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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-05-13
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 88/13 11-13/05/13
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Twin car bomb in the Turkish Reyhanli town killed at least 43 people; Erdogan and other Turkish officials blamed 'pro-Assad groups, intelligence organizationsAnkara Anatolia news agency (12.05.13) reported from Reyhanli/Hatay that the two powerful car bomb explosions just minutes apart in Reyhanli, a Turkish town near the Syrian border on Saturday, killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 100 others.
Turkish officials pointed at 'groups and intelligence services loyal to the Assad regime' for the deadly blasts as fears mounted that Syria's more than two-year-old conflict increasingly risked spill over to neighbouring countries.
The devastation from blasts, which took place 15 minutes apart at a crowded shopping district and outside a post office in the Reyhanli town just across Syria's Idlib province, was huge that it ripped through entire buildings and left hulks of twisted metal and charred skeletons from cars scattered over the streets.
"We have confirmed that the organization and individuals responsible for the deadly blasts were associated with pro-Syrian groups and the intelligence organizations in Syria," Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler told reporters in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the assailants were from inside Turkey but they had links with Syria's al-Mukhabarat intelligence service.
Bulent Arinc, another Turkish Deputy Prime Minister said that the "usual suspect" in the blasts was the Assad administration, and al-Mukhabarat and armed groups associated with the Damascus regime.
"Those responsible for the attacks, both domestic and foreign, will be apprehended. And if any link to the Syrian regime is established, there will be things we will need to talk openly and clearly with countries which encourage Syria in this fashion," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Berlin. He said the timing of the attacks was no coincidence given a recent momentum in diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the Syria crisis.
The United States strongly condemned the twin bombings with Secretary of State John F. Kerry expressing solidarity as NATO chief, UN secretary general, France and Britain all condemned the attacks.
Turkey is a staunch opponent of the Assad regime and it shelters more than 300,000 Syrians.
Also, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.05.13) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commenting on the deadly blast in Reyhanli town while he addressed his supporters in a Mother's Day event yesterday, said: "The deadly blasts in the southern town of Reyhanl? near the Syrian border, which killed 46 people, reflect an intention to drag Turkey into a "bloody swamp" in Syria, adding that the attack aimed to "disrupt Turkey's peace".
"The purpose of these attacks is to give opportunities to those who collaborate with the Baath regime. These are attacks intending to provoke those who leave in peace, especially in the Hatay [province]," Erdogan said.
The Hatay enclave is home to many minorities living together, including Alawites, Nusayris and Kurds who have family links with Syria.
"Turkey's patience and composure is being tested. They want to drag Turkey into a filthy scenario. But we will not fall into this trap," Erdogan said.
The Prime Minister warned against any retaliation attacks against Syrian refugees, saying that this would only serve the interests of those who perpetrated the attack. "If there is a single attack against a Syrian guest, even only verbal, the attackers will win," he said.
The Turkish Prime Minister also slammed the opposition parties that called on the government to review it's internal and foreign policies following the Reyhanl? attack. Describing as "opportunism" any attempt to criticize the government on the matter, Erdogan said such accusations could only "play into the hands" of Turkey's enemies. "It is not time to find those responsible inside the country. Trying to seek political gain from this [attack] is unscrupulous," he added.
Erdogan insisted that he would rather drop his Prime Minister office than shut his eyes to the babies being killed in Syria, adding that he could not give account to God if he did so. "We saw with my wife the photographs in the newspapers, images from Banias in Syria that afflict one's spirit. We cried when we saw those babies martyred in their mother's arms. Those who defend the actors of the regime that perpetrated this massacre cannot explain this to the Turkish people or to humanity," he said.
Erdogan also dismissed criticism that the government's policies on Syria were based on the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) or his own personal position. "The issue in Syria is not the AKP's or Recep Tayyip Erdogan's, but Turkey's issue. The plane that was shot down [on June 2012] was not the AKP's, but Turkey's plane," he said.
 Gul and Yildiz stated that "a solution model" is searched for solving the political problems experienced in the Eastern Mediterranean; Gul signalled a "new economic collaboration"Under the title: "Ankara 'closer' to joint energy projects with Israel, Greek Cyprus", Turkish daily Today's Zaman (10.05.13) reported the following: "Amid growing speculation over scenarios that include the participation of Turkey as a transfer hub for the recently discovered natural gas resources in the east Mediterranean, top Turkish officials signalled on Thursday that Ankara is warming to 'extensive cooperation' with Israel and Greek Cyprus.
The issue was discussed by both President Abdullah Gul and Energy Minister Taner Y?ld?z on Friday at an energy conference in Istanbul. Addressing participants at the 4th Annual Energy Forum, organized by Sabanc? University, Gul said that Turkey would welcome a new cooperation model that envisages the transfer of resources from the Mediterranean to world markets via Turkey. 'I would like to once again underline here that it will benefit all parties to agree on a joint deal on the transportation of gas reserves off the island of Cyprus,' Gul said, adding that the cooperation would 'surely facilitate the solution of political problems we face in this region'. The President asserted that Ankara is 'ready to contribute to any constructive project,' adding that all parties should start considering a new models to reach a solution.
The east Mediterranean basin is estimated to hold as much as 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. Turkey stands firmly against any unilateral moves by the Greek Cypriot administration to extract natural gas and oil reserves off of the coast of Cyprus, saying that Turkish Cypriots, running their own state in the north of the island, also have a say on these reserves. In transporting gas drilled from Cyprus to Europe, a pipeline through Turkey seems the lowest-cost opportunity for Greek Cyprus, which will most likely remain cash-strapped for the near future due to its major economic crisis.
The Israeli and Greek Cypriot administrations began cooperating on energy soon after the American oil company Noble Energy discovered gas around the island of Cyprus. Ankara expects improving ties with Tel Aviv -- which follow the latter's apology over the earlier Mavi Marmara raid -- will see Turkey find its place at the negotiation table for even larger-scale energy projects soon.
Speaking to reporters during Friday's conference, Minister Y?ld?z did not deny that preparations are going on behind closed doors in Ankara for the possible "solution model" to which Gul has referred. Underlining that the Turkish government is ready for possible cooperation with Nicosia and Tel Aviv to transfer Cyprus gas reserves to world markets, Y?ld?z said his Ministry has already begun research to draw up the anticipated projects. Reiterating Ankara's stance that Cyprus energy reserves must be shared with the Turkish side, the Minister argued that Nicosia would have difficulty in initiating energy projects in the Mediterranean if the country 'continues ignoring our [Ankara's] calls to abide by international law'. Y?ld?z added, however, that Turkey 'will that take advantage of its geographic position to pressure the newly emerging energy suppliers, nor will it use this as a tool for political gain'.
The Minister's statement signal softening of tone in Ankara, particularly following recent remarks from different Cabinet members. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in March that if Greek Cyprus insists on using hydrocarbon reserves off the island to overcome its debt crisis without the consent of the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey is ready to discuss a two-state solution on the island in order to claim the rights of Turkish Cypriots to the reserves. One critical detail between the lines of Y?ld?z's speech on Friday was that the government expected the state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) play a leading role in the possible Mediterranean projects and that the company could partner with local or foreign private energy firms. Observers have speculated that the TPAO would cooperate with a local energy firm in the case of an energy transfer project in the Mediterranean. The firm currently explores for oil and natural gas in Turkish-controlled Cyprus. The Minister also announced: "We are in the process of finalizing our efforts to offer TPAO shares to the public to be traded on the stock market. He added that details on this issue 'will be made public shortly'".
Meanwhile, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.05.13), Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on May 10 at a conference in Istanbul the following:
"I believe any projects regarding energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean should involve all the countries in the region, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, all parts of the island of Cyprus and Turkey? to resolve political problems".
"Turkish Cypriots also have a right to the discovered energy resources off the Cyprus coastline. Economics could be the main instrument to resolve the existing political problems in the region and a new economic cooperation mission could be established in the Eastern Mediterranean, which could be under the framework of the European Union," Gul said.
Gul also said some of the energy resources of Iraq could be distributed to Turkey and to Europe ? through Turkey ? via new oil and gas pipelines that could be built in parallel to the existing northern and southern energy routes of Iraq.
 Kucuk departs for the USA saying his aim is to undertake more active role in foreign policyTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (13.05.13) reports that Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, departed yesterday for the United States of America with a chartered flight of the Turkish Airlines (THY).
In statements at the illegal Tymvou airport, Kucuk said that he would have a series of contacts abroad in the forthcoming period in order for becoming more active in the foreign policy. He noted that he would meet with members of the American Congress and representatives of think tanks, federations of Turkish business circles and big international companies.
Kucuk said that the target of his "government" from now on is to "undertake a more active role both in the internal and the external policy and especially to exert more efforts in the foreign policy in the direction of contributing to the UN negotiation process".
Kucuk argued that the international representation of the Turkish Cypriot "people", who have allegedly been continuing their liberation struggle for 50 years, was very important this period, like it had been in the past. He added that they were ready to exert every effort in order for the "people" to acquire the quality of life they deserve and strengthen their position internationally.
Kucuk noted that 2013 was a year during which they would exert initiatives that might give results in the future.
His spouse, Gulin Kucuk, his "advisor", Omer Koseoglu, the "undersecretary" at the "ministry of public works and transport", Suat Yeltener, the "coordinator" of the "EU Coordination Centre", Erhan Ercin, the "public relations' director" of the "prime minister's office", Leman Aslim, the "director" of illegal Bayrak television, Mete Tumerkan and cardiologist Dr. Erkut Asicioglu are among the members of the delegation that accompanies Kucuk.
 Turkish Cypriot politicians commented on the latest proposal of Cyprus MFA regarding the fenced of town off VaroshaAccording to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeniduzen (11.05.13), Cemal Ozyigit, General secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), in a written statement, said that although there is a favourable environment for resumption of the negotiations for Cyprus settlement, there is a lack of a political will in both sides.
Commenting on the latest proposal of Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasoulides regarding the return of the fenced of town off Varosha to its legal owners and the opening of the occupied Famagusta port for direct trade, Ozyigit said that the proposal should be taken under consideration. He also said that while the comprehensive talks will be continued then a second step can be the simultaneously opening of direct flights at the occupied airport of Tymbou and the opening of Turkey's ports to all the vessels of the Republic of Cyprus.
Ozyigit noted that the natural gas, the oil and the water may play a catalyst role on the negotiation process of the Cyprus problem.
Also, the general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Izzet Izcan, in a written statement, commenting on the latest proposal of Minister Kasoulides, said that the confidence building measures, like the return of the fenced of town of Varosha, the opening of the occupied port of Famagusta and the launch of direct flights, have a meaning in case they are being implemented with the solution process.
The leader of the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG), Ozkan Yorganciolgu, in a written statement, inter alia, said that they, as CTP, see the proposal of the return of the fenced of town off Varosha to its legal owners, as out of place and in improper time. He went on calling on the Greek Cypriot leadership to focus on finding a comprehensive solution and to avoid this kind of approach.
 Yorgancioglu says the UBP aims at granting "citizenship" to ten thousand persons by the end of the yearUnder the title "Citizenship is the dirty game of the National Unity Party (UBP) for forty years", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (12.05.13) reports that the general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Ozkan Yorgancioglu criticized strongly UBP policy of "citizenship" granting.
Yorgancioglu accused the "council of ministers" of granting the "TRNC citizenship" every week that it conveys, without respecting at all the will of the Turkish Cypriots. He also said that UBP aims at granting "citizenship" to ten thousand persons by the end of the year.
 Expectations by political parties regarding the dinner between Anastasiades- ErogluTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris (11.05.13), in the eve of the dinner between Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu on the 29th of May under the auspice of UN, reports on what the Turkish Cypriot political parties expect from this dinner.
Eroglu hopes that from this meeting they will draw the roadmap regarding the Cyprus talks.
However, the National Unity Party (UBP), the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the Social Democracy Party (TDP) and the Democratic Party (DP) have different expectations from that social gathering.
The ruling party UBP hopes that the day of May 29 may be the beginning of the process and stressing that the negotiations should resume without any delay.
The main opposition party CTP expects that this bilateral meeting will be an exercise on which ground the new era of the negotiations will be based.
TDP has the opinion that the Cyprus talk will resume on September or October.
DP believes that in case the two leaders take a step to prepare a new map then they can reach a very beneficial result for both sides.
Furthermore, the so-called deputy of UBP Hasan Tacoy wished that the meeting of the leaders on the 29 of May will accelerate the negotiation process.
The leader of CTP Ozkan Yorgancioglu said that he expects that in the meeting some preparatory work should be done on which date and on which ground the negotiations will start, as well as who the special representatives will be.
Mehmet Cakici, leader of TDP, said that he doesn't have many expectations from the dinner. He added that the Cyprus problem is not first item in their agenda due to the problems in both sides. Cakici believes that the oil and the natural gas will give acceleration to the negotiation process.
The leader of DP, Serdar Denktas said that they, as DP, don't see any cheering approach regarding the roadmap. He also said that they don't see positive a process that will continue with approaches of the past and not with a new approach.
 Necdet Numan is UBP's new general secretary; New crisis beginsUnder the title "New crisis in the UBP", Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (12.05.13) reports that the council of the National Unity Party (UBP) convened on Saturday and elected Necdet Numan as the new general secretary of the party. Numan is reportedly known for his closeness to the chairman of the UBP and self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, Irsen Kucuk. Numan defeated his opponent, Guner Goktug, by securing 58 votes in a secret voting.
According to the paper, the opponents of Irsen Kucuk in the party, who are headed by Ahmet Kasif, left the room before the end of the meeting and reacted to the fact that the election of the general secretary took place without achieving consensus. They stated they have been excluded in spite of their "good will". They added: "No one won. The UBP is losing. And as long as this understanding continues, it will continue losing every day".
Citing information obtained by its correspondent, Halkin Sesi reports that the 10 "deputies", who oppose to Kucuk, will determine their stance in the "assembly" this week. They are expected to resume their action that had prevented securing quorum in the "assembly" and to implement "new kinds of reaction". The paper writes that the opponents of Kucuk wanted Hasan Tacoy to become general secretary of the party.
In their statements, Kucuk and Numan gave the message of "unity and cooperation" in the party.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.05.13) points out that UBP's newly elected general secretary comes from the occupied Keryneia area, like the party's former general secretary, Fuat Namsoy. The paper reports that Ahmet Kasif, who is a "deputy" from occupied Famagusta, and some other "deputies" left the room without voting. In a statement on behalf of these "deputies", Kasif said that they have suggested ten names in order for consensus to be reached within the UBP, but no one of these names was considered to be appropriate for the post and thus the desired consensus was not reached.
Referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.05.13) argues that the achievement of consensus within the UBP was prevented with an instruction that came from Ankara. According to the paper, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) thinks that this consensus would benefit the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu, and has completely closed the door of consensus for Kucuk, who had been close to reaching a consensus. Under the title "There is no permission for consensus by the AKP", the paper reports that the attention now is turned to the Kasif's group and their future actions. "It has become definite that the doors in the UBP, which were shut on them, will not open again", writes that paper, noting that discussions are being held as to whether the stance of this group at the "assembly" will lead to "early elections" or to the establishment of a new formation.
 Cavusoglu asks Atalay's support for Cukurova University establishing campus in occupied Trikomo areaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.05.13) reports that Nazim Cavusoglu, self-styled minister of internal affairs and local administrations of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has met with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and responsible for Cyprus, Besir Atalay in Ankara.
It is reported that the issue of building a new prison in the occupied area of Cyprus was the main issue of their agenda. Investments and some projects in the occupied area of Cyprus were also discussed during the meeting.
Referring to his visit to Turkey, Cavusoglu said: "We have come to ask support from Mr Besir Atalay in order for Cukurova University coming to Trikomo the soonest. We have come to ask help in the direction of speeding up the process of building a campus in the area allotted to Cukurova University in the past".
Atalay said that they are closely cooperating with the breakaway regime and that Turkey wants the "TRNC" to go well in every aspect of the economy. Atalay referred to the projects of transferring water and electricity from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus, to the construction of roads, to the increase in the number of students in the "universities" and to incentives in the field of tourism. He said that the "decree" of giving incentives for projects in the field of tourism in occupied Vokolida and Trikomo area is in force and that they had made assessments regarding this issue during his recent visit to the occupied area of Cyprus.
 Atun calls for the creation of a joint trade commission between Turkey, Iraq and the breakaway regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (12.05.13) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun stated that the creation of a joint trade commission between Turkey, Iraq and the breakaway regime will create great potentials.
Atun made these statements during a meeting he had with the chairman of Turkey-Iraq International Investors Association (TURIYAD), Feridun Gunduz who is visiting occupied Cyprus heading a delegation.
Atun said that because of the increased political role in Middle East, trade between Turkey and the countries of this region has increased and added the breakaway regime sees potentials in the region. On his part Gunduz said that there are areas for joint action with the breakaway regime and added that this is the reason they are visiting occupied Cyprus.
 Tourists from Poland and Czech Republic to visit the breakaway regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (12.05.13) reports that the Onur Air Airways arranged charter flights from Poland and the Czech Republic to occupied Cyprus and writes that tourists from these countries will illegally visit the breakaway regime soon.
The paper writes that around 3000 tourists from Poland and the Czech Republic are expected to visit occupied Cyprus this season and that the flight will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays from illegal Ercan to Katowice, Poland and vice-versa.
According to the paper, a special event was organized in Katowice, Poland for promoting tourism in the breakaway regime by Onur Air, Eximtour Tour Operator, its Turkish partner Akdem Tourism, its partner in the breakaway regime Tourplus and 200 other travel agencies. The paper writes that hotels of the occupied regime were included in Eximtour Tour Operator's main catalog.
 The "Toparlaniyoruz Movement" in the occupied area of Cyprus celebrated the 1st year of its establishmentTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (13.05.13) reports that the "Toparlaniyoruz Movement" (We are coming together) in the occupied area of Cyprus has organized an event in occupied Lefkosia celebrating the 1st anniversary of its establishment.
In statements during the event, the leader of the Movement, Dr. Kudret Ozersay recalled that the movement had been established with the slogan "This status does not suit us". He said also that their country's future is their only worry.
Ozersay spoke also of the possibility for the movement to be turned into political party and said that that if their supporters wish this, they would then establish a party.
Among the participants at the event were the UN's Secretary-General Special Representative in Cyprus, Lisa Buttenheim, the German Ambassador in Cyprus Gabriela Guellil, the Ambassador of Finland Ani Saarel, the "undersecretary" of the "Turkish embassy" in the occupied area of Cyprus, Murat Basceri and a great number of trade union representatives and representatives of other "organizations".
 The breakaway regime was represented at "Arabian Travel Market 2013 Tourism Fair"According to Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (11.05.13), a delegation from the so-called ministry of tourism, environment and culture, with the title of "North Cyprus", participated in the tourism fair "Arabian Travel Market 20013", which was held in Dubai between 6-9 May.
During the tourism fair, brochures promoting the breakaway regime in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus were distributed in English and in Arabic.
 Turkey and Germany agree on strategic dialogueTurkish daily Today's Zaman (12.05.13) reported that the Turkish and German Foreign Ministers signed on Sunday a joint declaration to build a mechanism for strategic dialogue between their governments, a move set to strengthen bilateral cooperation amid a stalemate in Turkey's process of accession to the European Union.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu signed the strategic dialogue mechanism agreement with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin. The mechanism aims to help bilateral relations flourish, solve current problems and come to a consensus on conflicting opinions between the two countries. It also aims to build a better cooperation in regional and global issues.
According to the strategic dialogue agreement, the two Foreign Ministers will meet at least once a year to discuss the course of the dialogue, while Deputy Ministers from Turkey and Germany, as well as undersecretaries will hold a series of talks during the year.
As part of Davutoglu's Germany visit, the Turkish Foreign Minister reiterated Turkey's determination in following the neo-Nazi killings. Davutoglu said on Saturday that Turkey was determined to keep a close eye on the case of neo-Nazi killings of 9 Turks, stressing the need to discover the realities behind the racist murders. "It is a must to discover what is under this iceberg [referring to killings]. It is such a significant issue that it cannot be evaded by seeing [these killings] as acts of 3-4 impertinent people," Davutoglu said in Berlin during a meeting with Turkey's consuls general serving in Western European countries.
 Turkish-Egyptian Business Council meeting took place in Turkey; Egyptian MP called Turkish investor to invest in Egypt and stated that Egypt's doors to Gaza are wide open to ErdoganAnkara Anatolia news agency (11.05.13) reported from Istanbul that the Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil attended on Friday the 14th Joint Meeting of Turkish-Egyptian Business Council in Istanbul.
Speaking at the meeting, Hisham Kandil underlined that "Egypt was open to all Turks." "Turkey and Egypt can work together in giant projects based on neighborliness, brotherhood and win-win principle", Kandil stressed.
Kandil invited Turkish investors to Egypt and reminded that the projects planned for both sides of the Suez Canal would be worth 100 billion USD.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the Istanbul meeting, Egyptian Minister of Investments Yahya Hameed underlined that his Ministry's doors were open to Turkish businesspeople. "We have come to Turkey to do business", Hameed also said.
Meanwhile, in an interview in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (13.05.13) the Egyptian Prime Minister, has, inter alia, said that the doors of Egypt to Gaza are wide open to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that Erdogan had repeated his intention to visit the enclave at the end of this month.
"He [Erdogan] said he wants to come to Egypt and to go to Gaza. Of course, he's going to have a very good experience because seeing things live is much different from watching or reading news pieces," Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil told the Hurriyet Daily News on May 11.
Kandil held meetings with President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan on May 10, when he also attended Turkish-Egyptian Business Forum meeting. Kandil said both countries' Foreign Ministries were talking about the dates of Erdogan's visit, which is supposed to take place after the Prime Minister's appointment with U.S. President Barack Obama on May 16.
"Here is an excerpt from the interview with Kandil:
The Syria turmoil is continuing and has impacts on the region. There are also concerns that the crisis in Syria has caused an end to the Arab Spring. Do you share this concern?
I am not sure that what's going on in Syria does prevent countries from doing their own change.
Because 'one model fits all' is not possible. What happened in Egypt was different from Tunisia, and the models of Morocco and Jordan are different. So this is up to each country to decide what to do and it does not necessarily mean that the Arab Spring has stopped. But the nature of Syria is harder than the others. And interventions from outside have impacted this. Unfortunately it will be very difficult to bring this country back to normal even if this fight stops today.
Are Arab countries passive as suggested by some leaders?
Arab countries gave the seat of Syria to the opposition. It was already a bold step toward that. But if you ask me whether the Syrian leaders have crossed the border, yes they crossed the border long ago.
There is a fresh hope for the revival of Israeli-Palestinian talks. Are you also hopeful?
To start talks and to have a chance for success, Palestinian factions first should unite. This is ground zero. Otherwise, it will not work. So, this is the first effort we have done, we are committed to doing more but I have to admit that this has to be the decision of the Palestinian people that they want to reconcile.
This is also related with the Turkish Prime Minister's plans to visit Gaza. Have you discussed this issue, because he will need to pass there through Egypt?
Yes, he said [during his meeting on May 10] he wants to come to Egypt and to go to Gaza. Of course, he's going to have a very good experience because seeing things live is much different from watching it on the news or reading the news. Doors are going to be wide open for him of course.
Have you discussed dates of this visit?
Our foreign ministries are discussing dates, but no certain date has been fixed so far.
Another regional development was Israel's apology to Turkey. How do you evaluate the development?
This issue has three parts: apology, compensation and lifting the embargo. Turkey should be praised for sticking to its position and everybody will be delighted to see the embargo on our brothers and sisters in Gaza lifted.
How would normalization of ties between Turkey and Israel affect the region?
Turkey and Egypt are working together very well. The region needs all the efforts to resolve issues. Issues are everywhere. There are a lot of hot points in the region. So, having Turkey on our side in terms of supporting peace and bringing stability for the region, I think we can achieve a lot.
What would be Turkey's contribution to the regional issues?
Turkey can contribute a lot to all issues in the region. Both countries [Turkey and Egypt] are presenting modern Islam to the world. Turkey and Egypt cooperating, we can bring a lot of added value to the region and to the rest of the world.
You referred both Turkey and Egypt as modern Islam. But everyone's concept of modern is different. Do you still see Turkey as the model?
As I said, no one model fits all. That's obvious. Let me bring the women in Egypt and the new Constitution to your attention. There is in the preamble that we mention that women, as sisters, wives and daughters, have to be respected and they have equal rights. After that the Constitution talks only about Egyptian people. It does not talk about man-woman, Muslim or Copt but only Egyptian people.
So adopting this on the ground will take time. It's not easy. But this is how we want to go about Egypt in the future; regardless of gender, color or religion. Making this model operational will take time but this is how the Egyptian people have decided to go about it. Turkey is a model, but it's not 100 percent definitely comparable to Egypt back and forth. But we both consider ourselves modern Islam and definitely denounce extremism.
I do not how familiar you are with the government's efforts to solve the country's biggest issue, the Kurdish one.
I have an idea but not a detailed one. But this is one of the things I have to praise this government for as it has managed to do something that previous governments could not do for decades. This government's achievement is not only economic but also political. Everybody who has similar challenges can learn now from Turkey". TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION