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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-10-20

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. 198/09 20.10.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The breakaway regime granted its citizenship to another 700 persons from Turkey
  • [02] A raid was carried out in the premises of Aydinlik magazine which revealed a conversation allegedly held between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mehmet Ali Talat
  • [03] Turkish officials asked for the support of the Czech Republic for their policy in Cyprus
  • [04] Ersin Tatar says the EU Financial Aid is under the control of the self-styled government of the regime
  • [05] Data on the foreign trade of the breakaway regime in August
  • [06] The Rotary Clubs of occupied Keryneia and Kizilay filed an application to the International Rotary Organization for being accepted as Brother Clubs
  • [07] Turkish President Gul holds a telephone conversation with the Russian President Medvedev
  • [08] US Assistant Secretary of Defense is visiting Ankara
  • [09] Turkish Energy Minister urges Azerbaijan not to mix energy projects with politics
  • [10] Turkish journalists concerned about mounting pressure on journalism
  • [11] Turkey bans another Internet site
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Now the Cyprus initiative takes turn
  • [13] Columnist analyses Turkeys role of new Ottoman in the post Bush era US Russian spheres of influence
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 19 October 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The breakaway regime granted its citizenship to another 700 persons from Turkey

    Under the banner front page title Another 700 citizens, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.10.09) reports that a new wave of shock was created in the Turkish Cypriot community because of a statement made yesterday at the assembly by the self-styled minister of internal affairs and local administrations, Ilkay Kamil.

    The paper writes that Mr Kamil stated that they have made citizens of the regime 700 persons, who were forced to wait for taking the citizenship by the former government of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP). Referring to the issue, the chairman of the CTP, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that he stopped the procedure for granting the citizenship to these 700 persons because the so-called elections were approaching.

    According to the paper, Mr Kamil said: These young people have settled down here. They are here in order to claim these lands. If it were left to you, these young people would never be able to become citizens.

    Mr Kamil further noted that they will continue to grant the citizenship to persons, who are married in the occupied areas of Cyprus, settled down and established a job. He added, however, that the self-styled government has not decided to give the citizenship to thousands of persons. He said that when he became minister, he found 600-700 files with applications regarding the citizenship and added that the applications which derived from marriages have been evaluated by the CTP as well.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.10.09) refers to the issue under the title Secret citizenship and reports that after criticism at the assembly, Mr Kamil stated that we have made citizens 700 persons in a few months. He claimed that the government has the right to grant the citizenship without announcing it in the official gazette. Mr Soyer stated that if the government does not announce in the official gazette that it granted the citizenship, it will be committing a big crime. He said that this will eventually be revealed in the election registers.

    He added: If you do this, we shall go to the court. We have taken you to the court in the past as well and you were convicted. You will be convicted again.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (20.10.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu referred to the issue and argued that the CTP is exerting efforts to degenerate the meetings of the assembly. He noted that the CTP has said that it granted the citizenship to three thousand persons, but it did not say according to which status it did this. He expressed his satisfaction with hearing that the CTP does not oppose to making new citizens and noted that they will continue to grant the citizenship properly.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] A raid was carried out in the premises of Aydinlik magazine which revealed a conversation allegedly held between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mehmet Ali Talat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.10.09) reports that a raid was carried out yesterday in the premises of Aydinlik magazine in Turkey after it revealed a band containing a conversation held after the referendum in April 2004 between the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. The vice president of the Labour Party (IP), Bedri Guntekin stated yesterday that as IP they condemn and protest against the research and the raid carried out yesterday morning in the Ulusal Kanal and Aydinlik magazine. In statements at a press conference at the headquarters of his party in Istanbul, he gave journalists the opportunity to listen to the cassette recording of the alleged telephone conversation between Erdogan and Talat.

    The security of the TRNC means security of Turkey, the existence of the TRNC means existence of Turkey, argued Mr Guntekin and added: The defence of Turkey starts in Cyprus. All the governments of the State of the Republic of Turkey before the AK Party have discussed the Cyprus issue with exactly these expressions. They discuss it at the Assembly, determine policies and put it among the fundamental principles of the state.

    Mr Guntekin claimed that after they stated that they have acquired the tape with the conversation between Talat and Erdogan, the public prosecutors of the Ergenekon investigation carried out a research at the headquarters of the IP in Istanbul and tried to prove how they acquired the tape. He said he does not know how they acquired the tape.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish officials asked for the support of the Czech Republic for their policy in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (20.10.09) reports that the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), Mehmet Ali Sahin has said that the expectations of Turkey from the Czech Republic is to be more active on the issue of ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot side. Mr Sahin met yesterday with the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Miinister, Jan Kohout. Mr Sahin reiterated the allegation that Turkey is pursuing the policy of having zero problems with its neighbours and exerts efforts to have good relations with them.

    Thanking the Czech Republic for its support to Turkeys accession course to the EU, Mr Sahin said: One of the issues about which the Turkish people feel sensitivity is Cyprus. As Turkey, we are exerting great efforts in order for this problem to reach to a just, lasting and overall solution as soon as possible, but no result has been achieved until now. As Turkey, our expectation from the Czech Republic is to be more active on the issue of ending the isolation to which the Turkish Cypriot side is subjected.

    In his statements, the Czech Minister said his country supports the full accession of Turkey to the EU and this will not change. He described as balanced the Progress Report announced recently by the EU Commission for Turkey and added that it describes in a comprehensive and balanced manner the steps which Turkey has taken during its accession negotiations. Mr Kohout expressed his satisfaction for the fact that one chapter opened for negotiations with Turkey during his countrys term presidency.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (20.10.09) reports that the Czech Minister met also with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu who asked for the support of the Czech Republic on the Cyprus problem. In statements after their meeting in Ankara, Mr Davutoglu said they reaffirmed the decision to form a joint strategy paper on which they agreed last year and to further develop their relations. Mr Davutoglu said they discussed the Cyprus problem very comprehensively during their meeting and added:

    We want the creation of the framework of a comprehensive solution in Cyprus. Therefore, we demand the intensification of the negotiating process. We demanded support from the Czech Republic against the danger of the slowing down of the negotiation process by the Greek Cypriot administration to constitute a problem between Turkey and the EU.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Ersin Tatar says the EU Financial Aid is under the control of the self-styled government of the regime

    Under the title A huge project of 22 million euro, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.10.09) reports that a sewage treatment plant will be built for occupied Morfou and Famagusta, within the framework of the Financial Aid Program of the EU towards the Turkish Cypriot community. The self-styled mayors of Morfou and Famagusta, Mahmut Ozcinar and Oktay Kayalp told Kibris that the projects financed by the EU will be the most important investment of the last hundred years. The paper notes that the 22.1 million euro project is a part of the aid of 259 million euro which the EU has decided to give to the Turkish Cypriots. Two agreements have been concluded for the project by a consortium established with the German firm WTE Wassertechnil GmbH under the leadership of Emek Constructions Company Ltd which is operating in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The aim is for the works in occupied Famagusta to start in November and in Morfou in January.

    Meanwhile, under the title The EU aids are under the control of the government, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.10.09) reports that the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar has said that according to the rules of the regulation which entered into effect by being published in the Official Gazette number 154 on 8 September, the use of foreign financial aid in all the ministries, independent departments and local organizations will be possible after approval taken from the Council of Ministers. The self-styled ministry issued yesterday a notice regarding the implementation of the Regulation of the Principles of the Use of the Foreign Aids. The notice, which is signed by Mr Tatar, says that a committee under the name Committee for Coordination of the Foreign Aids has been established within the framework of the regulation approved by the self-styled council of ministers on 2 September. The committee is formed by representatives from the self-styled ministries of foreign affairs and finance and the so-called State Planning Organization. The notice pointed out that the participation of representatives from the ministries or the state or local organizations concerned in the meetings of this committee is necessary. The committee will be pre-examining all the foreign aids except for those coming from Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Data on the foreign trade of the breakaway regime in August

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (20.10.09) reports on the latest data given by the illegal Department of Trade regarding foreign trade conducted by the occupied areas of Cyprus during August. According to the data, the imports decreased by 41% in August 2009 in comparison with the same period last year, while the exports increased by 4%. The imports were 159.1 million USD in August 2008 and fell to 93.3 million in 2009. However, exports rose from 3.5 million USD to 3.6 million. According to the data of the first eight months of 2009, imports fell by 40%, while exports decreased by 20% in comparison to the same period of the previous year.

    (EA)

    [06] The Rotary Clubs of occupied Keryneia and Kizilay filed an application to the International Rotary Organization for being accepted as Brother Clubs

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.10.09) reports that the Rotary Clubs of occupied Keryneia and Kizilay area in Turkey have filed an application to the International Rotary Organization in order for them to be accepted as Brother Clubs. According to a statement issued by Ersel Tuccaroglu, chairman of the Keryneia Port Rotary Club, the meeting of the Rotarians was held this year at Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia. Ersin Tatar and Hasan Tacoy, self-styled ministers of finance and transport and public works respectively attended the meeting.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish President Gul holds a telephone conversation with the Russian President Medvedev

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul had a telephone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. Gul and Medvedev discussed stability in the Caucasus and peace in the region. Gul said Russia was the most determinant factor in the region.

    Medvedev said Russia would continue to exert efforts for the restoration of peace. The two presidents also discussed energy cooperation.

    [08] US Assistant Secretary of Defense is visiting Ankara

    Hurriyet Daily News.com newspaper (19.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, held talks with Turkish diplomats and defense officials in Ankara on Monday.

    The diplomatic traffic was busy as the Turkish foreign ministry first hosted U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey, who is accompanying a delegation led by Alexander Vershbow.

    Foreign Ministry officials declined to give details conveyed a message from Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. It is their home. They can visit whenever they want, he said.

    The U.S. diplomats contacted by the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review confirmed that Versbow was in the capital as part of routine talks with defense officials and diplomats.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan already disclosed his plans to visit Washington upon invitation by President Barack Obama. The Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process, U.S. troops withdrawal from Iraq and joint counter-terrorism efforts, especially against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, are the top issues on the agenda. Erdogan was also scheduled to tour Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran prior to his visit to the United States.

    Diplomatic talks with Israel

    Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy, who was in the ministry, said it was a routine meeting with diplomats in the Middle East Division. The Turkish diplomatic sources, however, said it was not a working meeting, but a friendly visit to Deputy Undersecretary Namik Tan, who is ex-ambassador to Tel Aviv. There is no slow down in diplomatic talks and newly appointed ambassador Oguz Celikkol began his mission this week, diplomatic sources said.

    The visits are of interest because a Turkish television series about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza is eroding the relations between Turkey and Israel. Levys visit was remarkable since the second episode of the Separation series was aired Monday night.

    [09] Turkish Energy Minister urges Azerbaijan not to mix energy projects with politics

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.10.09) reported the following from Milan:

    Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz called on Azarbaijan --which announced it would raise the price of natural gas sold to Turkey in reprisal for recent Turkey-Armenian rapprochement-- not to entangle energy projects with politics.

    Yildiz commented on Turkey Azerbaijan relations at the press conference held Monday following the signing of MoU on Samsun-Ceyhan Pipeline between Turkey, Italy and Russia in Milan.

    Yildiz replied to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev who said Azerbaijan had been selling natural gas to Turkey, at one third of the global prices, saying that Turkey purchased natural gas at former rates only for ten months, and later proposed a raise in 2008.

    Yildiz who pointed out that Turkey's offer still stood, said Aliyev must have been misinformed. We will never want Azerbaijan to loose money. The talks for revision of prices were deadlocked for a brief period. We raised our offer and talks continue, said Yildiz.

    Turkey and Armenia had no diplomatic ties or economic relations since Turkey closed its border with Armenia after this country invaded the Upper-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in 1992, until recently when the two countries agreed about a month ago on a protocol to establish relations after months-long Swiss mediated talks.

    The two countries signed two protocols recently to normalize relations which among other things foresees reciprocal opening of borders between the two countries and mutual recognition of existing borders.

    Azerbaijan which has been uneasy about the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia voiced concern and sought reassurance from the government of Turkey, its old ally, that it would not reopen borders with Armenia before a settlement to the Upper-Karabakh dispute.

    Tough Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials promised not to open borders before a settlement was reached, Azerbaijan announced it would raise the price of natural gas sold to Turkey and look for alternatives routes bypassing Turkey to carry its gas to Europe.

    Yildiz referred to Aliyev's remarks suggesting Turkey ought to cut transit fees for Azerbaijani gas and said Aliyev was misinformed on this issue too.

    Turkey has always looked out for our ally and brother Azerbaijan. It is a known fact that Turkey charges lower transit fees for Azerbaijani gas, compared to other countries said Yildiz reassuring once more that Turkey would not make agreements with Armenia that would hurt Azerbaijan.

    [10] Turkish journalists concerned about mounting pressure on journalism

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (20.10.09) reports the following:

    The recent detention of Adem Yavuz Arslan, the Ankara representative of the Bugun daily, due to an article he wrote on an ongoing probe into a criminal group has drawn the anger of journalists, who have expressed concern over growing pressure on journalism in Turkey.

    One leg of democracy will remain crippled unless the society is freed, said Engin Koklucinar, the head of the Istanbul Journalists Association. Arslan was taken into custody by gendarmes in the early hours of Saturday morning in northwestern Bolu province. The gendarmes told the journalist that he has been wanted by police for three months due to an article he wrote on retired Gen. Levent Ersoz, who is currently in jail for suspected membership in Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal organization accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Arslan faces a legal case for violating the confidentiality of the Ergenekon investigation.

    Mehmet Altan, a Star daily columnist, said he felt distressed when he read about Arslan's detention. The reasoning for his detention has come as an excuse, he noted. When Arslan was taken into custody, he was told that a suit was filed against him in February, but that he failed to show up to testify in court. In July, a warrant was issued to bring Arslan to testify in court by police force. The journalist, however, reportedly did not receive any court notice.

    I host a TV program five days a week and write columns for my daily three days a week. I cannot understand how I have been wanted [by the police] for three months, he said.

    The Contemporary Journalists Association (CGD) denounced Arslan's detention and complained that a press ban on the Ergenekon case is applied to a certain group of journalists.

    Our association believes that it is wrong to make journalists pay the price for the weakness of state agencies. We denounce the treatment against Arslan, noted Ahmet Abakay, the head of the association.

    Legal action continues to be taken against newspapers and journalists for covering the Ergenekon case in accordance with Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 285, which criminalizes the violation of confidentiality, and Article 288, which criminalizes influencing the independence of the judiciary. Thousands of such cases have been filed by prosecutors against various media organizations.

    Journalists also complained that they are afraid of putting their names on the articles they write on the Ergenekon probe. We are weary of legal action against our articles. Prosecutors file cases against almost every article which includes the word Ergenekon, they said.

    According to Gungor Ergun, the Bugun daily's news manager, journalists should be free to write about any detail of the historic probe. Much responsibility falls on the shoulders of journalists. However, they are made to pay a heavy price for their profession. Cases opened against Ergenekon reports have reached a level which threatens freedom of the press in the country. Prosecutors need to be more prudent with respect to the Ergenekon case, he said.

    The Ergenekon trial, one of the most important in Turkey to date, has been going on since 2007. Prosecutors have so far launched 2,400 investigations against newspapers and journalists on the grounds that their reports violated confidentiality and threatened to influence the independence of the judiciary. Among those members of the press, 11 are managing editors, 28 are columnists, 167 are correspondents and the rest are other employees at newspapers. The most charges have been filed against the Taraf, Star and Zaman dailies.

    Abdulkadir Selvi, the Ankara representative of the Yeni Safak daily, said the cases are aimed at intimidating and silencing journalists. We are sometimes tried by a court whose prosecutors and judges filed the criminal complaint against us. I see all those cases as a campaign to intimidate journalists, he remarked.

    The Taraf daily's Mehmet Baransu, who is under investigation in 26 cases, agreed and said he wondered how a journalist's report could aim to influence the conduct of an ongoing probe.

    The wife of the Constitutional Court vice president [Osman Paksut] is being tried and the two go to the court together [to give testimony.] This situation is not considered to be aimed at influencing the conduct of the case, but my reports are considered as such. No one can say anything against them because they are protected by the law. But who will protect me? asked the journalist.

    [11] Turkey bans another Internet site

    Istanbul Bianet (19.10.09) reported the following:

    Access has been banned to the expatriates.com website which provides information and networking services for people constantly living abroad. The decision was taken by the Telecommunication Communication Presidency for reasons of administrative measures.

    The website www.expatriates.com was banned under article 5651 of the Act on Internet Crimes. The website serves as a source of information and networking services for expatriates in Turkey and all over the world.

    Internet users in Turkey who want to access the site encounter the following announcement by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TIB): ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES have been applied to this internet site (expatirates.com) by the decision of the Telecommunications Communication Presidency dated 23.06.2009, no. 421.02.02.2009-179234 as a result of technical inspection and legal evaluation of index crimes regarding law article 5651.

    Ban on website for foreigners

    Bianet was informed by an internet user about the censorship, explaining the site as follows, I used the site to look for a Turkish teacher for my child for instance, there are many ads of private Turkish teachers. Foreigners living in Turkey can also advertise for a car with an M plate (special tax conditions for foreigners). There are advertisements on an international scope, not only within the borders of Turkey. The most frequently used language of the site is English.

    Access to MySpace re-opened, Last FM still blocked

    On 19 September access was blocked to MySpace and Last FM, two of the world's largest websites for social networking and music sharing, after a complaint from the Association of Interconnected Ownership Right Phonogram Producers (MUYAP). The Turkish site AkkilliTV.com was censored on the same day.

    Access to MySpace has been re-opened after an agreement on copyright issues. LastFM.com is still blocked.

    In the beginning of this month access was also blocked to LGBT social networking websites haydigayri.com, gabile.com and shemaleturk.com on the grounds of index crimes.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Now the Cyprus initiative takes turn

    Under the above title Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review (19.10.09) publishes the following commentary by Mensur Akgun:

    Following the Kurdish and Armenian initiatives, the Turkish government has launched the Cyprus initiative. On Friday evening, State Minister for European Affairs Egemen Bagis addressed a gala dinner jointly organized by TESEV, the British Council and Turkeys EU representative office. Bagis sent signals about a new opening, and the next day he underlined what he said the day before.

    Bagis recalled that Turkey has tied the isolation of Turkish Cypriots with the requirements in the Customs Agreement since 2004. He introduced a more reasonable precondition than those set on January 24, 2006.

    If the European Union endorses the Direct Trade Regulation to facilitate trade between the bloc and Cypriot Turks, we will open ports, he said. After that, we heard the news that a conversation took place between President Abdullah Gul and U.S. President Barack Obama and that the Cyprus conflict was among the topics they discussed.

    Apparently, Turkey has started the Cyprus initiative. Now the merit is to have repercussions in member capitals about the related statement issued in front of the cameras by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, EU ambassadors, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the Turkey representative to the commission.

    If that happens, if the statement is echoed in EU countries, the initiative will help Turkey eliminate obstacles before its membership bid and settle the Cyprus conflict. Eight chapters are already suspended and the only technical obstacle for re-opening negotiations on these chapters is that the Additional Protocol in the Ankara Agreement signed on July 29, 2005, has not been carried out.

    International conjuncture is suitable for creating repercussions over Bagiss recommendation. The new Greek government is inclined to solve problems related to the Aegean Sea and develop relations with Turkey. The architect of this rapprochement is George Papandreou. As soon as he became prime minister, Papandreou visited Turkey. His close officials are able to read whats going on in Turkey.

    It is also very fortunate that Sweden is the current EU term president. Swedish Foreign Minister Bildt is a friend of Turkey and his views on Turkeys accession to the bloc has been known from the beginning. The recommendation Turkey has made this time does not seem to hurt the Swedish Foreign Ministry at the EUs helm. After all, what Turkey asks is the approval of the Direct Trade Regulation by member states.

    Beyond that, last weeks developments simply prove that Turkeys influence is increasing. Protocols signed with Iraq, no visa requirement with Syria and symbolic border passing afterwards, the soccer game that the Turkish and Armenian national teams played in Bursa, the protocols Turkey and Armenian signed last Saturday in Zurich, and finally the cancellation of a military exercise show how Turkeys influence continues to increase.

    Turkey is having security cooperation with Syria so that Syrians will not need Iran. Turkey, by canceling a military exercise where the Israeli jets were supposed to participate, is sending messages to both the Arab countries that have not forgotten the Gaza assault and to Iran, which is concerned about a possible Israeli attack. Turkey also becomes the guarantor of stability in Iraq. Therefore it must have been difficult not to give Turkey what it deservedly wants for Turkish Cypriot.

    In fact, if the Cyprus initiative is not welcomed, it will be possible to corner Turkey at the EU Summit in December because of the Cyprus conflict. Even France, which is seeking new energy markets for French firms, will have no other choice but to support Turkeys initiative.

    If the EU, however, welcomes Bagiss recommendation and if Turkey opens ports to Greek Cypriot vessels in other words, if Turkey meets the requirements in the Additional Protocol settlement in Cyprus becomes easier. Opening ports, the Direct Trade Regulation in force and allowing negotiations of eight chapters again will bring confidence into the relations among the involved parties.

    But more importantly, rapprochement between the Greek Cypriot administration and Turkey, similar to that between Turkey and Armenia, may occur. Lets hope that the Demetris Christofias team hears of the statement issued on Friday evening at the British Consulate and repeated the next day at the Ciragan Hotel, and that they give enough importance to it so that none of us miss this opportunity.

    [13] Columnist analyses Turkeys role of new Ottoman in the post Bush era US Russian spheres of influence

    Under the title Turkeys new foreign policy, Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review (19.10.09) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Ulsever:

    The agreement protocol signed last week between Turkey and Armenia has presented the opportunity for an analysis. I have reached the following conclusion:

    Turkey will re-open the Armenian border. On the other side, Russia will pressure Armenia to solve the Karabakh issue.

    All of these developments are the initial winds of change in U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. Russia, being blocked by the George Bush administration in the Black Sea through developing relations with Ukraine and Georgia, is now regaining the sphere of influence in the Obama period and is paving the way for the United States to be the only active imperialist country in the Middle East in return.

    I am of the opinion that the region that the imperialists focused over the Cold War period comes back to the global relations this time through a partnership with Russia.

    Turkey is trying to be the United States Representative in the Middle East in this sharing.

    By signing the protocol with Armenia, Turkey has helped the United States, an ally, but has mainly left Azerbaijan to Russian influence.

    I have written repeatedly that I am frightened by Turkeys multi-dimensional foreign policy, which is not directly anchored anywhere or to any alliance. I have also said the zero-problem with neighbors policy is arithmetically impossible.

    What I want to say is this: You may seek zero problems with your neighbors. But foreign policy is not a linear equation; it is a complex matrix. For instance, as you reach an agreement with one of your neighbors, you may fall into a matrix of problems between your two neighbors.

    As a matter of fact, Azerbaijan is awfully disturbed by Turkeys efforts to iron out problems with Armenia.

    I think defending Azerbaijans rights and mediation between Azerbaijan and Armenia become Russias responsibility.

    It seems the United States is leaving its sphere of influence over Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan to Russia. Therefore, Turkey, as a U.S. ally, should act according to this change of roles. But I think Turkey is already anchored.

    As I put Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkeys political choices and priorities fully correspond to that of Obama, since Obama has become the new U.S. president and Davutoglu the new Turkish foreign minister.

    If Turkey is a boat, it will anchor itself to the U.S. first but its rear will float in Middle Eastern waters.

    U.S. might also try the zero-problem approach in the Middle East in this period and seek new and peaceful attempts with Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah. Turkey may help the U.S. a lot.

    Northern Iraq may be completely entrusted to Turkey.

    This is Turkeys new role. Moderate Islam has come to an end. But new ways of reconciliation with adverse Islamic countries are being sought.

    Turkey will play an endless number of mediation roles between the said countries and the U.S. in this period.

    Turkey will anchor to the U.S., but we will usually see Turkey floating in the Middle East!

    As it was in the Bush period, the role Turkey is assigned and agrees to is in the Middle East.

    We will see how much this role is in harmony with multi-dimensional policy, to what extent we will go back to a one-dimensional policy, which the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, criticizes, how deep Turkeys desire to become a part of modern civilization or how well it will play the role of new Ottoman.

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 19 October 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 19 October 2009:

    a) Kurdish problem

    A column by Taha Akyol of Milliyet asserts that Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek is following the developments related to the return of the PKK groups with "cautious" optimism because he is concerned over possible provocative attempts by the PKK-affiliated groups that are not pleased with the efforts to establish peace. Akyol quotes Cicek as saying that Turkey has reached the current point after a "long-term and coordinated work between the government, the state, the army, and the intelligence units." According to the columnist, the government is implementing a very detailed and delicate plan that includes not only the military and diplomatic measures but also democratic reforms.

    In his column in Hurriyet, Sukru Kucuksahin quotes an unnamed official as saying that the PKK members will be able to benefit from Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code if "they do not carry weapons" and "they were not involved in terrorist activities" in the past. The columnist says that the government, which plans to eliminate the PKK by taking advantage of the current process, may take further steps in a few days if the first group arrives without a problem.

    A report by Kurtulus Tayiz of Taraf says that many people in Diyarbakir are curious about the treatment the first PKK group will receive on its return from Qandil and Makhmur to Turkey today. The report notes that in an exclusive statement to Taraf Democratic Society Party [DTP] provincial leader Firat Anli stressed the importance of the return of the PKK groups to Turkey and said: "If this development is seen as a historic opportunity, then the government should avoid limiting the freedom of the first group. The arrival of the first group will be the first step for the return of the other groups." Noting that the DTP assumed a leading role in the preparations for the groups that will arrive in Turkey, the report quotes DTP Deputy Gulten Kisanak as stressing that "a positive approach to be adopted toward the first group will be a big step to end the years-long sufferings."

    In an article entitled "Notes from an interview", in Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin relates the particulars of an interview he held with Democratic Society Party, DTP, co-chairperson Emine Ayna in Istanbul yesterday on the PKK's expected handover of a "peace group" consisting of its militants to Turkish authorities in the Silopi district of Sirnak Province today. After relating how he warned Ayna and the DTP against treating this event as a festive occasion or getting these militants to address the DTP's parliamentary group, Bumin asserts that Ayna refrained from providing clear answers to his question of under which conditions the PKK might be persuaded to say "farewell to arms" and that she worded her responses so as to restrict herself to "general" issues like "the historical background of the Kurdish issue," the PKK's reasons for waging an armed struggle, democratic rights and freedoms, etc. He criticizes Ayna's comments on this question as an example of how DTP officials will stop engaging in dialog and start repeating certain clichés whenever they have to deal with questions about the PKK's armed struggle.

    In an article entitled "Fight Fire with Fire", in Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay hails the expected handover of a group of PKK militants to Turkey today as an event that is set to boost the process started by the Erdogan government's latest democratic "overture" and frustrate opposition leaders' expectations that the Kurdish initiative will boomerang on the Government. He claims that the AKP's "democratic overture" has already ceased to be a merely domestic political initiative and started to pave the way for developments that will allow Turkey to emerge as a regional and even a global player, as witness how it has already led to the cancellation of mutual visa requirements with Syria, the signing of new accords with Iraq, etc. He also argues that the latest tension in Turkish-Israeli relations over Israel's exclusion from an air defence drill will not entail any frictions between Ankara and Washington because "an aggressive and Zionist Israel has no place in the regional calculations of the Obama-led United States."

    Under the headline, "Symbolic move may signal start of outlawed PKK's disarmament," Today's Zaman carries a front-page report which asserts that the PKK's expected handover of some of its militants in a "symbolic move" today is described by some commentators as an attempt to "force the government's hand in the recently launched democratization process to solve the decades-old Kurdish problem."

    b) Turkey Armenia protocols

    Milliyet carries a report by Agil Alesger on a panel meeting held by Azerbaijan's National Nongovernmental Organizations Forum and the Azerbaijani-Turkish Women's Union in Baku. According to the report, Chairman of the Women's Union Tenzile Rustemhanli urged Prime Minister Erdogan "to keep his promise" and side with the Azerbaijani people in the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The report quotes other panellists as saying that Turkey should avoid steps that will strengthen the hands of Armenia.

    In his article entitled "Aliyev is right, but..." Milliyet columnist Semih Idiz recalls Azerbaijani President Aliyev's recent remarks on his plan to increase the price of natural gas being sold to Turkey and says that the president naturally tries to protect the "national interests" of his country, but he feels uneasy when Turkey takes certain steps to protect its own interests. Recalling that contrary to Turkey's expectations, Azerbaijan "officially recognized the Greek Cypriot administration" [Republic of Cyprus] as the sole representative of the whole island and launched only a few "economic initiatives" toward north Cyprus, Idiz censures President Aliyev for expressing his uneasiness about Ankara's attempts to normalize its ties with Yerevan. Recalling Azerbaijan's former argument that "Karabakh was given to the Armenians by Russia," he doubts that Azerbaijan will be able to get Karabakh back as a result of its current rapprochement with Russia.

    In a column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz also censures Azerbaijan's "emotional reaction" to Turkey because of the protocols it signed with Armenia and asserts that Azerbaijan's plan to approach Russia shows that it started to ignore certain "historic facts." The writer concludes by saying: "Instead of dealing with Azerbaijan's emotional reactions, Turkey and Armenia should focus on the peace protocols that will bring peace to the region and they should regard the current rapprochement process as an opportunity to solve the Karabakh problem."

    In an article entitled "Turkish-Armenian dialog initiative by Harvard University", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan comments on a "Turkish-Armenian workshop" organized by Harvard University over 18-20 September. He asserts that the workshop served as an occasion illustrating the role that empathy and dialog can play in bringing about a rapprochement between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.

    EG/


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