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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-08-08

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 CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 149/11 06-08.08.11 C O N T E N T S

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry issues statement regarding gas exploration in Cyprus EEZ; Davutoglu clarifies Turkey's stance on the issue
  • [02] Turkey to undertake initiatives to the UN Security Council and Washington against the natural gas exploration activities of the Greek Cypriot side
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot dailies point out to the Turkish side's contradictory statements on the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus
  • [04] Comments on Cyprus' gas exploration in the Mediterranean
  • [05] Eroglu briefed the parties on the talks; Cakici: The Turkish side's proposal on governance and power sharing takes the negotiations backwards
  • [06] Yorgancioglu says that at least 200 thousand persons will benefit from the "white identity card"
  • [07] Ex-British politician: "Don't expect a solution"
  • [08] Cypriot Maronites demand to have the same rights they enjoy in the Republic of Cyprus in the occupied area as well
  • [09] Bagis claims that the EU's bus started to break down
  • [10] A Turkish Cypriot scientist is the new Secretary General of EUROHODIP
  • [11] The "TRNC Billiard Federation" requested to organize the European Billiard Championships in the occupied area
  • [12] A total of 27 archaeological places were found in the borders of occupied Akanthou, Flamoudi and Davlos villages
  • [13] Statements by the creator of the flag of the breakaway regime on occupied Pentadaktylos mountain
  • [14] New hospital to be constructed in occupied Lefkosia
  • [15] Erdogan sends Davutoglu to up pressure on Syria

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    Messages issued by political parties and organizations regarding the anniversary of the clashes in Tylliria area back in the 1960s, statements by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Cypriot politicians on the explorations for oil and natural gas to be carried out by the Republic of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, a briefing by Eroglu to Turkish Cypriot political parties regarding the intensified Cyprus negotiations, the issue of "granting" white and green "identity cards" to illegal Turkish settlers, and other internal matters are the main topics covered by the Turkish Cypriot press over the weekend. The papers refer also to complaints by the company which built the marina in occupied Karpasia peninsula regarding bureaucratic problems that it faces, and the contribution of citrus fruits to the exports of the breakaway regime that reached 103 million Turkish liras last year, in spite of a decrease in the number of the citrus groves.

    Statements by Egemen Bagis, Turkey's EU Minister on visa-free travel for Turks, Davutoglu's upcoming visit to Syria on Tuesday to make a final call to Assad's regime to stop the violence against the protesters, Davutoglu's statement on the activities of the Greek Cypriot side on natural gas oil exploration, reaction statements by President Christofias over Ankara's recent threats towards the Greek Cypriot side's plans to launch natural gas exploration activities in the Mediterranean Sea and a protest organized on Sunday in Turkey by a group of environmental activists against the decision of the Government to built the first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu town of the south-eastern provinces of Mersin are some of the main stories highlighted by today's Turkish press and over the week-end.

    [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry issues statement regarding gas exploration in Cyprus EEZ; Davutoglu clarifies Turkey's stance on the issue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.11) reported that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement which says that the "Greek Cypriot administration" [as they refer to the Republic of Cyprus] violated international laws and rights of the third parties, continued efforts to sign bilateral agreements with the countries in the East Mediterranean since 2003, and conducted natural gas exploration activities.

    The statement said inter alia: "the agreements which the Greek Cypriot administration made and its natural gas and oil exploration activities had a negative impact on the solution of Cyprus problem and caused new disagreements among the countries of the region.

    Views and warnings of both Turkey and the TRNC were registered before the regional countries and the UN, and we had stated that we expected companies and countries, interested in oil/natural gas exploration activities in the south of Cyprus based on invalid licenses, to act in responsibility.

    We still preserve our approach and views on the matter. In the light of the recent news reports and formal statements that exploration works would start in the south of Cyprus at the beginning of October, it will be beneficial to point out some elements.

    The Greek Cypriot side does not have the right and authority to make a statement, launch an initiative or sign an agreement unilaterally regarding the natural resources belonging to the island on behalf of the whole island. Such kind of activities lacking legal basis causes tension in the island and in the region and damage the ongoing negotiation process.

    The risks and disadvantages of launching such kind of unilateral activities, at a time when negotiations are underway to establish a new partnership to determine the future of the island, are obvious. This manner of the Greek Cypriot administration is untimely and an example of irresponsibility. Such kind of acts hamper efforts for reconciliation."

    The statement said that the international community should act in responsibility not to give credit for the initiatives of the Greek Cypriot administration aiming at seizing rights of the Turkish Cypriot party to make use of the natural resources of the island equally. "Turkey and the TRNC will continue to launch initiatives through diplomatic and political means in line with international laws aiming to protect their legal rights and interests," the statement concluded.

    Furthermore, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday that Ankara will react if Cyprus continues with its exploration plans. "We will show the appropriate reaction if any further step is taken... the Greek Cypriot administration does not have the right to embark on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean unless the Cyprus issue is resolved and a government representing the entire island is formed," Davutoglu told reporters and added that Turkey's stance is "firm and clear."

    [02] Turkey to undertake initiatives to the UN Security Council and Washington against the natural gas exploration activities of the Greek Cypriot side

    Under the title: "Cyprus note to Washington", Turkish daily Hurriyet (08.08.11) reports that Turkey is taking action to the international field against the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to launch natural gas exploration activities in the Mediterranean Sea on October 1.

    According to the paper, Turkey is preparing to transfer to the agenda of the UN Security Council and to Washington as well the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to launch natural gas exploration activities.

    The paper writes that Ankara has decided to undertake diplomatic initiatives at Washington during this week and writes that through its Ambassador in Washington is going to convey to the Obama Administration its discomfort on the fact that the American Nobel Energy Company has accepted to make the first drill in plot 12 which is determined as within the "Exclusive Economic Zone".

    At the same time writes the paper, Turkey is to undertake initiatives to all members of the UN Security Council expressing the belief that the stance of the "Greek Cypriot administration" aims to sabotage the efforts for finding a comprehensive solution to the island. Turkey will convey also the following: "In a period which the talks continue for the determination of the future of Cyprus and are in a critical stage, this kind of unilateral activities are risky and undesirable. The irresponsible stance of the Greek Cypriot administration will get a blow to the efforts for reconciliation in the island".

    (AK)

    [03] Turkish Cypriot dailies point out to the Turkish side's contradictory statements on the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus

    Under the title: "Contradiction", Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (07.08.11) reported that the oil and natural gas exploration by the Republic of Cyprus continues to cause tension between the Greek Cypriot side and Turkey. "While statements which reach to (the point of) threats are made between the two countries, the statements that are full of 'contradiction' made by the Turkish side on the rights in the Republic of Cyprus continue" writes the paper.

    Ortam argues that on the one hand the "warning statements" made by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the oil and natural gas explorations of the Republic of Cyprus and the statements made in the same sense by the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu and self-styled prime minister Kucuk, and on the other hand the statement made by Prime Minister Erdogan that "no state such as the Republic of Cyprus exists" brings onto the agenda "a contradiction which is experienced for many years".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (07.08.11) refers to the same issue under the title: "Leave aside the TRNC and look at the partnership". The paper notes that there is only one legal way for the Turkish Cypriots to be able to equally share the natural resources in the sea of the island. This is defending the partnership in the Republic of Cyprus, writes the paper, adding, inter alia, the following:

    "The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says on the one hand that 'there is no Cyprus state' and on the other refers now to the partnership of the Turkish Cypriots with this state. Have they remembered these rights of ours when our seas gave out the smoke of oil and natural gas? Turkey, which seized half of the island and established a satellite state here, continues to threaten the Greek Cypriots demanding the handing over of our rights in the Republic of Cyprus as well?"

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Comments on Cyprus' gas exploration in the Mediterranean

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.08.11, online) publishes an article by Yusuf Kanli, entitled: "A gassy problem." Kanli in his article tries to shed light in the circumstances under which the agreement to sent UN Peace forces in Cyprus was signed. He writes that because the U.N. needed to sign a host-country agreement to dispatch peace troops, which is the reason why today there is a Cyprus Government composed by only Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are being treated as a minority demanding some rights from that Government. The columnist argues that the "Cyprus question is a power sharing problem between two politically equal founding components of the 1960 Republic" and writes inter alia:

    "That is why until the Cyprus problem is resolved and Turkish Cypriot inalienable partnership in the entire natural wealth of the island is restored, the Greek Cypriot Government ? which indeed under the March 1964 Resolution is nothing but a provisional administration in the absence of a Greek-Turkish constitutional Government ? cannot and should not have legally and morally the unilateral right to explore hydrocarbon resources offshore Cyprus.

    Furthermore, Greek Cypriot plans to unilaterally start exploration for natural gas resources were not conducive at all with the Cyprus talks process. Particularly at a time when leaders of the two peoples of the island are engaged in intensified negotiations to prepare for a key summit in October with the U.N. Secretary-General, such efforts undermining rights of Turkish Cypriots in continental shelf and natural resources of the island would further poison confidence much needed for a resolution. So far there has not been any sort of delineation of exclusive economic zones agreement between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot-administered Cyprus Republic, with which Ankara has no formal links. International law provides for the delineation of exclusive economic zones to be done among the littoral countries, bearing in mind the rights and interests of all sides. Not only the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people and their state, which is not recognized anyhow, but also Turkey was totally disregarded in the gassy decision of the Greek Cypriot administration.

    On the same subject, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (05.08.11, online) reported that Turkish diplomatic sources considered the recent news of Greek Cypriot's ambitions to drill for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean "an unlawful case with one side invading the rights of the other," as experts interpreted the drill plans a "speculative approach" to obscure the negotiation process between the Greek and Turkish sides.

    "Think about it as a case where the two societies are trying to negotiate on settling territorial disputes, but one side partners with a third party to market resources that belong to the entire island, disrupting the process in a move against law and order," diplomatic sources explained to Today's Zaman on Friday. The sources also acknowledged that Turkey has conveyed its message "on the unlawful nature of the drill attempt" to the international community as they criticized the Greek Cypriots for acting as the sole authority on matters regarding the entire island. [...]

    "The Greek Cypriots tend to utilize these resources as a tool of political maneuver; it is a political and diplomatic attempt rather than an economic one," stated academic Yasar Hacisalihoglu, a visiting professor at the department of political science and international relations at Texas State University. Speaking to Today's Zaman on Friday, the academic focused on a lack of solution on the divided island as the natural source of the accompanying problems. "There are no clear rights of independence; The island is right there but its political and legal position is completely blurred," Hacisalihoglu stated as he evaluated the Greek Cypriot move "an attempt at creating an artificial crisis at a time of negotiations."

    "It is a very familiar foreign policy reflex, and the Greek Cypriots do this quite often," Hacisalihoglu stated as he claimed that Turkey's approach in the matter will determine the developments in the issue. He also said that it was in Turkey's best interest to use its soft power, as he explained that "the current Government holds credibility with the international community like it was never held by its predecessors before."

    Looking at it from a legitimacy concern on the part of the Greek Cypriots, "Greek Cyprus gained its legitimacy in a strategic move to enable the UN peacekeeping forces into Cyprus," commented Mehmet Hasguler, an assistant professor at the European University of Lefke, on Friday. Speaking to Today's Zaman, Hasguler said that "without crisis, Greek Cyprus has no grounds of legal existence," as the academic interpreted the drill an attempt of the Greek Cypriot side to cast Turkey in the position of an EU candidate that tries to obstruct the economic activities of an EU member.

    "The strategy was to blame the fault of division on the Turkish side for decades, but when the Annan plan failed because of them [Greek Cypriots], they needed another reason to tag Turkey the 'deal breaker,' when it does everything to comply with the international policies," Hasguler claimed.

    [05] Eroglu briefed the parties on the talks; Cakici: The Turkish side's proposal on governance and power sharing takes the negotiations backwards

    Under the title: "They listened to Eroglu and conveyed their views"", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (06.08.11) reports that on Friday, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu held a 4.5 hour briefing on the intensified Cyprus negotiations with the six political parties represented in the "assembly" of the breakaway regime and exchanged views with them on the process.

    In statements after the meeting, the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) and self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk said that according to the information they have, there was not much change in the stance of President Christofias in the summit in Geneva and the period that followed. He argued that they were sad because President Christofias submitted no proposal in Geneva except his past proposals, and alleged that this stance prevents the developments. According to Kucuk, the fact that the gas and natural gas explorations came onto the agenda in a period when a "government crisis" exists in the south, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, is "meaningful".

    The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Ozkan Yorgancioglu said that they told Eroglu that they will support him, if he is constructive during the intensified negotiations and if he contributes to the solution of the Cyprus problem and makes constructive proposals.

    Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said that they are not satisfied with the course of the process. Cakici noted that they do not like the recent proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side and described as wrong the oil and natural gas explorations by the Republic of Cyprus, accusing the Greek Cypriots of not taking into consideration the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus. He added that they do not approve the proposals of the Turkish side and that they conveyed their views to Eroglu. Noting that he could not get into details because of the secrecy in the talks, but the proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side on the governance and power sharing are proposals that take the process backwards.

    Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said that they closely follow the process, but could make no statement because of the principle of secrecy. Responding to a question regarding Prime Minister Erdogan's recent statements, Denktas noted that if Erdogan's statements have established a "red line", they are important from two points of view: The one is that they are "motivating" the Greek Cypriots and the EU and the other is that Turkey should stand behind its word. Denktas argued that Turkey has nothing to lose and it will gain from this process, if it stands behind its word.

    Turgay Avci, chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), said they support the views submitted by Eroglu at the negotiating table and called on the Republic of Cyprus to "abandon its madness" on the issue of oil and natural gas. He alleged that Turkey and the "TRNC", breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, have definitely a say on the oil and natural gas and added that if the Greek Cypriots do not abandon this madness, problems will be experienced in the negotiations process.

    Tahsin Ertugruloglu, leader of the Democracy and Trust Party (DGP), said that there was no change in their views on the negotiating process after what they heard in this meeting. He argued that the Greek Cypriot side's approach does not require for the Turkish Cypriots to have much expectations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Yorgancioglu says that at least 200 thousand persons will benefit from the "white identity card"

    Under the title: "'At least 200 thousands'", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (07.08.11) reported that Ozkan Yorgancioglu, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that a population census should be held as soon as possible in the occupied area of Cyprus so that the problems of the "country' are objectively evaluated.

    In an interview with Havadis, Yorgancioglu expressed the view that the "citizenship law" of the breakaway regime should be amended and the "citizenship" should not be granted except for cases of marriage.

    Yorgancioglu noted, inter alia, the following: "We are worried about the fact that the minister of interior said that he does not know how many persons will benefit from the white identity card. In my view, around 200 thousand persons will benefit from this. It is known that 40 thousand registered workers exist and around 40 thousand persons work illegally. You could make the calculation, if we assume that these persons have a spouse and two children each?"

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis (06.08.11) reported that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), has also referred to the issue of granting white and green "identity cards". In statements during a meeting he had on Friday with the "Turkish Cypriot Subcontractors' Union", Denktas argued that no amendment in the "citizenship law", including the white and green "identity cards", will solve the problem, before a population census is held. On the contrary, he argued, such arrangements will cause a bigger disaster.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Ex-British politician: "Don't expect a solution"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.08.11) hosts statements by John Taylor also known as Lord Kilclooney, a former British MP and member of the European Parliament. Lord Kilclooney, who owns a house in occupied Kazafani village and has been visiting Cyprus since 1972, is known as a conservative politician supporting the union of North Ireland with England. Taylor, whose official title is Baron Kilclooney of Armagh, has also been the chairman of the "Friends of northern Cyprus group" in the British Parliament.

    Speaking to the newspaper, Taylor said that: "TRNC" should not wait for a solution from England, EU or the Greek Cypriots but should request recognition from Islamic and Arab countries. He said that they should follow Palestine's example which gained support from some countries in South America. Referring to England, he said that they should expect no solution because it only cares about its military bases in Akrotiri and Dekelia. He also alleged that a solution from the Greek Cypriot side is impossible, because its current stance is harder than 1974.

    [08] Cypriot Maronites demand to have the same rights they enjoy in the Republic of Cyprus in the occupied area as well

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (08.08.11) under the title: "Human demand" reports that the Cypriot Maronites who are living in occupied Kormakitis village asked for having the right to vote and be elected and the right to be represented at the "TRNC parliament" as they have in "south Cyprus".

    As the paper writes, the Cypriot Maronites of Lebanese origin that are living in "south Cyprus" and constitute a big part of the population, have asked to have the same rights they enjoy in "south Cyprus" in the occupied area of Cyprus as well.

    Commenting on the issue, Baris Mammali, a Turkish Cypriot lawyer, gave a conditional support to the Cypriot Maronites saying that if Cypriot Maronites are real citizens of this "country", then they are owners of any kind of "citizenship right" including the right to vote and to be elected. And if these people demand this and the "TRNC citizenship", then if we do not give them this right, it means that we are behaving contrary to the human rights and that we are doing a community discrimination, Mamali said.

    (AK)

    [09] Bagis claims that the EU's bus started to break down

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.11) reported from Istanbul that Turkey's European Union (EU) Minister Egemen Bagis said on Friday that Turkey also knows where to halt relations when necessary. Bagis said that Turkey would never accept being a standing passenger on the EU bus, and would know where to get off the bus whenever it wanted.

    Referring to the EU, Bagis claimed that the EU's bus started to break down, EU is facing economic problems, its population is getting older and on the other hand highlighted that Turkey is a contemporary, modern and a promising country. "Europe needs young, dynamic Turkish population which has been trained well, as well as Turkey's dynamism and energy," Bagis alleged.

    Moreover, Bagis said that the Turkish Government will continue to fulfil reforms on the road to EU membership, but that is not making the reforms for Europe. "We are implementing them to make Turkey richer, a more contemporary, respectable and transparent country," he said.

    Also, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (07.08.11, online) reported that Bagis commenting on the visa issue, said that Turkey will ratify a readmission agreement on illegal immigration if the European Union launches visa facilitation talks with Turkey in what has become one of the first remarks to revive recently stalled EU-Turkey relations.

    [10] A Turkish Cypriot scientist is the new Secretary General of EUROHODIP

    Under the title "EUROHODIP accepted the membership of the "TRNC", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (08.08.11) reports that the "Department of Tourism and Hotel Accommodation of the illegal GAU" (Keryneia American University) has participated in an important meeting of the International Hotel Management, Tourist and Hotel Management Union (EUROHODIP) which took place in Paris.

    As the paper writes, Nafiya Guden, chairman of the "Department of Tourism and Hotel Accommodation" of the illegal GAU was elected to the position of the Secretary General of the Union and it is the first Turkish Cypriot scientist to be elected in this position.

    Speaking on the issue, Guden said that as the new Secretary General of the Union, his goal is to implement important projects in favour of his "country" and also projects that aim to improve the quality of tourism and tourism education globally.

    (AK)

    [11] The "TRNC Billiard Federation" requested to organize the European Billiard Championships in the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (08.08.11) reports that Askin Burcu, chairman of the TRNC billiard federation" is currently in Luxembourg in order to watch the European Billiard Championships 2011 - Youth & Seniors and the "TRNC team" that participates. According to the paper, Burcu also met with officials from the European Pocket Billiard Federation and the European Billiard Federation and expressed to them their wish to organize a European Championship in the "TRNC." Burcu said that now they have expressed officially their wish and claimed that they had a very positive response.

    [12] A total of 27 archaeological places were found in the borders of occupied Akanthou, Flamoudi and Davlos villages

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (06.08.11) reports that the member of the education staff of the illegal International Cyprus University (UKU) Dr Muge Sevketoglu, evaluating to the paper the recent developments of the archaeological researches carried out in the framework of the "Akanthou-Citfliduzu excavation and research projects", said, inter alia, that as a result of thousand of researches supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUB0TAK), a total of 27 archaeological sites belonging to the Middle Ages, the Roman, Archaic and Bronze periods were detected.

    Saying that the archaeological researches are taking place in several areas starting from the occupied villages of Akanthou, Flamoudi, Davlos and including also the villages of occupied Mandres and Agios Iacovos which are found in the south of Pentadaktylos mountains, Sevketoglu said that the "department of antiquities and museums" has speeded up its works in these places in order to protect their cultural heritage.

    (AK)

    [13] Statements by the creator of the flag of the breakaway regime on occupied Pentadaktylos mountain

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (07.08.11) reports that Ibrahim Coskun, creator of the huge flag of the breakaway regime on occupied Pentadaktylos mountain, told the paper the story of this flag.

    Coskun said that this flag was completed on 23 November 1993. According to Coskun, 72 tons of lime, five tons of cement, 600 kilos of glue, 544 tons of water and eight tons of red paint were used for this flag. Coskun noted that the painting of this flag was completed in 25 days and 35 persons worked for its completion. The cost of the flag reached 295 thousand Turkish liras. The flag covers an area of 111 thousand square meters and it is as big as 12 football fields.

    The paper reports that Coskun was born in 1959 in Beykoz, Istanbul. He came to the island as a soldier 33 years ago and met his wife at occupied Vouno village, which is located on the Pentadaktylos mountain. They have four children.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] New hospital to be constructed in occupied Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (06.08.11, online) reports that self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk has announced that a new hospital will be built in the occupied part of Lefkosia in 2012.

    Attending an iftar meal given by the National Unity Party's women's branch, Kucuk made statements regarding the economy of the breakaway regime saying that they will continue the economic cooperation with "motherland" Turkey and construct a new hospital. He also noted: "As Cyprus Turkish people, we have shown motherland Turkey our devotion by greeting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with open arms."

    [15] Erdogan sends Davutoglu to up pressure on Syria

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.08.11, online) reported that Turkey is set to deliver a final warning to Syria that it must end the bloodshed sweeping the country and introduce reforms or Ankara will join international measures against the regime, officials said Sunday.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will go to Damascus on Tuesday to deliver this warning following the harshest reaction yet from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the deadly unrest sweeping Syria. Erdogan said Saturday that Ankara's patience with the situation was running out and that Davutoglu would convey "a resolute message" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he risks losing Turkey's support.

    Damascus hit back Sunday, adding to the bilateral chill ahead of the visit, but a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said Davutoglu's visit would go ahead barring a last-minute change.

    If Davutoglu "is to deliver a firm message to Syria, he will hear a firmer reply regarding the Turkish stance, which didn't condemned the brutal killings and crimes committed by armed terrorist groups against civilians, the military and police members till now," Syrian presidential advisor Bouthina Shaaban said, according to the official Sana news agency. "Syria has always welcomed consultation among friends, but it categorically rejects all regional or international attempts of interference in its internal affairs," Shaaban added.

    The outcome of Davutoglu's meeting with al-Assad will determine the course of Turkish policy vis-a-vis Syria, Turkish officials said, signaling that Ankara has come close to abandoning the Syrian President and considering international measures that may lead to his "Saddam-like" isolation.

    "The process from now on will take shape according to the response [al-Assad] will give and the practices on the ground," Erdogan said Saturday. "Our patience is running thin? We do not see the Syria issue as an external one. It is an internal issue for us. We share a border of 850 kilometers, we have kinship, historical and cultural ties and ? we cannot just watch what is happening there."

    US seeks Turkish pressure on Syria to end crackdown

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (08.08.11, online) reports that according to the US State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on the phone with Davutoglu on Sunday discussing the ongoing violence and security operations in Syria. Clinton discussed the US position that Syria must immediately return its military to the barracks and release all prisoners of concern and asked Davutoglu to "reinforce these messages" with the Syrian Government, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    EG/


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