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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-21

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. 241/09 19-21.12.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Davutoglu on Turkeys foreign policy during budget discussion
  • [02] Davutoglu met his Estonian counterpart. EU and Cyprus was assessed
  • [03] Statements by Davutoglu after EU visa requirements for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and FYROM were abolished
  • [04] Bozer wants amendment of UN Security Council resolution 186
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] From the Turkish Press of 18, 19 and 20 December 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Davutoglu on Turkeys foreign policy during budget discussion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.12.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday a debate is made regarding Turkey's axis when Turkey pursues an effective (foreign) policy. Speaking on the 2010 budget of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Turkish Parliamentary General Assembly, Davutoglu said that Turkey's axis is Ankara and the soil of Anatolia and this will continue to be so in the future. Turkey is situated in a highly important geography. Turkey is between Europe and Asia and is a neighbor of Africa, Davutoglu said. We implement a method that is focused on vision rather than crisis, Davutoglu noted.

    Turkey is one of the most important countries that will determine the future of the European Union (EU). The future of the Middle East must be shaped with our vision. We have to have an effective vision in the Caucasus and the Balkans. We have to assume a wholistic approach rather than one on pieces. Be careful about when discussions on Turkey's axis take place. Whenever Turkey pursues an effective (foreign) policy, debates on Turkey's axis take place. Turkey's axis is Ankara and the soil of Anatolia and this will continue to be so. All other areas will be shaped around this axis, Davutoglu said.

    While we were in the Balkans, our ears were directed at Afghanistan. And, while we were in Afghanistan, our ears were directed at the Balkans. We can not ignore any area. Any temporary neglect may have terrible consequences, Davutoglu stressed.

    The EU membership is a strategic goal for Turkey. An EU without Turkey would be a continental power without a future. An EU with Turkey, on the other hand, would be an economically dynamic, culturally embracing and a global power with a future, Davutoglu said.

    We have lifted visa requirements with our neighboring countries. We have signed free trade agreements with many countries. And, relations with Armenia continue. Unless there is comprehensive normalization and the occupation of Azerbaijani territory by Armenian forces end, we continue to stress that there could not be a one legged normalization, Davutoglu said.

    No single country can claim territory from Turkey. If there is such a claim, then the response to be given is clear, Davutoglu also said.

    [02] Davutoglu met his Estonian counterpart. EU and Cyprus was assessed

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.12.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday that European Union (EU) was a strategic target for Turkey, and qualified the obstacles in front of this target as subjective.

    Speaking at a joint news conference with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Davutoglu said, we assessed the EU and Cyprus. Estonia is one of the countries seriously supporting Turkey in EU accession process and underlined Turkey's determination on EU full membership.

    Davutoglu said Turkey would act quickly from now on regarding the reforms in its EU process. He said Turkey and Estonia supported each other in every area in international matters.

    Davutoglu said economic relations were positive, noting that actual 500 million USD trade volume would boost gradually. Turkish foreign minister underlined importance of air transportation to improve economic relations and tourism.

    Davutoglu said cultural relations between Turkey and Estonia were positive, and noted that there were Turkish language departments in two universities in Estonia.

    Davutoglu said Istanbul would be Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010 and Estonian capital city would be the Capital of Europe in 2011. We decided to maintain cooperation on the matter, he said.

    We discussed opportunities to further increase visa facilities. Turkey does not implement visa requirement to Estonia, Davutoglu said.

    Davutoglu said he expressed the uneasiness Turkey felt over some elements reflected in latest EU decisions over Cyprus.

    Turkey's efforts to find a permanent and comprehensive solution in Cyprus will continue, Davutoglu said and expressed gratitude over Estonia's support on the issue.

    When asked if there was any connection between Turkey's EU membership target and Cyprus process, EU membership is Turkey's right. This is the right of Turkey when we fulfill our homework and necessary reforms. It is not a favor of anybody. Similarly, restoring a permanent and fair peace and being after a solution seeking rights of Turkish Cypriot people is also a rightful demand, he emphasized.

    If the UN plan had been accepted in 2004, there would not have been any contradiction today. The plan was not accepted because of the Greek Cypriot party, he said.

    Estonian Foreign Minister Paet, replying to a question on Turkey's EU process, said Turkey was a natural partner of the EU.

    Paet said there were several criteria which a country had to meet to become a full member of the EU, noting that it would be possible for Turkey to be an EU member when this criteria is fulfilled.

    Referring to chapter headings in EU negotiation process, Paet said more chapter headings should be opened with Turkey. He said chapter heading on energy was extremely important, noting that opening of the chapter headings would be in the interest of both parties.

    Commenting on the process on Cyprus, Paet said the inhabitants of the island should have the key, adding that international community should only contribute within the framework of the UN.

    Paet said Turkey supported NATO membership of Estonia and that Turkey was the first NATO and Mediterranean country supporting Estonia in protection of their air space.

    Paet expressed satisfaction over stance of Turkey in removing visa requirement to Estonian citizens in 2008, and noted that they took a similar decision for Turkish citizens having diplomatic and service passports.

    Paet said the other visa requirements were within Schengen and needed common decision of the Schengen member countries.

    Commenting on Turkey's activities in its region, Paet said he considered steps taken by Turkey to normalize relations particularly with Armenia was very important.

    [03] Statements by Davutoglu after EU visa requirements for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and FYROM were abolished

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (20.12.09) publishes the following report under the title: FM Davutoglu urges EU to grant Turks visa-free travel:

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the European Union to introduce visa-free travel for Turkish citizens after noting that Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia have been granted the privilege. It's unacceptable that certain Balkan countries that are in the initial stages of the membership process and have not begun negotiations have been given the Schengen privilege, while Turkey, considering the level that Turkish-EU relations have reached, has not, Davutoglu told reporters on Saturday.

    Turkey launched accession talks in 2005 and is part of a customs union agreement with the EU. But it is not a part of the Schengen regime that allows free movement across borders. Visa requirements in Schengen zone countries were abolished on Saturday for citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia [FYROM].

    We will follow this closely from now on, said Davutoglu following a meeting of the Reform Monitoring Group, or RIG, which was set to review Turkey's EU accession process.

    Turkish officials have expressed frustration over what they consider slow progress in membership negotiations since the candidate country has opened only 11 out of 35 chapters. The EU has kept eight others frozen because Turkey rejects to open its port and airports to EU member Greek Cypriots unless the embargo over Turkish Cypriots is lifted. Public opinion polls in Europe show that nearly half of its citizens are opposed to mainly Muslim Turkey joining the EU.Davutoglu emphasized the government is determined to move forward despite discouraging developments. It is not a process only related to opening or closing the chapters. We consider both domestic and international aspects of EU membership. We're determined to move forward according to Turkey's final goal, not to existing obstacles.

    RIG will continue to work on all chapters, including those frozen [for political reasons], he added.

    [04] Bozer wants amendment of UN Security Council resolution 186

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (21.12.09), in its front page under the title The solution should be based on equality, reports that the so-called TRNC assembly speaker, Mr Hasan Bozer, in a message issued for the commemoration of the 21st of December struggle and martyrs week, called on the European Union to accept the reality that there are two separate states and two sovereign people in Cyprus. He also noted that resolution 186 taken by the UN Security Council on the 4th of March 1964 should be amended.

    (DPs)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] From the Turkish Press of 18, 19 and 20 December 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 18, 19 and 20 December 2009:

    a) General Basbug's warning:

    Drawing attention to remarks made by Turkish Chief of the General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug who criticized some politicians, academics and journalists for implying that the military might be linked to some acts of terrorism in his article entitled "A serious warning," in Hurriyet (18.12.09) columnist Oktay Eksi says that Basbug's complaints resulted from allegations that a PKK attack which left seven soldiers dead in Tokat was actually masterminded by some people within the military in a bid to sabotage the Government's efforts to resolve the Kurdish question. Eksi says: "I believe that Basbug's reaction meant that they could be forced to use another language. I am not discussing whether or not his stance is appropriate. But, I believe that Basbug is in a difficult situation just like a pressure container which is about to explode. I, therefore, believe that his remarks functioned as a valve reducing pressure while cautioning persons concerned against pushing them to the wall."

    In an article entitled "Basbug's remarks," in Hurriyet (18.12.09) columnist Tufan Turenc says that General Basbug voiced growing concerns within the Turkish Armed Forces about a slander campaign against the military which, Turenc notes, is being conducted by some newspapers and allegedly supported by public prosecutors and the police. He comments: "He described those attacks as a psychological warfare which unsurprisingly destroyed morale within the Turkish Armed Forces. This psychological warfare is being conducted by people who do not believe that the mission undertaken by the Armed Forces is directly linked to the country's existence. It is also strange that the country's leaders do not take action to stop those attacks and slander."

    A report entitled "Baykal: Basbug's statement was self-defense" in Milliyet (18.12.09) quotes Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal as saying that Gen. Basbug probably needed to hold a news conference to air his grievances because the Government declined to lend an ear to his complaints. He says: "He shared his concerns with the public because he could not find a solution by sharing them with the Government. This is a clear sign that there is a power vacuum in Turkey."

    In an article entitled "Basbug is anxious," in Milliyet (18.12.09) columnist Melih Asik says that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is actually facing a threat from some newspapers rather than Turkey's enemies. He says: "If certain plans are being devised within the TSK, they must definitely be monitored and criticized. But, the partisan media is trying to weaken and destroy the TSK by using fabricated reports and plots rather than criticizing it. There is a widespread conviction that one of those dailies is sponsored by the CIA. The others (including the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) are supportive of the AKP." Asik accuses the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, of supporting acts of sabotage and plots hatched against the TSK.

    In an article entitled "A psychological warfare?" in Sabah (18.12.09) columnist Nazli Ilicak says that General Basbug should ponder about why the military is coming under attack from some academics and journalists rather than advising them not to make allegations about it. She says: "Do academics or journalists express their suspicions and concerns without any justification? Were not roadside executions committed in Turkey? Has it not been revealed that JITEM [alleged intelligence unit within the Gendarmerie] actually exists despite statements to the contrary?" Ilicak advises Basbug to admit that the military did mistakes in the past.

    In an article entitled "Der Fuhrer," in Taraf (18.12.09) columnist Yasemin Congar criticizes General Basbug whom she likens to Adolf Hitler for overstepping the boundaries of his official duties and talking as if he is the commander of the public rather than the military. Pointing out that Basbug advised politicians, academics, journalists, and public prosecutors what they should do or not do and blamed everybody who are trying to reveal facts about some events witnessed in recent history, Congar comments: "Unfortunately, Basbug has shown once again by his remarks that he has no intention of recognizing democratic boundaries."

    In an article entitled "Cage messages," in Taraf (18.12.09) columnist Ahmet Altan accuses General Basbug of trying to intimidate the critics of the military. Noting that Basbug apparently tried to reassure officers who face accusations that they plotted to stage a coup, Altan comments: "Basbug says that there is a psychological warfare against the military. But, I think that the Chief of the General Staff is conducting a psychological warfare against his people." He says that Basbug should rather explain whether he intends to punish or protect officers planning to stage coups.

    In an article entitled "Basbug's speech and the military's policy" in Yeni Safak (18.12.09) columnist Ali Bayramoglu discusses the messages issued by Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug at a news conference in Trabzon yesterday. Bayramoglu finds it "noteworthy" that at a time when terrorist attacks and violent public disturbances that would normally hold the military's attention are taking place in various parts of the country and developments in which the military could be supposed to have a stake like the closure of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) are coming to pass, General Basbug restricted the topic of the news conference to a discussion on the public image of the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK). Bayramoglu cites this situation as evidence that the TSK is either refraining from intervening in politics or is too busy trying to improve its public image, which has been damaged through a process that started with the General Staff memorandum issued against the ruling AKP on 27 April, 2007, to take an active interest in political affairs.

    Under the banner headline, "Basbug fails to talk about military issues," in Vakit (18.12.09) carries a front-page report which slams General Basbug for "talking like a politician about almost every subject" and making "covert threats to the judiciary and the news media" yet "not speaking about [the need to establish] a professional army or explaining the TSK's plans against terrorism" at his news conference in Trabzon yesterday.

    In an article entitled "What Basbug's words reminded me of", in Vakit (18.12.09) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asks whether General Basbug might have tried to get across a message of support for the naval officers accused of making plans to stage a coup in choosing to hold his news conference aboard a frigate yesterday. He goes on to slam Basbug for "disregarding the social reaction against the [Trabzon-born] killers of Catholic priest Andrea Santaro and Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink" in talking about the "special place" of Trabzon in his heart at the news conference.

    In an article entitled "Waking up to Basbug's voice", in Zaman (18.12.09) columnist Mustafa Unal criticizes General Basbug for the "mistake" he made in emphasizing that his choice of a frigate as a venue for his news conference in Trabzon was a deliberate one. Unal asserts that a warship is intended for use only against foreign enemies, that its guns should never be directed at the homeland, and that it should not be used as a place to hold a press conference in response to criticisms leveled at the military by politicians, academics, and journalists.

    In an article entitled "Who is more heroic: Ilker Basbug or Mehmet Altan?" in Zaman (18.12.09) writer Mumtazer Turkone accuses General Basbug of making an "armed threat" to several domestic players in calling attention to the "special meaning" of his choice of a frigate as a place for his news conference yesterday. He criticizes Basbug's remarks warning members of the judiciary to treat tip-off letters by whistleblowers and the testimony of secret witnesses in certain investigations more cautiously as a violation of Article 138 of the Constitution and asserts that a military news conference held aboard a warship to issue messages to the judiciary constitutes a more grave situation than military intervention in politics. He also lauds journalist Mehmet Altan for his "courageous" and "heroic" remarks censuring Basbug on a television program yesterday.

    Under the headline, "Army Chief's harsh remarks draw ire of intellectuals," in Today's Zaman (10.12.09) runs a front-page report which highlights "strong criticism" from "intellectuals" against General Basbug's remarks yesterday "accusing intellectuals and writers of falsely associating the ... TSK with illegal schemes that allegedly cost the life of many privates in the army ..."

    Under the banner headline, "Look who is talking about common values," Vakit (18.12.09) runs a front-page report which asserts that Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug has come under fire over his recent speech in Trabzon in which he "issued threats against the judiciary and political parties" and underlined the importance of "common values." The report quotes Nevzat Tarhan, Chairman of the Association of Defenders of Justice, as saying, "Which common values is Basbug talking about when more than half of the people are not allowed to enter military areas because of what they wear?"

    In an article entitled "Hello. Do you hear my voice?", in Vakit (19.12.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak issues warnings to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, Chief of Staff General Basbug, and Prime Minister Erdogan about the way they are conducting themselves vis--vis a possible military coup. He starts by criticizing Ocalan for what he describes as his support for efforts to set the scene for a military takeover. He claims that the PKK leader needs to realize that if a military takeover does take place, he will be among its victims along with the DTP and the PKK. He goes on to criticize Basbug for his latest speech and asks whether the army chief is not aware that if the Government is overthrown in a coup, the forces that will crush the coup will bring its architects to account. He also cautions Erdogan, saying that "if you fail to do what you should do to purge putschists from the army, they will look into purging you."

    In an article entitled "Protecting the TSK or saving Turkey", in Zaman (19.12.09) columnist Mehmet Kamis accuses Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug of acting like an old school army chief and contributing to a process whereby the Turkish military has been falling into discredit because of scandals involving some of its members in leveling accusations against the news media, academics, and politicians at his recent news conference in Trabzon. He also argues that Ahmet Turk "started a new crisis in ending another one" by linking their decision not to withdraw from Parliament to Abdullah Ocalan. He asserts that Turk could not have chosen a better way of sabotaging the democratic initiative than making references to Ocalan because the latter is "perceived as a terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands of citizens and soldiers even by the most sensible people."

    In an article entitled "Basbug should resign", in Zaman (19.12.09) columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan discloses that he agrees with General Basbug in perceiving the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to be the target of an "asymmetric war," adding that Basbug should nevertheless step down as chief of the General Staff because he is revealing himself to be deprived of true leadership qualities in responding to accusations against some TSK members with counter accusations and trying to "influence" judicial authorities rather than taking the charges seriously and starting the TSK's internal legal mechanisms to investigate the claims ultimately with a view to clearing public suspicions about criminal activities within the military.

    Columnist Hasan Cemal censures General Basbug for his remarks about how the media, the judiciary, the politicians, and the academics should behave in his article in Milliyet (20.12.09). Where does Gen Basbug receive this power from, Cemal asks, and adds that the military should not have any connection to politics. Recalling that this is not the first time that Gen Basbug makes such comments, Cemal argues that Basbug is actually committing a crime by being involved in politics. The military cannot interfere with the media or the academic world, give instructions to the judiciary, or accuse the politicians, Cemal maintains, and concludes that the remarks of the chief of the General Staff undermine the army.

    A front-paged report in Vakit (20.12.09) entitled "Basbug must know his place" highlights critical comments made by the representatives of some non-governmental organizations and jurists about remarks made by Chief of the General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug on a warship off Trabzon which, it notes, were interpreted as veiled threats issued to politicians, judiciary, and the media.

    In an article entitled "Is not that interesting?" in Vakit (20.12.09) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak says that there are e-mails circulating the Internet which include insults and threats and or unfounded allegations, adding that those e-mails are probably sent by the members of the Turkish armed forces as part of a propaganda campaign. Dilipak also says that recent events have clearly proven that there is a close relationship between General Basbug and Aydin Dogan, owner of a media conglomerate. He comments: "If Basbug plans to work for Dogan Media after his retirement, he should know that it is not certain whether or not Dogan Media will be able to survive till then. But, my guess is that Dogan maintains good relations with Basbug because of his hope that he can find a solution to bail out his companies if a military coup is eventually staged. Could Dogan serve as an adviser to Basbug? But, it is actually in vain. Basbug has his own problems."

    In an article entitled "Generals must speak every day," in Sunday's Zaman (20.12.09) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz accuses General Basbug of trying to intimidate and threaten democratic forces in the country. Emphasizing that the military has not taken any action to punish its members who have committed wrongdoings in the past, Yilmaz says: "I do not understand why Turkish intellectuals, journalists and so on become enemies of the Turkish military when they ask questions about these issues. Is Gen. Basbug simply asking us to keep silent? Instead of accusing everybody else, can he try to convince us why we should trust the generals?"

    b) Reactions to Patriarch Bartholomew statements:

    Assessing the remarks made by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during an interview with CBS television to the effect that he feels like he has been crucified, in Milliyet (19.12.09) columnist Asli Aydintasbas in an article explains that the Patriarch is pessimistic about the reopening of the Halki Seminary, which, the writer describes, is the sole goal of the Patriarch. Noting that the Patriarchates in Athens, Moscow and other regions are increasing their autonomy taking advantage from the fact that the Fener Patriarchate is devoid of a spiritual education, Aydintasbas clarifies that if this 17-century-old institution cannot train its future spiritual cadres it faces extinction.

    In his column, in Hurriyet (20.12.09) Ahmet Hakan lauds Patriarch Bartholomeos for openly articulating the problems of the minority group of Greek origin. Quoting Patriarch Bartholomeos as saying, "we are second-class citizens in Turkey," Hakan notes that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded to the patriarch's statement by saying, "I hope it was a slip of the tongue." Hakan asks whether the "threatening tone" in Davutoglu's statement does not prove to what extent the patriarch is right.

    In Radikal (20.12.09) Murat Yetkin also faults Foreign Minister Davutoglu for giving a "standardized statist" response to Patriarch Bartholomeos who voiced his problem concerning the freedom of religion. In his column Yetkin maintains that by giving a standard reply, Davutoglu damaged his "fair diplomat" image.

    EG/


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