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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-03-21

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.54/05 19-20-21.03.05


  • [01] Gul's interview in SABAH newspaper.
  • [02] Turkey is looking for ways of bypassing its obligations towards the EU. Formula to avoid implementing the EU summit decision of 17 December
  • [03] 'Congratulations from the US Secretary of State Rice to Talat: We shall continue making steps for the lifting of the isolations'.
  • [04] Statements as regards the so-called presidential elections to be held on 17th of April in the pseudostate.
  • [05] TERCUMAN on the expected ECHR ruling on the Xenides-Aresti case.
  • [06] The Association of European Journalists may open a branch in Cyprus.
  • [07] Journalist Fazil Onder was murdered by TMT in 1958.
  • [08] Unknown Missile-Like object salvaged from the sea in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [09] The man who masterminded the biggest drug smuggling operations in Britain was arrested in Spain after fleeing Ankara´s puppet regime in occupied Cyprus.

  • [10] Turkish Cypriot columnist expresses the opinion that the occupation regime should prevent the foreigners from buying occupied Greek Cypriot properties.
  • [11] A Columnist comments on Buyukanit's latest statements.
  • [12] Columnist in RADIKAL argues that the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the General Staff hope for gains from the attacks against Edelman.


    [01] Gul's interview in SABAH newspaper

    Turkish daily SABAH newspaper (19.03.05) reports that the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul meeting in the Foreign Ministry Residence in Ankara with writers from SABAH, conveyed the following messages:

    'I accept that there has been a dialogue problem. The things that the government does, and its goals, need to be explained better. I myself, the Prime Minister, and our colleagues have to lay out certain things we speak about in a more comprehensive and determined manner. Our course is very plain and clear; our goal is EU membership. We are not producing any new or different theory in foreign policy. Our Prime Minister's Africa trip, for instance, has been criticized by certain circles. But we are not positing Africa as an alternative to the UN, or an alternative to NATO. For us, as a candidate for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, to remain distant from a continent such as Africa, where great human drama, sicknesses, and poverty are being experienced, it would not be right. The importance that we are ascribing to Africa is completely within this framework.

    At the beginning of 2005, we held a meeting in the Ministry and decided that the Armenian issue is going to come at the head of those topics that will most occupy Turkey in the years ahead. This issue is going to cause great pain for us; it may do so. It may take a great deal of our energy. For this reason, we are involved in a more realistic effort. We are going to form a group consisting of historians, diplomats, intellectuals, and journalists, who are not propagandists but really have the proper background. Thereafter, we are going to prevail by challenging certain processes. Whenever the so-called Armenian genocide is to be taken up by the US Congress, it makes us nervous. You cannot change the diaspora. Its identity and raison d'etre consist of this issue. We are making a distinction between the supposed genocide and relations with Armenia. On the issue of the border gate, once you throw a stone into a well, it can't be retrieved. At the moment, we are pressing Armenia on account of Karabah.

    The issue on which the Europeans were strangling us was the adaptation protocol. And we blocked them all on that. Now they don't know what they are going to do. Brussels still hasn't been able to determine what sort of path it is going to follow on this topic. If it were up to us, we would sign it today. Now, in order to throw the ball into our court, they are saying 'More work is needed; there mustn't be any slackening off.' At one point, they put pressure on us to open our ports and airports to the Greek Cypriots. They saw that this wasn't going to happen, and that issue was closed.

    (When asked about his statement "Who is he?" regarding EU Turkey Representative [Hansjoerg] Kretschmer) "I have to control myself, and sometimes this does not happen. What I said about Kretschmer was in fact a reaction to the journalist there. In fact, I like Kretschmer. He is a sincere man who is doing his job diligently. We have not been displeased with him; he does not interfere unnecessarily.

    There is now an atmosphere as if reformists are leaving the party [referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party]. Those who do leave may take up nationalist rhetoric. But the stance of the party will continue to the end. If there is a price to be paid for this in the long term, then we will pay it. We are reviewing our policies regarding Iraq, and are re-assessing them. While these should in fact be praised, they are being pulled in an entirely different direction. Certain things you simply do not do in public. Some things said regarding Iraq and attributed to Ground Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit appear to be aimed at causing harm. I spoke with people there [at the General Staff], and it emerges that he wanted to say it in this way. We shape Turkey's Iraq policy together.

    We would in fact have resolved the Cyprus issue in 2002 at The Hague. It occurred in the first month of our government, but in spite of this we made the right decision. Our President, our General Staff Chief, and I myself said to [Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf] Denktas, as a government policy, 'You will go to The Hague, and this man [presumably referring to President Tassos Papadopoulos] will definitely say no. Hold out to the very last minute.' In fact, I said "If two people are biting their fingers, whoever gives in loses. Don't give in until the very last minute.' We instructed him in this way, but at Tymbou Airport he said 'I am going to say no.' If this weight had been dumped onto Papadopoulos there, the Greek Cypriots would be outside of the EU today. Despite this, we are still in very good shape. We have not lost anything. We have not withdrawn a single soldier, and have not given up a square meter of territory. And the ideas of the whole world have changed. I very much enjoy getting everyone in the EU to relate their old and their new ideas regarding the Turkish side on the Cyprus issue. I ask them 'What has happened now? Are you not shocked? Did you not feel that you had been deceived?''

    Foreign Minister Gul also conveyed the welcome news that the restrictions involving the press in the new Turkish Penal Code are going to be changed. Gul spoke as follows on this topic: "We probably couldn't do anything that would be more self-contradictory. We have spoken amongst ourselves on this. There can be no question of the freedom we have provided for in the Press Law being taken away by another law. We are going to change it."

    When the police were beating Women's Day demonstrators, Gul had been together with the EU Commissioner and Luxembourg Foreign Minister. Following this meeting, when asked by a journalist about the incident, neither Gul nor the EU officials were aware of it. Gul, who telephoned the Interior Minister [Abdulkadir Aksu] the next day, said he had been told "Don't ask, Abdullah. I called all of them [presumably referring to police officials] in the evening; I got so angry. I didn't get any sleep all night."

    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, stating that the government has no intention of getting into a squabble with the media, said: "I have to control myself, and sometimes this does not happen", and related his difficult experiences with the media.

    Admitting that, in spite of this, hostility to the media and anti-EU nationalism wins points in polls that the JDP has conducted, Foreign Minister Gul spoke as follows: "When we use harsh language and go after the press, our support in the public goes up. But this is not a healthy thing. You can indeed engage in nationalism, and anti-European Union and anti-American rhetoric. But if we give way to this, we will have problems later on."

    Finally, Mr Gul referred to the discussion of an early election: "It is clear what early elections bring. Why should we disturb Turkey's peace? If we were to conduct an election today, interest rates would double, there would be all sorts of uncertainties, and fiscal discipline would break down. And on the question of the Constitution, we do not consider it right to amend the Constitution on our own, even if we had the strength to do so. In doing it, we did it by getting the support of the opposition party as well."

    [02] Turkey is looking for ways of bypassing its obligations towards the EU. Formula to avoid implementing the EU summit decision of 17 December

    Istanbul NTV television (20.03.05) broadcast that a formula has been found for Turkey which does not want to initial the protocol negotiated between Ankara and Brussels for the expansion of the Ankara Agreement to 10 new countries.

    According to the new formula, Turkey and the EU will exchange letters and this will be considered as if Turkey initialled the adaptation protocol. In this way, Ankara and Brussels will mutually declare that they accept, in principle, the obligations cited in the protocol.

    The EU will first discuss the protocol in question at the COREPER meeting which brings together the ambassadors of EU member countries. It will then submit it to the approval of EU foreign ministers.

    The protocol will not include any clause that says that the Republic of Cyprus is not recognized.

    On the other hand, the Turkish Government will issue a declaration stating that the adaptation of the Ankara Agreement to 10 new members of the EU does not mean that Turkey officially recognizes the Republic of Cyprus.

    The exchange of letters is expected to take place in the coming days.

    [03] 'Congratulations from the US Secretary of State Rice to Talat: We shall continue making steps for the lifting of the isolations'

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (19.03.05) reports the following:

    'The US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice has congratulated the chairman of the RTP and Prime Minister, Mehmet Ali Talat for his success in the general elections.

    According to a statement issued by the Prime Ministry, in her oral congratulations' message conveyed by America's ambassador to Nicosia, Michael Klosson, Rice said: 'We congratulate you for the leadership responsibilities you have undertaken'.

    Rice, who described the success in the elections as 'the reaffirmation of the overall approval of the Turkish Cypriots for an agreement and unification towards peace' has expressed her satisfaction for this.

    Rice, who welcomed the fact that after the elections Prime Minister Talat announced that he was ready to meet with the Greek Cypriot side, stressed that she hoped that such a process will bring progress.

    Rice, who also noted that the USA will continue to support the efforts which the UN Secretary - General will exert for a solution in Cyprus within the framework of its solution plan, said: 'On the issue of the development and the opportunities in order to create the infrastructure that will facilitate the solution, we shall continue to make steps forward in the direction of reducing the isolations'.

    The US Secretary State Rice, while wishing success to Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat in the new period of his duties, added that she was anxious on the issue of working with all the sides concerned for a lasting and overall solution'.

    [04] Statements as regards the so-called presidential elections to be held on 17th of April in the pseudostate

    The Turkish Cypriot press (21.03.05) publishes statements from the so-called candidates and other political powers as regards the so-called presidential elections to be held in the pseudostate on the 17th of April 2005.

    Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper reports that Dr Mustafa Arabacioglu, the candidate of the Democratic Party (DP) for the 'presidential elections' visited some occupied villages in the framework of his 'election campaign'. During his visits to the villages, he stated that very difficult days are ahead concerning the Cyprus problem and added that himself is not strange to the negotiations for the Cyprus problem. He also stated that he participated in the 'kitchen' during the procedure of the Annan Plan and that he had the duties of the 'head cook'. Answering questions regarding the Cyprus problem Dr Arabacioglu stated that Turkey's behaviour is very important regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem. 'Therefore we will work together in close relation with the motherland. There cannot be an issue of Turkey to be forced to sell Cyprus', he said and alleged that the mentality of forty years that the Greek Cypriots have, has not changed. He also stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem will be delayed as long as the Cyprus church is a part of the problem.

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES writes that Mr Dervis Eroglu the chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP) and NUP's candidate for the so-called presidential elections stated that he shares the worries that the Turkish Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit expressed as regards the Cyprus problems and he thinks that Commander Buyukanit is right to feel anxious. Mr Eroglu, who also visited various occupied villages in the framework of his election campaign, said that what caused sorrow to Commander Buyukanit was the fact that a policy of subjugation has been put in the first plan as regards Cyprus. He also added that Commander Buyukanit is a person that believes in the existence of the 'TRNC' and served as a Commander of the occupation forces in Cyprus. Mr Eroglu also said that the so-called presidential elections are conducted for the elections of the 'president' and not for the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. 'The leaders are found in communities. The states have no leaders; the period of leaders has gone. We are not a community, we are a state and we must not forget that, we are not electing a leader but a president', he alleged.

    Turkish Cypriot ORTAM newspaper reports that Mr Huseyin Angolemli, the chairman of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) and CLP's candidate for the so-called presidential elections, stated that the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community are in danger. According to a statement issued by CLP, Mr Angolemli said that his party believes that the signing of the Customs Union additional protocol by Turkey with the ten new EU members, including the Republic of Cyprus, will be in the interest of the Turkish people, therefore, the CLP supports the signing of the additional protocol.

    In addition, as Turkish Cypriot HALKIN SESI newspapers writes, Mr Mehmet Cakici, the General Secretary of the Peace and Democracy Movement, stated that the regime is the same in occupied Cyprus and the only thing that has changed are the actors.

    [05] TERCUMAN on the expected ECHR ruling on the Xenides-Aresti case

    Turkish daily TERCUMAN newspaper (21.03.05) reports that, it is expected that the European Court of Human Rights '" (ECHR) will announce this month its ruling as regards Myra Xenides Aresti. The paper also reports that flights to occupied Tymbou airport are not realized because of fear of paying fine.

    The paper goes on and reports that if the ECHR finds Turkey guilty as it did in the Titina Loizidou, then Turkey will be condemned to pay 25 billion dollars, fine to Myra Xenides Aresti. Aresti, recoursed to the ECHR, against Turkey because she was not allowed to use her house in Varosha by Turkey.

    In its turn, reports TERCUMAN, Turkey, objected and said that, 'Greek Cypriot applications regarding compensation cases should be referred to the Property Commission established in 2003 in the `TRNC´'.

    TERCUMAN expresses the view that if the ECHR rules against Turkey this will set precedent for 1330 other similar cases waiting this decision.

    Subtitle: 'Ercan' could be subject to lawsuit

    TERCUMAN further reports that the lawyer of Titina Loizidou, Achilleas Demetriades, has said that the occupied Tymbou airport is constructed on land belonging to 200 Greek Cypriots, and if foreign airlines land there then owners could file lawsuits against these airlines.

    The paper reports that, USA and Britain, which study the legal basis as regard flights to occupied Tymbou, are unable to take steps because of the fear of facing compensation lawsuits. The Greek Cypriots threaten that if the foreign airlines use occupied Tymbou they will file lawsuits against these firms at the Nicosia District Court that they are using this property 'without prior permission'.

    [06] The Association of European Journalists may open a branch in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (21.03.05) reports that a delegation of the Administrative Council of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), which is currently visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus, said that they came in Cyprus as guests of the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers Trade Union (BASIN '" SEN) and for carrying out investigations for a possibility of opening a branch in Cyprus.

    According to the paper, the AEJ delegation also said that they came in Cyprus to search for possibilities for cooperation with journalists in Cyprus and that for them there is not any political meaning if they enter Cyprus from 'North' or 'South', noting that they are not a political or a diplomatic organization.

    [07] Journalist Fazil Onder was murdered by TMT in 1958

    Under the banner headlines 'They stoned the funeral', Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (20.03.05) reports that the realities about the murder of the journalist Fazil Onder came to light after 47 years.

    According to the paper, the daughter of Fazil Onder, Ayse Zeytincioglu spoke for the first time to the media and explained that her father was shot on 24 May, 1958 inside the market in Lefkosia by TMT. She also said that the administration did not give permission for the funeral ceremony. Only after they asked permission from Fazil Kucuk, they could carry out the funeral. But even during the funeral ceremony, they stoned his coffin.

    [08] Unknown Missile-Like object salvaged from the sea in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.03.05) reports that a 4.5-meter long missile-like object discovered among the rocks in the coastline between the Florya Beach and the place where quarries are found stirred the area in the occupied Karpass peninsula. The object was seen and the 'police' were alerted at about noon yesterday. The 'police officials' acquired a fishing boat from a shelter used by the fishermen in occupied village of Yialoussa and went to the area where the object was seen. It was later pulled out of the sea with great difficulty and then placed under protection.

    The 'police' transferred the 4.5-meter long object to the shelter used by the fishermen in the evening. The unknown orange-coloured object was made of hard plastic. It had two vertical wings on its tail. The so-called Director of Police in the occupied Rizokarpasso, Kadir Kayikci, the so-called District Officer in occupied Trikomo, Ahmet Cenk Musaoglulari, the so-called Health Inspector in the occupied Famagusta Filiz Tayfun, and Kayan Sakiner, the so-called head of the Forestry Department Branch in the occupied Yiallousa, followed the effort that was made to pull the object out of the sea. It was placed under protection at the 'Directorate of Police' in Karpassia. It had an almost 3 cm wide square lid painted in black on its body. No attempt was made to remove it.

    The 'Turkish Cypriot Security Forces' have launched an investigation and measures are taken to establish whether or not the danger of radiation exists.

    [09] The man who masterminded the biggest drug smuggling operations in Britain was arrested in Spain after fleeing Ankara´s puppet regime in occupied Cyprus

    Weekly Turkish Cypriot CYPRUS TODAY (19-25.03.05) publishes the following report under the title: 'Wright held in Spain-three years after fleeing `TRNC´':

    'Brian Wright, accused of master-minding one of Britain´s biggest drug smuggling operations and fixing hundreds of horse races, has been arrested in Spain '" almost three years after fleeing the `TRNC´ when he was exposed as a wanted man.

    The 58-year-old, nicknamed 'the Milkman' because he 'always delivered', was seized in Marbella, Southern Spain, after six years on the run. He had been tracked down by British Customs and Excise and was arrested by Spanish policy on Tuesday. He is being held at a jail in Malaga while an extradition request from Britain is considered.

    Mr Wright is accused of leading a 16-strong gang running one of the largest cocaine-smuggling rings to operate in Britain. It brought an estimated '360 million-worth of the drug into the country.

    The millionaire gambler is also accused of using money from cocaine deals to corrupt jockeys, securing inside information on horses and fixing races.

    Mr Wright lived in the `TRNC´ between 1999 and 2002 and was nicknamed 'Champagne Brian' for his extravagant habits.

    Fifteen members of the gang were sentenced to a total of 215 years. Among them was Mr Wright´s son, Brian Jr, aged 35 jailed for 16 years for importing cocaine'.


    [10] Turkish Cypriot columnist expresses the opinion that the occupation regime should prevent the foreigners from buying occupied Greek Cypriot properties

    Writing in his daily column in AFRIKA newspaper (21.03.05), Sener Levent expresses the following opinion under the title 'If you are a real patriot':

    'Look what the two sides in Cyprus do. The issue is the selling of property in the North to foreigners. The Turkish Cypriot administration sat down and took a decision last week. In fact, it changed a decision it had taken some time ago and decided something new. The VAT percentage for these sails, which had been increased to 15 %, was reduced again to 5 %. Let those who have not plundered the country plunder it. Let them plunder it under easier and better conditions. Let those who sell and those who buy be happy! This is a decision that the Turkish administration took.

    Last week we had a decision that the Cyprus government in the South took. It is an amendment law unanimously accepted in the Parliament. According to this law, all foreigners who buy and use Greek Cypriot property in the North will be arrested from now on. They will be arrested everywhere, both in Cyprus and in Europe. Going to Britain or Germany will save no one. Those who are arrested could be punished with imprisonment until two years and paying five thousand Cyprus pounds.

    This is the picture. While we are instigating the foreigners for buying properties, the Greek Cypriot side is taking legal measures to prevent this. We shall be selling in auction. They are going to arrest (the buyers). Are you a real Cypriot who bears inside him real love for his country? Then tell me. Which decision do you support? Do you support the decision of the Turkish side or the decision of the Greek Cypriot side?

    In fact it is we who should have made the law that the administration in the South published. However, where is it? We are plundering the territories we have been occupying in the North since 1974. We have brought here more population from Turkey than our own. We have distributed the Greek Cypriot land first to them and afterwards we have given them title-deeds as if this property belonged to our father. Talat's party is the one that gave the title-deeds and now receives the most acclamations. Does this mean that people like the selling of their country?

    Instead of asking those who gave this land, which does not belonged to them, to those who had been brought from abroad to give account, we showed respect to those who did this! And when the Annan plan opened the way to those who had acquired title-deeds, the plundering glut and the foreign raid for 'cheep' property began. Our brothers from Turkey, whom even the most progressive of our parties describe as 'New Cypriots', have started selling and getting rid of the property they had in their hands for hundred thousands and millions of sterling pounds. And they (were selling) with the title-deeds that the international law describes as false. We remained bystanders to this plundering. Our building companies have been benefited, we said! Do you care very much about the money that goes into the safe of these companies? Do you not care at all about the olive trees and the Pentadaktylos Mountain which are being cut?

    The Greek Cypriot side is doing what we should have done a long time ago. They are publishing the law we should have published. We cannot say that Turkey seized by violence our political will. They are saying it. They say at the international scene that we do not take the decisions which concern us. No one from us says anything on the issue of the opening of the mass graves. No one insists on cleaning the mines. No one says 'let us demilitarize the area within the walls'. The relatives of our missing persons have not made even a single demonstration. No one from us complains about the fact that Varosha is still a hostage of snakes. Even the structure of our population which has been changed does not trouble us, but it troubles the Greek Cypriots.

    Read carefully today the note under Arif Hasan Tahsin's article. He will change his house near the sea in Lapithos, but he wants a house where the neighbours are not from Turkey. Did you understand in what situation we are?'

    [11] A Columnist comments on Buyukanit's latest statements

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (18.03.05) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: 'What made General Buyukanit unhappy':

    'Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit's remarks about the threat of terrorism have sent different reverberations through the press. While General Buyukanit's remarks to the effect that the PKK's [Workers Party of Kurdistan] military strength has reached its number in 1999, that border crossings have increased, and that Turkey has certain weaknesses in terms of combating terrorism compared to those years have been found correct as factual observations, Buyukanit became a target for criticism from quarters that asked, "Why is the commander talking [publicly]?" In the cocktail party that preceded the private viewing at the Armada movie theatre in Ankara of the documentary on the Dardanelles Campaign, directed by Tolga Ornek, son of Commander of the Navy Admiral Ozden Ornek, we had the opportunity to talk with General Buyukanit together with some colleagues.

    When we asked Buyukanit how he viewed the reverberations caused by his remarks, he said that combating terrorism and Cyprus fall directly within his purview as Commander of the Land Forces and that what he did was to respond to questions he was asked about topics within his scope of duties and to express his views. By emphasizing his scope of duties in this way, Buyukanit got across the message that it should be regarded as normal for him to express his opinions about these topics and that this is not contrary to the democratic system and rules.

    When the same topics came up during the conversation, he said: "I have returned unhappy from Cyprus," in this way calling attention to the fact that the West has not kept its promises. Our conversation with Buyukanit can be summarized thus:

    Question: Your assessments about terror were noteworthy. Have there been any developments [that prompted these assessments]?

    Answer: I said what I said as part of my duties. I served in the southeast during the peak of terrorism. I was commander of the region. I know those times. I am assessing what is going on these days from the same viewpoint. They are saying it [terrorism] is over but it is not. Combating terror falls directly within my sphere of duties. So is Cyprus. We have troops there.

    Question: Did any messages come from the Government?

    Answer: I do not want to be involved in an argument. I am trying to carry out my duties as best I can. I am not in a position to expect anything from the Government or to start a dialog with it. I am taking care to point this out. I am just answering your questions about matters that fall within my sphere of duties.

    Question: You said we do not possess the means we had during the peak of terrorism. You talked about certain legal arrangements. Will you elaborate on this?

    Answer: No, I do not want to start an argument. I am trying to do my duties with all my strength. Obviously, it is part of my job to express views about matters that fall within my purview and form ideas.

    Question: You said no troops will be withdrawn from Cyprus before a definite settlement has been achieved. What were your observations there?

    Answer: I returned unhappy from Cyprus. Let me not say anything more.

    Question: Your remarks met with protests from the 'Greek Cypriot section'.

    Answer: Yes, that is what Cypriot journalists asked while I was departing. They said the 'Greek Cypriot section' showed a sharp reaction. I said smiling that I did not take that seriously. They laughed.

    Question: Why did you return unhappy?

    Answer: We have a situation. The West has not kept its promises. The situation is not as we would like it to be.

    To a colleague who said, "The United States is forcing Turkey to take sides. Turkey is trying to remain neutral but there is a saying which goes, 'He who remains neutral is neutralized," General Buyukanit gave the following response: "Talking about sayings, here is another one. You find out what it means in plain Turkish: "Even if large drops of pearl should fall from the sky instead of rain, not one will drop in the vineyard of the hapless." General Buyukanit left it to us to interpret what this means. We leave it to you.'

    [12] Columnist in RADIKAL argues that the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the General Staff hope for gains from the attacks against Edelman

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (18.03.05) publishes the following commentary by Murat Yetkin, under the title: "Onto the vineyard of the hapless":

    'Today is the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Sea of Canakkale. Two days ago the dramatized documentary "Gelibolu" [Gallipoli] was screened in Ankara. I got the chance to speak to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chief of Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok and Commander Naval Forces Adm Ozden Ornak, whose son Tolga filmed the documentary. That day President Sezer naturally announced he was going to visit Syria. He said he was not going to reply to questions on this topic. He turned the topic of conversation to the Canakkale Victory.

    "Canakkale was the point at which the retreat of the empire, which began at Vienna, was halted and where an awakening took place," said Ozkok. "The War of Liberation was sparked off there." He then went on: "It was as if a divine power helped the Turkish soldiers because no order had been given to mine the area, a naval officer acting on his own initiative gave the order. Furthermore, the mines that sank the enemy battleships had not been placed there; they had been dragged by the winds and the currents."

    Ought we to say historical determinism? Sometimes conditions allow a nation's luck to bloom. This is the divine intervention that Chief of Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok spoke of. Ozkok wanted to know our thoughts on Canakkale, and we asked him what lessons had been drawn from Canakkale to date. He replied: "We had a teacher at school that used to finish every lesson saying, 'Nothing is over. Everything could start all over again'."

    We heard this "luck" story from another commander that evening. While talking with Commander Land Forces Gen Yasar Buyukanit the topic of conversation got round to something he had said the other day: "Is there an Iraq policy? No, there is not." We reminded him that this remark had ruffled feathers at the Foreign Ministry.

    "I do not want to enter this argument," he said. We asked him what he thought of foreign policy in general. Buyukanit again said, "Please do not drag me into this argument." He then stopped and cited a couplet from Ziya Pasha:

    "Not one drop would fall on the vineyard of the hapless man/If pearls were to rain instead of water. "What has that got to do with current foreign policy?

    Buyukanit did not explain; he simply smiled.

    However, as can be seen in the example of Canakkale nations prepare their own fortunes. If you are in the right place at the right time then fortune could well be on your side.

    On the 90th anniversary of the Canakkale Victory Turkey faces important foreign policy turning points. Relations with the EU, Cyprus, relations with the United States, the turmoil in the Middle East: These are topics that are going to pass through critical phases before this year is out. The true question is this: Is Turkey adopting the right standpoint for the sake of its national interests at the right time?

    This question is not only on my mind. For example, it is on the mind of Yeni Safak's columnist Fehmi Koru, who asks whether or not a "new political language" might be necessary. The government's current political language has led him to worry that certain people have been wrongly appointed. When you look at all that has happened you need to work hard not to succumb to this worry.

    An example of the usage of political language can be given in the form of US Ambassador Eric Edelman. Edelman was a hapless ambassador. While he was serving here he witnessed Turkish-US relations bottom out. In the latest Sezer-Syria incident no matter how much the Foreign Ministry may say he was misunderstood he nevertheless drew flak from the public. Furthermore, you cannot fail to notice that there are those within government circles, let alone within the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff, who secretly hope for political and national gain from this popular stoning of the ambassador. Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan is of course free to act on or ignore the desires of writers who suggest that Edelman be declared Persona Non Grata.

    However, if we wait a little while Edelman may well go back to Washington. You will see how he gets put in charge of the World Bank (the IMF's twin organization within the UN) instead of Iraqi hawk and current Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, or is given a position at that level. What is that you say? In which case the government will at least be rid of Edelman and the hawks team? Turkey's luck will change for the better?'


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