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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-09-13

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 <>



  • [01] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Turkish troops occupying EU territory
  • [02] Talat on the Turkish occupation army
  • [03] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Turkeys refusal to abide by its EU obligations
  • [04] The Speaker of the TGNA concluded his illegal visit to the occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [05] The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Koksal Toptan issued threads for a 3rd invasion after Papadopoulos statements
  • [06] Gul to visit occupied Cyprus between 18-19 of September
  • [07] Soyer on the Turkish troops occupying territories of Cyprus since 1974
  • [08] The Piri Reis ship is conducting researches in Eastern Mediterranean
  • [09] Rice to travel to Istanbul to attend summit on Iraq
  • [10] Serbia proposes a military agreement with Turkey
  • [11] DTP might consider withdrawing from parliament
  • [12] Turkish current account deficit said $2.2 billion
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 12 September 2007
  • [14] Racism or transformation


    [01] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Turkish troops occupying EU territory

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.09.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    "Declaring the Turkish Armed Forces on the island of Cyprus as the enemy does not serve peace," said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman on Wednesday.

    Bilman's comments came after the Greek Cypriot administration leader Tassos Papadopoulos made remarks against the Turkish Armed Forces in Cyprus.

    In a weekly press briefing, Bilman indicated that "Mr Papadopoulos seems to have forgotten that Turkey, along with Greece and Britain, is a guarantor state and that the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces is based on international agreements. We have to remind Papadopoulos that referring to the Turkish Armed Forces as the enemy does not serve peace. It is unacceptable to label the Turkish Armed Forces as the enemy."

    [02] Talat on the Turkish occupation army

    Illegal Bayrak television (12.09.07) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the Greek Cypriot Administrations insistence on seeing the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus as its sole enemy is the main obstacle in the way of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The Presidents words are in reaction to an earlier statement by the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos, who called the Turkish Armed Forces as their sole enemy.

    Mr Talat said the statement has proved once again that Papadopoulos will reject any initiative aimed at finding a solution to the problem, but he repeated that the Turkish Cypriot Side will continue its efforts towards a solution despite the Greek Cypriot sides negative attitude.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat told the TAK news agency that Mr Papadopoulos gave the message that his only objective is to spread the sovereignty of the Greek Cypriot Administration to the whole island.

    This is a proof that Papadopoulos has been using the 8th July process to achieve this objective, he noted.

    The President said, by addressing the Turkish Army as their sole enemy, the Greek Cypriot Leader has sent a wrong message to his people about the real causes of the Cyprus problem.

    This is the proof that he does not know the Cyprus problem and that he does not have the capacity to contribute to the efforts aimed at reaching a settlement in Cyprus, the President said.

    Everyone knows that Turkish troops are in Cyprus on the basis of the rights stemming from standing international agreement. This need arose because of the plans like the Akritas Plan, which was drawn up by Greek Cypriots who included Papadopoulos himself with the aim of spreading their sovereignty over the whole island, the President noted.

    Mr Talat went on to say that the presence of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus is one of the fundamental factors in maintaining the public order and security and that this fact has also been observed by Greek Cypriots visiting the North.

    He pointed out that violent attacks between 1963 and 1974 were put to an end by the Turkish Peace Forces.

    The President said that the main obstacle in the way of a solution is the Greek Cypriot leaderships insistence to present the Turkish Armed Forces as their `sole enemy` and the Cyprus problem, as an issue of ;occupation of the island by Turkey.

    He said that Papadopoulos who still thinks that the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island will be enough to bring a solution to the Cyprus problem, will continue to be the main obstacle in the way of a solution.

    An important step will be taken towards a solution on the day when the Greek Cypriot leadership will accept the fact that the Cyprus problem can only be solved by a comprehensive agreement to be reached between the two peoples of the island as two politically equal partners in Cyprus, the President said.

    [03] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Turkeys refusal to abide by its EU obligations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.09.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    Those who remind us of our duties in regard to Turkey's EU process should also recall their own responsibilities, Levent Bilman, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday.

    Asked whether Turkey would open its ports to Greek Cypriot administration, Bilman stated that this matter caused long discussions. Our stance towards this issue is clear. We maintain our determination, he remarked.

    EU could not fulfill its commitments that it made for Turkish Cypriots in 2004. Turkish Cypriot people still live under international embargoes and isolations, Bilman indicated.

    Replying to a question on the reform process in Turkey, Bilman stressed that the Turkish government is resolute to continue this process.

    [04] The Speaker of the TGNA concluded his illegal visit to the occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.09.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia: Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan departed from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Wednesday.

    Toptan paid his first formal visit abroad to the TRNC after being elected as the speaker of the Turkish Parliament.

    Toptan held meetings with TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, Parliament Speaker Fatma Ekenoglu and Premier Ferdi Sabit Soyer during his stay in the TRNC.

    On Mr Topmans visit Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.09.07) reported the following from occupied Keryneia:

    Cypriot Turks have overcome several problems despite isolations, Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said on Wednesday.

    Speaking at a ceremony in Girne (occupied Kyreneia) province of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Toptan underlined, Cyprus problem is still there. Those who think that the problem must be settled should acknowledge the facts. There are two communities, two democracies and two states in the island.

    Toptan also remarked that Turkey and TRNC are ready to contribute to the settlement of the problem."

    [05] The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Koksal Toptan issued threads for a 3rd invasion after Papadopoulos statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.09.07) reports in its first page about the reaction on the statements of President Tassos Papadopoulos that our only enemy is the Turkish occupation army under the title Thread to the Greek Cypriots by the Turkish Armed Forces and writes that Papadopoulos statements caused the reaction of both Talat and of Ankara who issued threads and warnings.

    The paper writes that Koksal Toptan, the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly who was visiting occupied Cyprus, issued upon his departures threads as if there is going to be a third invasion against the Greek Cypriots.

    We are a nation which follows the words of beloved Ataturk peace in the country, peace in the world, but let everybody be careful. Let no one win our enmity. Let no one become friend with our enemy, he stated.


    [06] Gul to visit occupied Cyprus between 18-19 of September

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.09.07) reports in its first page that the new President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, will visit occupied Cyprus between 18-19 of September. This will be Guls first visit to a foreign country after his election to the post of the president.

    The paper writes that Mr Gul will go to Strasbourg on 2-3 of October, after a special invitation of the Assembly of the Council of Europe where he will deliver a speech on the human rights.


    [07] Soyer on the Turkish troops occupying territories of Cyprus since 1974

    Illegal Bayrak television (12.09.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has reacted strongly to the statements issued by the Greek Cypriot Leader Tasos Papadopoulos concerning the presence of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus.

    Calling Mr Papadopoulos words as unacceptable, the Premier said one who sees the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus as an enemy, is the one who sees the Turkish Cypriot people as an enemy as well.

    He complained that the Greek Cypriot Leader was working towards spreading enmity instead of peace and love between the two peoples on the island who suffered bitter experiences in the past.

    Speaking during a foundation laying ceremony in Girne (occupied Keryneia) today, Prime Minister Soyer criticized the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos for an earlier statement, in which he called the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus as the sole enemy of the Greek Cypriot people.

    Calling it as an unfortunate statement, the Premier said that Mr Papadopoulos who had worked hard to achieved ENOSIS the unification of the island to Greece and who is one of the founding members of EOKA, has once again proved that he intended to maintain enmity in Cyprus.

    By declaring Turkish troops as their sole enemy, Mr Papadopoulos has once again demonstrated that he intends to sew enmity instead of opening doors to peace in Cyprus where the two communities had suffered bitter experiences, he said.

    He pointed out that policies being pursued by the Greek Cypriot Leadership had only brought bloodshed and tears for both communities and poisoned the relations between Turkey and Greece, but he added that all such attempts will turn out to be in vain.

    Mr Soyer also called on the Greek Cypriot Leader to show the necessary will towards bringing about a solution to the Cyprus Problem, one which recognizes the political equality of the Turkish people, Turkeys effective guarantorship and EU principles.

    Also criticizing the Greek Cypriot Leader for accusing President Talat of lacking the necessary political will during the negotiations process, Mr Soyer challenged Mr Papadopoulos to return to the negotiations table to prove who has the true intentions towards settling the Cyprus problem.

    [08] The Piri Reis ship is conducting researches in Eastern Mediterranean

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.09.07) reports in its inside pages that the Piri Reis ship started carrying out geological researches in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    As the paper writes, Piri Reis started its researches from the 10th September and will continue until the 5th October. The ship will conduct researches on earthquake activities and will examine the possibilities of a tsunami thread in the region.

    The paper writes that officials from the University of Izmir, to which the ship belongs, stated that the information that Piri Reis will collect will be useful both for the science and the society.


    [09] Rice to travel to Istanbul to attend summit on Iraq

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.09.07) reports the following:

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to attend a late October conference of Iraq's neighbors in Istanbul to discuss ways of stabilizing the country, the US State Department said on Tuesday.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters the meeting's aim was to "help with the strategic stability of Iraq," noting that it might allow Rice to meet with Iranian or Syrian foreign ministers, although nothing was scheduled at this time.

    The meeting, which the Turkish government announced would be held on October 31 and November 1, will bring together representatives from countries neighboring Iraq, the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and the Group of Eight nations, adding Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan. Officials cautioned that there might be a slight shift of one or two days on the set date for the conference. The first expanded meeting for discussing the quagmire in Iraq, which Turkey had hoped to host at the beginning, was held at foreign ministerial level in Egypt in May.

    The United States accuses Iran of funneling weapons into Iraq that have been used to attack some of the 168,000 US troops trying to restore stability for more than four years after US-led forces toppled former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It also accuses Syria of allowing arms and foreign fighters to cross its border into Iraq, where hundreds of people die each week in sectarian and other violence which erupted after the US -led invasion. Iran and Syria deny fomenting the violence in Iraq.

    The same group of countries gathered in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in May at a meeting that failed to produce sufficient tangible progress on supporting Iraq.

    At that meeting, Rice had a brief encounter with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki over lunch but held more substantial talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on the sidelines of the conference.

    The Istanbul gathering will follow the release on Monday of a key report on Iraq in Washington by US President George W. Bush's top officials in Iraq, military commander Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. "It is obvious that minds are confused in Washington regarding the US presence in Iraq. At a time like this, we believe that the gathering in Istanbul will provide a window of opportunity for the international community in seeking joint ways to help establish stability in Iraq," said a Turkish diplomat.

    [10] Serbia proposes a military agreement with Turkey

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News newspaper (12.09.07) publishes the following report by Serkan Demirtas:

    Serbia proposed the signing of a military and defense cooperation agreement with Turkey yesterday, marking it a first in bilateral ties between the two countries.

    Serbian Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Zdravko Ponos made the proposal, during a visit to Ankara.

    Ottoman Turks ruled Serbia for three centuries following the Kosovo War in 1389, creating a long-lasting enmity between Turks and Serbs. The lack of sympathy between the two peoples still exists, especially after the tragedies suffered by Bosnian Muslims in the early 90s. Ultranationalist Serb activists were responsible for the massacres where thousands of people were killed.

    The international community put pressure on Serbia to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The European Union said Monday that a deal was reached with Serbia on Belgrade's further cooperation with the ICTY but Gen. Ratko Mladcic, former Bosnian Serb military chief who has been indicted by the ICTY for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, is still a fugitive.

    Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaar Büyükan1t and his Serbian counterpart met yesterday. It was the first encounter between the two armed forces since the dissolution of Yugoslavia and foundation of Serbia, diplomatic sources told the Turkish Daily News.

    There has been no agreement between the two armed forces for future cooperation, said the sources, pointing to Belgrade's eagerness to join NATO. According to the sources, Lt. Gen. Ponos asked for Turkey's backing in their bid. They need Turkey's approval for membership to NATO where unanimity is required.

    If the commanders of the two armed forces agree on signing a framework agreement, the governments will step in and realize the signing, sources noted. Turkey and Serbia developed bilateral relations in recent years following former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's visit to Belgrade in 2005. Turkey supports the United Nations' report on Kosovo that envisages independence for Kosovo.

    There are around 50,000 ethnic Turks residing in Kosovo.

    [11] DTP might consider withdrawing from parliament

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (11.09.07) reports the following:

    Criticizing the decisions made by the courts that the hearing of lawsuits brought against the DTP [Democratic Society Party] deputies should be maintained, DTP parliamentary group leader Ahmet Turk said that they "might walk out of the parliament." He said: "We will go home if they create obstacles on our way and obstruct initiatives for peace."

    A report in Hewler, a high-circulation newspaper published in Irbil, claimed under the headline "Kurds Out" that "Action has been taken to oust the Kurds from the [Turkish] parliament." The report said: "The 9th Criminal Court in Istanbul decided to maintain the trial of Aysel Tugluk, deputy from Diyarbakir, and Ayla Akat Ata, deputy from Batman. The court ignored the immunity of the two deputies. Its decision is unprecedented in Turkey's history. Another court continues to hear the case that has been brought against another DTP deputy, Sebahat Tuncel. The court's decision on the trial is based on Article 14 of the Constitution. However, no one has been tried in that way thus far. The three women will be deprived of their status as deputies and ousted from the parliament if the courts decide to convict them. As such, the DTP parliamentary group will be dissolved."

    In a statement to the same newspaper, Ahmet Turk said that their work is obstructed and that they have become a target. He disclosed that they might walk out of the parliament. Stressing that they see the parliament as the place where the Kurdish problem can be solved, he asserted: "We have chosen the parliament as the place where progress can be achieved in peacefully solving all the problems. We are not in the parliament for the sake of a few Turkish liras. We might be forced to go home. But, others will also be affected by the problem."

    Assessing Mayor of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir's statement related to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turk said that his remarks were interpreted in a wrong way. He asserted: "Erdogan accused Baydemir of not working to provide services. He said that they will take over the mayor's office in Diyarbakir from the DTP in 2009. Baydemir reacted by saying: 'We cannot give Diyarbakir away. Diyarbakir is a castle. Come and get it if you want to do so.' Of course, what Baydemir meant when he said that was democratic elections. However, the state, government, and media organs in Turkey misinterpret everything we say. That is because they want to obstruct the initiatives that can lead to the solution of the Kurdish problem."

    Recalling the criticism terrorist Abdullah Ocalan made against the DTP, Turk said: "Of course, Ocalan is a human being. He is a Kurd. He, too, has the right to criticize us - just like all the Kurds and the other people.

    [12] Turkish current account deficit said $2.2 billion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.09.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's current account deficit grew 25.1 percent and reached 2.2 billion USD in July 2007 over to the same month last year.

    Turkish Central Bank released on Wednesday its report on the balance of payments in July 2007.

    According to information given by the bank, current account deficit rose 2.1 percent to 21.3 billion USD in January-July 2007 period.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 12 September 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and articles from the Turkish press of 12 September 2007 on the foiled bomb attack in Ankara, Guls visit to the Southeast and other issues, as follows: A report under the title "We would have immediately identified them if there were cameras" in Hurriyet quotes Ercument Yilmaz, chief of the Ankara Police Department, as saying that materials used for making explosives which included TNT, ammonium nitrate, LPG bottles, electric detonators, fuse, mobile phones, and inflammable liquids were discovered by a police dog in a van parked in a multi-storey car park in Ankara during a routine check early yesterday. Yilmaz says that the police had tightened security and intensified searches as part of a five-phase plan aimed at finding explosives that could be used for carrying out bomb attacks on the anniversaries of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the military coup staged in Turkey on 12 September 1980.

    A report entitled "Bomb expert: There were more than one targets" quotes an unidentified bomb disposal expert as saying that terrorists who had parked the van laden with explosives were probably planning to attack more than one targets because the quantity of explosives found in the van indicated that they would be used for making several bombs. He notes: "Those materials discovered would either be used for carrying out attacks simultaneously in different places or the multi-storey building would be destroyed by planting bombs at every floor."

    In an article entitled "Ercument Yilmaz and his team's achievement" Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan says that the Turkish Federal Police Department has intensified security because it is aware that Turkey is one of the potential targets of fundamentalist and separatist terrorists. Noting that the discovery of the explosive-laden van demonstrated that Turkey is not defenseless against terrorist attacks, Babahan comments: "Security forces which have taken effective measures and were placed on alert showed that they were capable of thwarting plans devised by terrorists."

    Under the banner headline, "Rocky's Victory," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the car bomb discovered in a multi-story car park in the Sihhiye district of Ankara yesterday was detected by a police dog named Rocky. According to the report, the bomb would have made an enormous hole in the center of Turkey's capital if it had exploded.

    In an article entitled "What if Israel attacks Iran via Turkey?", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul reiterates his claim that Israel's recent intrusion into Syrian airspace was intended to test the capability of Syria and Iran's air defense systems as well as to conduct a rehearsal for long-range air strikes against Iran. Karagul advises Ankara to ponder the possibility that Israel might take advantage of military agreements with Turkey allowing it to conduct training flights in Turkish airspace to carry out unexpected air raids on Iran over Turkey. He also links the recent incident involving the flight of a B-52 bomber loaded with nuclear warheads across the United States to what he describes as US and Israeli plans to hit Iran's nuclear facilities.

    In an article in Yeni Safak entitled "Israeli-Turkish axis in the Middle East", Sernur Yassikaya, a foreign policy expert, underlines the significance of the absence of any references on the General Staff's Website to the recent incident involving Israeli military aircraft's use of Turkish airspace as a violation. Yassikaya argues that seen in this light, "Israel's operation against Syria" constitutes evidence of the emergence of "a new dimension in Turkish-Israeli military relations." He also claims that the Turkish side of Turkish-Israeli relations is on the whole managed by the General Staff.

    A front-page report in Vakit entitled "Mossad involvement suspected in bombing plot" quotes Bulent Orakoglu, former chief of the police intelligence, as saying in connection with the foiled bomb attack in Ankara yesterday that Israel is using terrorism to get from Turkey what it cannot obtain by using diplomacy.

    Under the headline, "Treacherous bombing plot thwarted," Zaman runs a front-page report which asserts that the Office of the Ankara Governor has disclosed that the materials used in making the bomb discovered in a car park in Ankara yesterday are of the same kind used by the terrorist PKK.

    Under the headline, "Bomb Panic," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which poses the question whether the target of the attempted bomb attack in Ankara yesterday was Prime Minister Erdogan.

    A front-page report in Bugun entitled "Who was the target of the bomb?" cites the Prime Ministry building, Ataturk's Mausoleum, the US Embassy, and the Israeli Embassy as the possible targets of yesterday's foiled bomb plot in Ankara yesterday.

    In an editorial entitled "What does the draft include?" Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi criticizes the draft Constitution drawn up by Ergun Ozbudun because it is inspired by the current Constitution written in 1982 which, Eksi notes, places the State's interests above civil freedoms rather than the previous Constitution drawn up in 1961 which places a high priority on individuals and freedoms. Eksi also points out that the draft Constitution does not place strong emphasis on preserving Turkey's territorial integrity, adherence to Ataturk's reforms, and safeguarding national unity and democracy.

    In an article entitled "How Could the Constitution be 'Civil'?" Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz reminds that the current Constitution was also written by a committee consisting of a group of academics despite the general conviction that it was masterminded by the military in 1980. He comments: "Neither non-governmental organizations were consulted nor care was taken to ensure that the Constitution reflected the opinions of all segments of society. The situation that we are witnessing today is not much different. I really wonder how this Constitution will be a 'civil Constitution" if that point is not taken into consideration."

    In an article entitled "Secret Desires," Milliyet columnist Melih Asik says that various organizations, including the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association voiced their complaints because the new Constitution is being written by a handful of people behind closed doors. He says: "Could the members of the AKP delegation in Parliament who have been hand-picked by their leaders write a new constitution that could satisfy all segments of society? Could those people who are mainly concerned about their personal interests and their party make such a sacrifice? Could they act independently of their leader? I doubt that they could."

    In an article entitled "Kurdish Issue in the spotlight," Turkish Daily News columnist Mehmet Ali Birand says that Gul's visit to five provinces in the southeastern part of Turkey is intended to show that the Kurdish question is the most important problem in Turkey and it needs to be addressed without delay. He comments: "Turkey casts the Kurdish issue high on the agenda. The current presidential visit that started yesterday is the first sign. One objective is to take the region's pulse. Another sign came when Efkan Ala, who served a colourful 4-year term as governor in the Southeast, was appointed as Prime Ministry Undersecretary."

    In an article entitled "The Commander-in-chief's First Visit," Referans columnist Nuray Basaran says that Gul's visit is aimed at boosting morale among Turkish troops conducting operations against the PKK in southeast. She notes: "Those who have been saying in and outside of the Turkish Grand National Assembly for days that they would not describe the PKK as a terrorist organization should draw important conclusions from this visit." Basaran also predicts that Gul is poised to launch a project aimed at protecting soldiers against landmines in collaboration with the government.

    In an article entitled "We know who are encouraging them," Ortadogu columnist Yildiray Cicek accuses the DTP of continuing to act as the mouthpiece of the PKK and spreading its propaganda by taking advantage of its MPs in the Turkish Parliament and encouragement provided by the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. He says: "Every statement made and action taken by DTP deputies result from the vacuum created by the AKP within the government."

    In an editorial entitled "The need to restore normalcy," Turkish Daily News columnist Yusuf Kanli calls for normalizing the political situation in Turkey and says: "The visit of President Abdullah Gul to four southeastern cities that started yesterday, in this regard, is a major step taken in the right direction. The new president of the country is declaring with this visit that the state mechanism, which was running in low gear since April because of the presidential crisis and parliamentary elections, has to be left behind and Turkey should move again to high gear. That is a must for economic and political stability."

    In an article entitled "What is on the table?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak accuses former Parliament Speaker Husamettin Cindoruk of acting as a mouthpiece for "putschists" in warning the Government against changing certain articles of the Constitution and asserting that Abdullah Gul could be ousted within a few months. Dilipak holds "a gang version of the forces that want a military takeover" responsible for the foiled bomb assault in Ankara and cautions that a possible takeover attempt would be crushed by "anti-coup forces" and that its architects could be "lynched" by the people if they were to use force against protesting masses.

    In an article entitled "An important visit at a delicate time", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar asserts that recent reports claiming that US military officers are holding regular meetings with the PKK on Mount Kandil are "not good news at all for Turkey's relations with its allies." He also explains why President Gul's ongoing visits to "Kurdish southeastern provinces" "could not have been better timed."

    In an article entitled "Why should a Muslim Oghuz Turk not become President of Turkey?", Milli Gazete columnist Mehmet Sevket Eygi claims that if "certain Whites" [elite members of the Turkish Establishment] are "angry" at Abdullah Gul's election as president, it is because Gul's presidency violates certain "secret protocols" stating that Turks of Oghuz descent in this country may not become president.

    [14] Racism or transformation

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (12.09.07) publishes the following commentary by Dogu Ergil:

    I did not know what racism was until I went to the United States for graduate studies. One of the first classes I had to attend was Relations and Politics of Race.

    This was a novelty to me, and I came to realize that there were racial problems in another world. My second experience came to me as a distasteful soul searching. For a while I was spending time with a female African American student. When we strolled through the streets of downtown Philadelphia in the early 1970s or sat down in coffeehouses, people shot us disapproving glances and the like. All of this irritated me to the point of refraining from going out with her though it caused me pain to succumb to such pressure. I had met with no such collective sentiment in my own country and thus decided that we Turks were free of racism.

    The first incident that shook my firm belief was a statement by a fellow graduate student in the Ph.D. program at New York State University-Binghamton a few years later. The director of the sociology department had invited new doctoral candidates to his home for a welcome party so we could meet each other and our instructors. I introduced myself as a Turk. To me this meant being a citizen of Turkey and was also an ethnic identity. I had no idea that these two could be two separate entities until another student introduced himself as an Armenian from Istanbul, Turkey. I was dumbstruck. Not that I did not know we had citizens of Armenian, Greek and other origins, but the way an individual identity was expressed by distinguishing between ethnic (or cultural) and official/legal components had amazed me. The reality that someone could be an Armenian or anything other but an ethnic Turk and a citizen of Turkey came to me as a surprise. From then on I began to question every official definition, trying to differentiate between individual and collective identities and definitions. The world was simple and comfortable no longer. However, this way I could better understand why non-ethnic Turks felt as though they were under pressure and subjected to unfair treatment being forced legally to be a Turk despite being quite ready to be loyal citizens of the Republic of Turkey.

    The authoritarian, exclusive and unequal official definition of citizenship has once again surfaced with the racist statements of the director of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) Professor Yusuf Halacoglu. The Armenian question is one of official Turkeys main concerns. First of all there is a definitional problem. For Armenians and many foreigners it means genocidal treatment of Armenian citizens by the Ottoman government in 1915. For Turks who have adopted the official line, it is matter of Armenian betrayal to the government and country struggling with Russian occupation and ensuing deportation.

    The Turkish side has all along defended the line that the incidents had neither the intention nor the quality of genocide, which implies a deliberate and official policy of wiping out a racial, ethnic or religious group completely. This rationale has also been adopted by the republican governments though Armenians and others argue that a deliberate crime was planned and executed to get rid of the Armenians on Ottoman soil.

    Now there is a fresh entry to the official record that surprised many of us. Professor Halacoglu claimed that unfortunately, those Armenians who feared for their lives converted to Islam and took on Alevi Kurdish or Sunni Muslim Turkish identities. He also asserted that there are no Alevi Kurds and those who say so are originally of Turkish ethnic origin. The most frightening of his statements was that since 1936, the state has conducted an in-depth survey of Armenians who converted to Islam and the list is in his (the states) possession.

    This is an utterly racist outburst, but not one paid attention to the timing of it. Halacoglu revealed these official racist practices of tracking down former Armenians right before the Jewish Anti-Defamation League declared its acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman era. This means the certain adoption of a similar resolution in the US Congress that has been delayed for some time. What the Turkish state reflex means is that Armenians did not disappear in whole, they just changed shape. Overnight they transformed into Turks and Muslims. Which is more respectful for a state -- to get rid of a people for the wrongdoings of some, or to make them invisible by forcing them conversion and proselytizing?


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