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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-11-23
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 221/09 21-23.11.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Christofias and Talat made a general review of the negotiation processIllegal Bayrak television (20.11.09) broadcast the following:
Cyprus talks resumed with organizational matters today. TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias met for another round of talks which focused mainly on a general review of the negotiations process. Technical teams from both sides were not present at todays meeting held between the two leaders, their special representatives and the UN Special Representative to Cyprus.
In a short statement at the end of todays meeting, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative to Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun said that the leaders had held a thorough and constructive discussion on the negotiations process and its substance. The two leaders had a retrospective analysis of the process, both of whom were very satisfied with, he said.
The UN Special Representative added that such review meetings will continue to be held periodically from time to time. He also reminded that the two leaders will be discussing the issue of aliens, migration and citizenship when they meet again next Tuesday on the 24th of November. Zerihoun also announced that the two leaders will meet on the 1st and 3rd of December for more talks.
Yesterday President Mehmet Ali Talats Special Representative Ozdil Nami and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias Aide Giorgos Iacovou finalized the list of the various categories of properties in question. Speaking to the BRT newsroom, Mr Nami said they completed their convergence paper on the Property issue with the completion of the list. However, the most difficult stage comes when the two representatives start working on ways of providing remedy to property matters according to their classifications. This stage will be given a start after the holy Kurban Bayram of the Islamic world which is next week.
 Talat to travel to the UK early DecemberIllegal Bayrak television (20.11.09) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has described todays meeting with the Leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Demetris Christofias as very useful. He told the press on his return from todays round that they discussed issues of convergence and disagreement about the negotiations process in general. Pointing out that their special representatives Ozdil Nami and Giorgos Iacovou will be intensifying their discussions, President Talat said that another estimate of the current situation at peace talks will take place after a few more meetings. Mr Talat added that the differing positions of the two sides regarding the thorny issue of property were also taken up during todays meeting. He reminded that convergence has been reached on the property issue regarding the list of categories only.
Responding to a question on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans offer to hold a quintet summit on the Cyprus issue, the President noted that the Greek Cypriot side is a bit neurotic about this issue. Yet he said, parties concerned will have to come together while negotiating the Chapter on Security and Guarantees.
Announcing that he will be holding a series of contacts in UK at the beginning of December, President said a meeting with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown might be added on the agenda.
Answering another question on the news that documents belonging to the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer were stolen, Talat expressed the view that the goal here might either be to blackmail Mr Downer or to make negotiations collapse.
 Eroglu in Turkey; He believes that the Cyprus problem will not be resolved by April 2010Illegal Bayrak television (21.11.09) broadcast the following:
Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Dervis Eroglu does not expect to come up with a political settlement in Cyprus by April next year. It doesnt seem possible to resolve the Cyprus problem by the 10th of April next year and our goal here at this point must be to protect the TRNC state, the Premier said.
Mr Eroglu, who had held contacts in the Turkish town of Kayseri, made his statements at a conference organized by the Anatolian Young Businessmens Association, entitled The Cyprus Negotiations and the future of Cyprus. In his address to the audience, Prime Minister Eroglu said the ongoing negotiations process is neither the first nor the last one, and expressed the view that the two sides in Cyprus seem far away from the point of an agreement. There is no common stance owned by the two sides regarding the issues of territory, governance, map, property and the guarantors, he went on saying.
Attaching importance to the embargoes imposed on the Turks of Cyprus, Mr Eroglu said the European Union has a responsibility in that. Today, the Prime Minister moved on to Istanbul for another series of contacts.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (22.11.09) broadcast the following:
Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was not established as a joke and it has an equal status with the Greek Cypriot Administration with its law, democracy and human rights.
Speaking at a gathering in Istanbul last night, Mr Eroglu stressed that the TRNC is standing strong with a support provided by motherland Turkey and Turkish Armed Forces. Berlin Wall has been given as an example to the Turks of Cyprus and from now on walls should be demolished in Lefkosia. Two same peoples built the wall in Germany and it has been demolished by the same peoples. However there is not a wall in Cyprus and there are two separate peoples, religions, languages and races. TRNC will be continued and Greek Cypriots will accept this reality, Mr Eroglu said.
Referring to ongoing negotiations process, the Premier said Greek Cypriots have unlimited demands but the TRNC is in safe hands with the support of the Turks of Cyprus, Turkey and Turkish nation. Explaining that the National Unity party (UBP) is in power as a majority government to protect the national unity in the country and to protect the existence of the TRNC, Mr Eroglu said his government is in favour a solution which will not turn the island back to the old days.
 The occupation regime is exerting efforts to develop its ties with Abkhazia. Oya Talat participated in a forum in AbkhaziaUnder the title, The ties with Abkhazia are to be strengthened, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (23.11.09) reports that Oya Talat, spouse of the Turkish Cypriot leader, went to Abkhazia on Thursday accompanied by businesswomen where she participated in the Economic Forum which took place at Pitsuna city of Abkhazia. Oya Talat went to Abkhazia upon an invitation she received from officials of the Abkhazian Republic. Participants from different countries such as Russia, Armenia, the occupation regime, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan and Nakorno Karabakh participated in the Forum, writes Bakis.
According to the paper, Mrs Oya Talat attended a luncheon which was given in her honour by the spouse of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, Marina Sonia and on the same day, she delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the Economic Forum.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the forum, Sergey Bagapsh, President of the Republic of Abkhazia expressed his satisfaction from the fact that Oya Talat is exerting efforts for cooperation with the state and the people of Abkhazia and added that their desire is for the economic and diplomatic ties of the two countries to be strengthened.
Delivering a speech at the forum, Oya Talat thanked the Abkhaz officials for their invitation and hospitality and stated, inter alia, that they are ready to share their experiences for developing of the cooperation between the two countries.
She then informed the participants about the political and economic situation of the occupation regime, the working conditions, the status of the Turkish Cypriot women, the tourism and the universities of the occupation regime and the developments in the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus.
Mrs. Oya Talat stated, inter alia, that our island is too small to be divided. She then stressed the need for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and added that it is important to leave the hostilities which were created in the past behind and look to the future.
Referring to the Turkish Cypriot economy, Mrs. Oya Talat said that the economy of the occupation regime is progressing and that many large investments not only local but also from abroad are being made. She also added that as a result of the diplomatic ties with Abkhazia, several businessmen are contemplating to do business in Abkhazia.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (23.11.09) in its front page and under the title The ties between the TRNC and Abkhazia are strengthened reports that the delegation from Abkhazia which paid an illegal visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus for the celebrations on the anniversary of the illegal establishment of the occupation regime, departed from the island satisfied after their contacts there. The paper reports on the statements made by the deputy speaker of the Peoples Assembly of the Republic of Abkhazia, Mrs. Agrba Irene. Evaluating their contacts to the correspondent of the illegal TAK prior to their departure, Mrs. Irene stated that they wish for the development of the cooperation possibilities.
She then stated that during their stay in the occupied area of Cyprus they held very beneficial contacts. Regarding the situation in the occupation regime, she said that the situation in the TRNC is much better than the situation in Abkhazia during the period of 1990 when Abkhazia came out from the war.
In the end, Mrs. Irene said that she hoped to see Mrs. Oya Talat to the presidency of her country.
 The National Youth Wrestling Team of the occupation regime participated in the International Youth Wrestling Team in Kosovo and entered the country with the passports of the occupation regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.11.09) in its sports pages and under the title We entered Kosovo with the TRNC passport, reports that the TRNC National Youth Wrestling Team went to Kosovo the previous days in order to participate in the International Youth Wrestling Championship which will last for one day. According to the paper, the Turkish Cypriot team passed from the passport control of the airport in Kosovo with the passports of the occupation regime without facing any problem. The paper writes that national teams from different countries such as Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo and FYROM will participate in the Championship. The paper adds that the flag of the occupation regime was hoisted to the mast together with the flags of the other countries. The national youth team of the occupation regime is expected to return to the occupied areas of Cyprus today.
 The results of a symposium regarding the status of the breakaway regime to be collected in a bookIllegal Bayrak television (22.11.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The Association for Protecting the TRNC, which held a symposium entitled The Status of the TRNC, has announced that the statements of the three-day symposium will be collected in one book. The board of directors of the association held a press conference today and announced the results of the three-day symposium.
Evaluating the results, the President of the Association, Mr Nejat Kocaismail, said: Throughout the history, states would only be destroyed by wars and added that as the TRNC is not in such a danger, what we have to do is to maintain the existence of our republic forever. Mr Kocaismail also said that the result of the symposium showed that the TRNC is a legitimate state and it should be continued forever.
Also speaking during the press briefing, the Coordinator of the symposium, Prof. Ata Atun, pointed that the symposium attracted a great attention and announced that the final statements of the symposium will be collected in one book. Mr Atun also added that this book will be published as the first publication of the Association and the second phase of the symposium will be held in the coming days.
 The Independent Commission on Turkey made statements in Istanbul on Friday; Cyprus among themTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (20.11.09) reports the following:
The notion of giving Turkey a privileged partnership instead of meeting its European Union (EU) ambitions is fading away, members of the Independent Commission on Turkey said in Istanbul on Friday. The commission, which consists of nine prominent European politicians and statesmen and is chaired by Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has completed its two-day visit to Turkey.
With clear support from Germany, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has continuously objected to Turkey's entry into the European Union and has instead offered an alternative framework to regulate Turkish-EU relations, called a "privileged partnership." Turkey has repeatedly rejected this motion, saying its goal is full EU membership.
During their visit, commission members met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis and discussed Turkey's accession process. For the first time, they also came together with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal.
Both Germany and France are giving signals indicating they want Turkey's EU process to continue despite their earlier talk about privileged partnership. The perception of privileged partnership is gradually and fortunately fading away, said Hans van den Broek, former foreign minister of the Netherlands.
Ahtisaari said there should not be discussion on other alternatives to Turkey's membership in the EU. Our message is clear. We have to do what we promised to do when Turkey got candidate status in 1999. The decision of the European Council was that Turkey is a candidate country destined to join the EU on the basis of the same criteria applied to other candidate states, he said.
Advocacy of a privileged partnership for Turkey appears to be a populist excuse to deny Turkey access to EU political mechanisms, Albert Rohan, former foreign minister of Austria, added.
Subtitle: Cyprus showdown
The result of ongoing negotiations on a solution in Cyprus will largely decide the course Turkey's EU accession negotiations take in 2010. The commission considers non-solution harmful for both sides. Van den Broek noted if Greek Cypriots reject the proposal this time too, as they did in 2004, it will show where the problem lies. If we look back to 2004, we all know Turkish Cypriots accepted the Annan Plan and the Greek Cypriots rejected it, van den Broek said. If the outcome is a failure and one concludes it has again been Greek Cypriots that have not been flexible enough and can be accused of not having worked toward a solution, then pressure on Cyprus within the EU will increase.
Since the writing of the commission's most recent report this summer, development in Turkey has continued in the right direction, Rohan said. Turkey and Turkish society are coming to terms with the perennial problems it has had regarding relations with Armenia, Alevis and the question of Christian communities, he said. That such taboos are disappearing and that in Turkey everything can be discussed is extremely encouraging.
Rohan added that solving the problems Turkey's Christian minorities are facing would have a huge positive impact on the country's image abroad. Christian minorities in Turkey face difficulties in, for example, training priests. This is a minor problem for Turkey because the numbers involved are very small. But it has a huge impact abroad, he said. The opening of Halki seminary, for instance, would be tremendously symbolic for the many Christians in Europe. We advocate that the government focus on these issues."
 Number of Friends of Turkey in the US Congress reached 104Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.11.09) reported the following from Washington:
The number of Congressmen, who are members of Congressional Caucus on Turkey at U.S. House of Representatives, exceeded 100.
Ali Cinar, an official from Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), told A.A on Friday that four new members joined Congressional Caucus on Turkey in the last two weeks. Cinar added that the number of members reached 104, which was a record. He said that Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp, Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon and Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy were the members who had recently joined the Caucus.
 Survey shows Turkeys popularity in the Arab world rising after AKP came to powerAnkara Anatolia news agency (20.11.09) reported the following from Istanbul:
Turkish government's course of policy in the Israeli-Palestinian war has heightened expectations in the Arab world that Turkey should assume a more effective role in solving conflicts in the Middle East, results of a survey has shown. The survey on "Turkey Perception in the Middle East" was conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation in seven Arab countries among 2006 interviewees in July.
The survey showed a growing awareness for Turkey in the Arab world after 2002 when the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party came to power as 79 percent of all participants and 89 percent of the interviewed Palestinians had said Turkey should engage in mediation efforts.
Over 75 percent of the interviewees said they had a positive view on Turkey and 80 percent of them said Turkey treated the Arab countries well. The elaboration of Turkey's foreign policy toward the Middle East especially during the AK Party government has created an awareness for Turkey among the people in the region, said Prof. Meliha Altunisik from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Altunisik said Turkey was perceived as a constructive country that contributes to stability and its role in the region has been boosted in a constructive way. This is a very positive result.
The Turkish scholar said the lifting of visa requirement between Turkey and Syria had also contributed much to the positive perception. Visa exemption between Turkey and Syria is very important in the sense that it strengthens cultural ties and it shows how far Turkey has come, Altunisik said.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist claims that the relations between the EU and the so-called government are in strainTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.11.09), under the title A ban from the government to the EU, published the following commentary by columnist Aysu Basri Akter:
For some time now, signals are coming that the relations between the EU and the government are in strain and that there are serious troubles for putting into practice EU projects.
One of the latest developments in this front-line is that the government did not approve the distribution of EU diaries prepared in order to be distributed to EU schools.
The government from its side conveyed to all interested sides an official rejection answer! Now it is expected how the EU side will react to this!
The government, which objected to the participation in an education seminar in the Czech Republic which was published in the press last week, stretched its relations with the EU. Andrew Rasbash, the Chief of the Turkish Cypriot Desk of the European Commission, in a letter he sent to the government, noted that this behaviour is unacceptable.
In reality, he wanted to say that this government has no EU vision and culture.
Because, while all the appointments were made, obtaining contacts with all high officials, completing the procedures for flights and accommodation months before, the government created a quite difficult situation by not providing permission to the participants.
Both a serious material loss and a serious diplomatic crisis were created with this tactlessness.
In fact, this education seminar, which was on the environment, in a sense was also a part of the EU harmonization process.
Rasbash said that in the period of the previous government from 2006, 832 specialists came to North Cyprus, these specialists worked with 2559 Turkish Cypriots and in the context of these works 380 conferences and workshops were organized.
These are extremely important numbers!
It is an important indicator of the will of those who do not recognize the TRNC to create the EU membership within the whole island by developing the relations with the Turkish Cypriot community. And we say the EU did not keep its promise, but we create a position many times where ourselves become an obstacle to the side which tries to implement its promise.
The European Commission supports these efforts with the Turkish Cypriot side in a determined manner, despite the policy and pressure of the Greek Cypriot side which is alone EU member and is trying to prevent these efforts when it can.
These works are no doubt being held also with Turkeys support in a sense as a state project. Important distance is covered with the harmonization process in a very short period by benefiting from the examples of works that were held in Turkey.
The works for harmonization with the Acquis which began in March 2008, in coordination with Brussels, were completed in a short time, passed from a similar process to the screening processes that were applied in member countries. The package was passed from the Council of Ministers and the related laws were sent to the parliament.
As envisaged, all the legal arrangements should be done by 2011 and whether there is a solution or not the Turkish Cypriots should be legally EU citizens.
However, neither the assembly has such an agenda, nor there is such time until the end of 2010.
First, there is the election process of the presidency and after the local elections and the holidays of the assembly!
In this programme, these laws may be out of date. Only in 2009, a total of 48 laws and 35 regulations were passed. But it seems that the government has not such an agenda.
On the contrary, the government is preparing a Draft Bill which binds the international relations and benefiting from international funds to the Council of Ministers decision.
And it makes the existence of the EU Coordination Centre which implements all these works meaningless by rendering it ineffective.
These actions create anxiety whether the implementation of the Financial Aid Regulation Package will continue or not of which the amount of 61% from 259 million euro was used.
The Republic of Cyprus passed from the harmonization process in a ten-year period and became an EU member. In this process, it benefited from the EU funds. The north part of the island did not go through such a harmonization process.
However, with the political situation created after the referendum the northern part of the island started the EU harmonization process and for this reason the way was opened to benefit from the funds in the framework of works. A great success was achieved.
This is not a government initiative but it was a state project, belonging to the top level, if there is.
No, if the National Unity Party (UBP) government accepted that there was no state, it would continue according to this and do as itself knows.
And contradicting their own statements in fact they are not in favour of the EU, and they will appear opponents and marginals of the EU.
However, a government, which proceeds with imposing its own authority so indifferently and in a quarrelsome manner, causes a lot of damage by betraying the will of a community which approves and aims for the EU.
 From the Turkish Press of 20, 21 and 22 November 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 20, 21 and 22 November 2009:
a) On a new plan to oust AKP codenamed Cage
Under the headline, "Two admirals in cage," Yeni Safak (20.11.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that two retired admirals, A. Feyyaz Ogutcu and Kadir Sagdic, have turned out to be the architects of an operation called "Cage" planned by a "pro-junta" group within the Naval Forces Command in a bid to unseat the ruling AKP.
Under the headline, "A plan to finish off Turkey," Zaman (20.11.09) carries a front-page report which provides a detailed summary of a new "action plan" called "cage" prepared by a "pro-junta" group within the military. According to the report, the plan, which has been disclosed by the Taraf daily, entails keeping tabs on non-Muslim groups, using threats to dissuade subscribers to the Agop daily from buying this newspaper, kidnapping businessmen and artists, carrying out assassinations and bomb attacks, and claiming responsibility for these acts on behalf of reactionary groups so as to point an accusing finger at the ruling AKP and cause it to lose international support and become isolated.
Under the headline, "Junta planned to discredit AK Party with non-muslim assassinations," Today's Zaman (20.11.09) runs a front-page report which asserts that according to evidence seized in the office of Retired Major Levent Bektas, "an Ergenekon suspect," "a junta nested within the Naval Forces Command" drew up a plan called "the Cage Operation Action Plan" to "assassinate prominent non-Muslim figures and put the blame for the killings on the governing of AK Party."
Under the banner headline "Give information to Kasimpasa!" Yeni Safak (21.11.09) carries a front-page report which highlights a report published in Taraf newspaper yesterday which alleged that a group within the Turkish Naval Forces Command devised a plan entitled "Cage" to send parcel bombs to some leaders of the Greek and Armenian minorities in Turkey in order to pave the way for toppling the government.
In an article entitled "Kill minorities and win over the West," in Zaman (21.11.09) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici says that the plan allegedly drawn up within the Naval Forces Command was primarily aimed to turn the West against the ruling Justice and Development Party by assassinating the leaders of non-Muslim minorities in a bid to show that Turkey is moving toward Islamo-fascism. He asks: "How could waging war against their own government and society and killing their own citizens in a bid to get the West's approval for their coup plans be described as a policy upholding independence and nationalism?"
A report entitled "Junta had more munitions to carry out Cage Action Plan" in Today's Zaman (21.11.09) highlights the alleged plan aimed to discredit the AKP and the list of weapons which the plotters were planning to use to assassinate prominent non-Muslims.
In an article entitled "You may call them 'Heartless Killers' but they are not crazy," in Sabah (22.11.09) columnist Emre Akoz says that the masterminds of a plot allegedly devised by a group within the Turkish Naval Forces Command in a bid to discredit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) by assassinating some leading figures in non-Muslim minorities are actually trying not to lose their power and privileges by using Ataturk and secularism as a pretext.
In an article entitled "Collateral", in Yeni Safak (22.11.09) columnist Fehmi Koru details what he presents as some of the acts of violence planned as part of the recently disclosed "Operation Cage" in a bid to set the scene for a military takeover in Turkey. He cites the revelation of this plan as a confirmation that the fact that the era of military coups in this country is over does not mean that would-be putschists will never attempt to throw the country into chaos in order to achieve their aims. He also draws attention to the civilian casualties planned in the operation and asserts that the thwarted plot shows how easy it is to become "collateral damage" in this country.
In an article entitled "Leave the thief alone, catch the informant", in Vakit (22.11.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, for filing a complaint with prosecutors against the Taraf daily over its disclosure of an alleged coup conspiracy called "Operation Cage" instead of starting an investigation against the elements within the military accused of preparing this plan and making "plausible" statements in response to Taraf's allegations. He also calls on "patriots" within the Republican People's Party, CHP, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) the Kemalist Thought Association, etc to realize that "your children" might have got killed in the sensational attacks planned as part of this conspiracy.
Under the headline, "Junta's ultimate goal was to seize control of politics," Zaman (22.11.09) publishes a front-page report which asserts that it has been found out that the newly disclosed military "action plan" called "Operation Cage" was intended to cause the ruling AKP to be voted out of power in the 2011 elections and to prevent the next president from being elected through popular vote.
b) Foreign Policy issues
In an article entitled "As many as 70 million people will have tabs kept on them", in Yeni Safak (20.11.09) columnist Ibrahim Karagul continues to comment on the implications of what he describes as preparations by the United States and the EU to sign a security agreement on 30 November that will allow US intelligence units to monitor EU citizens' personal financial data. He draws attention to reports that FBI Chief Robert Muller has asked Ankara also to provide the United States with Turkish citizens' "biometric data." Warning the Turkish government against agreeing to this demand, he claims that sharing such information with Washington would mean causing Turkish citizens to be treated as "potential terrorists" and that "it would be the worst thing to do to future generations to allow a nation to become the victim of global security paranoia." He also asserts that there is reason to be sceptical about the truth of reports that Ankara has rejected this demand.
In his commentary entitled "Is Turkey drifting or navigating?" in Hurriyet Daily News.com," (21.11.09) Ilhan Tanir prescribes "a recipe for the Western world to gain Turkey's self-willed support, if, as it seems, they are sincerely concerned by the recent developments taking place in Turkey." Starting with the relations with Syria, Tanir recounts the interviews that were conducted with the "three former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, Marc Grossman and Ross Wilson, on the daily news program 'Studio Washington'" in which he also took part. Noting that "all three praised Turkey's warm relations with Syria, and implied that these improved relations could be used for peace in the region," Tanir adds that "contrary to just a couple of years ago, many in the U.S. capital and other Western countries have also come to view Turkey's better relations with Syria as a way to help achieve a normalization process in Syria and soften its rogue regime slowly amid various bilateral openings and economic incentives. Finally, this relationship is also being viewed as a possible tool to further break Syria's ties with Iran to stop causing various conflicts in the region. Turkey, as a next-door neighbour of both countries, got into the game early and employed its presence well, both for its own sake as well as for peace in the region." As to Turkey's relations with Iran, Tanir writes that "Turkish diplomats genuinely believe that they can also engineer a crack in the ice between Iran and the West, and finally play a problem-solver role."
In his commentary entitled "Davutoglu's Ahmedinezhad test" in Milliyet (22.11.09), Semih Idiz speculates whether the ground of the "hasty" visit by Foreign Minister Davutoglu's visit to Iran and his meeting with Iranian President Ahmedinezhad is for the purpose of "mediation." Pointing out to the mounting tension in the West after Iranian refusal to store its uranium in Russia, France, and Turkey, Idiz adds: "In the event that Davutoglu cannot persuade Iran on the uranium issue, Turkey will find itself between the hammer and the anvil, and in a difficult situation vis-a-vis the West, to which it still thinks it belongs. The first repercussion of this, in turn, will be felt by Prime Minister Erdogan during his visit to Washington."
In his article entitled "Turkey will need to make a decision soon," in Milliyet (22.11.09) columnist Kadri Gursel sees that imposition of additional sanctions on Iran in 2010 seems to be a strong possibility. He asks: "Will Turkey, which is a member of the UN Security Council, vote in favour of the sanctions or prefers to abstain? Let us suppose that the Security Council did not approve a resolution on sanctions. In that case, sanctions could be imposed by a Western coalition made up of the United States and its allies as well as the EU. Would Turkey support that coalition or side with Iran instead? Whatever Turkey's decision may be, it will have effects on its relations with the West or Iran and also entail a price to be paid. It remains to be seen what kind of a price Turkey's leaders will prefer to pay."
In an article entitled "Is the US in for a shock?", in Vakit (22.11.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin comments on the "panic" in the United States and among its "collaborators" over the possibility of a nuclear assault by al-Qa'ida. He cites US and European efforts to collect the biometric data of the citizens of certain countries and FBI Chief Robert Muller's recent visit to Turkey as being among the indications of heightened concerns over a major al-Qa'ida strike, which was recently voiced by former CIA official Michael Scheuer. Bilgin argues that the terrorist threat facing the United States is the result of Bush administration policies based on advice provided by "bloody-handed" men like Henry Kissinger as well as of Washington's failure to listen to warnings that "a military campaign against Afghanistan would create ten thousand more Usama bin Ladins." He also calls on US President Barack Obama to draw "lessons" from the consequences of US policies toward Islamic countries that have been "provoking sentiments of revenge and hatred" against the United States and not to delay implementing "peace strategies."
In an article entitled "Why can we not do what Spain did?", in Milli Gazete (22.11.09) columnist Mehmet Sevket Eygi argues that Spain can set a viable model for Turkey as a country illustrating how to switch from an authoritarian regime to a liberal one. He also defines the "main principles" of "Turkey's very powerful, ruthless, and unscrupulous dominant ruling minority," thus: "1. Ensuring the continuation of the official ideology. 2. Making sure the official ideology has priority to the law, the Republic, the state, and national identity and culture. 3. Not letting the official ideology become the subject matter of any debates. 4. Not allowing any debates to take place over certain historical personages who are treated as idols by the official ideology. 5. Making sure the historical discontinuity [dividing Turkey from the Ottoman period] remains, etc.