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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-13

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] Talat will meet Clinton and demand the appointment of a US special representative for Cyprus and the lifting of the isolations
  • [02] Exclusive interview by Talat to Cyprus Observer newspaper
  • [03] AKP deputy is in the occupied areas meddling with the election
  • [04] Soyer said that in case of reunification the people living in occupied Varosha will be moved to another place or will be given compensations
  • [05] The 25th meeting between Christofias and Talat was held on 10 April
  • [06] Replies to questions on Cyprus by Egemen Bagis
  • [07] The Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate will visit the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [08] US Congressmen paid visits to Turkish Cypriot political parties in occupied Lefkosia
  • [09] Letter from Guler to EU countries part of Nabucco
  • [10] OIC gears up to establish human rights commission
  • [11] The leader of Ecevits party resigns while Erbakan back to polities
  • [12] Gul is dreaming of Turkey as a global power
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Hurriyetīs columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Talatīs visit to Washington
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 10, 11 and 12 April 2009


    [01] Talat will meet Clinton and demand the appointment of a US special representative for Cyprus and the lifting of the isolations

    Illegal Bayrak television (12.04.09) broadcast the following on the visit of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to the United States of America:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat will be flying to Washington on Tuesday for a historic visit. He will come together with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday upon an invitation from Mrs Clinton herself.

    The meeting between the two will be realized at 3.15pm Wednesday afternoon American local time.

    The next Talat-Christofias meeting, which had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday next week, has now been postponed to a further date. The President will return to the Republic at the week-end.

    Meanwhile, under the title Talat will ask equality, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.04.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat who will meet with the US Secretary of State, Mrs Hilary Clinton on Wednesday will tell her to behave equally to the two sides in Cyprus if they want a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    According to information acquired from diplomatic sources, Mr Talat will demand, inter alia, the US to become more active in the negotiations and if necessary to appoint a special representative for Cyprus. The sources told Star Kibris that Mr Talat will say to Mrs Clinton the following: If you really want a solution in Cyprus, you behave equally to the sides. Actually, the whole world is obliged to behave equally, but the weight of the USA is more. We attach great importance to this issue.

    The sources said that Mr Talat will also demand the lifting of the isolations on the Turkish Cypriots noting that the way of the Turkish Cypriots will be opened in an easier and faster manner if the USA leads this effort. He will ask for the Turkish Cypriot young people to be given the opportunity to play international matches and demand the support of the US for Turkish Cypriot teams to play with American teams.

    Mr Talat will ask from Mrs Clinton to motivate the Greek Cypriot side and Greece, claiming that Turkey wants a solution and that Mrs Clinton knows this. He will say that any pressure on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side could have no other benefit that signing the non-solution of the problem, because the other side will be further encouraged and continue the delaying tactics.

    Mr Talat will put forward the allegation that the EU has committed a big mistake by accepting the membership of the South without a solution to the Cyprus problem and will ask from Mrs Clinton to help for minimizing the negative consequences of this situation.

    [02] Exclusive interview by Talat to Cyprus Observer newspaper

    Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Observer newspaper (10-16.04.09) publishes an exclusive interview given by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to Ozcan Ozcanhan on the Cyprus Problem, the so-called parliamentary elections, the involvement and the aid of Turkey to the illegal regime, his forthcoming meeting with the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and the opening of Limnitis crossing point.

    Following are the replies to some of the questions from Mr. Talats interview to the paper:

    Question: If an uncooperative government comes into office and withdraws your mandate as negotiator at the Cyprus talks, will you not run for the presidency next year, if you consider that there is no chance to achieve your target and if you see a solution is unlikely?

    Answer: I do not think that such a government will be formed. My duty as President and representative of the Turkish Cypriot people is to think about the future of the people. I have been assigned the task to represent the Turkish Cypriot people at the talks. There is no mandate. The opposite side also has a representative. We talk as leaders of the two communities. If our parliament decides to appoint a new negotiator, it will amount to disagreement between the powers. I do not think there will be such a situation. When and if it happens then I will come to a decision. So far, we have not experienced such divergence. I see no possibility for such eventuality because it is equivalent to chaos. I hope the government will support our line of policy, it has to support. Why has it to support? Because it is our national policy. What I am following is not my personal policy. Everyone knows this and Turkey backs our policy. Clash of policies and opposition to the policy line I am following, will mean change in our national policy. Any political party, which wins in the parliamentary elections without following the national cause, should not say I have won. You also know that the Cyprus problem has not been a topic of the political parties in their elections campaign. This should not mean that our people have abandoned the Cyprus issue. The small reference to the Cyprus problem does not mean our people lost its sensitivity over the Cyprus problem.

    Question: After so many meetings with Mr. Christofias, have you noted any concrete progress and how long it will take before you reach agreement. Will the talks take another 40 years before they deliver? I just asked Mr. Downer, after his meeting with you the same question. He said there was progress, that it was a difficult problem and that it would take time to resolve. He was glad that the two leaders were working hard. It is known that you welcome arbitration and a time limit, but the Greek side is opposed to both. Mr. Downer also thinks time limits would not be conducive. This being the position, how long will the talks go on, are there any issues you have agreed upon? What are they? The Greek side sometimes leaks to their media. Have you not anything to disclose to your people?

    Answer: We have reached agreement on many issues. Of course, there are matters we have not come to an agreement. But what we have agreed upon is more than what we have not agreed. As you know, we have to agree on all issues. Unless that is done, there is no agreement. You know that we support a time duration for the talks but the other side is opposed. Our aim is to solve the problem before the end of 2009. Turkeys EU membership process also matters. Therefore, we see the end of 2009 as a time limit. The date of a referendum may be delayed. If the delay lasts until after our Presidential elections, there may be setbacks.

    Question: Have you any good news for both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots, such as the opening of Yesilirmak-Limnitis crossing point, west of the island, in the near future? Mr. Downer, whom you know, has been telling me about goodwill and confidence building measures.

    Answer: We have not displayed a negative stand on the opening of the Limnitis crossing. The Greek Cypriots do not seem to understand. We do not oppose the opening. They attempt to connect the opening of the Ledras crossing in Nicosia with that of Limnitis. There is definitely no connection and no condition. We explained the reasons why the Ledras checkpoint should be opened. They did not understand. They believe that opening of the Ledra crossing was on condition that we would open Limnitis.

    [03] AKP deputy is in the occupied areas meddling with the election

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (13.04.09), in its front page under the title Aha, the meddling, reports that after the election specialists of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), now AKP deputies have begun to walk around in the occupied part of the island.

    The paper reports that the AKP deputy in Kahramanmaras, Mr Veysi Kaynak, arrived in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and on Thursday the Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Mr Egemen Bagis, will also arrive. It is also reported that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) administration in order not to damage the relations with the AKP government, has not said anything about this meddling. Even the National Unity Party (UBP), which is heading for the first position in the elections, has remained silent to this meddling that is held openly, because they do not want to provoke Ankara.


    [04] Soyer said that in case of reunification the people living in occupied Varosha will be moved to another place or will be given compensations

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (13.04.09) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and so-called prime minister, Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, participated in the programme Election report broadcast by the Turkish Cypriot local channel ADA TV. During the programme, Mr Soyer said: I will serve as a prime minister at most for two periods. If we come out as a second party from the election, I will consider it as my responsibility. I will do whatever it is needed. The paper reports that Mr Soyer gave indications that he may resign, in case his party comes second in the elections.

    Replying to the question what the citizens should expect after unification is resulted from the negotiations, Mr Soyer said that the occupied Varosha town is one of the areas that will be given back. He also added that he also lives in the occupied town of Varosha as well as other 18000 people. Mr Soyer said: No one will stay in tents. They will change only place. No one will be moved from their places, until compensation, work or a house will be given to them. This is written in the international agreement. No one must be removed from his house, without obtaining a guarantee.


    [05] The 25th meeting between Christofias and Talat was held on Friday 10 April

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.04.09) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders met on Friday for the 25th time in their talks, which they launched last September.

    The two leaders discussed issues regarding the European Union in today's meeting and they were set to open talks on economic issues next. Talat and Christofias have earlier completed the first round talks on "administration and share of power" and "properties."

    [06] Replies to questions on Cyprus by Egemen Bagis

    Todays Zaman (13.04.09) publishes an interview with Turkey's chief negotiator for accession talks with the European Union, Egemen Bagis, under the title: Bagis: EUs naysayers will be mere footnotes in history.

    Following are Mr Bagis replies to questions on Cyprus published under the subtitle: Annan plan for Cyprus lacked carrots and sticks:

    Question: President Obama also touched upon the issue of Cyprus, which carries a certain importance, especially this year. Would you elaborate on that?

    Answer: At the end of 2009, the European Commission will prepare a report on Cyprus, just as the European Parliament issues a progress report on Turkey every year. I have always strongly believed that the Cyprus issue, which was not a prerequisite for Cyprus membership, should not be a prerequisite for Turkeys membership. If Cyprus could become a member of the EU despite its border problem and domestic issues, this means the Europeans are willing to live with Cyprus with its ongoing issues. However, this does not mean that I do not want to see a solution to the Cyprus issue. I, just like every member of our Cabinet, our prime minister and our president, would love to see the Cyprus dispute resolved with a sustainable, fair approach based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution. We are encouraging [Turkish Cypriot] President Mehmet Ali Talat to be very constructive in reaching a settlement. When I think of the position of President Demetris Christofias, I sometimes wonder if he has enough motivation to make a deal.

    Question: Why do you think that he does not have enough motivation?

    Answer: Because he is recognized by the EU, their per capita income is higher than the north. He does not have much of a reason to have the issue settled at this point, except for what he said when he was campaigning for the presidency. I think we have to encourage and motivate him. When I say we, I am not only talking about Turkey and Greece, but also all members of the EU.

    Question: Do you think this is the main obstacle blocking a solution to the Cyprus problem?

    Answer: The Cyprus problem is older than I am and there are many problems and obstacles. But where there is a will, there is way. So we have to ensure that there is will, especially on the part of the Greek Cypriots.

    Question: So do you think the year 2009 could still see an end to the Cyprus problem?

    Answer: I certainly hope and pray so. At least, it should be the year that prepares the foundation for a solution. The main obstacle is a lack of confidence and trust in each other. The two communities have gone through tough times. And we saw that this lack of confidence yielded its results during the referendum on the Annan plan. As you remember, 66 percent of the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan, but 76 percent of the Greek Cypriots voted against it. And they refused the calls of the European Union, they refused the calls of the United States. And, more importantly, they refused the peace calls of the United Nations.

    As presidents Talat and Christofias are old friends, they have started out with confidence in each other, but they have not had any shortage of ups and downs in the process, either

    Their personal trust is very important. It can be influential in reaching a settlement, but they have to also convince their nations. At the end of the day, the plan that they agreed to will go to a referendum on each side and they have to be successful on both sides. What was lacking in the Annan plan were carrots and sticks. This time they have to make sure that such a mechanism is somehow integrated into their settlement.

    [07] The Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate will visit the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily HAVADIS newspaper (13.04.09) reports that the Professor Ali Bardakoglu, Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, will visit the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus for a two-day visit between 17-18 of April.

    Prof. Dr. Ali Bardakoglu will give lectures within the framework of the week of the celebrations on the occasion of Mohammeds Birthday.


    [08] US parliamentarians paid visits to Turkish Cypriot political parties in occupied Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (11.04.09) under the title, American Parliamentarians paid a visit to the CTP, reports that a group of American Parliamentarians of the Democrat Party, who are holding contacts in occupied Cyprus, paid a visit to the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG) on Friday. The US delegation, which consisted of Russ Carnahan representative of the Congress and member of the Congress Foreign Relations Committee, Mazie Hirono, Jim McDermott and Ben Chandler, representatives of the Congress and Dr. Kay King, David Beraka, John Lis, Mary McVeigh and Jeremy Haldeman, representatives of the Foreign Relations Committee. The CTP-BG Foreign Affairs delegation consisting of Mr Unal Findik, Kutlay Erk, Salih Izbul, Teberruken Ulucay and Mehmet Cagalar received the US delegation. According to a statement made after the one-hour meeting, the two delegations exchanged views on the Cyprus problem.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.04.09) reports that the US delegation paid a visit to the National Unity Party (UBP), as well. The delegation met with the UBP parliamentarian Huseyin Ozgurgun and parliament candidate Osman Ertug. The visiting delegation to UBP was consisted from Russ Carnahan, Debra Carnahan, Mazie Hirono, Jim McDemott, Ben Chandler, Diane Watson, Joey Booher, Kay King, David Beraka and John Lis.


    [09] Letter from Guler to EU countries part of Nabucco

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.04.09) reported the following:

    Turkey has sent a letter to EU countries which are part of the Nabucco gas pipeline project and now expects their answers. "If they sent the answers by the end of April, we will sign deals by June," Turkey's energy minister said.

    "We expect the European Union to send us the text that EU countries agreed on," Hilmi Guler told reporters.

    "We sent them (EU countries) the intergovernmental agreement and host government agreement. They sent their responses. However, we have discussed again and again things that we already agreed on. I sent a letter to avoid that. What I said was (just sign and send us, from one point of view, something that you agreed on)," Guler said.Turkish government wants to start the project, which would carry gas to European markets from fields in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as soon as possible, Guler said.

    The EU currently relies heavily on Russian natural gas carried through Ukrainian pipelines. Eighty percent of gas bound for Europe travels via Ukraine.

    Nabucco is planned to be an alternative route to transport gas from Turkey to Austria through Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It is also an alternative source to the Russian supply. The pipeline would carry gas from mainly Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz fields, as well as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran. Construction of the 3,300-km pipeline is scheduled to start in 2011 and first deliveries are expected in 2014. The project is expected to cost around 7.9 billion Euros.

    Turkey wants 15 percent share from natural gas to be carried through the Nabucco pipeline. Guler said Turkey asks 15 percent for its own use, not to sell it.

    [10] OIC gears up to establish human rights commission

    Todays Zaman (13.04.09) publishes the following report:

    The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held a conference yesterday at its headquarters in Jeddah with the ultimate purpose of establishing an independent OIC human rights commission. Yesterday's OIC meeting, presided over by OIC Secretary-General Eklemeddin Ihsanoglu, was devoted to discussing a document prepared by the OIC General Secretariat that lays out an initial vision for the planned commission, according to a press release sent to Today's Zaman by the organization. The general secretariat has conducted extensive studies and made contacts with relevant international bodies in connection with the endeavour, the statement noted. Among the contacts are the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), the Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) and the OIC Group at the UN Geneva office.

    Participants in yesterday's meeting discussed a broad overview of the components of the planned commission, a description of the nature of its work, its appellation, its principles, its objectives and functions, its members and experts and its recommendations, as well as other aspects bearing on the activities and responsibilities to be entrusted to the commission.

    Ihsanoglu underscored in a speech he delivered at the meeting that human rights and man's dignity are an integral part of Islam and are core components of Islamic culture and heritage. He pointed out that international interest in the issue of human rights has grown exponentially over the past two decades, adding that the complexity of the fields of human rights inevitably call for the need to refine the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in keeping with the current global human rights discourse. Such an approach, Ihsanoglu emphasized, would open up new horizons and avenues for human rights in the Muslim world. He also indicated that establishing an OIC human rights commission would pave the way to broad intellectual and political reform across the OIC member states and deeper cooperation that would contribute to a larger promotion of the values of tolerance and fundamental freedoms, good governance, the rule of law, accountability, openness, dialogue with other religions and civilizations, the rejection of extremism and fanaticism, and the strengthening of the sense of pride in the Islamic identity.

    [11] The leader of Ecevits party resigns while Erbakan back to polities

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.04.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Leader of Turkey's opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) has resigned after his party won 2.42 percent in local elections.

    "I have always said that those who failed should not block the future of their organizations and the future of our country," Zeki Sezer told a party meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara. "So today, I quit as DSP Chairman," Sezer said. DSP has 13 seats in the Turkish Parliament.

    Furthermore, Istanbul Hurriyet Daily (11.04.09) publishes the following report:

    Former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan has returned to active politics by accepting the position of chairman of the Saadet (Felicity) Party Higher Consultation Board.

    "Of course I'll be active," Erbakan told a news conference when asked if he was returning to active politics. "I cannot say I was in and then out of politics. That's a result of our faith."

    Erbakan was the head of the Islamic-rooted Welfare Party, or RP, which was closed down by the Constitutional Court in 1998. Asked if he would be running for a leadership position of the Saadet Party now, Erbakan said:

    "If restrictions are brought to political rights, those are returned. The previous bans were lifted. All political rights have been given back." He added that Saadet won a considerable accomplishment in the elections, increasing the number of votes by winning a number of municipalities. Erbakan will fly to Iran on Friday at the invitation of Iran's religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

    [12] Gul is dreaming of Turkey as a global power

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.04.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Friday 'it is not a dream to see Turkey as a global power, great economic power'.

    Speaking at the dinner hosted in honour of Turkish entrepreneurs attending the World Turkish Entrepreneurs' Convention in Istanbul, President Gul said that individuals investing millions of dollars in Turkey do so based on their confidence in Turkey's future and the legal system in Turkey.

    'The gathering in Istanbul can be summarized as a family gathering that brought together the members who have not seen each other for years. I thank those who have brought together this family in Istanbul', Gul said.

    'This gathering is a cause of pride for us all. The theme of the convention, "Global Power: Turkey', is really becoming true. Perhaps this was only a dream in the past. Today, it has become a reality', Gul said.

    At certain points in the past, we worked on small projects, Gul said.

    'After greater projects came out, Turkey began to be involved in some of the world's biggest projects. It is not merely a dream to see Turkey as a global power. Everyone out of Turkey also point out to Turkey's achievements. We are all pleased with Turkey's status. Turkey added a strong economy to its strength after establishing a powerful military. Turkey makes spending worth one trillion USD and is included in the group of G-20. Turkey is the biggest economy of Europe. With its deepened democracy, Turkey has become a country closely watched by others in the world', Gul also said.


    [13] Hurriyets columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Talatīs visit to Washington

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (13.04.09) publishes a commentary by Ferai Tinc under the title Talat on his way to Washington. Ferai Tinc in her article reports on the luncheon meeting he had with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and writes that Talat was very cheerful. The columnist reports on Talatīs visit to the USA tomorrow and his meeting with Hilary Clinton, a meeting that was postponed for a while, due to the objections of the Greek Cypriots. As the columnist writes, it is certain that even thought the agenda of the meeting was not announced, the issue of the meeting would be the ongoing comprehensive negotiation process between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. It is understood according to the columnist that Washington has prepared to get involved in the efforts exerted in Cyprus. This is the message Obama gave during his tour in Turkey. After he has said that the USA and Turkey, which is a global power could cooperate on common problems and that the efforts for peace embrace the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean as well, he has brought the Cyprus problem onto the agenda. Obama also said that the USA is ready to offer any kind of help to the two leaders for a fair and a lasting peace and for the reunification of Cyprus with a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution. Mrs Ferai Tinc adds, inter alia, the following: However, it is not clear yet how this will happen. Everybody accepts that the mediation mechanism would be necessary even if the President of Cyprus, Christofias does not want the meddling of the UN and the USA.

    Ferai Tinc goes on in her article and writes that gradually a time table is coming to the surface regarding the result of the ongoing negotiation process between the two leaders in Cyprus. Ferai Tinc writes that according to a report published a week before by Politis newspaper, the UN predicts that there would be a solution in November and that on January 2010 there would be a referendum.

    Ferai Tinc also writes that Talat was very good when he saw him. He was pleased with the progress of the negotiation process, or he wanted to give this impression. She adds:

    If actually a solution will be reached in the island until January, the public opinion must be prepared for this. Time is needed for agreeing on a text of a framework agreement in November, and for this agreement to be explained.

    Finally, the columnist expresses the hope that this issue would be managed in a better way than the rapprochement process with Armenia. Otherwise, all these which are taking place will be nothing else than a cosmetic effort.


    [14] From the Turkish Press of 10, 11 and 12 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 10, 11, 12 April 2009:

    a) Turkey's tough stance on Rasmussen appointment

    Referring to the concessions obtained from the EU, with regards to Turkey's accession process, in an article in Vatan (10.04.09), Cengiz Aktar argues that these concessions cannot be considered valid because they need the endorsement of the European Council. Criticizing the confrontational style of Erdogan in the Rasmussen issue, Aktar argues that the prime minister has reinforced the feeling in Europe that Turkey is part of the problem rather than the solution. Blaming Erdogan's advisers for the prime minister's ineptitude in dealing with the EU, the writer maintains that the policy that Turkey has to be the spokesman of Islam in Europe and that it has to demonstrate its potential for confrontation has backfired.

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (10.04.09), Barcin Yinanc holds the ruling party responsible for what she describes as a "major diplomatic failure" regarding its handling of Rasmussen's appointment as NATO Secretary General. Turkey's reservations should have been phrased from the perspective of NATO's interests, not of the Islamic world, writes Yinanc, adding: "The fact that Turkey acted like the spokesperson of the Islamic world, has given ammunition to those who question Turkey's European identity."

    In an article entitled "Harsh or Brave?", in Yeni Safak (10.04.09), columnist Yasin Dogan slams certain retired Turkish diplomats for accusing Prime Minister Erdogan of placing Turkey in a difficult position vis-ā-vis the EU in "sharply" opposing Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen's nomination as secretary-general of NATO. Dogan criticizes these diplomats for their "passive" and "submissive" attitude toward the EU and the West illustrated by what he describes as their long-standing failure to use Turkey's power and potential as a means of effectively defending its national interests. He claims that Turkey will no longer allow itself to be perceived as a country unable to show resolve and take initiative and a player "in the bag" that other countries can afford not to factor in when determining their policies.

    In an article entitled "AKP-Type foreign policy", in Milli Gazete (10.04.09), columnist Mustafa Ozcan looks at "the three foreign policy losses" Turkey has suffered in the past week by readily allowing France to return to the military wing of NATO, removing its objections to Rasmussen heading the alliance, and making "tacit pledges" during Obama's visit to Ankara to reopen its border with Armenia.

    Viewing the further cooling off of relations between Turkey and the EU in his article in Milliyet (11.04.09), Sami Kohen argues that the stand adopted by Turkey in Rasmussen's appointment as NATO Secretary General is one of the reasons. Western politicians and diplomats view Turkey as the spokesman of the Muslim world within the Western alliance, writes Kohen, adding that Turkey's stand on the issue has even alienated French Foreign Minister Kouchner who was, until now, supportive of Turkey's EU bid. The tactical errors committed by the government have as much a role to play in the growing chasm between Turkey and the EU as the prejudices of the West, concludes Kohen.

    Assessing the way Europe views Turkey in his column in Vatan (11.04.09), Can Atakli relates an observation made by a friend who has close relations with EU parliamentarians: "Erdogan's pressure on Roj TV has caused the opposite effect. It has created doubts about Turkey's image, and this will render accession more difficult." Erdogan's demand for the closure of Roj TV is seen as an interference in the judicial process, explains the friend, adding that a prime minister who demands such an interference, automatically implies that were he faced with a similar situation who would have the power to intervene, thus casting a shadow over the judicial process and the concept of democracy in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "A meaningful symbol: Rasmussen" in Zaman (11.04.09), columnist Ali Bulac comments on Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen's election as secretary-general of NATO despite Turkey's "apparent objections" to his nomination and Ankara's failure to veto France's return to the military wing of NATO in the face of French opposition to Turkey's EU membership bid. Bulac questions Turkey's choice in not blocking Rasmussen's candidacy and France's bid to rejoin NATO's military command before he proceeds to argue that Obama's choice of Rasmussen as the new head of NATO and EU countries' joint nomination of the Danish prime minister for this post despite the latter's refusal to apologize for the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published in Denmark suggest that rather than offering peace, dialog, and cooperation to the Islamic world, the West is leaving Muslims no option but to engage in conflict.

    In an article entitled "America straightens up while Europe adopts Bush's style" in Today's Zaman (11.04.09), columnist Abdulhamit Bilici comments on a "significant reality" suggested by "the overlap between the Obama visit and the crisis over the nomination of ... Rasmussen for the position of secretary-general of NATO ..." namely the fact that "we are back to the former shape of the Turkey-EU-US triangle ... It appears that relations between Turkey and the US will improve whereas Turkey's ties with the EU will remain steady at best."

    In an article entitled "EU mentality," Etyen Mahcupyan in Taraf (12.04.09) criticizes French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel's "insulting" reaction to Prime Minister Erdogan's objection to the appointment of Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen as secretary general of NATO. Recalling EU Commissioner Olli Rehn's remarks that Ankara's veto of Rasmussen's NATO bid might negatively affect the negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU, Mahcupyan says: "It seems EU officials and the leaders of the member countries believe that non-EU countries must unconditionally comply with the decisions made by the member states. Otherwise, the non-EU cannot be admitted to the EU." Arguing that the EU may put forward such a condition only if it promises to admit Turkey to full membership, the columnist censures the organization for making every effort to obstruct the negotiation process and prevent the opening of new chapters. He censures the member countries for failing to consult the EU candidates before designating Rasmussen as NATO secretary general.

    A column by Kadri Gursel in Milliyet (12.04.09), slams the Justice and Development Party [AKP] Government's failure to take the appropriate diplomatic steps in the Davos and Rasmussen crises, arguing that the Erdogan Administration has placed itself in a difficult position although it had justifiable reasons to oppose Rasmussen's bid for NATO. Gursel asserts that in order not to encounter similar "embarrassing" situations in the future, the prime minister should consult with experienced Turkish diplomats and make his statements accordingly.

    In an article entitled "The ethical side of the Rasmussen case," in Yeni Safak (12.04.09), columnist Cevdet Akcali highlights developments and negotiations, which took place before Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's selection as the new NATO Secretary General. Pointing out that the stalemate over Rasmussen's nomination was overcome as a result of guarantees given by US President Barack Obama, Akcali says: "The interesting side of the story is that Rasmussen had to give some concessions in order to be elected as NATO Secretary General. Whether or not a person who has agreed to compromise his principles in order to be appointed to a position actually deserves that post should be analyzed in light of his ethical standards."

    b) Ergenekon in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Viewing Turkish Cypriot politician Sabit Soyer's demand for an investigation against Rauf Denktas and Dervis Eroglu within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (10.04.09), Yusuf Kanli questions whether Soyer is plotting to avert a humiliating defeat in the 19 April elections.

    Also referring to Soyer's demand for an investigation in an article in Cumhuriyet (10.04.09), Mumtaz Soysal views this as a plot aimed at weakening a national cause, adding: "Even if this plot seems as if it is the doing of the Republican Turkish Party, CTP, whose policies are close to those of the EU and the Greek Cypriot side and which will evidently not receive brilliant results in the elections, it is clear that it is being planned from Ankara and from far away." Soyer wants to launch an investigation against Eroglu and Denktas not because he believes that the allegations against them are serious but because the suspicions to be spread prior to the elections might prevent his defeat, writes Soysal, warning that, however, such haphazard slanders are bound to backfire.

    Under the headline, "Frightening claims regarding Ergenekon's Cyprus operations," Zaman (10.04.09) publishes a report which asserts that the Ergenekon network is being accused of staging an assassination attempt against former Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat before the referendum on the island in 2004, maintaining explosives caches on the Turkish part of the island, killing certain Turkish Cypriot journalists, and trying to influence the results of Turkish Cypriot elections.

    Assessing Ferdi Sabit Soyer's move ordering the illegal regimes Attorney General to launch an investigation against Turkish Cypriot politicians Denktas and Eroglu in his column in Hurriyet (11.04.09), Tufan Turenc argues that Soyer, who according to the polls is sure to lose in the upcoming elections, has resorted to this shameful tactic in a bid to prevent the collapse of his party, the Republican Turkish Party, CTP.

    In an article entitled "Baby Ergenekon", in Vakit (11.04.09), columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the Ergenekon network's international connections are not limited to Cyprus but include Afghanistan, Central Asian Turkish republics and China, Balkan states and Poland, Russia, Sweden, Britain, Spain, Malta, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai.

    Under the headline, "Chief Public Prosecutor being threatened," in Zaman (11.04.09), carries a report which quotes Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer as saying that the office of the chief public prosecutor in North Cyprus is receiving threats over a recently filed formal request for an investigation into allegations of complicity between the Ergenekon network and former Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktas and former Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.

    In Hurriyet (12.04.09), columnist Ferai Tinc says in her article that many circles in north Cyprus believe that daily Havadis publishing new Ergenekon documents is a move by the Turkish Government to 'intervene' in the so-called elections to be held in occupied Cyprus on 19 April. However, she notes, a general consensus exists between all the political parties on the steps to be taken to resolve the Ergenekon mystery. Arguing that possible change of political balances after the elections in occupied Cyprus might obstruct the Ergenekon investigation on the island, Tinc quotes unnamed Turkish Cypriot journalists as saying that "Ergenekon has become an influential organization in north Cyprus. Turkey will be unable to unearth the Ergenekon network's activities if it fails to investigate the organization's links on the island."

    A column by Oral Calislar in Radikal (12.04.09) argues that the Ergenekon files that have been placed on the agenda one week before the elections seem to have changed the atmosphere in north Cyprus. According to the Turkish Cypriot media, he says, public opinion polls showing a significant increase in the National Unity Party [UBP] votes led the ruling Republican Turkish Party [CTP] to take action to prevent the transfer of power to the UBP. Claiming that the "peace and reunification talks" talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and President Christofias might be suspended if the UBP wins the elections, Calislar warns that a possible UBP victory in occupied Cyprus is likely to affect the Turkey-EU relations negatively. He goes on to note that both the election in the Turkish Cypriot sector and the Ergenekon investigation in the north have the potential to dominate Turkey's political agenda soon.

    A report entitled "ETO [Ergenekon terror organization] was Funded by Gambling Revenues" in Vakit (12.04.09), quotes Zihni Cakir who, it notes, is known as the writer who has exposed Ergenekon, as saying that the third indictment in the Ergenekon case will reveal Ergenekon's cells in occupied Cyprus and the fourth indictment will spotlight relations between the members of Ergenekon and foreign intelligence agencies, including those in The Netherlands, Germany, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.


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