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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-02-17
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 32/09 17.02.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 US Senator met with the Turkish Cypriot leaderTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with the US Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and Illinois State Finance Minister Alexi Giannoulias. No statement was issued regarding the meeting. Talats adviser Hasan Sarica attended the meeting as well as some officials from both sides. The U.S. senator and his delegation are expected to visit Turkey and Greece after Cyprus.
On the same issue, Afrika paper reports that the US Senator Durbin will visit occupied Famagusta this morning and meet with the so-called mayor of the occupied city Oktay Kayalp.
In addition, under the title Obama started dealing with the Cyprus problem, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (17.02.09) reports from Ankara that the Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin, who is a close friend to the US President Barack Obama and who is known for his wish the incidents in 1915 to be recognized by the United States as a genocide, is going to Ankara in order to hold contacts on the Cyprus issue.
Richard J. Durbin, who arrived the other day in Cyprus, is performing a regional tour in order to be informed on the Cyprus problem and learn the intentions of the two sides towards reaching a peaceful solution to the problem. Yesterday, Mr Durbin met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, while today he will fly to Athens for contacts. On February 19th, Mr Durbin will visit Ankara and is expected to hold meetings with the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul and the Turkish Premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (17.02.09) reports on the story under the title Obamas close friend senator is coming.
 Downer met with Talat and SoyerTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer. The meeting was also attended by UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus, Taye Brook Zerihoun, the so-called presidency undersecretary Hasan Sarica and Talat's special representative Ozdil Nami. No statement was issued regarding the meeting.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer met yesterday with UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer. During the meeting, Mr Soyer said that their aim is a solution based on the UN parameters. He also added that it is really important for them to receive Mr Downers thoughts and to develop a beneficial cooperation with him.
 Scheduled flights to TeheranTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the illegal Cyprus Turkish Airlines (KTHY) will start on April scheduled flights to Teheran, Iran. According to information given by KTHY, the scheduled flights will be carried out twice in a week Monday and Thursday and will be connected through the Istanbuls Sabiha Gokcen airport.
 Football player from Cameroon was arrested trying to cross to the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus with forged identity cardTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the football player from Cameroon Vincent Agbor Taboko, who is the new transfer of the Turkish Cypriot football team Gencler Birligi, was arrested on Sunday while he was trying to cross to the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus with a forged passport. Mr Taboko, in his testimony said: I came to the island to play football. I havent come before. Im living in Iskele (occupied village of Trikomo) while Im playing football. I met two black people. They told me they came from the South, that there was a party in the south and that they can also take me. I was arrested while I was crossing with an identity card they had given to me. I was not aware that it was a border gate. After the party, I was going to come back showing my identity card.
 Development Bank moved to a new building in the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the new building of the so-called Development Bank was inaugurated yesterday. The opening of the building was carried out jointly by the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci and the self-styled finance minister Erdogan Sanlidag, as well as officials from the so-called Turkish embassy in occupied Lefkosia. Speaking during the opening ceremony, speakers praised the work carried out by the bank. They said that during the last two years the bank provided 70 trillion TL as loans and in 15 years it provided 212 million USD for financing.
 A CTP MP will attend the meeting of the Interparliamentary Union of OICTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.02.09) reports that the so-called MP of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Mr Arif Albayrak, will represent the occupation regime at the meeting of the Interparliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which will be held in Niamey, Nigeria, between 17-20 of February.
 The Chairman of the Alevi Associations of occupied Cyprus to be a candidate with CTP-BG for the forthcoming elections. Support from the Confederation of European Alevi UnionsUnder the title Alevi support, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.02.09) reports that Mr Ozdemir Gul, the Chairman of the Alevi Associations in the occupied areas, which are members of the Confederation of European Alevi Unions, will be a candidate 8th on the list of MP candidates for the occupied Lefkosia Republican Turkish Party United Forces (CTP-BG).
The Chairman of the Confederation of European Alevi Unions, Mr Turgut Oker welcomed Ozdemir Guls candidacy.
In statements, Mr Oker referred to the support to the Turkish Cypriot Alevis by condemning the dirty games against them during the dark periods of Susurluk. He expressed the wish that the candidacy of Ozdemir Gul may constitute a good example for the politics in Turkey in the future.
 Erdogan interviewed on post-Davos handling of affairsTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (15.02.09) publishes the following interview with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by "three journalists" in a column by Erdal Safak under the title, "Davos Is History Rather Than Election Material:
We had an opportunity to interview Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on current issues upon his return from his tour of Sivas. Three journalists, we asked everything we thought was important and Erdogan answered them elaborately.
Question: In your election tours, you are greeted with placards saying "Welcome, conqueror of Davos," but you have not broached this subject in your speeches. Is this because you want to prevent the opposition from levelling criticisms that you "are using Davos as election material," or is it driven by your sense of ethics?
Erdogan: In Davos, I did what I had to do as the prime minister of the Turkish Republic. Mr Peres' posture was unbecoming for a president. I maintained my calm even as he raised his voice at me and I described the truth in a normal tone. I did what I had to do when the moderator overstepped the bounds of proper conduct and started using his arms and hands. This was a stand for which my nation had been waiting and yearning for years. I was delighted with the welcome I received from tens of thousands of people at Ataturk Airport on my return home because it expressed the sensitivity of the people and boosted my hopes for the future. However, going beyond that would be exploitation. I would not sell that. History will write the rest.
Question: Has your outburst in Davos diminished Turkey's diplomatic power? Has it made your mediation initiatives more difficult?
Erdogan: On the contrary. Turkey's power must be perceived correctly. Until now there was a lack of awareness of our power that comes from the past. We have made everyone sense that. We made the EU sense it by starting full accession talks. Turkey's election to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member with the votes of 151 countries in the first round of voting in the UN General Assembly is another sign of this. We brokered talks between Pakistan and Israel during the tenure of Gen Pervez Musharraf. We helped the completion of the first four rounds of peace talks between Syria and Israel. We worked for peace between Palestinian factions. These, together with our initiatives during the South Ossetia crisis, the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, the talks we initiated to improve relations with Armenia, our support for work to find a solution to the Nagorno Karabakh problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia, our contributions to the establishment of peace and stability in Iraq, Turkey's assumption of the Secretariat General of the Organization of Islamic Conference, its re-election to this office for a second four-year term after completing its first term successfully, and the steps we have taken with respect to the KKTC [illegal regime in occupied Cyprus] are all the results of "our power being felt." Mehmet Ali Talat gained official acceptance in the international community during our tenure. He was received with the protocol of a head of state in Pakistan, Europe, and Gulf countries because of our policies. The KKTC opened diplomatic missions in numerous countries during our tenure.
State of Relations with Israel
Question: Has your outburst in Davos had a negative effect on Turkey's relations with Israel? Could it have such an effect in the future?
Erdogan: Our relations with Israel continue based on mutual interests. Those who leave the table in fury return to it with losses. Some have suggested that we end Israeli training flights in Konya. The truth is that not just Israel but ten countries pay to receive flight training in Konya. Indeed, our General Staff also announced that relations with Israel will continue in accordance with Turkey's interests. Military contracts and orders also remain in force. There are many agreements with Israel, old and new. These all remain in force. We have to be very careful in interstate relations. The Israeli state and the Israeli people are separate issues. I always say that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity. The Jews must similarly say that Islamophobia is a crime against humanity. I also think that the Israeli government must review its position with respect to Palestine. Embargoes must be lifted with the ceasefire. The Palestinians must no longer be allowed to live in open-air prisons. [Israel] must comply with UN Security Council resolutions, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on Human Rights, and other international agreements on this issue. Statements made before the election in Israel have unfortunately created disappointment. Such statements overshadow the concept of peace. On this point, important duties are incumbent upon the United States. I will make an appeal for peace in the Middle East at my first meeting with President Obama. Obama must give priority to this issue; he must become the voice of the silent masses and the guardian of the unprotected.
Mediation in Middle East
Question: The Israeli press has charged that you appear to be siding with HAMAS and that, consequently, Turkey cannot act as a mediator.
Erdogan: Let me make a correction. We did not ask to be mediators. We took on this responsibility because both sides, that is both Syria and Israel, wanted this. We received the same request for the Pakistani-Israeli talks. We are not too eager to do this; nor are we trying to derive duties from the situation. We see that the current course in the Middle East is upsetting for all the peoples of the region. We stand on the side of the righteous. We are not prejudiced but we will of course stand with those who are showered with bombs. This is what happened in Gaza. Politics cannot be conducted on the basis of actions that are not rooted in righteousness. I am prepared to produce evidence for all these wrong and unjust actions.
Question: Are positive developments possible in the new period that has opened after the elections?
Erdogan: The election in Israel has unfortunately created a very negative picture. I think that a government crisis is at issue. As you know, Tzipi Livni could not form a government before the election, after Ehud Olmert resigned. She is not in a better position to do so after the election. I cannot see how she can form a coalition with anyone. This is of course their problem, but politics is not just numbers.
Preparations for G-20 Summit
Question: Members of the G-20, from the United States to France, are drafting serious proposals for the summit of that organization in London on 2 April. The proposals are aimed at reforming the world's economic and financial system. Is Turkey making any preparations on this issue? Will it disclose its proposals to the public before the summit?
Erdogan: Our colleagues are making the necessary preparations with the leadership of Minister of State Mehmet Simsek. They are hearing the views and proposals of all relevant parties. We will evaluate all these. If it is necessary to disclose our proposals to the public, we will disclose them when the time comes.
Question: What is your assessment of developments related to the Ergenekon investigation?
Erdogan: We are not the judiciary. We are part of the legislative branch and we are performing executive functions assigned to us by the legislative branch. I cannot comment on issues that are within the purview of the judiciary branch. Our responsibility is only to assist the judiciary. If they have any requests, we will comply with them. The judiciary has to answer questions on whether the case is moving too slowly or too fast.
Economic Crisis, IMF
Question: Do you favour signing a possible agreement with the IMF before the [local] elections, or do you prefer to postpone it until after the elections?
Erdogan: We prefer to conclude it before the elections. In my meeting with IMF First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky, I asked for a quick decision. He said that he will work on it. It would be better for us if this is concluded before the elections, but it would be no disaster if it happens after the elections.
Question: What is your forecast for [Turkey's] growth rate this year?
Erdogan: Our target is 4 percent. It may fall below that, we may be able to hit 4 percent, or it may go above it. Growth forecasts are never certain, they are just targets. The Central Bank may forecast zero growth. In the past, [the Central Bank] forecast 5 percent, we forecast 9 percent, and the actual growth rate came in at 7.9 percent. We have grown continuously in the last 27 quarters at an average rate of 6.9 percent.
Question: Do you have any forecasts about when the economy may begin to recover?
Erdogan: Production may continue to decline for some time. I expect growth to resume after the sixth month, but one year is also possible.
Question: The IMF introduced two additional conditions just when we thought that negotiations were concluded. Some circles attributed this to your outburst at Davos and the ethnic roots of the IMF president. What do you think about this?
Erdogan: It is absolutely wrong. The IMF told us about its two new conditions before we went to Davos. As you might recall, I made an announcement to the effect that "new items are introduced by the IMF every day" as I was about to depart for Davos. I conveyed our reaction regarding these items to Lipsky in Davos, and he replied that they will reconsider them. This issue has nothing to do with the leadership of IMF.
 US President holds telephone conversations with his Turkish counterpart and the Turkish Prime MinisterAnkara Anatolia news agency (16.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, the officials said.
U.S. President Obama called Premier Erdogan and they discussed regional and global issues during the phone conversation, the officials said.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:
U.S. President Barack Obama has telephoned Turkish President Abdullah Gul, said a statement from Gul's press office on Monday.
During the telephone conversation, President Obama underlined the importance that he attaches to Turkish-U.S. relations, saying he appreciated the leadership Turkey has taken in regional issues, the statement said.
The two leaders also re-affirmed the will to work together, reviewing regional as well as international issues.
 Turkey expects a comprehensive statement from Israel on the remarks of the Israeli commander. Statements by BabacanAnkara Anatolia news agency (16.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan left Turkish capital of Ankara for Yemen on Monday. On February 17-18, Babacan will visit Yemen upon an invitation by his Yemeni counterpart Abu Bakr Abdallah al-Qirbi. On February 19, Babacan will proceed to Bahrain and on February 20, he will pay a visit to Lithuania.
Responding to questions of reporters before his departure for Yemen, Babacan said the recent remarks made by the Israeli Ground Forces Commander Avi Mizrahi were not beneficial and they expected a comprehensive statement from Israel on this matter.
The Israeli Ground Forces Commander Mizrahi had made remarks accusing Turkey of the incidents of 1915.
 The Turkish illegal invasion of Cyprus is cited among the Turkish naval forces global peace and security missionsAnkara Anatolia news agency (16.02.09) reported the following from Ankara:
The Turkish Naval Forces has been contributing to global peace and maritime security for decades.
The Turkish Navy has completed important international tasks with success all the way from the Cyprus Peace Operation to providing support for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The Turkish Navy has also contributed to security in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. It has contributed to stability in Somalia and Lebanon.
Since 1992, 57 Turkish ships provided support to NATO missions throughout the world. The Turkish Navy also contributes to NATO with 1 mine sweeping ship, 19 frigates, 13 submarines, 9 fuel depot ships and 95 corvettes.
On February 17, a Turkish frigate will be dispatched to the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships from the attacks of pirates.
 The Turkish Parliament Speaker is holding contacts in SyriaTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (17.02.09) reports on the meetings the Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan held in Syria and writes that Mr Toptan was received yesterday by the Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad, while he held contacts with the Syrian Prime Minister, Muhammad Naji Al-Itri and the Syrian Parliament Speaker, Mahmoud al-Abrash.
On Koksal Toptans visit to Syria, the flag of Turkey was hoisted to the mast of the building of the Syrian Parliament and as the paper writes, this is the first time in history that a flag of a foreign country is hoisted in the building of the Syrian Parliament.
Speaker Toptan and President Asad discussed bilateral and regional issues.
On Mr Toptans meeting with the Speaker of the Syrian assembly, the paper writes that Mahmoud al-Abrash praised Turkeys stance on Gaza and called Turkey as a brother country.
Turkeys efforts for reaching to a peaceful settlement in the region was also praised by the Syrian Premier Al-Itri, who emphasized Syrias wish to foster the two countries bilateral relations which are deeply rooted in history, as he said. The paper also writes that a very interesting dialogue took place during the meeting between Mr Toptan and the Syrian Prime Minister. The Syrian Premier said that Buhurizade Mustafa Efendi, whose picture appears on the 100 Turkish Lira banknote, is his great grandfather. After this, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, Mr Mahmut Durdu, took a 100 TL note out of his purse and showed it to Mr Al-Itri.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.02.09) reports the following from Damascus: Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said that attacks on Gaza damaged initiatives for peace and escalated violence in the region. Addressing the Syrian Parliament in Damascus, Toptan said that Syria was a key country in regard to restoring peace and stability in the region. Turkish and Syrian authorities should work more to boost bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy, banking and contracting services, Toptan said. Turkey has appreciated the economic reform process in Syria, he said.
Turkey has been negatively affected by clashes in the Middle East and it wanted to be the neighbour of a stable and developed Middle East which also lived in peace, Toptan said. Unfavourable developments that have taken place in Gaza showed once again that there was need for urgent solutions to Arab-Israel and Syria-Israel issues, he said. Toptan said Turkey exerted great efforts at international platform for restoring lasting peace in the region.
Syrian Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash said the path followed by Turkey was the most accurate one and they missed a world where there was no bloodshed.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 16 February 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 16 February:
a) Reactions continue to Erdogan´s Davos walkout
An editorial in Hurriyet Daily News, drawing attention to the controversial statements issued by Prime Minister Erdogan in Davos and General Avi Mizrahi, views the recent statement issued by US Congressman Gary Ackerman to the effect that Israeli hardliners and Palestinian terrorists are "all part of the same destructive dynamic."
Criticizing General Avi Mizrahi, commander of the Israeli Ground Forces, for saying that "Erdogan should look in the mirror when he accuses the Israelis of knowing well how to kill people," Fatih Cekirge in an article in the same newspaper calls on Israel to remove Mizrahi from office and on Turkey to issue a statement that will ease the tension and that will erase the statement to the effect that "you know well how to kill."
General Avi Mizrahi has truly acted in "delirium," says Milliyet's Taha Akyol in an article and underlines that it is impossible to compare the measures that had been taken by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians in 1915 and the invasion of northern Cyprus with the "cruel and atrocious massacres conducted by Israel in the occupied territories." Also criticizing the style used by Erdogan in Davos, Akyol points out that had Erdogan used a diplomatic language in his response to Israeli President Peres, Turkey would not only have won the love of the peoples in the Middle East, but it would have also been praised by the international community. Akyol adds: "Under such circumstances those such as Mizrahi would not have been able to talk and the unjust accusations against Turkey would not have been repeated. Leaders should be careful in order to ensure that accusations, albeit unjust, are not levelled against their countries. They should keep their temper.
Referring to Jewish-Turkish businessman Ishak Alaton's statement to the New York Times to the effect that he has never felt that he was ostracized for being Jewish in Turkey, Yigit Bulut in an article in Vatan also recalls an earlier statement issued by Alaton, saying that the regime in Turkey has always been anti-Semitic. There is no anti-Semitism in Turkey and regardless of how much our ties with Israel deteriorates neither Turkish, nor Islamic values allow anti-Semitism, underlines Bulut and asserts that even during the term of the AKP which has adopted the firmest stand against Israel the state has never been anti-Semitic. Listing the tenders won by Alaton's Alarko between 2001 and 2008, Bulut argues that the tenders amounting to billions of dollars that have been granted to the company of the Jewish businessman show that there is "positive discrimination." Bulut concludes that Turkey's historical values will never allow racism or religious discrimination.
Despite the reports and the commentaries to the effect that it will be impossible to repair the ties between Turkey and Israel after the Davos incident, the prime minister has announced that anti-Semitism is a crime of humanity, that his criticism was levelled against the Israeli government, that the relations between the two countries will continue, and that the agreements signed between Israel and Turkey are still valid, asserts Erdal Safak in an article in Sabah. Also referring to an interview given by a high-level HAMAS official to an Italian news portal, Safak cites the official as saying that Turkey intervened just when Egypt was trying to impose unjust cease-fire conditions on HAMAS and that with Turkey's intervention an impartial and balanced cease-fire proposal was posited. If HAMAS had been forced to sign the cease-fire agreement imposed by Egypt, it would have no choice other than turning to Iran and this would have led to the siege of Israel by Iran through Hezbollah in the north and HAMAS in the south, argues Safak and underlines that by rescuing HAMAS from despair Turkey actually prevented great pains and disasters. Contrary to certain views, the low profile in the relations between Israel and Turkey will not last long, but it will no longer be possible to go back to the old status in the Middle East, asserts Safak.
Also referring to the reports on the tense relations between Israel and Turkey, Omer Taspinar in an article in Sabah explains that the Obama administration looks at the strategic equation in the Middle East, which also includes Turkey, from a very wide window that includes Syria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Lebanon. Currently Washington is more concerned with the rise of the right wing in Israel, notes Taspinar and refers to the Washington-Ankara ties. Drawing attention to Turkey's expectations from the United States regarding the war on the PKK, the EU membership, the Cyprus issue, and the Armenian genocide claims, Taspinar points out Turkey should take two steps in order to weaken the hand of the Armenian lobby in the United States and to avoid surprises with the Obama administration regarding the Armenian issue. As a first step Turkey may extend Obama support for Afghanistan during the upcoming NATO summit, states Taspinar, adding that as a second step the government may open the borders with Armenia prior to 24 April.
In an article entitled "This is Not the First Time Israel Has Acted Impudently" Vakit columnist Mustafa Ozcan asserts that Israeli Land Forces Commander Avi Mizrahi's remarks targeting Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan over Erdogan's reaction to Israeli President Shimon Peres at Davos indicate that the "fluctuations" in Turkish-Israeli relations caused by Israel's strikes against Gaza continue. He claims that the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel is certain to hurt Israeli interests more and that while tension in relations between the two countries will cause Turkey to incur short-term political losses, it will cost irreparable substantial damage to Israel.
Under the headline, We Should Not Be Dependent on Israel, Milli Gazete carries a front-page report which criticizes the fact that Turkey, a country located in the most strategic region of Eurasia, buys drones from Israel and depends on Israel for the modernization of its military technologies. The report poses the question why the Turkish electronics corporation, ASELSAN, is not developing UAVs. It also contrasts Turkeys purchase of Heron aircraft from Israel with Irans recent development of spy planes invisible to radar.