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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-07

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. 231/09 05- 07.12.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat said he dreams of a Cyprus which is fully independent and on which Turkey will not be present
  • [02] Talat replied to the questions of Turkish Cypriots living in London and said they are pursuing the exaltation of the TRNC. Plan B in case talks fail
  • [03] Details on the meeting the British Prime Minister held with Mehmet Ali Talat
  • [04] Eroglu said 400 thousand subscribers of mobile phones exist in the occupied areas of Cyprus; Columnist said the total population should be more than 500 thousand
  • [05] The self-styled minister of tourism explains to British journalists visiting the occupied Cyprus the realities over the Cyprus problem
  • [06] Turkey reportedly will present a new proposal on Cyrus after Erdogans meeting with President Obama
  • [07] The Turkish ambassador to London said their target is a new Republic of Cyprus
  • [08] Tatar said Turkey will contribute to the budget of the breakaway regime for 2010 the sum of $ 650 million
  • [09] Turkish Cypriot daily reports that the UN Secretary-General will visit Cyprus in February
  • [10] Turkeys Foreign Minister meets Alexander Downer in Washington
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 04, 05, 06 December 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat said he dreams of a Cyprus which is fully independent and on which Turkey will not be present

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.12.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has said that he dreams of a Cyprus which is fully independent and on which Turkey will not be present. Asked by Hatice Kilic, correspondent of the Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper on how is Cyprus in his dreams, Mr Talat said: Cyprus in our dreams is fully independent. An independent Cyprus where Turkey is also not present.

    Mr Talat noted that the members of Ergenekon organization use the Cyprus problem and argued that those who have created the Cyprus problem cannot solve it. He noted that one of those who have created the problem is the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas.

    Asked whether they agreed with President Christofias on a United Cyprus and what kind of state this will be, Mr Talat responded that they agreed and that the united Cyprus will be a federal state with two constituent states, one Greek and one Turkish. Therefore our possessions of today will not cease to exist, he noted adding that a new structure will exist.

    Asked who will be the president of this state, Mr Talat said that the leaders have not yet agreed on this and that they have only agreed on the rotating presidency. He reminded that the Greek Cypriot side suggested that the president should be elected directly by the people and the Greek Cypriot community should have the same influence in the election of the Turkish Cypriot president with the influence which the Turkish Cypriot community will have in the election of the Greek Cypriot president. For now we have not accepted it as principle, he added.

    When he was asked to comment on the statement made after their 53rd meeting by President Christofias who has reportedly said that they agreed with Mr Talat that the solution will be a federation with single citizenship, single international identity and without armies and that the Turkish army will never exist on the island, Mr Talat replied that this is an allegation and he does not think that Mr Christofias said such a thing. The demilitarization of the island means that no troops will remain except those that have been agreed in the Treaties of Guarantees and Alliance and those that we will agree, noted Mr Talat adding the following:

    However, as I understood, that day Christofias referred to the demilitarization of the island from the local troops, that is, the security forces and the Greek Cypriot National Guard will mutually be dissolved. That is, the United Cyprus will have no army. This is what he meant. And as I said, no troops will remain on the island except those provided for in the treaties of guarantee and alliance.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (07.12.09) publishes on its front page the interview of Mr Talat to Yeni Safak and commenting on it says that Talat lost his mind; he does not know what he is saying.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat replied to the questions of Turkish Cypriots living in London and said they are pursuing the exaltation of the TRNC. Plan B in case talks fail

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.12.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has met for three hours with and replied to the questions of more than 400 Turkish Cypriots living in London during his visit to the British capital upon an invitation by Britains Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

    Asked whether they will make the TRNC live, Mr Talat said that they are pursuing the exaltation of the TRNC not its recognition. He explained that by exaltation he means bringing it together with the world. He said: I find such a question to be very strange. The TRNC is the highest administrative organ created by the Turkish Cypriots. Is it ill and we say that we will make it live? It is wrong for us to see it as an entity of which we will be afraid and make it live. We are pursuing the exaltation of the TRNC, not its recognition... Those who hear this question will think that the TRNC is dying. Those who allege that the TRNC should be defended must not talk like that.

    Tension was created in the room when somebody from the audience referred to the meeting of Mr Talat with Prime Minister Gordon Brown noting that the Turkish Cypriots are not regarded as equal and that is why Mr Talat was received at the back door. Another person from the audience responded to him in a very harsh manner and the first person was taken out from the room by the security. After this Mr Talat said: I am not as courageous as the previous administrators. Those before me were more courageous. That is why our country is recognized and prosperous. I came here to see you, not Brown. However, if I make you quarrel, I will not come again.

    Replying to a question, Mr Talat said: Do not ask from us a policy which the world could not accept. That policy, returning to the past would be wrong. It brought no good for us.

    Mr Talat noted: The Cyprus problem came up because of the governance and power sharing. Not because of other issues. We should solve it in a sound manner. A full agreement was reached on judiciary. There is no obstacle. In the legislation there are two obstacles. There is an agreement in principle.

    The most fundamental issue we have not discussed is the transitional period. We have not yet taken this up. Important progress has been achieved on the economy. We agreed on issues such as what powers will each one have in the EU. A good progress was achieved on the issue of what decisions will the united Cyprus take on the EU affairs. We have carried out significant work on the issues which constitute the majority of the Cyprus problem. The territory is both the most difficult and complex issue. It is not an issue that will take a long time. There was a little progress on the property. It will take time. The picture on the Cyprus problem is roughly this.

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.12.09) reports the following from London:

    Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus had a Plan B in case peace talks to reunify the island with Greek Cypriots fail.

    We definitely have a 'Plan B' but I can not disclose it right now, Talat told a meeting with Turkish Cypriots living in the United Kingdom on Sunday.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias re-launched peace talks to reunify the island in September 2008. They have had over 50 meetings so far.

    Asked if there was an agreement with Greek Cypriot side on major topics, Talat said, there are some issues we have agreed on and there are some more we could not agree on. We need a give-and-take process to reach final agreements.

    He said talks would be intensified and expressed hope for progress, adding that Turkish Cypriot arguments were in line with UN parameters which did not cause a problem for Turkish Cypriot side in the international arena.

    Recalling that he had a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week, Talat said Britain, a guarantor power in the island, should play an encouraging and more important role as it was the country that could make the best diplomatic formulation of the problem. And I can say that I saw British officials are more interested when compared to the past, he said.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Details on the meeting the British Prime Minister held with Mehmet Ali Talat

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.12.09) broadcast the following:

    The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat is continuing with his contacts in London. Last night he met with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and exchanged views regarding the Cyprus issue.

    Addressing journalists after this meeting, President Talat said his meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown was very useful and noted that Mr. Brown was very interested in the Cyprus issue.

    Explaining that the issue of guarantees was on the agenda President Talat said: The continuation of the guarantee agreements meets our security needs and I have told this to Mr. Brown also.

    Prime Minister Gorndon Brown for his part issued a written statement after his meeting with the President to which he expressed his support to the progress made by President Mehmet Ali Talat during the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Meanwhile today, President Mehmet Ali Talat attended the inauguration ceremony of the Girne [occupied Keryneia] American Universitys Canterbury Campus.

    In the afternoon he met with Cyprus Turkish Students studying in Britain. Tonight he will attend a cocktail given by the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce.

    Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.12.09) reported the following from London:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as part of his visit to London.President Talat told reporters following the meeting that he informed the British Prime Minister on the ongoing negotiation process on the island.

    He asked me how Britain can assist the parties in this process and what contributions Britain can make to efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus issue. He told me that he would continue holding talks with all actors including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. He also pledged to make any contributions to the negotiation process, he said.

    [04] Eroglu said 400 thousand subscribers of mobile phones exist in the occupied areas of Cyprus; Columnist said the total population should be more than 500 thousand

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.12.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister and leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Dervis Eroglu has briefed journalists from Turkey on the Cyprus problem and the policy of his government during the past six months. He said, inter alia, the following: I got old watching these negotiations. My hair became white. It is said that we have reached close to the solution, but as a person who reads all the minutes, I could say that there is no agreement on any other issue than the judiciary. He said that if he wins the elections in April and there is no solution, the two states will continue their relations side by side. He claimed: We wish for the negotiations to continue with good will. However, from the moment they stop, the Greeks and the whole world should know that everybody should go his own way.

    Mr Eroglu said that from 2005 until 2008 Turkey granted to the breakaway regime an aid of $ 4 billion, while the EU only for 2009 secured to the Republic of Cyprus a credit of $ 3 billion.

    The paper notes, inter alia the following:

    Saying that the increase created in the consumption by the increasing population was reflected in the imports and the commercial life, that important developments were experienced in the air transportation, that the potential of the education and tourism which are the driving force of the country will grow and that the draft-law regarding a free zone in the TRNC, which has approximately 400 thousand subscribers of GSM mobile phones, was submitted to the Assembly in order to be materialized, Eroglu noted that income tax exemption, credits encouraging the exports and subsidy of 10% to the taxes on the employment will be provided to the firms that will be operating within the scope of the law and in this manner possibilities are offered on the advantages included in the free zones of the other countries of the area.

    Commenting on the statement of Mr Eroglu that there are 400 subscribers of mobile phones in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Mehmet Davulcu writes, inter alia, the following in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (07.12.09) under the title Cyprus is 1.5 million!:

    ...Very well, but the reality that 400 thousand mobile phone subscribers exist is there. The meaning of this is that the population living in the TRNC is in any case and under any condition more than 400 thousand. When it is considered that some persons from other parts of the society and mainly children do not use mobile phones, we come face to face with the reality that the total population of the TRNC is more than 500 thousand. Who knows, it may have exceeded 600 thousand. When we approach the issue knowing that the population of the Greek Cypriot side is more than 800 thousand, we reach to the conclusion that more than 1.5 million people are living in the entire Cyprus....

    Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (06.12.09) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have its own state and they are not doomed to an agreement. He also noted that the government is in favor of a solution, but the Greek Cypriot Administration should give the sense that it wants a solution.

    The Prime Minister has informed some Turkish journalists on the negotiations process. Noting that the negotiations have been continuing since 1968 and it should not continue forever, Mr Eroglu said this should be the last if failing to reach an agreement.

    Mr Eroglu also accused the Greek Cypriot Administration of aiming to block Turkeys way to the EU and make Turkey to recognize the so called Cyprus Republic with intrigues.

    Saying that negotiations have been continuing for years with the aim of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr Eroglu stressed that no agreement would be reached unilaterally and Greek Cypriots have not said yes to any agreement.

    Mr Eroglu also explained that according to public surveys 80 per cent of the people of the TRNC are hopeless for negotiations and 70 per cent of Greek Cypriots are against living together with the Turks of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The self-styled minister of tourism explains to British journalists visiting the occupied Cyprus the realities over the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.12.09) broadcast the following:

    Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture Hamza Ersan Saner met with British journalists who are in the republic as guests of the Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors Union.

    Journalists who write for important papers and magazines of Britain such as Times, Observer, The Guardian, Daily News and Cream of London were informed on tourism in the TRNC by the Minister.

    During the meeting, Mr Saner said that the visits by foreign delegations will help to properly explain the realities over the Cyprus issue.

    Noting that the Turks of Cyprus have been exposed to embargos and isolations in every field for many years as a result of the current situation formed after the 1974 peace operation, Mr Saner said that the tourism has been directly affected by the embargos.

    Reminding that every initiative taken for the improvement of tourism in the TRNC has been facing difficulties raised by the Greek Cypriot side, the Minister said that this is one of the most important problems in the country.

    [06] Turkey reportedly will present a new proposal on Cyprus after Erdogans meeting with President Obama

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.12.09) broadcast the following:

    Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey were working on a new project that would help achieve progress during the Cyprus talks.

    Mr. Ozgurgun who attended a working lunch with diplomatic journalists confirmed that the two countries were working on a project, but said that they still had to decide weather or not it would be put forward as a package as claimed by the press. The Turkish Foreign Ministry is in a dilemma on this issue, he added.

    A journalist asked Mr. Ozgurgun whether he would be informed about the package before or after Prime Minister Erdogan presents the package to US President Barack Obama on the 7th of December, Mr. Ozgurgun replied probably after.

    Ozgurgun said the United States supports any solution that is supported by the two sides in Cyprus and added that a plan that is prepared by someone else will not receive an outcome.

    Noting that the biggest problem of the government is that it is not amongst the Cyprus negotiations delegation, Foreign Minster Ozgurgun said there is difference of opinion amongst the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Presidency, the most important one being the beginning date of the Cyprus issue.

    Mr. Ozgurgun said that the Cyprus issue must be solved within the UN parameters and added that we will never give any concessions on Turkeys Active and effective guarantees over Cyprus.

    [07] The Turkish ambassador to London said their target is a new Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (06.12.09) reports that Yigit Alpogan, the ambassador of Turkey to London, told journalist Sami Ozuslu that the target o the Turkish side is the creation of a new Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Alpogan said, inter alia, the following: We are hopeful on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem in a short period of time. The meeting held the day before yesterday by President Mehmet Ali Talat with Prime Minister Gordon Brown is very important and a step forward. The fact that this meeting coincides with a period when the negotiations are being intensified and we expect a result is also very important.

    We want a new Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot State, the Greek Cypriot State and a new federation established by them. A new Republic of Cyprus. There will be no majority-minority. The hegemony of no one should exist. The political equality should be secured.

    A new balance was created after the EU Council took the decision on the isolation in Cyprus on 26 April 2004. On the one side there is isolation and on the other the opening of the ports. Nothing can happen on the one thing without something happening on the other. The balance will be spoiled.....

    The paper reminds that Mr Alpogan has been the first non-military General Secretary of Turkeys National Security Council.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Tatar said Turkey will contribute to the budget of the breakaway regime for 2010 the sum of $ 650 million

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.12.09) reports that the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar has said that Turkey will contribute to the budget of the breakaway regime for 2010 the sum of approximately $ 650 million. In statements to KIBRIS TV, Mr Tatar noted that this will be the biggest help given to the breakaway regime until today and thanked the Turkish government. Mr Tatar said that the money which should have been collected from the administrators of the bankrupted banks during the period 2000-2001 has not been paid to the state and added that this amount reaches to around $ 250 million.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkish Cypriot daily reports that the UN Secretary-General will visit Cyprus in February

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (05.12.09) reports that the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon will visit Cyprus in February 2010 after the intensified negotiations to be held by the two leaders in January in order to make the final retouching.

    In an article signed by journalist Mete Tumerkan, who cites information from the backstage in Ankara and Lefkosia, it is noted that the UN Secretary-General is expected to visit the island after joint invitation by the two leaders.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkeys Foreign Minister meets Alexander Downer in Washington

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.12.09) reports from Washington that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer as part of his official visit to the United States.

    The closed-door meeting took place at the Willard InterContinental Washington Hotel.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 04, 05, 06 December 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 04, 05, 06 December 2009:

    a) Obama-Erdogan meeting:

    In an article entitled "Iran test at the Oval Office," in Milliyet (05.12.09) columnist Sami Kohen predicts that Iran's nuclear program will be the number one issue to be discussed in a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on 7 December. Pointing out that the crisis caused by Iran's nuclear program may poison Turkish-American relations, Kohen comments: "The main issue is what Turkey would do if the United States attempts to push through a resolution to impose sanctions toward the end of this month. Its intentions will probably be sounded out at the Oval Office. This will be regarded as a test showing whether Turkey is acting together with the West about this very critical issue."

    In an article entitled "Ahmadinezhad made things difficult for Erdogan," in Milliyet (05.12.09) columnist Semih Idiz says that Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadenezhad's defiant attitude about his country's nuclear program will probably put Erdogan in a difficult position during his meeting with Obama because Turkey has taken a stance supportive of Iran's arguments. He also cautions that Turkey may face international isolation if it elects to vote against a possible UN resolution aimed to impose new sanctions on Iran.

    In an article entitled "Turkish-American relations will not be derailed," in Milliyet (05.12.09) columnist Hasan Cemal predicts that the Obama-Erdogan meeting will take place in light of common interests which, he notes, will help the two sides overcome their differences over Afghanistan, Iran, and other issues. Pointing out that Turkey is located at a critical part of the world where the United States is facing various problems, Cemal comments: "The United States, therefore, wants to see Turkey with a strong and stable democracy and economy on its side at this part of the globe."

    Commenting on the Obama-Erdogan meeting in his article entitled "Headed for the United States with Erdogan," in Vakit (06.12.09) columnist Serdar Arseven says that the Turkey is urging the United States to ensure that PKK leaders sheltered in northern Iraq are extradited to Turkey while the US Government has expectations about Turkey's role in Afghanistan. He says: "Of course the meeting is not expected to yield a result that could be satisfactory to both sides." Arseven also notes that the visit will also show whether or not Turkey's new policy aimed at increasing its influence and capabilities actually works.

    In a column in Milliyet (04.12.09), Sami Kohen examines the reasoning behind President Barack Obama's decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan.

    Arguing that Obama's new strategy aims to use "both hard and soft power" to counter the Taliban's dominance, Kohen says that Obama wants to show that this is not his war alone and has therefore asked for contributions from US allies.

    Kohen maintains that there is no likelihood that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will accept a possible request from Turkey to send combat troops to Afghanistan.

    Columnist Cengiz Candar pens a column in Hurriyet (04.12.09) on Erdogan's upcoming visit to Washington, its significance for Turkish-US relations, and the possible US request for more Turkish combat troops for Afghanistan. Arguing that this is a "routine" visit because "there has been a 'structural' change in bilateral relations parallel to the change in the world and this 'structural' transformation is linked more to the change in Turkey's 'identity' in international politics," Candar maintains that US-Turkish relations are beginning to normalize.

    Referring to the recent statements of US Ambassador James Jeffrey and US special envoy Richard Holbrooke regarding US expectations from Turkey on the subject of Afghanistan, Murat Yetkin comments on Ankara's position on sending more troops to that country. In his column in Radikal (04.12.09), Yetkin asserts that both the United States and NATO have begun to understand that Turkey cannot be seen as a fighting party in that region.

    In an article entitled "Are you greater than Alexander the Great?" columnist Ibrahim Karagul in Yeni Safak (04.12.09) comments on Barack Obama's newly disclosed plan on Afghanistan. He asserts that the US president's strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan is set to make nonsense of his peace messages to the world and particularly Islamic countries. He warns that any concessions that Ankara might make on its resolve not to send combat troops to Afghanistan would dramatically undermine the effect of recent initiatives by Turkey that have enabled this country to emerge as a "central" player in the region. He also asserts that "we do not see the war waged by NATO, the United States, and Britain on Afghan and Pakistani soil as legitimate and will never allow Turkey's regional influence to go to waste through involvement in this dirty war."

    b) Turkeys contribution to troop surge in Afghanistan:

    A report entitled "Mehmetcik will not pull the trigger" in Milliyet (05.12.09) says that Turkey plans to send around 50 soldiers who will make up a team responsible for training military forces and two teams for training police officers to Afghanistan. According to the report, Turkey will also train Afghan officers in Turkey.

    An article entitled "Are we bar bodyguards?" columnist Melih Asik in Milliyet (05.12.09) cautions that Erdogan may accept to send a Turkish combat unit to Afghanistan during his meeting with US President Obama in spite of official statements to the contrary. He says: "The ruling party is paying a sufficient price to the United States in return for remaining in power. That is enough."

    In an article entitled "AKP's Afghan dilemma," columnist Ali Sirmen in Cumhuriyet (05.12.09) argues that sending combat troops to Afghanistan in order to increase US influence over the region as part of what he describes as Obama's Pax-Americana would not be in Turkey's best interests. Asserting that developments witnessed in Iraq showed that such steps would consolidate US interests while hurting other countries, Sirmen says: "Would not the United States which is aware that Erdogan is reluctant to fight against the Taliban grow more suspicious about the AKP's new foreign policy which it is already watching anxiously after a negative response about combat troops? How could Erdogan, caught between the devil and the deep blue see, keep playing this game by sending combat troops while pretending that he is not? The AKP seems to be facing a dilemma in its relations with the United States because of Afghanistan."

    In a commentary in Zaman (05.12.09) entitled "The Axis debate and the Prime Minister's visit to the US", Associate Professor M. Vedat Gurbuz takes issue with the representation of recent moves by Ankara as a sign of change in Turkey's orientation from West to East. He argues that Ankara's latest initiatives mean that the Turkish foreign policy has assumed a multidirectional quality without losing its traditional essence. He goes on to assert that Turkey has established a new form of partnership with the United States under Barack Obama and that the Obama administration supports the same foreign policy principles as those espoused by Ankara. He also claims that Erdogan's forthcoming visit to Washington will prove the strength of Turkey's relations with the West.

    Neither can we manage without the United States, nor can the United States manage without us, maintains Akif Beki in an article in Radikal (06.12.09) on the eve of Erdogan's visit. Disagreeing with anti-American circles that claim that "the American century has ended with the end of the Cold War," Beki asks whether "the world will become a better place if the United States collapses." Despite my opposition to the unilateral and oppressive US foreign policy, there is no power that is more just, more humane, or more peaceful that can currently replace the United States, stresses Beki and says that in addition to its economic and military superiority, the United States continues to maintain its intellectual superiority. The only way for those who do not like the US order is to do better, concludes Beki.

    In an article entitled "Afghan mujahids are invincible," Vakit (06.12.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin says that military authorities in the United States and other countries should advise US President Obama that no military power could defeat Afghan insurgents who, he notes, forced Russian troops to leave the country despite their superior military capabilities. Describing Afghanistan as an "abyss in Hell for infidels and a garden in Heaven for mujahids," Bilgin says: "Barack Obama should not push his luck. The most reasonable thing that he could do is to withdraw US troops immediately rather than increasing their number and to let Afghan people to practice their faith and to decide their fate."

    c) Cyprus issue:

    Drawing attention to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's solution formula based on a bizonal federal Cypriot republic where the Turkish Cypriots will have equal sovereignty rights, columnist Haluk Sahin in Radikal (06.12.09) argues that the Greek Cypriots do not want to share sovereignty rights with the Turks. Turkey which has made many sacrifices for the sake of Cyprus will accept a solution proposal that offers less than Talat's formula only on condition that it is given guarantees about its EU membership and a date, points out Sahin and adds: "Otherwise it will be giving away Cyprus after so much efforts and self-sacrifice. No Turkish Government, including the current government, is so foolish." Noting that presidential elections will be held in northern Cyprus in April, Sahin says: "It is not clear yet if Talat who is in favor of a solution will be elected. The EU is imposing pressure for the opening of the ports to Greek Cypriot ships. Time has become an important factor."

    d) Kurdish problem/ controversary over Ocalans prison conditions/closure case against DTP:

    Commenting on the recent incidents created by PKK supporters in various parts of the country and the ensuing clashes with the security forces, in Vatan (04.12.09) columnist Rusen Cakir asserts that the support accorded by the DTP to these demonstrators "disappointed those who expected dissociation in the Kurdish political movement." In his column, Cakir argues that DTP leader Ahmet Turk's statement in support of the demonstrators "showed once again that the DTP is a party that is 'dragged along' rather than one that takes the initiative in the Kurdish overture process." According to Cakir, the party is being dragged along by the young grass roots, which are becoming increasingly radicalized, as well as by the PKK itself. "It is no longer a secret that the DTP is under the aegis of the PKK," argues Cakir, adding that the DTP views itself as a kind of mediator between the state and the PKK. Cakir says that Ocalan, in turn, is holding the Kurdish political movement and the entire country hostage, and he has totally sabotaged the Kurdish overture with his statement of complaint issued on 25 November, in which he described the overture as a "liquidation process." A return from this point is only possible if Ocalan renounces his complaints, Cakir states.

    In an article entitled "What could happen if the DTP is closed down?" in Sabah (05.12.09) columnist Mahmut Ovur points out that the Constitutional Court's ruling about the DTP will decide the faith of the democratization drive. He also quotes DTP deputy Aysel Tugluk as cautioning that Kurds would lose their faith in the Government if the DTP is banned, adding that such a decision would plunge Turkey into deeper chaos.

    In an article entitled "Between 'overture' and 'closure,'" in Radikal (05.12.09) columnist Cengiz Candar cautions that all positive results which may come out of the meeting between Obama and Erdogan may be negated if the Constitutional Court bans the DTP although DTP leadership do not seem to be concerned about it and, therefore, do not hesitate to make statements exacerbating ethnic tension. He concludes by saying that efforts to settle the Kurdish question should continue irrespective of the Constitutional Court's ruling and the DTP's negative attitudes.

    In an article entitled "Difficult days of the overture," in Radikal (05.12.09) columnist Murat Yetkin points out that the DTP seemingly expects to make political gains if it is closed down by the Constitutional Court while encouraging pro-PKK protests in order to show to the US Government that the Turkish Government's plan about the Kurdish issue is facing problems before the Obama-Erdogan meeting. Yetkin predicts that Erdogan is expected to seek strong US support for the Turkish Government's efforts to find a political solution to the Kurdish question.

    Three days prior to the hearing that will take up the closure suit, the DTP is rapidly moving from legitimate grounds to an illegitimate zone, says Erdal Safak in an article in Sabah (06.12.09). Drawing attention to the DTP-led demonstrations, Safak argues that "it is almost as if the DTP members are competing for providing the Constitutional Court with additional evidence. By "free will" the DTP means that Ocalan should be accepted as an interlocutor in the "democratic overture" and it declares that the inmate in Imrali will say the last word in the overture, asserts Safak and accuses the DTP of undermining "the greatest and the most important peace, brotherhood, and democracy project of the history of the republic."

    The state cannot accept Ocalan as an interlocutor, because he is not an elected political leader and he does not represent the majority of the people in East and Southeast Anatolia, maintains Necati Dogru in an article in Vatan (06.12.09) and continues: "Neither is Ocalan a Yasser Arafat, a Gerry Adams, or a Nelson Mandela. He is the leader of an organization that has been depressing those living in the west of the country with violence, that has been choking those living in the east with terrorism, that has been wearing out the country, and that has been killing soldiers for 25 years. He is only familiar with terrorism. The PKK produces terrorism. The DTP defends terrorism. All three are in favor of maintaining the status quo. They do not want change." Given that they have not initiated the overture process, they cannot end the process, argues Dogru and underlines that Turkey cannot give up its indivisible integrity or its secular structure. It is impossible to establish identity ghettos or to divide the cities in line with identities, emphasizes Dogru and adds: "Turkey can only become a common motherland and a 'democratic nation-state of law.' All those living in the east, the southeast, and the western cities should approach this fact with good manners."

    Responding to the criticism to the effect that "the Kurdish overture has ended in a fiasco," Cengiz Candar in an article in Radikal (06.12.09) asserts that the overture has been able to carry the Kurdish problem that had never been debated in the past to a public debate field with the aim of convincing the Turks. The reason for the interruption is the government's impression that the Turks have not been convinced, argues Candar and adds that the opposition parties are trying to ensure that the Turks are not convinced. Nonetheless, in addition to convincing the Turks, it is also necessary to ensure that the Kurds are satisfied, maintains Candar and, pointing out that the DTP and the PKK are the sole representatives of the Kurdish side, calls on the government to take courageous steps and to weaken the ties between the Kurdish people and the PKK. In the middle run the government should also include a general amnesty in the goals of the overture, says Candar and adds that without an amnesty that will include Qandil, the prisons in Turkey, and the diaspora in Europe, the Kurds will not be satisfied and the overture will not achieve its goals. To this end, concludes Candar, the communication channels between the AKP and the DTP should remain open.

    EG/


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