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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-08-24

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.160/05 24.08.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry officials see a positive climate in Europe for Turkey beginning its accession talks with the EU on October 3.
  • [02] Turkey's Interior Minister arrives in the occupied area.
  • [03] The text of National Security Council statement after its meeting.
  • [04] Turkish Foreign Minister expressed pleasure with Israel's pullout from Gaza, no mention of Turkish troops pull out of Cyprus.
  • [05] US-Israeli pact may hurt Turkish defence procurement.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] "Will PKK bide this time?"
  • [07] Turkish columnist urged Erdogan to clarify his remarks on Kurdish problem.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry officials see a positive climate in Europe for Turkey beginning its accession talks with the EU on October 3

    Under the title "EU atmosphere positive on starting talks on October 3", Turkish NTV (24.05.08, NTVMSNBC Internet version) broadcast a report on the meetings that officials of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have in some EU member countries.

    "Turkish Foreign Ministry officials who are holding talks with European counterparts say they have the impression that there is no desire to prevent the starting of Ankara's accession negotiations on October 3", notes the report.

    Invoking diplomatic sources, NTV broadcasts that during the talks held in France the lack of consensus among politicians and diplomats "was apparent". Reminding that recently, "a number of French leaders" have spoken out against the beginning of accession talks with Turkey and expressed the opinion that Ankara must recognize the Republic of Cyprus as a pre-condition for negotiations to open as scheduled, NTV points out that "the French attitude is expected to be clarified at an informal meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in the British town of Newport on 1-2 September".

    Furthermore, the Turkish TV channel reports also the following:

    "Ankara is not worried over the possibility of an EU declaration calling on Turkey to recognize Greek Cypriot side since this would mean that Ankara's signing of the protocol expanding the customs union deal to new members did not mean the recognition of the Greek Cypriot state. Ankara is also still determined not to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot registered vessels and planes. Ankara stresses that such a move would require a parliamentary vote".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (24.08.05) reports that among the European countries which the officials of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have visited were France, Britain and Austria.

    [02] Turkey's Interior Minister arrives in the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (24.05.08) reports that Turkey´s Minister of Interior, Abdulkadir Aksu, will pay one day visit to the occupied area today.

    Mr Aksu will attend the meeting organized by the Association of Services to the Local Administrations.

    Mr Aksu will stay at the Kyrenia Merit Hotel. He will leave the occupied area for Istanbul today at 19:00 hours.

    [03] The text of National Security Council statement after its meeting

    The today Turkish newspapers (24.08.05) published the following statement as it was released yesterday by the National Security Council General Secretariat after the National Security Council meeting on 23 August:

    "1. The National Security Council has conducted its 23 August 2005 regular meeting.

    [02] At the meeting,

    (a) In accord with the fundamental idea in the founding philosophy of the Republic of Turkey, the characteristics of the Republic were noted; defending the independence and the integrity of the nation and the indivisibility of the country, as well as the Republic itself as a democratic, secular, and social state based on law, and ensuring the welfare, the peace, and the happiness of both society and individuals, without distinction as to language, religion, ethnic origin, or gender, were cited as being among the fundamental purposes and responsibilities of the state.

    The priority purpose of the provisions of the Republic is to reach this state of affairs by carrying out the duties set forth in the Constitution. And there is no doubt but that, by defending the independence and the integrity of the nation and the indivisibility of the country, this goal will be attained.

    In today's meeting of the National Security Council, resolve for an effective struggle against terrorism, which constitutes an obstacle to reaching this goal, and which threatens the security, the right to life, the well-being, and the happiness of our citizens, was reiterated.

    In this context,

    (1) The importance of stepping up efforts at economic, cultural, and social development, in order to eliminate differences in levels of development among different provinces and regions,

    (2) and of continuing effectively the struggle against terrorism, within the framework of the Constitution and the provisions of the laws, and by utilizing to the utmost the possibilities of cooperation among different institutions and different nations, was stressed.

    (b) In addition, the impacts on Turkey and our region of foreign political developments pertinent to our security, as well as the results of parliamentary and presidential elections held in neighbouring countries, were assessed."

    [04] Turkish Foreign Minister expressed pleasure with Israel's pullout from Gaza, no mention of Turkish troops pull out of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.08.05) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul expressed his pleasure with the progress made in implementation of Israel's plan to pullout from Gaza Strip and a part of West Bank, MFA spokesman Namik Tan said on Tuesday.

    Tan told reporters that Gul sent letters to Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa.

    According to Tan, Gul told Shalom and al-Kidwa that accomplishment of pullout plan would constitute a concrete step in implementation of two-state solution.

    Gul also reiterated that Turkey would continue to support the parties on their road to peace, added Tan.

    [05] US-Israeli pact may hurt Turkish defence procurement

    Under the above title, the Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (23.08.05) published the following report:

    "A recent defence accord under which Israel pledges to consult with the United States in advance on arms exports to third countries may diminish the Jewish state's role as an attractive defence equipment supplier for Turkey and complicate future deals, analysts say.

    The document, signed August 16 by U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Washington and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz in Israel, aims to remove spats between the two close allies over Israel's arms sales -- mainly to China, which is seen as the United States' future strategic rival. Under the deal, Israel has agreed to inform the United States of all its future arms export plans and to "take Washington's position into account."

    Turkish officials so far have declined to comment on the U.S.-Israeli pact, but some analysts pointed to a number of drawbacks for future Turkish deals with Israeli companies.

    "Although the agreement's apparent target is China, it's not very good news for Turkish procurement from Israel, either," said one defence analyst. "Since the mid-1990s, when the two countries began to develop their strategic partnership, Turkey has seen Israel as a good alternative to Western suppliers in terms of defence equipment acquisition. The Turks thought that if you negotiate a deal well and pay the price, you could buy almost anything from Israel, unlike the case with the United States."

    In the past 10 years, Ankara has encountered difficulties with Washington over export licenses and technology transfers on several defence deals, and at times the United States has refused to sell some critical equipment.

    "With the business-minded Israelis, the Turks knew that they would confront no such problems, politics was not a matter of dispute. And Turkey believed that it could buy from Israel a number of items that it wouldn't be able to acquire from the United States," the analyst said. "But now with the signing of the U.S.-Israeli accord, any major Turkish defence deal with Israel must win Washington's direct, or at least indirect, approval. Also, the secrecy is gone."

    One example is Israel's radar-finding Harpy drones, any equivalent of which the United States would be unwilling to deliver to Turkey.

    Turkey and Israel so far have been involved in arms sales and modernization programs worth billions of dollars, including Israeli upgrade of Turkish F-4 and F-5 fighters and M1A1 main battle tanks, purchase of Popeye air-to-surface precision missiles and joint production of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems.

    "Another problem concerns competition between U.S. and Israeli companies in Turkish defence programs. In the past, for example, when U.S. firms lost Turkish deals to their Israeli counterparts, they complained about unfair competition," the analyst said. "After the signing of the U.S.-Israeli document, it's not clear what will happen in cases where U.S. and Israeli interests are in conflict."

    One recent example is Turkey's April decision to buy three UAV systems worth $183 million from an Israeli group of Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems, which was competing against the United States' General Atomics. Possible follow-up agreements may raise the contract's value considerably.

    The Turkish move angered General Atomics, which said it had found it impossible to comply with the "extremely unrealistic terms and conditions demanded by the Turkish government as a condition for accepting a contract to provide (General Atomics') Predator aircraft to meet the requirements."

    The Turkish contract had called for the payload to be made by a local firm. General Atomics refused to accept technical and financial responsibilities for a critical part a local company would develop, but the Israeli team agreed to the condition.

    Also, when Turkey three years ago offered a $670 million contract to Israel Military Industries (IMI) to upgrade 170 Turkish M1A1 tanks, the U.S. government and General Dynamics -- the Israeli company's U.S. rival -- were furious because the platforms had been manufactured by General Dynamics and donated by Washington to Ankara in the early 1990s.

    "The U.S.-Israeli agreement may diminish the significance of Israeli deals for Turkey, but the problem is that Turkey doesn't have another option to replace Israel's role," the defence analyst said.

    The U.S.-Israeli pact came after the Pentagon complained about several potential Israeli sales to China, including an Israeli plan to service spare parts for unmanned Harpy aircraft. The Pentagon regards the Chinese military as a potential long-term adversary and opposes Western countries providing China with military upgrades. The Harpy deal eventually failed.

    In retaliation, the U.S. Defence Department restricted Israel's access to the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) program, which aims to create a new multi-role jet fighter designed to replace the F-16 for the United States, Israel, Turkey and several European fighter inventories. Turkey is a member of the U.S.-led program's system development and demonstration phase and plans to buy the next generation fighter. Under the new agreement Israel also agreed to exercise greater control over arms exports by restructuring its internal processes for approving them. Several ministries will now work with the Israeli Defence Ministry before those exports are approved, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

    Whitman said the agreement would begin to restore U.S. confidence in Israel's ability to protect sensitive technologies; however, Israel will not immediately be reinstated to the F-35 program.

    In a statement the Pentagon and Israeli Defence Ministry said the agreement was "designed to remedy problems of the past that seriously affected the technology security relationship between our defence establishments and which begins to restore confidence in the technology security area."

    Whitman said the United States would not have veto power over any possible arms sales, but U.S. officials would be informed and have a chance to express their opinion. But analysts said that despite the Pentagon spokesman's remarks, the consultation mechanism apparently would give major leverage for Washington.

    The understanding "ends the dispute" and "fully restores the confidence of the United States," Israeli Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon said. He said the understanding did not encompass details of any proposed deal. "It deals with principles," Ayalon said. "And the major principle is mutual consultation."

    News reports said Israeli officials fear the agreement is likely to have a negative impact on the country's defence industry because of additional red tape, new problems with third countries in the negotiation process and the loss of secrecy.

    Last year Israeli companies exported $3.5 billion in weapons. The largest exporters are Israeli Aircraft Industries, Rafael Armament Development Authority, Israel Military Industries and Elbit Systems. China, Turkey and India are among the Israeli defence industry's largest customers.

    U.S. concern over sales to China has been longstanding. In 2000, even in the absence of the latest consultation pact, the Pentagon effectively vetoed a multi-billion-dollar sale by Israel of Phalcon airborne reconnaissance systems to China."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] "Will PKK bide this time?"

    Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (23.08.05), under the above title published the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has announced a cease-fire until October 3 and suspended its landmine attacks.

    Why October 3, the date of the European Union opening of accession talks, one may well ask?

    I imagine the PKK doesn't want to be blamed if any unforeseen developments harm Turkey's EU aspirations.

    Having said that, however, there are certain preconditions to their "cease-fire."

    One such condition is that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) do not undertake any operations against the PKK.

    So does this mean that should the TAF come across PKK concentrations or camps it must do nothing?

    Will the TAF simply say, "Let's leave these guys alone so they don't attack us"?

    Does this actually make any sense?

    The PKK will assess how Turkey implements and broadens the reform process and how conducive the results are for citizens of Kurdish origin before deciding on whether to extend the cease-fire.

    What they really mean by "results" is a general amnesty for PKK members in prison and in the mountains and, of course, the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    Those who follow this column know only too well that I have fought for the rights of citizens of Kurdish descent in the past, despite all the criticism. Even during periods when the word "Kurd" was banned, I objected to the official policies.

    However, things have changed.

    Today's realities are accepted and reforms have been broadened. In the near future, cultural and individual rights will become even more established.

    There can be no excuse for the PKK resuming terrorist acts at such a time. As long as there is terrorism there can be no amnesty and therefore the release of Ocalan remains impossible.

    The PKK either cannot or does not want to see this. With its attacks the PKK aims to push the Republic of Turkey into a corner, to revitalize its organization, which faces the threat of disintegration after spending five years in the mountains, and to free jailed PKK members, including Ocalan.

    The PKK is creating a front with Leyla Zana's Democratic Society Movement (DSM) to begin a campaign for a "general amnesty that includes Ocalan." Just like Greek Cypriots, the PKK also wants to exploit the EU process.

    The PKK is committing a big mistake.

    Will the DSM become Ocalan's party?

    In the beginning I supported the DSM. It was a good effort at democracy. The party was going to be Turkey's party. When necessary, it would object to the PKK; it would be free of the organization's influence and not heed Ocalan's directives.

    I know how hard it is to accomplish such things. One should note the fact that the PKK could not exist without Ocalan, and no such political movement can progress without PKK input. However, the DSM appears poised to break this vicious circle with the power it will receive from the electorate.

    These latest developments made some people raise important questions.

    Statements the DSM released about their recognition of Ocalan as the sole leader and interlocutor, calling for his release, made some question their intentions.

    As long as the DSM fails to clarify its stance, it will never receive much public support.

    They have two options:

    (i) The PKK renounces terrorism, disarms and enters politics -- if that is what it wants. It may even join the DSM. Only then can they increase the likelihood of a general amnesty some time in the future.

    (ii) The DSM becomes synonymous with PKK terrorism.

    It is a choice the DSM has to make.

    Baykal's PKK comment apposite:

    I watched Republican People's Party (RPP) leader Deniz Baykal's interview with CNN Turk's Yavuz Oghan. Baykal's assessment on PKK terrorism was spot on.

    If the PKK continues to resort to terrorism, their cause will have nothing to do with the rights of the citizens of Kurdish origin, Kurdish broadcasting rights or unemployment.

    PKK terrorism is now solely aimed at dividing the country and forming a state of Kurds in northern Iraq. The PKK, with this in mind, is trying to attract support from foreign powers.

    The nature of the Southeast issue has now changed.

    Until everyone knows what will happen in northern Iraq, the PKK will continue playing its game.

    Let's no longer confuse the PKK with the rights of the citizens of Kurdish origin."

    [07] Turkish columnist urged Erdogan to clarify his remarks on Kurdish problem

    Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (23.08.05), under the title "Tasked With Resolving Things!", published the following commentary by Cuneyt Arcayurek:

    "He [referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan] does not answer the questions that should be answered - but, after all, there is no one asking them - or else he tries to get into polemics with the opposition in order to avoid having to comment, for instance, on his statement that included some of the conditions of the PKK/KONGRA-GEL [Workers' Party of Kurdistan / People's Congress of Kurdistan].

    What is going on? After saying in Diyarbakir that "The Kurdish issue is an issue for me", and after getting the support of certain Turks who shill for Kurdish nationalism and thus giving way to expectations that the PKK was going to lay down its arms, now that contrary developments have been occurring one after another, the gentleman has suddenly gone completely silent!

    Neither the statement of KONGRA-GEL nor the questions of the main opposition party commenting on the realities... None of these things are on the Prime Minister's agenda!

    It seems he has taken excessive offence at the way people have ganged up on him due to his statement that the Kurdish issue was his issue, and so he is making statements of "I meant it this way and not that way", or "I meant it that way and not this way."

    As for the opposition, it is laying out its views and its comments on the Kurdish issue without engaging in circumlocution... and for the past three or four days it has been unable to get any response from His Excellency the Prime Minister, who sees everything he says as being some sort of magnanimous gesture.

    A Prime Minister who makes no mention of the criticisms of his initiative in Diyarbakir, and who does not say anything about KONGRA-GEL's and the PKK's actions in Tunceli and the Macka district of Trabzon, despite their statement that they had decided to refrain from any actions for a month, yet who tells the opposition to "Mind your own business", and who says, with his Kasimpasa [a lower-class section of Istanbul known for its gangsterish mode of slang] style, "I'll do you this one favour" when he briefly speaks to the press.

    It just may be that, in today's meeting of the National Security Council, after getting the views of the military, he will make a "deeper, but convoluted" speech.

    And why, one wonders, has the headquarters of the General Staff remained silent for days now on such a sensitive topic? A report has been leaked that they are going to express their views in the report that will be presented to the NSC. This silence on the part of the military, however, despite their views on the country's indivisible unity which have been well known for the past 80 years, has been interpreted in various ways, and even questioned.

    Moreover, why has General Staff Chief Hilmi Ozkok, who has the final say, and who does not want any other high-ranking officer other than himself to speak out, not even made a short and to-the-point statement indicating what the contents will be of the report that will be presented to the NSC?.. General Ozkok can, when he deems it necessary, speak for hours directly with the Prime Minister. And to top it off, why has the general, in these days when efforts are underway to open the door to dialogue with the PKK, and when it is claimed that the struggle against terrorism has begun to take on a political significance, avoided bringing up with the Prime Minister, or has felt the need to avoid bringing up with the Prime Minister, his unacceptable statements?

    Or could it be that the headquarters of the General Staff, just like Erdogan himself, thinks that Erdogan has been "tasked" to resolve Turkey's national problems by means of some divine impulse?

    He said that, after Cyprus, it was now time for the Kurdish issue, and he took the first step in Diyarbakir.

    On the day when he thinks that the things that he has said that are contrary to the national interests could become digestible by hiding them behind the indisputable principles of supra-identity and sub-identity, Erdogan could sit down to negotiate with both [imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah] Ocalan and those who want to have a provision on bi-nationalism inserted into the constitution.

    Why? I am telling you: Erdogan thinks that, whatever national problems we may have, he has been "tasked" - despite everything and everybody to resolve them."


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