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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-11
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. 49/08 08-11.03.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and AnalysiS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Ercakica on the Zurich conferenceUnder the title, Ercakica: We have no relation, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (08/03/08), reports the following:
In an exclusive statement to the Star Kibris, the Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica said that the news in the Greek Cypriot press, for the last few days, has no relation with the TRNC Presidency. Ercakica went on and said: In the Greek Cypriot press it was reported that, President Talatīs Legal Advisors Kudret Ozersay and Ahmet Sozen as well will take part at the Zurich Conference. Mr Ahmet Sozen is not Presidential Palace personnel. On the other hand Mr Kudret is in our legal team and he is an academician. I do not know whether he will take part in the meeting, however, there is no person there representing the TRNC. Mr Kudret could be there for his academic work, but I do not know.
As I said this study has no relation with us. We are after a solution which will be found as a result of negotiations. We are working for the start of a new process.
While we are engaged in such a work, it is ridiculous for a constituent assembly made up of persons from the public to engage in preparation of a constitution. Our work should no be related to such event.
I repeat, as Presidency we have no relation whatsoever, with the conference in Zurich, we have no representative. Our effort is in the direction of starting a new process through negotiations.
 Cicek reiterates the Turkish views regarding the existence of two states in Cyprus and insists on the guarantees of TurkeyTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.03.08) reports that Cemil Cicek, Turkish State Minister and Spokesman of the AKP government, has argued that Turkey and the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied part of Cyprus, wish for the solution of the problem on the island as soon as possible.
In statements to Anatolia news agency after the meeting of the Council of Ministers yesterday, Mr Cicek said: There are two separate states, two separate communities, two separate democracies, two separate equal peoples there. There are also the guarantees of Turkey.
Mr Cicek said that the Council of Ministers discussed yesterday the visits to Turkey by the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and the Iraqi president Celal Talabani. He noted that the international community expects that the Cyprus problem will come again onto the agenda after the presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus and added that they evaluated the issue with Mr Talat during the latters visit to Turkey. Cicek said the following:
Turkey and the TRNC are stating again that they wish for the solution of this problem as soon as possible. This is one of the international conflicts that lasted the longest in history. During all the negotiations until today, Turkey and the TRNC have exerted efforts for a lasting solution to the problem. Of course, there are rules for this, there are parameters. We are stating again that there are two separate states there, two separate communities, two separate democracies, two separate equal peoples. There are the guarantees of Turkey. In this sense, there is the Annan Plan, prepared by the UN, accepted by the Turkish side and rejected by the Greek Cypriot side. It is known that without going backwards from it, the negotiations will be considered again within this year. Therefore, Mr Talat has visited Turkey for an evaluation.
 Turkish Deputy Prime Minister on the Cyprus problemIllegal Bayrak television (09.03.08) broadcast the following from occupied Cyprus:
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of State in charge of Cyprus Affairs Mr Cemil Cicek has highlighted the political equality of the two sides in Cyprus and said any possible solution to the Cyprus problem will be based on this reality.
Cemil Cicek arrived in the TRNC this morning to attend the founding laying ceremony of the Faculty of Medicine at the Near East University.
The Head of the Higher Education Council Professor Dr. Yusuf Ziya Ozcan and many high ranking officials also attended the ceremony which took place at the Near East University campus this morning.
The faculty building, which is expected to be completed in July, will be a complex located on an eight thousand 500 meters square field equipped with modern technology.
Speaking during the ceremony, Cemil Cicek stressed that the Cyprus issue is the most long-lasting dispute of the close history.
`Despite of this fact, a mutually acceptable, just and lasting settlement could not be brought on the island`, he said.
Mr Cicek went on saying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has never been the reason for leaving the Cyprus problem unsolved, adding that the TRNC has always been on the side of peace.
Stating that the reason for the non-solution is the Greek Cypriot side, the Turkish Minister of State expressed the hope that 2008 will create a new opportunity for a settlement.
`We do want a solution. We hope that every one comes to realize this fact and removes the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People`.
Underlining the guarantor power of Turkey on the island, Cemil Cicek said it is out of question to back down on this right.
Also speaking, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer stated that the reason for the Greek Cypriot side to change its administration is the Turkish sides commitment to a settlement and the Annan Plan and its way of showing this to the world in a persuasive way.
Pointing to the importance of foreign contacts, the Premier said the Turkish Cypriot side will sit at the negotiation table with a strong hand.
 Talat: Solution could be found to the Cyprus problem by the end of 2008 if the Annan plan is taken as a basisIllegal Bayrak television (10.03.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has said a comprehensive solution could be found to the Cyprus problem by the end of 2008 if the Annan Plan, which was a huge body of work, was taken as a basis for a solution.
In an exclusive interview to the BRT World, President Talat expressed the belief that the change in leadership in South Cyprus would lead to a change in attitude and said that the Turkish Cypriot Side was hopeful to move forward to a comprehensive solution.
He stated that the two leaders should be engaged in a new process, which would be fully fledged manner.
The President said although the Turkish Cypriot side was disappointed with the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriot Side, they were still in support of a solution.
We have been ready for a solution since 2004. Our unchanged position is to solve the Cyprus problem in a comprehensive way`, the President said.
Stressing the need to set a timeframe for negotiations, President Talat said `you cannot negotiate indefinitely. For a comprehensive solution, a target is needed`.
The President also stressed that the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot people and Greek Cypriot people, equal status of two constituent states and the continuation of 1960 guarantee system were of paramount importance for the Turkish Cypriot side, pointing out that all these are compatible with the UN Security Council resolutions.
The President also added that the new state to be formed would be a new partnership state, not the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus and the TRNC.
Asked whether the Annan Plan and the 8th July Process would be on the negotiations table once the talks between the two leaders start, the President said the two are not alternatives of each other.
`The Annan Plan was a comprehensive settlement plan prepared at the end of years long negotiations while the 8th July process was just an agreement on procedure`, he said, reminding that the 8th July agreement was used by former Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos for his delaying tactics.
On promises made by the EU, the President pointed out that the Union has failed to implement the decisions it took soon after the referenda as a response to the Turkish Cypriot sides approval of the UN peace plan.
But, the President added that the EU would now feel more obliged to help to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.
He said the EU, which has the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece as members, cannot be an honest broker but added that the Union could facilitate a solution by encouraging the Greek Cypriot Side for a settlement.
`The EU can tell the Greek Cypriot side that an EU member country cannot be divided and that it should find a solution to the problem`, he said, adding that the lifting of the isolation will also keep the Turkish Cypriot Side in a stance in support of a solution and will increase the confidence with the EU and international community.
On relations between the two sides, President Talat said the two peoples have become more distant from each other as a result of the rejection of the UN Peace Plan and the Greek Cypriot Administrations hostile stance against the Turkish Cypriot people.
`But if the negotiations start, I am hundred percent sure that relations between the two people will start to improve` he noted, adding that the two leaders in Cyprus should prepare their peoples to a solution and should make a plan acceptable for the two sides.
Asked whether it would be possible to solve the Cyprus problem by the end of 2008, the President said `if we have good will, why not`.
Mr Talat said now we have many months. It should be very easy to concentrate on the issue. We have a huge body of work. We have the Annan Plan and work of the UN and the international community.
 Talat meets with the committees of volunteers established during the period of the Annan PlanTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.03.08), under the title There will be an initiative even if it is the last effort, publishes statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader during a reception in occupied Keryneia for the committees of volunteers established during the period of the Annan Plan.
The paper reports that Mr Talat said that he does not know yet whether the negotiations will start, but given that the whole world accepts that the solution of the Cyprus problem is a necessity, it has almost become definite that there will be an initiative for the solution of the Cyprus problem, even if it is the last effort.
He argued that the UN will have the support of the Turkish Cypriots when it launches this initiative and that they expect the same from the Greek Cypriot side as well. Mr Talat said that a leader who gives the impression of supporting peace won the elections in the Republic of Cyprus.
 Talat and Gul to participate in OIC meetings in SenegalAnkara Anatolia news agency (10/03/08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish President Abdullah Gul will leave for Senegal on Wednesday to participate in the 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference that will meet heads of state and government of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member states.
Gul will address the conference, which will be held on March 13th and 14th. Abdullah Gul, who will attend the summit as the president for the first time, is expected to hold bilateral talks during the summit meetings.
President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will also take part at the summit. OIC is expected to reaffirm its resolutions regarding lifting isolation of TRNC.
The Summit, titled "Islam in the 21st Century", is significant due to the current events and challenges facing the Islamic world including the issues of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, and Darfur.
The issue of Islamophobia has high priority on the agenda of the summit where the first report on Islamophobia by the OIC Islamophobia Observatory will be released.
OIC summit will also discuss Special Development Programme for Africa and raising trade among member states in accordance with the OIC ten-year action plan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will also represent Turkey at the summit together with President Gul.
 Ozdil Nami on his meeting with George IacovouTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.03.08), under the title Critical dance with an old wolf, publishes statements by Ozdil Nami, special representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, who will meet tomorrow with Mr George Iacovou, Presidential Commissioner.
Mr Nami said: We have made our preparation well. I do not think that my job is difficult in front of an old wolf, such as Iacovou, because, all kinds of lessons have been learned from the past and the incidents of the past. We are now looking to the future. He added that they will prepare the ground for the meeting between the leaders of the two communities.
 Avci attacks the Minister of Foreign Affairs Markos KyprianouTurkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (11.03.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, has described as unfortunate the statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Markos Kyprianou on the Cyprus problem, and alleged that these statements do not contribute to the efforts in the island and the international community towards the creation of a positive climate for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.
He claimed: It has to be noted with sorrow that especially the groundless allegations that it has been understood from Turkey that the Annan Plan remained in the past, clearly show how he looks at the Cyprus problem and the stance he will exhibit during the negotiations which are expected to start. Kyprianou, while on the one hand speaks about federation, on the other he is still seeing the Republic of Turkey as interlocutor and is trying to ignore the Turkish Cypriot side which is a partner of the federation he alleges that he believes in.
 Ankaras subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus to open office in IsraelUnder the title: Haaretz: KKTC to open trade office in Israel Todays Zaman newspaper (10/03/08) reports the following:
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) will open a trade office in Israel in the coming weeks with the assistance of the law office of Dov Weissglas, the former bureau chief of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a leading Israeli daily reported yesterday.
The Israeli daily Haaretz noted that the office will have no diplomatic status and aims to further economic dealings between Israel and northern Cyprus. Israels Foreign Ministry has tried to tread carefully around the issue, fearing a backlash in relations with the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the southern portion of the island and is a member state of the European Union, the daily stated.
In December, the same daily reported that both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had reassured Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis -- who was then visiting Israel -- that they had decided to reject a Turkish request to open a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv.
The issue was brought on the agenda personally by President Abdullah Gul when he asked his Israeli counterpart, Peres, for approval for such an office during Peres visit to Ankara in November. At the time it was reported that Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also asked Peres to examine the possibility of operating air and sea traffic between Israel and Famagusta in the KKTC.
 The co-chairperson of the German Greens Party will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus through illegal Tymvou airportTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.03.08), under the title Roth is coming to the TRNC from Ercan, reports that Claudia Roth, co-chairperson of the German Greens Party, will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus on 17 March through illegal Tymvou (Ercan) airport.
According to the paper, the aim of Roths visit will be to evaluate the situation in the occupied area of the island and to establish the influence of the isolations. Kibris argues that Mrs Roth will support the unification of the island. She is expected to stay in the occupied areas for four days and she will be accompanied by Ozcan Mutlu, German of Turkish origin MP of the Greens Party.
 Cruiserweight World Box Champion, David Haye participated in his recent boxing match wearing a short with the flag of the TRNCTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.03.08) reports that Cruiserweight World Box Champion, David Haye participated in his recent match on Sunday against Enzo Maccarinelli from Wales, wearing a short with the flag of the TRNC on his left shank. Haye became a world champion after winning the match which was watched by 20 thousand persons live and other ten millions through the TV. The paper covers the issue under the title Millions watched David Haye with TRNC short.
In addition, Turkish Taraf newspaper (10.03.08) reports that David Haye, who is the WBA and WBC world cruiserweight title holder, participated in a boxing game in London wearing the TRNC flag on his shorts.
The paper writes that David Haye spent seventeen weeks training in occupied Keryneia; however, the media in occupied Cyprus did not have any idea on the issue. David Hayes manager and trainer is Adem Esref Mehmet, a Turkish Cypriot who lives in London and the boxer was informed about Cyprus thanks to Mehmet. David Haye was training in Miami but was looking for a place in Europe to transfer his training camp, therefore he went to Cyprus. The boxer visited Cyprus in the past for holidays and he liked the Mediterranean climate. David Haye abandoned Miami and settled in occupied Kazafani. He liked Cyprus so much that without any request, according to the paper, he started wearing the TRNC flag in his shorts. As the paper writes, David Haye, who is planning to end his career in four years, is planning to participate in the last boxing match of his career in the name of the TRNC.
(ITs / CS)
 Ertugruloglu denies information regarding a bargain between Erdogan and himselfTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.03.08), under the title Either from Hatay or from Keryneia, No Problem, reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), has stated that it is wrong to discriminate the TRNC citizens, according to their place of birth.
Commenting on a report published in Afrika on Monday, Mr Ertugruloglu said that the UBP considers the Cyprus problem to be a national cause and believes that this cause should be shouldered together with Motherland Turkey.
Mr Ertugruloglu said that carrying out a bargaining with Mr Erdogan is out of the question. Afrika noted yesterday that during Mr Ertugruloglus recent visit to Turkey, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who is looking for a new leader in Cyprus and aims at filling at least the half of the TRNC parliament with MPs from Turkey, promised to support Tahsin Ertugruloglu in return for the 50 % of the UBPs candidates in the elections to be of Turkish origin.
The paper comments on Mr Ertugruloglus statements by which he denied the above information and points out that according to these statements the candidates from Turkey could be not just 50 % but 100%.
 Pertev: If there is a lesson to be learned from the 8 July agreement, is that agreements which will come to the surface through pressure on the leaders will not always be sound agreementsTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.03.08) reports that Rasit Pertev, chairman of the Peoples Party (HP), has stated that if there is a lesson to be learned from the 8 July agreement, is that agreements which will come to the surface through pressure on the leaders will not always be sound agreements.
In statements yesterday, Mr Pertev alleged that the fact that President Christofias says that the 8 July agreement should be the basis of the new negotiating process, is not a good sign. He alleged that such a demand should not be accepted by the Turkish side and called on the Turkish side to stop saying yes to everything on such issues. Mr Pertev argued also that the demand of the Turkish side for negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan is wrong.
 Young diplomats from Turkey visit the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.03.08) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, has alleged that the Greek Cypriots calculations was nonsense, but these calculations have not been realized.
In statements during a meeting yesterday with young diplomats from Turkey, Mr Soyer alleged that the active policy which the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey follow during the past four years is supported by the world and added: We must walk with reason against the winds.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.03.08) refers to the issue and notes that Mr Soyer described the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the invisible strength of each nation. He said that the Turkish Ministry is always by the side of the Turkish Cypriots who are struggling for their survival.
The paper notes that the young diplomats met also with Fatma Ekenoglu, speaker of the so-called assembly, who briefed them on the developments which took place on the Cyprus problem since the 1960s. She said that the Greek Cypriots changed their leader who did not want a solution and that a new negotiating process is expected now.
 Cakici accuses the breakaway regime of supporting environmental crimes in the occupied areas of Cyprus by giving away land to foreign private companiesTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.03.08), under the title Forest lands, bargaining for 300 donums, reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has stated that the government of the breakaway regime is in bargaining with a private company from Turkey for a forest land of 300 donums (a land measure of 1000 square meters) in the area of occupied Trikomo.
Noting that thousands of people protested yesterday the decision of the council of ministers to lease low forest land to a private company from Turkey, Mr Cakici said that the people is defending their country and thanked everyone who does this. Mr Cakici said that 169 donums of land known as Cyprus Garden and Istanbul Mucahitler (Fighters) Beach has been leased to a private company with a decision of the council of ministers and added that the bargaining for giving away about 300 donums in the southern part of this area is still going on.
Mr Cakici noted that the last forest area through which the inhabitants of Trikomo and the surrounding villages could have access to the sea and have picnic, are about to be given away to foreign companies. He said that an environmental crime is under way in many areas from occupied Limnitis to Karpass peninsula and accused the self-styled government of supporting many of these crimes.
 Aid to occupied Cyprus on the riseTurkish Daily News newspaper (10/03/08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkey will significantly boost its annual financial aid to northern Cyprus, announced the Aid Commission of Nicosia Embassy.
The planned amount of financial aid for 2008 is expected to be YTL 790.2 million. Last year, only YTL 550 million of a planned total of YTL 791 million was used. After deducting losses due to new exchange rates, a total of YTL 218 million is expected to be carried over to this year's projects.
Infrastructure investment will consume YTL 312 million of the total, while YTL 152 million will be designated for defense allocation.
The terms of service for the assistance and credits supplied by Turkey were determined in the Protocol for Northern Cyprus Projects for 2008 Fiscal Year which was signed between Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek.
Turkey's ambassador to Nicosia and the head of the Aid Commission Turkekul Kurttekin wrote on the preface of the booklets that the aid had not yet reached the desired amount, and that the projects had not been hindered by deficiencies in meeting deadlines, delays in tenders and problems in implementation.
 The Municipalities Union of the Turkic World will open an office in the occupied areas of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (11.03.08) reports that the Municipalities Union of the Turkic World (TDBB) will open a representation office in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The paper notes that the Union has already opened offices in Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.
According to a statement issued by the self-styled municipality of occupied Morfou, the opening of the office will take place on Thursday in the building of the headquarters of the Turkish Cypriot Municipalities. The delegation of the TDBB will be headed by Huseyin Tanrisevdi, vice president of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and head of the partys Local Authorities.
 The illegal regime participates in the Golden Glove Kick-box Championship in AzerbaijanTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (10.03.08) reports that the TRNC Federation of Judo, Hapkido and Kick-box has participated in the Golden Glove Kick-box Championship that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan between 8-9 March 2008 in the memory of the Azeri leader Haydar Aliyev.
According to the paper, the delegation presented political and tourist leaflets of the illegal regime to Azeri officials.
Apart from the illegal regime, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Russia and Georgia have participated in the event.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 8, 9 and 10 March 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:
a) Cyprus problem: An editorial by Yusuf Kanli in the Turkish Daily News (08/03/08) examines the prospects for renewed Cyprus talks, noting that Talat has challenged Christofias to show he has the political backing to make compromises in Cyprus.
In Milliyet (08/03(08) Ilter Turkmen wonders if a solution to the Cyprus problem will be easier with President Christofias. In his commentary, the columnist points out that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots prefer to conduct talks based on the Annan Plan parameters, while the Greek Cypriots do not. He says: "The Annan Plan foresaw a united Cyprus becoming a EU member, together with the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots... Also, the plan was based on the premise that Turkey would join the EU... Since south Cyprus is now an EU member, the new conditions must be addressed." Turkmen concludes: "If negotiations are to resume, it would be beneficial to consider a distribution of duties between Turkey and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus]. We must let the TRNC conduct its own negotiations except for the Guarantee and Alliance accords and similar security issues. Let the TRNC exercise its own right of self-determination."
Semih Idiz, also in Milliyet (08/03/08), argues that the hawks in Ankara are worried about renewed talks in Cyprus, because they do not trust Talat and the Turkish Cypriots. Ever since Rauf Denktas left the scene, Idiz says in his article, "Ankara has significantly lots its influence over the Turkish Cypriots."
In Cumhuriyet (08/03/08) Cuneyt Arcayurek maintains that under the guise of seeking a solution in Cyprus, "the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader wants the TRNC to sever its ties to Turkey -- even though he, himself, went to the Athens immediately after he was elected -- and the Turkish troops -- whom Talat describes as an occupation force -- to leave Cyprus." In the second part of his column, the columnist argues that Talat "is dying to unite, and had it not been for Turkey, he would have agreed to the many unacceptable Greek Cypriot conditions a long time ago." Arcayurek believes that the Greek Cypriots will never agree to a federation based on two equal communities, and faults Ankara for rejecting Rauf Denktas who defended independence and replaced him with Talat who is against independence.
b) Debate over incursion of N. Iraq: Arguing that in its operation against northern Iraq Turkey was simply imitating the new US concept of "Effect Based Operation" [the columnist himself provides the English term] that aims at achieving specific goals rather than the total destruction of a hostile country, Enis Berberoglu says in a column in Hurriyet (09/03/08) that the Turkish military operation achieved the MGK [National Security Council] objectives of destroying specific targets in northern Iraq and of enhancing political, trade, and energy cooperation with Iraq. While the destruction of the Zap camp ahead of Newroz celebrations was the fulfillment of the military objective, Talabani's visit is a sign that Turkey is also achieving its non-military objective. He advises the critics of the operation to keep this point in mind, noting that 10,000 soldiers could have only achieved such a limited target and were not enough to occupy Kirkuk and Mosul anyway.
Pointing to the "comical" situation that has arisen after the military operation whereby CHP finds itself aligned against the Army and the AKP aligned with the Army, Murat Belge notes in his column for Radikal (09/03/08) that this AKP-Army alignment under the current political conjunction cannot be considered a genuine or lasting "unity" or "rapprochement," it is more of a product of the amorphous AKP shifting towards nationalist-rightist camp under criticism of doomsayers. While this shift to chauvinism will still not render the AKP any more legitimate in the eyes of the "owners of the country," it will, however, harm the society in the long run as the EU objective is gradually relegated to oblivion.
In her column for Sabah (09/03/08) Nazli Ilicak criticizes Deniz Baykal for fomenting an unnecessary debate on the timing of the army withdrawal from Iraq and then Erdogan for attempting to corner Baykal by speaking like an army general. She warns that this conjunctional rapprochement between the AKP and the Army should not be viewed as lasting, as was shown by the CHP-Army alliance against Talabani visit and the colonel's snub of Talabani. She says the politicians should stop using the army for scoring points against each other.
In a word statement to Star (09/03/08), Education Minister Huseyin Celik condemns the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the (MHP) (Nationalist Action Party) for their position on the ground operation and also criticizes the General Staff for issuing a statement against the CHP and MHP, saying such a behavior by the army is harmful to democracy, adding that where politics is concerned Prime Minister Erdogan, and not the army, should reply to Baykal. Celik also defends YOK chief against CHP, criticizes rectors not allowing headscarved students into universities, and supports the mandatory religious classes, saying the State Council's ruling on the illegality of such classes is obsolete because the State Council made its ruling on the basis of the former curriculum whereas the 2009 textbooks will make mention of Aleviism.
In an article entitled "A Political Party which has remembered that 'Military should respect people elected by voters'", Yeni Safak (09/03/08) columnist Tamer Korkmaz denies allegations that Turkey ended its cross-border operation in northern Iraq due to US pressure. He says: "The operation was originally planned to be completed within one week to 10 days. It was a very successful operation and it ended on the eighth day because it had achieved its objectives." Korkmaz also criticizes the General Staff for accusing the opposition parties of causing more damage than "traitors" which he describes as an unfortunate statement.
In an article entitled "We do not need advice from anybody," in Vakit (09/03/08) columnist Huseyin Uzmez asserts that Turkish generals sent troops into northern Iraq on the instructions of the United States and then ended the operation and pulled troops out of Iraq after encountering a bunch of Kurdish militiamen. He says: "Of course it is not as easy to teach a lesson to the United States' servants as staging a military coup once in every ten years."
In an article entitled "It pulled out of Iraq and entered politics," in Vakit (09/03/08) columnist Lutfu Oflaz criticizes the Turkish General Staff for issuing an ultimatum to the Republican People's Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, because they had made critical statements about the ground operation in northern Iraq. He says: "Only the Prime Minister should have responded to criticism leveled by the CHP and the MHP. The Chief of the General Staff cannot respond to the opposition parties on behalf of the Prime Minister because it would be tantamount to showing disrespect for both democracy and the Prime Minister."
In an article entitled "Post-operation woes call into question Turkey's skills in dancing with US," Sunday's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu highlights statements made by Turkish diplomats and foreign observers about the Turkish incursion in Iraq and relations between the two countries. Noting that United States no longer wants to play the middleman in bringing Turkey and Iraq closer, Sariibrahimoglu says: "Instead, the US wants the two neighbors to broaden their dialogue through diplomacy."
In an article in Zaman (10/03/08) entitled "How the Turkish Military caused Bush to lose sleep" by its Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts on the basis of "information we have obtained from a very reliable source in Washington" that US officials woke up the US president in the early hours of 21 February morning to inform him that the Turkish military had launched a large-scale ground offensive into northern Iraq. Aslan cites this incident as proof of the amount of surprise caused by the Turkish military incursion in the US capital as well as the degree of importance attached by Washington to the operation. He also claims that "mutual suspicions" between Ankara and Washington have deepened in the wake of the latest cross-border operation and that absent signs that Turkey is willing to take steps toward a "political solution, the Bush administration is unlikely to give the green light for a new ground campaign into northern Iraq.
In a commentary in Cumhuriyet (10/03/08) Erol Manisali argues that the limited ground operation and Talabani's visit were all part of the plan laid down during the Erdogan-Bush meeting on 5 November and that the ultimate objective of this plan is to improve the American image in Turkey and drag Turkey further into the Greater Middle East Project. Manisali says as a former CIA chief Gates staged a very successful game from which the United States, AKP, and DTP emerged the winners and the rest of Turkey the loser. The editorial says it is now clear that the United States is working for a lose federation in the region based on moderate Islamic ideology.
Mustafa Balbay takes a similar position on the developments in his column in Cumhuriyet (10/03/08), yet in a report based on intelligence information from Iraq he states that the ground operation was successful in that it created divisions among the Kurds and weakened the PKK.