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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-10-19

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. 197/09 17-19.10.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] A telephone conversation between Erdogan and Talat revealed that the Turkish policy after the 2004 referendum was not the solution of the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Talat says that the Turkish side did not make concessions during the negotiations
  • [03] Eroglu says little or no progress has been achieved in the negotiations
  • [04] Cakici was re-elected chairman of the TDP
  • [05] The president of YODAK said the situation in the illegal universities is not so bad
  • [06] Smugglers of antiquities were arrested yesterday in occupied Keryneia
  • [07] Occupation regimes football federation to participate in the 6th General Assembly of the N.F. Board
  • [08] Statements by Olli Rehn and Egemen Bagis on Cyprus during the 6th Bosporus Conference
  • [09] Gul declares that all restrictions on Cyprus should be lifted out the same time
  • [10] Obama and Gul discuss Cyprus over a telephone conversation. Erdogan to visit the US on October 29
  • [11] Turkish EU Negotiator and French EU Secretary view EU
  • [12] Rahsan Ecevit warns that Turkey should not lose Cyprus in the smoke and the dust of the openings
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Christofias does not envision a new state in Cyprus
  • [14] Gul calls President Obama to help for a solution in Cyprus
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 16, 17 and 18 October 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] A telephone conversation between Erdogan and Talat revealed that the Turkish policy after the 2004 referendum was not the solution of the Cyprus problem

    Under the banner front page title Now do not think about the solution!, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (19.10.09) reports that after strong demand from its readers it publishes again the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. The conversation was held after the referendum in April 2004 and was published yesterday simultaneously by Kibrisli and the Turkish Aydinlik magazine, which belongs to the Labour Party of Dogu Perincek. The paper reports that the Turkish Prime Minister told Mr Talat not to talk at all about two states and leave others talk about this. When Mr Talat asked what he should not talk about, the following dialogue took place:

    Erdogan: That is, we should be recognized as two states, this and that!

    Talat: But, please of course let us not forget the solution.

    Erdogan: Do not think about it (the solution) now.

    Talat: Ok, I know, I know....

    Commenting on the telephone conversation, Dogan Harman, the editor-in-chief of Kibrisli argues in his column today that the policy of Erdogan ended up with fiasco and wonders: Erdogan has put forward the policy of struggling with the embargoes and drew back the other policies. What happened? Was he successful on this issue or did he fail completely?

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (19.10.09) refers to the issue under the title Erdogan-Talat telephone band and reports that these records reveal how the telephone conversations between Mr Erdogan and Mr Talat were listened to by the deep state. People are curious about the relations of the two press media which were selected for the publication of the content of the band with these forces, writes the paper and points out that Mr Erdogan told Mr Talat that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas (or the number one as he called him) was finished.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (19.10.09) refers to the same issue under the title Scandal and calls on Mr Talat to talk and say whether he discussed with Mr Erdogan about finishing Mr Denktas. The paper reports that the Labour Party asked the same question to Mr Erdogan during a press conference it organized in Ankara.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat says that the Turkish side did not make concessions during the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (18.10.09) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat is continuing his visit to the villages around the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with the aim of informing the people of the latest phase reached during the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Yesterday the President paid visits to Akdogan [occupied Lyssi] and Pasakoy [occupied Assia] villages. Speaking during the visits the President expressed his belief that by the end of the year the negotiations process will be concluded. He also denied claims that a lot of concessions had been made by the Turkish side during the negotiations process.

    Noting that reciprocal give and take process had been followed, the President added if you want something you must give something in return.

    Explaining that the biggest problem during the process is the issue of property, President Talat said the Greek Cypriot sides proposals are completely outside the UN parameters. The Greek Cypriot side wants the property owner to make a decision concerning its own property whereas we want a neutral commission to be established to make the decisions concerning the property, said the President.

    Noting that the Greek Cypriot side wants the people to choose the President during the elections, the President said we want the President to be chosen by the senate and for it to be a rotating Presidency.

    [03] Eroglu says little or no progress has been achieved in the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (17.10.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has pointed out that little or no progress has been achieved in the Cyprus negotiations process despite the fact the talks have been going on for more than a year.

    Speaking at a gathering of his party in Girne [occupied Keryneia], the Prime Minister said that the government too supported the idea finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem. He, however, added that the realities experienced in Cyprus before and after 1974 should not be ignored when settling the dispute. Any settlement to be reached in Cyprus should be based on the reality that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus exists, he said.

    Pointing out that if a settlement is reached in Cyprus it will during the National Unity Partys (UBP) term in office, Prime Minister Eroglu complained that an atmosphere of desperation has been created in the TRNC regarding the need for a settlement.

    He said it was wrong to create the image that the Cyprus Turkish people had no choice but to take part in the negotiations and to reach an agreement.

    Also expressing his views regarding the upcoming Presidential elections next year, the Prime Minister reminded that his party, the National Unity Party, has participated in all TRNC elections to this date and will naturally contest its own candidate in next years elections.

    [04] Cakici was re-elected chairman of the TDP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.10.09) reports that Mehmet Cakici was re-elected president of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) during the 2nd Regular Congress of the party held yesterday under the slogan Let us create together our alternative. In his statements, Mr Cakici said they believe in the culture of peace and friendship and not in conflict. Noting that the time of the solution in Cyprus has come, he added that they dream of the day when a Turkish Cypriot is president of the European Union.

    The paper reports that three decisions were adopted by the congress on the following issues: The Cyprus problem, The stance against racism and separatism and Cooperation with the democratic forces. The decision regarding the Cyprus problem stated that the Turkish Cypriots need an urgent solution as well as a political strategy and a political force to achieve this. This force is the TDP, it noted. The decision said the following: The target of the TDP is the establishment of a federal Cyprus State, member of the EU with single citizenship and single sovereignty, deriving from the two bi-zonal, bi-communal constituent states based on political equality as it is mentioned in the 1960 Agreements of Establishment, the Constitution and the treaties of the Republic of Cyprus, the 1977-79 High Level Agreements and the Agreements of 23 May and 1 July 2008.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The president of YODAK said the situation in the illegal universities is not so bad

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.10.09) reports that Prof. Dr. Hasan Ali Bicak, president of the Higher Education Control and Accreditation Council (YODAK), has said that while 48 thousand students were studying last year in the higher education institutions in the occupied areas of Cyprus, this number decreased to 45 thousand this year. Mr Bicak noted that the situation is not that bad and pointed out that the decrease was three thousand students. Referring to the reasons of the decrease, he said that 60 universities were opened in Turkey during the past four years and that 75% of these institutions are state universities.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Smugglers of antiquities were arrested yesterday in occupied Keryneia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (19.10.09) reports that smugglers of antiquities were arrested yesterday in occupied Keryneia. The antiquities were found in a vehicle in a parking place under the name of Baldoken-2 in Keryneia. The owner of the car Mehmet Ilgen and another person named Ercan Adiguzel, both 38-years old, were taken under custody. Eleven small pots, one statue of a person, one statue of a bull and two metallic plates were taken as evidence.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Occupation regimes football federation to participate in the 6th General Assembly of the N.F. Board

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.10.09) reports that the so-called chairman of the occupation regimes football federation, Omer Adal, said that a decision was made for the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation to participate in the 6th General Assembly of the N.F. Board that will take place in Paris on December 5th.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (17.10.09) reports that Dervis Eroglu met with the President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Togay Bayatli and his delegation in occupied Cyprus after an invitation addressed to them by the so called TRNC National Olympic Committee.

    According to the paper, Mr. Eroglu thanked Togay Bayatli and his delegation for their efforts exerted so the sport embargoes on the illegal regime to be lifted and expressed the hope that by the time, the world and the EU will understand the mistake they are doing over the illegal regimes participation in sport activities.

    On his part, Mr. Bayatli expressed the hope the occupation regime to gain an equal status with the rest countries on the issue of sports.

    (ML)

    [08] Statements by Olli Rehn and Egemen Bagis on Cyprus during the 6th Bosporus Conference

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (17.10.09) reported the following:

    Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for Enlargement, and Egemen Bagis, Turkey's Chief Negotiator with the EU, commented on the Cyprus issue at the Sixth Bosporus Conference on Turkey and the EU: Regaining Momentum.

    At the conference's gala dinner Friday night, Rehn urged Turkey and Greece to focus on reaching an agreement about Cyprus before the next elections in northern Cyprus.

    For the first time in decades we have both leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, who are close friends and were both elected on the ticket of a strong commitment to settlement. We also know that due to the election agenda in the north of the island, a failure to deliver a settlement by spring next year is likely to put back any progress for a long time, and as spillover would put a strain on EU - Turkey relations.

    He urged both parties to utilize the framework of negotiations put forth by the United Nations. Rehn also warned that indulging pre-emptive blame games and the fueling of public criticism would create an atmosphere of suspicion and undermine the talks.

    Where there are talks, there is hope, he said. As long as the negotiations continue, I refuse to participate in what resembles a sort of pre-emptive blame game, Rehn said.

    On a hopeful note he cited the Western Balkans as an example of successful diplomacy. When looking at what has been possible elsewhere, for instance in the Western Balkans, where recent history has been at least as tragic as in Cyprus, I am convinced that a solution is possible, Rehn said.

    The British Council, Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey, and the Foundation for Economic and Social Studies of Turkey, or TESEV, jointly organized the Sixth Bosphorus Conference on Turkey and the EU: Regaining Momentum, taking place in Istanbul October 16-17.

    The main seminar on Saturday is set to emphasize frank, off-the-record discussion of some of the most important and controversial aspects of EU - Turkey relations.

    Egemen Bagis, Turkey's Chief Negotiator with the EU, delivering speeches at the conference also commented on the Cyprus issue.

    Bagis said, Turkey will support any agreement accepted by both sides on the island, in both speeches, Friday night and on the opening of the conference Saturday morning.

    We all have to motivate them, said Bagis. He also said that Turkey will open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels, if promises made to Turkey, in regard to lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, are kept. Turkey is under the obligation of applying the customs union agreement to Greek Cyprus after it becomes a member of the European Union, and to open its ports to shipping from Cyprus. The decision of the European Union to start direct trade with Turkish Cyprus, resulting from the Greek Cypriots' refusal to accept the UN mediated plan in 2004, is not implemented.

    Greek Cypriots can trade with Turkish Cypriots. They enjoy the delicious oranges of Northern Cyprus but they don't want the other EU countries to trade with Turkish Cypriots. Why shouldn't a German enjoy the same privilege? Why should a German not be able to enjoy Turkish Cypriot oranges, said Bagis.

    Bagis said that many countries do not recognize Taiwan, yet trade with it. He also recalled that until 1987 Turkish ports were open to Greek Cypriot shipping. Bagis said, opening the ports does not mean recognition of Greek Cyprus and is thus not a big diplomatic deal. Turkey does not recognize Greek Cyprus as representing the whole island. Bagis reiterated the message that Turkey expects moves on easing the isolation of Turkish Cypriots before opening ports to Greek Cypriot shipping.

    [09] Gul declares that all restrictions on Cyprus should be lifted out the same time

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish president said on Sunday that Israel's recent reaction to Turkey was not right.

    Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said that Israel's recent reaction to Turkey was not right, and that it was not right was proved by a report adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Israel reacted to Turkey due to a TV series that was about incidents in Gaza.Turkey is one of a few countries that have good relations with both Arab countries and Israel, Gul told a program on state-run TRT channel. Gul underlined importance of this status for regional peace and stability.

    However, this does not mean that Turkey will remain silent to wrong behaviors and acts, and therefore Turkey does what it has to do when necessary, he said. Gul said that Israel had to take lessons from the UN council's report, and hoped that such incidents would never occur again. On Turkey's European Union (EU) membership bid, Gul said that Turkey in five or ten years would be different from today's Turkey.

    Then, neither Germany nor France can bear Turkey's charm, Gul said.

    Also, Gul said that Turkey wanted a settlement in Cyprus, and showed its good will to the entire world. Gul said Turkey wanted all restrictions on the island of Cyprus to be lifted at the same time.

    The Turkish president defined Azerbaijan and Turkey as two separate states of a single nation, and said that there were significant developments in settlement of the Upper Karabakh dispute.

    Referring to domestic politics, Gul said a new constitution could be prepared instead of amending some parts of the current one and expressed belief that Turkey needed a new constitution that could be accepted by every one.

    Gul said no country could tolerate people carrying arms illegally within or outside its borders. However, he said, he hoped the recent opportunity in fight against terrorism would not be missed.

    [10] Obama and Gul discuss Cyprus over a telephone conversation. Erdogan to visit the US on October 29

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (18.10.09) reported that the U.S. President Barack Obama called his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul Saturday to discuss a range of issues, reflecting the broad strategic dialogue the United States conducts with this key ally, according to a White House statement

    U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the developments in the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia and the Cyprus issue in a phone conversation with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Saturday.

    The call came as Obama is considering whether to vastly expand the amount of U.S. resources invested in the eight-year-long war, including the deployment of tens of thousands more troops amid some of the conflict's worst violence and an Afghan government roiled by allegations of fraud in August elections.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that Obama had invited him to visit Washington on October 29, according to the Anatolia news agency. The U.S. president visited Turkey in April, concludes the paper.

    [11] Turkish EU Negotiator and French EU Secretary view EU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.10.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkey's European Union (EU) chief negotiator said on Saturday that the EU could not solve its problems without Turkey.

    Turkish State Minister Egemen Bagis said that the problems EU was facing today could not be solved without Turkey's membership.

    Turkey's EU membership process cannot last for 20-30 years, Bagis told reporters after meeting Pierre Lellouche, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, in Istanbul.

    Both ministers are participating in the Sixth Bosporus Conference on Turkey and the EU: Regaining Momentum.

    The British Council, Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey, and the Foundation for Economic and Social Studies of Turkey (TESEV) are jointly organizing the high-level conference on October 16-17.

    If Turkey gets prepared for this big appointment, the political conjuncture will make Turkey's membership obligatory because the problems the EU is facing today cannot be solved without Turkey's membership, Bagis said.

    Bagis defined the recent progress report, released by the European Commission, as the most comprehensive report that appreciated Turkey's reforms so far.

    Also, Bagis said that he would visit the Greek capital of Athens on November 5 under the instruction of Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and hoped that Turkish-Greek relations would be revived.

    Bagis said that Turkish and Greek governments were backed by their peoples, which he defined as an opportunity to boost bilateral relations and friendship.

    Also speaking to reporters, Lellouche said that France told Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his visit to Paris that it had mobilized for fighting against the terrorist organization PKK together with Turkey.

    Lellouche also said that France had caught many links of the terrorist organization PKK, which enhanced Turkish-French relations. The French secretary said Egemen Bagis and he decided to set up a working group to boost bilateral relations. Lellouche said Turkey should go on its membership negotiations with the EU. Eight chapters related with Cyprus were under Turkey's responsibility, except the five chapters blocked by France, he said. Lellouche also said France was a friend of Turkey, and there was no Turkish enmity in France. The secretary said one million French people were visiting Turkey every year, and France was the second country investing in Turkey. Also, Lellouche defined Gul's visit to France as a turning point, and suggested that two countries should cooperate more. Lellouche said that no one could guess about the day when Turkey's EU accession process would be completed.

    The French secretary said there was an independent institution in France that was dealing with asylum request of Turkish businessman and politician Cem Uzan. Lellouche said France was a state of law, and a decision about individual asylum should not be regarded and perceived political.

    Turkey became an EU candidate country in December 1999. The union launched accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005.

    [12] Rahsan Ecevit warns that Turkey should not lose Cyprus in the smoke and the dust of the openings

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.10.09) reports on a written statement of Mrs Rahsan Ecevit, wife of the late Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who during the last days talks about creating a political party. Referring to Cyprus, Mrs Ecevit stated that the importance of the island of Cyprus has increased nowadays and that Cyprus carries great importance for the future of Turkey. Lets not lose Northern Cyprus in the smoke and the dust of the opening, she said. Mrs Ecevit noted, inter alia, that now the Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan pipeline will flow oil to Alexandretta and Turkey will become more influential in Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey will provide the safe opening of the worldwide oil resources to the open seas. Alexandretta will gain importance and in addition, in the operations of Alexandretta Northern Cyprus will be needed. However, in case North Cyprus passes to the hands of the Greek Cypriots, the protectors of the oil will be the Greek Cypriots and the Greek forces that are deployed on the island. In short, Cyprus is now a more important island than it was in the past.

    (EA)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Christofias does not envision a new state in Cyprus

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News Economic Review (18.10.09) publishes the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:

    One Saturday morning, I was the guest of Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias at his presidential office in the southern part of Nicosia. I spared some time for you from my family time, the chubby, gray-haired Christofias joked, but the interview soon turned into one of those tense and so far, futile Cyprus negotiations.

    The Greek Cypriot leader was clear in stressing that the aim of the talks with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mehmet Ali Talat, whom he refers to as Mehmet Ali in a reflection of their close ties, was not to create a new federal republic or a new federal state of the two current political entities on the island, but rather to examine what federal components should be added to the existing Cyprus Republic and to incorporate in its administration the Turkish Cypriot component.

    He underlined that if a settlement was sought before the end of Talats tenure in office, which expires in April, that Talat and Turkey must understand that this is not two states trying to establish a new parthenogenesis or virgin birth federation on the island. The Republic of Cyprus will continue to be the sole sovereign state and the two communal leaders are trying to put together modalities of a partnership administration in which the communities would not be sovereign but would enjoy some degree of self-governance.

    He lamented that most of the proposals and ideas put forward by Talat over the more than 40 previous sessions of Cyprus direct talks contradicted with the notion of a unitary federal state and indeed aimed at creating a two-state confederation on the island that he would never accept.

    Christofias said that the most fundamental difference between the two sides at the ongoing talks is regarding how the property problem would be resolved. He said while Talat was suggesting that the current owner of the property must be given the first and decisive decision, he believed that this matter must be resolved on the basis of the 1964-1974 ownership situation and the original owner must be given the chance of choosing between compensation, exchange or restoration of rights that is, return of the property. He was categorically against the idea of resolving the property issue through a global exchange mechanism.

    While Talat has been complaining that the talks were progressing very slowly and there was need for greater contribution by the United Nations and the United States for facilitation of the process, Christofias was staunchly against involvement of foreigners in the talks. He was categorically against floating ideas that the two Cypriot leaders might be transported off the island for make-or-break talks under the mediation of a leading international political figure. We have to produce a viable and just agreement ourselves, he said, asking the two so-called motherlands Turkey and Greece to take their hands off the Cyprus issue.

    He disagreed as well with remarks made by Talat that if this round of Cyprus talks fails, partition on the island could become permanent. He said that was a threat that aimed to force him to accept compromises and reach an unviable Cyprus settlement which would create even bigger problems and would not serve interests of either communities of the island, nor Turkey.

    While he was pretty in tune with the conviction in the international community that as two comrades who fought for many years for a resolution of the Cyprus problem as leaders of sister parties, the AKEL and the Republican Turks Party, he and Mehmet Ali could work out the functional federal joint governance of the island, Christofias was of the opinion that the success of the talks largely depended on the ability of Talat to step back from what Christofias considers irrational demands, which include a key position that the future, unified Cyprus would be a federal state comprised of two founding partners, based on the realities of Cyprus.

    Christofias was clear that if Mehmet Ali wanted a settlement before the end of his presidential term, he has to accept that in a unified Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots apart from participation in the central government on the basis of political equality could only have limited self administration, not complete sovereignty.

    Christofias does not envision a new state in Cyprus but rather a Republic of Cyprus with some federal components. After talking with him, I am more convinced that this process is doomed to failure as well unless he can somehow moderate this obsessive approach.

    [14] Gul calls President Obama to help for a solution in Cyprus

    Istanbul Hurriyet Online (18.10.09) publishes the following column by Fatih Cekirge:

    When diplomatic traffic was at its height yesterday evening President Abdullah Gul telephoned US President Barack Obama. Ankara is experiencing the most interesting diplomatic traffic I have ever seen. The fact that President Gul telephoned US President Obama is an important indicator of his critical traffic. So, just what did President Gul say to US President Obama?

    From what I have been able to glean from the deepest of the lobby areas in Ankara the dialogue went like this: Abdullah Gul: Mr President, surely you have been watching. We have been bending over backwards to normalize relations with Armenia. As you know things are at a critical stage right now. The protocol needs to be ratified by both countries' parliaments. In this situation I expect you to spur the MINSK Group into action over the Karabakh issue. Please do what needs to be done here. If the Nagorno Karabakh problem is solved then the issue between Turkey and Armenia will be solved more easily, and this will bring peace and stability to the Caucasus. Therefore, our goal is not just the fixing of the problem between Turkey and Armenia but bringing peace to the entire region and the Caucasus.

    Let us fix Cyprus

    In reply to Abdullah Gul's message of peace for the Caucasus Obama says: I got your message loud and clear. We shall do our part in this. For the record, we are closely following your contributions and efforts in the process of normalizing relations with Armenia. The second main topic of conversation between President Gul and Obama was this:

    Cyprus

    Gul: Mr President, you know that Turkey embarked on a peace initiative in the region. Turkey has clearly expressed its intention for a solution on Cyprus. In this regard Turkey has done everything required of it including the Annan Plan. Turkey today is clearly giving its support for a solution. I am expecting your support for a solution here.

    US President Obama replied: I understand you very well. Whatever we need to do for a solution will be done. Yes, the diplomatic traffic in Ankara is incredible.

    Just two days ago President Gul was listening to the Blonde Bride Folk Song in Bursa with Armenia's President Sarkisyan, and now he is talking with US President Obama for a solution. Within this same time frame Turkey's prime minister is writing his signature in Iraq, again for peace in the region. And at the same time Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is holding a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in order to solve the crisis between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. And at this moment we are in Ankara, which is running flat out.

    Ankara is currently the capital city of the world because Turkey's President is not talking with the US President about aid or the IMF but rather a spearhead role for peace. Indeed, President Gul is talking also about Afghanistan, which is the world's number one problem ahead of the Armenia and Cyprus issues. Indeed, following this conversation President Gul immediately calls Afghanistan's President Karzai.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 16, 17 and 18 October 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 16, 17 and 18 October 2009:

    Turkeys relations with Israel and Middle East policy

    Hurriyet (16.10.09) in a report, notes that the crisis resulting from the exclusion of Israel from the "Anatolian Eagle" exercise has now been aggravated by Israeli reaction to the Turkish television series "Ayrilik' [Separation], which depicts atrocities committed by the Israeli soldiers against Palestinian children and women during the "Operation Cast Lead." In another report, Hurriyet (18.10.09) also gives prominence to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's retort to Israeli criticism over the exercise before departure to Iraq that "Turkey is a powerful country that makes its own decisions; it does not make or adopt decisions at the suggestion or order of others."

    Commenting on Erdogan's statement that they excluded Israel from the exercise "by listening to the voice of the Turkish people," Ertugrul Ozkok says in his column in Hurriyet (16.10.09) that he personally did not witness any major reaction from the populace to the exercise, adding that the AKP might have learned about such a reaction form its own channels. Ozkok says the "Ayrilik" series also did not attract any attention until the crisis developed around it, adding that even after the crisis the series scored a paltry 0.8 percent rating. Ozkok says had Israel not made a problem out of the movie, no one would have taken notice of it. Yet, he admits, it was wrong to air this propaganda film on state television, adding that instead of hitting Israel with such propaganda shots the Turkish state should resort to open and transparent diplomatic channels to express its reaction. Ozkok says he supports government's policy of friendship with Syria and Iran, but friendship with those countries should not entail enmity against Israel. Seeing no apparent reason for Erdogan's turn-about soon after meeting the Jewish lobby in the United States, Ozkok wonders whether Erdogan wants to simply increase his popularity before the elections or to use the integration with Syria as a tool for bringing about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Pointing to the contradictions in the reasons cited by Erdogan and the Foreign Ministry on the exclusion of Israel from the exercise, especially Erdogan's advisor Omer Celik's statement that Israel will be allowed to attend the NATO exercise in the Mediterranean, Mehmet Y. Yilmaz says in his column in Hurriyet (16.10.09): "This is a bizarre situation: We are not holding an exercise with Israel due to sensitivity of our people, yet we will soon join Israel in another exercise. Such a zigzag in foreign policy is not an auspicious sign, as it demonstrates two things: 1. Either the government lacks a consistent foreign policy, 2. Or, the government has taken off its 'National View [Islamic]' shirt while keeping the mentality of that movement intact!"

    Erdal Safak argues in his column in Sabah (16.10.09) that the crisis with Israel should not be seen as Turkey's "systematic estrangement" from Israel; the alienation from Israel is not particular to Turkey, for all other countries, including the United States, as well as the UN have become critical of Israel after Richard Goldstone's report on the Gaza operation charged Israel with crimes against humanity.

    Milliyet (16.10.09) carries an interview with columnists Sami Kohen and Kadri Gursel on the implications of the crisis. Replying to questions from Milliyet's foreign news desk chief Menderes Ozel, Sami Kohen says Turkey excluded Israel from the exercise because it did not want to damage its current overtures to the Arab and Islamic world, especially it did not want to disturb Iran. Kadri Gursel says that even without the AKP Turkey would have curtailed its cooperation with Israel, for the common threats against them have now vanished, only that under the AKP this rupture occurred suddenly and curtly. Gursel points out that Syria is now a friend of Turkey besides being a larger market for Turkish goods than Israel, and besides after the normalization of ties with Armenia Turkey no more needs the Jewish lobby to obstruct the passage of the Armenian genocide bill in the United States. In short, by such rude treatment of Israel, Turkey has nothing to lose, only sympathy to gain in the Islamic world.

    In a report, Cumhuriyet (16.10.09) quotes international relations experts on the Turkey-Israel disagreements. Lecturer Huseyin Bagci says that the tension between the two countries will worsen gradually, for after the opening of borders with Syria, Turkey will reduce its ties with Israel to the minimum while gradually mending its ties with EU countries. Bagci says the policies of the United States and Israel in the region are causing concern in Ankara, and if things continue like this Israel will face the danger of losing Turkey's support. Whereas lecturer Cagri Erhan believes the government has simply a muddled approach to the foreign policy and there does not seem to be a clear policy change towards Israel, adding that with the Iranian crisis looming on the horizon the United States would intervene to prevent further deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel. In turn, international affairs experts Ercan Citlioglu says Turkey's reaction to Israel is simply emotional and is not linked to its improved ties with Syria and Armenia.

    Under the banner headline, "Winds of Separation," Yeni Safak (16.10.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that Israel, a country that is "still suffering from the shock of the one-minute incident at Davos" [where Prime Minister Erdogan walked out of his debate with Israeli President Shimon Peres], is in "crisis" and experiencing a "trauma" over its exclusion from the Anatolian Eagle air defense exercise in Turkey. According to the report, the latest tension in Turkey's relations with Israel caused by the killing of some "1,500 civilians" in Gaza and Prime Minister Erdogan's Davos walkout, has peaked following the depiction of the Israeli "massacres" in Gaza in a television series called "Separation," which is being aired by Turkey's state-owned TRT.

    In an article entitled "The world's deepest state", in Vakit (16.10.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Erdogan's Davos walkout and Ankara's barring of Israel from participation in the Anatolian Eagle air defense drill herald a new period in Turkey's relations with Israel and the West where the EU, the United States, and Israel will be dependent on Turkey rather than vice versa. He also argues that if Iran can establish its own informatics infrastructure and develop space and air defense technologies without Western help and support, Turkey should be able to do it, too.

    In an article entitled "Can Israel afford to alienate Turkey?", in Zaman (16.10.09) columnist Mehmet Yilmaz cites Turkey's profile as a country that is fast improving its relations with its neighbors and issuing peace messages to the international community and Israel's international image as a country that "does not even allow relief aid" to be extended to the victims of its bombing campaigns against the Palestinian people as factors that should deter Israel from adopting "punitive" measures against Ankara in response to recent moves that have caused tension in Turkish-Israeli relations.

    In an article entitled "Turkey included in axis of evil", Milli Gazete columnist Mustafa Ozcan describes Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Leibermann's remarks asserting that Turkey is shifting toward the axis of evil by aligning its policies with Iran, Syria, and Hamas as being indicative of the "concern" and "panic" caused in Israel by Turkey's exclusion of this country from Anatolian Eagle and Ankara's preparations to conduct a joint military exercise with Syria.

    Viewing the decision to exclude Israel from the Anatolian Eagle exercises in an article in Milliyet (17.10.09), Taha Akyol says that this was "wrong." Dismissing the reason given by Prime Minister Erdogan that this decision was made because of the wishes of the people, Akyol asks Erdogan whether the Cypriot, Greek, and Armenian overtures were also made because of the wishes of the people. Referring to the reason given by one of Foreign Minister Davutoglu's advisers that the decision aimed at forcing the Israeli government to resume the peace talks, Akyol finds this logical, adding that, however, this reasoning should have been explained to the United States, Great Britain, and the EU countries in order to avoid a reaction by them. Arguing that the government should not have distanced itself from the United States at a time when it is trying to combat the PKK, Akyol maintains that a decision to postpone the exercises altogether could have been an option that would have caused less of a commotion. In conclusion, the writer advises the government to well explain the reasons for its decision and to repair the damage done.

    Describing the TRT series depicting atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian children and women during "Operation Cast Lead" as "wrong" and "objectionable" in his article in Milliyet (17.10.09), Semih Idiz draws attention to the difference between opposing Israeli policies and adopting an anti-Semitic approach. Given the current "love affair" between Turkey and Syria one might not want to remember that a few years ago Ankara protested Damascus for airing an anti-Turkish series on its state television, writes Idiz, adding that Turkey is still suffering from the negative image caused by the film "Midnight Express." Questioning the motive of the Justice and Development Party, AKP, government in allowing such a series on a state channel, Idiz asserts that these thoughtless steps on the part of the government can only cast a shadow over its recent positive foreign policy moves.

    The recent incidents in Turkish-Israeli relations that gave way to a full blown crisis carry the signatures of Erdogan and Davutoglu and are linked to Turkey's ambition to become the leader of the Middle East, writes Oktay Eksi in an article in Hurriyet (17.10.09). Explaining that with this goal in mind, Erdogan and Davutoglu have felt the need to gain the support of the Islamic countries, Eksi concludes: "This was an ambition previously seen in Egypt's Jamal Abd al-Nasir, Iran's Shah Pahlavi, Turkey's Adnan Menderes, and Iraq's Saddam Husayn. However, none succeeded."

    Quoting a letter from a reader in his article in Hurriyet (17.10.09), Yalcin Bayer writes that for the last two centuries the goal of the Ottomans and of Ataturk was to become westernized, adding: "However, now there is a movement in the opposite direction and this is considered 'strategic depth.' Can a Turkey that has waived visa requirements with Syria become a member of the EU?" Predicting that Iran will join Iraq in becoming the strategic partner of Turkey, the letter goes on to refer to a British saying: "With such friends, one has no need for enemies." The letter concludes by stressing the need to determine a national strategy bearing in mind the presence of our northern neighbor, described as "a giant with thousands of thermonuclear weapons in its possession."

    In his article in Hurriyet Daily News (17.10.09), Mehmet Ali Birand underlines that "Turkey's relations with Israel are not to be underestimated but very vital and should not be a tool for playing domestic games." Quoting several former ministers who participated in Kanal D's "32d Day" program, Birand writes that "Turkey won't get anywhere with opposing Israel and that long-term benefits are a result of good relations with Israel and the Arabs."

    Now that the barriers between Turkey and Syria have been destroyed and a mini-Shengen has been established other countries might join the model, writes Ibrahim Kalin in an article in Sabah (17.10.09), adding that the Syrian initiative was followed by the Iraqi one with the signing of 48 agreements. Underlining the importance of the reconstruction of Iraq, Kalin believes that Turkey might play an active role in this process. Asking what kind of a Middle East Turkey is envisaging for the 21st century, Kalin writes that there are still some who believe that the reply should come from the West. While the walls crumbling in Europe, the Balkans, and South America are seen as "farsightedness" and "the building of peace," Kalin questions why the crumbling of the walls forcefully built around Turkey are interpreted as a "shift in axis" or "the establishment of a new axis in the Middle East." The writer continues: "When the United States takes steps to ameliorate its relations with Russia this is seen as a significant contribution to world peace. When, however, Turkey takes the same steps it is said that 'Turkey, as a NATO member country, is in contradiction with the principles of the alliance.'" In conclusion, Kalin underlines that "Turkey, which wants to be a player in the 21st century, cannot pursue a regional and a world policy through reflexes left over from the Cold War era."

    In an article in Radikal (17.10.09), Ayse Karabat maintains that the United States is tired of the Middle East problems, that it wants to solve it for once and for all and focus on Asia, adding that the other Western countries share these same views. The United States is well aware that the key to the solution is Israel but the West, ridden by guilt because of the genocide committed against the Jews, cannot face the accusations of anti-Semitism frequently resorted to by Israel. Karabat claims that Turkey is capable of doing what the West cannot, namely raise its voice against Israel, with the support of the other countries. Had that not been the case, the US reaction to Israel's exclusion from the Anatolia Eagle exercises would have been much harsher, maintains Karabat.

    In an article entitled "Who cares if Israel is furious?", in Yeni Safak (17.10.09) columnist Ibrahim Karagul asserts that the rupture in Turkish-Israeli relations is an estrangement much more profound than "commonplace" developments like Turkey's exclusion of Israel from an international air defense drill or the depiction of the Israeli "atrocities" in a Turkish television series could ever suggest. He claims that Turkish-Israeli relations have been tense in the past few years because the interests of the two countries no longer coincide, adding that Turkey does not want to waste its potential any longer for the sake of maintaining its alliance with Israel. He argues that the agreements Turkey has been signing with Syria and Iraq do not signify merely a rapprochement with these countries but a joint effort to build a new future. He also urges those responding to Ankara's moves with diplomatic notes, "irresponsible statements," "threats" to deprive Turkey of tourism revenues, and accusations of anti-Semitism to "look back at the history of this region: can you see anything but conflicts, ruptures, scorn, alienation, and lives lost in other people's wars in the past 100 years?"

    Under the banner headline, "Are these lies?" Vakit (17.10.09) carries a front-page report which asserts that a number of NGOs have expressed support for the depiction of scenes of the "Zionist army firing on civilians, children and women" in the Gaza Strip" in a television series aired by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, TRT, saying, "Israel has been annoyed at being confronted with the facts. The television series in question is showing the reality as it took place. We thank everybody who contributed to the series."

    In an article entitled "Israel's fears come true", in Vakit (17.10.09) columnist Yavuz Bahadiroglu interprets Prime Minister Erdogan's remarks citing public opposition to Israel using Turkey's airspace as the reason behind Turkey's exclusion of Israel from the Anatolian Eagle air defense drill as meaning: "Our nation does not want us to be on the same side as those who have carried out massacres in Palestine." Bahadiroglu also argues that Turkey's latest moves in its relations with Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Greece mean that this country "has for the first time started to behave with an awareness of its responsibility for the Ottoman lands. It is trying for the first time to achieve the Ottoman vision of civilization. It is internalizing its historical mission and role."

    Under the headline, "UN levels serious accusation against Israel," Zaman (17.10.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that according to "experts," the UN Human Rights Council's adoption of the Goldstone report on Israel's military campaign against the Gaza Strip could pave the way for the trial of some Israeli officials on charges of committing war crimes.

    In an article entitled "Peace in the Middle East would benefit Israel most", in Zaman (17.10.09) columnist Mehmet Kamis asserts that the Israeli policy on the Gaza Strip is the number one cause of the rise of anti-Semitism in the world and that for this reason world Jews should put pressure on Israel to discontinue their "inhuman" treatment of the Palestinian people. He also argues that if Israel wants its people to live in safety, it should look into getting Turkey to use its influence on Hamas and other Palestinian groups to stop resorting to violence against Israel. He ends by claiming that Turkey's new Middle East policy could actually benefit Israel, too, in the sense that Ankara's approach is aimed at ending precisely those ideological tensions that threaten Jewish lives.

    Under the headline, "Turkey sets 'Gaza condition' for military ties with Israel," Today's Zaman (17.10.09) carries a front-page report which highlights a statement by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying that "the absence of any substantial move by Israel to end the months-long humanitarian tragedy in Gaza as well as Israel's unwillingness to revive peace efforts in the Middle East" are an obstacle to Turkey maintaining its "usual military cooperation" with Israel.

    Commenting on the escalating tension between Turkey and Israel in an editorial in Hurriyet (18.10.09), Oktay Eksi contends that the upcoming meeting between Erdogan and Obama will determine the fate of these relations. Sarcastically, Eksi questions why a few weeks ago Erdogan held warm contacts with Jewish organization in New York and Turkey held joint maneuvers with Israeli war ships, if it was necessary to chastise Israel for its Gaza attack. Rather than a logical policy, Eksi remarks, "it looks like we are facing 'an ego war.'" He suggests that this is a result of Foreign Minister Davutoglu's ambition to establish an order, and not insist on his policy of zero-problems with our neighbors. Eksi adds that Erdogan's reasoning that he was acting in line with the wishes of the public contradicts with his previous pronouncement that he will never bow down to populism in politics.

    A report entitled "We actually target MAFU" in Yeni Safak (18.10.09) quotes Lutfi Sehsuvaroglu, Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture who also acts as an advisor to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, TRT, for a controversial serial entitled "Separation," as saying that the serial is about a love story and not anti-Semitic. Noting that the serial targets a secret Jewish organization called MAFU, Sehsuvaroglu added that the TRT will continue to broadcast the serial despite a protest note lodged by Israel.

    In an article entitled "The first loser of the change: Israel," in Yeni Safak (18.10.09) columnist Fehmi Koru says that US President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because he represents hope of change which, he asserts, gives rise to serious concerns in Israel. Noting that former US President George W. Bush might have been awarded the Peace Prize if his policies which, he asserts, were actually formulated by his pro-Israeli advisers, had proven to be successful, Koru says: "Israel and its supporters in the United States did not only lose the award. They also missed the opportunity to redesign the world." Pointing out that the Obama Administration is expected to insist on the establishment of a Palestinian state which, he notes, would be Israel's worst nightmare, Koru concludes by saying: "The wind is blowing against Israel and it dreams of reversing it by creating a dispute with Turkey. But, it will not be successful."

    In an article entitled "Separation," in Vakit (18.10.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak says that Israel's angry reaction to the TRT serial actually reflects its guilty conscience. Emphasizing that Israelis should direct their anger to people who were responsible for alleged human rights violations in the Gaza Strip rather than criticizing the serial, Dilipak says: "Turkey is neither a banana republic nor a colony of Israel. Israel needs to understand certain facts."

    In an article entitled "It is high time to question Israel's existence in the region," in Vakit (18.10.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin says that the decision to cancel a part of a military exercise called Anatolian Eagle which would also include Israeli warplanes and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements about the issue were encouraging developments in terms of Turkey's anticipated role and historical mission in the Middle East. Predicting that recent developments will have significant repercussions in the region, Bilgin says: "They may, for example, include questioning Israel's existence in the region loudly by people, including anti-Zionist Jews. We may be entering a period which implies that Israel has reached the end of the road in the region. Israel and around 25,000 Arab collaborators may carry out new assassinations and massacres in response to a series of shocks it has suffered. But, such acts would not prevent it from facing demise."

    Finally, in an article entitled "A favor frequently reminded is not actually a favor," in Milli Gazete (18.10.09) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan draws attention to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remark that they are concerned about the direction taken by Turkish diplomats which, he asserts, reflected their yearning for the foreign policy that Turkey was following in the past. He comments: "It is not necessary to remind those days again because bilateral agreements were signed by some generals without consulting with the government back then. The fact that they are yearning for those days is a positive development as far as Turkey is concerned. But, only time will tell how long this trend will continue."

    EG/


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