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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-10-23

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. 201/09 23.10.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ilkay Kamil said the UBP gave the citizenship of the regime to 494 since May 2009, while the CTP to 5.894 persons since 2004
  • [02] After his 47th meeting with President Christofias Talat described the approval of the Greek Cypriot side for the discussion of the criteria on the property as an approach of good will which should be appreciated
  • [03] The British High Commissioner described the ongoing talks as a unique opportunity for the solution
  • [04] Turkeys Permanent Representative to the UN says leaders in Cyprus and the UN should be supported in their efforts to settle the Cyprus problem
  • [05] YOK delegation concludes its contacts in occupied Cyprus with meetings with Durust, Eroglu and Talat respectively
  • [06] EU recommends Turkey the implementation of the additional protocol to the Ankara agreement
  • [07] Turkey and Kazakhstan signed a strategic partnership agreement
  • [08] Erdogan, Putin and Berlusconi hold a video conference on the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline
  • [09] Turkish Parliament approves bill amending Parliamentary elections law
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 22 October 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ilkay Kamil said the UBP gave the citizenship of the regime to 494 since May 2009, while the CTP to 5.894 persons since 2004

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (23.10.09) reports that the self-styled minister of internal affairs, Ilkay Kamil has said that the citizenship of the breakaway regime was given to 494 persons recently, while 5.894 persons were granted the citizenship since 2004 by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) self-styled government.

    Under the title Reply to the liars, the paper writes that Mr Kamil replied to accusations by the MP of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mustafa Emiroglulari at the self-styled assembly regarding the crimes committed in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the prisons. He said that building new prisons is in the priorities of their government. He noted that they are investigating the cost of this project which they are planning to materialize in 2010. Mr Kamil said that 64 of the 119 convicts with heavy punishments come from the TRNC, 48 from Turkey and 7 from third countries.

    Mr Kamil expressed the view that the increase in the number of the crimes is not deriving from the fact that people [from Turkey] can enter into the occupied areas of Cyprus by showing only their identity card and added that the important thing is the strict control of the authorities after these persons enter into the occupied areas.

    Mr Kamil said that the issue of the white card has been introduced by the previous government, but it was not implemented as it should have been. He added that this practice was stopped after the white card was given to 40-50 persons. Mr Kamil said they gave the citizenship to 494 persons since May 2009 and added that 270 women married with men from the TRNC, 164 men married with women from the TRNC and 34 children of those who became citizens since May 2009 are among these 494 persons. He further noted that six persons were also given the citizenship by their government after decision of the council of ministers. Also twenty persons who are the wives and children of these six persons have become citizens of the regime. Mr Kamil said the number of those who became citizens of the TRNC since 2004 is 5.894.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] After his 47th meeting with President Christofias Talat described the approval of the Greek Cypriot side for the discussion of the criteria on the property as an approach of good will which should be appreciated

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.10.09) broadcast the following:

    Property issue back on the table. President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias met this morning to discuss property which is seen as the hardest obstacle in the way of a solution in Cyprus.

    The UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer told the press at the end of the 2-hour-long meeting that the two sides have reserved their positions on the property issue.

    Describing todays discussions as useful, the UN Envoy said that the senior aides of the two leaders will meet on Thursday next week to take up the issue of property.

    The UN Envoy said that the next Talat-Christofias meeting which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, will focus on the competencies of the federal government and external relations.

    Speaking to reporters upon his return to the Presidential Palace, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that the sides reserved their positions on the issue of property but added that they agreed to start discussing the criteria on the issue.

    Noting that the point reached was the result of good will shown at the talks, Mr Talat said that the deadlock on the property issue had somewhat been overcome through the adoption of this method.

    The President noted that next weeks meeting will focus on the competences of the federal government which is to be discussed under the topic of Governance and Power Sharing.

    Under the title There is no result again, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.10.09) refers to the meeting held yesterday between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and reports that the two leaders met again and discussed the property issue. Mr Talat said the deadlock was not overcome on this issue and that the sides maintain their positions, but the representatives and the teams of the leaders will continue to discuss the criteria. In spite of the fact that the Greek Cypriot side sticks to its position, I think that the fact that it gave its approval for such a step to be taken is an approach of good will. This should be appreciated at this stage, he said.

    The paper reports also that Alexander Downer, UN Secretary Generals Special Envoy for Cyprus visited yesterday at 16.30 hours the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat accompanied by Mr Taye Brook Zerihoun, UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus. After the meeting which lasted for one hour Mr Talat made no statements. Mr Downer said they held a good meeting with Mr Talat and discussed the negotiating process. He reiterated that the two leaders discussed the property issue yesterday and that the discussion on the foreign relations will continue during the meetings next week.

    [03] The British High Commissioner described the ongoing talks as a unique opportunity for the solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.10.09) reports that the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Millet gave a reception last night in the garden of the High Commissions office in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Alexander Downer, UN Secretary Generals Special Envoy for Cyprus, and Sakir Fakili the illegal ambassador of Turkey to the occupied part of Lekosia were among the participants in the event. The paper publishes a picture of Mr Downer and Mr Fakili who chatted sincerely and points out that Mr Fakili chatted with many ambassadors of foreign countries to Lefkosia who attended the party. The Turkish Cypriot leader Talat with his spouse, some ministers of the breakaway regime, the general secretary of the UBP, Irsen Kucuk, the chairman of the TDP, Mehmet Cakici and representatives of NGOs from the occupied areas of Cyprus participated in the event.

    In statements at the party, Mr Millet said many things changed in Cyprus during the past three years, the leaders implemented many confidence building measures, cooperation has been developed in many ways in the field of culture, the environment and the crimes and reminded that recently the military exercises were postponed. My message to you is to maintain your faith in the solution, said Mr Millet and described the ongoing talks as a unique opportunity for the solution, wishing for this chance not to be missed. He noted that he knows that the Turks were disappointed because the Annan Plan was not successful in 2004 and added that the solution of the Cyprus problem is expected with new hopes in the new period. He said the solution will secure to the Turkish Cypriots great socioeconomic and political benefits and all sectors of the economy will be developed and become more competitive. He referred to the financial aid of 259 euro which the EU decided to give to the Turkish Cypriots and the ways it is used.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Turkeys Permanent Representative to the UN says leaders in Cyprus and the UN should be supported in their efforts to settle the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.10.09) broadcast the following:

    Turkey's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ertugrul Apakan has pointed out that Turkey has been in support of the UN efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN Secretary-Generals good offices mission.

    He reminded that the Turkish side overwhelmingly approved a UN peace plan during the 2004 referendum on the island.

    Mr Apakan was speaking at a meeting organized by the UN think-tank - United Nations University (UNU).

    Responding to criticisms against Turkey voiced by a Greek origin person at the meeting, the Ambassador underlined that Turkey has been in support of the UN efforts aimed at settling the Cyprus problem since 1974.

    He stressed that Ankara has been providing strong support to the ongoing negotiation process being conducted within the framework of the UN parameters and said we should all support the UN and the two leaders on the island to settle the problem.

    On the role of arbitration in Cyprus, he said it was very important both for Turkey and the UN, adding that international arbitration was gaining more importance in todays world.

    [05] YOK delegation concludes its contacts in occupied Cyprus with meetings with Durust, Eroglu and Talat respectively

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.10.09) broadcast the following:

    A delegation from Turkeys Higher Education Council (YOK) has ended its contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Today, the delegation was received by the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Kemal Durust, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu and President Mehmet Ali Talat respectively. The YOK delegation also met with university rectors.

    The YOK delegation, headed by the Acting President Prof Dr Izzet Ozgenc, arrived in the TRNC as guest of the TRNC Council for Inspection and Accreditation of Higher Education (YODAK).

    Welcoming the delegation, the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Kemal Durust highlighted the role of universities in the international recognition and economic development of the TRNC. He noted that the Greek Cypriot side is disturbed by the growing development at TRNC universities in that sense.

    Prof Dr Izzet Ozgenc, for his part, announced that a draft agreement on bringing the TRNC universities to the level of those in Turkey now awaits discussion at the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    [06] EU recommends Turkey the implementation of the additional protocol to the Ankara agreement

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.10.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    The European commissioner for enlargement recommended Turkey to implement the additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement.

    Commissioner Olli Rehn said starting to implement the additional protocol would be the best move to help opening of new negotiation chapters and to contribute to a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus with confidence-building measures.This was his sincere and friendly recommendation to the Turkish government, Rehn said during a meeting at the think-tank European Policy Centre.

    The additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement foresees extending Turkey's customs union deal with ten countries that joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, including the Greek Cypriot administration.

    Rehn underlined importance of a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus for it would help a progress in Turkey's European Union (EU) accession process, and said the EU suspended in December 2006 Turkey's negotiations on eight chapters as it had not fulfilled the liabilities of the additional protocol.

    Also, Rehn said bilateral problems should not prevent EU accession process of any country. Rehn also said that Turkey was a key partner for peace in the Middle East, stability of the South Caucasus, improvement of security in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and energy supply safety for the EU.

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

    The European Policy Centre (EPC) is an independent, not-for-profit think tank, committed to making European integration work. It aims to promote a balanced dialogue between the different constituencies of its membership, spanning all aspects of economic and social life.

    [07] Turkey and Kazakhstan signed a strategic partnership agreement

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.10.09) reports the following:

    The presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkey on Thursday signed a strategic partnership agreement, with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggesting that the two countries were already strategic partners even before the signing of the deal.

    Nazarbayev, who arrived in Ankara on Wednesday evening for an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, was speaking at a joint press conference following his talks with Gul at the Cankaya palace.

    Turkey recognized Kazakhstan on December 16, 1991, the same day Kazakhstan declared its independence. Recalling Turkey's swift recognition of his country's independence, Nazarbayev underlined that their bilateral relations have always been positive since then, with no problems at all and cooperation in almost every field.

    The visiting president cited Turkey's Muslim, secular and democratic characteristics as an advantage, while praising Turkey's regional efforts. Noting that the two countries had just signed a strategic partnership, Nazarbayev said the strategic aspect of the partnership between Ankara and Astana has always been there.

    We have much more to do in cultural and historical areas and in the Turkic world for the next generations, he said, noting that he believes bilateral agreements would help improve already good relations.

    In response to a question, the Kazakh president said the amount of Turkish investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 has been around $1 billion, while Kazakh investment in Turkey during the same period of time has been $4 billion.

    This amount is not sufficient for the two sibling countries. Kazakhstan has so far attracted $25 billion in investment. In the case of Turkey, investment is around $1 billion, Nazarbayev said. Ankara and Astana aim to increase the annual trade volume between the two countries to $5 billion from the current $2.5 billion.

    Relations between Turkey and Kazakhstan cannot be measured in money. Our confidence in Turkey cannot be measured with any kind of monetary value. Of course, we still have much to do, he continued, reiterating his country's support of the transportation of Caspian natural gas to Europe via Turkey.

    Noting Turkey's desire to become a transit country in the energy field, he added, The transport of Kazakh oil and gas through Turkey will work in favour of both Kazakhstan and Turkey. The Kazakh leader is accompanied on his trip to Turkey by a large delegation of ministers and businesspersons, reflecting his eagerness to develop economic and commercial ties between his country and Turkey.

    In an interview with a small group of Turkish journalists held ahead of his visit, Nazarbayev expressed his country's willingness to supply oil to a pipeline transporting Caspian crude oil to Western markets through Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan while hailing the current course of affairs in bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Turkey. Overall, Turkey and Kazakhstan are engaged in strategic cooperation in both the international and regional arenas. In other words, the two countries have been supporting each other's policies. I believe this relationship will further increase to a higher level with my visit, Nazarbayev said.

    Following his talks with Gul, Nazarbayev attended a luncheon hosted in his honor by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Later in the day, he had talks with Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin and addressed Parliament.

    In his address, when Nazarbayev recalled that earlier this month a memorial for the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was inaugurated in Astana at a ceremony with his participation, he was enthusiastically applauded by members of Parliament.

    Summarizing his country's evolution since gaining independence, Nazarbayev underlined that all along this process they have received support from brotherly Turkey.

    We are also happy with Turkey's successes, he said, citing Turkey's regional role as well as its economic achievements. Turkey has turned into a country with a big power in global politics. Its role in resolving conflicts will continue, he added, noting his country's support for Turkey's policy of zero problems with neighbours.

    We support Turkey's membership in the European Union. We believe that being a strategic partner with Russia and assuming a balanced policy toward China will increase Turkey's prestige, Nazarbayev said.

    Nazarbayev is expected to attend the Turkish-Kazakh Business Forum, which will be held in Istanbul today with a strong showing by both Kazakh and Turkish businesspersons.

    Also today, the Dialogue Eurasia Platform (DA), which aims to build bridges among Eastern European and Central Asian countries with which Turkey has had historical, religious and linguistic connections for centuries, will decorate Nazarbayev with an award for his vast experience as a statesman, impressive courage, leadership, unifying policy, tolerance and contribution to world peace. A award ceremony will be held today at the Joint Administration of Turkic Culture and Art (TURKSOY) in Istanbul.

    [08] Erdogan, Putin and Berlusconi hold a video conference on the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi held a trilateral video conference meeting on Thursday.

    Putin said that he was happy to meet with Prime Minister Erdogan.

    I would like to thank you for the decision taken by the Turkish government. I thank you for permitting a pipeline that will pass through Turkish territory in the Black Sea and reach Bulgaria from Russia, Putin said.

    An agreement was recently signed in Italy regarding the Samsun-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline that will carry oil from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean region. Talks with Kazakh authorities continue in this matter. This project will contribute to the member states and is important as an international one. The project is crucial for the energy security of Europe, Putin stressed.

    Berlusconi said that he was pleased with the progress in negotiations.

    We pay high importance to the Samsun-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline. There are four companies interested in the project and this number may go up. This project will contribute to the security of the Istanbul Straits, Berlusconi also said.

    Prime Minister Erdogan, in his part, said that, once the Samsun-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline gets implemented, Istanbul will be saved from a possible ecological threat. As you might appreciate, Turkey is a natural bridge between energy rich countries and world markets, Erdogan stressed.

    We are working to strengthen Turkey's status as a transit country and turn Turkey into an energy centre, Erdogan said.

    I believe that the projects we are working on will contribute to the energy security of Turkey as well as Europe, Erdogan also said.

    [09] Turkish Parliament approves bill amending Parliamentary elections law

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.10.09) reports from Ankara that the Turkish parliament approved a bill amending Parliamentary Elections Law in the general assembly meeting on Thursday. The bill foresees that parliamentary elections would be held every four years instead of five.

    The provinces which do not have populations big enough to send two deputies to the parliament will have the right to send two deputies with this bill.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 22 October 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 22 October 2009:

    Kurdish problem

    In a statement to Hurriyet, Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Turk says for the new process to continue the Kurds should establish a "dialogue" with the government and "empathize" with the Turkish people, adding that the return of the guerrillas to Turkey without facing prosecution "is neither a victory nor heroism, but the first step towards the peace process." Turk admits that today the Kurds are approaching this issue "emotionally" but they have to eventually leave aside such emotionalism and act with reason, adding that the Turkish people, in turn, should not panic, as they [Kurds and his party] are exerting efforts to secure greater freedoms to all citizens of Turkey. Turk also says there is a need for social reconciliation and a new constitution, arguing that additional freedoms will not partition but democratize Turkey. Stating that the Kurds are struggling to coexist with the Turkish people in fraternity, Turk declares. "Please Turkish people, do not follow racist nationalist mentality, for your brothers [Kurds] want to embrace you."

    In a meeting with DTP deputies in Diyarbakir, Turk also calls on his party not to turn the homecomings into "political shows" and avoid actions that might put the government in difficult position against the opposition. Turk tells the meeting that there are no victors and losers in this process and that the Kurds are "thankful" to all those who contributed to the process, according to a report in Taraf, which adds that the public prosecutors have launched an investigation into the reception ceremonies held in Silopi, Cizre, Nusaybin, and Diyarbakir.

    Ertugrul Ozkok declares in his column in Hurriyet that his heart is rend by contradictory feelings: On the one hand he considers the PKK homecoming as a major success for the government's Kurdish policy, but on the other he, like many Turks, is increasingly alarmed over the Kurds' "victory festivity" on the border, warning that "if there is 'victory' on the one side, there is inevitably 'defeat' on the other side." Ozkok calls on Ahmet Turk to show respect to the feelings of Turks and put common-sense into Kurds.

    Rusen Cakir also asserts in his column for Vatan that the festive climate the Kurds created around the returning PKK group was an unforeseen element that put the government in difficult position, for the joy in the southeast is fuelling "anxiety and anger" in the west, with the result that people are turning a deaf ear to the arguments that the disarming of the PKK is necessary for the solution of the Kurdish problem. If the situation continues like this "a very bad and terrible situation will arise," leading to the emergence of a "Turkish Question" as a countercurrent to the "Kurdish Question," Cakir says, warning that the consequences of that will be "catastrophic" for Turkey. Cakir believes DTP, PKK, Ocalan, and their circles have a responsibility to prevent such a course of events, for if they continue to portray the first steps of the overture as a Kurdish "victory" then everyone will emerge losers from the process. Cakir does not, however, believe the DTP is in a position to control the emotions of the Kurdish masses, so the government should employ other Kurdish figures like Seydi Firat, who are more sensitive to the feelings of the western part of Turkey.

    Taha Akyol asserts in his column in Milliyet that Ahmet Turk's call for moderation is meaningless given that the returning PKK members brought with them a "letter" that included "maximalist demands," which will only exacerbate the political struggle and "agitate" the Turkish and Kurdish masses against each other. Akyol claims that the DTP is a "totalitarian mechanism organized to drag the masses into war" at the order of Ocalan, adding that the Kurdish problem would have been solved easily if Turks had as their counterpart a genuine Kurdish democratic movement. Akyol says government's overture is correct, but the "totalitarian and provocative nature of the ethnic nationalistic movement" shows how risky this overture might be. Akyol is of the opinion that the intellectuals should direct their criticism against the "totalitarian" DTP in order to ensure the victory of democracy, warning that extremism might lead to an uncontrollable disaster.

    Murat Yetkin, in his column in Radikal, doubts the DTP and PKK will heed Erdogan's call not to engage in agitation, warning that if the Kurdish side pushes its demands too far, PM Erdogan might at one point hit the brakes and stop the democratic process.

    After noting that the government is sincere in its Kurdish overture but is mishandling the process in a column in Hurriyet, Cuneyt Ulsever bemoans that the Turkish authorities' "passive" behaviour towards the returning PKK members in guerrilla attire has imparted an irrevocable "legitimacy" to the PKK and undermined the judicial process, for under the law the mere membership in a terror organization is a great crime requiring prosecution. Whereas, the PKK members imposed themselves on Turkey and the Turkish laws by refusing to benefit from the repentance law and to renounce their PKK affiliation. The PKK created a new "precedent" by twisting the laws around its little finger, argues Ulsever, adding that now the government can no more prosecute pro-PKK activists. Worst still, this is going to damage the Ergenekon case, for the prosecutors have either to convince the court that membership in Ergenekon is a graver crime than PKK membership or seek the release of Ergenekon detainees.

    Also touching on the violation of the judicial process, Guneri Civaoglu says in his column in Milliyet that during the war against the PKK there was the concept of "asymmetric war," now under the democratic process, especially during the PKK homecoming at the Habur gate, the concept of "asymmetric law" has developed; it implies privileged treatment for the PKK members. Noting that there is now also an "asymmetric social psychology" between Kurds and Turks, the columnist says he supports the peace process but doubts it is managed properly.

    Despite unpleasant scenes on the border, the PKK homecoming is a historic first step towards the "farewell to arms," says Mahmut Ovur in his column in Sabah, adding that for the first time the state acted as a "democratic state" by not detaining the group; something that will elicit changes inside the PKK. Ovur also praises the DTP for its handling of the crowd on the border, saying that if DTP sometimes assumes a tough approach it is because its leaders, who want the peace process to succeed, are not sure of the sincerity of the government. According to Ovur, by not prosecuting the returning PKK members the state showed its sincerity, now it is DTP's turn to keep the hopes of peace alive.

    Mehmet Ali Birand, in his column in Hurriyet, also says that the Turkish society is muddled over the developments. While the government takes pride of these new developments, the opposition and martyrs' families are convinced the country is heading into a catastrophe. On the other hand, the "Kurdish citizens are elated" for they see the return of the PKK group as a harbinger of peace. Birand say he himself is convinced that the government is doing the right thing to end the PKK terrorism. But for the government's policy to succeed, the anti-peace forces should refrain from undermining the new climate and Kurds from creating an atmosphere of triumph and revanchism. Commenting on opposition's fear that the process would lead to the division of Turkey, Birand argues that even if the whole peace process collapses Turkey will not lose anything other than another opportunity for peace.

    Hasan Cemal, in his column in Milliyet, criticizes the opposition for not only not helping the government with the Kurdish overture but also for provoking Turkish nationalism so as to pit a "Turkish Question" against a "Kurdish Question." Cemal adds that the opposition is acting "irresponsibly" and with its inability to become an alternative to the government is damaging both democracy and stability of the country.

    Also criticizing the opposition, especially the CHP [Republican People's Party], in a column in Radikal, Oral Calislar says the CHP is incapable of grasping the new developments and for that reason it is simply claiming that the government is acting on orders from the US. Rather, Calislar adds, United States, motivated by its own interests in Iraq, is trying to help the Turkish government, which has realized that the Kurdish problem is Turkey's own internal problem needing a peaceful solution. The columnist points out that the war of the last 25 years has changed both Turks and Kurds, adding that if Imrali, Qandil, Diyarbaklir, and Ankara coordinate their policies well to facilitate a final solution, a new period will dawn on Turkey.

    Explaining the application of the "Game theory" for the resolution of conflicts in a column for Radikal, Ismet Berkan says that so far Turks though they were waging a "zero sum game" against the Kurds, but they have now realized that they were actually waging a war in which both sides were losing. This is what the government has now realized and wants to play a win-win game. But, Berkan adds, he still is not sure if the Kurdish side too has realized that this is no "zero sum game." The reception given to the returning PKK group shows the Kurds are still motivated by the mentality of "my gain is your loss."

    Can Dundar indicates in his column in Milliyet that the Kurdish developments are taking place in line with the road map former MIT [National Intelligence Organization] undersecretary Sonmez Koksal announced during an interview with Milliyet on 3 August. Dundar quotes Koksal as saying that following the peaceful return of the PKK members, the PKK should announce a truce so as to open the way for the second phase of the overture. Based on his conversation with Koksal, Dundar concludes that the Kurdish developments are taking place with the "silent approval" of the National Security Council.

    Emre Kongar claims in his Cumhuriyet article that the United States is behind the government's Kurdish overture. He asserts that the overture is based on US plan to assign Turkey as protector of Iraqi Kurds and to neutralize the PKK to forestall any impediment to that plan. Kongar doubts, however, that the United States would want the complete destruction of the PKK, as it serves as an American trump card against Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Opposition turns into Neo-Nationalist front", Yeni Safak columnist Yalcin Akdogan, who writes under the pseudonym Yasin Dogan, asserts that the Republican People's Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party's stance on the process started by the return of a PKK group from northern Iraq shows all the characteristics of "gross" and "divisive" nationalism. He cites CHP leader Baykal and MHP leader Bahceli's latest parliamentary group speeches as an illustration of they have positioned themselves as "radical" defenders of the status quo against the Government's "pro-change" approach to the Kurdish question and relations with Armenia.

    In an article entitled "Turning pain into joy", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru relates how it pains him to see PKK militants who have for years waged an armed struggle against Turkey cross the border into this country "scot-free," adding that he finds "consolation" in the thought that when all PKK militants have come down from the mountains and returned to their hometowns, Turkey will stop being plagued by terrorism. "We will no longer be worried in sending our children to the army that they might be killed by a treacherous bullet. The thought that every telephone conversation with our sons in the military might be the last time we have talked with them will no longer gnaw at our minds."

    Under the headline, "Call for moderation," Vakit runs a front-page report which highlights remarks by Prime Minister Erdogan and "NGO representatives" referring to the latest developments involving the "surrender" of a PKK group from northern Iraq as a "historic opportunity" and warning against any behaviour that could undermine the Government's "national unity and brotherhood project."

    In an article entitled "Overture in Agri", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven comments on developments concerning the Kurdish question suggesting that "good sense and patience" have started to prevail across the country. He argues that if Turkish justices can let PKK militants "treated as heroes" in crossing the border into Turkey go free on the grounds that "harmless" membership of this organization is not a punishable offence and if the "provocations" of two opposition parties and "DTP and PKK elements" are failing to trigger any major disturbances, it means that Turkey is taking "giant steps" toward a "reasonable" settlement of the southeast issue.

    In an article entitled "Zio-Nazi", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Israel is upset by the way the "Islamist" Erdogan government in Turkey has thwarted its Armenian and Kurdish projects by starting a normalization project with Yerevan and preventing the "Kemalist Turkish army" from "annihilating the Kurds." He asserts that in behaving "like a child deprived of its toys" in its relations with Ankara, Israel is displaying its concern at seeing its political "investments" in Turkey, namely the Turkish military, the MHP, the CHP, and Ataturk," lose ground.

    In an article entitled "Never without changing positions", Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli interprets the latest developments regarding the southeast issue as meaning that the Turkish state has changed its position on this problem. "This major transformation did not start with the AKP government. It is the result of a quarter century of experience. Nobody at this juncture could say they want to keep standing where they used to 25 years ago. Neither the PKK nor the DTP nor the CHP could say it because the world is changing and Turkey is changing, too. It is Quixotic to oppose the wheels of change and development using a Cold War rhetoric. You could be applauded by Sancho Panzas but it is not possible either to bring down windmills or go down in history as a glorious knight."

    In a n article entitled "It is necessary to take up arms", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone accuses CHP leader Deniz Baykal and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli of effectively telling the PKK to keep waging an armed struggle against Turkey in criticizing the process started by the return of PKK militants from the Mahkmour Camp in northern Iraq. Turkone argues that Baykal and Bahceli are making a mistake in opposing the said process on the basis of "the anti-Kurdish wave rising in Turkey's western provinces" because this is not a nationalist wave that endorses unity but one that translates into saying, "Let the southeast be ceded to the Kurds and let the Kurds in the West be sent to the southeast."

    In an article entitled "A major step toward internal peace", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that the CHP and MHP leaders' efforts to "undermine" the latest government effort to achieve internal peace by arranging for PKK militants to cross the border into the country with impunity indicates that these leaders have become "pitiable politicians who deserve to be swept into the dustbin of history."

    In an article entitled "How will the Kurdish initiative affect the AKP in the upcoming election?", Today's Zaman columnist Emre Uslu asserts that "the most difficult part of the Kurdish initiative for the AKP government will be when former PKK militants are nominated to serve as deputies in Parliament in the upcoming election."

    Finally, in an article entitled "Homecoming and change", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan asks whether the return of a PKK group from northern Iraq to Turkey is aimed at starting the politicization of the PKK, whether the intended politicization of the PKK is part of the Government's latest democratization initiative, and whether the ruling AKP has withheld information from the public so far about what this initiative entails because the initiative is intended among other things to enable the PKK to turn into a political entity. Ozkan argues that it is difficult to understand how the Government can perceive the latest developments in the southeast as "encouraging" and "pleasing" seeing that the returned PKK members have not severed their links with the terrorist group and that they do not show any signs of "repentance." He also asserts that the Government should share "at least limited information" with the public about what is going on and what the consequences of the latest developments will be.

    EG/


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