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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-11-25

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. 223/09 25.11.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Christofias and Talat held their 54th meeting
  • [02] Talat: A new initiative on the Cyprus issue is not expected from Turkey
  • [03] Talat informs the Turkish Cypriot political parties about the ongoing negotiation process
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot Northern Travel Ltd tourist agency signed an agreement with an Italian tourist agency for bringing tourists from Italy to the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [05] Sunat Atun held contacts with the president of ESBA
  • [06] The Turkish Cypriot Footballtenis Federation became a member of FIFTA
  • [07] EU Troika Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Istanbul 26 November
  • [08] Turkey, EU negotiating visa issuance ease in return for immigrant deal
  • [09] Turkey and Israel sign Joint Economic Committee Memorandum
  • [10] Turkish Parliament speaker opens Moscow office of the Dialogue Eurasia Platform
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Columnist in Milli Gazete sees the islamization of Europe in the next 25 years as unavoidable and analyses his views on what muslim sect should dominate Europe
  • [12] From the Turkish Press of 24 November 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Christofias and Talat held their 54th meeting

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.11.09) broadcast the following:

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias came together at another meeting today with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem. The issues of aliens, migration and citizenship were on the agenda of todays meeting.

    In a short statement following todays meeting, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun told reporters that the two leaders had a very fruitful meeting and they will resume talks on the issue when they come together again on Tuesday, the 1st of December. He also said that the two leaders will be determining the schedule for their upcoming meetings when they meet next week. Zerihoun also said that the senior aides of the two leaders Ozdil Nami and Giorgos Iacovou will meet next Tuesday and Friday to take up the issues of economy and property.

    Speaking to reporters upon his return to the Presidential Palace, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that they had found the opportunity to reassess views put forward earlier on the issue of aliens, migration and citizenship. The President also said that the Turkish side maintained its position that the issue of Turkish origin TRNC citizens was not subject to debate or bargaining. The Greek Cypriot Side however is insisting on limiting the number of people who became TRNC citizens after 1974. Our fundamental principle is the continuity of administrative decisions taken before a settlement, after a settlement, said Talat. He also said that the Greek Cypriot side was also presented with examples from other countries concerning the issue of citizenship.

    [02] Talat: A new initiative on the Cyprus issue is not expected from Turkey

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.11.09) broadcast the following:

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat said the aim is not to remove the TRNC but to exalt and integrate it with the rest of the world. Referring to the negotiations process Mr Talat said that the negotiation will not be ceased unless an extraordinary situation comes out.

    Speaking to TAK news agency, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that despite moving forward slowly, the negotiations process is taking progress adding that they came closer on many issues despite failing to reach a compromise on many issues. There is not a deadlock, negotiations are continuing, I am hopeful and we are working with a good intention, but this does not only depends on us. We need an intensified negotiations process, he added. Mr Talat also stressed the need for contributions by the international community especially the United Nations.

    Touching upon the publics approach to the negotiations process, the President said that the peoples reluctance over a solution does not affect the negotiations process but he added that people should be aware and provide support to the process because people will give the latest decision and approve the agreement reached.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.11.09) reported the following:

    A new initiative or a breakthrough on the Cyprus issue is not expected from Turkey, Turkish Cypriot (KKTC) leader Mehmet Ali Talat told the Turkish Agency-Cyprus (TAK) on Tuesday, adding, Turkey has done what it could do already. Any withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Cyprus will make Greek Cyprus more uncompromising during the peace talks on unifying the island, Talat said.

    Talat also stated that the peace talks should be accelerated and intensive efforts are necessary to get tangible results from the negotiations, which aim to find a lasting solution to the protracted conflict in Cyprus. He also added that other states and institutions interest in and contributions to the peace process will certainly make a solution inescapable.

    The negotiations will not be halted if an extraordinary thing happens. If the negotiations fail, then it is important to see the treatment of both sides, Talat noted. When asked of the prospects of a new initiative or a breakthrough from Turkey, Talat said Turkey will not start an initiative on Cyprus. What else Turkey can do? The closed ports for Greek Cypriot ships are impossible to open. They talk about withdrawing the Turkish army. How does this relate to the peace process? In this stage, a withdrawal of the army will only harm the negotiation process.

    [03] Talat informs the Turkish Cypriot political parties about the ongoing negotiation process

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.11.09) broadcast the following:

    TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat is briefing political parties with seats in the Parliament, on the course of the Cyprus negotiations process. The President has began holding another series of meetings with political party representatives as from today to exchange views on the progress achieved so far at the talks being held with the Greek Cypriot side with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat met with representatives from the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) today. Mr Talat will also meet with representatives of the Democrat Party (DP) at 18:30. He will also hold meetings with the main opposition the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG), the Socialist Democracy Party (TDP) and the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) later in the week. Last week, President Talat informed and listened to the views of the TRNC MPs during a special parliamentary session, regarding the current stage at Cyprus peace talks.

    In the meantime, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (25.11.09) under the title, Three party meeting at the presidency, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with the self-styled prime minister and chairman of UBP, Mr Dervis Eroglu, and the Foreign Minister and MP with UBP, Mr Huseyin Ozgurgun. The meeting took place at the presidential palace and it was held in the framework of Mr Talats contacts with the political parties which are represented in the assembly, in order to inform them about the latest developments in the negotiations process.

    Speaking after the meeting, the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu stated, inter alia, that during the meeting they expressed to the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat their views regarding the issue of Governance and Power Sharing and they were also informed about the proposals of the Greek Cypriot side on the issue.

    Replying to the questions of reporters, Mr Eroglu stated also that they did not discuss with Talat the draft law regarding the salaries and other benefits of the workers in the public sector, which was approved the day before yesterday by the assembly. Asked whether the law will be approved by the president, Mr Eroglu said that this is a decision to be taken by the legal experts of the presidency after consulting with the attorney general.

    Asked to comment on the statements made yesterday by the British Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant during his press conference, that he is optimistic regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr Eroglu said: As a person who follows the negotiations which continue in Cyprus for years, I heard these words a lot of times, I hope that it will be the first and the last time I hear these. Mr Eroglu stated also that it is natural for the UK, which is a guarantor power in Cyprus and has relations with Cyprus due to its bases, to wish and be optimistic about the solution.

    Mr Eroglu stated also that they too are in favour of the solution; however, he said there is no issue which has been agreed at the negotiations until yesterday. In the end, he said that it is important that Mr Bryant expressed his good will about the Cyprus problem and added that it is necessary for those who are interested in the Cyprus problem to announce which side is intransigent regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (25.11.09) reports on the meeting of the British Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant, with the prime minister, Dervis Eroglu, and writes that the meeting took place at the British High Commission in Cyprus and lasted for approximately 45 minutes. The British High Commissioner Peter Millet and the director of press of the prime ministry, Metin Beyoglu, attended the meeting. No statements were made after the meeting.

    (AK)

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot Northern Travel Ltd tourist agency signed an agreement with an Italian tourist agency for bringing tourists from Italy to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title, 7200 tourists to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.11.09) reports that in spite of the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration, the number of the tourists from Italy who will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus during 2010 through the Northern Travel Ltd tourist agency, is 7200.

    According to statements made to the newspaper by Erhan Ozerden, director of the Turkish Cypriot Northern Travel Ltd tourist agency, their tourist agency signed an agreement with Prima Classes Company which is a tourist agency in Italy, for bringing tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2010. Ozerden said that according to the agreement, the Turkish Cypriot Airlines will bring 7200 tourists to the Ercan airport [illegal Tymvou airport] with 44 scheduled flights during 2010.

    The director of Northern Travel Ltd stated also that their efforts to bring tourists from Italy had been launched from the beginnings of 2009 and were prevented by the Greek Cypriot administration. However, he said, as a result of the efforts exerted by the two Italian MPs who got the TRNC citizenship, they finally succeeded in reaching to a positive outcome, that is, tourists to visit the TRNC in 2010.

    The paper adds that more information about the agreement between the two tourist agencies can be found in the Italian website Universalnews where the flag of the TRNC is also presented. In the website, the TRNC is presented as a paradise of tourism and the Turkish Cypriot Airlines as its national airlines.

    (AK)

    [05] Sunat Atun held contacts with the president of ESBA

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (25.11.09) reports that the so-called minister of economy and energy, Mr Sunat Atun, met yesterday with the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade, Mr Guney Cerkez, and the President of the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA), Ms Tina Sommer.

    During the meeting, Mr Cerkez said that they will inform the President of ESBA regarding the economy and the trade in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus as well as the problems and the difficulties that they have to face to cooperate with such kind of institutions inside the EU.

    The President of ESBA, Ms Sommer, said that she came to the island in order to see the situation in Cyprus. She also added that the centre of ESBA is in Brussels and it is an organization that helps small business to be developed. Ms Sommer noted that she will carry out contacts during her two-day visit in Cyprus.

    The so-called minister of economy and energy, Mr Atun, said that this kind of contacts and visits are really important for the economy because they help create ties with the outside world and contribute to imports and exports.

    (DPs)

    [06] The Turkish Cypriot Footballtenis Federation became a member of FIFTA

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.11.09) reports in its sports pages that the Turkish Cypriot Footballtenis Federation made an application for the European Footballtenis Federation Championship, which will be organized during 2011, to take place in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to the paper, the Turkish Cypriot Footballtenis Federation applied in May 2008 to FIFTA in order to become member. However, their request was rejected, writes the paper with the excuse that their documents were not complete. The paper goes on and writes that the Turkish Cypriot Footballtenis Federation finally became member of FIFTA in June 2009 after the ministry of Sports and the officials from the Sports department sent all the necessary documents. The paper also adds that the international congress of FIFTA for 2010 will be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    [Tr. Note: FIFTA is the federation of national associations or federations of countries where football tennis is played. The headquarters of the FIFTA is in Switzerland]

    (AK)

    [07] EU Troika Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Istanbul 26 November

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.11.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey-EU Troika foreign ministers meeting will take place in Istanbul on November 26. Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement and said a Turkish delegation, led by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, will represent Turkey at the meeting. Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for the EU talks Egemen Bagis will also attend the meeting.

    The statement said Turkey-EU Troika ministerial meetings take place during the rotating presidencies since the Helsinki Summit in 1999, when Turkey's candidacy status was reaffirmed. The previous ministerial meeting took place on April 21, 2009 in Prague.

    The statement said Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, the EU rotating president; State secretary for the EU, Diego Lopez Garrido of Spain, the next EU rotating president; EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, and European Council executives, forming the EU Troika, will attend the meeting.

    The statement said Turkey-EU Troika was the most important political dialogue mechanism with the EU. Turkish officials will exchange views with their EU colleagues about the reforms fulfilled by Turkey within the scope of membership process and the works that will be carried out in the future. The parties will also discuss regional and international developments, the statement said.

    [08] Turkey, EU negotiating visa issuance ease in return for immigrant deal

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.11.09) reported the following from Brussels:

    Turkey and the European Union are negotiating a readmission agreement for illegal immigrants in exchange for the facilitation of visa issuance for Turkish citizens seeking to visit EU countries, a top diplomat from the European Commission has said. Once we have a readmission agreement we will be very open to negotiating visa facilitation for [Turkish] journalists, academics, businesspeople and scientists to travel easily to the EU, the diplomat, who asked not to be named, told a group of Turkish journalists who are on a trip organized by the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey.

    It is estimated that every year almost 72,000 illegal immigrants go to Europe via Turkey, although Turkey apprehended approximately 65,000 illegal immigrants in 2008. The readmission agreement envisages sending immigrants back to their countries of origin via Turkey. This is certainly a critical issue, said the EU official. The EU and Turkey have long been at odds over the critical issue. The EU alleges that Turkey is not doing enough to tackle illegal immigration coming from the East, especially from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, claiming the country has failed to fulfil its promises to repatriate illegal immigrants who pass through Turkey and are later detained in EU member states. Turkey needs the assistance of the EU to establish a reliable system and to ease worries of whether all detained immigrants will be sent back after the agreement is signed.

    On the other hand, Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that the EU is not offering any substantive plan to share the financial costs. But according to the same official, a new round of discussions will be held on December 4 in Ankara for signing the readmission agreement between Turkey and the EU.

    The official stated that the EU as a whole, not individual member-states, is negotiating for the readmission agreement and that the EU is ready to share the burden. This is certainly a critical issue. The EU will grant support to Turkey to tackle the problem. We have expressed our readiness to look into all ways and means to help Turkey face this problem. Of course, we have budgetary limitations, but we are ready to help Turkey, the EU official said.

    The Turkish side complains that financial assistance from the EU for the repatriation of illegal immigrants heavily favours the Greek government. Approximately 70 Euros are provided to Turkey per person to offset the cost of readmission, hosting, processing and deporting to the country of origin. However, the EU gives 1,000 Euros per person to the Greeks.

    The discussion of illegal immigration has also strained Turkish-Greek relations, as Greece naturally is the first country entered by people who seek refuge after transiting Turkish territory. Turkey and Greece signed a readmission agreement in 2001 to manage the flow of people, but Athens claims the treaty is not working. Brussels siding with Greece on the issue recently received a harsh rebuke from Ankara.

    Another point of contention between Ankara and the EU over illegal immigration is that Turkey is excluded from treaties signed by the EU with third countries. For example, the EUs ongoing negotiations for a readmission treaty with Pakistan would impact Turkey, as most illegal immigrants from Pakistan choose to cross Turkey in their passage to the EU. Some experts underline that once there is a readmission agreement between Turkey and the EU, the flow of illegal immigrants to Turkey will decline since there will be the possibility of being sent back to Turkey if they are not accepted in Europe.

    According to the same top-ranking official there will be more advantages for Turkey if it signs the readmission agreement with the EU, the most important one being visa issuance facilitation for Turkish citizens. As soon as the readmission agreement is signed, we will offer many new opportunities in terms of visas for your compatriots wishing to travel to the EU, he underlined.

    The same source indicated that some member-states say they cannot consider any visa issuance facilitation with Turkey if there is no readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey. This issue will affect our bilateral relations, the official said.

    [09] Turkey and Israel sign Joint Economic Committee Memorandum

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.11.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Minister of Environment and Forestry Veysel Eroglu met with Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Binyamin "Fuad" Ben Eliezer in Ankara on Tuesday.Eliezer told reporters that they were aware of the importance of environment, adding that they were pursuing their activities by protecting the environment. Recalling that they held a water technologies and environment fair in Israel last week, Eliezer said that a Turkish delegation also participated in the fair. Eliezer added that they would be pleased to host Eroglu in Israel. Eroglu said that they wanted to further develop the relations between Turkey and Israel.

    Turkey and Israel on Tuesday signed Joint Economic Commission (JEC) 4th term meeting memorandum of understanding.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Turkish National Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul said the decisions taken within the scope of the meeting would add a new momentum to relations between the two countries. Gonul said Turkey would be in an effort to implement the elements included in the memorandum of understanding, I believe that Israeli party will do the same, he added.

    Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Binyamin "Fuad" Ben Eliezer expressed Israel's willingness to work with Turkey and deepen relations. Eliezer said he hoped Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak would soon pay a visit to Turkey. Israeli minister also said his country was willing to raise trade volume to 8 billion USD in 2 years.

    [10] Turkish Parliament speaker opens Moscow office of the Dialogue Eurasia Platform

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.11.09) reported the following:

    Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin opened the new office of the Dialogue Eurasia Platform (DAP) in Moscow on Tuesday. Following the 34th general meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) in Moscow, Sahin cut the ribbon at the opening of DAPs Moscow office. Sahin said there have been significant developments since the foundation of DAP 11 years ago, while speaking yesterday at the official opening of the Moscow office of DAP before leaving for Turkey.

    DAP is a very important platform attempting to solve problems among different religions and peoples through dialogue, Sahin said. I am here to attend PABSECs meeting and also the opening of the DAP Moscow office. I believe both of them have important symbolic meanings, he added.

    Noting that he believes DAP will continue to undertake important tasks, Sahin said he hopes this new venue will serve people successfully. I am also particularly happy to see my Russian friends here. I hope to meet them again in Turkey, Sahin stated.

    Speaking during the opening ceremony, honorary chair of the DAP, Rostislav Rybakov, said the work of the founders and those contributing to the platform serve the people. This will contribute to the education and morale of the new generation, Rybakov said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Columnist in Milli Gazete sees the islamization of Europe in the next 25 years as unavoidable and analyses his views on what muslim sect should dominate Europe

    Istanbul Milli Gazete Online (19.11.09) publishes the following column by Mehmet Sevket Eygi under the title Islamization of Europe:

    Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), a prominent German philosopher, said that the future looked bleak for the European civilization in his book entitled "The Decline of the West" (Der Untergang des Abendlandes." The book was published between 1918 and 1922. Europe looked very powerful in that period. A large part of the Muslim world had been colonized by the West. India was under British rule and Indonesia was a Dutch colony. Ninety-five percent of Africa was colonized. Spengler proved to be a far-sighted and sagacious philosopher.

    Why does the future look bleak for Europe?

    The first reason: Its population does not increase and, therefore, grows older. Young Muslim population will form a substantial part of European population in the next 25 years.

    The second reason: European culture and civilization are built on the pillars of Judaism and Christianity. Both of them are on the decline and getting weaker.

    The third reason: Europe is like a medallion. There is peace on one side and mischief on the other. Its mischievous character is gradually prevailing over the peaceful one. Today's Europe is a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. It has even outperformed it in terms of immorality and debauchery. Had Christians (whether Catholics or Protestants) who lived four centuries ago been told that religious marriage ceremonies would be held for gays in churches (in Sweden) in the 21st century, they would not have believed it and the person who said it would have been burnt alive.

    The fourth reason: Europe has lost ninety percent of virtues which made it strong and became egoist, hedonist, and materialist instead.

    The fifth reason: Its lack of religiousness. No society, country or culture can exist without a religion. The Soviet Union was built on an atheist ideology and regime and eventually collapsed. Churches in many European countries have been closed down due to lack of congregation and some of them were converted into mosques after they had been sold to Muslims.

    The sixth reason: If there is law and justice on one face of Europe's medallion, there is tyranny, exploitation, injustice, unfairness, and ruthlessness on the other.

    Terrorism would not be necessary for paving the way for the West's collapse. It is already collapsing and destroying itself.

    Many European countries will be populated by Muslims in the next 25 years.

    Europe has a powerful civilization and culture in addition to advanced sciences, techniques, and rules. Will Muslims be able to maintain the beneficial aspects of this civilization and culture?

    If Muslims who share the same mentality as Bedouins and affiliated with heretical groups, there would be a serious decline.

    In my opinion, Muslims who are members or supporters of Sufism and tariqas should dominate Europe. This is the only way to prevent disunity, social gaps, and pains of change.

    What kind of a tariqa and Sufism should they be? It should be a kind of Sufism which is one hundred percent loyal to Islam and sharia (free of heretical ideas).

    It was the hallmarks of the Ottoman state, peace, and system. It was flying and rising by two wings: sharia and tariqa.

    A Bedouin mentality which denies Sufism and tariqas and label them as blasphemous and polytheist; accuses Sufi Muslims of heresy and polytheism; calls tariqa saints as the saints of the Devil; and prohibits and prevents reciting Sufi litanies would make it difficult for Europe to convert to Islam, cause disunity, and cause pain and suffering.

    Europe should be conquered by spiritual conquerors such as Imami Gazali, Abdulkadir Geylani, Hasan es-Sazeli, Sah Muhammed Bahauddin Naksbendi, Mevlana Celaluddin Rumi, Imami Rabbani, Muhyiddin Arabi, Emir Abdulkadir Cezairi, and others.

    There is a stiff competition and conflict between Sunni Islam and Wahhabism / Selefism in Europe today. I hope that Sunnis, Sufis, and the members of tariqas will win the race. It would not be good at all if neo-Harijis, activists, and terrorists win.

    Tolerance and pluralism are key factors in today's (not yesterday's) European civilization and culture. Those values are also a part of Sunni Islam and Sufism. But, they are not among the characteristics of Ibn Teymiye, Muhammed ibn Abdilvehhab, and Selefis.

    The Ottoman Empire granted freedom of conscience and worship to all nation (religious communities) living under its rule and permitted them to preserve their identity, language, and culture because Ottomans had a Sufi culture.

    Muslims should select an adequate number of intelligent children and send them to the best schools and universities in the West (without compromising on Islam) in order to have well-trained people. If this is not done, unfortunate events would unavoidably be witnessed during the forthcoming cultural transformation which will be enormous and revolutionary.

    [12] From the Turkish Press of 24 November 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 24 November 2009:

    a) Foreign Policy issues

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli maintains that growing Islamist conservatism in Turkey and the frequent outbursts of Prime Minister Erdogan or some senior members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, against Israel have been crippling Ankara's potential "honest broker" or "mediator" role in the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab rapprochement process. Unless Ankara tones down its anti-Israel rhetoric and puts aside its emotional pro-Hamas policies, "Turkey will never grasp an opportunity like the 2008 'honest mediator' role it played between Syria and Israel," concludes the writer.

    Under the headline, "You will see this flag wherever you look," in Yeni Safak runs an "exclusive" front-page report which asserts that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has instructed his aides to choose the location of Turkish embassies abroad carefully so that French President Sarkozy will see Turkish flags wherever he goes. The report quotes Davutoglu as having said, "We are the neo-Ottomans" in explaining the state of Turkey's relations with its neighbours at the AKP's Kizilcahamam gathering yesterday.

    In an article entitled "Israel makes preposterous demands", in Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul takes issue with press reports asserting that Israeli Industry, Trade, and Labour Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer's visit to Turkey will set the scene for a Turkish-Israeli rapprochement. He argues that absent extraordinary developments that could change the regional and global state of affairs, the two countries could never revert to "the period in 1997 when they signed secret agreements intended to bring about radical changes in the Middle East." He also slams Ben-Eliezer for his "shameful" statement announcing that Israel will allow Turkey to continue to mediate in its dispute with Syria if Ankara agrees to restore bilateral relations between Turkey and Israel to their former status.

    In an article entitled "What is what", in Yeni Safak columnist Tamer Korkmaz comments on recent remarks by Ahmet Davutoglu that call attention to Turkey's "new foreign policy course independent of Washington." He claims that "neo-con circles" in the US capital are highly upset by the "shift of axis" in Turkey's foreign policy and cites a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled "A NATO Without Turkey" as an example of the kind of annoyance within the US Establishment caused by developments suggesting that "Ankara has been lost." He also argues that "deep" political circles in Washington must be pleased with Gareth Jenkins' "disinformation" campaign aimed at representing the Ergenekon investigation in Turkey as a government effort to suppress the Opposition because nothing could disconcert the White House more than the revelation that "the US-NATO axis" is the principal foreign supporter of the "putschist" network called Ergenekon.

    A report entitled "Visa regime with Lebanon to be ended, too," highlights Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's messages to Turkey at a meeting with a number of Turkish journalists yesterday. The report quotes Hariri as saying that Turkey's regional influence and importance have recently been increasing and that the first thing his government will do after obtaining a vote of confidence will be to end his country's visa regime with Turkey.

    In an article entitled "The sides are preparing", in Zaman columnist Fikret Ertan comments on what he refers to as an ongoing military exercise in Iran indicating that this country is bracing itself for a possible confrontation with the United States and Israel. He claims that it remains "a very strong possibility" that the United States and Israel will have recourse to military measures as a last resort to stop Iran's nuclear program.

    Bugun publishes an interview with former US State Department official David Phillips. In today's instalment, entitled "[Armenian] Diaspora not opposed to overture," Phillips asserts that the forthcoming Obama-Erdogan meeting will contribute to efforts to establish closer cooperation between the United States and Turkey in preventing Afghanistan and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    b) Internal Politics issues

    Assessing the rising tension regarding the government overture on the Kurdish issue in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol blames both the provocative actions of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) convoy in Izmir and the attack launched against the convoy. Viewing the meeting held by the Diyarbakir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DTSO) on the social, political, and economic effects of the overture over the weekend, Akyol dismisses the claims made by Diyarbakir Mayor Baydemir that the city is not developing economically and investors are not coming to Diyarbakir because the state has failed to invest in the city's infrastructure, arguing that security is the most important factor in drawing investors to the region as underlined by DTSO President Ensarioglu. In conclusion, Akyol writes: "Naturally, the state should launch an 'overture' to reduce the tension and to restore normalcy. However, this is insufficient. The Kurds who especially want economic development should pressure the PKK to lay down its arms. I fear that increasing the tension will, after a point, be disastrous for all."

    In an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila views the Izmir incidents and warns: "Great duties befall the leaders of political parties in this overture process. The atmosphere is tense, and it is conducive to provocations. Given this atmosphere, the leaders should be more careful than ever, and should act with common sense." Despite the violent terror that has been continuing for the last 25 years, the Turkish people have acted with common sense and have not succumbed to provocations and to a social clash, writes Bila, adding that the people, irrespective of their ethnic origin have continued to live in peace and to view the incidents of terror as belonging to the sphere of duty of the security forces. Bila continues: "Neighbours have refrained from disturbing one another. Those who are administering the country and the leaders should understand that this maturity is Turkey's greatest fortune. They should take this commonsense of the people as an example. The greatest threat for Turkey is for it to fall into the trap of an ethnic clash."

    In his article in Milliyet, Mehmet Tezkan criticizes DTP leader Ahmet Turk for focusing on the size of Abdullah Ocalan's cell in Imrali instead of concentrating on the measures taken by the government within the framework of the Kurdish overture. Tezkan writes: "Turk has brought the rights of Ocalan, who is incarcerated in Imrali, to the foreground. He said that the reduction of his cell from 12 to six square meters will block the Kurdish overture, as though this were the only problem. I asked yesterday, and I will ask again today. Is the Kurdish overture limited to the size of Ocalan's cell? Is it that simple? Does this mean that if a more comfortable place is provided for Ocalan PKK militants will lay down their arms and return to their homes? Has this huge Kurdish issue been reduced to six square meters?"

    Describing the closure case against the DTP as one of the minefields in front of the government's Kurdish overture in an article in Vatan, Bilal Cetin, based on the previous rulings of the Constitutional Court, views the closure of the party as a high probability. Speculating that with the closure of the DTP some of its administrators as well as its deputies will be banned from politics and some will even have to stand trial, Cetin continues: "Naturally, for the time being this development is nothing but a probability, albeit a high probability. If this probability turns into a reality, it will deal a heavy blow on the overture process. It will, at least, upset the current mild atmosphere." Wondering whether the DTP will accept such a court decision calmly and proceed on its path by establishing a new party or whether the PKK and the radical elements within the party will create tension, Cetin maintains that the government is unwilling to ponder on the DTP closure case and its consequences, concluding: "However, that case will inevitably be placed on the agenda and will be concluded. It is highly likely that the result will cause certain mines to explode."

    Viewing the relations between the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Alevi community in an article in Radikal, Oral Calislar claims that CHP deputy Onur Oymen's remarks on the Dersim massacre were the last straw that caused the Alevis to explode against the CHP resulting in the recent mass resignations in the Tunceli region. The Alevis who favour peace and solution have so far tried to ignore the Dersim realities and to tolerate the CHP stand on the Kurdish overture, claims Calislar, adding that Oymen's recent remarks have exacerbated the Alevi dilemma over the CHP. The writer continues: "The real face of the CHP under the leadership of Deniz Baykal and his team has been revealed. It very difficult to expect the Alevis to tolerate such remarks and to vote for a party that expresses such views. This is a deep wound. The togetherness of the CHP and the Alevis, which was not that sincere, has now received a very deep wound. These wounds have reached a point where they can no longer be cured. The Baykal team in the CHP administration is resisting against the realities, change, and peace. The continuation of the paradoxical unity between the CHP, which is defending the Dersim massacre, and the Alevis, who are the victims of that massacre, seems very difficult. One can see the end of the road."

    Criticizing the blackout imposed by certain dailies on "Operation Cage Action Plan" in an article in Taraf, Yasemin Congar argues that ignoring the realities will not make them disappear, adding: "Can you continue to live your life in peace by disregarding those that make plans against your tranquillity and your life?" Referring to Prime Minister Erdogan's accusations that the daily Taraf, which revealed Operation Cage, is conducting a campaign against the state institutions and eroding them, Congar questions whether respectability under the shadow of secrecy is nothing to a fake respectability and whether what erodes those institutions are the plans made against them or the revelation of those plans. Declaring that Turkey can no longer be administered with the culture of Soviet secrecy, Congar charges that institutions that depend on the silence of the media to preserve their respectability will be having a hard time in the future.

    In an article entitled "Democratization of Kurdish region: The Economic perspective", in Today's Zaman columnist Emre Uslu argues that a "functioning democracy" in the southeast is not possible "without a functioning economic structure" and that the Government's "Kurdish initiative" lacks the measures needed to address the region's economic issues.

    EG/


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