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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-06-21
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 114/10 19-21.06.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Eroglu held contacts in Ankara; Gul said that the negotiations cannot last foreverIllegal Bayrak television (18.06.10) broadcast the following from Ankara:
President Eroglu met this morning with President Gul at the Cankaya Palace where they held a joint press conference and expressed their support to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem by the end of the year.
Gul praised President Eroglu for continuing the talks with good will and said that he proved to the world that the Cyprus Turkish Side was determined to bring a solution to the Cyprus problem.
For his part, President Eroglu said that the objective was to reach an agreement that will safeguard the rights of both the TRNC people and Turkey.
Eroglu also met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The meeting between the two Presidents took place at the Cankaya Palace where Eroglu was greeted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul with an official welcoming ceremony.
The two then met for about a half an hour before moving onto a meeting between the delegations of the two countries.
Speaking at a joint press conference, the Turkish President repeated that Ankara would continue to provide financial and moral support to the TRNC People.
Gul also reiterated Ankaras support to the Cyprus negotiation process, expressing the hope that a settlement would be found to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN parameters by the end of the year.
The TRNC has been showing a constructive manner and good will at the talks. I hope the Greek Cypriot Side will respond accordingly and the opportunity which was missed in 2004 would not be missed again, he noted, warning that the talks cannot be continued forever.
Calling on the international community, especially the European Union, to fulfil its responsibilities, Gul said I hope we will be able to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a region of cooperation.
For his part, President Eroglu said that the Cyprus problem was a national cause for the two countries, which he said, were working in cooperation to settle the problem by the end of the year, an objective, he said, also shared by the United Nations.
Our objective is to defend the rights of the Cyprus Turkish People and to reach a lasting agreement the President said, calling on the Greek Cypriot Side to respond positively to the good will shown by the Turkish Side.
Meanwhile, referring to the joint press conference held by President Gul and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu in Ankara, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (19.06.10) reports that Mr Gul was asked how the Republic of Turkey looks at the single sovereignty on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality under the parameters of the UN. Mr Gul replied that the negotiations are carried out by Mr Eroglu and added: I really do not want to enter into technical matters, because these are issues of the negotiations and the negotiating process.
Mr Gul said the solution which will be found should be lasting and no problems should be created after this solution is reached. This solution should eliminate all hesitations and instability and the Turkish and Greek Cypriots should have no concerns about their security in the future, he added. He noted that Turkey, as guarantor power, supports Mr Eroglu and his negotiating team. He reiterated the allegation that their vision is to turn the Mediterranean Sea into an area of cooperation between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus and added: However, in order for this to happen, a comprehensive solution which takes into consideration all the realities of the island should be mutually reached.
Asked whether they have any Plan B if a solution is not reached by the end of the year, Mr Gul replied that the UN Secretary-General also said in his report that time is working against the solution and that a time limit should exist. We wished for this issue to be ended last year. This did not happen. It should end this year, said Gul and added:
If this does not happen, the international community, the UN, the special representative, the Secretary-General, the Permanent Members of the Security Council, all these see how and where the responsibility is. If such a result does not happen, undoubtedly the TRNC is a country which has proved itself, it has a democracy which proved itself. Its economy is continuously growing. Turkey will continue to provide any kind of help. Moreover, as you saw, the European Court of Human Rights, the European law exists. All of us are within this law. With a decision they took, they also approved that the commission established by the TRNC regarding the immovable properties is a local remedy and it is valid. The TRNC will do what is in its share in the process.
 The Turkish Cypriot leader met with Prime Minister ErdoganAnkara Anatolia news agency (18.06.10) reports the following from Ankara:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met President Dervis Eroglu of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Friday. The meeting took place at Erdogan's office in Ankara. It was closed to press. Earlier in the day, Eroglu also had a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The two presidents appeared at a news conference following their meeting.
 Eroglu alleges that the problem of the refugees in Cyprus has been solvedTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (19.06.10, internet version) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the problem of the refugees in Cyprus has been solved.
The paper writes that on Friday Mr Eroglu evaluated his contacts in Ankara at Hilton Hotel and replied to questions of reporters. Mr Eroglu said that during his meetings with President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu they evaluated the negotiating process regarding the Cyprus problem and the economy of the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. He noted that he was satisfied with the results of their discussions.
Giving detailed information to the reporters on the negotiating process, Mr Eroglu noted that they started with the property issue and reminded that he told President Christofias that he has no intention of discussing another issue before this chapter is completed.
Mr Eroglu said that during the negotiating process, President Christofias tried to put the issue of territory and the refugees onto the negotiating table, but the Turkish side opposed to this noting that the property issue should be completed first.
Stating that every chapter on the Cyprus issue will be discussed separately, Eroglu said that there could be no issue such as the refugees which Christofias brought to the table, because the issue of refugees has been solved 35 years ago, reports the paper adding that Mr Eroglu noted that no one could talk about a problem called refugees after 35 years.
Replying to a question regarding the information that the United Nations is preparing a plan on the property issue in Cyprus, Mr Eroglu said that from time to time some foreign experts express their views on this issue and that at the moment an expert from America is carrying out some works. However, no plan has been submitted to us, he added.
Referring to the contacts he held on economic issues, Mr Eroglu said that during the next few months the efforts of Turkey granting financial aid to the TRNC within the framework of its budget will start and expressed the belief that the necessary contributions for a stronger TRNC will be made.
When he was reminded of the statements by Turkish officials that they expect a solution to be reached in Cyprus until the end of this year, Mr Eroglu said that all aspects of the Cyprus problem have been discussed and that the Turkish Cypriot side has exhibited its will for finding a solution until the end of the year. He alleged that reaching a solution is possible, if the Greek side exhibits the same will and shows sincerely its wish to find a solution.
 The Turkish side intents to demand re-examination of the UN Security Councils resolutions No 541 and 550Writing in her daily column in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (21.06.10), Turkish Cypriot columnist Tumay Tugyan assesses the visit of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu to Ankara and writes that after his joint press conference with President Gul at the presidential palace, Mr Eroglu briefed the journalists at Hilton Hotel in the Turkish capital.
Mrs Tugyan expresses the view that the most important thing which should be noted from Eroglus statements is the fact that he reiterated once more that the negotiations in Cyprus will continue from the point they were left (before their interruption for the so-called presidential elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus) and that this was said under the roof of the highest authority of the Republic of Turkey. The Turkish Cypriot columnist reports that the most noteworthy points in Mr Guls statements were the reference to the continuation of the negotiations in Cyprus from the point they were left and to the advancement of the process on the basis of the UN parameters.
Mrs Tugyan says that even if Mr Gul replied extremely cautiously to her question regarding the single sovereignty noting that these are technical issues and the technical issues are negotiated by the Turkish Cypriot side at the table, he stressed again the UN parameters while replying to this question.
Assessing Guls reply to the question regarding the existence of any Plan B in case a solution is not found by the end of 2010, Mrs Tugyan noted that Mr Guls reply gave no opportunity of considering deviation from the main target and refrained from saying that then we shall go our own way or then we shall undertake initiative for the recognition of the TRNC.
She goes on and says: And this was clearly giving the message to the international community that Turkey is not pursuing a policy based on alternatives on the Cyprus problem (but we do not know what kind of strategy will be followed when that day comes) and that it is only pursuing a policy focused on the solution.
Referring to the briefing of Mr Eroglu to the press after his contacts in Ankara, Mrs Tugyan says he referred to the resolutions of the UN Security Council on Cyprus. She noted that replying to a question on the issue of the Direct Trade Regulation of the EU, Mr Eroglu alleged that if this regulation passes from the Council, this would be an element which will push the Greek Cypriot side towards the solution.
However, she adds, Mr Eroglu pointed out to another additional element, which is causing questions regarding the extent to which this stance will be in harmony with the solution policy which is currently being pursued.
She goes on and says: This is not said for the first time, it has also been brought onto the agenda in the past, but I think it is worthy of being discussed because it has been a long time since reference to it was made. According to Eroglu, the UN Security Council should give the message to the Greek Cypriot side that its resolutions No 541 and 550 could be opened again for discussion. With this aim, the Turkish Cypriot side has even invited the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to Nicosia to come to the presidential palace
I do not know to what extent the re-examination of these two resolutions is realistic in this political environment and moreover to what extent this demand will be constructive from the point of view of the process. However, it is obvious that the Turkish Cypriot side intents to advance its demands on this issue
Mrs Tugyan reports that referring to the property issue, Mr Eroglu said that return of property will also come onto the agenda, but this will be limited, it should be in a manner so that the current order of things is not disturbed and problems are not created in the future. Mrs Tugyan expresses the view that this stance of Mr Eroglu and the acceptance of the method of return of property as well show an intention of solving problems and not creating new ones.
 The final decision regarding the fate of the illegal CTA to be taken today in TurkeyIllegal Bayrak television (20.06.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The Council of Ministers [of the breakaway regime in occupied Cyprus] convened with an extraordinary session this morning to evaluate the latest situation of the [illegal] Cyprus Turkish Airlines (CTA). Speaking to the press after the meeting, Prime Minister Irsen Kucuk said that the negotiations with the two private airlines, Atlas Jet and Pegasus Airlines, will continue. He also added that the final decision on the fate of the CTA will be taken by CTAs Board of Directors.
Last week, the minister of public works and communications Hamza Ersan Saner and the minister of labour and social security Turkay Tokel held several contacts in Ankara to seek a solution to the problems of the CTA. Earlier, the Cyprus Turkish Airlines Platform, which was formed by some political parties and trade unions, presented an eleven-point proposal to the government to revive the airlines.
Reporting on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.06.10) writes that the decision on the new partner of the illegal CTA will be taken today in the main offices of CTA in Istanbuls Mecidiyekoy area.
Speaking after the extraordinary meeting of the illegal council of ministers, Mr Kucuk stated that the committee that was established to investigate the issue, consists of the self-styled finance minister Ersin Tatar, the labour and social security minister Turkay Tokel, the health minister Ahmet Kasif and the economy and energy minister Sunat Atun. He said this committee will inform them shortly after the completion of its contacts.
As Mr Kucuk added, the deadline given to illegal CTA by the Turkish Civil aviation regarding the continuation of safe flights expires today. Therefore, Mr Kucuk said time is running out and a final decision regarding the CTA should be taken. As regards the proposals made by the Atlas Jet and Pegasus Airlines, Mr Kucuk said that the one concerns illegal CTAs administration and the other partnership with the illegal airlines.
Meanwhile, the paper reports that various Turkish Cypriot unions and NGOs have decided to evaluate the decisions of the so-called government on the issue of the illegal CTA during a meeting today in occupied Lefkosia. During the meeting, a series of measures, including strike, are expected to be taken.
Furthermore, speaking to the Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (20.06.10), the self-styled minister of public works and transportation, Mr Ersan Saner, stated that according to the civil aviation regulations, the Directorate General of Turkeys Civil Aviation did not give extension to the illegal CTA for payment its debts and in case a partner is not found in the next two days, the flights of the illegal CTA might be suspended. As he stated, the Turkish Civil Aviation demanded to learn how and in which way the illegal CTA would repay its 40-million dollars debt until June 19.
 Tatar calls on investors to make investments in the occupied areas of the Republic of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (20.06.10) reports on the call for investments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus made by the self styled minister of economy, Ersin Tatar, during Euromoney Conferences held in Istanbul, Turkey with the participation of financial leaders, investors and companies top executives.
Speaking at a panel entitled Financial developments in Turkey, the region and the globe, Mr. Tatar gave information to the participants on the breakaway regime and explained the works undertaken in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus in the framework of Turkish EU relations, attaching particular importance on the investments and the efforts made in the occupied areas in the field of tourism.
Stating that the breakaway regime is an adequate place for investments, Mr. Tatar, further, noted that the occupied areas of Cyprus is a privileged place for vacations at any time of the year due to its climate, sea and beaches, which create a competitive environment in the field of tourism.
 Turkey mourns as it seeks solution after attacks on militaryUnder the above title Turkish Hurriyet daily news (20.06.10) reports the following:
As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to annihilate the outlawed PKK, which staged attacks over the weekend killing a total of 12 soldiers, opposition critics say the government has not done enough to prevent terrorism in the country. Forty-three members of Turkish security forces have died since March in the ongoing conflict, the military says.
A military ceremony was held Sunday in the eastern city of Van for 11 soldiers killed over the weekend as politicians and the public debate what steps should be taken to stop the violence.
While the opposition argues that the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has failed in its efforts to solve the bloody conflict, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Sunday to annihilate the members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.
The terrorists will drown in their own blood, Erdogan said in a speech at the service honouring the slain soldiers, which was also attended by Cabinet members, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, force commanders, chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis and ambassadors from 15 EU member countries who had come to Van to attend a festival.
The escalation of violence will not divert Turkey a single millimetre from its goal of growth and becoming a strong and respected state, Erdogan added. These treacherous attacks will not destroy our brotherhood and unity.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of clashes with the PKK in recent months. On Friday, the Turkish military said it had killed about 120 PKK members since March, while 43 members of the Turkish security forces had also died. The latest attack on security forces came in the early hours Saturday, when a reportedly 200-strong group of PKK members attacked a mobile military unit in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province, close to Turkeys borders with Iran and Iraq.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 18, 19 and 20 June 2010Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 18, 19 and 20 June 2010:
a) Election Concerns Seen Shaping AKP's Policy on Kurds:
Hasan Cemal declares in his column in Milliyet (18.06.10) that "the election fever" has gripped the "madhouse" Turkey and has started influencing every political development. Noting that the general elections will be held either in May 2011 as scheduled or this autumn depending on Constitutional Court's decision on the constitutional reforms, Cemal says the statements issued by Prime Minister Erdogan, CHP leader Kilicdaroglu, and MHP leader Bahceli must henceforth be assessed in that context. Cemal believes in this pre-election period Erdogan will avoid touching upon such sensitive issues as the Kurdish and Armenian overtures. Unlike the 2007 election period when Erdogan won Kurdish votes by opposing the military operations and promoting peace, this time Erdogan wants to win popular vote by declaring war on the PKK, says Cemal, adding that by also claiming Israeli support for the PKK he wants to win the votes of Islamists and conservative Kurds. In that sense, "Israel's bloody piracy helped Erdogan," says Cemal adding that as elections approach Erdogan will assume a more nationalistic posture. In his turn, Kilicdaroglu is avoiding any mention of Kurdish problem so as not to lose the vote of Turks on the western parts of Turkey.
Rusen Cakir says in his column in Vatan (18.06.10) that the prosecution of 34 PKK members who returned from Iraq to Turkey on 19 October 2009 as part of Erdogan's peace plan has totally scuttled any optimism about the resolution of the Kurdish problem. Noting that the AKP government reneged on its Kurdish policy fearing public reaction, Cakir warns that if the AKP continues to forget its promises and relegates the Kurdish issue to the army and courts, Turkey will not be able to solve this problem any time soon.
Whereas, Samil Tayyar, writing in pro-government Star (18.06.10), says that just when the government was on the verge of neutralizing the PKK, Turkey's souring ties with Israel and the United States threw a lifeline to the PKK. Tayyar implies in his column that these two states are now providing logistics support to the PKK and encouraging clashes. In such an atmosphere of military conflict basic rights and freedoms cannot be enacted and the detention of the PKK returnees should not come as a surprise to people.
Claiming that Israel, United States, and the EU are behind the PKK, whose aspiration is to create a Kurdish province in the southeast, and are uneasy with the rising power of Turkey in the region, Aziz Ustel alleges in his column in Star (18.06.10) that these foreign forces want to create a CHP-MHP coalition to topple the AKP government. Ustel warns that under such a coalition it will be easy to foment a heated conflicted between Turks and Kurds.
Radikal (18.06.10) carries an interview with BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas who says that in the climate of present conflict, neither the PKK nor the AKP government is heeding BDP's call to end clashes, adding that the AKP has chosen the unethical path of shedding blood to increase its votes. Demirtas says Erdogan did not choose to strengthen BDP's hand against the PKK by lifting the election threshold before the BDP. Demirtas adds that the resumption of the dialogue is very difficult now that elections are approaching and Erdogan is shaping his policies according to poll results.
Commenting on Demirtas' statement in a column in Radikal (18.06.10), Murat Yetkin first notes that the United States has cancelled the high-level anti-terrorism meeting with Turkey on the grounds that while it supports Turkey on the PKK issue Turkey is at odds with the United States on HAMAS issue. Also noting that the AKP delegation visiting the United States is being cold-shouldered by US officials, Yetkin says the AKP could countervail the impasse with the United States and Israel by securing a clear military victory over the PKK. There can be no new Kurdish initiative under these conditions, concludes Yetkin.
Ahmet Altan says in his column for Taraf (18.06.10) that the trial and detention of the invited PKK group "has effectively ended the overture," for no PKK member would ever trust the Turkish state again and leave the mountains. According to Altan, the Turkish state seems to have lost the administrative control inside Turkey while trying to bring order to the outside world. Altan says either the government itself is supporting the escalation of the violence or has become a helpless spectator to the play of violence staged by certain forces. Warning that the continued violence would lead to the division of Turkey, Altan says that if the partition is the aim then let it be done without violence. He concludes his column by declaring that the Turks and Kurds have either to part ways or live in peace, there is no third way, and the government has to leave aside cowardice and find a clear solution to this problem.
b) Reactions to Intensified PKK Attacks:
In an article entitled "What the tactical attacks are intended to achieve", Yeni Safak (18.06.10) columnist Yalcin Akdogan, writing under the pseudonym Yasin Dogan, argues that the PKK's latest terrorist attacks are aimed at accomplishing "tactical" goals like raising the terrorist group's morale at a time when "Turkey has gained the upper hand in the region through active diplomacy," creating tension and an environment of violence so as to better manipulate public opinion in the southeast, and putting the Government in a difficult position and forcing it to change its policy on the southeast issue. He also asserts that the PKK perceives the Government's democratization drive as a threat to its purposes and is violently opposed to it for this reason.
In an article entitled "Why has the overture proven insufficient?" Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila (19.06.10) says that recent statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, leader Selahattin Demirtas indicated that the possibility of establishing dialogue between the two sides has disappeared and that bridges built after the government's overture to Kurds have been burned. Analyzing reasons which prompted the PKK to intensify its terrorist attacks, Bila says that the PKK and the BDP are disappointed because the government has not recognized Kurds as an ethnic community and refused to grant them autonomy and to declare a general amnesty which would also lead to the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Analyzing factors which caused the government's efforts to resolve the Kurdish question to reach an impasse in an article entitled "Tayyip Erdogan and the Logic of Violence," Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal (19.06.10) says that the ruling party decided to stop its efforts due to opinion polls indicating that it was gradually losing popular support which, he notes, prompted some groups to sabotage the process. Cemal concludes by urging the PKK to realize that violence is a dead-end, adding that describing the PKK as a terrorist organization and Ocalan as the leader of a terrorist group would not contribute to efforts to settle the conflict.
In an article entitled "Would not they let AKP to resolve this problem?" Star columnist Mustafa Karaalioglu (19.06.10) blames the opposition parties, including the BDP, as well as some journalists and intellectuals for fuelling anti-Kurdish sentiments and discouraging the government from taking further steps to find a solution to the conflict. He says: "In what was regarded as a counteroffensive, the Prime Minister yesterday said that they would push ahead with the overture despite all obstacles. It was good news because this problem should be dealt with despite resistance put up by Kurdish and Turkish hawks nurtured by the same source."
In an article entitled "Turkey is losing its reason about the 'Kurdish Question' again," Radikal columnist Oral Calislar (19.06.10) emphasizes that Turkey will continue to be dominated by a militarist mood which, he cautions, will hinder steps aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question to the delight of some groups waging a campaign against the ruling party's overture to Kurds. He also notes that moves such as the detention of some Kurdish politicians who have alleged links to the PKK would only lead to stronger support for the organization and diminishes the possibility of a political settlement.
In an article entitled "Government's responsibility", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu (19.06.10) criticizes the newly started trial of some of the PKK militants who came to Turkey from the Makhmour Camp in northern Iraq some time ago as a development that has effectively destroyed the Government's "Kurdish overture" or dealt it a major blow. He claims that the trial of the returnees from northern Iraq is politically and ethically indefensible since they were allowed to come back to Turkey with impunity based on "negotiations" conducted by the Turkish government.
Milliyet columnist Mehmet Tezkan (20.06.10) in an article questions how a group of some 250-300 PKK militants managed to cross the border from Iraq into Turkey with heavy weaponry through territory under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Administration after Mas'ud Barzani promised to extend his support to the struggle against terror. Focusing on Erdogan's condolence message to the General Staff that our beloved nation knows well on whose behalf the PKK is launching its attacks, Tezkan writes: "Our beloved nation might be aware whose subcontractor the PKK is, but I have no idea. Had groups composed of three to five persons opened fire at various targets, had they exploded a couple of bombs, or laid mines, this emphasis on the PKK being a subcontractor would have been more meaningful. I would have said groups out of control and independent from each other are staging attacks in the name of others! The situation, however, is different. A group of 250-300 persons staged the attack. If this group is a subcontractor, then the forces subcontracting the attacks must be very powerful. That force must be a state, or the intelligence organization of that state. Who? Is it Israel? Is it the United States? Is it Iraq, Iran, or Syria? Who is the force that is ordering a terrorist group of 300 to attack Turkey? The answer should be announced immediately, because this is officially a casus belli!"
Assessing the reasons for the failure of the Kurdish overture and the recent escalation in the PKK attacks in the light of Turkey's deteriorating relations with the West in an article in Milliyet, Kadri Gursel (20.06.10) concludes that a Turkey that is speedily moving away from the West will unwillingly cause the narrow horizons of the PKK to expand.
Reiterating his thesis that the "Kurdish overture" launched by the government was nothing more than a "north Iraqi overture" imposed from the outside in order to prepare Turkey to support the United States in Iraq, Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever (20.06.10) argues that those who wish to end an armed struggle should also have the courage to negotiate with their opponents. Accusing the government of raising the people's expectations but at the same time closing all the doors to a solution, Ulsever questions whether there is a failure in intelligence regarding the terrorist groups entering into Turkish territory or whether the army refrains from launching a pre-emptive attack despite having received intelligence information on the issue.
Focusing on the statements made by government officials to the effect that the PKK attacks are supported by foreign forces in an article in Hurriyet, Ferai Tinc (20.06.10) urges the government to announce who those forces are. If by foreign forces the government is pointing a finger at the United States or at Israel then why is it sending delegations to the Washington to convince the US Administration of the Turkish point of view, questions Tinc. Wondering whether the failure of Daniel Benjamin, the US counter-terror coordinator, to attend the counter-terror meeting last week was a sign, Tinc asks: "Was there a breakdown in intelligence exchange because of the Gaza incident and the voting on Iran? If this is what the government officials are implying; if the United States is creating obstacles in counter-terror, then the government cannot let this go."
The insistence of the PKK in continuing the war cannot be attributed to its desire to solve the Kurdish issue but rather to its desire to become an interlocutor, argues Mehmet Metiner in an article in Star (20.06.10), accusing the PKK of blocking the path to a solution and of attaching more importance to its interests than those of the Kurdish people. The PKK is well aware that the government cannot consider Ocalan and the organization to be interlocutors while the terror is escalating, writes Metiner, stressing that the PKK wants to punish the AKP politically. Had the PKK really wanted peace and a solution, it would have withdrawn its forces from Turkey in a bid to put an end to the military operations, declares the writer, adding the PKK terror aims at making the AKP the target of communal anger and at destroying the party politically. In conclusion, Metiner urges the government to implement a new struggle concept that incorporates legal arrangements in line with the spirit of the democratic overture.
The PKK had the courage to declare in advance that it would increase its attacks because the atmosphere was conducive to such a declaration, writes Okay Gonensin in an article in Vatan (20.06.10), adding that Kurdish citizens in the country have begun to think that there will be no follow up to the democratic overture and that politicians have realized that such an overture will bring no votes. If we do not realize that terror is part of the Kurdish issue and that democracy is the antidote of terror, blood will continue to be shed, underlines Gonensin.
Viewing the Semdinli attack as a battle and not a skirmish in an article in Vatan (20.06.10), Fikret Bila argues that the heavy weaponry used by the terrorists and their attempt to seize the post separates this attack from the previous ones. Noting that it would have been impossible for such a large group of terrorists with heavy weaponry to cross the border had there not been support from north Iraq, Bila accuses Barzani and the United States of extending that support.
Reiterating his conviction that the "overture" was a necessary and an appropriate beginning to resolve the Kurdish issue in an article in Radikal (20.06.10), Oral Calislar writes that it was obvious from the very beginning that it would be a difficult process with many ups and downs. Noting that the government should have continued on this path with determination, Calislar accuses the ruling party of abandoning the overture at the first difficulty encountered, adding that the steps taken by the government can be interpreted as a surrender to the hawks within the party. The mounting hopelessness within the Kurdish community following its disappointment in the overture can be seen as one of the major factors that have prompted the PKK to resume its attacks, argues Calislar, adding that the aim of the opposition front that includes the Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, is to corner the AKP and to convey the message that it is incapable of governing the country. Wondering whether the PKK is one of the trump cards used by the opposition block, Calislar also raises the possibility that the PKK might be using the recent tensions in foreign policy balances as a window of opportunity.
Sabah columnist Mehmet Barlas (20.06.10) dwells on various speculations that the recent escalation in PKK terror is due to the "Kurdish overture" according to some, to the US presence in Iraq according to others, or to the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla according to still others. In his article, Barlas argues that PKK attacks were being launched prior to all these developments, agreeing with Taraf's Nabi Yagci that the government is, unfortunately, lacking in self-confidence with regards to the solution of the Kurdish problem. Although the AKP is the first Turkish government to have taken such advanced steps in the solution of this problem, we have regressed to the point of claiming that the "Kurdish overture is over" because the steps taken have been insufficient in gaining the confidence of the people, writes Barlas. The writer predicts that the crisis might continue until after the elections, adding that it does not seem as if the AKP can take further steps in this process given the domestic political balances and the objection of the opposition to a solution.
In an article entitled "It would be a tragedy if we lose common sense," Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru (20.06.10) asks whether the PKK could have inflicted heavy casualties on the Turkish armed forces especially as a result of attacks targeting military posts which have been reportedly reinforced without receiving intelligence and logistical support from some countries. Pointing out that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and some other officials have drawn attention to the timing of PKK attacks, including an attack on a naval base in Iskenderun on the same day when Israeli commandoes killed nine volunteers on a ship forming a part of an aid flotilla, Koru says: "Has not Israel given signals that it will not hesitate to hurt Turkey's interests? Slogans shouted during protests which are apparently organized by the government sounded very unusual. Their official spokesmen could hardly conceal their joy after intensified PKK attacks." Koru concludes by saying that the civil and military parts of the government must devise a common strategy against terrorism.
Analyzing reasons behind PKK assaults in an article entitled "Who is responsible?" Yeni Safak columnist Hayrettin Karaman (20.06.10) draws attention to allegations that the United States and Israel have decided to withdraw their support for Turkey's fight against terrorism because they were angered by the stance taken by the Turkish government about the Israeli raid on an aid ship and the UN resolution imposing sanctions on Iran. He says: "If people who voice that argument believe that it is true, what do they actually propose: yielding to the United States and Israel or pursuing a principled and independent policy which will be in the bests interests of the country over the short and long term?"
c) Reactions to Chief Prosecutor's Release; Fine Imposed on Judges:
In an article entitled "Judicial tragicomedy," Hurriyet Daily News columnist Yusuf Kanli (19.06.10) describes the lengthy and controversial judicial process which led to the release of Ilhan Cihaner, Chief Prosecutor of Erzincan facing charges of official misconduct and having connections with Ergenekon, a shady organization which allegedly plotted against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, by the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday as "a very long and rather complicated story demonstrating the rather strange, painful and indeed ugly fight waged by some dark Islamist dens of power against everyone who resist engaging in some sort of an allegiance relationship with political Islam and its present-day representative the AKP governance."
In an article entitled "The same illness again," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi (19.06.10) criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for accusing the Supreme Court of Appeals of violating the Constitution by condemning eight judges to pay a fine for dismissing petitions filed for the release of Prof. Mehmet Haberal who is standing trial for his alleged role within Ergenekon without citing any reason for their rejection. Pointing out that Erdogan can appeal against the decision if he believes that it is unconstitutional, Eksi says: "It seems that he is alarmed because of the possibility that people who are being kept in Silivri [penitentiary] for months without any justification will take similar steps to protect their rights."
In an article entitled "This judicial system will divide Turkey," Star columnist Ergun Babahan (19.06.10) asserts that the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeals which imposed a fine on eight judges was unlawful, adding that arrest warrants issued against a group of PKK militants who had been released after a brief interrogation upon their return from Makhmur refugee camp in northern Iraq was tantamount to undermining the government's efforts to settle the Kurdish issue and inciting violence. He comments: "The law is the most important part of social reconciliation which cannot be preserved by a judicial system which is clearly partial and has boldly violated written rules. This system cannot ensure that Kurds and Turks as well as pro-secular people and conservative live side by side.
Under the headline, "Barefacedly," Vakit (19.06.10) runs a front-page report which highlights yesterday's developments involving Ilhan Cihaner's release from prison as a result of a "preposterous" decision by the Supreme Court to merge two indictments against Cihaner. According to the report, the ruling in favour of Cihaner and some nine other suspects was made in line with a "plan" earlier disclosed by Vakit. Also front-paged is a report entitled "Judiciary No Longer Trustworthy," which quotes Prime Minister Erdogan as saying that the Supreme Court's ruling against some nine justices who refused to release Professor Mehmet Haberal has virtually destroyed trust in the judicial system.
In an article entitled "I am disclosing the plan", Vakit columnist Yener Donmez (19.06.10) cites the Supreme Court's latest rulings in favour of Haberal and Cihaner as indications of a plan to use this court as a means of releasing all detainees in the Ergenekon investigation. He claims that the next step in this plan will be to allow Navy Captain Dursun Cicek, a suspect in an alleged plot against the Government, go free, adding that this plan has to be implemented before Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug is retired in August if it is to be successful because Basbug's potential successor is unlikely to take any personal risks in the name of "saving" Dursun Cicek.
Under the headline, "A barefaced scandal," Zaman (19.06.10) runs a front-page report which slams the Supreme Court for issuing a "scandalous ruling" that has allowed "all suspects" in an alleged plot against the ruling AKP and the Fethullah Gulen community to go free.
Under the banner headline "Judiciary dictates its own rules," Vakit (20.06.10) carries a front-page report which highlights comments made by some jurists who criticized the Supreme Court of Appeals for violating the law by deciding to release Ilhan Cihaner, Chief Prosecutor of Erzincan who was standing trial for his alleged links to Ergenekon, a shady organization accused of plotting against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, and for imposing a fine on eight judges who had refused to release another suspect standing trial in the Ergenekon case.
d) Strains in Turkeys relation with Israel:
In an article entitled "Gaza in PM's Iran Briefcase", YeniSafak's Ankara News Director Abdulkadir Selvi (18.06.10) outlines what he describes as Prime Minister Erdogan's possible messages to US President Barack Obama about Iran and Israel at the G-20 summit to be held in Toronto over 26-25 June. Selvi claims that Erdogan will remind Obama that Turkey's mediation in the crisis over Iran's nuclear program started with his encouragement and call his attention to the importance of the $10 billion trade volume between Turkey and Iran as well as to the implications of possible unrest in Iran as a result of international sanctions affecting the people. He goes on to assert that Erdogan will get across the message to Obama that while Ankara is not eager to see its relations with Israel deteriorate, it finds Israel's raid on the Gaza flotilla unacceptable and that the Turkish government will look into restoring relations with this country only if it apologizes, agrees to the formation of an international commission to investigate the flotilla incidents, pays damages to Turkey, and returns the ships seized in the raid.
Under the headline, "Israel gets slap in the face from Europe, too," Vakit (18.06.10) publishes a front-page report which highlights the European Parliament's decision to condemn Israel's "brutal" attack on the relief vessel Mavi Marmara en route to the Gaza Strip. The report describes the European Parliament's decision as the latest of international resolutions against Israel made as a result of Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's "intensive representations."
In an article entitled "From Monica to Nesrin: Israel is always doing this", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya (18.06.10) argues that the events that led to the resignation of Deniz Baykal as leader of the Republican People's Party, CHP, over the disclosure of his "adulterous" relationship with CHP Deputy Nesrin Baytok might have been engineered by Israel in a bid to enable the CHP to emerge as a stronger rival against the ruling AKP under Kemal Kilicdaroglu's leadership. He compares Baykal's resignation to the impeachment of Former US President Bill Clinton as a result of the disclosure of his relationship with Monica Lewinski, asserting that Baytok may have been manipulated by Mosad in the same way as Lewinski was used as part of an "operation" in "retaliation" at Clinton's repeated refusal to meet with Netanyahu and his disapproval of Mosad's attempted assassination of a Hamas leader in Jordan.
In an article entitled "Punishment for saying, 'Filthy Jew'", Milli Gazete writers Mustafa Kurdas and Mustafa Yilmaz (18.06.10) highlight a report published in the Israeli Shalom daily asserting that the Turkish government is preparing to pass a bill called "Council on Anti-Discrimination and Equality," which entails fines up to TL 500,000 for committing "hatred crimes" like saying, "filthy Jews." Kurdas and Yilmaz underline the "bizarre" quality of the Government taking steps to pass such a bill at a time when "everybody is fuming at Israel" over its forceful interception of the Gaza flotilla. They also assert that the alleged bill makes nonsense of the Erdogan government's talk about "not letting the tyrant get away with tyranny."
In an article entitled "Jewish lobbies turn against Turkey," Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol (19.06.10) draws attention to indications that angry Jewish lobbies in the United States are turning against Turkey, emphasizing that those signs must be taken very seriously. Pointing out that steps that could further escalate tension in relations between Turkey and Israel could seriously hurt both sides, Akyol comments: "Aside from this fact, potential economic and political benefits to be provided by friendly relations between Turkey and Arab countries and Iran's importance should never be overlooked. So, radical policies would be wrong. What should be done is to use fine-tuning. Jewish lobbies should also realize this fact."
In an article entitled "Listen, Nazi-Zionist Israel", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak (19.06.10) asserts that the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla has served to promote international awareness of the holocaust as a "legend" and "illusion" created by Hollywood and a "conspiracy" where Hitler was only "a chosen bad guy" who made it possible for Jews to be relocated to "Palestine." Dilipak warns that unless Israel apologizes to Turkey for attacking the ship Mavi Marmara, allows an international commission to investigate the incident, returns the ships it has seized and allows the relief supplies to be delivered to Gaza, punishes those responsible for the raid on the flotilla, and pays damages, as demanded by Ankara, "we will determine the identity of those who ordered that raid and took part in it, catch them and put them on trial wherever they might go, publish their photographs, and monitor their communications. We will do all this not only to them but also to their families, friends, relatives, and whoever might protect them. ... You will not find relief until you die. Even when you have died, we will find your graves and expose you. We will not let you be even in your graves."
In an article entitled "Can the AKP shift the Axis?" Sunday's Zaman columnist Ihsan Yilmaz (20.06.10) says that Turkey will not move away from the West unless the latter decides to follow "myopic and xenophobic" French and German leaders, emphasizing that AKP leaders cannot change Turkey's direction due to a variety of reasons even if they have secret intentions to do so. He comments: "Turks also need to be convinced on why Western powers have full relations and engage in business transactions with almost every dictatorship in the world but ask Turkey to jeopardize its relations with its neighbours. If national interests command the international politics of individual countries, Turks are also eager to know about their national interests. But this does not mean that Turks will emulate Ahmadinejad. God forbid."
In an article entitled "It is very unfortunate that we could not understand Israel," Milli Gazete columnist Huseyin Varol (20.06.10) argues that Turkish officials were partly responsible for the killings of nine Turkish volunteers on a ship intercepted by Israeli soldiers because they did not warn Israel in advance that any assault on the ship would be regarded as a casus belli warranting retaliation. He also says that Zionism should be wiped off the face of the earth and all American military bases in Muslim countries should be closed down and US troops should be sent back to their homeland because the United States encourages Israeli aggression.