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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-04-12

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. 65/10 10-12.04.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu accuses Talat of rejecting his past
  • [02] Efforts by Talat, Eroglu and Ertugruloglu to get the votes of the Turkish settlers
  • [03] A new opinion poll shows that Eroglu is narrowly ahead of Talat with only 1.8%
  • [04] Resignations from ORP due to disagreement on their partys support to Talat
  • [05] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated that he hopes the negotiations will continue after the presidential elections
  • [06] Talat describes as a lie the information that Archbishop Chrysostomos will discuss with Erdogan the restoration of the churches in the occupied areas
  • [07] Rauf Denktas grandson was appointed as spokesman of the Turkish embassy in Washington
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot newspaper alleges that Pope Benedict XVI will meet with a Turkish Cypriot religious leader
  • [09] The International Universities Council has been established
  • [10] Erdogan sees ease in Turkish US relations; US high ranking official praises Turkeys role as a significant ally
  • [11] President Gul visits Oman to improve bilateral relations
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] From the Turkish Press on 09, 10 and 11 April 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu accuses Talat of rejecting his past

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.04.10) reports that Dervis Eroglu, so-called prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and candidate in the illegal elections of 18 April, accused the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, of rejecting his past. Addressing a meeting of his supporters the night before yesterday in occupied Trikomo village, Mr Eroglu alleged that Mr Talat has been trying to please President Christofias from the very first day of the negotiations. Mr Eroglu added: But we do not worry about Christofias. We are not anxious to please Christofias. Our anxiety is not to give our rights away at the negotiating table to Christofias and the Greek Cypriots.

    Mr Eroglu expressed the view that Mr Talat rejects his past and does not call Turkey his motherland. No one can follow a person who rejects his past. I am calling Turkey my motherland. I am saying today the same things as I was saying yesterday, he said.

    Mr Eroglu reminded of the period of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus when he was working as a doctor at the hospital in Famagusta and added that the party of Mr Talat was then organizing protests against the Turkish invasion. Mr Eroglu noted that Mr Talat was referring to a demilitarized Cyprus without the presence of Turkey, expressing the view that the illegal Turkish settlers spoiled the demographic structure in the occupied areas of Cyprus and they should be sent back to Turkey. What is he doing now? He is flattering Turkey. My motherland does not make discriminations in the TRNC. It sees the TRNC as a whole, it does not determine its policy according to Talat, he said.

    Mr Eroglu noted that the Turkish Cypriots have an alternative in case a solution is not found and added: We have a roof now. It means that we are not without alternative. Let the Greek Cypriots come to their senses.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (12.04.10) reports that circles which oppose the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey support Mr Dervis Eroglu for the illegal elections. The paper writes that Mustafa Sarigul, leader of the Movement for Change in Turkey, has sent a bus to the occupied areas of Cyprus for Mr Eroglu to use in his election campaign. The paper reminds that Mr Sarigul was a member of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and leader of the group which opposed to the chairman of the party, Deniz Baykal.

    Moreover, the paper reports also that Hasan Akgun, mayor of Buyukcekmece in Turkey who is elected with the CHP, has come to the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to support Mr Eroglu. Mr Akgun goes around occupied Karpass peninsula and makes speeches in favor of Mr Eroglu, according to Yeni Duzen.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Efforts by Talat, Eroglu and Ertugruloglu to get the votes of the Turkish settlers

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.04.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, the so-called prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Dervis Eroglu and Tahsin Ertugruloglu, all candidates in the illegal elections of 18 April, participated in a dinner organized in occupied Kythrea village by the illegal Turkish settlers from Konya living in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In his statements during the dinner, Mr Eroglu alleged that all of them are citizens of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. He added that some of them came from Konya and some others from different areas of Turkey such as Kayseri, like himself. He claimed that all of them are people of this land and that the important thing is to defend this state and live here in tranquillity and security.

    After the departure of Mr Eroglu, Mr Talat and his spouse Oya participated in the dinner. In his address, Mr Talat said that the important thing is friendship, brotherhood, love and the TRNC to become a more viable country. He added: Whatever our origin is, our brotherhood and cooperation should continue forever. All of us worked hard on these lands and made every kind of sacrifices for the protection of these lands, their existence until today and the continuation of our existence here .

    Moreover, Kibris reports that Mr Talat yesterday visited the area within the walls of the occupied part of Lefkosia and met with illegal Turkish settlers living there. Mr Talat asked from them not to believe to the allegations put forward by his opponents regarding the Turkish settlers. He noted: They go around and say to you that Talat will send you back, if he is elected. These are total lies. I have never made you an issue of bargaining and I will not do so.

    Mr Talat said that they never discriminated the TRNC citizens and never separated them into those of Cypriot origin and those of Turkish origin. Explaining the gains of the Turkish settlers in case a solution is found, Mr Talat said that these settlers will become citizens of united Cyprus and of the EU and that they will benefit from the advantages of the solution.

    Meanwhile, Kibris also reports that five associations of settlers coming from the Alexandretta area have expressed their support to Dervis Eroglu for the illegal elections. Bertan Zaroglu, chairman of the Alexandretta Students Union, speaking on behalf of the five organizations, said they support those who applauded the establishment of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, not those who cried when this was declared. He noted that they support those who want to make accepted that the Turkish Cypriots are people and not a community, those who do not want the withdrawal of the Turkish army from Cyprus and those who want the active and effective guarantees of Turkey.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (12.04.10) reports that Mr Talat has sent to Turkey the secret notes of his face-to-face meetings with President Christofias during the Cyprus talks, where no official minutes were taken. According to these notes, the illegal Turkish settlers will leave Cyprus after the solution.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] A new opinion poll shows that Eroglu is narrowly ahead of Talat with only 1.8%

    Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (12.04.10) publishes an opinion poll conducted by PollMark Research Company, according to which the self-styled prime minister Dervis Eroglu is narrowly ahead of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, in the April 18, 2010 election.

    According to the opinion poll, which was conducted between 3-5 of April 2010, Eroglu is ahead with 35.9% while Talat receives 34.1%. The paper writes neither about the sample used for the opinion poll, nor it mention any other information about it.

    The paper also writes that according to an opinion poll conducted by the PollMark research company in February 2010, Eroglu was ahead with 37.7%, while Talat received 24.8%.

    (CS)

    [04] Resignations from ORP due to disagreement on their partys support to Talat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.04.10) in its front page reports that the former minister of tourism and former district governor of occupied Famagusta Erdogan Sanlidag, as well as Erden Ozaskin have resigned from the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), because they do not embrace ORPs decision to support the candidature of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the so-called presidential elections on 18 April, 2010.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (12.04.10) reports that 109 members of ORP have resigned from their party and passed to the National Unity Party (UBP). Mehmet Nur Ates, a resigned ORP, said that they support Dervis Eroglu in the upcoming elections for his support to the existence and the future of the state.

    (DPs)

    [05] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated that he hopes the negotiations will continue after the presidential elections

    Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (11.04.10) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he hoped the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem would continue after the presidential election in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Erdogan made these statements speaking to journalists during his flight to the USA, where he will participate in a Nuclear Summit organized by US President Barack Obama. Asked if the negotiations process in Cyprus may get negatively affected after the presidential election Mr Erdogan stated: "I hope the negotiations process and calendar would not be hurt by the election".

    (CS)

    [06] Talat describes as a lie the information that Archbishop Chrysostomos will discuss with Erdogan the restoration of the churches in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.04.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, has described as a complete lie the information that Archbishop Chrysostomos II will ask from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the restoration of the churches in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus.

    According to a statement issued by his office, Mr Talat claimed that the Greek Cypriot side tries to ignore the Turkish Cypriots and take Turkey as its interlocutor. Noting that Archbishop Chrysostomos II has stated that he will ask for Mr Erdogans help for the restoration of occupied Apostolos Andreas Monastery and the churches in the occupied areas of the island, Mr Talat said that it is not possible for Turkey to tolerate having the Greek Cypriots as its interlocutors instead of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Rauf Denktas grandson was appointed as spokesman of the Turkish embassy in Washington

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (10.04.10) reports that Rauf Alp Denktas, the grandson of the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, was appointed by Namik Tan, the Turkish ambassador to Washington, as the spokesman of the Turkish embassy to the USA.

    The 36-year-old Rauf Alp Denktas who graduated from the Bilken University in Turkey and has a graduate degree in International Relations from a British university, has been an employee of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the last nine years and has served in various positions in Turkish embassies abroad.

    (CS)

    [08] Turkish Cypriot newspaper alleges that Pope Benedict XVI will meet with a Turkish Cypriot religious leader

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (10.04.10) reports on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus early next June. Citing information by the Italian newspapers Il Sole 24 Ore weekly culture magazine, Kibrisli writes that during his visit, the Pope asked to meet with the religious leader, known as Sheikh of Lefka, Nazim Kibrisi. According to the information, Popes request for a meeting with Kibrisi was made two months ago, but both the place and the time of the meeting remain a secret. The paper goes on and notes that despite all the efforts made by the newspaper, it was observed that the so-called ministry of foreign affairs is not interested in the event. However, as the paper writes, this event could be evaluated from the point of view of the Pope visiting the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and conveying to him some political messages.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (10.04.10) reports that Sheikh Nazim Kibrisi is in a bad health situation and he can only walk with the assistance of his disciples. It is also added that Sheikh Nazim has a great number of followers throughout the world.

    (EA)

    [09] The International Universities Council has been established

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (10.04.10) reports that the International Universities Council (IUC) has been established with the cooperation of rectors from the illegal universities of the breakaway regime, Turkey, the Middle East and African countries. The decision of the establishment was made during the International Higher Education Workshop (IHEW), which was hosted by the illegal American University of Keryneia (GAU).

    The Council was established under the co-presidency of the illegal GAU and Turkeys Yeditepe University. According to the paper, the founding rectors come from universities of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Kosovo, Cameroon, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan. The chairman of the Council of Higher Education of the Republic of Turkey (YOK), Prof. Yusuf Ziya Ozcan, was elected as the honorary president of the Council. The councils headquarters will be located in Ankara.

    (EA)

    [10] Erdogan sees ease in Turkish US relations; US high ranking official praises Turkeys role as a significant ally

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.04.10) reported, inter alia, the following from Istanbul:

    The Turkish prime minister said on Sunday that he had seen that Turkish-U.S. relations had eased.

    Turkey's Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish-U.S. relations had become less rigid, thanks to talks between executives after the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution acknowledging the Armenian allegations on the incidents of 1915.

    Our relations are milder now after the U.S. Secretary of State called our Foreign Minister, and we have sent back our ambassador to Washington D.C., he told a press conference before flying to the United States.

    Erdogan will participate in the two-day summit to be hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. Almost 50 heads of state and government are expected to attend the summit.

    Such resolutions do not bind us and Turkey's views are obvious, he said.

    Erdogan said Turkey was still backing its views expressed in a letter sent to former Armenian President Robert Kocharian in 2005.

    Turkey thought such issues could not be solved by parliaments, but they should be handled by historical committees, Erdogan said.

    Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.04.10) reports the following from Washington:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington, D.C. to attend the Nuclear Security Summit.

    Erdogan is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday on the sidelines of the summit. U.S. National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told a news conference that the Erdogan-Obama meeting would take place on April 13.

    Rhodes said that recent developments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear program, efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear security would be high on the agenda of the meeting.

    Describing Turkey as a significant ally, Rhodes said that efforts to normalize Turkey-Armenia relations would also be discussed during the meeting.

    Prime Minister Erdogan is also set to meet with President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia.

    The meeting will take place at the Washington Convention Center on Monday on the sidelines of the summit.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz are accompanying Erdogan.

    [11] President Gul visits Oman to improve bilateral relations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.04.10) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish President will travel to Oman on Monday, his office said on Sunday.

    Turkey's President Abdullah Gul will pay a three-day formal visit to the Omani capital, Muscat, upon an invitation from Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said.

    This will be the first time that a Turkish President visits Oman in 13 years. Ministers, MPs, scholars, representatives of the business world and journalists will accompany Gul during his visit to Oman.

    Gul will meet Qaboos and members of the Omani government and attend the Turkish-Omani Business Forum.

    During his visit, Gul will discuss ways to further improve friendship and cooperation and new cooperation opportunities in the economy, trade, investments and defence industry fields.

    Gul will also take up regional and international developments, and relations between Turkey and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

    President Gul is expected to return to Turkey on April 14.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] From the Turkish Press on 09, 10 and 11 April 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 09-11 April 2010:

    a) Cyprus problem:

    Oral Calislar in an article in Radikal (11.04.10) writes that on the eve of the so-called elections in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriots are faced with a decision between continuing on the path to a solution or on returning to the past status quo. Underlining that Talat represents the hope for a solution and Eroglu the past and the status quo, Calislar writes: "Eroglu, who is one of those who objected to the Annan Plan, today advocates a separation and not a partnership between the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots." Viewing Turkeys role on the Cyprus problem, Calislar draws attention to the fact that a non-solution in Cyprus had in the past constituted an obstacle to Turkeys EU accession negotiations, adding: "Therefore, the results of the elections in Cyprus will not only have an impact on the future of the Turkish Cypriots but will have a direct effect on Turkeys accession negotiations and on Turkeys future. Talat's success is a great opportunity for a 'solution' and for the EU."

    b) Constitutional reform package amendments:

    Questioning whether the president has the authority to separate certain articles from the constitutional amendment package before it is submitted to a referendum, columnist Nazli Ilicak in her article in Sabah (09.04.10) states that one of article of the package is about "submitting the package to a referendum as a whole." If this article is adopted by the National Assembly, the president does not have the authority to oppose the will of the nation, maintains Ilicak, adding that under the circumstances the president cannot go along with the Republican People's Party, CHP leader Baykal's appeal to separate the controversial articles from the rest of the package.

    In an article entitled "Tactical battle over Constitutional amendment package", columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan in Milli Gazete (09.04.10) advises the ruling AKP against rejecting the CHP's latest proposal on the constitutional reform package, which entails support for the package by this party if the AKP agrees to have three of the proposed amendments put to referendum. In urging the AKP to take account of the CHP's proposal, he reminds it of the fact that "even a broken clock is right twice a day."

    Rusen Cakir in Vatan (10.04.10) points out in a column that CHP's new strategy of supporting the constitutional amendment package with the exception of three articles shows that the CHP has abandoned its uncompromising strategy. CHP leader Baykal -- seeing that this new strategy received positive reactions and support in the media -- elaborated on his proposal, Cakir notes. He adds that the AKP had assessed that the opposition parties would not support the amendment package and that it would rapidly submit the package to a referendum. Faulting the AKP for not calling on the CHP to discuss the package, Cakir urges the CHP to call the shots and declare that it is ready to discuss the controversial three articles as well.

    In an article entitled "Everybody seems to be winning including even the CHP", columnist Fehmi Koru in Yeni Safak (10.04.10) comments on the "positive" climate in Parliament over the constitutional reform package "created to a large extent by the fact that the CHP has stopped objecting to the package categorically." He claims that while CHP leader Deniz Baykal's proposal to support the package in return for having three of the amendments included put to referendum by President Gul is contrary to the Constitution, Parliament itself can take action on Baykal's suggestion if the CHP leader publicly pledges not to file an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the results of a parliamentary vote on the package.

    In an article entitled "Opposing the EU in the name of Ataturk", columnist Abdulhamit Bilici in Today's Zaman (10.04.10) asserts that the mentality that underlies the arguments used by Turkey's top judiciary and the main opposition CHP in opposing the constitutional amendment package is not any different from the outlook of the foreign powers that "wanted to banish this nation away from Anatolia" and against whom Ataturk fought in the War for Independence.

    In an article in Vatan (11.04.10), Gungor Mengi focuses on the warning issued by Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, that the reform package introduced by the ruling party will politicize the judiciary and on the proposal made by Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Baykal to separate three articles from the constitutional amendment package, claiming that the government has no counterargument with regards to the essence of these developments. Recalling Yalcinkaya's claims that a judiciary in violation of the EU values and prone to political influence cannot be independent, Mengi maintains that the government has been unable to negate these claims. A mentality that wants to grant the parliament, whose many members are accused of various irregularities, the authority to elect the members of the high judiciary, is immune to such criticisms, writes Mengi, concluding that the government wants to transform the judiciary and all the institutions of the state into another Higher Education Council, YOK.

    In an article entitled "Chief Prosecutor says different things this time,'" columnist Mumtazer Turkone in Zaman (11.04.10) describes various examples cited by Yalcinkaya from the European law and his argument that the constitutional amendments should be based on a compromise between all political parties as a sign that there has been a positive change in the judiciary's mentality because the system based on military tutelage has collapsed. He adds: "Referring to the need to reach a compromise rather than defending an ideological state and ideological concerns represents a contribution to democracy."

    c) Turkeys foreign relations:

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (09.04.10), Semih Idiz recaps the developments in Turkish-Armenian relations since the signing of the protocols in Zurich last year, pointing out that the mutual animosity between the two peoples, the Azerbaijani factor, and the problems the Armenian Diaspora is in a position to cause were underestimated. Wondering why Turkish envoy Sinirlioglu was sent to Yerevan and why the Armenian parliament has began to discuss the protocols given this backdrop, Idiz argues that "the sides are playing a kind of diplomatic checkers game here, since a chess game requires little more sophistication." In conclusion, Idiz maintains that these calculations will not lead the sides anywhere in terms of normalizing their ties since "normalization can only come about through brave and committed leadership on both sides."

    Viewing the letter Ankara has sent to Yerevan regarding its commitment to the protocols and the meeting expected to take place between Erdogan and Armenian President Sargsyan in Washington during the nuclear summit in an article in Milliyet (09.04.10), Sami Kohen notes that these developments are important from the viewpoint of keeping the process alive. The writer, however, questions what practical steps the sides propose to take and how the impasse in the normalization process will be eliminated. Pointing out that the Armenian government is ready to endorse the protocols in parliament, Kohen maintains that the Erdogan government is currently in no position to endorse the protocols in the National Assembly because Erdogan has linked the protocols to the Karabakh issue and also because the Assembly is currently tied up with the constitutional amendments. The statement issued by Sargsyan's spokesperson and the address of the Armenian foreign minister in parliament in the aftermath of Turkish envoy Sinirlioglu's visit to Yerevan indicate that Armenia expects a concrete move from Turkey on the endorsement of the protocols and on the normalization process, declares Kohen, wondering whether Turkey can meet these expectations.

    Questioning the haste in which Sinirlioglu was sent to Yerevan in an article in Hurriyet (09.04.10), Ferai Tinc writes that if the issue is about not going to Washington empty-handed or preventing the use of the term 'genocide' in President Obama's 24 April address, it is too bad. The goal of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement should have been regional peace and the interests of the two peoples, maintains Tinc, enumerating all the wrong moves the government made in the normalization process. Questioning what the government intends to do now that it has convinced the public that the Armenian constitutional court decision on the protocols declares the Kars Treaty to be null and void, Tinc fears that the government cannot submit the protocols to the National Assembly for approval now that the parliament is so tense as a result of the constitutional amendment discussions. Noting that the government cannot risk a struggle on the Armenian issue at a time when it is getting ready for a referendum, Tinc reminds her readers that the protocols stipulate that the agreements will go into effect the first day of the first month after the protocols are endorsed simultaneously in both counties. She adds: "Reports to the effect that the Armenian Administration is getting ready to submit the protocols to the parliament raises the possibility of further difficulties in the coming days."

    In an article entitled "Turkey's new foreign policy style will solve the problem with Armenia", columnist Yasin Aktay in YeniSafak (10.04.10) lauds Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for their "diplomatic performance" vis-- vis Armenia as seen in the way they have shown that establishing "healthy and warm human relations" with this country can go a long way toward stabilizing bilateral relations and overcoming obstacles to normalization previously believed to be insurmountable. He claims that the ruling AKP's handling of relations with Armenia has dismantled a paradigm in Turkey's foreign policy based on an assumption that rules out the "human factor" in international relations.

    Columnist Sami Kohen in Milliyet (10.04.10) lauds the progress in Turkish-Greek relations in an article. Referring to the joint statement of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Dhimitris Dhroutsas, deputy foreign minister of Greece, with regard to the steps to be taken to form a "strategic cooperation" between the two countries, Kohen maintains that "political will" and mutual "trust" are the two important elements in carrying out these steps, which include military issues as well. Kohen attributes the progress in the ties to the successful use of "second track" method since the beginning of 2000s, a method of diplomacy in which the sides first take confidence-building steps and the tension-causing issues are left to be resolved in time. He concludes that the success of this method constitutes an exemplar for other events and countries.

    In an article entitled "Hampig Sasunyan and Diaspora," columnist Ayhan Bilgin in Vakit (11.04.10) says that the United States is working on a new formula which would ensure that the protocols signed by the Turkish and Armenian governments are implemented without causing an angry backlash from the public in both countries. Pointing out that such a formula would face strong criticism from Armenians living in other countries, Bilgin comments: "Neither new formulas nor Turkey's good intentions would be sufficient to improve Turkish-Armenian relations unless the United States convinces diaspora Armenians not to pursue a hostile strategy toward Turkey and thus to abandon their goals and claims."

    d) Sledgehammer investigation:

    Mehmet Ali Birand, in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (09.04.10), views the release and re-arrest of suspects in Operation Sledgehammer, pointing out that the judiciary is in total chaos. Referring to the suspects still under detention within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation without having been told what they are accused of, Birand points to the lack of trust in the system, adding that recreating a trustworthy environment will take a long time.

    In an article entitled "I expect it from General Ozkok", columnist Fehmi Koru in Yeni Safak (09.04.10), asserts that the recently disclosed military conspiracies against the Government in the form of drills planned in 2002 appear to have been based on a scenario of domestic conflict and chaos caused by Parliament's adoption of a bill allowing the United States to deploy troops to Turkey as part of its military campaign against Iraq. He claims that the Turkish military could be continuing its "interventionist tradition" today if Parliament had passed the 1 March authorization bill on Iraq.

    In an article entitled "Sledgehammer contradictions", columnist Mustafa Unal in Zaman (09.04.10) criticizes Aykut Cengiz Engin for a recent statement to the Star daily in which he disclosed that his removal of two prosecutors from the Sledgehammer investigation after they ordered the apprehension of over 90 high-ranking members of the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, was based on a consideration of the possible implications of such a major swoop mostly on serving generals who occupy critical positions. Unal contrasts Engin's move with Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya's filing of a closure lawsuit against the ruling AKP in 2008 and his demand for a political ban on some 71 AKP members including Prime Minister Erdogan. He asks ironically why Yalcinkaya was not deterred from filing this case by a consideration of the possible results of his move.

    In an article entitled "Motion of 1 March and Sledgehammer plan," columnist Fehmi Koru in Yeni Safak (11.04.10) says that Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila's article which appeared in the daily yesterday supported his argument that some generals in the military who allegedly devised a coup plan code-named Sledgehammer made efforts to give the impression that they were against an ill-fated government motion aimed at sending Turkish and US troops into Iraq through Turkish territory in 2003 although they were actually in favor of the motion. Pointing out that the coup plan was finalized only five days after the motion on Iraq was defeated, Koru says: "When they were devising their plan, the members of the Sledgehammer team were sure that the motion would clear Parliament in light of signals they had received from the top. They, however, could not revise their plan in a couple of days after the Turkish Grand National Assembly rejected the motion. This is why some details in the plan now look meaningless and absurd."

    EG/


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