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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-11-17

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. 217/09 17.11.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat stated that the strategy for the recognition of the occupation regime constitute a single choice and referred to the example of Kosovo
  • [02] Statements by Ilter Turkmen regarding the realities in Cyprus during the illegal declaration of the occupation regime
  • [03] A delegation from the Republic of Abkhazia visited the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University
  • [04] CTP visited the Social Democratic Party in Germany
  • [05] The marina in occupied Karpass is being constructed
  • [06] Statements by the German Ambassador to Ankara
  • [07] Davutoglu stated that Turkey follows a sustained peace policy on Cyprus; He censures the Speaker of the European Parliament
  • [08] Davutoglu met with his Spanish counterpart; Turkeys EU process and Cyprus role were top on the agenda
  • [09] Turkey to be guest of honour at the European Education Fair in France
  • [10] Abdullatif Sener criticizes Erdogan
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Turk professor of history analyses the current Foreign policy of Turkey
  • [12] European diplomat comments on the growing number of disagreements between Turkey and the USA
  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 16 November 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat stated that the strategy for the recognition of the occupation regime constitute a single choice and referred to the example of Kosovo

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (17.11.09) in its front page and under the title, Put into action the recognition strategy, reports on a symposium which was organized by the Association for the protection of the TRNC under the title The status of the TRNC. The paper reports on the declaration which was issued during the closing ceremony of the symposium and writes that the final declaration demanded that efforts should be exerted for the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus after the completion of the ongoing negotiation process between the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and President Demetris Christofias and also it demanded for efforts to be launched so that the TRNC will continue to exist under the status of an independent state, member of the UN.

    The paper reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat made the opening speech at the symposium and stated the following: The aim of the negotiations is not the establishment of the TRNC. The TRNC is a reality. It seems that from now on the strategy for the recognition is the only reality. The Republic announced for the third time by the Albanians of Kosovo who declared their independence twice using the change created in the international political situation after the Cold War, was recognized by sixty five countries including permanent members of the UN Security Council, in spite of a resolution of the UN Security Council in the opposite direction.

    (AK)

    [02] Statements by Ilter Turkmen regarding the realities in Cyprus during the illegal declaration of the occupation regime

    Under the title, Three realities, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.11.09) publishes the statements made by Ilter Turkmen, Turkish Foreign Minister during the time when the illegal regime was declared and writes that Mr Turkmen made important statements to the journalist of KANAL SIM, Aysu Basri Akter.

    Mr Turkmen made the following three important statements:

    1) We did not expect from many countries to recognize the TRNC. In fact, we knew that they would not recognize it. The declaration of the TRNC was a necessity until a solution is to be found.

    2) Our vision when the TRNC was founded was the federation. Rauf Denktas did not have any objection to this. The message of the declaration was clear about the solution and it foresaw the existence of a bi-zonal federation.

    3) According to the regulations of the federated state Rauf Denktas could not be re-elected. This was an important factor in the declaration of the TRNC.

    (AK)

    [03] A delegation from the Republic of Abkhazia visited the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University

    Illegal Bayrak television (16.11.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    A delegation from the Republic of Abkhazia is having contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The delegation visited the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Rector Prof. Dr. Abdullah Oztoprak this morning.

    The Speaker of Abkhazias parliament Batal Kobahia, the Deputy Speaker of the parliament Irina Agrebe and the Head of the Abkhazian businesswomen Association Julia Gumba visited the Eastern Mediterranean University Rector Professor Dr. Abdullah Oztoprak.

    Welcoming the delegation, the EMU Rector Oztoprak said that the EMU is ready for every kind of cooperation with Abkhazia in the education field.

    For his part, the Speaker of the Abkhazias parliament Batal Kobahia said they are wishing to discuss the opportunities in the field of education and turn it into account.

    [04] CTP visited the Social Democratic Party in Germany

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.11.09) reports that the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG) decided to develop its relations with the political party Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany. According to the announcement of CTPs press office, the so-called deputy of CTP-BG Mustafa Yektaoglu and the member of the foreign affairs office Unal Findik attended the General Assembly of SPD. It is reported that the CTP delegation met with the newly elected General Secretary of SPD, Ms Andrea Nahles. The CTP delegation also congratulated the newly elected leader of SPD, Mr Sigmar Gabriel, and invited him to the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    According to the announcement, the CTP delegation, during the second day of SPDs assembly, had meetings with the Head of the International Affairs Bureau of SPD, Mr Achim Post, as well his assistant Felix Porkert. It was decided with the newly elected administration of SPD to carry the relations between CTP-BG and SPD to a higher level.

    Within the framework of a mutual agreement, it was announced that following the trip that Achim Post and Felix Porkert will make in Ankara on January 2010, a meeting will be held in Lefkosia in order to determine their joint working programme of 2010, and a cooperation project between the Youth and Womens Organizations and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has also been planned.

    (DPs)

    [05] The marina in occupied Karpass is being constructed

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.11.09) under the title, Karpass marina is being constructed, writes that the investments being carried out in the Karpass region by foreign investors goes on in a fast manner. The paper writes that after the tourist investments which were carried out in Vokolida district, the works for the construction of a new tourist complex under the name Karpass Bay Resort, which is to be built in a 450-thousand square meters of land in occupied Aegialousa, continues. The first investment of the Karpass Bay Resort, which is an investment of an Israeli British partnership, is the marina the construction of which started two years ago. Marina will offer services to 350 yachts and it is planned to be completed very soon. Also in emergency cases marina would provide the possibility for merchant ships to dock. According to the paper, special groups from Turkey are working for the construction of the marina since its cost would be very high. Marina will cover 140 thousand square meters.

    (AK)

    [06] Statements by the German Ambassador to Ankara

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (17.11.2009) publishes the second and last part of an interview given to the papers reporter Nur Batur by the German Ambassador in Ankara, Eckart Cuntz.

    The interview is mainly focused on Cyprus as follows:

    Subtitle: We must demolish the Lefkosia wall too

    Question: Maybe it is even more difficult to demolish the Lefkosia wall. How will the Turks and the Greek Cypriots who have different language, race and religion reunite?

    Answer: Indeed, different languages! Unification is difficult. But it will bring great advantages. In a year a 250 million Euro support was allocated for the Turkish Cypriots. This needs to be spent. It is difficult to compare the two cases entirely, yet, we demolished the Berlin wall. We should achieve the demolition of the Lefkosia wall. The great objective of all of us should be to create a united and free Cyprus where all the people will have equal rights.

    Question: Did not the Turks declare their will for the demolition of the wall by saying yes to the Annan Plan?

    Answer: Look, Cyprus is one of the biggest problems still existing in Europe. All of us should support the reunification of the island. A unified Cyprus will bring welfare to all the citizens. They can live together with the people who speak different languages. There are examples in Switzerland and Belgium.

    Question: Would not unification have taken place since long if you lifted the embargo applied on the Turks?

    Answer: Sometimes we can say that it would have been even better if it was like that, but sometimes history follows its own course. At that point, we were face to face with the problem of unifying Europe. We were also about to open negotiations with Turkey. We were obliged to take some decisions in these conditions. We are obliged, however, to meet our responsibilities. Even so, we should exert efforts for the unification. A great burden falls on the shoulders of the two leaders together with Turkey and Greece.

    Subtitle: Who will cut the knot

    Question: Cyprus has become a vicious circle. Has it not started moving Turkey away from the EU?

    Answer: You are right. The problem is not only from the point of view of Turkey, but it has started creating great obstacles in other fields too. It prevents the military cooperation between NATO EU and the use of the energy resources in the Mediterranean. We absolutely need to come out from the vicious circle. Someone should cut the Gordian knot like Great Alexander did.

    Question: Will it be cut if not agreement is reached until April 2010? Can there be a velvet separation?

    Answer: I do not like giving dates. An opportunity was, however, created for the solution of the problem. But the knot can be cut only with joint efforts. Everyone should see this. At this moment, we should not discuss on different alternatives.

    Question: How will the isolation of the Turks be broken?

    Answer: There is no complete isolation. Many German tourists go to the north. There are cultural relations. Turkey should meet its commitments and apply the protocol. Turkey has started dealing with the democratic opening and the Armenian problem. I believe that it will deal with the future of Cyprus too.

    (ML)

    [07] Davutoglu stated that Turkey follows a sustained peace policy on Cyprus; He censures the Speaker of the European Parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.11.09) reports on the statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu who is in Spain for an official visit. Addressing a conference organized by the Madrid-based think-tank Nueva Economia Forum under the title Turkey-Spain: Contributions to Global Peace and Security, Mr Davutoglu said that in the framework of the democratic opening process, their will is to normalize their ties with Armenia. Upon a question about the Cyprus problem, Mr Davutoglu said that the policy they follow in Cyprus is not a short-term tactical policy but a sustained peace policy which will last for the future.

    In addition, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (16.11.09) reported the following from Madrid:

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reacted Monday to the Polish speaker of the European Parliaments statement that Turkish culture has no place in Europes cultural heritage. I am a bit surprised by this statement because it does not fit with the European mentality, Davutoglu said in an address to the New Economy Forum in Madrid. I can give you a hundred reasons why Turkey is part of European culture.

    Parliament Speaker Jerzy Buzek made the remarks in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais. Lets say Turkey gave up on its membership aspiration Do you think all European cultural challenges would be solved? Davutoglu asked. Introducing a unified European culture and excluding the rest is wrong.

    You cannot understand the history of at least 15 European countries without exploring the Ottoman archives, the Turkish foreign minister added. One cannot understand the European cities of Sarajevo, Belgrade and Thessaloniki without considering the Ottomans urban culture. The European Union should think more globally than continentally, Davutoglu said. We want a Europe open to all cultures.

    In his lengthy address to the Turkish and Spanish audience, Davutoglu said the world must restore the global political, economic and cultural order for the well-being of the future of humanity.

    On his last day in Spain, Davutoglu went to Barcelona to re-open a Turkish consulate in the city. Turkey had operated a consulate there between 1925 and 1981, but was forced to shut it for economic reasons.

    [08] Davutoglu met with his Spanish counterpart; Turkeys EU process and Cyprus role were top on the agenda

    Under the title, Blockage of EU environment chapter angers Turkey Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (16.11.09) reported the following from Madrid:

    Plans to open more negotiation chapters in the EU accession negotiations are being thwarted for political reasons and Turkish leaders are fuming. Turkeys Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking to the Daily News in Spain, says its not understandable. We are criticized by the Europeans for not being fast enough, but is it because of us or them?

    Some European countries reportedly intend to block the opening of the environment chapter of Turkeys European Union-accession negotiations for political reasons, infuriating Turkish officials.

    We are faced with political blockage from some countries on the opening of the environment chapter. Trying to block the process through political reasons is unfair, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review. Davutoglu spoke with the paper in Spain, where he held political talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. Spain will hold the next term presidency of the EU starting January.

    Turkey has been planning to open the environment chapter next month at the Intergovernmental Conference, making it the 12th out of 35 chapters opened as part of negotiations over the countrys EU membership candidacy. The EU has suspended the opening of eight chapters due to Ankaras resistance to opening its ports and airports to Greek vessels and aircrafts. France also unilaterally blocked five chapters, meaning one-third of the sections are untouchable at this time.

    Now, the Greek Cypriot administration has been blocking the opening of additional chapters, including those on energy and education and culture, drawing disappointment and fury in Turkey. We are talking about cooperating on the energy security of Europe but we cannot open the chapter on energy because of the Greek Cypriot veto. Its not understandable, Davutoglu said.

    Noting that the same EU member state has also blocked the opening of the chapter on education and culture, the Turkish minister indirectly blamed EU countries for being passive on the issue. We are criticized by the Europeans for not being fast enough, said Davutoglu. But is it because of us or the EU countries approach?

    The minister also criticized the discouraging attitudes expressed by Europeans. In the beginning of the negotiation process, we were told that the chapter on environment was one of the hardest to open, he said. But we fulfilled the opening criteria in less than a few months time. Instead of encouraging, they indirectly discouraged us.

    In his lengthy talks with Spanish officials, Davutoglu repeated his complaints about this situation and asked for the removal of the blockage. The Spanish government is optimistic on the opening of the environment chapter, a diplomat told the Daily News.

    Turkeys chief negotiator, Egemen Bagis, also discussed the issue with representatives of the current term president, Sweden, last week.

    We are also confident that this chapter will be opened, but such efforts to hinder the process through unrelated political reasons cause psychological effects, another diplomat said. But we should not totally be discouraged. We should continue our job with all determination.

    Davutoglu was also received by King Juan Carlos of Spain.

    Subtitle: Spain weighs in on Cyprus

    During Sundays talks between Turkish and Spanish delegations, bilateral issues as well as Turkeys EU perspective and the Cyprus issue were discussed.

    According to diplomats, Spain will try to move forward with the opening of the chapter on energy during its presidency. Turkish officials also mentioned the chapters that are ready to be opened, but have been suspended due to the Greek Cypriot veto.

    Moratinos, who has very close personal ties with Greek Cyprus, is thought to be able to help in overcoming the problem.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Moratinos described Turkeys full membership as strategic for both parties and promised that his countrys term presidency would do its best to make the process irreversible.

    Subtitle: Cyprus on Spains radar

    The ongoing talks to reach a just and sustainable settlement in Cyprus will also be an important matter during the Spanish term presidency. As it has become obvious that it is very unlikely, the parties will agree on a blueprint before the end of the year, very crucial discussions in regard to the future status of the island will be held during Spains term. We believe that the situation is appropriate for a solution. We are going to use all our creativity and experience toward a possible settlement, Moratinos told reporters after his meeting with Davutoglu in Cordoba.

    Despite the fact that the unification talks are being held under the auspices of the United Nations, Turkey is trying to push the EU to put more pressure on the Greek Cypriots to come up with a blueprint as early as possible. Next spring, the Turkish Cypriots will vote to elect their president, making early next year a target date for many for the deadline of the talks. The Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, are avoiding rushing to an agreement in order to first see the European Councils decision on the fate of the negotiations with Turkey. The council will review the negotiations on the basis of its 2006 decision after Turkey refused to open its ports to Greek Cyprus.

    [09] Turkey to be guest of honour at the European Education Fair in France

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.11.09) reported the following from Paris:

    Turkey will be the guest of honour at the European Education Fair to be held in France's capital of Paris. The fair is scheduled to take place at the Versailles exhibition and fair rooms between November 19 and 22.

    Individuals planning to receive education or do internship in Turkey will be informed about the opportunities in Turkey at the Paris fair. French students and teachers living in Turkey will share their experiences with the visitors of the fair. EU's Erasmus educational program will be introduced at the fair as well. The French Ministry of National Education is a sponsor of the fair.

    [10] Abdullatif Sener criticizes Erdogan

    According to a report by Akin Bodur in Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (16.11.09), Turkey Party leader Abdullatif Sener criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for preserving the status of parliamentary immunities for fear of being exposed for corruption himself. Sener said: The prime minister is ensuring that the immunity files continue to gather dust on the shelves because he knows that if these files are discussed his turn will also come. Sener also criticized the prime minister for relying excessively on foreign capital and for ignoring the economic crisis.

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Turk professor of history analyses the current Foreign policy of Turkey

    Todays Zaman newspaper (17.11.09) publishes the following interview with Professor Ali Arslan:

    Question: How do you see Turkeys increased interest in the Middle East?

    Answer: Although Islam is generally regarded as the religion of Arabs, it was the Turks who made it a global religion. Islam is a global religion and a global power today thanks to the Turks. The Turks took this religion out of the Arab Peninsula where it was contained and carried it to Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Arabs always asked for help from the Turks when they encountered difficult situations. The Turks always protected Islam against external threats. The Crusades mainly tried to destroy Arab Muslims.

    Question: So you say that Turks have turned Islam into a global religion?

    Answer: It was the Turks who saved the Arab world from the Crusades in 1092 and prevented the Crusaders from achieving political domination in the region. After 1492, Spain and Portugal turned their eyes to the Middle East. In 1508, the Portuguese conquered Hormuz and Muscat. They even attempted to move the Prophets grave to Europe in 1512. Faced with the Portuguese conquering Medina and Mecca, Turkey took action. Realizing that the Portuguese, who were trying to take hold of the Suez region, would beat the Mamluks, Ottoman Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim started a military campaign against Egypt. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the Mamluks cooperated with the Venetians.

    Question: Looking at Turkeys foreign relations today, is this the first time since the Ataturk period that it has achieved the correct balance of relations?

    Answer: Yes. Turkey seized another big chance after the end of World War II. In 1945, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen set up the Arab League. Turkey welcomed this step, and the Arabs appreciated Turkeys stance. No problems arose when Syria became independent. In fact, during that time there was not even any mention of the Hatay problem. Syria said it accepted any agreement signed by France on its behalf, and Turkey instantly recognized Syria.

    Question: Why did relations start to change?

    Answer: The Cold War era ruined this climate. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] demands for Turkish lands and rights concerning the Bosporus Straits pushed Turkey into the arms of the US. Stalin made one of the biggest mistakes in his life, and until March 1, 2003, Turkey was never able to act independently of the US.

    Question: Do you think the rejection of the March 1 bill --when the Turkish Parliament rejected a motion to allow the US to base troops in Turkey in order to wage war in northern Iraq-- was a milestone?

    Answer: The March 1 bill had a huge role in these developments. Ever since the 1950s, Turkey constantly generated a foreign policy that was oriented toward the US. March 1 was the first time Turkey took a stance against the US in an incident that involved the US. The rejection of the bill renewed the image of Turkey in the eyes of the Arab world, which had seen Turkey as the USs second partner in the Middle East after Israel. Turkey showed for the first time that it could act independently.

    Question: Looking back, would you say there was a change in this foreign policy after the end of the Republican Peoples Partys [CHP] single party administration?

    Answer: No. [Ismet] Inonus policies were continued by the Democrat Party [DP]. Meanwhile, as NATO was being established, there were plans to set up a command post in the Middle East. While the UK wanted this post to be in Egypt, the US wanted it to be set up in Turkey. Unfortunately, at this time Turkey was still siding with the UK. Turkey failed to choose the right side once again. When problems started in Cyprus in 1954, Israel opposed Greeces interest in the island. But instead of allying with Israel, Turkey moved away from Israel. During the Suez Crisis, France and the UK attacked Egypt. Turkey announced that the UK and France had violated the law but held Egypt responsible. Thats not all; Turkey also had a negative reaction toward Israel.

    Question: How do you explain Adnan Menderes rapprochement with Russia?

    Answer: Menderes is someone who paid the price of adopting an anti-Soviet policy domestically while strengthening relations with the Soviets in the realm of foreign relations at time when Turkeys relations with the Arab world were deteriorating with his own life. Between 1960 and 1980, Turkey was very confused about its foreign policy.

    Question: How long did this confusion last?

    Answer: After the 1974 Cyprus peace movement, Turkey developed a new foreign policy and defence doctrine. The reason for this was the arms embargo imposed by the US. This doctrine, which was prepared by [Bulent] Ecevit, aimed to free Turkey from its dependency on a single source in the field of defence. Ecevit decided that developing good relations with neighbours was the most powerful method of defence, instead of investing heavily in arms. Ways to develop joint weapons production with Iran and Libya were sought. Turkey tried to free itself from dependency on a single source until 1983. Even Kenan Evren, who staged a coup with support from the US, went to Moscow for weapons negotiations.

    Question: Is that what gave birth to the idea of a Turkish defence industry?

    Answer: Turkey started taking steps to produce its own weapons in 1983 with Turgut Ozal, who appeared to be a pro-American figure. Ozal applied to the customs union saying: Since you see me as inside the Western bloc then I want to be represented in an all-Western institution. I want a right to speak. His application was denied in 1989. Turkey signed its biggest water agreement with Syria in 1987.

    Question: What does Turkey want to do now?

    Answer: In fact, Turkey wants to take advantage of the chance it has. Turkey, which has been focused on its EU membership bid since the end of Cold War, has been deliberately kept away from this club by the EU itself. The US sought to become influential in the region; but its attempts failed. The US now has no power to control the region. It is encountering serious problems; the new power balance in the Pacific significantly affects the US. A Southeast Asian union is being created. This new formation will include China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and India. When this entity fully emerges, a new economic basin will be dominant. The US is not in a position to show interest in the Middle East.

    Question: But the opposition parties argue that this role of engaging with the Middle East has been given to Turkey by the US?

    Answer: Is Turkey doing all this hand-in-hand with the US? No. To me, Turkey is seizing the opportunities presented to it. The US explained that it will withdraw [from Iraq]. During this withdrawal, everything in the region will concern Turkey. There is some correlation between Turkeys eagerness to be involved in regional affairs and the USs intention to withdraw. But this does not necessarily mean that the void is being filled. The US is reducing its influence in the region, but its sphere of influence will not disappear entirely. Maybe someday it will re-emerge. I think the foreign policy pursued by this government has some similarities with the style followed by Ataturk. The strength and power of every actor in the region has been taken into account, and a constructive relationship based on the recognition of mutual interests is being developed with every country in the region. Turkey is aware that without good relations with countries such as Iraq, Syria and Iran, it will experience negative impacts resulting from the developments taking place there.

    Question: What the West fears of most is the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran.

    Answer: This relationship should not be misinterpreted. Any development regarding Iran may affect Turkey; Iran is a critical country, any move of which may affect the entire region. This is not acceptable to Turkey; for this reason, Turkey is taking measures [to improve relations with Iran], Iran needs us and Turkey needs Iran.

    Question: What would you say about the deteriorating relations with Israel?

    Answer: It is not true that Turkey has given up on Israel. Turkey points to the wrongful actions by the Israeli government, not the state of Israel. The prime minister threatens the Israeli administration, not the Israeli state. He made some protests against its evil actions. Reasonable officials and authorities in Israel say what our prime minister says. Turkey will never try to destroy the Israeli state. It is the only Jewish state in the region. Its actions imply that it does not want the survival of any state in the region other than Israel. This is the actual source of the problem. Turkey wants the creation of a Palestinian state that will survive.

    Question: Have you observed a growing anti-Israeli sentiment among the public?

    Answer: It is impossible that anti-Semitism will emerge in Turkey because of cultural reasons. This is just impossible. Turks embraced 500,000 Sephardic Jews in 1492. They did Jews the greatest favour in the early 1900s. In Europe, Jews were viewed as members of a nation that should be totally annihilated; they were subjected to inhumane treatment and persecution, including exile. The British and the French carried out such brutal campaigns. Most people believe that only the Germans committed massacres against the Jews. However, the others engaged in ethnic cleansing before the Germans. Even though the Ottoman state was aware of the Jewish communitys ambition to have a separate state, the Ottoman Empire reserved living spaces for the Jews in Bursa, Izmir and other areas. The current public reaction against Zionism in Turkey is due to the Palestinian question. However, this reaction cannot be viewed as anti-Semitism.

    Question: Do you think the EUs attitude is also influential in Turkeys eagerness to become more active in the region?

    Answer: The status of privileged partnership offered by some EU countries resulted in disappointment for Turkey. Turkey is not a country that will agree to second-class membership. The EU actually pushed Turkey away with these actions. It would not be proper for Turkey to accept this offer. The EU has made Turkey suffer; most EU countries still oppose Turkeys fight against terrorism. Even the US wants the [Kurdistan Workers Party] PKKs second-highest ranking man because of his involvement in drug smuggling --not for crimes of terrorism. In such an environment, Turkey is pursuing a multidimensional foreign policy consistent with the current state of the world. And it does so quite properly; so Western actors have no right to argue that Turkey is giving up on the West. In such a case, Turkey is entitled to even launch an Antarctica initiative because it has realized that it has to act this way in a global world.

    Question: Some call this neo-Ottomanist policy

    Answer: Neo-Ottomanism is not realistic; there is neither the will nor the power to conduct neo-Ottomanist foreign policy. The Ottoman Empire was dominant in the region because of global competition. The peoples in the region needed the Ottomans. Currently, Turkey has no potential to become a global actor. Also, the Middle Eastern countries looked at the Ottoman state through the lens of an Islamic perspective. However, the same countries now have a nationalistic perspective and approach. Most of these countries enjoy large oil revenues. It is not feasible to expect that these countries will embrace Turkey as they did the Ottoman state. For this reason, neo-Ottomanism is not an achievable goal.

    Currently, Turkey relies on tactical Ottomanism. If it pursues an Ottomanist policy, Turkey will be unable to expand its sphere of influence. However, because there is no other argument that will put an emphasis on cooperation, the Ottoman state has become the main frame of reference; the countries in the region have a common past and history. Making reference to the coexistence in the past is not neo-Ottomanism.

    [12] European diplomat comments on the growing number of disagreements between Turkey and the USA

    Under the title, Disagreements outweigh agreements in US-Turkish ties, says diplomat, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.11.09) published the following report by Serkan Demirtas:

    The growing number of disagreements over global and regional affairs between Turkey and the United States signals a bumpy road to Washington, D.C., for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in early December.

    The deterioration in ties between the two allies was obvious during Philip Gordon's trip to Ankara last week. At a press conference held here, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs hinted that there were more points of disagreement than of agreement with Turkey.

    As Gordon put it, the diplomatic agenda shared by the two NATO allies is vast, ranging from Iran's nuclear program to the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and from Sudan to energy-security projects. Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama will review all of these issues during their December meeting, Gordon said. The positions of the two countries on some important international issues can be summarized as follows:

    Iran

    Iran is the issue on which the two countries' views differ most. Underestimating the concerns of the West over Iran's controversial nuclear program, Erdogan has argued that these concerns were just gossip. He also declared that, as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Turkey would not endorse potential sanctions against Iran.

    In his very diplomatic answer on this topic, Gordon tried to emphasize that the two countries were still working on the issue and seeking ways to move forward. But, he said, in an indirect message to the Turkish leadership: It's not a good thing to make business at the moment with Iran. Iran needs to be assured that it has to cooperate with the international community; otherwise, it will face consequences.

    Turkey and Iran signed multibillion-dollar energy agreements last week despite strong opposition from Washington. Gordon said Thursday that Turkey's engagement with its neighbours was neither surprising nor concerning, but also noted Washington's expectation that Turkey would share U.S. concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

    On the very recent idea of storing Iran's enriched uranium in Turkey, Gordon said it was a good one to explore, adding that Turkey would be a safe and secure location for such a purpose.

    Sudan

    Although Turkey avoided a visit to Istanbul from indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir through a last-minute interruption, Erdogan's denial of Darfur atrocities by saying a Muslim can never commit genocide caused international reaction. When asked his thoughts on Erdogan's statement, Gordon, in another diplomatic twist, said, We have been clear with what's going on out there and called on the international community to act together.

    Karabakh pre-conditionality

    It was the United States that most supported the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia. Reiterating Washington's backing of the process, Gordon said: We'd like to see the move forward for the ratification of the protocols and implementation... and the opening of the border.

    But for Gordon, Turkey's move to put the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict before the ratification of the protocols is not correct. We do not link the two issues, he said. Turkey and Armenia moving forward is a very positive development and should not be linked with anything else.

    Turkey-Israel

    The cooling in ties between Turkey and Israel is another concern for the United States. Americans watch closely Turkey's relations with its neighbours, Gordon said, adding that the U.S. believes that the Turkish government's zero-problems-with-neighbours policy should also include Israel.

    Energy security

    Turkey's recent deals with Russia, facilitating Moscow's target of realizing the South Stream project to block the U.S.-backed Nabucco natural-gas pipeline, are seen with concern in the West.

    Afghanistan

    According to Gordon, the ideal example of Turkey-U.S. cooperation is seen in Afghanistan. We value Turkey's very positive contributions, he said. There are some issues [on which] we have disagreements, but in Afghanistan we have similar points. It is a global area [where] we are working very closely. When asked about troop contributions from Turkey, however, Gordon said, All countries should do more with regard to Afghanistan.

    Changing axis

    Gordon said the current debate about whether or not Turkey's axis has been changing from West to East is an exaggeration. Adding that Turkey still has significant relations with the West, he said, We're not always saying same things, but that's why we have an open dialogue with our Turkish friends.

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 16 November 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 16 November 2009:

    a) Wiretapping of top judiciary officials

    In Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol criticizes, in his article, the wiretapping of prosecutors and judges, arguing that a jurist who believes that he is being followed cannot work with a "free conscience." Akyol asserts that "examples of prosecutors and judges who act on the basis of ideological biases destroy the trust in justice." The thought of being monitored, be it at the instructions of Justice Ministry inspectors or any other prosecutor, would perturb any jurist, Akyol says. Under the law, Akyol recalls, if there is no evidence of crime, the prosecutor must inform the subject that he was wiretapped, that no evidence of crime was observed, and that all recordings are being destroyed. Akyol proposes that the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate be responsible for this procedure. Moreover, he says, the fear of being sued by people who were wiretapped "without probable cause" will urge prosecutors to be more careful in their decisions.

    Also referring to the wiretapping of the top judiciary officials in a column in Milliyet, Riza Turmen underlines the consequences of such action for democracy. Turmen states that the pressure on the judiciary is not limited to the wiretapping incident alone, bringing as an example the recent investigation launched by the Justice Ministry inspectors against Osman Kacmaz, Sincan court president, and Omer Eminagaoglu, president of the Judges and Prosecutors Association. Turmen says: "If the political administration exceeds the limits of democracy and attempts to adversely affect the independence of the judiciary by resorting to methods such as pressure and intimidation, democracy will be shaken to its foundations." Referring to the close connection between the judiciary and democracy, Turmen says that "if one task of the judiciary is to bring about justice, its other task is to safeguard democratic values."

    Writing in an article in Milliyet, Mehmet Yilmaz also criticizes the justice minister for disregarding the laws and directives with regard to the wiretapping incident. Remarking that evidently, there was no probable cause concerning the monitored judges and prosecutors, Yilmaz maintains that even if the permissions to wiretap were given on the basis of a "wide interpretation of the law," they do not comply with "the conscience of the law." Moreover, he says, those who were monitored were not notified by the pertinent authorities after the wiretapping failed to incriminate them, as is required by law. Yilmaz also calls on those who do not cease to speak about democracy and individual freedoms to raise their voices against this abomination of the law, saying: "our constitutional freedoms and rights are not the toys of certain prosecutors."

    b) Ergenekon Case

    Taraf publishes in an article the text of the letter sent by a second officer to the Ergenekon case prosecutor Zekeriya Oz and other officials, alleging a cover-up in the military investigation about Colonel Dursun Cicek. The letter is accompanied by many documents allegedly produced by the military.

    Taraf also carries three separate reports revealing some of the contents of the "Appendix [Lahika]" or "Action Plan" that was reportedly put into action by the military in September 2007. According to these reports, the General Staff was planning to slander nongovernmental organizations that oppose it, to order a public opinion poll conducted by its proponents whose results were prepared in advance, and to shoot two films one on fundamentalism and the other on terrorism.

    A report in Vakit entitled "TSK is the real big brother," asserts that according to the latest "tip-off letter" sent to Ergenekon prosecutors by a military whistleblower, the Turkish gendarmerie command has been keeping tabs on "almost everybody" from politicians and tradesmen to religious communities and NGOs. The report also criticizes what it describes as exaggerated allegations that the Government is intercepting the phone conversations of members of the judiciary.

    Under the headline, "Scandalous documents come out of third letter by whistleblower," Zaman carries a front-page report which asserts that the latest letter sent to Ergenekon prosecutors by a "second" whistleblower in the TSK includes documents from the computer of Navy Captain Dursun Cicek, who was released some 43 hours after he was arrested a second time recently on charges of plotting against the Government, testifying to how the military has been keeping close tabs on ethnic groups across Turkey, how it perceives democracy, peace, and equality as "threats," how it has been conducting psychological operations through bodies like the Kemalist Thought Association, etc.

    c) The Kurdish problem

    Milliyet carries an interview with Democratic Society Party leader Ahmet Turk by Devrim Sevimay on the government's Kurdish overture and the latest parliamentary debate on the subject. In the interview, Turk asserts that "we will not be the ones to block this process." He talks about the steps that must be taken by the government, the importance of Kurdish-language education, the party's approach to the PKK, the attitude of the opposition, and the relations with the Iraqi Kurds.

    Yusuf Kanli argues in a column in Hurriyet Daily News.com that the government is "dancing on thin ice" with regard to the Kurdish overture and the democratic measures it plans to implement. Kanli questions whether the government will be able to bring about these ambitious changes without damaging the republic.

    Under the banner headline, "Makhmour hopeful, Qandil worried," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the recent return of a group of PKK militants from the Makhmour Camp in northern Iraq to Turkey with impunity has created a wave of excitement among some 12,000 "Turkish citizens" living under difficult conditions at the camp, causing concern among the PKK leadership based on Mount Qandil. According to the report, some 30 PKK terrorists sent to the Makhmour Camp from Mount Qandil recently "went out of their way to prevent those wanting to return Turkey from doing so" by warning that they would be arrested and sent to prison if they surrendered to Turkish authorities.

    In an article entitled "The transformation of the paradigm", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay discusses the importance of what he describes as a major change of paradigm whereby the Turkish state has started to recognize the Kurds as Kurds. He cites the state-owned TRT's establishment of a Kurdish language television channel as a key development in this process, adding that the "new paradigm" has been consolidated by the recently announced plan to open Kurdish language and literature departments at universities and restore Kurdish place names in the southeast.

    In an article entitled "Who is ready for a Kurdish solution?", Today's Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that the Opposition as represented by the CHP and the MHP is using the Kurdish initiative as an opportunity to "fan the heat of Turkish nationalism instead of contributing to the solution of a long-standing problem ..." He goes on to argue that under the circumstances, the onus is on the ruling AKP and the DTP "and for that matter on the PKK and all the progressive forces of the country in and outside Parliament" to press for the settlement of the Kurdish problem.

    Finally, according to a front-page report entitled "Ocalan to surrender with 100 people," Osman Ocalan, the brother of imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan, will be turning himself in to Turkish authorities together with some 100 followers after the religious festival at the end of this month. Osman Ocalan parted company with the PKK some five years ago, the report says.

    d) Foreign policy issues

    In an article entitled "There is something cooking in the region" in Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru, writing under the pseudonym Taha Kivanc, comments on "interesting" developments involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meetings this month with US President Barack Obama and French President Nikolas Sarkozy in light of a more recent DEBKAfile report on a "secret" meeting in Amman that brought together representatives from the intelligence communities of four countries, to wit Jordan, the United States, Israel, and Egypt. Koru cites certain particulars about the Obama-Netanyahu meeting --such as the absence of any photographs showing the two leaders together and Obama's remark in response to the Israeli leader's question of what was next on his program that he was going to tell bedtime stories to his daughters-- as indications of a lack of full correspondence between US and Israeli interests during Obama's term as US president. He claims that Israel, Jordan, and Egypt do not feel as strong as they used to in the region and that Israel is looking into exploiting the latter's concerns as a means of persuading them to take a common stance against Turkey's efforts to establish a regional axis with Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

    EG/


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