizens.

    Question: Why are they not able to cope with this?

    Answer: Regardless of what the reason is, clashing with the citizens creates social and psychological problems. The armed forces are no longer able to cope with the increase in these problems. Furthermore the Turkish people's demands for peace have increased during this process and with the changing regional and global conditions the conditions that enabled the PKK to wage an armed struggle have become invalid. The PKK has lost its power to continue with such a struggle. Furthermore it was revealed during the Ergenekon process that the Kurdish problem has greatly harmed Turkey and that it has led to corruption within the state.

    Question: It is noted that MIT leads the Kurdish overture and that the preparations in this regard have been made for a long time. Had there been such preparations during your term?

    Answer: It is impossible for any single institution to be totally in charge of such a major problem in Turkey because with its political, social, economic, and psychological dimensions and its international relations, this overture is a matter of political will. As far as I was able to observe, MIT has played a leading and an important role in the development of such a comprehensive policy.

    Question: Why is MIT so active regarding this issue?

    Answer: It is actively involved because it has begun to look at the issue in light of the regional and global developments.

    Question: Is this MIT Under Secretary Emre Taner's personal choice?

    Answer: It is impossible to totally link this to specific persons, but there is no doubt that we should not forget the role assumed by the under secretary that heads the organization.

    Question: Intelligence organizations conduct secret bargains with armed organizations regarding such problems. We have seen some examples of this in Spain and Ireland. It has been noted that the secret units of the Turkish state have also held meetings with the PKK. Does MIT continue to hold secret meetings with the PKK?

    Answer: Currently I cannot say whether MIT is holding contacts with the terrorist organization because I do not have the necessary institutional information in this regard. Nonetheless such meetings may take place. In fact, this is seen throughout the world. Intelligence organizations are also involved in the organizational solution of the problems and to this end they hold secret talks. This process embodies very secret operational efforts.

    Question: Do you believe that such meetings should be held?

    Answer: Intelligence organizations have no place in political, social, and democratic overtures. Intelligence organizations may assume a role in disarming the terrorist organization. It may assume a role in bringing about the conditions that will enable the PKK to lay down arms, in shaping the methods of laying down arms, and in determining its place and its time. This way, the states avoid holding official talks with the terrorist organization. Similar to Spain, Ireland, and the Palestinian issue, the intelligence organization takes care of such issues behind the scenes. It is therefore very natural for our intelligence organization to assume this role in Turkey.

    Question: Are these meetings held abroad?

    Answer: These talks may be held in Iraq, in Turkey, in a third country, or in any other place in the world. Such liaisons are one of the most important duties of the intelligence organization.

    Question: Are such meetings between MIT and the PKK officially recorded?

    Answer: All of these meetings are recorded. The records are imperative in terms of ensuring institutional continuity. However the confidentiality level of the records varies.

    Question: Have you ever witnessed such a meeting with the PKK?

    Answer: No I have not. I am not in a position to issue an institutional statement, but since 2004 the bureaucracy has been holding debates on how to talk to Ocalan without turning the state into his official interlocutor. However given that the state's security concept had been linked to the PKK at that time and given that a comprehensive project about the democratic overture had not yet been shaped, these meetings had not yielded results.

    Question: Are you saying that meetings had been held, but that they had yielded results?

    Answer: Yes. It is very beneficial for the intelligence organizations to assume a role behind the scenes in bringing about a suitable environment for laying down arms. In fact this is inevitable. This is impossible without the intelligence organizations.

    Question: Is the government informed on all the phases of these meetings?

    Answer: Today I cannot even think about the possibility that the government is not informed. In the past however, when there had not been an agreement among the state institutions, the chances that the governments had not been informed had been very high.

    Question: What kinds of issues are raised during these secret meetings?

    Answer: What will be the conditions for laying down arms? To whom will the arms be given? Where and under what conditions will the arms be handed over? What will be the conditions for laying down arms? Where will they return? How will issues such as surrendering and returning home be resolved? These issues are raised.

    Question: How do the two sides treat each other in these secret meetings?

    Answer: In order to achieve results the sides should mutually bring about an environment of respect.

    Question: We know that MIT had also held meetings with the PKK in the past.

    Answer: Given that these talks had not been based on a comprehensive solution project, they had remained as independent actions that had not yielded any results. If a solution project is shaped, these talks may be productive and may yield results.

    Question: Looking at the current circumstances, how do you think the Kurdish problem will be resolved?

    Answer: First the speech given by the prime minister to the province leaders on 11 August; later the speech delivered by the president at the National Assembly; and later the speech the prime minister delivered during the AKP congress. The will for a solution has been "irreversibly" put forth in these three speeches. As of now we will witness two phases: First, the PKK will be disarmed. Second, democratization. The framework of the democratic overture will be concretely drawn up in the National Assembly in the days ahead.

    Question: How will the PKK lay down arms?

    Answer: What is important at this point is how the amnesty issue will be shaped. The government says: "For the time being we do not intend to pass a new amnesty." It is noted that amendments will be made in the effective repentance law. In order to humanize this law and to make it more encouraging, it is necessary to change its name to "law pertaining to returning home." This change is important in terms of enabling the return of the armed militants who have not been involved in crimes to their homes. This way, the leader cadres and the militants who have been involved in criminal activities will remain behind. Today the most important issue is creating the suitable conditions for the PKK's leader cadres that consist of 200 to 300 persons. Can they remain in the Iraqi region? Is it possible to allow them to live in European countries?

    Question: Will the leader cadres be banned from coming to Turkey until eternity?

    Answer: Even if it is not until eternity, it is possible to ensure that they do not come to Turkey for a while. They may live in Iraq or in European countries for a certain period. Nonetheless the real problem in this regard is associated with their economic and social condition. How will they make a living? How and on what will they live? In fact these are the issues that will be raised in the mutual talks and a common denominator will be found. To disarm an organization is a special and sensitive project! The PKK currently wants the conditions for laying down arms to be brought about. It is possible to establish relations with the organization behind the scenes for bringing about the conditions in question. The [organization] had emerged in 1984 and its leader cadres are currently 45 to 60 years old.

    Question: Yes.

    Answer: Given that these persons have not had any ties with the civilized world for years, given that they do not have a social life, given that they have merely seen weapons for years, and given that they have been locked on clashes and death for years, it is necessary to take into consideration the psychological, social, and economic problems that they will encounter once they lay down arms.

    Question: How long do you believe is required for achieving results?

    Answer: The issue of laying down arms should not be delayed. It is imperative to ensure that the arms are unconditionally and indefinitely silenced and that they are laid down and handed over in the beginning of 2010 -- in other words, within six months. Once the PKK lays down arms Turkish politics will change. The political parties will be much affected by this and the democratic overture will speed up. It is also possible to make constitutional amendments. Baykal's promise to the effect that "they may consider constitutional amendments if the [PKK] lays down arms" is very important!

    Question: Is it possible to disarm the PKK within six months?

    Answer: This is what the developments show. Turkey's interests require this because both the internal dynamics in Turkey and the external dynamics which is based on regional dynamics as well as global developments make it imperative for paving the path for Turkey's democratization by ensuring the disarming of the PKK. Today both Ocalan and Qandil know that the PKK cannot continue with armed struggle.

    Question: Why?

    Answer: The PKK will not receive support from anyone. It cannot receive support from Iraq, Syria, Iran, or Russia. As persons who properly read the Kurds' peace demands, they will be in favor of a solution and they will further free the DTP [Democratic Society Party]. As a matter of fact Ocalan points to the DTP as the interlocutor in the talks. Today history has given Turkey a major opportunity for resolving the Kurdish issue.

    Question: Under what conditions will the PKK lay down arms?

    Answer: If a will is formed in the National Assembly for developing the democratization process and if, as noted by Prime Minister Erdogan, a road map for the "short, middle, and long runs" is put forth, the only thing that will remain will be laying down arms. This week the interior minister will go to Syria and the prime minister will go to Iraq. Following these meetings the question of disarming the PKK will shape. Following the contacts in Syria and Iraq speeches will be delivered in the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] and the concrete factors of the government's democratization project will be clarified. A road map for the short, medium, and long runs will be determined.

    Question: What kind of steps will be taken in the short run?

    Answer: Amendments will be made in the regulations and administrative decisions in the short run. To make a Kurdish overture in the universities; to support Kurdish movie; and to ensure that province governors develop ties with Kurdish politicians and mayors. As for the efforts that will be made in the middle run, it is necessary to make amendments in the Counterterrorism Law and the Penal Code, to amend the Election Law and to reduce the election threshold, and to give more powers to the local administrations. It is also necessary to prepare a brand new constitution in the middle and long run. It is necessary to say farewell to the 12 September Constitution during the general election process in 2011. In fact the most important two issues in the democratic overture are...

    Question: What are they?

    Answer: The first one is the question of constitutional citizenship and the second one is Kurdish education and the question of the official language. In this age it is inappropriate to hold debates on learning the mother tongue and using it without any limitations. As for the constitutional citizenship, the CHP [Republican People's Party] and Baykal may also change under the current circumstances. The CHP's grass roots and Baykal's political behavior may shape again in line with the developments.

    Question: Do you believe that the PKK is ready to lay down arms and to come down from the mountains?

    Answer: It is obliged to do so and it is aware of this. In fact it is currently conducting bargains on this. The struggle that is being waged today is about this.

    Question: What does the state think about the PKK laying down arms and engaging in civilian politics?

    Answer: In my opinion it is possible to impose a temporary security margin of -- let us say -- five years for those who have not been involved in any crime and who have returned home. If they are not involved in crime for a period of five years, they may be allowed to engage in politics.

    Question: Can any force in Turkey obstruct this overture?

    Answer: I do not believe that it is possible to obstruct the overture. However, if the political government is very clumsy or if an economic crisis emerges, the overture may be obstructed. They have lost their power in terms of the internal dynamics because today the demand for democratization has also grown inside the bureaucratic structures. Given the determination to clean the Ergenekon ties in the institutional structures, they no longer have their old means. Furthermore given the importance attached to Turkey due to the global circumstances, they no longer have the chance to attempt a coup or to establish an authoritarian system through a coup in this country.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 15 October 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press on 15 October:

    a) Turkey-Armenia relations

    In his article in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand welcomes the normalization process launched by the Turkish and Armenian presidents, saying that "they started the kick-off together and the ball keeps rolling." Drawing attention to Azerbaijan's role in the normalization process, he notes: "The key is in the hands of the Minsk Group headed by the U.S., Russia and France. If this group could force both sides into a consensus the solution would be much easier." The columnist also comments on Cem Uzans asylum application in France and the meeting to be held by PM Erdogan and opposition leader Baykal.

    A column by Cuneyt Ulsever of Hurriyet criticizes Turkish Foreign Ministry's policy of "zero problem with neighboring countries," saying that that is an invalid policy as efforts to remove the problems with a specific country might lead to new problems with another one. Drawing attention to the "uneasiness" Turkey's initiatives to normalize ties with Armenia created in Azerbaijan, Ulsever says: "I believe defending Azerbaijan and mediating between Azerbaijan and Armenia have become a duty for Russia. It seems the United States is transferring its influence on Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan to Russia one by one. Turkey has to act in line with that role change as an ally of the United States." Recalling Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's remarks that "foreign policy preferences and priorities of Washington and Ankara completely overlap," the columnist asserts that Turkey is likely to assume a mediating role between the United States and Iran, Syria, Lebanon, HAMAS, and Hizbullah during the Obama era.

    In his column in Milliyet, Fikret Bila doubts that normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia will be as fast as the change in the Turkish-Syrian relations. Recalling that Turkey and Syria were on the verge of the war 10 years ago, he asserts that the two countries have become close allies in the region thanks to Syria's need to normalize relations with the West via Turkey. Bila goes on to note that there is no doubt that the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia is "very important for the stability in the Caucasus," however, he adds, "the historic dispute between the two countries and the Azerbaijan factor" prevent the two sides from taking quick steps toward normalization. He concludes by arguing that the implementation of the recently signed protocols is unlikely until Armenia recognizes Turkey's borders and decides to end its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh region.

    Cumhuriyet's Oktay Akbal claims in his column that the protocols signed by the Turkish and Armenian sides are unlikely to open a new era in the Turkish-Armenian ties until Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved. Arguing that the ruling AKP's Armenian overture will turn into a "dilemma" like its former Kurdish and Cyprus overtures, the writer says that what the government tries to do is "to gain time and to keep the Turkish people busy with nice words." He censures the government for failing to deal with the real problems in the country and expresses the hope that the people will finally realize that their sufferings will continue if they continue to vote for the present administration in the next elections.

    In an article entitled "The Turkish-Armenian Protocols", Vakit columnist Ahmet Varol asserts that Turkish political and civilian groups and media outlets should use every opportunity to get across the message to Armenia that they will not support the start of diplomatic relations with Yerevan or endorse a possible parliamentary decision to ratify the Turkish-Armenian protocols signed in Zurich unless the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh is ended.

    In an article entitled "The future of Turkey-Armenia protocols", Today's Zaman columnist Emre Uslu asserts that "it would be a wise policy for Turkish diplomacy to apply pressure on the Minsk Group to finalize the Karabakh disputes sooner than later," adding that if the Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues, Turkey might be hard-pressed to "collect the fruits of the protocols" signed with Armenia.

    b) Turkish-Israeli military exercise crisis

    A column by Erdal Safak of Sabah argues that the "Gaza tragedy" is not the only reason for the exclusion of Israel from the "Anatolian Eagle" military exercise to be held in Turkey. Recalling that the exercise would enable the Israeli aircraft fly over the areas that are close to the Syrian and Iranian borders, the columnist asserts that the bombardment of a Syrian military installation by Israel in 2008 and the ongoing nuclear crisis with Iran prevented Turkey from allowing the participation of Israeli warplanes in that military exercise.

    In his column in Milliyet, Semih Idiz lauds Turkey's decision to cancel the international military exercise, saying that "Ankara is not responsible for the escalating tension between Turkey and Israel." Recalling the "Goldstone Report" that accuses Israel of committing a war crime in Gaza and Israel's reluctance to make "any concession for the solution of the basic problems in the Middle East," Idiz says that hosting the Israeli warplanes that were used against the Palestinians would be taken as a problem in any country, but the United States. That is why, he adds, "Turkey postponing the Anatolian Eagle exercise is a quite normal development, particularly in the light of Ankara's recent diplomatic initiatives."

    In an article entitled "Another 'One Minute' Needed", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on what he presents as developments in Turkey's relations with Israel that have confirmed the "future scenarios" he has been suggesting regarding Turkey's regional status and its relations with the United States and Israel as well as his recurrent argument that Turkey and Israel's regional interests will not coincide from now on. He hails Turkey's exclusion of Israel from the Anatolian Eagle air defense exercise as a move indicating that Turkey has started to create its own road map and to reject the roles assigned to it by the West.

    In an article entitled "Israel misses the 28 February Process", Yeni Safak columnist Akif Emre asserts that Israel is trying to create tension along one of Turkey's major political "fault lines," namely military-civilian relations, in response to Turkey's "postponement" of the international phase of the Anatolian Eagle air defense drill by playing on the Turkish Armed Forces' traditional sensibilities through statements asserting that the Turkish military has started to recognize the civilian authority as its superior.

    In an article entitled "Shift in Turkish Military-Civilian Balance", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Kemal asserts that "last-minute" Turkish moves like the exclusion of Israel from the Anatolian Eagle drill might "damage Turkish credibility at a time when Ankara has increasingly been seeking the role of a facilitator in Middle Eastern disputes." She also asserts that "in the final analysis, Turkey's Israeli decision can be seen as another indication that balances of power in military-civilian relations [have] been shifting in favor of the civilian authorities."

    /EI


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