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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-09-28

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.185/05 28.09.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Flanked by the commandership of the occupation army Mr Talat visited Ledra Street and made statements after being briefed by the area commander
  • [02] The Turks are reportedly concerned about the possible withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from Cyprus
  • [03] Turkish Minister said that Turkey will not accept the counter declaration to be included in the Negotiation Framework Document
  • [04] The self-styled ambassador of Turkey stated that the existence of the Red Crescent in occupied Cyprus has a political dimension
  • [05] The sinking of a boat with illegal immigrants in the occupied areas brought to the surface the magnitude of the problem
  • [06] Per capita income expected to be 9,500 dollars in 2005 in the occupied areas
  • [07] Britain is interested in privatization projects in Turkey
  • [08] Turkey never stops trying to silence the Kurdish Television
  • [09] Three new branches of the Lions Club will be established in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist in KIBRIS assesses the magnitude of the problem of trafficking human beings through the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [11] Columnist in STAR assesses Hadley's visit to Turkey
  • [12] Columnist in SABAH argues that Turkey made no promises to Hadley on Syria

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Flanked by the commandership of the occupation army Mr Talat visited Ledra Street and made statements after being briefed by the commander responsible for the area

    With colour photographs of the commander of the Turkish occupation army Major-General Tevfik Ozkilic briefing Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and a sentry-post with an armed Turkish soldier on guard, the Turkish Cypriot press covers yesterday's visit of Mr Talat to the occupied side of Lefkosia .

    Under the front page title "Determined" Turkish Cypriot "Cyprus Times" newspaper (28.09.05) writes the following: "President Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer signalled determination in their vow to open the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) Crossing point yesterday by making an inspectional visit to the area with an army of reporters, cameramen and photographers."

    In its inside pages the paper writes: "After being briefed by the military commander responsible for the area, Talat made a statement to the press saying that the government and the presidency were determined to open the Ledra Street Crossing point and that was the reason they were here to inspect the area and gather more technical information in order to facilitate the crossings.

    Stating that the unilateral opening of the Bostanci crossing (occupied Zodia) was not an act of propaganda but a signal of determination for rapprochement between the two communities, Talat said the Ledra Street opening will be in the same intention."

    In a different approach Turkish Cypriot ORTAM newspaper (28/09/05) covers Mr Talat's visit under the front page banner headlines: "Unlucky Lokmaci" and head title: "Sometimes it was a road, it was turned into a barricade, and now it is being made a border gate" and adds: "If the old Lokmaci barricade is opened again after being brought into a state of "Border Gate" from now on it will be a candidate of being a symbol of partition".

    In a commentary in his regular column "Essential Approach" of ORTAM newspaper (28/09/05) under the title "This not a gate it is a road" Mr Mehmet Davulcu criticizes Mr Talat for using the term "border" and for trying to hide their own responsibilities by blaming Rauf Denktas.

    Mr Davulcu writes, inter alia, the following: "The TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer inspected yesterday the Lokmaci barricade. Both of them said that the Lokmaci barricade will be turned into a 'border gate' and be opened."

    And he adds: "What are they trying to prove? Are they trying to prove that we are a separate state? That is, do they want to say that 'the TRNC is a separate state and the Greek Cypriot administration is a separate state'? Very well then, why are they trying to increase the number of the gates? If there are two separate states in Cyprus and they are separated with borders, one border gate is enough between these two states. For example, there is only one gate between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Bulgaria, under the name 'Kule Border Gate'".

    Mr Davulcu concludes his commentary as follows: "Mr Talat and Mr Soyer are trying to hide their own responsibilities, by continuously blaming Rauf Denktas. For now they are successful in these efforts. The Turkish Cypriots are still looking at Talat and Soyer with tolerance. However, it is obvious that this tolerance decreases every day. ...". (KV)

    [02] The Turks are reportedly concerned about the possible withdrawal of the Turkish occupation army from Cyprus

    Turkish HURRIYET newspaper (28.09.05) reports that the general assembly of the European Parliament (EP) is expected to vote today the supplementary protocol providing for the extension of Turkey's Customs Union with the EU in order to include the new members of the Union. The political groups in the EP prepared yesterday a draft decision in which they criticize the declaration issued by Turkey on 29 July regarding Ankara not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and ask Turkey to withdraw its troops from the Island and recognize Cyprus the soonest.

    The paper notes that the draft decision of the EP is only an advisory text and has no political influence on the accession negotiations. According to HURRIYET, the following views are included in the text regarding Cyprus:

    1. Turkey must normalize its relations with all EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.

    2. The withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the Island would be a step which will reduce the tension for a lasting solution

    3. Turkey must recognize the Republic of Cyprus the soonest and

    4. The EU must keep its promise regarding the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (28.09.05) refers to the issue under the banner front - page title "'The Turkish army should go!'"

    The paper writes that "Ankara and especially the military are concerned because of the recent developments". GUNES adds, inter alia, the following: "The EU demands from Turkey and the TRNC to abolish themselves, to ignore their rights and to give in to the demands of the Greek Cypriots - Greece twin. According to experts, such demands were put before countries which lost the war. ...".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (28.09.05) reports that Mehmet Agar, leader of the Turkish True Path Party (DYP), has expressed the opinion that the preparations for the Republic of Cyprus becoming a member of NATO have begun. "It is understood that Turkey withdrawing troops from Cyprus will come onto the agenda", said Mr Agar during a visit yesterday in Smyrna and expressed the opinion that the AKP government is following the "Denktashization" policy, for which it was complaining in the past. Mr Agar alleged that the Denktas policy, which "defended the national interests", came onto the agenda once more today.

    Commenting on the counter declaration of the EU to Turkey's declaration that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Agar argued that it is not suitable to Turkey's strength and size. (ITs)

    [03] Turkish Minister said that Turkey will not accept the counter declaration to be included in the Negotiation Framework Document

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28/09/05) reported that the Turkish Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Murat Basesgioglu, in a speech made yesterday at a reception, said: "Our signature in the Additional Protocol does not mean that we will ever recognize the Greek Cypriot sector. We have announced it in a very clear manner in our declaration."

    The Turkish Minister added it is not possible that Turkey will accept the inclusion of points from the EU counter-declaration into its Accession Negotiation Framework Document. (DP)

    [04] The self-styled ambassador of Turkey stated that the existence of the Red Crescent in occupied Cyprus has a political dimension

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.09.05) reports that Mr Aydan Karahan the self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus, (OTRC) stated that the existence of the Red Crescent in occupied Cyprus has a political dimension.

    As the paper writes, a regular congress of the "Turkish Cypriot Red Crescent" was held last Monday evening after 23 years in OTRC. The Red Crescent was established in Cyprus in 1974; its last congress was held in 1982 and was rendered idle since 1983.

    The congress was held at the Thalassemia Centre in the Dr Burhan Nalbantoglu "state" hospital and the following persons participated in it: The self-styled president in the OTRC Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, the self-styled ambassador of Turkey Mr Karahan, the chairman of the Turkish Red Crescent Mr Tekin Kucukali, the Adviser of the chairman of the Turkish Red Crescent Prof. Ahmet Mete Isikara and other self-styled officials.

    Speaking at the congress Mr Talat stated, inter alia, that an institution like the Red Crescent is in any case necessary and added that it offered to the difficult times of the Turkish Cypriots consolation, moral and strength.

    On his part, the self-styled ambassador of Turkey Mr Karahan stated that he hoped that the Red Crescent will not be needed in Cyprus and noted that that the existence of the Red Crescent in occupied Cyprus has a political dimension. He also added that the Red Crescent represents the Turkish community in Cyprus.

    Mr Karahan also said that when Cyprus will be united one day the Red Crescent will exist in Cyprus like the Red Cross and the Turkish Cypriot will be represented. He added that it will give the necessary support to the development of the "TRNC". (CS)

    [05] The sinking of a boat with illegal immigrants in the occupied areas brought to the surface the magnitude of the problem

    Under the title "Drama at sea" Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28/09/05) reports in its front page that a small fishing boat belonging to Syrian national Mohammed Tawil, capsized and sunk off the Karpass peninsula with 37 people in it. Mr. Tawil lives with his family in the occupied Yalousa village in the occupied Karpass peninsula, his name is involved in smuggling illegal immigrants and he has currently a lawsuit in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus against him.

    The paper reports that the fishing boat, which was carrying 37 illegal immigrants who boarded the boat near Mersin, south Turkey, was sunk off the coast of the Karpass peninsula near the occupied villages of Eptakomi and Platanissos.

    KIBRIS reports that until now only seven persons were saved and the dead bodies of five were found on the shores of the Karpass peninsula. One of the bodies found near the small fishing port at the Platanissos village belongs to the Turkish Cypriot fisherman Bulent Ali Esim who was working for the Syrian family. In the past Esim also was sent to court for being involved in illegal smuggling of human beings to the occupied area.

    The paper reports that search and rescue operation from air and sea where the boat was sunk is continuing. However, it adds, the hope of finding survivors is very slim. Twenty seven persons who went missing are feared dead. The incident was reported by a British couple who were sailing in the area. The British couple Charles and Eugenia Gild who saved two castaways by taking them on board their sailing boat informed about the incident.

    KIBRIS reports that the son of Mohammed Tawil, Firaz Tawil, who was in the capsized boat and managed to swim to the shore, was arrested and placed under custody by the self-styled police in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus but was able to escape from custody.

    KIBRIS reports that the Tawil family, who are suspected of involvement in smuggling, in a short time became owners of three fishing boats and every now and then used to change their cars and get brand new ones. (MY)

    [06] Per capita income expected to be 9,500 dollars in 2005 in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (28/09/05) reported that the self-styled Prime Minister in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, delivered a speech yesterday at the "Middle East University (MEU)" on economic issues.

    Mr Soyer said that their target is to balance the budget of the occupied areas, adding that it is trying to reduce spending as well as taxes. He noted that in a short time, these efforts have already begun to show positive results.

    He also noted that the direct contribution of "universities" to the occupied areas has increased from 73 million dollars to 93 million. The contribution of the workers, who work in the free area of Cyprus, has increased from 11 million dollars to 36. Mr Soyer also said that the annual per capita income is projected to increase from 8,000 in 2004 to 9,500 in 2005. (DP)

    [07] Britain is interested in privatization projects in Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.09.05) reported the following from Ankara: "Britain is interested in Erdemir (Eregli iron & steel enterprises) and (GSM operator) Telsim auctions, Steven Smith, British Trade Attaché to Turkey, said on Tuesday.

    Taking the floor at the Turkish-Scottish businessmen's meeting held in Turkish capital of Ankara, Smith said that 430 British companies were currently undertaking projects in Turkey, and noted that they were working to enhance bilateral relations.

    Smith said that all EU member states, except one, had agreed to open full membership negotiations with Turkey, and reiterated his country's support to Turkey's EU membership bid.

    On the other hand, Hadi Fawzy, the head of the Scottish trade delegation, said that representatives of Scottish energy and engineering companies were participating in today's meeting, and underlined that their visit indicated that they considered Turkey a trade partner.

    In addition, Ankara Anatolia (27.09.05) reported the following from Istanbul:

    "Turkish Minister of Finance Kemal Unakitan has indicated today that Turkey has been talking about privatizations for the past 20 years." The privatizations Turkey did in the past 20 years is worth 8 billion USD. In 2005, the total value of privatizations will exceed 20 billion USD," said Unakitan.

    Unakitan was the main speaker in a panel organized at the second day of the International Islamic Finance Forum in Istanbul.

    "Our government will continue its privatization efforts. We still have a lot to privatize --seaports and airports, Erdemir Iron facility, Tekel cigarettes, Turkish Airlines, Petkim, National Lottery, energy distribution companies and energy producing facilities. We will continue privatizations until the economic burden of certain facilities on the Turkish government is relieved," said Unakitan.

    Unakitan stressed that his government expects more foreign investment in the upcoming weeks and months. "Foreigners can start their own companies in two days in Turkey. We are providing many incentives to foreign investors," affirmed Unakitan.

    Minister Unakitan noted that the Turkish government makes no discrimination among local or foreign businesses. "Foreign entrepreneurs can bring their own employees. They can buy property anywhere in Turkey. All legal matters could be resolved in international courts," mentioned Unakitan. Unakitan added that several Turkish banks will also be privatized soon."

    [08] Turkey never stops trying to silence the Kurdish Television

    Istanbul NTV television (27.09.05) broadcast the following: "After Turkey asked Denmark to ban Roj TV, the television station is now off the air. Nevertheless, Roj TV continues to broadcast through Mesopotamia TV, a channel set up earlier as a precaution.

    Complaining about Roj TV broadcasts, Turkey had sent a file to Denmark which had supplied the channel with a broadcasting license. Turkey had voiced its unease because Roj TV makes PKK propaganda.

    The Roj TV studios are in Brussels, but the channel's broadcasting license was given by Denmark.

    Roj TV is off the air now, but it is broadcasting through Mesopotamia TV which transmits through the same satellite with a license it received from Denmark earlier. It was a known fact that Mesopotamia TV was set up in case Roj TV was closed down".

    [09] Three new branches of the Lions Club will be established in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    According to the Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28/09/05), three new branches of the Lions Club will be established on Friday, 30 September, in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus.

    During the ceremony, documents affirming their membership will be given to the new clubs. Coordinator Federico Steinhaus, who was appointed by the international centre for Lions Clubs in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus, will also participate in the ceremony with his wife and four colleagues. (DP)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist in KIBRIS assesses the magnitude of the problem of trafficking human beings through the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Basaran Duzgun writing in the local daily KIBRIS newspaper (28/09/05) about the smuggling of illegal immigrants says that unfortunately the north Cyprus is used in this dirty and shameful business. He wrote:

    "An incredible drama is being experienced by those poor people who are coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Syria and try to go to the West that is Europe, via Turkey.

    These poor people in their quest to reach Europe sometimes die in containers and sometime, as it happened last night off the Karpass peninsula, drown in sea.

    Until last Monday it was thought that the north Cyprus had nothing to do with this incident.

    However, the incident on Monday night that happened off the Platanissos showed that unfortunately the north Cyprus as well is used in this shameful business of smuggling human beings. The public has learned this as well.

    On Monday night off the Platanissos 39 people were crammed in a small fishing boat. The aim was to disembark these people to the shores of the sparsely populated Platanissos village and from there to hand over these poor people, the majority of who were Syrian immigrants, to human traders.

    And the traders waiting on the shore were most probably going to take these people over the British bases to the Greek Cypriot side. But unfortunately the end turned into a real drama. The small fishing boat packed with 39 people capsized, seven people who could swim were able to stay on the surface of the water and they were rescued. The dead bodies of three people were found. As of last night finding alive the rest 29 people were slim and work started to search on the shores to find dead bodies.

    Until today thousands of immigrants sere brought by sea to the north Cyprus. Majority of them were taken to the Greek Cypriot side. Some of them were arrested by the security forces and were deported to Turkey to be sent to their countries

    After every incident they used to declare that the smugglers abandoned the boat people telling them that this was the Greek Cypriot side or Italian shores. That is, they were trying to deny that the TRNC is being used as a base for this ugly trade and that the TRNC was 'by mistake' involved in this human smuggling trade.

    However, after the drama on Monday night and the information we have gathered, we brought into the surface that this is not the case. A lot of fishing boats registered in the TRNC regularly sail to the shores of Mersin and Hatay in south Turkey and bring these immigrants to the shores of Karpass peninsula and another team who is waiting near the shore take these people over the British Bases to the Greek Cypriot side.

    This human trafficking, where Turkish Cypriot fishermen as well are involved, has increased in the recent months. Almost every night fishing boats were sailing between the Karpass and Turkey's shores, and according to some claims they were charging one thousand dollar per person. For example there were 39 people in the boat that sunk the other night and they received 39 thousand dollars. The fishermen are unable to make this much money by laying their nets not in one night but even in one year.

    Certain smart people could exploit this human trafficking and make money and become rich in a short time, however the damage that these 'smart people' people will cause to the country is huge, because the human trafficking is the worst crime in the world. And unfortunately, in our country, because of the lack of necessary legislation, this is not a crime. We are already in trouble as regards money laundering and organized trafficking of women for the international flesh trading which we have very bad reputation and now the issue of illegal immigrants has surfaced which, according to our legislation is not a crime. As if this was the only missing part." (MY)

    [11] Columnist in STAR assesses Hadley's visit to Turkey

    Istanbul Star newspaper (27.09.05) publishes the following commentary by Uluc Gurkan, under the title: "A Strategic Partnership?":

    "The press was mainly preoccupied with Ata's [a TV celebrity] death and sexual harassment suffered by Gamze Ozcelik last week. The "Conference on Armenians" was the only issue, which the national media highlighted aside from those events. The press disregarded many other events taking place in Turkey and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, it did not pay much attention to the visit paid by Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor to US President George W. Bush, to Turkey.

    The public learned about the visit from a report, which appeared in The Washington Post on 24 September, which was followed by Nur Batur's article in daily Hurriyet on 25 September and Semih Idiz's article in Milliyet on 26 September.

    Hadley was appointed national security adviser, who is also regarded as the President's right-hand man, in January after Condoleezza Rice had been named as the new Secretary of State. He did not leave Washington for eight months after his appointment and paid his first overseas trip to Turkey.

    His trip was initially planned to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan only. Turkey was included as the first stop of the visit at the last minute.

    Turkey's inclusion in the visit has assumed special importance in light of US President Bush's verbal message conveyed to Turkish officials. In his message, Bush graciously stated that "he had forgotten 1 March" and called on Turkey to "rebuild strategic partnership" between the two countries. When the Turkish officials asked about the PKK, Hadley responded by saying that "strategic partnership also covered the PKK."

    The message had a clear meaning: Turkey is expected to assume a role assigned to it as part of the Broader Middle East Initiative. It has also been informed that the existing threat posed by the PKK in northern Iraq could only be eliminated if that condition was fulfilled.

    Why did the United States proposed strategic partnership to Turkey after a long break? The latest developments that have taken place in the United States and Iraq should be analyzed in order to provide an answer to that question.

    The United States, which as at the forefront of the group of countries sowing the wind, is now reaping hurricanes along its coasts. The victims of the disaster share the opinion that they did not receive enough relief materials because of the war in Iraq. They say that the war should end and US troops should be withdrawn.

    Meanwhile, a referendum will be held on the new constitution in Iraq three weeks later. Existing differences between the Shiites, Kurds, and the Sunnites about Iraq's future will, however, not disappear irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. The civil war will continue unabated.

    The United States invaded Iraq in an attempt to control the region's energy sources as part of the Broader Middle East Initiative. It, therefore, brought war rather than democracy to the region. Thus, it transformed ethnic and sectarian differences in the region into civil strife.

    It is now unable to bring a war, which it has triggered, under control. It can also not withdraw its forces because it has strategic goals.

    Firstly, it wants to ensure that the Kurds emerge on the scene as a new power. It intends to open a corridor between northern Iraq and eastern Mediterranean, which will be controlled by that power.

    It, therefore, causes the Turkomans to suffer a human tragedy in Tall Afar. It regards the Turkoman population as an obstacle to the planned corridor. The United States is still not content although the number of Turkomans has fallen from 300,000 to 30,000. Civilians are still ruthlessly killed on the grounds that they are terrorists. The demographic structure, which was drastically changed in Kirkuk and Mosul as a result of Kurdish migration, has changed Tall Afar by US bombs.

    By using this ruthless strategy, the United States also intends to give a message to Syria. It plans to topple Bashar al-Asad's regime in Syria, which it views as the second and the biggest impediment to the proposed corridor. Al-Asad decided not to attend the UN Summit in New York because Turkey and Russia had not given a positive response to his calls for having bilateral talks with Russian and Turkish leaders. His decision has proven the United States' determination and influence about that matter.

    The United States' proposal to re-establish strategic partnership is actually intended to convince Turkey to assume an active role in Iraq.

    The peshmarga, who are used as a subcontractor for the corridor to eastern Mediterranean, can actually accomplish nothing due to Sunnite resistance in Baghdad and its environs. Meanwhile, there are fears that the Shiite community could strengthen their position and could realize their dream of integration with Iran if the Shiite Al-Badr Brigades are used for the same purpose. All plans are, therefore, devised on the assumption that Turkey will undertake that mission.

    You will possibly remember that Turkish soldiers were expected to assume a similar task in return for $25 billion proposed ahead of the voting on a government motion on 1 March 2003.

    There are attempts to drag Turkey into an adventure, which could lead to a change in the national borders in the Middle East. There is a point of vital importance: Turkey must bank on her own power rather than the promises about the PKK and similar carrots that could be put before her. Any adventure that it could embark on together with the United States could lead to consequences that could threaten the lives of her own people and borders established by the National Pact of 1920."

    [12] Columnist in SABAH argues that Turkey made no promises to Hadley on Syria

    Istanbul Sabah newspaper (27.09.05) publishes the following commentary by Asli Aydintasbas, under the title "'Regime Change' Scenarios in Syria":

    "The visit to Ankara last weekend of US National Security Advisor Steve Hadley was of the nature of an "exchange of ideas" between Ankara and Washington prior to the critical developments that will cause a new shaping of the political map in the Middle East, particularly in terms of Syria.

    The development that led to Hadley's hurriedly making his "first foreign visit" as National Security Advisor to Ankara was the fact that the independent United Nations investigation into the assassination last February of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri has extended into Damascus.

    The investigation, being carried out by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, will be completed in October. But the way things have been going to date, including the statements of intelligence officers and officials in Lebanon, has caused fingers to point at Damascus. Mehlis, who went to Damascus last week, took statements from officials there. The expectation in the international community is that, once the investigation has been completed, the UN could implement "sanctions" against the [Bashar] Al-Asad regime. An international court established in this situation could also cost Al-Asad his position.

    And for this reason, Washington and the international community have expectations that the investigation could "shake" the Al-Asad government, and that scenarios of "regime change" could come onto the agenda in Syria starting in November. The Washington Post newspaper wrote that Syria last week, in a confidential proposal, asked for a guarantee of immunity for the figures at the top of the regime in exchange for "extraditing certain individuals responsible for security". But both Europe and Washington have spurned this proposal. Within the Bush administration, the view prevails that Al-Asad is a "weak" leader, and that he cannot be "helpful" in terms of security and democratization in Syria. Both in Ankara and in other Western capitals, there is debate as to who might replace Al-Asad. The topic also came up during Hadley's Ankara visit. Calculations in Washington focus on the alternative of a "strong" figure from within the Alawite-dominated regime replacing Al-Asad, in order to "prevent instability". Included among the names mentioned in this context, in addition to Bashar's uncle Rafiq al-Asad, are others from "within the family" or else in key positions at the top of the regime.

    Subtitle: No promises from Ankara

    Ankara fears that regime change in Syria, even through the mediation of the UN will create "chaos". It is true that the government is no longer eager to play the role of a "big brother" to the Al-Asad regime. It was for this reason that no vacation program for Al-Asad or an Erdogan-Al-Asad meeting in New York was put onto the agenda. Even so, Ankara does not want instability in Syria similar to that in Iraq. Most importantly, Ankara wants to see the "concrete" evidence that the UN investigation is going to uncover. This message was also conveyed to Hadley. Washington has not gotten any promises from Ankara in terms of Syria.

    Subtitle: Ankara's new strategic importance

    The discussions have also been a reminder that the Turkish-American dialogue has once again been re-established on a strong basis. Years ago, when Hadley had been Assistant Secretary of Defence in the Reagan administration, he had likewise made his first foreign trip to Ankara. In those days, American officials used to say "When we want to discuss strategy, there are two places that we go: Paris and Ankara." Now when it is "time to talk strategy", Ankara has once again become the Americans' first stop.

    The relationship, which has improved millimetre by millimetre since Erdogan's US visit in June, has taken on a brand new importance for both capitals in the context of the future of the Middle East. The view that "Without Turkey, Iraq will not work out" is more accepted in Washington now than it was a year ago. American officials are "taking the PKK issue seriously", and are seeking formulas that will satisfy Turkey.

    Because a good many people in the Bush administration have begun to accept the view that the United States' interests in the region "are not going to eventuate without Turkey". It is not difficult to understand this. Just make a list of the "main issues" of US foreign policy: Preventing the Iranian nuclear program, stability in Iraq, reform in the Middle East, international terrorism and the struggle against Al-Qa'ida, North Korea's atomic bomb, and peace and security in Afghanistan... All of these, apart from one, are issues that closely involve Turkey?"


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