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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-06-02

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. 101/10 02.06.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu says the statements made by the UN Secretary-General and Alexander Downer do not bind him
  • [02] Eroglu briefed the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties on the Cyprus talks
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot political parties commented on the possible continuation of the Cyprus talks in New York
  • [04] Vatikans spokesman stated that the Pope will not cross over to the occupied areas but might meet with Muslim representatives in Cyprus
  • [05] Bagis held a meeting in Vatican in the eve of the Papal visit to Cyprus
  • [06] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce called on the Islamic countries to invest in occupied Cyprus
  • [07] Problems continue for foreigners who bought houses in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] A delegation from the Evkaf religious foundation is in Brussels
  • [09] Erdogans speech in Parliament censuring Israel. Erdogan talked on phone with Obama.
  • [10] Statements by Davutoglu on Israeli attack to aid ships
  • [11] Turkish Foreign Trade Minister said that trade relations with Israel may be reviewed; Turkish daily say Turkey may cancel defense cooperation with Israel
  • [12] Two independent deputies joined CHP
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 1 June 2010

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu says the statements made by the UN Secretary-General and Alexander Downer do not bind him

    Under the title They do not bind me, Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.06.10) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has alleged that during his first meeting with President Christofias efforts were exerted for making some tricks and added that the statements made by Alexander Downer, UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Cyprus, do not bind him.

    In statements during one of his meetings yesterday, Mr Eroglu said that during his meeting with President Christofias last Thursday no agreement was reached between them and added that the basic presentations will be made during their next meeting tomorrow Thursday.

    Mr Eroglu reiterated that he will negotiate in order to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and added: It should be known that I do not and could not think of giving away to the Greek Cypriots the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people at the negotiating table.

    Mr Eroglu alleged that efforts were exerted for some tricks to be made during his last meeting with President Christofias, but the statements made by the UN Secretary-General or his representative here does not bind him. Mr Eroglu said that he has very clearly put forward the strategy and the policy he will follow at the negotiating table and added that he is bound by the letter he sent to the UN Secretary-General.

    Pointing out that he is not bound by the announcement of the issues on which agreement has not been reached at the negotiating table, Mr Eroglu said: The [UN] Secretary-General can make a statement when we say that we agreed on this issue. Currently we have no agreement.

    He noted that they are planning to make their basic presentation on Thursday and that before doing that he will brief the political parties and the self-styled government.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu briefed the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties on the Cyprus talks

    Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.06.10) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu briefed yesterday the leaders of the five Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the assembly on the Cyprus talks in the eve of the meeting he will hold tomorrow with President Christofias.

    In statements after the meeting which lasted for about two hours, the self-styled prime minister and leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Irsen Kucuk said Mr Eroglu briefed them on the first meeting he held with President Christofias within the framework of the Cyprus talks and on the meeting they will have tomorrow. He noted that Mr Eroglu would brief the council of ministers on the same issue today.

    Ferdi Sabit Soyer, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said after the meeting that the property issue should be solved by taking into consideration the rights of the user of the property and by implementing the method of compensation, exchange and return of property. He argued that the reason for the Cyprus problem is not the property issue, which he described as a result of the problem. Mr Soyer noted that they warned Mr Eroglu not to proceed to another issue during the negotiations before the chapters of Governance and Power Sharing and Property are not matured. He said that they expressed the view that they should not proceed to another issue before the above two chapters are totally clarified.

    In his statements after the meeting, Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said they informed Mr Eroglu that his party wants to participate in the process before and after every meeting with a broader team consisted of party experts. He noted that they warned Mr Eroglu that they do not want to come face to face with fait accomplis and that the give and take procedure should not start before reaching an agreement on all issues during the process which started recently for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Furthermore, Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said that during the meeting they got the impression that the negotiations will continue from the point they were left during former Turkish Cypriot leader Talats period, but there are some ambiguities. Pointing out that the ambiguities will be clarified soon, he described as wrong the discussion of the property issue before the completion of Governance ad Power Sharing. He alleged that starting the discussion of the property issue because of some tactical tricks of President Christofias, who faced some difficulties and criticism on the Governance and Power Sharing, is a complication [of the process]. Mr Cakici noted that during the meeting they stressed that no other issue should be discussed before progress on the chapters of the Property and Governance and Power Sharing is achieved. He said that he does not see that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be achieved soon.

    Finally, Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), described their meeting as a very good one and reiterated the view of the other Turkish Cypriot politicians that before the completion of the above-mentioned two chapters the discussion of any other chapter should not start. He said his party will continue to support the solution process in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish Cypriot political parties commented on the possible continuation of the Cyprus talks in New York

    Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.06.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot political parties reacted to the message allegedly given by Alexander Downer, UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Cyprus, that the negotiations between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem might be transferred to New York.

    Under the title New York is ok, but the paper writes that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that the important issue is the continuation of the negotiations and that the place where they are conducted is of secondary importance. He noted that there will be some benefits if the negotiations are conducted in New York and added that in this case the negotiations will be intensified.

    Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said New York would be a favorable place for the negotiations, if the process reached a certain point and a hope for finding a solution existed. He noted that first we should see where the negotiations are heading to. An agreement made through pressure is far from being a solution. We should approach this cautiously, he said.

    Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), expressed the view that the sub-chapters should be completed here and afterwards the negotiations could continue in New York. Before all else the UN arbitration and a timetable should be accepted, he alleged.

    Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), expressed their support to Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu in this process and alleged that this stance of Downer is due to the fact that he understood that the Greek Cypriots are intransigent. He said that the target is a solution until the end of the year and claimed that the UN and the EU realized that the process could not continue in this manner.

    Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) said that the UN and Mr Downer are not satisfied with the course of the negotiations and they want to reach a result soon.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Vatikans spokesman stated that the Pope will not cross over to the occupied areas but might meet with Muslim representatives in Cyprus

    Under the title He will not cross over to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.06.10) reports that Pope Benedict XVI who is visiting the Republic of Cyprus between 4-6 of June will not cross over to the occupied areas of the island but there is a possibility for him to meet with representatives of the Muslims.

    In statements yesterday, Peter Federico Lombardi, the Vatikans spokesman stated that there is a Muslim community in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. Therefore, the Pope may receive representatives of the Muslim community. However, nothing is definite, he said.

    (CS)

    [05] Bagis held a meeting in Vatican in the eve of the Papal visit to Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.06.10) reports from Vatican the following: Turkey's European Union (EU) chief negotiator met on Tuesday the secretary for relations with states of the Vatican.

    Turkish State Minister and EU chief negotiator Egemen Bagis stopped by Vatican within the scope of his two-day formal visit to Italy, and met Dominique Francois Joseph Mamberti, secretary for relations with states of the Vatican.

    During the meeting, Bagis said Muslim countries were carefully monitoring Turkey's EU membership process. 'The messages the Vatican will give to 1.5 billion Muslim population and people who feel themselves as excluded in the world are as important as Turkey's EU membership, ' Bagis said.

    Bagis said religions should not be exploited, and Turkey thought interreligious dialogue and communication should be improved.

    Also speaking in the meeting, Mamberti said the Vatican had no objection to Turkey's EU membership, and what was important was adoption and implementation of European values. Turkey, which would share common values with Europe, should have a right to become a member, Mamberti said. Mamberti said EU's enlargement had contributed to peace.

    Bagis invited Mamberti to Turkey, and the archbishop accepted the invitation. Minister Bagis and Archbishop Mamberti also discussed recent Israeli attack on Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Bagis defined the attack as 'state terrorism', and Mamberti condemned the attack and said the dead and injured should be handed over to their families as soon as possible.

    [06] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce called on the Islamic countries to invest in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.06.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce participated in the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIFE) which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    According to the paper, the chairman of the Committee responsible for the relations with the Islamic Countries, Taner Yolcu, informed the participants in the Forum about the possibilities for investing in the occupied areas of Cyprus and called the Islamic countries to invest in the TRNC. He also referred to the real estates and construction sector in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (CS)

    [07] Problems continue for foreigners who bought houses in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title We were disgraced, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.06.10) reports that some British citizens who bought houses in occupied Vasilia village cannot receive the title deeds, despite the fact that they paid for the house.

    According to the paper, the Brits cannot receive the title deeds due to the fact that the houses will be sold by auction because they were put in mortgage by the company which constructed them. The paper writes that this is the second time the Brits face problems with the houses they bought. Yeni Duzen also writes that the Brits have sent a letter to the self-styled prime minister asking for help, but, they received the reply that his office cannot take any action because the issue has been taken to the court.

    The paper further writes that prior to presidential elections, Dervis Eroglu promised to help on the issue of the title deeds as regards houses bought by foreigners, but he has not taken any step since then.

    (CS)

    [08] A delegation from the Evkaf religious foundation is in Brussels

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.06.10) broadcast the following:

    The European Foundation Centre (EFC) is organising the first-ever Foundation Week, taking place from 31 May to 4 June in Brussels Belgium. The aim of the Week is to connect foundations with policy and decision makers, NGOs, and other stakeholders to both showcase their work and to discuss issues that matter to Europe and its citizens.

    A delegation from the Evkaf Administration is also in Brussels to attend the Interactive Fair at the Square - Brussels Meeting Center.

    The director of the Evkaf Administration Mustafa Kemal Kaymakamzade told BRT that the Foundation which has been a member of the European Foundation Centre since 1997 manned a stand at the fair.

    He said that the fair has created an opportunity for the foundation to inform the visitors on their activities and to promote the TRNC.The Chief Executive of the European Foundation Centre Gerry Salole and the chair of the EFC Board of Directors Emilio Rui Villar were among those visiting the stand of the Evkaf Foundation.

    Gerry Salole and Emilio Rui Villar were briefed about the activities of the Evkaf Foundation. They also chatted with Kaymakamzade and Tekin Kose the Chair of the Evkaf Administrations Board of Directors.

    [09] Erdogans speech in Parliament censuring Israel. Erdogan talked on phone with Obama.

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.06.10) reports he following: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel's raid on Gaza-bound ships carrying civilians and humanitarian aid as a bloody massacre which deserved every kind of curse.

    Speaking at parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development (AK Party), Erdogan said: 'Two bloody attacks were staged at the darkest hours of Monday night. One of them was an act of terror on a naval base in southern Turkey. Six troops were killed and seven others were injured. The second one was a predawn attack in the Mediterranean Sea which led to one of the heaviest blows on conscience of the humanity'.

    'Aid ships were intercepted by force and brutality. The ships loaded with mercy and affection were prevented from reaching their destination. Israeli armed forces illegally attacked the flotilla carrying 600 people from 32 countries and humanitarian aid to Gazan people, and killed innocent people', he said.

    Erdogan said that they harshly condemned the inhuman attack on ships carrying civilians including women, children and religious officials from different faiths.

    'This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse. This attack is on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace', he said.

    'The ships declared their cargo and their intention to the whole world before setting sail to Gaza. 60 journalists from Turkey and the other countries were also on board the ships to witness the campaign. It is evident that this attack on 600 people and 6 ships carrying aid to poor Palestinian people who were left destitute, is on the basic philosophy of the United Nations. The ships were loaded with humanitarian aid and they were strictly controlled under the international traffic rules. They were carrying volunteers. But they were subject to such an armed attack', he said.

    'Following the terrorist attack on the naval base and the illegal attack on aid ships by Israeli forces, I cut short my visit to Chile and returned to Turkey. Our government has been following the developments closely from the very beginning. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc held an extraordinary meeting with relevant ministers and other officials. Our foreign minister and national defense minister held telephone conversations with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to convey Turkey's reaction and uneasiness', he said.

    Erdogan said, 'Turkey has been using all means of the international law and diplomacy and continue to do so in the drays ahead. To this end, we recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv. Three joint military exercises scheduled with Israel were cancelled. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu went to New York and called the UN Security Council to hold an extraordinary meeting. As a result, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning Israel and called on immediate release of civilians and the injured passengers. Matches to be played between Turkish and Israeli soccer teams were cancelled. NATO Council will convene later today. And the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will meet on Monday'.

    'We refused Israel's offer to send the injured passengers. We have the will and power to take our own injured people. Two military ambulances left to bring back the injured passengers. Civilians planes of the Ministry of Health is about to arrive there', he said.

    Erdogan said, 'Israel must inform the world public opinion correctly. It should not refrain from international cooperation. Israel should acknowledge the importance of the situation and correct its mistake'. Prime Minister Erdogan called on Israel to immediately end the inhumane blockade of Gaza.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: 'Staging an armed attack on aid ships, killing innocent people and treating civilians as if they were terrorists are nothing but degradation of humanity and vile recklessness. This insolent, irresponsible, reckless and unfair attack by the Israeli government which trampled on every kind of human value must be punished by all means'.

    Speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice & Development (AK) Party, Erdogan said: 'Turkey and Spain has been co-chairing the Alliance of Civilizations initiative with the aim of consolidate the idea that different faiths, civilizations and cultures can co-exist in peace and tolerance'.

    'Unfortunately, what happened yesterday was a dark stain on the history of humanity. Staging an armed attack on aid ships, killing innocent people and treating civilians as if they were terrorists are nothing but degradation of humanity and vile recklessness. Even warfare has its own rules. Even in warfare, no one can attack on children, women, the elderly, civilians, religious officials and aid workers. Even despots, bandits and pirates have certain sensitivity. They abide by some moral principles', he said.

    'But Israel has almost challenged the whole world by raiding ships carrying volunteers from 32 different nations. This insolent, irresponsible, reckless and unfair attack by the Israeli government which trampled on every kind of human value must be punished by all means', he said.

    Prime Minister Erdogan called on the international community to launch an investigation instead of waiting for action from a government which was not ashamed of its crimes. 'Turkey is not a newly established state. No one should test Turkey's patience. Turkey's friendship is valuable. On the other hand, its enmity is violent', he said.

    'There have always been friendly relations and cooperation between Turkish people and Jewish people. I believe that Israeli people who criticized this bloody attack, understand the fact that it was a heavy blow on the friendly relations between the two countries', Erdogan added.

    [10] Statements by Davutoglu on Israeli attack to aid ships

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.06.10) reports from Washington the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that, we will not allow any single Turkish citizen to remain on Israeli territory and to be interrogated. Davutoglu responded to the questions of Turkish reporters in Williard Hotel in Washington D.C. 'It is in fact Israeli authorities that committed piracy and that should be interrogated, ' Davutoglu said.

    Davutoglu said what Israel had done was to abduct citizens of other countries on international waters, underlining that, 'we want all the citizens to be released soon without any precondition'.

    When recalled that spokesman of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that detainees aboard an aid flotilla to Gaza would be released immediately, Davutoglu said, 'our pursuit will not end till the last Turkish citizen, including the martyrs, enter to Turkish territories. We will not be contended with news reports and statements. '

    Davutoglu said it was the first time in history of Turkish Republic that Turkish citizens was exposed to the voluntary attack of another country, noting that any verbal apology from Israel would not satisfy them.

    When recalled his statements that preliminary statements of the United States did not meet their expectations, Davutoglu said the United States better understood Turkey's concerns following his contacts here.

    [11] Turkish Foreign Trade Minister said that trade relations with Israel may be reviewed; Turkish daily say Turkey may cancel defense cooperation with Israel

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.06.10) reports from Ankara the following:

    Turkish foreign trade minister has said Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla might lead to review of trade relations with Israel.

    'The inhumane attitude and the state terror conducted by Israel may cause discarding of all trade figures no matter how high they might be,' Zafer Caglayan told reporters in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The trade volume between Turkey and Israel was around $2.5 billion last year.

    'We are exerting best of our efforts to boost our trade relations with all countries but nothing is above our national and moral values, ' Caglayan said.

    On the same issue and under the title Turkey may cancel defense cooperation with Israel Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (02.06.10) reports the following:

    All eyes are fixed on the relationship between Israel and Turkey after Israel attacked a humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters, killing at least nine people and injured dozens more on Monday.

    Turkey and Israel currently have TL 3.3 billion in joint commercial and $2 billion in joint defense projects under way. According to data from the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DE0K), economic cooperation between Turkey and Israel solidified in May 1997 with a free trade agreement. Following the elimination of customs duty on about 200 products, Turkey s trade volume with Israel increased to $3.38 billion in 2008 from $446 million in 1996. While Turkey exported goods worth $1,528,370 to Israel in 2009, it imported goods worth $1,070,128. In the first four months of this year, Turkey exported $415,979 in goods and imported $695,406. Israel s share in Turkeys trade volume is currently 1 percent.

    The defense industry is another important linchpin of cooperation between the two countries. The value of cooperative projects in this area is as high as $2 billion. The cooperation between the two countries began in the early 1990s. While a total of 13 projects have been completed in this area, six others are still under way. As Turkey purchases high-technology defense goods from Israel, Israel imports military textile products from Turkey. In addition there has been scientific cooperation on research and development in the defense field, joint projects at universities, projects with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜB0TAK) and cooperation in energy and infrastructure.

    Subtitle: Defense industry projects with Israel

    Turkish authorities are discussing how to respond to Israel at every level, including at Turkeys defense industry undersecretariat. The cancellation of defense projects with Israel was discussed; the government and the civilian and military bureaucracy will decide on the future of Turkeys cooperative projects with Israel.

    First, a contract carried out by the Israeli companies Elbit and Elop to modernize Turkeys F-4 and F-16 fighter planes may be suspended.

    Turkey is also currently expecting four Heron unmanned aircraft from Israel; six have already been delivered. Turkey had agreed in 2004 to buy 10 Heron UAVs for over $180 million from Israeli companies IAI and Elbit. However, the Israeli firms missed the deadline for delivery. The Israeli companies were expected to deliver four Herons in August 2009, followed by another two and then the last four by the end of October 2009. However, this deadline was missed and the Israeli Herons that were delivered failed to reach the predicted aerial elevations or to fulfill the maximum flight times detailed in the agreement.

    According to Israeli engineers, the delivery problems arose because of the difficulty in strengthening the Heron engines to enable Turkish Aselsan-made electro-optical payloads (Aselfir300T) to be fitted onto the Heron UAVs -- they also reported that this was the reason the desired altitudes and flight times could not be achieved.

    Another problematic project between the two countries was the modernization of Turkeys M-60 tanks. A contract worth $687.5 million, for the modernization of 170 M60 tanks, was awarded to Israel Military Industries (IMI) on March 29, 2002. Although Turkey made its payments regularly to IMI, the company failed to finish the project by the final deadline, set for last October. The company has now delivered 170 modernized tanks, but some still have problems in their reverse gears. Defense industry experts say Turkey has paid at least $100 million extra for the modernization.

    Another Turkish-Israeli project with problems was the modernization of F-4 fighter planes in the inventory of the Turkish Aviation Board (THK). Some commenters said Turkey has overpaid for the project.

    [12] Two independent deputies joined CHP

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.06.10) reports from Ankara the following:

    Two independent parliamentarians joined the main opposition party on Tuesday.

    Independent MPs Emrehan Halici and Kamer Genc became members of the Republican People's Party (CHP) in the party's gathering at the parliament.

    The CHP group met at the parliament for the first time after Kemal Kilicdaroglu was elected the new chairman on May 22.

    Thus, the number of CHP MPs reached 99, whereas the number of independent MPs dropped to 10.

    Below is the new distribution of seats at the parliament:

    AK Party336CHP99MHP69BDP20Independent10DSP6DP1TP1Vacant8TOTAL550

    (AK Party stands for the ruling Justice & Development Party, MHP for the Nationalist Movement Party, BDP for the Peace and Democracy Party, DSP for the Democratic Left Party, DP for the Democrat Party, TP for the Turkey Party).


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 1 June 2010

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 1 June 2010:

    a) The Israeli attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla

    In an article in Hurriyet, Fatih Cekirge raises a few questions based on the Israeli claim that the aid activists were carrying weapons: Why didn't the Turkish intelligence investigate those boarding the flotilla? Why didn't Israel inform the Turkish authorities of the situation? Why did Israel organize the attack on the flotillas knowing that the activists were carrying weapons? Why did they not warn the Turkish authorities prior to the flotilla departing from Turkey? Why didn't Israel cooperate with Turkey on the issue? Noting that the responses to these questions bring one to the nuclear issue, Cekirge argues that the nuclear swap deal concluded by Turkey has disturbed Israel, thus prompting it to try and change Turkey's image as follows: "Turkey is not a country that wants peace in the region. Turkey is a power that wants to establish a block against Israel in cooperation with Iran, HAMAS, and Palestine, in other word the Islamic world." Noting that Israel's plan of equating Turkey with radical Islam has failed, Cekirge describes the killing of Turkish citizens as murder. Summing up the flotilla incident as a trap prepared against the nuclear agreement, Cekirge concludes that Israel has been caught in its own trap.

    Describing the attack on the aid flotilla as an act of piracy by an arrogant and aggressive state in an article in Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi underlines that this incident will deal a very heavy blow on Israel's international image. Fearing that a possible UN Security Council resolution denouncing Israel will not yield a de facto solution, Eksi explains that so long as Israel is supported by the United States it will continue to act recklessly. Eksi writes: "In conclusion, I do not believe that Turkish-Israeli relations that have gradually deteriorated during the last year can improve so long as the current governments of the two countries remain in power. Therefore, Turkey has abandoned its policy of being 'equidistant' from all the Middle East countries. It is too early to predict where this will lead us."

    Also describing the Israeli attack on "a civilian vessel and innocent people in international waters as an act of piracy in the first section of his article in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz underlines that this is the response given by the current Israel "racist" and "fascist" government to all the efforts being exerted for a just peace in the Middle East. In conclusion, Yilmaz argues that there can be no tranquility until the Israeli people come to their senses and elect a government that really intends to resolve the problem.

    Describing the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla as a conscious defiance of the Turkish government in an article in Hurriyet, Sedat Ergin views the consequences of this new development in bilateral relations saying that Turkish-Israeli military cooperation will be affected. Noting that the flotilla incident has also upset the balances in the region, Ergin argues that in the new power balances in the Middle East, Turkey and Israel have become two enemies.

    Describing Israel as a "rogue state" in an article in Referans, Cengiz Candar argues that if Israel is not made to account for its deeds then one cannot speak about a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Referring to the US reaction to the flotilla incident, Candar underlines that the unconditional "US security umbrella" has rendered Israel arrogant and reckless. Now the United States is forced to choose between its two regional allies, namely Turkey and Israel, writes Candar. Viewing the bilateral dimension of the issue, Candar underlines that Turkish-Israeli relations have been damaged irreparably. As for the international dimension, Candar predicts that if Turkey can well manage this international crisis, it can play a role in lifting the embargo on Gaza.

    No one can question the legitimate security concerns of Israel, says Yusuf Kanli in an article in Hurriyet Daily News. Questioning, however, whether Israel has the right to turn Gaza into a huge concentration camp and condemn 1.5 million people living in that territory to survive on the mercy of the Israeli government, Kanli argues that Israel has decided to commit suicide with the attack on the aid flotilla. Noting that a US veto to a Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli attack will make Washington an accomplice, Kanli urges the United States to lift its protective umbrella. Underlining that this attack has inflicted a very serious wound on the Turkish-Israeli relations, Kanli concludes that even an official apology from Israel will not suffice to place relations back on a friendly track.

    The military intervention in the aid flotilla was aimed at conveying a message to Turkey and to teaching it a lesson, writes Mehmet Ali Birand in the first section of his article in Hurriyet Daily News, adding that from now on it will be impossible to speak about a Turkish-Israeli alliance. Pointing out that Israel will pay a high price for losing an ally like Turkey, Birand advises the Turkish government not to reduce the incident to a religious basis.

    Showing the unconditional support extended by the United States as the reason for Israel's disproportionate use of force and its violation of human rights in an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila calls on Washington to change its stand and to apply serious pressure on Israel if peace and stability are to be achieved in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. For the United Nations to be able to fulfill its functions, the United States should renounce vetoing the Security Council resolutions concerning Israel, declares Bila, calling on the international community to apply pressure on the United States as well as on Israel. Noting that the flotilla incident will further erode Turkish-Israeli relations, Bila says that with this attack Israel has sabotaged its cooperation with the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, as well.

    Turkey's reaction to the Israel "terror" should not be limited to a few harsh statements and the token cancellation of a few military exercises, writes Can Atakli in an article in Vatan. Questioning whether the government assessed the risks of sending the aid flotilla and the necessary security measures, Atakli asks whether diplomatic contact was established with the Israeli government and whether the reaction of the Turkish government to a possible attack was explained. Wondering whether the government took into consideration that a military attack on a Turkish vessel could create a casus belli, Atakli questions why the intelligence cooperation between the two countries failed.

    Declaring that Israelis are being governed by a "gang of maniacs" in an article in Taraf, Ahmet Altan says that this nation believes that it will be forgiven for every crime as a result of the influence it exerts within the US community and administration. The Israeli government, unaware of the changes in the world and in the United States, believes that it has the freedom to kill the innocent, writes Altan, adding that the military power that the Israeli administration is so proud of is gradually diminishing. Viewing the flotilla operation at a total fiasco, Altan argues that the beating of the Israeli soldiers cannot be shown as an excuse for the murders committed. Noting that Israel attacked a vessel in international waters confident of the unconditional support of the United States, Altan declares that it will not find that support since the United States is well aware of the reaction it will be faced with in the event it extends it. Predicting that this Israeli attack will lead to unforeseen changes, alliances, and new formations, Altan urges the world to make the Israeli government pay the blood it has shed.

    In an article entitled "Nobody, nothing could appease us", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul asserts that Turkey will make Israel sorely regret ever having attacked the aid convoy for Gaza and that it will reject any Israeli statements citing extenuating circumstances for its act of "piracy." He describes the Israeli operation as one intended to "punish" Turkey for conducting policies that have challenged Israel's regional agenda, signing the latest uranium swap deal with Iran, and establishing regional partnerships with countries like Syria. Karagul also cites Yeni Safak writer Hakan Albayrak among the "heroes" aboard the Turkish vessel attacked by Israel from whom they have not received word since the Israeli raid took place.

    In an article entitled "Terrorist Israel done for now", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven asserts that Israel has "pissed on the wall of a mosque" [done something obviously unwise for which it will have to pay dearly, etc] in "killing Muslims from Anatolia taking relief aid to Muslims living in occupied lands." He claims that the attack on the aid convoy signals a major victory for Muslims in the sense that the "civilian massacre" carried out by Israel will cause "Zionists" worldwide to keep a low profile from now on, adding that "any Jews who do not want to be brought to account together with terrorist Israel will have to disapprove of terrorist Israel" from now on.

    In an article entitled "Israel will drown in its own hatred and in the blood that it has shed", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that Turkey should suspend all military and economic treaties with Israel and sever its diplomatic ties with this country in response to the "worse-than-beastly" attack on the aid convoy for Gaza, adding that as a first reaction, Ankara should immediately declare the Israeli ambassador persona non grata.

    In an article entitled "We have been shot, my people", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes the Israeli operation against the flotilla of humanitarian aid for Gaza as an act of "gross defiance" against Turkey, the Islamic world, and humanity at large. He slams US President Barack Obama as well as British, Russian, and Chinese leaders, and regional Islamic governments for "retaining their silence" in response to the attack, adding that Turkey should do what it can to make the entire world understand that Israel has committed a crime against humanity.

    In an article entitled "Why the pirate state attacked", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that Israel has lost both its moral and legal legitimacy as a result of its "calculated" attack on the aid convoy for Gaza. He argues that the attack is aimed at provoking Turkey into adopting sharp measures against Israel which will make Turkey seem incapable of carrying out its regional "peace mission" including its endeavors to broker a peaceful solution to the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. He goes on to claim that the Israeli attack is also intended to undermine Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's rising regional popularity.

    /EI


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