|Monday, 23 October 2017|
Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-06-17
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. 112/10 17.06.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Statements by Alexander Downer to Cyprus ObserverTurkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Observer newspaper (11-17.06.10) publishes the following interview with UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor in Cyprus, Mr Alexander Downer, three hours after last weeks postponed meeting between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu:
A long line of UN appointed mediators preceded Downer (He stresses he is a facilitator, not a mediator) who also had knowledge of insider politics and international negotiation. In common with them Downer has been criticised and accused, mostly by Greek Cypriot opposition parties of having hidden agendas, working for his own glory, favouring the Turkish side and of not spending enough time on the island, a charge he answers simply by pointing out he is employed on a part-time basis. He knows being attacked goes with the job and that there are people who dont want to see a solution. If his immediate predecessor Alvaro de Soto was a chess master, then Downer might be the referee. The Aussie idioms (no worries, Bobs your uncle) are part of a no-frills, no-nonsense conversational style. But Downer is articulate as well as voluble and has a pragmatic approach clearly in favour of practical solutions. Is Downer A man for all seasons who might preside over a settlement? If the present talks fail its almost impossible to imagine the UN appointing another envoy in the near future. Speaking to the press on leaving the island last Friday Downers remarks were consistent with the tone of our interview. Cypriots cant have it both ways, wanting UN involvement to set the basis of the talks on the one hand, and refusing arbitration or mediation on the other. What follows is a verbatim transcript of the interview.
Q: Just for the benefit of a few people could you briefly explain the difference between facilitating and mediating?
A: Well this is a very Cypriot type of question which doesnt really matter. People know what those words mean, and what we do is we help, we obviously provide venues and chair meetings, and there are all sorts of other ways we try to help with the process. When the talks arent running smoothly, when they get into difficulties which periodically happens then we can talk to the two sides, do a little bit of shuttle diplomacy and try to help them through their difficulties. We work with others as well; so much of what we do is beneath the water level.
Q: When you took on this role you obviously researched, you read perhaps what former mediators had said, and would have formed ideas before you came a year and a half ago. But nothing is as important as experience. Were there any big surprises, any big changes in the knowledge you brought with you and the knowledge you have today?
A: Mmmm, Im not sure about that. Of course Ive come to know the people; I didnt know any of the players, now I know all of the dramatis personae, either well, or quite well, and that makes a difference, so you know how to deal with the individual people, as distinct from how you will approach the issue more generically. But I think it was easy enough to get information about the background to the issue, how it all happened, to talk to some of the people whove been involved in the past, to find out what they thought the pitfalls were, and find out what they thought could and couldnt be done. And then I read books and monographs and newspapers and all sorts of things.
Q: Dont you think that can drive people crazy after a while? The more you read about the Cyprus Problem the more complicated it can get.
A: Well its like everything in human existence, isnt it? Its complicated at one level and its simple at another. I mean theres a broad problem here, its simply described and it can be solved, and be solved according to a fairly simple formula of creating a federal government, which essentially is a bizonal and bicommunal federation with political equality and a single international personality. Its a formula which is often used, but essentially a federal system with two state-governments and a federal government, and within the federal government a power sharing arrangement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. And to try to find ways to solve the property problems that are left over from 1963 to 1974; the rest of it should pretty much fit together. Theres the Treaty of Guarantee of course, and how do you provide particularly the Turkish Cypriots with a sense of security that whatever arrangement is entered into theyll be safe. Those arent terribly complicated issues; the property issue is a bit complicated, but there are ways of doing it which can be simply articulated and should work. I mean I think its actually made to sound complicated, but what its really about is political will. If you want to solve the Cyprus Problem you will solve it. No worries. If you want to sabotage it thats tremendously easy. You can take words that people use, and you can take formulas, think about political difficulties and you can find a thousand reasons not to make an agreement with the other side its easily done. On the other hand theres a simple and clearly designed agreement on the table, if you want to make the agreement you can embrace that and Bobs your uncle, youve done it.
Q: But its still a verbal minefield whichever way you go, isnt it?
A: If you want it to be.
Q: Many people do.
A: Do you want to wander through a verbal minefield or do you want to solve the Cyprus Problem, thats a choice. Youre right though, I mean a lot of people love the verbal minefield, for many of them its an excuse never to reach an agreement; they have different definitions of the same words, theyre mainly English words, they define them differently, they debate them differently. ..If you want Cyprus to be the global capital of semantic debate thats one option for Cyprus, if you want to solve the Cyprus Problem thats another.
Q: The talks have recommenced, after a lot of negative media speculation as there always is, about Mr Eroglu not continuing on from where Mr Talat left off. That seems to have been smoothed over. (Downer broke in: Well there were some difficulties today, so well see how they sort that out.) Is it for you with a change of leader business as usual or does it take some getting used to?
A: Well I knew Mr Eroglu before. Theres been a Turkish Cypriot leader of one party or another for a long time, and all the time Ive been coming here hes been a prominent figure, so Ive met him on quite a few occasions. He has a different style from Mr Talat and so that obviously has to be taken into account; there are some personal and detailed differences in how he does things, its not a question of better of worse, he just does it differently, so yes everybody has to adjust to that reality, its not a complicated problem.
Q: In interviews with Mr Eroglus predecessor Mehmet Ali Talat, Talat stressed his desire to see more involvement by the international community in the negotiations to find a settlement, particularly on the part of the US who announced at the beginning of the year they would appoint a special envoy to Cyprus although no name has been put forward yet.
Downers answer on the matter of a US Special Envoy lead into an unresolved discussion about whether Washington actually made an announcement the discussion has been omitted from the interview.
Q: After the 2004 referendum it became a kind of mantra to say the two leaders should be left to find a solution between themselves, their own Cypriot solution to the problem. Do you see it that way or do you think international involvement for example when George Papandreou became Greeces Prime Minster there was speculation he would become more proactive in the Cyprus Problem than his predecessor was do you see that sort of involvement as something desirable?
Perhaps to help get more impetus into the negotiations?
A: Yes, its bound to help, they need to get more impetus into the negotiations. I think its very helpful to have; there are semi outside players like (Turkish) Prime Minister Erdogan and (Greek) Prime Minister Papandreou. The British government obviously has a particular role to play, Britain being a guarantor power, it has sovereign bases of 99 square miles here and in the event of a solution has offered to give up nearly half of that land. Britain has historic links with Cyprus, many Cypriots send their children to university in Britain and so on, so these countries all have a special role to play, but yes, others like the United States and some of the neighbouring counties have an interest in whats going on here and can be helpful, but ultimately this is Cyprus, so Cypriots, be they Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots are going to have to live here for an eternity and must make an agreement they feel comfortable with. Sure they can seek the help of the international community in reaching an agreement thats what we do here but its got to be ultimately an agreement they themselves feel happy with.
Q: Another point Talat stressed was that he wanted the talks to be speeded up; he wanted more frequent meetings to take place, in fact he once proposed the two leaders went away somewhere, a Camp David situation without interruptions. About two weeks ago the UN Secretary-General told the Anatolian News Agency that the talks couldnt go on forever a general statement. In the speech you read out before the first meeting in the recommenced talks Bank Ki-moon said: Time is not on your side. And yesterday you apparently told AKELs Secretary-General the UN doesnt want the talks to go on for years. Three general statements, but the combined weight of those statements suggests theres dissatisfaction with the tempo of the talks. Is there?
A: Well it ebbs and flows a bit, the tempo of the talks, our thinking is more that they (the leaders) mustnt think, they mustnt be allowed to think these talks can just drag on forever and that the United Nations and the international community can be forever bogged down in holding talks that are never going to lead to a conclusion. Theres a point where they need to make a decision, are they ever going to reach an agreement, or arent they? That point of decision has to be made. Its easy to sound in favour of a solution to the Cyprus Problem, you know, fine, everybody says they are, a hundred percent of people say theyre in favour of a solution you can train any parrot in a pet shop to say that. Thats not the question. The question is; are you in favour of an agreement with the other side with which they could live as well as you, and with all that implies? I think at a certain point its going to become pretty clear whether they can ever do an agreement or whether they cant. People tell me, outsiders tell me they cant, because for thirty six years, some people say over forty years have proved that they cant make an agreement. Im not sure about that its not a negotiating process if there are just constant meetings but nothing ever happens at them, thats not a negotiation. We dont apply a specific time line to these talks, but time is not on their side, theyve had many years to sort this problem out in the past, theyve had many attempts, none of them have succeeded. This time theyve got quite a lot of convergences in the key area of governance and power sharing how a modern, united federal Cyprus would work and how the state governments and the federal government would all work theyve got a very broad measure of agreement about that. Theyve agreed on bits and pieces in other chapters as well, so you know, they can do it. But I think as the year wears on well see whether theyre making progress or not, its too early to say its only the third of June today.
Q: The Turkish side said a while ago it would like to see a solution by the end of the year, but for the Greek Cypriots the word deadline is taboo, theyre almost allergic to it, do you see any possibility of that changing?
A: I think everybody accepts that whilst you wouldnt define a date, the 31st December 2010, or the 15th January 2011, or whatever, making those dates up it wouldnt define a particular date as the year wears on itll be pretty obvious whether they can reach an agreement on the last parts of this negotiation or whether thats all too difficult.
Q: When you talked to the AKEL partys general secretary you referred to the need to put significant dynamism into the negotiations. How could you do that?
A: More involvement from the (UN) Security Council; Im going to New York next week to address the Council, to talk about how its going, and then instead of doing a report once a year, as I explained to Mr. Kyprianou, AKELs general secretary, were going to do another report in November, or the Secretary-General will do another report in November, and so this is unusual, just five months after the report were doing another one. And this will be a very much more important report than the current report this will be a progress report about the previous five months, the lead up to the end of the year.
Q: That would be an incentive for the two sides, wouldnt it, to decide whether they wanted to make progress or not, knowing that that report will be coming out?
A: Well just call it as it is in that report, if we see there are problems, if we see that one side is more responsible for the problems than the other well we wouldnt hesitate but to say it.
Q: How important do you think confidence-building measures are; there havent been that many, and how the proposed Limnitis crossing has slowed down.
A: Were hoping it will be finished on time actually, but it took a long time to get it going much longer that anyone had ever expected or hoped. Confidence-building measures can be quite difficult-they sound better than they are. Some of them are really good but some of them have just got bogged down in politics theyre not confidence-building measures if they get bogged down in politics they can be confidence-destroying measures, so its important to be wide eyed about them. Theres a very good police cooperation programme, theres good work being done on cultural heritage and on the environment and so on, so there have been some quite successful confidence building projects and where theyve been successful they have been confidence building. Theyre nice, but the main game is to get an agreement negotiated between the two leaders, thats the main game.
Q: How did the talks go today?
A: Well, we didnt have much in the way of talks today so far of course, weve got officials level talks which are going to start (Downer looked at his watch) in 26 minutes from now, where the two representatives are going to come together; I mean its just in the light of different statements which have been made the Greek Cypriots in particular felt that they would rather have a representatives level meeting. By the time they made that decision it was too late to stop Mr. Eroglus progress, so in the light of that Mr. Christofias came over here and they had a 15-minute chat about it all, they put it in place, and mechanisms for taking it forward. Youve had a change of leader in the North and inevitably there will be a settling down period. As they say in cricket, and a lot of your readers will be following cricket it takes a while for the new leader to get his line and length. And not just him, but the others who deal with him.
Q: Is there a date fixed for the next meeting?
A: Well its not going to be next week because Im not going to be here, so itll be the week after next, which day it will be Im not quite sure at this stage.
Q: Is there a wish to increase the number of meetings, or their frequency?
A: I dont think the frequency of the leaders meetings has been the issue theres plenty for them to talk about once a week I think its more the representatives and the technical people who need to meet a lot and try to work through things. Theyre working on difficult issues, more difficult than governance and power sharing property in my view is the most difficult chapter of all, and a lot of this lends itself to technical discussions, so the leaders dont have to be involved in that every few days.
Q: The two representatives know each other dont they?
A: Yes, Kudret Ozersay was on the negotiating team before and he wasnt just a note-taker, you know, he was a key part of the negotiating team.
Q: Hes got a good reputation.
A: Sure, hes an excellent guy, and we all know him and have known him for eighteen months and have had a lot to do with him in that period in all sorts of capacities, and Mr. Christofias knows him and yes, that is a seamless transition for him really as a representative, but Mr. Eroglu is much less well known to the Greek Cypriots, theyve met him but they dont really know him.
Q: He hasnt been to the South very often?
A: They havent met very often; I mean they havent been to the North to meet him and he hasnt been to the South to meet them, and they havent met in the buffer zone very often actually Mr. Christofias and Mr. Eroglu met at the reception we gave for the Secretary-General at the Ledra Palace Hotel when the Secretary-General was here in February.
Q: Whats the chemistry like between Christofias and Eroglu?
A: They seemed very friendly towards each other, as you know I hosted a dinner for them on the Tuesday before last. Mr. Eroglu is a very quiet, laid back sort of person, he has a good bedside manner as they like to say, as a former doctor, and Mr. Christofias is a very friendly man, lots of jokes and good humour and good manners, yes, so they get on pretty well as people. They dont know each other very well of course, in the way that Christofias and Talat knew each other very well, theyd known each other for years theyd been as they liked to say comrades together. Whether these relationships are an advantage or disadvantage its hard to say. Time will tell.
 Soyer censures Eroglu for not informing the people as regards the negotiation processTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.06.10) reports on statements of Ferdi Sabit Soyer, leader of the Republican Turkish Party/United Forces (CTP/BG), censuring the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu after the tension created during the negotiation process.
Mr Soyer, in a written statement, said: It is positive that the intercommunal negotiations recommenced after the unnecessary tension that was created. However, after the interruption of the negotiations, President Dervis Eroglu did not make any statement on how he would overcome this crisis, and added that Mr Eroglu was elected with the promise that he would announce everything to the people.
He went on and said that upon the resuming of the negotiations, it means that the situation that created the crisis has been erased as well. And obviously, it is clear that the mutual commitment towards the May 23rd and July 1st agreements, as well as the acceptance and the confirmation of both sides to the letter of the UN Secretary-General that was sent at the beginning of the negotiations are in question, Mr Soyer stated.
Mr Soyer, inter alia, said that there is no meaning in hiding all these from the people. He added: Nothing can happen by keeping secrets from the people.
 Latest developments regarding the Turkish Cypriot airlinesTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.06.10) reports about the latest developments as regards the Turkish Cypriot airlines.
The paper writes that 22 Trade Unions, evaluated the proposals made a few days ago by the self-styled prime minister, Irsen Kucuk, for rescuing the Turkish Cypriot airlines and handed to the self-styled government their suggestions on the issue.
Mr Kucuk suggested on Monday 35% salary deduction of the personnel in the Turkish Cypriot airlines, 10% salary deduction of politicians and 5% salary deduction of civil servants for a period of three months. Replying to these proposals the Trade Unions suggested 2% salary deduction of civil servants on a voluntary basis by the end on the year.
Reacting to this development, the self-styled minister of public works and transportation, Ersan Saner, rejected the proposal of the Trade Unions and said that the company has an urgent need for cash; therefore they cannot wait for the proposals of the trade unions to be clarified. He said, as from the 18th of June, the planes of the Turkish Cypriot airlines will not be able to conduct their scheduled flights due to the financial problems the company faces. Therefore, the decisions regarding the future of the Turkish Cypriot airlines must be taken the sooner possible.
The paper also writes that three out of the five members of the administration committee of the Turkish Cypriot airlines resigned and that the Turkish Cypriot Union of Tourist Guides issued a statement noting that the situation with the airlines creates problems to the tourist industry.
In addition, Yeni Duzen reports that a public official who supervises the collection of debts arrived yesterday at the Head Office of the airlines located in Mecidiyekoy, Istanbul, and handed a receiving order. According to the paper, the receiving order was due to the fact that the technical services of the Turkish Cypriot airlines are on debt. The paper also writes that the public official assessed the movable property of the building.
 A football team from the breakaway regime played matches under UEFAs refereeing. Efforts are exerted for the International Football Cup of Lawyers to be held in occupied Cyprus in 2012Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.06.10) reports that the football team of the breakaway regimes bar association has participated in the 15th International Football Cup of Lawyers which was held in Antalya, Turkey. According to the paper, special importance is being attached to the fact that this might be the only tournament in the field of football where amateur football teams from foreign countries play matches under UEFAs refereeing.
This tournament provides a great opportunity for the recognition of our country, Kibris writes and adds that the bar associations football team has invited to occupied Cyprus the tournaments organizing committee to decide whether the breakaway regime will host the event in 2012. For this reason, a delegation will visit the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in the next few days, Kibris reports.
 Turkey has frozen bilateral relations with IsraelTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.06.10), under the title Turkey to freeze bilateral relations with Israel, excludes private sector, reports the following by Ercan Yavuz:
Tension that broke out between Turkey and Israel when the latter killed eight Turkish citizens and a US citizen of Turkish origin in a raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla has resulted in Turkey freezing bilateral relations with Israel -- but joint projects and contracts signed with Israeli companies will remain as they are.
The Defense Industry Implementation Committee (SSIK) convened under the chairmanship of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to take up the issue of military agreements and projects with Israel. Turkey -- which recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv and cancelled three military exercises in the aftermath of a bloody Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship -- has shelved 16 bilateral agreements due to Israel's refusal to apologize for the killings or pay compensation.
Thus, all Turkish-Israeli agreements at the state level have been cancelled. In a statement made during a trip to South Korea, President Abdullah Gul said Turkey had prepared a roadmap on the issue of sanctions against Israel but noted that this would be announced by the government. The first signs that such a plan was in the works appeared on Monday in a Cabinet decision. The roadmap details a process through which Turkey will completely cut its ties with Israel and comprises of several stages.
First, should Israel fail to send a member to a UN investigatory commission being formed to look into the deadly raid, Turkey will not send its ambassador back to Tel Aviv. Furthermore, Turkey will not in any way recognize the Israeli-led investigation into its own troops attack on the Mavi Marmara.
All bilateral projects in the field of military training and cooperation will be frozen; a $757 million plane and tank modernization project and a missile project worth over $1.5 billion have already been shelved. Most of the work on these projects was planned to be under joint Turkish-Israeli efforts.
The Land Forces Command had been planning to collaborate with Israel on a $5 billion tank project within the next 10 years. Israel wants to sell 1,000 Merkava Mark III combat tanks to Turkey, worth $5 billion, but this project has been shelved. In addition, Turkish military officers have abandoned a plan to modernize M-60 tanks in Kayseri with the Israelis for $50 million.
Other abandoned projects would have modernized, through an Israeli-Singaporean consortium, 54 F-4 Phantom planes for $632.5 million and 48 F-5 jets for $75 million.
In addition to shelving 16 major agreements, Turkey has also decided not to cooperate on joint projects, particularly in the field of military training and cooperation. Turkish F-16 pilots will not be sent to Israel for training as planned, while joint military exercises with the Middle Eastern country will also not be held. No international military exercises will be held with Israeli participation and Turkish airspace will be closed to Israeli military aircraft.
An agreement on cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism signed between Turkey and Israel -- which provided Turkey with valuable intelligence on the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist organization camps in Lebanon in the 1980s -- has also been frozen by the Turkish side.
Before the raid on the Mavi Marmara, Turkey had held preliminary meetings with the Israelis over Arrow missile defense systems, conventional and plastic mine detectors and terrestrial radar systems to prevent infiltrations into Turkey from its borders with Syria and Iraq. Turkey has abandoned these plans as well as plans to purchase from Israel two patrol aircraft and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft worth $800 million.
A $500 million package for the joint production of Popeye I and Popeye II air-to-air missiles and another project to produce $150 million of long-range Delilah missiles has also been shelved.
Subtitle: Corporate-level projects to continue
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan warned against efforts in Israel to boycott Turkish goods, saying that Turkey would react harshly should such a thing occur. Reacting on Wednesday to reports yet to be confirmed with Israeli authorities that an Israeli court had, after the Mavi Marmara incident, ordered an injunction on the bank accounts and $10 million in receivables of Turkish Yilmazlar Group construction firm in Israel, Caglayan emphasized that there should be a distinction made between political relations and commercial ties.
While the SS0K meeting led by Erdogan decided to end all state-level relations with Israel, the committee left the issue of agreements between military industry firms to the discretion of those corporations. The committee said it would not be appropriate for it to decide upon the fate of agreements and joint projects operated by ASELSAN, HAVELSAN, ROKETSAN and the Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKE). What the committee decided is that should most of these agreements be cancelled, sanctions including compensation will be arranged -- but the initiative has been left to the firms themselves.
At the same time, however, it is known that such firms, both in Israel and in Turkey, are government-supported.
In a statement made after the six-hour SS0K meeting ended, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said that despite the fact that the decision on the shelving of military agreements had been left at the command of the Foreign Ministry, it would not be proper for the ruling administration to decide on the actions of military companies in both countries. The SS0K also decided the only path to a reversal of its decisions to freeze ties would be for Israel to apologize to Turkey and agree to an international investigation into the deadly Mavi Marmara raid.
In accordance with a Cabinet decision, Turkeys roadmap from here on will attempt to isolate Israel in the international arena. Following the condemnation of the Israeli militarys actions by the United Nations, NATO, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League and the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum, Turkey will attempt to isolate Israel in every arena, leaving the nation to stand alone. A new strategy will also be implemented in an attempt to sway the attitude of the European Union with regard to Israel.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 16 June 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 16 June 2010:
a) Debate on Turkey's Shift of Axis/Turkish-Israeli Relations/Turkish-US Relations
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand argues that the developments in Turkey now have nothing to do with a shift of axis. Detailing the developments that can take place in the event of a real shift of axis, Birand writes that Turkey's axis won't shift easily. Arguing that Turkey will achieve nothing if the flames of Western animosity are fanned, Birand underlines that the Justice and Development Party, AKP, will be the first to oppose such a shift.
Harshly criticizing Foreign Minister Davutoglu's remarks that Jerusalem will become the capital of Palestine and Arab leaders will all go to pray at al-Aqsa in an article in Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok questions how this will be achieved and whether Muslims have united and are declaring war on Israel. Davutoglu has boarded Mavi Marmara and has embarked on a jihad, writes Ozkok, wondering why no Foreign Ministry adviser is warning the minister against such remarks. Agreeing with an article Akif Beki wrote in Radikal on 15 June, Ozkok wonders whether Beki will also be branded as a Mosad agent for his criticism of Davutoglu.
Viewing the long list of sanctions against Israel that emerged from the recent Council of Ministers meeting in an article in Hurriyet, Eyup Can argues that this list has no meaning from the viewpoint of Israel. Pointing out that "Turkey is being dragged into the position of being 'wrong and dangerous' in a cause that it is to the great extent right," Can writes: "Turkey can claim as much as it wants that 'it will explain Israel's tyranny to the world;' unfortunately, time is working in favor of Israel from two aspects. First of all, the shock of the bloody attack on the ship is wearing out. In exchange, the thesis that Israel is pushing in the United States and in Europe that it has a right to defend itself is gaining strength. Second of all, Davutoglu's new Turkish foreign policy vision based on reason and common sense is gradually shifting or is being portrayed as shifting toward a sentimental, reactive, and ideological ground." The situation that Turkey has been dragged into has supplied ammunition for those who claim a shift in axis, according to Can, who underlines that "a Turkey, which till yesterday proudly claimed to pursue a policy of zero problems with its neighbors, is now speaking in a language of war and not of peace with its most important neighbor that has both a symbolic and a strategic importance in the region." Recalling that Turkey cast a negative vote to the package of sanctions against Iran at the expense of damaging its relations with its most important ally, namely the United States, Can refers to Turkey's stand on Iran, asking whether Turkey can become a respectable foreign policy player in the region by siding with Iran.
Ilhan Tanir in a report in Vatan reports on the contacts of the Turkish delegation in Washington saying that they began with a cold shower when the response to the delegation's request for a meeting with US congressmen was a harsh letter from US Congressman Gary Ackerman to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, WW, expressing his dismay and his deep concern regarding the intention of the WWC to honor Davutoglu with the WWC Public Service Award. The report goes on to detail the negative stand adopted by other congressmen toward Turkey.
In an article entitled "The Middle East, Israel, and Turkey", Zaman columnist Ali Bulac interprets a number of recent official US, British, and EU statements criticizing the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip in the wake of the flotilla crisis between Turkey and Israel as meaning that however strong international Jewish lobbies might be, Western support for Israel has reached its limits. He goes on to write: "1. The current socio-economic order and political regimes in the Middle East are not sustainable. 2. Israel's occupation policies ... are not sustainable. 3. Israel's inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people ... is not sustainable. 4. The West's blind support for Israel's massacres ... is not sustainable. 5. Official bilateral relations with Israeli politicians who use public paranoia [about presumed threats to Israel] as a means of coming to power ... are not sustainable."
In an article entitled "Shift of Axis", Milli Gazete columnist Nedim Odabas comments on the debate over an alleged "shift of axis" in Turkey's foreign policy under the ruling AKP, signaled by Ankara's reaction to the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla and Turkey's refusal to endorse the latest UN Security Council resolution against Iran. Odabas asserts that any shift in Turkey's foreign policy would have to describe changes whereby Ankara aligned itself with the EU and the United States rather than promoting the D-8 project developed by the Welfare Party-True Path Party coalition government [which ruled Turkey over 1996-1997].
b) Kurdish Issue
Viewing the escalating PKK terror in the country in an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila predicts that based on the developments and the threats issued by the PKK it will further escalate. The PKK and its political extension, the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, are not satisfied with the content of the Kurdish overture initiated by the government, writes Bila, adding: "The PKK-BDP duo, which is under the impression that it has forced the government to initiate the package through terror, is now trying to advance on its path by using that same method." Recalling the conditions put forth by the PKK-BDP front including that of taking Ocalan as an interlocutor, Bila draws attention to the harsh rhetoric BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas has been using against Erdogan, viewing this as an indication that the BDP will continue to pursue the PKK road map.
Drawing attention to the danger of reducing the Kurdish problem to that of a struggle against violence and terror in an article in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal notes that no political initiative is being taken on the issue because of the election atmosphere in the country. Accusing both the PKK and the government of surrendering to the logic of violence, Cemal criticizes the government for not continuing with the democratic overture and the PKK for not being convincing with its unilateral declaration of a cease-fire. The writer reminds both sides that at the end of all the bloodshed the point to be reached will again be the path of dialogue, calling on them to avoid unnecessary deaths.
Describing as absurd the trial to begin tomorrow of the PKK members who entered the country through the Habur Gate last October, Referans columnist Cengiz Candar recalls that these members arrived in Turkey to give an impetus to the Kurdish overture process. In his article, Candar dwells on the messages this trial to begin in Diyarbakir tomorrow will convey, adding that it will also give an image of unreliability to the government. Referring to the trial of the Assembly of Communities of Kurdistan, KCK, to begin soon and to those sections of the indictment that contain conversations that took place between Iraqi President Talabani and Ahmet Turk as well as conversations between Emre Tanir, the under secretary of the National Intelligence Organization at the time, and certain PKK officials, Candar argues that the logical consequence of this indictment should be that Talabani and Emre also stand trial. A look at those mentioned in the indictment shows that they are mainly those who have been exerting efforts to end the armed struggle of the PKK and to find a political solution through peaceful means to the Kurdish issue, writes Candar. Viewing these trials as a declaration of war, Candar proceeds to view the other side of the coin, namely the recent declaration made by Abdullah Ocalan which the writer interprets as another declaration of war. Underlining that no winner will emerge from this war, Candar concludes that a country that has aspirations to become a regional power and an effective global actor cannot realize these dreams while a fire is raging in its own backyard.
Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin in an article holds the PKK and not the erroneous policies of the AKP responsible for the escalation in terror in his address at the AKP parliamentary faction. Criticizing the AKP logic of placing the Republican People's Party, CHP, the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, the BDP, and the PKK on the same front because of their opposition to the constitutional amendment package, Yetkin argues that the portrayal of the CHP, the MHP, the BDP, and the PKK as an alliance that resists all AKP moves is dangerous and not beneficial either for the country or the AKP.
Questioning why the Kurds are not allowed to express their desire for separation in an article in Taraf, Ahmet Altan shows the separation of Czechs and the Slovaks as an example, saying that those who wish to live separately should not be forced to remain together. Referring to the results of a surveyed published in Radikal on 15 June showing that a great majority of the Kurds voted for the AKP, Altan concludes that if that is the case then only a small minority among the Kurds favor separatism, adding that, however, that minority should be allowed to express it s views on the issue.