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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-04-26

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.79/06 26.04.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ankara Anatolia on the messages of the US Secretary of State´s visit to Turkey.
  • [02] Press conference by Gul and Rice in Ankara. Gul thanks Rice for the US support for Turkey´s EU accession course and the Cyprus problem.
  • [03] How the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press cover the visit of the US Secretary of State to the region.
  • [04] Statements by Matthew Bryza on the Cyprus problem without reference to the violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriots.
  • [05] 17-story hotel complex at the occupied Ayios Elias village.
  • [06] Turkey warns Canada over Prime Minister´s remarks on the Armenian genocide.
  • [07] Secret poll invoked by the Islamic ruling party in Turkey to justify its policy towards the Kurds.
  • [08] Kurdish children face court for riots.
  • [09] The financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots was approved by the EP Budget Committee.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Commentary in TDN on the Turkish internal political front before Rice´s visit to Ankara.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ankara Anatolia on the messages of the US Secretary of State´s visit to Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.04.06) reported from Ankara that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has just arrived in Turkish capital of Ankara on a working trip, gave some important messages before arriving in Turkey.

    On her way to Greek capital of Athens, Rice said: "We will double our efforts, once there's a new Iraqi Government, to reactivate the trilateral mechanism we used to deal with issues concerning Turkey, Iraq, and the United States."

    "I want especially to note that we are aware of the importance attached by Turkey to the PKK issue and we, of course, consider PKK as a terrorist organization. But I want to emphasize how important we consider this issue and to talk to the Turks about the fact that no one, especially the Iraqi Government, will let the Iraqi territory be used for terrorist activities against Turkey. And I know that that's of considerable concern to Turkey," she indicated.

    Rice noted: "The principal context in which we have to deal with the PKK problem at this point is to make certain that there is a stable security situation in the north (of Iraq) and to enlist the new Iraqi Government to work with the Turks and with the United States in dealing with the -- and the coalition in dealing with the PKK. And that's going to be the message to the Turks. But we have had mechanisms that have worked from time to time. With the absence of an Iraqi Government, it has been harder to get those trilateral mechanisms to work, and so I think we need to reinvigorate those trilateral mechanisms and we need to work with the Turks and with the coalition to do what we can to deal with the PKK problem. But we want to do it in a way that does not cause greater instability in the North, and I think that the Turks would agree with that."

    Regarding Iran, Rice said that Turks are supporting the Security Council action and they are sending a similar message to the Iranians.

    "We see Turkey, as having a strong anchor in democracy, a strong anchor in European traditions, but also having a great deal to say to the future of the Middle East and to be a part of that future as well," she emphasized.

    Commenting on Hamas' visit to Turkey, Rice said: "The Turks made very clear that while they wanted to meet with Hamas, they wanted to send a very strong message to Hamas that Hamas needed to accede to the Quartet requirements and that's the message that Turkey sent."

    Regarding Turkey's EU membership, Rice said that Turkey is a European country and should have a European characteristic. According to Rice, Turkey should fulfil some requirements before joining the EU, and Cyprus is one of them. Rice also pointed out that isolation of Turkish Cypriots should be ended.

    (Tr. Note:Turkey invaded and occupied Cyprus in 1974, killing 1% of the Greek Cypriot population and forcing more than 200,000 Greek Cypriots to abandon their homes and properties at gun point. Turkey maintains 40,000 Turkish troops in the occupied part of Cyprus which protect the subordinate regime to continue usurping the properties of the Greek Cypriots. These crimes of Turkey are presented as isolation of the Turkish Cypriots).

    [02] Press conference by Gul and Rice in Ankara. Gul thanks Rice for the US support for Turkey´s EU accession course and the Cyprus problem

    NTV television (25.04.06) broadcast live the press conference by the US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, after meeting in Ankara.

    Following are Mr Gul´s and Dr. Rice´s statements. No question was posed on the Cyprus problem.

    NTV television (25.04.06) broadcast live the press conference:

    During our one-on-one meeting and meeting between delegations, we had a comprehensive exchange of views related to our countries, region and generally speaking on issues related to the international community. We have carried out some comprehensive evaluations. As you know, we have common views, vision, common targets as to countries. We work together and we aim to further strengthen and develop those relations. This is what we have decided. Our relations are based on very sound foundations because of the shared common values: the values of democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law and a free market economy. And we would like to see that these values are realized in our region, in all of the world, and this will be important for peace and security and therefore we are in close cooperation to achieve that end.

    We believe in the importance of working together further and for that reason we agreed to prepare a visionary document which will project the future of Turkish- United States relations because there are many events that are taking place around our region and it is important for us to have close consultation and exchange of views and opinions, and it is important to establish a mechanism to carryout this kind of interaction. And there are problems and the dangers in the world today, much greater problems and dangers. In the Cold War, we knew the difficulties; we could more or less predict some of the things that would happen. But the world today has become a more different world and so we have to work together as countries who have common views and values, and we feel the need to be in closer cooperation for that reason.

    And of course within this framework we also discussed our views on Iraq and the fact that the political process is moving forward in our view. It´s important to us. We are happy to see that the prime minister has now been decided upon and we hope that future steps will be taken and we will continue to work together in this area.

    Also in the area of the fight against terrorism, both countries place a lot of importance to this issue and for us in Turkey the PKK terror organization is well known and Turkey´s fight against terrorism is well known and the United States is the first country that has declared the PKK as a terrorist organization and we never forget the US support in this respect. But we look forward to more cooperation and we have more expectations from the American side and we have I have shared these views with Dr. Rice. And the terrorist organization is benefiting from a vacuum of authority power in northern Iraq and they started to inflict harm and I have shared these views with my colleague.

    We have reiterated once again that we are against proliferation of nuclear weapons. On the issue of NPT, Iran must be transparent and must meet the expectations of the world, the international community, and this would be this is our wish and desire and we place a lot of importance on diplomatic efforts and we hope that we will reach a peaceful result at the end of diplomatic efforts.

    With regard to Cyprus, I shared my views with Dr. Rice on Cyprus and I thanked her for the support they gave us.

    With regard to the European Union, Turkey has sometimes had difficult times and the United States has always supported Turkey in this respect, and I took this opportunity to once again share with you and with her that this support has been very important for us.

    And I can say is that the relationship and the United States is based on mutual trust and this is an issue, a fact which is underlined and it will be important for us in the future to continue to have more exchange of views. These are the opinions on which we have agreed.

    So I´d like to thank you once again for your visit to Turkey.

    Rice: We have, indeed, had wide-ranging discussions as would be befitting for the United States and Turkey, great allies, great friends, We do, indeed, share common values. And I have great confidence in this relationship and in our ability to work together towards a more peaceful and democratic world. I think that that work will be enhanced and pushed forward by our new efforts to have a common strategic vision for the US-Turkish relationship. This will allow us to have a mechanism by which we can continually meet and discuss the many issues on which we that we share common interest about.

    We did have wide-ranging discussions. I thank the Minister very much for the efforts of the Turkish government to improve relations with Iraq, to help in the Iraqis as they form a government of national unity. We all look forward to working with that government of national unity for an Iraq that is stable, democratic and unified and we share that goal. And we share that goal with the Iraqis and we will be there to support them.

    We did discuss our common fight against terrorism and the United States, indeed was the first country to list the PKK as a terrorist organization. We recognize that it´s such. We believe that it is important that we make joint efforts through information sharing and other means to prevent any vacuum for being used as a way to inflict harm here in Turkey.

    We need to work with the new Iraqi Government and we will do that. We have had a trilateral mechanism to work on this issue and I hope that we can reinvigorate it when there is a new Iraqi Government. We had extensive discussions about the Middle East, about Iran, about the need for Iran to adhere to the international community´s requirements of it that have been expressed in a presidential statement by the Security Council.

    I want to note that the problem of the proliferation of nuclear weapons is, of course, one that we have discussed and one that we share concerns about. We also have to the concerned when there are statements from Iran, as there apparently were today, that Iran would not only have this technology, but would share it and share its knowledge and expertise. Indeed, that´s one of the fears that there would be that kind of escape, if you will; of knowledge and expertise on these dangerous technologies.

    And finally, let me just say that we have had no better ally and no stronger supporter of the efforts that we are all making to see a democratic Middle East. Turkey is a very good example that there is no conflict between Islam and democracy, that in fact the values of democracy and freedom are very deep here. People practice their faith, but they also practice their political freedoms. And we talked about the tremendous advantages that there would be in a broader region in which those values are also respected. And so whether it is in our work together in Iraq, whether it is in our work together in the Broader Middle East, whether it is in Turkey´s very central role that it has played in Afghanistan.

    Perhaps our most important work for the future of our countries and the future of our children is to work together toward a more democratic broader region.

    [03] How the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press cover the visit of the US Secretary of State to the region

    The Turkish Cypriot and Turkish press today (26.04.06) cover the visit of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice to the region as follows:

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper, under the title The US wants more efforts, notes that in her statements in Athens Mrs Rice pointed out that both Turkey and the Greek Cypriot side must exert more efforts on the issue of the solution to the Cyprus problem. The paper writes also that the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dora Bakoyianni complained about Turkeys stance.

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI, under the title Rice: Efforts must be exerted for the solution, writes that the fact that the stance of the Turkey and the USA is the same on the issues of terrorism and Iran was stressed during Mrs Rices meetings in Turkey with President Sezer, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN, under the title Disappointment, writes that Mrs Rice said that disappointment had been created from the no vote of the Greek Cypriots at the referendum which took place two years ago.

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper reports that the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Gul said that an agreement had been reached on the issue of the preparation of a vision document which will lead the partnership between Turkey and the United States to the future. According to the paper, Mr Gul said that during their meeting, he informed Mrs Rice on Turkeys views regarding Cyprus and thanked the US for the support it gives to Turkey on this issue. He also pointed out to the importance of the support of the US to Turkeys EU accession course.

    Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper refers to the issue under the title Turkey and the US agree on the issue of Iran. The paper notes that reference was made to the name of Cyprus only when Mr Gul thanked Mrs Rice for their support to Turkey.

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper writes that Turkey welcomed Mrs Rice with the gesture of postponing the visit of an Iranian high ranking official. According to the paper, Mrs Rice asked from Ankara to keep a firm stance against the Tehran administration. In return of this, she promised to double their efforts in the struggle against PKK.

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper, under the title Cold shower to the Greek Cypriots, writes that the climate became cold when Mrs Rice said in Athens that the Greek Cypriots must exert efforts for Turkeys accession to the EU.

    Turkish daily SABAH newspaper, under the title Obstacle from Rice to the Russian gas, invokes information published in the Financial Times and writes that Mrs Rice suggested to Turkey to prefer buying gas from Azerbaijan instead of Russia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Statements by Matthew Bryza on the Cyprus problem without reference to the violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriots

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.04.06) broadcast the following:

    Matthew Bryza the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia at the Department of State has characterized the Turkish action plan announced by the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as an idealist one.

    Speaking at a press briefing yesterday that focused mainly on the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rices visit to Europe, Mr Bryza said he believes the restart of the negotiations process on Cyprus can only be possible if and when the two sides in Cyprus prove to the UN Secretary-General that they are ready and willing for that.

    Saying that the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rices visit to Ankara and Athens will focus on a number of issues in which the Cyprus issue will feature highly, Mr Matthew Bryza reminded that Turkey has taken on a number of responsibilities on the issue last October.

    He said that these responsibilities include Turkeys pledge to ratify the EU Customs Union to include the new members of the Union including the Greek Cypriot side.

    As for the new Turkish `Action Plan´ on Cyprus, Mr Bryza said this is a quite idealist plan, about which, there are as yet no signs of acceptance coming over from the Greek Cypriot side.

    Expressing the wish that a new chance is found to restart the Cyprus negotiations process, Mr Bryza made an indirect reference to `President´ Talats recent remarks, and expressed the view that it would be better to maintain the basic framework of the Annan Plan which was the outcome of long negotiations processes in the past.

    `President´ Mehmet Ali Talat had suggested that the Turkish Cypriot side may even be ready and willing to go back to square-one and start the Cyprus negotiations from the beginning if this would help achieve progress towards solving the Cyprus problem.

    [05] 17-story hotel complex at the occupied Ayios Elias village

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (26.04.06) reports that Property International-PLC Group, a British company wholly owned by the Turkish Cypriot businessman Ali Ozmen Safa continue to invest in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus mainly in tourism industry and hotel building. The paper reports that the ground laying ceremony was held yesterday at the occupied Ayios Elias village in the Famagusta district for the Skyline Residence Hotel which will be the second stage of the Skyline hotel chain in the occupied area.

    The huge 17- storey hotel complex will be built on an area of 33,796 square meters of land with 589 five- star rooms.

    Speaking at the ground laying ceremony, the Companys Executive Chairman Temel Garip said that they plan to build in different locations of the occupied area three Skyline hotels. He said that the first one is under construction in the occupied Lapithos village. The five- star hotel will be ready in 2008. He said that the total investment in these hotels will be more than 150 million US dollars. Mr. Garip complained that the infrastructure in the area is very poor and for this end they invest three million Sterling for electricity, telephone and sea-water desalination plant. He said that their desalination capacity is one thousand tones. Mr. Garip noted that their third hotel will be built next to the Medviews Hotel Beach Club which started operating in 2005.

    (MHY)

    [06] Turkey warns Canada over Prime Minister´s remarks on the Armenian genocide

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.04.06) reported from Ankara that officials of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said:

    "Turkey has regretted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's remarks in which he qualified unfounded Armenian allegations as genocide".

    Turkish diplomats qualified Harper's remarks as a "grave prejudiced attitude" since these allegations are not proved by objective researches.

    According to the ministry executives, such remarks do not contribute to establishment of a dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, and have a negative impact on Turkish-Canadian relations. "The stagnation observed in bilateral relations after the Canadian parliament adopted a resolution, acknowledging the Armenian claims, is a clear example of this (the negative impact)," the MFA executives indicated.

    "Our ally Canada continues to support the initiatives of anti-Turkey lobbies who are trying to incite hatred and enmity. This shows that Canada has not learned any lessons from painful incidents of the past and in which our military attaché and a Canadian security official were killed by Armenian assassins, and our ambassador and trade attaché were injured," the ministry executives stated.

    Pointing out that genocide is the most severe crime committed against humanity, the ministry executives said that a common future, based on peace and cooperation, cannot be created by distorting historical tragic incidents and trying to gain political benefits from this.

    [07] Secret poll invoked by the Islamic ruling party in Turkey to justify its policy towards the Kurds

    The New Anatolian newspaper (26.04.06) reports the following:

    The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tougher line following recent violent clashes in southeastern cities is the result of a secret public opinion poll showing that votes for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are on the rise, claimed the Ankara News Agency yesterday.

    According to the agency, a poll seen by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party following clashes in the southeast exacerbated the party's worries about a rise in nationalist votes. The secret poll showed that support for the MHP is highest since the fall 2002 general elections, which brought the AK Party to power and kept the MHP out of Parliament.

    The poll indicated that recent incidents have resulted in greater support for the MHP, which indicated that both the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) would be left behind, and that the MHP would pass the 10 percent election threshold. Another result of the poll that was particularly striking for the AK Party was that the MHP would win as many votes as the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) if elections were held today. The poll indicated that support for the AK Party is at around 35 percent, while support for the CHP has fallen and that for the MHP has risen.

    AK Party brass are reported to have been concerned about the rise in MHP votes, similar to a trend before the 1999 general elections, and have decided to follow the party closely.

    That the AK Party has toughened its attitude on the Kurdish problem and sent an anti-terror bill to Parliament immediately after incidents in the southeast, although it had been shelved for several months, are both related to AK Party's administrators' concerns over the MHP's rise.

    There are reports that the AK Party's change of attitude was partly due to the fear that some nationalist-oriented AK Party deputies may transfer to the MHP to take advantage of the rising trend in nationalist tendencies among the public.

    [08] Kurdish children face court for riots

    Turkish Daily News (25.04.06) reported the following:

    A Diyarbak1r prosecutor charged 80 children as part of an investigation into deadly riots in southeastern Turkey late last month that left 15 people dead and scores injured.

    The indictment drafted against the 80 children, who were taken into police custody during the clashes, includes charges of membership in a criminal organization, destroying state property, preventing state officials from carrying out their duties and violating the Protests and Meetings Law.

    The defendants will be due in court in the next few days and face a sentence between nine years six months to 24 years' imprisonment. The children will face the Diyarbak1r Juvenile Serious Crimes Court.

    The riots were the worst urban violence to hit the region in a decade, reviving bitter memories of the heyday of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting that has so far claimed more than 37,000 lives.

    Three of the dead were children; one aged only three, while most of the injured were security forces in the clashes officials blamed on the PKK, which has waged an armed battle against the central government since 1984.

    The brunt of the violence was in the city of Diyarbak1r, with lesser incidents shaking the nearby city of Batman.

    More than 300 rioters were arrested during the incidents that Ankara has partly blamed on the Danish-based Kurdish-language Roj TV, which according to officials recently broadcast appeals for civil disobedience and for shops in Diyarbak1r to close down.

    Shopkeepers who ignored the call saw their businesses ransacked by rioters who set fire to banks, threw up barricades and attacked reporters.

    The unrest began when thousands of demonstrators confronted security forces after the funeral of four of 14 alleged PKK militants killed two days previously in a gun battle with Turkish army troops.

    The funerals rapidly turned into violent demonstrations of support for the PKK and its jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in the most intense protests here since the mid-1990s, when the group was at its most active in combating central government forces for Kurdish independence.

    Funerals of PKK members killed in clashes with the army often turn into pro-PKK demonstrations, and media reports that seven more were killed on Friday in a gun battle near Silopi, on the border with Iraq, raised fears of renewed unrest.

    During last month's riots armored personnel carriers hurtled down the streets, and police fired shots into the air and sprayed tear gas to scatter the marchers. Demonstrators threw stones and fire bombs, ransacked a tax office and set fire to a bank and the offices of the ruling party, reports said.

    "For those who keep their children in the streets or allow them to be used by the [terrorists], their tears tomorrow will be in vain," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the time.

    "Our security forces will make the necessary intervention against those who have become the pawns of terrorism, even if they are children or women," he said.

    The co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (DTP), Ahmet Türk, urged for an end to the riots in the Southeast and called on Ankara to come up with far-reaching reforms to make permanent peace with its minority.

    "I urge all our people to stay away from violence," Türk said in an interview with CNN-Türk. "Violence causes only more violence."

    Several DTP officials have been accused of fanning the unrest and dozens of DTP members were arrested last week.

    [09] The financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots was approved by the EP Budget Committee

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.04.06) broadcast the following:

    The European Parliaments Budget Committee has approved the Financial Assistance Regulation envisaging financial aid to the Turkish Cypriot people.

    The Committee gave unanimous approval to the 138 million Euros worth of aid as stipulated by the Financial Assistance Regulation prepared in 2004 by the EU Commission and approved later by the EU Council

    In addition to the regulation, a separate 180 thousand Euros are being provided for bi-communal projects intended to bring closer the two sides.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Commentary in TDN on the Turkish internal political front before Rice´s visit to Ankara

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (25.04.06) publishes the following commentary by Michael Kuser:

    Violence and political instability in Iraq likely will be the focus of discussions when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Ankara tomorrow. But Turkey itself has recently been experiencing its own turmoil that is raising concerns about stability in the only Muslim country that is a member of NATO.

    A new and growing bond between nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists threatens to fuel the internal strife. On April 14, young religious Muslims from a group calling itself Nationalist Youth broke up a spring fling at Ankara University where co-eds were dancing and drinking beer. The group has called for lifting the ban on women wearing the turban, or headscarf, in schools and state offices. On March 31 members of the group locked students in the cafeteria at Istanbul University and lectured females on the religious duty to cover their heads.

    This is where I see danger, ultranationalists becoming Islamists and Islamists becoming ultranationalists, said Burak Bekdil, a columnist for the Turkish Daily News. These usually split groups may in the future get mixed together and comprise a huge anti-Western bloc.

    Subtitle: Secular establishment:

    Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer issued a warning on April 12 to a group of military officers that fundamentalists are trying to infiltrate every level of politics, education and the state.

    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk created a secular Turkish state in 1923 after leading the army to defeat the Greeks who had invaded from the Aegean coast. Since then the Turkish army has seen itself, supported by the public, as the prime defender of Ataturk's secular and pro-Western legacy.

    Sezer, a secular politician, was referring to the growing clout of the ruling Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey's only guarantee against this threat is its secular order, he told the War Academies Conference in Istanbul. The president refuses to invite the wives of religious-minded government ministers to events at his official residence, fearing that their headscarves would violate the state ban.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded three days later to the president's remarks. Believers have as much a right to enter politics as anyone else, he told a gathering of conservative Muslim businessmen. Let no one talk of the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Though the last sultan fled the country days after the new republic was proclaimed, Ataturk abolished the Sultanate and also the Caliphate in March 1924, ending four centuries of spiritual leadership of the Islamic world. Ottoman sultans had assumed the title of Caliph, temporal leader of Islam, after gaining control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in 1517.

    Subtitle: Political Islam:

    Political Islam did not come to power in modern Turkey until the mid-1990s, when a party led by later Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan won mayoral elections in several large cities, including Istanbul. The Turkish military pushed Erbakan out of power in 1997 in a so-called soft coup because of his Islamic politics.

    The secularists have distrusted Erdogan since he was convicted and jailed for four months in 1999 for inciting religious hatred. At a political rally in Siirt he had recited a poem comparing mosque domes to helmets, and minarets to bayonets. His conviction also banned him from holding elective office.

    Erdogan had to renounce his religious agenda to form a new party and win national elections in 2002, a time when the electorate had become fed up with corruption in all the mainstream parties. In order to assume the premiership Erdogan had the Parliament that he controlled pass special legislation to lift the ban on his holding office.

    The latest back and forth between Sezer and Erdogan followed the president's rejection last month of the government's nominee for central bank governor. Sezer called the candidate, who heads an Islamic finance house, unsuitable. He confirmed the new nominee, a veteran central bank bureaucrat with Western credentials, last week.

    Subtitle: US relations:

    If some analysts fear that Ankara could become more difficult for American policymakers to understand, Soli Ozel, a political scientist at Bilgi University, said Turkey already has been unpredictable for the Bush administration.

    For example, Washington banked on Turkey's cooperation during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, but Parliament narrowly rejected allowing U.S. forces to enter Iraq from Turkey.

    Anti-American sentiment increased here as the war dragged on. A poll conducted last month by Bilgi University and published in the April 7 issue of newsweekly Tempo magazine showed that Turks considered the United States as posing the greatest risk to their security.

    In February, the government in Ankara agreed to host a visit by leaders of Hamas, the group that won recent Palestinian elections and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the European Union.

    Washington's response has been to shift towards cooperating more with the military. The Americans think they can rely on the military more than on the government on critical issues like Iran, so there is a convergence of interest and policy between Washington and the Turkish military, said Bekdil.

    Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has changed its strategic assessment of Turkey from an ally on the front line with Russia to one fronting Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East. Turkey borders Syria, Iraq and Iran, and under the Ottomans ruled an empire stretching from Persia to Morocco.

    Subtitle: Advertising:

    The oddest display of concern about Islamic fundamentalism here came in an advertising campaign this month by daily CUMHURIYET, a newspaper founded by Ataturk. The TV ad shows the phrase Are you aware of the danger? in Arabic-style script running in green from right to left, as does Arabic writing. The color green connotes Islam.

    The campaign has two goals, said CUMHURIYET editor in chief Ibrahim Yildiz. We want to reach a wider audience than the paper's readership and also to advertise the paper, said Yildiz. The ad succeeded on both counts and the phone hasn't stopped ringing, with people thanking the paper for reflecting their views, asking how they can help.

    Newsstand sales also shot up after the ad ran, he said.

    Most Turks support the army and see it as the ultimate defender of the country's independence and traditions, so it's uncertain how much the people need to have their awareness stoked. Europeans, Americans and Turks all seem to share the same concern, that is, how much increasing democracy in Turkey means increasing political Islam.

    Omer Caha, a professor of political science at Fatih University in Istanbul, cautioned Washington against placing too much trust in the Turkish military as a strategic partner. Referring to the military as the deep state because it has been the underlying support for the secular state for decades, he said, The deep state can produce nothing of real political value, so they create tension.

    The secularists can create tension with statements such as Sezer's, or with actions, such as the alleged military involvement in targeted assassinations of Kurdish insurgents. In the most recent incident, two gendarmerie intelligence agents were implicated in a November bomb attack against suspected Kurdish terrorists in the southeastern town of Semdinli. The bomb killed one man.

    Subtitle: Give and take:

    The Turkish Justice Ministry on Thursday sacked the state prosecutor in the city of Van, Ferhat Sarikaya, who had angered the military earlier this year by threatening to bring one of Turkey's top military officers, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, to trial in connection with the incident. Gen. Buyukanit is set to take over from Gen. Hilmi Ozkok in August as chief of the general staff.

    Erdogan's government, ostensibly to meet European Union membership criteria, has clipped the powers of the military, for example, by bringing the National Security Council under civilian control. But the resurgence in Kurdish attacks, the most recent terrorist bombing wounding 31 people in Istanbul a week ago Sunday, increases the importance of the military. A Kurdish militant group calling itself the Freedom Falcons, a splinter group from the main Kurdish terror organization Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), is calling on its followers to spread fear and chaos in Turkey, especially threatening the country's growing tourism industry.

    And Turkey's Kurdish problem is closely linked to the war in Iraq. The Turkish military has long complained to the United States that a largely autonomous northern Iraq bordering Turkey has created a sanctuary for Kurdish rebels and for the drug-running that finances their terrorist activities.

    The U.S. comes, destroys, and we have to live with the consequences, said Ozel.

    However, news channel NTV reported last week that American military and intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the CIA and FBI, are providing information to help the Turkish army wage its battle against Kurdish insurgents in the Southeast.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry and government officials will likely discuss these and other issues with Secretary Rice on Wednesday.

    /SK


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