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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-06-30

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>



  • [01] The so-called presidential palace denies that Talat gave an interview to Politis newspaper
  • [02] Huseyin Ozgurgun: The goal of the ongoing negotiations between the sides in Cyprus is the establishment of a new partnership based on the equality of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot side
  • [03] Mathew Bryza held contacts in the occupied areas
  • [04] A group of Todays Zaman columnists were briefed on a wide range of issues in Washington
  • [05] A group of Todays Zaman columnists on their impressions from a meeting with Bryza
  • [06] US to initiate new move to ease Greek-Turkish tensions
  • [07] Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism: No government decision on reopening of Heybeliada Seminary. Turkey Season starts in Paris
  • [08] Turkey-EU accession conference to be held in Brussels. Taxation chapter to open
  • [09] TGNA would make an effort to pass EU bills before recessing
  • [10] Police diplomacy to be employed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Europe for Turkeys national issues
  • [11] Gul back from China
  • [12] Erdogan held an extraordinary meeting with Basbug. Tarafs report on top of the agenda.
  • [13] Davutoglu to visit Moscow later this week

  • [14] Columnist on Turkey-US ties after Turkey backtracked on the agreement to open the border with Armenia immediately after Obama refrained from using the word genocide
  • [15] The reported coup plan and the Greater Middle East Project
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 29 June 2009


    [01] The so-called presidential palace denies that Talat gave an interview to Politis newspaper

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.06.09) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Palace has rejected a report published in the Greek Cypriot Politis newspaper which claimed that the comments included in the report were made by President Talat in a private interview.

    A statement issued from the Presidential Palace said that President Talat did not give a private interview to the paper and that the views included in the report are not compatible with the views the President expressed during a conversation.

    `The President did not give an interview to journalist-writer Hasan Kahvecioglu to be published in Politis. It seems that Mr Kahvecioglu wrote his own impressions from a gathering he attended as a writer for Halkin Sesi, as if they were the views voiced by the President during a private interview to Politis`, the statement said.

    It noted that there was no difference between the views voiced by the President until now, and those put forward by the President during the conversation with journalists from Halkin Sesi, adding that the comments published in Politis are not compatible with the views expressed by the President during that meeting.

    `Our Presidents views and position regarding the establishment of a partnership state are known. Accordingly, it should not be expected from our President to use expressions that could evoke the `formation of a new partnership with the unification of two states`, or `the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus`.

    It stated that the Turkish Sides position is that a `United Cyprus Republic` will be a new partnership.

    [02] Huseyin Ozgurgun: The goal of the ongoing negotiations between the sides in Cyprus is the establishment of a new partnership based on the equality of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot side

    Under the front page title Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun: The continuation of the Republic of Cyprus is impossible, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (30.06.09) reports on statements made by the self styled foreign minister Mr. Huseyin Ozgurgun according to which the goal of the ongoing negotiations between the sides in Cyprus, is the establishment of a new partnership based on the equality of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot side.

    In a written statement issued on the news published by the Greek Cypriot press that the new state which will be established after the comprehensive negotiations are concluded will be the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Huseyin Ozgurgun said: The Turkish Cypriot side has presented its fundamental principles and declared its red lines of the final agreement from the very first day of the negotiations. Mr. Ozgurgun also said that the target of the negotiations is to establish a new partnership based on the bi-zonality which is not watered down, the political equality of the two people and the equal status of the Turkish Cypriot founding state and the Greek Cypriot founding state and to reach an agreement where the active and the effective guarantees of Turkey will be continued.

    Alleging that the desire of the government of the Republic of Cyprus was to trick people with false and unfounded information, Mr. Huseyin Ozgurgun said: We are warning the Greek Cypriot administration once more and we are repeating that provocative statements of this kind are in no way influencing positively the negotiation process.


    [03] Mathew Bryza held contacts in the occupied areas

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.06.09) broadcast the following:

    The US-deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza has been received by President of the Republic Mehmet Ali Talat. The meeting took place at the Presidential Palace this afternoon.

    In a short statement, Mr Bryza called his meeting with the President constructive and added that ways the United States can be helpful to the process were discussed during the meeting. We dont have any intention of imposing ourselves or forcing anyone to do anything they dont wish to do, he said.

    Noting that the settlement of the Cyprus problem would serve the interest of all parties, Mr Bryza welcomed the agreement reached between the two sides on the opening of the Yesilirmak [occupied Limnitis] gate, which he described as a courageous step. He said he believed that the agreement on the opening of the Yesilirmak crossing point has provided new energy and enthusiasm for the two sides and created a renewed sense of optimism that the process is moving forward. Noting that there is still a lot of work to be done, he said. `Obviously there are some philosophical differences but hopefully this new energy that we feel with the opening of the crossing point will be reflected in the talks and the leaders hopefully finalize an agreement by the end of the year`.

    Later, the US deputy-Assistant secretary met with Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.

    Prior to his meeting with President Talat, Mr Bryza also held discussions with the Presidents Special Representative for talks with the UN and the EU Ozdil Nami.

    Earlier in the day, the US deputy Assistant Secretary met with George Iacovou an aide to the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias.

    Nami and Iacovou have been holding discussions in support of the direct talks being held between President Talat and the Greek Cypriot Leader Christofias. Mr Bryza will meet Christofias tomorrow.

    [04] A group of Todays Zaman columnists were briefed on a wide range of issues in Washington

    Journalist Ali H. Aslan reports in Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (29.06.09) on a visit of high-caliber Todays Zaman columnists in Washington and their meetings with US officials on issues such as the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement process, the Turkish contribution to the US operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Turkey's EU accession process, Cyprus, the Iranian elections, the situation in Iraq and the Ergenekon investigation.

    The US government showed high level interest to the delegation with the kind support of the American embassy to Ankara, notes Mr Aslan adding that the Turkish journalists had the opportunity to meet with officials at the level of the deputy secretary of state at the State Department or close to that level.

    Referring to his impressions, Mr Aslan notes that the Americans, even if they appreciate the contribution of Turkey in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are not hiding that they expect more and adds: For example, especially the view of transferring some air force possibilities allocated in the Aegean for defense against the NATO ally of Greece to the ISAF, which is the operation of NATO in Afghanistan, drew my attention.

    The Turkish journalist reports that the policy of primary importance in Washington on the issue of the relations between Turkey and the EU could be summarized in exerting pressures through open and special channels for lifting the obstacles in front of the full accession process both to Ankara and to Brussels or the European capitals which oppose to the process aiming at Turkeys full accession. Mr Aslan adds, inter alia, the following: The obstructions in the Cyprus problem and the discontinuations in the reforms are considered among the biggest obstacles for progress in this sense. A climate of optimism prevails on the issue of the solution in Cyprus in the official authorities, whereas disappointment and confusion exists on the issue of the reforms.

    It is often said why the AK Party, which during the first years of its administration took courageous steps both on the Cyprus issue and the reforms, cannot exhibit the same approach today in spite of its gravity in the executive and legislative power. The Americans do not accept as sufficient excuse the trip-ups which are put to the EU process by some strong political and bureaucratic circles who oppose this process.


    [05] A group of Todays Zaman columnists on their impressions from a meeting with Bryza

    Todays Zaman newspaper (30.06.09) reports the following:

    Matt Bryza, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has said one of the reasons why Turkey matters so much to the United States is because of its democratic system.

    And democracy requires that a country's political future is determined by voters at the ballot box through elections and through political processes, that's the constitution. And we all know that the fundamental tenets of the constitution are democracy, secularism and rule of law, he said recently when answering questions from a group of Today's Zaman columnists regarding the case of Ergenekon.

    According to Bryza, Turkey has proven repeatedly that it can move through tough issues, like the Ergenekon investigation, constitutional challenges, challenges to the electoral system and memoranda that generate much tension in society. There are very serious allegations that need to be worked through. And the truth needs to come out, he said.

    Asked if a military coup would threaten US-Turkish relations, he said: You can imagine, were there a military coup in Turkey that would be quite disruptive for many people and for many relationships that Turkey's officials have of course with the US. Why Turkey matters so much strategically, one of the reasons is because of its democratic system.

    In regard to Turkey's relations with the European Union, in which Turkey aspires to be a member, he said there are a few important months ahead and referred to the support given to Turkey's EU accession by US President Barack Obama on his historic visit to Europe and Turkey.

    A lot of the future prospect of Turkey's EU accession depends on the Cyprus question, he said, apparently commenting on the upcoming European Council report due in December evaluating Turkey's progress in fulfilling its obligations.

    Turkey has to make an obligation to open its ports, its airports to Greek Cypriot vessels. We also understand that Turkey wants to make sure that all of these issues are dealt with in the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. And we have some reason to hope that Cyprus settlement discussions brokered by the UN are making progress, he said.

    Bryza said they hope breakthroughs will begin to come in late September, adding that the Cyprus question is continuing on a positive track with help from all: the international community, the US and the EU, but essentially the parties themselves.

    Forcing them to do it simply is not going to be workable because there will be referenda again. And eventually the parties will either vote for or against, depending on how comfortable they are with the settlement, he said. If you talk to the UN secretary-general's special representative, Michael Moller, you'll hear cautious optimism.

    In response to a question on the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, Bryza said the processes are separate.

    They are moving in parallel but at different speeds. One process will make progress one day or one week faster than the other one. And the other one catches up and moves ahead of it. We know that as one process makes progress, the mood generally improves in the region, and it's easier to make progress on the other one, he said and added that Azerbaijanis sometimes don't necessarily agree that normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations and opening of the border is a positive element because they believe Armenia will grow less flexible on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process if Armenia knows its border with Turkey is about to open.

    I have a different view. I tend to believe that as the Armenian side senses the possibility that it could have a normal relationship with Turkey and its border could open, it actually does become more flexible or has become more flexible, he said.

    He also said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was constructive during the last two meetings he has had with Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan on May 7 in Prague and on June 4 in St. Petersburg.

    Opening the border is one stage in the normalization process. It's not an immediate step. It happens as other things fall into place and as the Turkey-Armenia normalization process moves forward, which gives us time to get the breakthrough on Nagorno-Karabakh that we need. And hopefully if we are successful in forging that breakthrough in Nagorno-Karabakh, then we don't have to deal with this very difficult question, he explained.

    In addition, Bryza referred to the Russian role in the process as constructive.

    As difficult as our relationship has been with Russia and Georgia, they have been equally positive on Nagorno-Karabakh, he said and added that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has twice been involved in a helpful way.

    He helped last Nov. 2 by getting the declaration of Presidents Aliyev and Sarksyan outside of Moscow at his residence, he said. And then again at St. Petersburg he played a constructive role when he brought the presidents together at dinner. And after that the mood has much improved.

    In response to the question of doubts related to the Russian motives, he said he is not at all suspicious because Russians have their own reasons for favoring normalization between Turkey and Armenia.

    Maybe they calculate that their strategic position in the South Caucasus will improve over time, he said.

    Today's Zaman columnists inquired as to why no big statement had emerged from the St. Petersburg meeting. Bryza said it is not a bad sign.

    They chose not to make any big statement because the process is continuing. President Aliyev was worried that maybe the process wasn't going to continue after the Prague meeting. And we saw in St. Petersburg that it was.

    He also touched on the issue of the alleged provocations of Ergenekon supporters to manipulate the Azeri public against the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

    I haven't looked into that. I would say that the Azerbaijani people don't need much provocation. They are very much against the Turkey-Armenia border opening and normalization.

    PKK damaged

    Bryza said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was seriously damaged as a result of US-Turkey cooperation in intelligence sharing decided upon on Nov. 27, 2007.

    We have also seen at the same time a significant increase in the government of Iraq and specifically the Kurdish regional government's operations to eliminate this terrorist threat.

    When it comes to the issue of energy, he said the US and Turkey have a strong legacy of strategic cooperation based on energy.

    After the Baku-Tbilisi oil pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline, there is also the second phase of cooperation to try and help Europe diversify its supplies of natural gas through a southern corridor which consists of the Nabucco pipeline and the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline as well as interconnections of the gas networks of Turkey and other European countries, he said.

    And it's going well. Turkey has a chance to elevate its strategic importance for all of Europe by being a reliable transit state. That means it needs to treat Azerbaijan as a partner and finish its gas transit negotiations, reach an agreement with Azerbaijan and also be a reliable state for transit gas, especially from Iraq and from Turkmenistan into Europe.

    [06] US to initiate new move to ease Greek-Turkish tensions

    Todays Zaman newspaper (30.06.09) reports the following:

    The US Pentagon has been working on a plan to ease long-standing disputes between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, which Washington sees as hampering both countries' efforts within the alliance to contribute in contentious areas such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Greece and Turkey have been spending the majority of their energy and capital on disputes between themselves instead of taking a broader view and contributing more constructively to disputes elsewhere in the world, said one US official, speaking to Today's Zaman on condition of anonymity.

    In Washington, there is also a strong belief that because Turkey has been embroiled in domestic problems such as the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which was rejected by the Constitutional Court in lieu of levying a fine on the party, it cannot be a constructive partner in the NATO alliance. NATO also suggests that Turkey refrain from politicizing its bid for European Union membership by means of the alliance, for example, by obstructing transatlantic cooperation on the smooth functioning of the European force.

    Turkey, which does not recognize Greek Cyprus as a state despite its membership in the EU, prevents Greek Cypriot participation in EU-led NATO-assisted peacekeeping operations.

    Some in influential circles in Washington complain that Turkey focuses too much on its neighbor Greece instead of cooperating more closely with NATO to promote a peaceful climate in areas such as the Balkans and Afghanistan.

    Turkey spends a tremendous amount of money on defense, and yet it spends some of that amount on strengthening its Aegean borders against Greece, which it perceives as a threat. Similarly, Greece can also be more constructive within NATO by putting emphasis more on hotspot regions and using its defense expenditures for that purpose, said US sources speaking to Today's Zaman.

    Unlike Turkish official figures, putting spending on defense at slightly less than 2 percent of its gross national product (GNP), NATO figures cite this ratio as between 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent.

    NATO has been hoping that Turkey will overcome its domestic problems, ease tensions with Greece and look around the world more broadly. Turkey has the capacity to do that, said the same US source.

    NATO allies Greece and Turkey remain at odds over air and sea boundaries and flight rules in the Aegean despite improved economic ties, although exchanges of visits by military commanders of both countries started in 2006. Both Greek and Turkish fighters routinely carry out interceptions and mock dogfights. The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus also continues to be an issue poisoning relations.

    The US plans to initiate mediation between Greece and Turkey to help the two countries bridge their differences come at a time when Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis voiced her concern on June 22 over increasing tension in Greece's relations with neighboring Turkey over military flights in the Aegean Sea.

    The dogfights occur mainly due to Greek claims of wider sovereignty over Aegean airspace.

    The two countries' ongoing talks to resolve their deep-rooted sovereignty rights in the Aegean have so far failed to yield any result.

    It is not yet clear with what kind of road map the US will come up with to mediate between the two NATO allies to ease their tensions. One US source said the idea of mediation has not yet matured and Washington has been studying the parameters of a plan to see what both countries can do militarily to ease tensions between themselves.

    This will open the way for Turkey in particular to come up with innovations to further strengthen the transatlantic relationship with a potential role of bridging ties in the Middle East and beyond, said the US sources.

    But according to information obtained by Today's Zaman, the US is expected to tell Greece and Turkey to spend their military resources on, for example, NATO operations in Afghanistan as well as to bring down the number of forces in the Aegean.

    The Greek-Turkish dispute is too expensive, said one US official. Earlier efforts by both the US and NATO to mediate between Greece and Turkey have failed.

    [07] Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism: No government decision on reopening of Heybeliada Seminary. Turkey Season starts in Paris

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.06.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The Turkish government has not made any decisions yet on re-opening of the seminary in Istanbul, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay said on Monday.

    Gunay flied to Paris to attend a press conference with his French counterpart Frederic Mitterand to mark the inauguration of "Turkey Season" in the French capital. Before his departure, Gunay was asked about his remarks regarding the opening of Heybeliada Seminary. Gunay said he approached the matter with goodwill and a positive perspective.

    There is no decision made about the seminary yet. I stated earlier that it was my personal thought that the seminary could be opened. However, I said it would take some time to make technical, legal and political discussions on the matter, he added.

    [08] Turkey-EU accession conference to be held in Brussels. Taxation chapter to open

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.06.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    The seventh meeting of the Turkey-EU Accession Conference at ministerial level will be held in Brussels on Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Turkish State Minister and Chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bagis will represent Turkey at the meeting, the ministry said on Monday.

    Turkey and the European Union are set to start negotiations over a policy chapter on taxation as part of their talks aimed making Turkey a member of the 27-nation bloc. The chapter on taxation would be the eleventh of a total of 33 chapters.

    The ministry said the meeting would also discuss progress Turkey has made so far in accession process as well as future works to be done. Turkey continues to make necessary reforms, it said and added that Turkish officials would express at the meeting Turkey's expectations from EU officials to abide by their obligations and adopt an approach far from political considerations in accession talks which is a technical process.

    Moreover, on the same issue, Hurriyet Daily (30.06.09) reports that Turkey has so far opened chapters on free movement of capital, company law, intellectual property law, information society and media, enterprise and industry policy, trans-European networks, consumer and health protection, statistics, financial control, and science and research. The Swedish term presidency, which is scheduled to start on July 1, is expected to speed up Turkey's accession talks by opening three more chapters.

    [09] TGNA would make an effort to pass EU bills before recessing

    Hurriyet Daily (30.06.09) reports the following from Ankara:

    Despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans promise to European envoys that Parliament would make an effort to pass the 17 bills requested by the European Union, lawmakers will begin the summer recess today as planned. Ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, members said Parliament would reconvene on August 4 for the election of the new parliament speaker and that could give lawmakers the chance to work until the beginning of Ramadan on August 19. But observers believed it was unlikely Parliament could keep deputies in Ankara in the middle of summer and argued that Parliament would begin its legislative work by October 1, as planned.

    The two-year mandate of current Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan is to end on August 9, but he has the option to run for another term. The first two rounds of the election will be on August 4. If lawmakers fail to elect the new speaker, the third and fourth rounds will be held on August 5.Toptan has not yet announced his candidacy for his second term but observers believe he will likely run for it.

    [10] Police diplomacy to be employed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Europe for Turkeys national issues

    Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (29.06.09) under the headline, "Police Chiefs in the EU," publishes a front-page report and writes that 13 high-level Turkish police chiefs will be sent to EU countries with the order of the Minister of Interior, Mr Besir Atalay. As the paper writes, the intellectual police chiefs will lobby in the EU countries in favor of Turkey on several issues such as the Armenian allegations of genocide, the "Kurdish issue," terrorism and human rights.

    The paper goes on and writes that the 13 high-level chiefs were appointed to serve duties abroad with the orders of Minister Atalay. The police chiefs are being trained since two weeks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey regarding the countries they will visit. The paper publishes the names and positions of eight of the 13-high level police officials who will serve their duties in the UK, in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and Azerbaijan.

    Minister Atalay determined that the police chiefs who served on their duties until today with great success will work very beneficially from now on in the international arena as security attachés in order to help Turkey. The paper goes on and writes that five more members of the police are expected to be appointed by Minister Atalay during this week, in order to participate in the group of police chiefs who will serve in the EU countries.

    All the police chiefs being appointed by Interior Minister Atalay to serve their duties abroad have in depth knowledge of the general problems of Turkey.


    [11] Gul back from China

    Ankara Anatolia (29.06.09) reported the following from Urumchi/Ankara: TheTurkish President Abdullah Gul said it was very important to converge on confidence, harmony, atmosphere of free speech and Turkey's priorities. We have to preserve our institutions, the parliament, Turkish Armed Forces, and all institutions of Turkey, Gul told reporters aboard the Turkish Airlines plane while returning to Turkey from China.

    Asked if there were efforts to destroy the harmony among governmental institutions, Gul said, Maybe, that's why we have to be careful and we should not give a chance. The point is to talk about issues clearly and to carry forward Turkey all together.

    Recalling that the National Security Council convenes on a bimonthly basis, Gul said council members were free to speak out everything. Of course, council meetings are very important. We should not put Turkey in an extraordinary situation, he said.

    Gul also stated that the Turkish Armed Forces acted in accordance with democracy and the rule of law as the chief of general staff said.

    We have lots of things to do as a country in negotiations with the EU, he added.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday that legal experts of the presidency were examining the amendment that allows trial of military personnel before civil courts. The Turkish Parliament passed the amendment on Friday. Turkish Government Spokesman, State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said it was up to the President to approve or disapprove the law on the trial of military personnel. On his arrival in Ankara after his formal visit to China, President Gul told reporters that he would not give his decision politically.

    Our legal departments examine in detail bills passed by the parliament. If we see contradiction to the constitution, then we send it back to the parliament to be debated once again. Our experts are working on it right now, Gul said.

    Also speaking about his visit to China, Gul said he believes a new era has begun in relations between Turkey and China. He said both economic and political relations would continue stronger than ever.

    [12] Erdogan held an extraordinary meeting with Basbug. Tarafs report on top of the agenda.

    Hurriyet Daily (29.06.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and army chief Gen. Ilker Basbug held Monday an extraordinary meeting in the capital Ankara as tensions in the country rise over an alleged military drafted anti-government document published in a national daily.

    Monday's summit came a day before a bimonthly meeting of the state's top security board National Security Council, or MGK, in which Basbug said he would bring document in question to the agenda.

    Basbug has said the document published in Taraf daily was part of a growing and organized smear campaign against the military.

    The meeting held at the Prime Ministry lasted just over 90 minutes and was also attended by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.

    Ergin's presence at the meeting hints that last week's amendment, which enables civilian courts to prosecute army personnel, was expected to have dominated discussions.The government's legal maneuver comes after military prosecutors decided not to investigate a navy colonel, who was suspected of drafting the alleged anti-government document at the center of the debate.

    Erdogan has defended the legislation, saying the move targets coups and coup plotters. The main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, however, accuses the government of interfering with the law for its own agenda.

    [13] Davutoglu to visit Moscow later this week

    Todays Zaman newspaper (30.06.09) reports the following:

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is scheduled to pay a working visit later this week to the Russian capital, where he will have an opportunity to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues with his counterpart.

    Davutoglu and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, were both on the Greek island of Corfu over the weekend, which was the venue for both a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council and a foreign ministerial gathering of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Davutoglu and Lavrov, who will meet on Thursday, when the former pays a working visit to Moscow, did not have an opportunity to have a bilateral meeting in Corfu. Nonetheless, Ankara has welcomed the fact that NATO and Russia on Saturday resumed formal cooperation on broad security threats despite failing to bridge major differences over Georgia in their first high-level talks since the war in the Caucasus region.

    Turkey has always favored friendly relations and a cooperation mechanism between NATO and Russia. Although the meeting in Corfu has symbolic importance, a path to dialogue has been opened now, Turkish diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today's Zaman.

    Davutoglu's visit to Moscow will come days before a tentatively planned meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders expected to take place in Russia in mid-July. Diplomatic sources in Ankara, meanwhile, declined to elaborate on the agenda of the meeting between Davutoglu and Lavrov, only saying that all kinds of issues that are of common interest for the two countries, ranging from energy to trade, will be on the agenda of the talks.

    Last week, a US negotiator announced that mediators hope to clinch an agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the principles of a peace deal on breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh at talks tentatively planned for mid-July in Russia. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said he and his fellow mediators from France and Russia were shooting for a full framework agreement by the end of 2009. But he conceded the risk of a last-minute breakdown of the kind that derailed earlier efforts to broker an agreement between the Caucasus neighbors, who continue to exchange fire over their tense frontline 15 years after major hostilities ended.

    Davutoglu, meanwhile, is expected to pay a two-day bilateral visit to Bucharest, Romania, on July 3-4 following his visit to Moscow, Today's Zaman learned from reliable sources.


    [14] Columnist on Turkey-US ties after Turkey backtracked on the agreement to open the border with Armenia immediately after Obama refrained from using the word genocide

    Istanbul Sabah newspaper (29.06.09) publishes the following commentary from Washington by Omer Taspinar under the title "Problems with the United States are increasing":

    The honeymoon between Ankara and Washington that began following the visit of [US President Barack] Obama has slowly begun to be replaced by serious problems once again. These problems can be summarized under three main headings. The first and most important issue is the fact that the process of normalization with Armenia has become blocked. The second is that Turkey does not seem sufficiently enthusiastic in terms of the EU. The third and newest problem is the fact that Ankara has flunked in the reaction it has shown to the Iranian elections.

    Let us start with the issue of the normalization of relations with Armenia. As is known, Ankara and Yerevan signed an agreement on 22 April 2009 - that is, just two days prior to 24 April, the day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide. Normalization was to be achieved, that is, the border was to be opened, and diplomatic relations were to be established. While this agreement pleased Washington, it caused the Armenian diaspora to overflow with anger. How could Yerevan decide to normalize diplomatic relations with Turkey without making Turkey's recognition of the genocide a precondition for this? So following the 22 April agreement, what was expected happened. The White House, not wanting to offend Turkey, did not use the world "genocide" in its 24 April statement. The Armenian lobby immediately launched into a litany of "Yerevan sold us out, and Obama deceived us."

    Washington paid no attention to this. For Obama, the important thing was for the border between Armenia and Turkey to be opened as soon as possible. But although months have passed since then, the border has not been opened, and the normalization has not occurred. Well, why not? Who is it that doesn't want the border to be opened? Looked at from Washington, it has been Ankara that has made a "U-turn." In the text of the 22 April agreement, the Karabakh issue was not a precondition. The essence of the matter was this: Armenia refrained from making the genocide issue a precondition, and Turkey did the same with the Karabakh issue. The agreement was reached thanks to this.

    Turkey no longer credible

    But now the AKP [Justice and Development Party] is trying to get out of it. Karabakh has suddenly become a precondition again. The opening of the border has become indexed to this issue. As for Armenia, it has been left in the lurch. The [Serzh] Sargisyan government has become isolated, both domestically and internationally. Its partner in government has left the coalition. The diaspora and the lobby are spitting fire at it. As for Turkey, it is continually speaking of Azerbaijan and Karabakh. Looked at from Washington, Armenia showed political courage and vision, while Ankara has reneged. Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has turned a solution on Karabakh, and satisfying Azerbaijan, into a precondition. Because of this problem, the administrations and Obama, are peeved at Turkey. And most importantly, Turkey is no longer credible. The price of this could be the passage of a genocide resolution in the US Congress a year from now.

    The second problem in the relationship is Ankara's lack of enthusiasm regarding the EU. Obama is aware that the real problem is Europe. Indeed, it is for this reason that he lobbies on behalf of Turkey at every opportunity with [French President Nicholas] Sarkozy and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel. But at the same time, America also expects Turkey as well to take hold of the EU cause wholeheartedly.

    Progress is expected in terms of amending the Constitution, opening the Heybeliada [Greek Orthodox] Seminary, and, most importantly, on the Cyprus issue. But Turkey, when these issues are brought up, is never able to display any other alternative approach apart from saying "we have done all that we can; the ball is in the other side's court." With things going in this way, Washington, becoming sick of Turkey's lack of enthusiasm on the EU, could itself give up lobbying on behalf of Ankara.

    The third issue is Iran. That Turkey, just like Russia and China, lost no time in congratulating [Iranian President Mahmud] Ahmadinezhad for his victory in an election that smelled of corruption has not created pleasure in Washington. In the words of an important diplomat who is familiar with the Turkey file, "when blood is flowing in the streets of Tehran, we expected a more balanced stance on behalf of human rights, democracy, and justice from Turkey, the most democratic country of the region."

    In particular, the approach of "we do not take sides and do not interfere in Iran's internal affairs," which was used in an interview given to the European press, could be pointed out to us by the United States in the event of some similar anti-democratic development taking place in the future in Turkey. Let me warn at this point: In foreign policy, realism, and Realpolitik, are very important. But a country like Turkey has to make a more normative balance adjustment between realism and democracy. For, in the final analysis, the honeymoon with the Obama administration is slowly coming to an end, and the problems are coming to the surface.

    [15] The reported coup plan and the Greater Middle East Project

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily (30.06.09) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Ulsever under the title "Are the allies of the US in Turkey changing?":

    I have a mindset that whenever change or unrest occurs or whenever a new document is introduced to cause a stir in Turkey, I immediately think of a development abroad. I cannot help it but I am trying to look at the incident in Turkey from the outside. For instance, no one can convince me that the Ergenekon case was prepared by internal dynamics only. I noted several things about the "infamous document" on Sunday. I said that I found this document's being appropriately dated as April 2009 interesting. But why was it dated April 2009?

    The said document was revealed on June 4. A case was filed in an Istanbul court on June 6. The document was published by Taraf daily on June 12. But the publisher used "April 2009" for the date.

    On the other hand, Fetullah Gulen on April 8, 2009 released a paper on and gave a brief on the content of the said document under the title "tahsiye" on June 4. The word "tahsiye" comes from the Ottoman language, a word that the late Bediuzzaman Said Nursi most often used in his Risale-i Nur Collection. It means a small explanatory note jotted down on a book page or a piece of paper.

    Gulen, in his statement, writes: "God forbid... People who act as if they are on our side may be forced to have Kalashnikovs someday and be involved in action. Others may say afterwards 'Look, they are armed if necessary.'"

    He, in a way, makes a prediction about the "Plan to finish off the AKP and Fetullah Gulen". On the other hand, the Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug in his April 14 statement openly pointed out Gulen as a target!

    Now, let's look at the recent past:

    1) Turkish-American relations were harmed gravely by the March 1, 2003 deployment note in Parliament. The United States, for the first time, began to look for a new ally instead of Turkey in its policies in the region.

    2) The Bush Administration back then planned to "change" some regimes in the Middle East. So they supposedly proscribed democracy. Democracy and Islam recalled the "Gulen Movement," rightfully at first. The Greater Middle East Project was designed on a development that the Gulen Movement already experienced and that may evolve into democracy.

    And I think this was a good decision, theoretically. In 2003-2009, this alliance did work and the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, devolved.

    3) The Bush administration's selfishness screwed up in the Greater Middle East Project and failed to establish order in Iraq.

    4) On the other hand, the Gulen Movement between 2003 and 2009 exerted tremendous efforts to be effective both in northern Iraq and in Southeastern Turkey. They fed expectations inside the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in a way that the party could wipe off the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, in the Southeast.

    And the expectation was of a great deal of interest to U.S. northern Iraq policies.5) However, that didn't happen. The AKP was crushed in the southeast on March 29 and it emerged that the Gulen Movement was not very influential on Kurds.

    6) In the mean time, Barack Obama was elected president and started to look for new allies to help the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and to protect U.S. interests in the country as he promised previously.

    7) A new ally in Turkey could have been the Turkish Armed Forces under Gen. Basbug; the ally that has all the required qualifications and has not been cold to U.S. policies in northern Iraq since March 1.

    8) The new ally, however, would introduce new terms: the deactivation of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, by the United States and putting a distance between themselves and the Gulen Movement.

    9) In fact Obama was ready to make a U-turn and was aware that the "old allies" in Turkey were disturbed by the Greater Middle East Project.

    I'll continue tomorrow.

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 29 June 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 29 June 2009:

    a) On internal matters

    Yusuf Kanli, in an article in Hurriyet Daily News, criticizes the government for its hypocritical approach to justice, giving examples of how it handles the Ergenekon probe and the investigation into the Deniz Feneri/Lighthouse case. Recalling how the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, "added a paragraph in the middle of the night to a draft under debate and empowered civilian courts to judge officers accused of activities against the civilian government," Kanli says: "Such a move of course has to be applauded under normal conditions... But the way the amendment was made, unfortunately, provided just another example of the obstinate governance understanding of the AKP."

    The prime minister acts like a "hero" who fights against fabricated coup scenarios in order to stop "the AKP's melting process," on the one hand, while on the other, he calls on the media and the political parties to act with common sense, says Tufan Turenc in an article in Hurriyet, adding that this policy will eventually wear out both Erdogan and his party. Does the prime minister not see that the country is moving away from democracy every passing day and that the world describes him as the autocratic prime minister, asks Turenc and explains that Erdogan speaks in favor of democracy, while he inflicts fear. Also drawing attention to Turkey's serious economic problems, Turenc says: "Turkey has not been able to talk about any of its problems during the past year. The Ergenekon prosecutors continue to expand their investigation. Documents whose natures are not known are flying in the air... The prime minister does not care about all this. He is after the coupists. He attacks the windmills, which he believes are his enemies."

    The AKP has lodged a complaint about the alleged military plan with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, while the General Staff, claiming that the document is forged, has lodged a complaint with the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, maintains Fatih Cekirge in the first part of an article in Hurriyet, saying: "I wonder if this document has emerged as a result of an intelligence information. I wonder whether certain persons received information in this regard and whether such a document was produced because no one was able to find the original document." Just when the president has issued a statement to the effect that there has never been such harmony among state institutions, a cloud of suspicion was placed over the institutional structure of the state, notes Cekirge, adding: "The minds have been fogged. And when has this happened? Just when Turkey was getting ready to approach one of the most important issues of the history of the republic with 'harmony, dialogue, and wisdom,' just when the chief of staff delivered speeches that encouraged civilian courage, just when the president talked about a historic opportunity, and just when Baykal was getting ready to meet Talabani. This 'confidence bomb' has been dropped just at this point."

    Which side is the "guerrilla" and which side is the "regular army" in the "asymmetric internal war" between the "pro-Fetullah Gulen cadres" and the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK), asks Milliyet columnist Kadri Gursel in an article, adding that he understands from Basbug's comments that "a guerrilla attack has been launched against the army in the psychological front." Recalling that in a statement he issued in April Basbug had announced that the TSK would not remain a spectator to the Gulen community's activities, Gursel says: "The TSK's capacity to conduct a psychological operation in politics and in the society has been weakened especially during the last period of the AKP's term, while the Gulen's community's operational capacity has gotten stronger. It is almost as if an asymmetry is being formed against the TSK the soft power is concerned. Let us see how the TSK will not tolerate and will not remain a spectator to these developments."

    Despite the fact that Deniz Baykal has called for putting the 12 September coupists on trial, the Republican People's Party. CHP, group acting leaders oppose the legal amendment that will enable civilian courts to try the military officers who are planning coups, notes Nazli Ilicak in a commentary in Sabah and questions why the CHP opposes this amendment. I wish that this amendment would be made with an agreement among the political parties, points out Ilicak and asks whether the AKP has made the amendment in the middle of the night due to the fact that it does not trust the main opposition party where this issue is concerned. Arguing that no political party will dare to apply to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of the amendment, Ilicak says: "If the CHP believes that the latest legal arrangement violates the Constitution, it should reach an agreement with the AKP and it should amend Article 145 of the Constitution for limiting the authorities of the military courts, rather than applying to the Constitutional Court."

    In an article entitled "Who is the other party to the asymmetric psychological war?", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Aktay criticizes General Ilker Basbug for "complaining" at his recent news conference about the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, being the target of "an asymmetric psychological war." Emphasizing the "absolutely bizarre" quality of Basbug's remarks representing the TSK as a "victim" of an asymmetric psychological operation, Aktay asserts that the TSK is the only institution in Turkey that has a psychological warfare department and recalls how the military made use of the most "preposterous" and "reckless" methods of psychological war to prepare the ground for "innumerable" military interventions from 27 May, 1960 through 27 April, 2007.

    In an article entitled "A democracy under Tutelage", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Basbug's disclosure at the recent news conference that the General Staff does not intend to start an internal "witch-hunt" has encouraged the Ergenekon network and "putschist" elements within the military. He asserts that Ergenekon will launch an "all-out war" in September with the help of part of the news media, the Mafia, business circles, political and bureaucratic elements, and certain NGOs in a last ditch attempt to topple the Government through an economic crisis, acts of terrorism, an anti-reactionary campaign, or "whatever comes in handy." Addressing Basbug in a postscript, Dilipak says: "General, we will not keep our hands off the TSK but you should keep your hands off politics. It is we taxpayers who pay your salaries and it is our children who serve in the army. If you cannot take that, nobody is forcing you to occupy that office."

    b) Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraqi Cities

    Arguing that the withdrawal of the US troops from the Iraqi cities constitutes an initial step that will show whether the Iraqis are able to establish security, Hurriyet's Ferai Tinc, in an article, emphasizes that rather than Al-Qa'ida terrorism, the United States is concerned about a civil war in Iraq. How will the first stage of the US withdrawal reflect on Turkey, asks Tinc and underlines that Washington wants Turkey to become a stability factor in the region. Tension points such as the Kirkuk issue primarily as well as the finalization of the Petroleum Law and the establishment of ethnic balances still appear on the agenda and when we add to all this Iran's plans to increase its influence in Iran, it is easier to understand why Washington wants to be in good terms with Ankara, notes Tinc and adds: "The developments in Iraq will show whether the United States is returning home or whether it is merely trying to create such an impression."


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