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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-01-18

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. 10/10 16-18.01.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu reiterates his allegations regarding the existence of two states, two peoples, two religions, two cultures and two languages in Cyprus
  • [02] Talat commented on the first leg of the intensive talks
  • [03] Alexander Downer interviewed by Havadis; He believes that a solution in year 2010 is possible
  • [04] The breakaway regime in Cyprus continues its efforts for developing its relations with the Gulf states
  • [05] Ten thousand tourists will be carried from Italy to the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [06] Results of public opinion polls for the elections in April
  • [07] Turkish municipality will become twin town with occupied Morfou
  • [08] Threats against those who give information on missing persons in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [09] Imams from Turkey come to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [10] German officials attend a reception given by the representative of the illegal regime in Munich
  • [11] Bagis and Bryant on the Cyprus issue
  • [12] Bagis: Spain supports the opening of five new chapters
  • [13] Russia sees a possibility for a Cyprus settlement
  • [14] Turkey announced year-end budget deficit as 34.8 billion US dollars
  • [15] Gunman who killed Ipekci and wounded Pope released from prison
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [16] Metin Munir: Cyprus: Who will be elected President?
  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 15-17 January 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu reiterates his allegations regarding the existence of two states, two peoples, two religions, two cultures and two languages in Cyprus

    Under the title, There are two peoples, two states, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (18.01.10) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu has watched the ceremony for Istanbul becoming the cultural capital of Europe, sitting by the side of the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. The paper notes that Mr Eroglu participated in various activities in Istanbul and with his statements referred to the realities by drawing the attention to the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side. In statements during the opening ceremony of a photograph exhibition regarding the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots, Mr Eroglu alleged that the Greek Cypriot side does not intend to reach to an agreement with the Turkish Cypriots and added:

    We have to be realists at the negotiating table. There is a state in the north of Cyprus, there is a state in the south. There is a people in the north, there is a people in the south. The two peoples are different from each other, with their religion, language and culture.

    Mr Eroglu said that tomorrow he would officially announce his candidacy for the elections in April.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat commented on the first leg of the intensive talks

    Illegal Bayrak television (17.01.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that both sides in Cyprus, as in all compromises, need to show more flexibility in order to reach an agreement. The President reiterated the Turkish sides desire to reach a mutually acceptable and sustainable solution in Cyprus.

    Touching upon the Cyprus problem during a visit in Gonyeli yesterday, President Talat said that the Chapter on Governance and Power sharing was discussed in detail during the first leg of the intensive talks and that a point of maturity had been reached on the issue.

    He said that the positions and red lines had all been defined during the meetings.Expressing hope of achieving an agreement on the issue in the second leg of the talks, scheduled to begin on the 25th of this month, Talat said that achieving such an agreement will be an important development.

    Reminding that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon planned to visit the island in the coming weeks, the President said that Secretary-General would most likely visit Cyprus following an agreement in the second leg.

    He said that any peace settlement to be reached in Cyprus had to ensure that the bitter experiences of the past were not relived.

    [03] Alexander Downer interviewed by Havadis; He believes that a solution in year 2010 is possible

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.01.10) publishes an exclusive interview with the UN Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alexander Downer, regarding the ongoing negotiation process. Speaking to journalists Aral Moral and Hasan Hasturer, Mr Downer stated that the UN parameters on Cyprus do not include a turn back to the agreements of 1960, nor partition of the island. He specified that the parameters of the United Nations include a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on political equality and a single international representation. That means that a federal government, a federal parliament, senate and House of Representatives will be established. Political equality will be established. A single international representation will be established, he said.

    Mr Downer added that President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat carry on the negotiation process on the basis of these principles, saying that the UN, the international community and Turkey have many times expressed their support to the negotiations that are being held on this basis. Maybe some people, by choosing a different road, may want to create two entirely different states. Just as the UN do support this, in the same way Talat, Christofias and Turkey do not support this, Mr Downer said.

    In addition, the UN envoy, inter alia, stated that during 2010 a solution is possible and said: In my opinion, you can succeed. I mean, both sides can succeed this. If this process could not be succeeded, I would not have wasted my time here. I was serving as Australias Foreign Minister for 12 years. I was occupied with many difficult international situations. Solution in Cyprus is possible. It is not impossible, it is possible.

    (EA)

    [04] The breakaway regime in Cyprus continues its efforts for developing its relations with the Gulf states

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.01.10) reports that Sunat Atun, self-styled minister of economy and energy, has reminded that no trade relations exist between Oman and the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, and said that their mission should be the development of relations between them. Mr Atun delivered his second and last lecture yesterday in Omans capital, Muscat, within the framework of his tour to promote the possibilities for investments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Pointing out that the average annual volume of trade between the Gulf States and the breakaway regime in Cyprus is $5-10 million dollars, Mr Atun noted that serious potential exists for trade between the breakaway regime and Oman and claimed that the occupied areas of Cyprus are an appropriate place for investments. He said that foreign investors could freely establish companies in the occupied areas of Cyprus and pointed out that investments in the fields of real economy and tourism are supported by the Investment Bank with long-term credits.

    Moreover, in his address, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, Ali Cirali said that in spite of all the difficulties the breakaway regime managed to attract investors due to its economic growth during the past five years.

    Furthermore, Gunay Cerkez, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot chamber of Commerce, in his message read by Taner Yolcu, president of the Chambers committee for relations with the Moslem World, said they wish to develop relations and cooperation with businessmen in the Gulf states and pointed out that the occupied areas of Cyprus could become an international centre between the West and the East, because of its geographic location.

    Meanwhile, Ayse Donmezer, chairperson of the Cyprus Turkish Investment Development Agency (YAGA), noted that her organization was established within the framework of a decision by the self-styled government to improve the climate for investments. She noted that their aim was to attract investors from both inside and outside the occupied areas of Cyprus and added that Muscat is preferred because of the continuous increase of the businessmen who are interested in foreign investments and because of the their cultural and religious bonds.

    Moreover, in a message sent to the conference, Allal Rashdi, General Director of the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, noted that as organization they wanted to see trade with the Turkish sector of Cyprus, investments and exchange of teachers and students in the field of education.

    The paper writes that the self-styled minister, Atun, attended a dinner hosted by Mehmet Hayri Erol, Turkeys Ambassador to Oman. Mr Erol said cooperation between Oman and the breakaway regime was possible and expressed the belief that this tour for promotion of the breakaway regime would be the start of relations between Oman and the TRNC in the field of economy, tourism and education. He noted that Turkey will always support the breakaway regime in its struggle for being opened to the world and alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side is showing patience in the ongoing Cyprus talks. He reiterated the Turkish allegation that the respect of the world towards the Turkish Cypriot side increased after the latter voted yes to the Annan Plan.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ten thousand tourists will be carried from Italy to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title Tourists from Italy to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (18.01.10) reports that RESTUR Tour Agency is aiming to bring approximately ten thousand tourists from Italy to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus with flights to be carried out by the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines between April October 2010 within the framework of an agreement the above-mentioned agency has made with Dimensione, one of Italys biggest tour agencies. The flights will be carried out with the support of the self-styled ministry of tourism, environment and culture through the Turkish city of Antalya from four Italian cities: Milano, Rome, Bologna and Spenza.

    Officials of RESTUR, the Italian company and the self-styled ministry had a lunch yesterday at Mercure Otel in occupied Keryneia with other tour agents. In statements to the press before the lunch, Ali Ozduran, director of RESTUR said they will be carrying out 3-4 flights per week. He noted that their aim is to carry 8-10 thousand tourists to the occupied areas of Cyprus between April October 2010.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Results of public opinion polls for the elections in April

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (18.01.10) publishes a public opinion poll carried out in December 2009 by KADEM Research Company through a company from Istanbul on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. The paper reports that 40.1% of the participants in the survey said they would vote for the self-styled prime minister and leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Dervis Eroglu, in the presidential elections in April. The paper points out that this percentage is by 6% lower than the percentage of those who said that they would vote for the UBP in case elections were held in December. According to the research, Mr Talat would receive 27.3% of the votes if elections were held in December. When asked for which candidate would you vote if presidential elections were held tomorrow, 12.8% of the participants in the survey said their vote depends on the candidate, 6.3% said they have not decided, 5.9% did not give a response, 4.9% said they would not vote and 2.6% said they would vote for candidates such as Mustafa Arabacioglu, Arif Salih Kirdag and Zeki Besiktepeli.

    When asked for which party they would vote if elections were held that day, 46.4% said they would vote for the UBP, 10.9% for the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), 4.6% for the Democratic Party (DP), 1.6% for the Social Democracy Party (TDP) and 1.3% for the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP). Furthermore, 17.4% said they did not want to reply and 11.8% stated that they would not vote or that they would vote but their vote would be invalid.

    The paper notes that tomorrow the UBP is expected to announce officially its candidate for the elections in April. It further notes that two self-styled mayors elected with the Democratic Party (DP), Cemal Bulutoglulari (mayor of the occupied part of Lefkosia) and Erdal Barut (mayor in occupied Agios Amvrosios), are expected to join the UBP and support the candidacy of Mr Eroglu.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (18.01.10) reports that the announcement of two important decisions, which are expected with great interest by the Turkish Cypriot community, is expected tomorrow. The one is the candidacy of Dervis Eroglu and the other is the decision of the British High Court on the Orams case.

    Under the front page title Talat is ahead, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (16.01.10) publishes the results of a public survey carried out by the Management Centre in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the Turkish Cypriots vote on the forthcoming presidential elections and the Cyprus problem. The survey was conducted between October and November 2009 and 2.210 individuals surveyed upon a request made by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP).

    According to the results, the majority of the Turkish Cypriots support the negotiation process and the vision for solution followed by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. The survey questions and the results as published by Yeni Duzen are as follows:

    Whom would you vote for if the elections were held today with Mehmet Ali Talat and Dervis Eroglu being the candidates?

    Mehmet Ali Talat: 25%

    Dervis Eroglu: 22%

    I will not vote: 8%

    I do not know / I do not wish to reply: 45%

    Upon the question, on whom they would vote between Mehmet Ali Talat and Dervis Eroglu, Mehmet Ali Talats candidacy was supported by 52% of the participants in the survey, while Dervis Eroglu received 48% of the votes.

    Under the subtitle, Support to Talat on the negotiations, the paper writes that Mehmet Ali Talats policies on the Cyprus problem were fully supported by 22% of the participants in the survey.

    Yet, 31% replied that they partially support Mr Talats policies, 9% that they offer a limited support to these policies, 16% rejected the policies and 22% refused to answer.

    On the solution of the Cyprus problem and upon the question What kind of solution do you prefer on the Cyprus problem, the survey revealed the following results:

    Bi-communal, bi-zonal federation: 29%

    Confederation based on two separate states: 24%

    Annexation to Turkey: 4%

    A Unified Republic of Cyprus: 1%

    Recognition of the TRNC: 19%

    Continuation of the present situation: 5%

    No Cyprus problem exists: 1%

    I do not know / I do not wish to reply: 18%

    Federation was mostly supported by the age group between 45-54. Confederation was mostly supported by the age group between 35-44, while the majority in the age groups between 18-24 and 25-34 supported the recognition of the TRNC. The majority of the individuals in the age groups between 55-64 and 65+ supported a solution based on federation.

    (ML, I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish municipality will become twin town with occupied Morfou

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (18.01.10) reports that Mustafa Ak, Mayor of Turkeys Kecioren area in Ankara, will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus today in order to carry out negotiations for his municipality becoming twin town with occupied Morfou. The paper notes that the Turkish delegation will consist of 35 persons and adds that it will meet with the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and the speaker of the so-called assembly, Hasan Bozer.

    (I/Ts)

    [08] Threats against those who give information on missing persons in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (18.01.10) reports that the inhabitants of occupied Sinda village were annoyed because of some threatening leaflets in the Turkish and Greek languages which have been distributed in the village regarding the missing persons. The head of the village said these leaflets served no other cause than creating tension. The threats referred to information published in the press regarding the place where missing persons might be buried. Those who wrote the leaflet threatened that they will punish those who will show to the Committee on the Missing Persons the place where the people mentioned in the press are buried.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Imams from Turkey come to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Cypriots

    Under the front page title Imams from Turkey, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.01.10) published statements made by the head of the so-called religious affairs department, Yusuf Suicmez, according to which imams from Turkey are coming to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Cypriots.

    According to information given by Mr Suicmez, the imams who hold the responsibility of teaching religion and culture to the Turkish Cypriots are obliged to go to Turkey to attend a religious school since such a school has not been established in the occupied areas of the Republic. Currently 216 imams exist in occupied Cyprus, 150 of these imams come from the occupied areas of the island and 66 from Turkey, according to Mr Suicmez.

    (ML)

    [10] German officials attend a reception given by the representative of the illegal regime in Munich

    Under the title, Trade embargo should be lifted, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.01.10) reported that the mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, the deputy of the Munich Parliament, Yasar Fincan, the mayor of the district of Grasbrunn in Munich, Klaus Korneder and Turkeys Consul General in Munich, Ali Rifat Koksal were among the guests of a new year reception given by Uli Piller, representative of the illegal regime in Munich.

    Addressing the guests, Mr Piller said that the global economic crisis has influenced the economy of the illegal regime and argued that in order for the illegal regime to overcome this crisis, the unjust trade embargo applied on the TRNC should be lifted. He also called on the EU member countries to fulfil the promises given to the Turkish Cypriots, noting that 2010 is an important year for Cyprus.

    (ML)

    [11] Bagis and Bryant on the Cyprus issue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.01.10) reports the following:

    Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said on Saturday that they were eager to see a lasting solution in Cyprus as soon as possible. Bagis and Chris Bryant, Minister of State for Europe and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Britain, had a luncheon in Istanbul and held a press conference.

    Bryant and he discussed bilateral relations and chapters which were considered to be opened in EU-Turkey process in the meeting, he said. Bagis said they decided to establish a working group on environment chapter.

    Cyprus issue was also discussed in the meeting. We underlined that Turkey attaches a great importance to Britain's support for a lasting and comprehensive solution in Cyprus, he said.

    Bagis said Istanbul became the European Capital of Culture and an EU without Istanbul could not be considered. In regard to the environment chapter, Bagis said: We are eager to make good use of experiences of Britain in the area of environment.

    Bryant said Britain sincerely supported Turkey's EU accession process and they attached a great importance to Turkey's membership. Britain is ready to assist Turkey at every phase of its EU accession process and wants Turkey to be full member of the EU, he said. Turkey should take some steps on labour law, penal code system and human rights, he said. Bryant said they wanted to see a solution in Cyprus and contribute to efforts for a solution in the island.

    [12] Bagis: Spain supports the opening of five new chapters

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.01.10) reports the following:

    Turkey's Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bagis said Spain supported opening of five new chapters in accession negotiations.

    Speaking to reporters upon his return from Spain Saturday at the Ataturk International Airport, Bagis said EU Term President Spain reiterated its support to Turkey's EU bid.

    Bagis, who separately met with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and State Secretary for EU Affairs Diego Lopez Garrido during his visit, said Spain supported the opening of "the food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policies", "public procurement", "competition policy," "energy" and "education and culture" chapters.

    Bagis also said that Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero invited his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Spain in February.

    [13] Russia sees a possibility for a Cyprus settlement

    Illegal Bayrak television (16.01.10) broadcast the following:

    The Russian government has expressed the hope that the Cyprus negotiations process will reach success at the end. At a press briefing in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Andrey Nesterenko expressed his countrys support to the launch of intensified talks between the two sides in Cyprus.

    Despite of all the difficulties being faced in the solution process, we are sure that there is still a possibility for an agreement, the Spokesperson added.

    Underlying the need for an early settlement in Cyprus with the establishment of a federation, he said Russia believes in the peaceful political will expressed by President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias.

    Russias Cyprus policy remains unchanged. We do support the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions, without any foreign pressure, he said.

    [14] Turkey announced year-end budget deficit as 34.8 billion US dollars

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.01.10) reports the following:

    The Turkish finance minister announced on Friday the year-end (2009) budget deficit as 34.8 billion USD.

    Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek held a press conference on budget performances of 2009, and said Turkey's budget deficit was 34.8 billion USD (52.2 billion Turkish liras-TL).

    "Turkey's budget expenditures were 267.3 billion TL (178.2 billion USD), and revenues were 215.1 billion TL (143.4 billion USD)," Simsek said.

    Turkey's budget deficit was only 17.4 billion TL (11.6 billion USD) in 2008. "The budget deficit was below what we have forecast in the medium-term financial program," Simsek said.

    Simsek also referred to budget performances in December 2009, and said the budget figures in December was better than their projections.

    Turkey's budget expenditures were 27.7 billion TL (18.4 billion USD), revenues were 21.9 billion TL (14.6 billion USD), and budget deficit was 5.9 billion TL (3.9 billion USD) in December 2009.

    [15] Gunman who killed Ipekci and wounded Pope released from prison

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.01.10) reported the following:

    Mehmet Ali Agca, who killed journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979 and who shot and wounded late Pope John Paul II, was released after 30 years in prison. Agca, 52, will be taken to a military facility to assess his fitness for military service. In 2006, a military hospital ruled that he was not fit for the obligatory military service due to a severe anti-social personality disorder but the Ministry of National Defence did not approve it.

    Agca assassinated Ipekci, editor-in-chief of the Milliyet, near his house in Istanbul on February 1, 1979. He fled from prison a few months ago, and attempted to kill Pope John Paul II while he was greeting the faithful in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981. Agca was arrested a few minutes after the attack. Two years after the assassination attempt, the Pope met and forgave Agca in his cell while the gunman was serving a 19-year sentence in an Italian high-security prison.

    Agca was pardoned in 2000 and returned to Turkey where he was immediately re-arrested and given a ten-year prison sentence for murdering Ipekci.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] Metin Munir: Cyprus: Who will be elected President?

    In an article in Turkish Daily Milliyet newspaper (15.01.10), entitled Cyprus: Who will be elected President? Metin Munir writes the following:

    The Greek Cypriot leader, Christofias rejected last week a series of proposals prepared by president Talat together with Ankara. This rejection caused a shock in the Turkish side.

    Talat and Foreign Minister Davutoglu hoped that the proposals on which they worked for a long time would constitute a turning point for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Christofias would accept at least one part of the proposals and the negotiations would speed up. Talat would enter into the presidential elections of April having in his hand the success of the inter-communal talks. However, this is not going to happen, and it is probably for this reason that Talat will lose the elections.

    Talats rival in the elections is going to be Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, even if this has not officially been announced.

    Public opinion polls show that Eroglu is ahead. According to Talats camp, the difference is between 4-7% and it can be covered. According to Eroglus camp, the difference is 15% and it is impossible to be covered.

    Talat is in full harmony with Turkey as regards his policy on the Cyprus problem and his relations both with Prime Minister Erdogan and with President Gul are very good. On the other hand, Eroglu is a hawk as regards the Cyprus problem. And he considers as extremely concessive the package of proposals which Christofias rejected as too extreme.

    In case of Eroglus election, the general expectation is for the inter-communal talks to come to a deadlock very soon.

    Subtitle: Meddling in the Elections

    Close circles to Eroglu say that there is no such possibility. His advisors say that Eroglu, who was chairman of his party for 23 years, prime minister for 19 years and worked with 9 Turkish Prime Ministers, has never come into conflict with Ankara, so it is unthinkable for the TRNC to follow a policy on the Cyprus problem independently from Turkey.

    Still, I do not think that they persuade many people. Christofias could say privately to Talat that he did not like his proposals, instead of popping off and pulling the carpet from under Talats feet on the eve of the election to be held in April. But he did not do that. Why? I think that he is disappointed from the inter-communal talks. He wants to get rid of Talat and abandon the negotiations. But while doing this, the blame should fall over the Turkish side. Talat would not give him a pretext but Eroglu could.

    Ankara, which wants to have the moral advantage on the Cyprus problem, supports Talat at the presidential elections. According to a source which is close to the negotiations, Ankara wants a solution. If not, it wants not to leave a doubt in the international community that the Greek side is the side which does not want the solution.

    It is for this reason that it supports Talat who has the same belief. Eroglu, who in spite of the fact that he is in politics for a long time has little international experience, might cause trouble to Ankara.

    The question is the following: Will Ankara permit this or it will meddle in the elections like it did frequently in the past?.

    (AK)

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 15-17 January 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 15-17 January 2010:

    a) Diplomatic Tension Between Turkey and Israel:

    Commenting on the diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel which escalated after the controversial treatment given by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Dani Ayalon to Turkish Ambassador Oguz Celikkol in his article entitled "Turkish-Israeli Relations Have Suffered Severe Damage," Milliyet (15.01.10) columnist Fikret Bila predicts that the event will heighten anti-Israeli sentiments in Turkey. He comments: "It is true that Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely damaged. The fragile nature of the coalition government in Tel Aviv makes it difficult to normalize ties. The latest scandal can be regarded as a step taken for purposes related to domestic politics resulting from the weakness of the coalition. Responsibility for mending Turkish-Israeli relations primarily rests with Tel Aviv."

    In an article entitled "The Future of Turkish-Israeli Relations," Milliyet (15.01.10) columnist Sami Kohen emphasizes that bilateral ties between the two countries have suffered great damage due to the latest diplomatic scandal. He comments: "Bilateral relations will unavoidably be affected by that event over the short term and have a negative effect on the public. It is highly unlikely that relations between the two governments and states will return to the previous level of 'strategic cooperation' at least in the near future."

    In an article entitled "This time the Prime Minister stayed cool," Hurriyet Daily News (15.01.10) columnist Mehmet Ali Birand says that Erdogan's surprisingly calm attitude prevented the diplomatic tension with Israel from deepening although, he notes, there was an opportunity that he could use for attacking Israel. Pointing out that Turkey and Israel need to maintain good relations, Birand notes: "We may not agree with Israel's politics, or even harshly criticize but if we turn it into Jew hostility or trying to take Israel's right to live then the AKP [Justice and Development Party] will fall into its own trap. We wouldn't be any different from Iran." Birand concludes by saying that Israel will continue to face problem in its international relations unless it changes what it describes as its "arrogant attitude" toward the Gaza Strip.

    In an article entitled "Who has sent the letter of apology?" Hurriyet (15.01.10) columnist Ferai Tinc says that Ayalon was forced to offer a formal apology due to angry reactions from the Israeli public and press which, she notes, strongly criticized him for his "cheap trick." She comments: "The apology was immediately accepted in Ankara and the crisis was thus prevented from escalating. I believe that this was Turkey's swift response to Israelis who are in favor of peace. This is why relations with Israel need to be handled with great care. There are people in Israel who condone and support violence by using security as a pretext and believe that they can resolve every problem by using violence. But, there are also a large number of people who disagree."

    In an article entitled "Old Israel and new Turkey," Sabah (15.01.10) columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman comments: "There is more to the apology offered by Israel after its nonsensical act. Turkey has taken a crucial step in its policy aimed at dominating the Middle East. It commanded sympathy from the Arab world in the Middle East by taking a firm stand and ensuring that it was offered an apology to Turkey for a Minister's gaffe. It became the most important country in the region. It filled a great vacuum through Israel."

    Ascribing anti-Israeli feelings and angry reactions in Turkey to the embargo imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip in his article entitled "What is going on in relations with Israel?" Radikal (15.01.10) columnist Ismet Berkan comments: "Turkey is Israel's last ally in the region. It may soon lose that friend if it refuses to change its rigid stance on the HAMAS and continue to let one and a half million people to suffer."

    In an article entitled "We must see facts," Cumhuriyet (15.01.10) columnist Ali Sirmen emphasizes that Ayalon's diplomatic gaffe should not overshadow the fact that it would be wrong for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to act like a hero who will teach Israel a lesson and bring it into line. He says: "Whether Erdogan's approach to the Palestinian issue is right and he leads the public properly is highly questionable. Improper criticism recently levelled at Egypt about international aid destined for Palestine was probably the result of this misleading approach and assessing the problem only from the perspective of the HAMAS which is in favor of resorting to violence. Israel's blunder should not prevent us from seeing the wrongheadedness of Tayyip's pro-HAMAS policy about the Middle East and Palestine."

    In an article entitled "We must see the cause," Vatan (15.01.10) columnist Gungor Mengi cautions that it cannot be taken for granted that the apology offered by Ayalon due to Israeli President Shimon Peres's pressure will dispel clouds hanging over bilateral ties. Pointing out that Israel should not expect Turkey to remain silent in spite of the current situation in the Gaza Strip for the sake of averting a new crisis, Mengi says: "A humanitarian and fair change of policy which Israel should make in light of Turkey's friendly advice would elevate it to a position more respectable than it was before in the eyes of the Turkish public."

    In an article entitled "Not like a party leader but a like global leader", Vakit (15.01.10) editor-in-chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that Erdogan was in high spirits during the journey back from Moscow, suggesting that he was too pleased with the agreements signed with Russia to be disconcerted by or care about Israel's "impudent" treatment of Turkish envoy Celikkol. He claims that the Turkish prime minister briefly conveyed a phone message to the journalists on board, disclosing how Israel had officially apologized to Ankara, and that he did not comment further on the issue during the journey because "he did not want [Israel's] petty politics to cast a shadow on [Turkey's] grand goals."

    In an article entitled "Israel taught a lesson", Zaman (15.01.10) columnist Ihsan Dagi relates how Israel's "armchair diplomacy backfired," causing this country to "put itself in a more embarrassing situation in trying to get even with Ankara over what happened at Davos last year." He claims that Israel should not hope to be able to upgrade its relations with Turkey to the strategic level without winning the support of the Turkish people by discontinuing its "policy of violence" against the Palestinian people. He also asserts that Israel's greatest problem is its failure to understand the implications of the transformation Turkey has been undergoing in the past ten years and the shift of power in Turkey that has taken place as a result of the ongoing democratization process and "its assumption that its talking partner in Turkey continues to be the military/security bureaucracy."

    Commenting on the recent diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel in an article entitled "The low Armchair has Elevated Turkey," Yeni Safak (16.01.10) columnist Hakan Albayrak says: "Israel has been brought into line while trying to do the same to Turkey. The 'high armchair' caused Israel to descend further while the 'low armchair' helped Turkey rise further. The Turkish wind blowing in the Muslim world has gained momentum. Turkey made progress in its efforts to become the political fortress of the Muslim world."

    In an article entitled "Significant benefits of the Israeli apology," Zaman (16.01.10) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici says that the formal apology offered by Israel for what he describes as "impudent treatment" given to Turkish Ambassador Oguz Celikkol has shown that the balance of power in the Middle East has changed and that Turkey has become a player which should be respected by all countries. He comments: "The Israeli Foreign Ministry fell into the trap that it had set for teaching a lesson while Turkey emerged even more powerful from the crisis."

    In a commentary entitled "A 'very difficult' thing for Israel," Hurriyet Daily News (16.01.10) columnist Cengiz Candar writes that Turkey was able to repel Israel, adding that "Israel bowed before Turkey and apologized for the first time." Noting that Turkish President Abdullah Gul demanded an apology and gave time for Israel to respond, Candar adds that "this is an excellent opportunity to see what the 'New Middle East' means. The 'New Middle East' that is emerging with a 'New Turkey in the region.'" Explaining that the Israeli officials "were forced to make an apology" and that Israeli President Shimon Peres "seemed to play a critical role in this 'apology,'" Candar continues: "He calculated that Israel would be harmed more than Turkey in this 'crisis' and reached the conclusion that 'an apology' will help more to Israeli benefit," in this way averting more damage to Israel."

    According to a report by Ceyda Karaaslan in Sabah (17.01.10), Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who is on a one-day visit in Ankara, will not be meeting with President Abdullah Gul or with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan because the two will be out of Ankara. Barak's expected meeting with General Basbug, the chief of the General Staff, will not take place either since the general "left Ankara yesterday following a sudden decision." During his meetings with his counterpart Vecdi Gonul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Barak will be discussing the delivery of Herons, bilateral modernization projects, and the new program of the Anatolian Exercises.

    In an article entitled "The Ambassador should be called to account, too", Vakit (17.01.10) columnist Ayhan Bilgin asserts that the Government should bring Turkish Ambassador to Israel Oguz Celikkol to account over what he refers to as his failure to stand up for his country's dignity and honour properly during his meeting with Danny Ayalon. Bilgin claims that instead of "smiling for the cameras," Celikkol should have ended the meeting after making a correct interpretation of Ayalon and his aides' facial expression and their body language, the meaning of the assignment of a lower seat to him in the meeting room, the absence of a Turkish flag on the table, the fact that Ayalon spoke in Hebrew and did not shake hands with him, etc.

    b) Erdogans visit to Russia:

    Commenting on the results of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Moscow in his article entitled "Good Relations With Russia are of Crucial Importance to us," Milliyet (15.01.10) columnist Gungor Uras says that an agreement reached between the two countries about the construction of a nuclear power plant will further increase Turkey's dependence on Russia in the field of energy although Russia is concerned about energy projects supported by the United States as an alternative to Russian oil and gas. He comments: "We are desperately trying to satisfy the United States while not hurting our relations with Russia."

    A report entitled "Scales tipped in favor of South Korea for the second nuclear power plant" in Hurriyet (15.01.10) says that Erdogan's visit to Russia has revealed the highlights of Turkey's plan to build nuclear power plants. It says that the Turkish Government which is expected to sign an agreement with the Russian Government for building a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu intends to award a second contract for building a second nuclear facility in Sinop to a consortium consisting of American and South Korean companies.

    In an article entitled "Three critical regions, three major projects", Yeni Safak (15.01.10) columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on what he describes as Turkey's efforts to defuse tensions and conflicts, promote dialog, and establish transnational partnerships in three regions, namely the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. He draws attention to the importance in this sense of Ankara and Moscow's decision to cancel the Turkish-Russian visa regime and the prospect of signing a Turkish-Russian free trade agreement in the wake of Erdogan's visit to Russia as well as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's visits to Croatia and Serbia.

    Writing in Milliyet (16.01.10), Asli Aydintasbas recounts her conversation with Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, who was on board the plane to Spain where he was going to participate at a meeting of EU's energy ministers in Seville, in her commentary in Milliyet. Referring to Yildiz's comments that the energy issue has no political and ideological borders any more, Aydintasbas continues: "Reproaching the United States, the Minister is talking about the 'strategic value' of the agreement with Russia and the need for Turkey to balance 'strategy' with 'feasibility' in its energy overtures. So, we ask the minister whether we are not becoming tied to Russia with an umbilical cord when it comes to energy with the Blue Stream project and the existing gas production? It is obvious that the same complaint was lodged by the EU and the United States which are also watching over Turkey's love affair with Russia. The minister reproached those American officials, who complained about the issue of 'diverse energy' as follows: ''Why did American companies not participate in the tender?' Yildiz describes the relations with Russia not as 'dependency' but as 'interdependency.' How come? The Russians will make an investment to the tune of $60 billion for the infrastructure and management of the nuclear power station. In this way, you sort of become 'dependent' on the country of your investment. Turkey is determined to fast become 'nuclear' one way or another. Yildiz, in turn, says: 'We are already late for this. We intend to launch not one but two power stations in 2010. One is in Akkuyu and the other in Sinop."

    Referring to Putin's comments after his talks with Erdogan in Moscow that both the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and the Turkish-Armenian problem are very complicated by nature and, therefore, should not be tied into one package, Erdal Safak writes about the "whispered reports" that Russia increased its pressure to put into effect the "'Renewed Madrid Principles,' which is the road map in a solution to Armenia's Nagorno-Karabakh issue." In his commentary entitled "In the Labyrinths of Diplomacy" in Sabah (16.01.10), Safak adds that according to rumours, in this way, Russia seeks to accelerate the process of approval of the Armenian protocols at the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the one hand, and on the other win the heart of Azerbaijan by signing a natural gas agreement.

    Viewing the three energy agreements reached between Turkey and Russia and the announcement made by Russia's Gazprom that it is ready to import all the gas produced by Azerbaijan, Radikal (17.01.10) columnist Murat Yetkin observes that these developments are tantamount to ridiculing the Nabucco project. Describing as a tactical error the pressure applied by the United States on Pakistan to pull out of the Iran-Pakistan-India energy line project following the Russian announcement that it might join in the project, Yetkin maintains that while the United States continues to make one mistake after another, Russia is advancing on its path and the regional axis of power is shifting. In conclusion, Yetkin writes: "This shift in the regional axis of power provides new opportunities as well as new risks for Turkey. This is a process that should be carefully followed."

    Confirming that there is full consensus in Turkish-Russian relations in almost all fields including energy cooperation, Radikal (17.01.10) columnist Erdal Guven points out in his article that there is a single exception to the rule, namely the Caucasian front. Referring to Turkey's linkage of its relations with Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Guven continues: "On the Caucasian front, Turkey mostly relies on Russia's support. It is, however, a fact that Russia's sovereignty over it 'immediate vicinity' as well as over the Caucasus depends on two factors: The individual dependence of the countries on Moscow on issues such as energy and security and the existence of regional clashes and conflicts such as in Abkhazia, Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh." Observing that an Azeri-Armenian and a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement might change the status quo in south Caucasus against the Russians, the writer draws attention to the statement made by Putin during a recent news conference jointly held with Prime Minister Erdogan that the Turkish-Armenian and the Nagorno-Karabakh problems are two different issues and that it would not be right to place them in the same package. Underlining this difference of views between Ankara and Moscow, Guven concludes that Turkey should not expect a favourable approach from Russia on the Caucasian front.

    EG/


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