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

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 168/09 05-07.09.09


  • [01] Talat Our desire and demand is the solution by the end of the year and it is possible to happen
  • [02] Regular meetings between technical committees from the Turkish Cypriot Political parties and Talats office will start regarding the 2nd round of the negotiations
  • [03] Erdogan defended his governments policies on the Cyprus problem and said that no concessions were made on Cyprus
  • [04] Downer met with Turkish Cypriot businessmen
  • [05] Sheikh Nazim asks for an autonomous Islamic canton in the Lefkosia areas within the walls
  • [06] A desalination plant to be built at occupied Agios Sergios village
  • [07] Davutoglu met in Stockholm with his UK, Italian and Belgian counterparts and discussed Turkeys EU bid
  • [08] EU states and candidate countries, except Turkey, signed declaration concerning Free Media

  • [09] Turkish commentator on the alternatives regarding the future of the negotiation in Cyprus
  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 03 September 2009


    [01] Talat Our desire and demand is the solution by the end of the year and it is possible to happen

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.09.09) under the title More courage is needed publishes an interview given by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to Odul Asik Ulker the writer in the column Face to Face of the paper.

    According to the paper, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat stated, inter alia, that the Turkish Cypriot side behaved as they had agreed on the issue of the Limnitis crossing point when the Greek Cypriots wanted to cross over in order to attend the liturgy at Agios Mamas church, adding that they did not commit any mistake on the issue since the Greek Cypriots were aware from before that there would be an identity control.

    Underlining that the Turkish Cypriot side has some sensitivities on some issues, Mr. Talat said: Our sensitivities on the decision in the Orams case and the efforts exerted to stop the ferryboat trips from here to Syria were not enough? We were very sensitive but we gave a great importance not to display our sensitivities and influence the process. More courage is needed.

    Asked to evaluate the statements made the other day by the Foreign Minister, Markos Kyprianou that in order for progress to be achieved during the second round of the negotiations the Turkish Cypriot side must proceed to the table without positions with the scent of confederation, Mr. Talat said the following: Kyprianou is not my interlocutor. My interlocutor is Christofias and had he said this, I would reply to him. I am not going to reply to Mr. Kyprianou. He is not my interlocutor, he can say whatever he wants, but what he says is not very important.

    Replying to the question: You had made a statement that It is not definite that there would be a result on the negotiations until the end of the year. Earlier, you did not say definite but you were using more hopeful expressions. Has the latest incident destroyed your hopes?, Mr. Talat said the following: I made this statement because we are reaching the end of the year and one of the meetings was cancelled for an inconceivable reason. I thought that if I was still saying that there would be a solution by the end of the year, the people from the other side would misunderstand this, and, in any case I gave this reply. When I say (end of the year) it is our goal.

    Asked to comment on the allegation that while the end of the year is approaching, the solution is not possible, Mr. Talat stated the following: There are the visits abroad. Thus, while the end of the year is coming closer, it is more difficult to reach to a solution. Our desire and demand is the solution by the end of the year and it is possible to happen. I am still certain on this and it is what we wish.

    Replying also to the question: What are your expectations from the second round? Mr. Talat replied as follows: We are against incidents of this kind affecting the negotiation process and we will do the necessary so that this incident will not affect the negotiation process. I hope that Christofias will do also the same. This was the impression I got from our telephone conversation. So, we do not have any other choice than meeting and solving the Cyprus problem. Otherwise, this kind of tensions will always appear. Provocateurs will appear always in the scene and they will do bad things. For this reason we should not pay attention and not connect these tensions with the negotiation process. Like we did not involve the Orams case and other issue, these should not be involved.

    Asked to comment on whether he will be a candidate at the next presidential elections, Mr. Talat said that there is a lot of time for the elections to come and that it is not necessary to start the election run from now.


    [02] Regular meetings between technical committees from the Turkish Cypriot Political parties and Talats office will start regarding the 2nd round of the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.09.09) reports the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat concluded his evaluation process with political parties who have seats at the TRNC parliament yesterday afternoon.

    According to information received the President informed the parties of the preparations that are being made for the start of the second leg of the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Speaking after the meeting the General Secretary of the National Unity Party Irsen Kucuk said political parties expressed their views regarding power sharing and governance but added that nothing had been accomplished during the meeting.

    The leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party Ferdi Sabit Soyer for his part said that the parties had exchanged views regarding certain issues and that during the next meeting technical committees would be joining them as well.

    The leader of the Democrat Party Serdar Denktas gave news that another meeting would be held at the Presidential Palace next week.

    The General Secretary of the Communal Democracy Party Meltem Onurkan Samani for her part said that they had exchanged views with the president regarding the second leg of the negotiations that will begin on the 10th of September 6.

    She also said that technical committees that will be decided by the political parties will be meeting regularly with the Presidents technical committees.

    [03] Erdogan defended his governments policies on the Cyprus problem and said that no concessions were made on Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.09.09) broadcast the following:

    The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his governments policies on the Cyprus Problem, stating that never before did the Cyprus Turkish people gain so much, the sympathy, support and respect of the international community.

    Speaking at an event in Istanbul, the Turkish premier pointed out that the TRNC has opened representation offices in more than 20 countries, has gained observer status at the Organization of Islamic Conference and is referred to within the organization as the Cyprus Turkish State, all as a result of his governments proactive policies on the Cyprus Problem.

    Responding to criticisms made against his government, Erdogan said we adopted a proactive stance on the Cyprus Problem and were criticized for doing so. Then they accused us of selling out Cyprus. Could someone please tell me which one of these claims is true?

    He said that no concessions had been made on the Cyprus Issue.The Turkish Prime Minister also pointed out that the respect and recognition TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat had earned from the international community today was incomparable to any other TRNC President or official in the past.

    [04] Downer met with Turkish Cypriot businessmen

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (06.09.09), under the title A top secret meeting of Downer with businessmen, reports that a meeting in great secrecy and closed to the press was held aiming to take the views of the business circles during the critical stage of the Cyprus problem.

    According to the paper, the UN Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alexander Downer, met with a group of Turkish Cypriot businessmen Ramiz Manyera, Bulent Semiler, Burhan Yetkili, Unsal Ozbilenler, Salih Tunar, Semsi Kazim, Peker Turgut, Onder Sanver at Merit Hotel in occupied Lefkosia. After the meeting they had lunch together.

    According to information obtained by the paper, Mr Downer was informed on the Turkish Cypriot businessmens views regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem. It is also expected that Mr Downer will have a similar meeting with Greek Cypriot businessmen, concludes the paper.


    [05] Sheikh Nazim asks for an autonomous Islamic canton in the Lefkosia areas within the walls

    Under the title He asks for an autonomous Islamic canton! Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (07.09.09) reports that Sheikh Nazim Kibrisi has said he is ready to undertake the cost of the restoration of the entire area within the walls of the occupied part of Lefkosia and demanded the creation of an autonomous Islamic canton in that area after this restoration.

    In statements to Kibrisli, Sheikh Nazim argued that in case the above-mentioned area is not restored to gain its cultural and historical identity again, the old town of Lefkosia, which constitutes the most important historical and cultural heritage of the Turkish Cypriots, will disappear in front of everybodys eyes.

    He said: In order for history and culture to be saved in the area within the walls, restoring the way of living in this town and making it as in the past is a must. For example the entrance of vehicles in the area within the walls will be prohibited. As it happens in many countries of the world, carriages with horses will be used.

    Noting that all the concrete buildings in that area should be demolished, he said that inns, Turkish baths and libraries should be built in their place. He argued that a 7-member council should be responsible for the administration of the town, where everybody should live according to the Islamic law and nobody will pay taxes. He said that the casinos, the taverns and similar places in that area should be closed down.

    Sheikh Nazim said they are not satisfied from the UBP government and that as Turkish Cypriot Muslims they do not accept to be governed by this government. That is why, he added, the Turkish Cypriot Muslims need an autonomous area where they will be living and be governed according to their beliefs. He also noted that they are preparing letters on this issue which they are planning to send to the guarantor powers, the UN and the EU.

    The paper reports that Sheikh Nazim had proposed the same concept in the past with this autonomous area to be in the Karpass peninsula.


    [06] A desalination plant to be built at occupied Agios Sergios village

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.09.09) under the title Big investment at Agios Sergios reports that the municipality of Agios Sergios has already opened tenders in order to build a desalination plant with the aim of meeting the increased needs of water especially during the summer months. As the paper writes, the tenders were opened on September 2 and will end on September 11. The paper also writes that the aim of the project is to provide one thousand tons of drinking water daily.


    [07] Davutoglu met in Stockholm with his UK, Italian and Belgian counterparts and discussed Turkeys EU bid

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.09.09) reports the following from Stockholm:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with the foreign ministers of Britain, Italy and Belgium in Stockholm. Davutoglu met with the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Wright Miliband at the British Embassy in Stockholm on Friday night.

    Ahmet Davutoglu met with the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme in his hotel in Stockholm on Saturday morning.Minister Davutoglu is expected to meet with the EU Commissioner in charge of enlargement Olli Rehn, EU term president Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos on Saturday.

    The foreign ministers of Britain, Italy and Belgium reaffirmed their strong support to Turkey's EU bid during talks with Davutoglu. The three ministers informed Davutoglu that they believed that a negative statement made by Europe causes a very negative outcome in the Turkish public opinion.

    The three ministers and Davutoglu also discussed Turkey's efforts made on the way to EU membership, reforms made by the Turkish government, the works of the Turkish Parliamentary Women and Men Equal Opportunity Committee, programs of TRT 6 TV channel and energy.

    Minister Davutoglu told his counterparts from the three countries that Turkey's "Democratic Move" came at a time when the government is fighting against terrorism.Davutoglu requested from the three ministers to make more efforts to end the activities of the terrorist organization (PKK) in Europe.

    The issue of crimes committed against Turks living in Europe also came up in Davutoglu's meetings with the three ministers.

    Davutoglu told his counterparts that the goal in Cyprus is to make progress in negotiations. He reminded the three ministers about Greek Cypriot efforts to delay the process in Cyprus.

    The three ministers expressed pleasure over the negotiations taking place between Turkey and Armenia.

    [08] EU states and candidate countries, except Turkey, signed declaration concerning Free Media

    Under its front-page banner title, Free Media did not suit us, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (07.09.09) reports that all the EU states, including the candidate-states, signed an EU declaration which underlined that journalists serve democracy by bringing out any wrong-doing. As the paper reports, Turkey was the only country which did not sign the declaration.

    The declaration was issued by the EU after journalist Ramazan Yesergepov was sentenced to imprisonment in Kazakhstan for writing an article about the corruption in the Kazakh secret agency.



    [09] Turkish commentator on the alternatives regarding the future of the negotiation in Cyprus

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (07.09.09) carries a commentary by Mrs Ferai Tinc in her column Footnote, regarding the future of the negotiation process in Cyprus. Particularly, Mrs Tinc writes that there is not much time left and if progress is not achieved at the Cyprus negotiation, the process will fall out.

    Referring to the upcoming illegal presidential election in April, Mrs Tinc writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in contrast with the latest so-called elections, has more alternatives. Are alternatives being spoken about in vain? she wonders, writing that Mr Talat makes tougher statements than the tranquil stance that was observed after the Anan Plan. Inter alia, Mr Tinc writes: If I have to say it more clearly, I believe that Turkey, which made decisive steps on resolving the Kurdish issue, which succeeded to put the basis for closer relations with Armenia, which found remedy to the worries of the minorities in Turkey from the theological school to the properties issue, will be able to find a Plan b in Cyprus with support in the international platform. Mrs Tinc goes on and wonders whether the will of the Turkish Cypriots for solution is the same as in 2004, writing that nowadays even the pigeons of the past are uncertain about the issue of equality. It is openly said in every platform that they need effective assurance for a partnership that will be based on equality between the two communities on the island.

    Mrs Tinc also refers to Turkeys EU Progress Report that will be released in December. Writing that the Cyprus administration wants to influence this progress with its own parameters, Mrs Tinc emphasises that the things have changed and that the EU has its own concerns now.

    Furthermore, Mrs Tinc writes about the negotiation process and reports that she knows that the TRNC will continue to exert efforts in order for the negotiations to go further. The TRNC, as she writes, prepares new proposals on the difficult parts which were not overcome in the first round of the negotiations. The journalist writes that two possibilities will come forward if no concrete steps are taken until December. Firstly, the negotiations might come to a standstill until the so-called presidential election of April. Alternatively, the interested international parties will exert their authority and results that will lead to great progresses will be taken out from the negotiations.

    On every occasion, a difference will be made. The negotiation process in Cyprus will be stalled or a great progress will be made. Alternatives are not being spoken about in vain. The time of the process to be fully completed has come, Mrs Tinc concludes.


    [10] From the Turkish Press of 04, 05 and 06 September 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 04, 05 and 06 September 2009:

    a) Kurdish problem

    Viewing the government's changing stand on its Kurdish overture, which has by now become a "National Unity Project," in an article in Milliyet (04.09.09), Fikret Bila underlines that the government stand now is in line with the 30 August statement of the General Staff. Not only has the government parted ways with the PKK-Democratic Society Party, DTP, line, it has also deserted the columnists who have extended their full support to that line, maintains Bila, adding that the government line has gained clarity with the statement made by Erdogan at the Police Academy to the effect that the terrorist organization will, in no way, be considered an interlocutor. Assessing this statement to be a response to the demands of the DTP voiced at the Diyarbakir rally, Bila points out that the article penned by Yalcin Akdogan as Yasin Dogan in Yeni Safak attests to the shift in the government stand. The writer concludes that this shift in policy shows that the government embarked on this process without making an in-depth analysis of the DTP and the PKK and without through preparations.

    The government has retreated to the defense line of a "democratic overture," writes Gungor Mengi in an article in Vatan (04.09.09), adding: "Because the dreams invited by what is called a 'Kurdish overture' has almost created the expectation that every condition to be imposed on the state will be accepted." Viewing the demands for a separate army, a separate educational system, a separate parliament, the legalization of the PKK, and amnesty for Ocalan, Mengi claims that there could not have been a better formula for sabotaging the "Kurdish overture" since even a majority of Turkish citizens of Kurdish ethnicity are against the goal to be attained by these demands, namely secession. Welcoming the government move of changing the "Kurdish overture" into a "democratic overture," Mengi stresses, however, that this is insufficient, adding that the solution lies in granting the regional people their right to representation by lowering the election threshold to a reasonable level.

    Likening the government's "Kurdish overture" to its Cyprus overture" in an article also in Vatan (04.09.09), Onur Kumbaracibasi writes that just like the Cyprus overture that ended in a fiasco, the Kurdish one has been reduced to a single concrete proposal, that of offering elective classes in the Kurdish language for Kurdish children. Accusing the Justice and Development Party, AKP, of closing one overture and opening a different one, Kumbaracibasi adds: "Confident that it will not be damaged, it continues to fill up the agenda." The writer continues: "The government was unable to disclose its project! However, certain hidden realities have surfaced to the top. It has become clear that what the PKK and the DTP mean when they mention the Kurdish problem, is not peace and brotherhood, but the release of Ocalan. This has been proven to those who insisted on ignoring it." The "Peace Rally" might have been a warning to those living in a dreamland, writes Kumbaracibasi, adding that this rally organized by the DTP was actually a rally of threats.

    In a column in Milliyet (05.09.09), Fikret Bila relates his conversation with Cemil Cicek, deputy prime minister and government spokesman, on the one-month long process regarding the government's Kurdish overture and the current point in the process. According to Bila, Cicek reacted to the recent statements issued by Democratic Society Party, DTP, leader Ahmet Turk and other party spokesmen by asking them "to either say no to the process or keep quiet." Cicek called on everyone to be careful when referring to "this sensitive issue." Cicek also reiterated that PKK leader Ocalan will never be the interlocutor on this matter, and asked the opposition Republican People's Party to contribute to the process, which he termed a "national unity project." According to Bila, Cicek outlined the framework for the upcoming process as follows: The first three articles and Article 174 of the Constitution cannot be amended. "For us, these articles are given. Whatever we do, we will do within the framework of this Constitution. Given that these articles cannot be changed, the work will be conducted in this framework. Moreover, the elements in the first article of the Constitution constitute the common denominator of this society. This common denominator cannot be lost."

    Despite the fact that the DTP has turned into a party representing the Kurds that support the PKK, Yalcin Dogan asserts in his column in Hurriyet (05.09.09), that there is now a chance for this party to become a nationwide party. Dogan reports that according to a poll on the Kurdish issue conducted by the civilian Bilgesam research center, in which 10,199 Kurds were surveyed, 9.7 percent of Kurds want independence, 5 percent favor a federative structure, and 31.6 percent demand cultural rights. Asked where they belong, 76 percent of the respondents said to the Turkish Republic and 78 percent declared they are in favor of living in Turkey together with people form other ethnic origins. In reply to the question "who do you trust?" 34 per cent of the Kurds chose the DTP, 19 percent Ocalan, and 15 percent the PKK. Dogan concludes that these replies, which all add up to supporting the DTP, show that the Kurds trust the DTP, and this gives the DTP a "new mission," the mission of becoming a nationwide party and stripping itself of its ethnic identity.

    In an article entitled "The hostage in Ocalan's hands: The Kurdish Issue" in Yeni Safak (05.09.09) columnist Yasin Aktay asserts that as the Erdogan government keeps taking "positive" steps toward addressing the "Kurdish issue," the PKK is becoming increasingly concerned over the future of its "institutional" existence, revealing in this way that "as an organization that has created its own status quo and conservatism," it will not be persuaded to lay down arms regardless what the Government might do because it realizes that a solution to the Kurdish question would undermine its "ideological raison d'Ítre." He goes on to claim that for this reason the ruling AKP should make a distinction between solving the Kurdish issue and disbanding the PKK. He also asserts that "it was not unexpected that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, which cannot conceive of any mission for itself other than representing [Abdullah] Ocalan, would place insurmountable obstacles before a solution as it became increasingly clear how seriously the political authority took the latest democratic overture."

    In an article entitled "Conspiracy theories poison minds", in Zaman (05.09.09) columnist Sahin Alpay criticizes CHP leader Deniz Baykal, Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli, and former Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan for "trying to represent the Government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue as a US, EU, and Israeli plot to partition Turkey." He argues that "it is not imperialists or Zionists or others who created the Kurdish problem. It is we who did it by treating Kurds as non-existent based on an outmoded concept of modernity and by trying to turn them into Turks." He also asserts that a real opportunity has presented itself to end the PKK insurgency in the sense that "militarists on both sides have realized that it is not possible to end the problem through violence," that "the Government has perceived identity policies based on denying the existence of the Kurds to be unsustainable, that the Iraqi Kurds do not perceive Turkey as a threat any longer, and that the EU has been pressuring Turkey for over a decade to introduce a civilian and political solution to the "Kurdish issue."

    In an article entitled "Cultural rights, national rights", in Zaman (05.09.09) columnist Ali Bulac calls attention to a "serious confusion" regarding the meaning of the term "cultural rights" in discussing the "Kurdish issue." He argues that talking about cultural rights is synonymous with talking about "national rights" and that a formal recognition of the Kurds' cultural rights would pave the way for demands for the establishment of an independent Kurdish nation in this country. Based on "non-Western sociologies," Bulac proposes that instead of using the term "cultural rights," the Government promote the Kurds' basic right and freedom to maintain their "customs and traditions." He adds that the history of Islam testifies to the ability of ethnic and religious groups with different customs and traditions to coexist with one another.

    Commenting on the debate on the strength of the Kurdish population in Turkey, Deniz Kavukcuoglu says in his column in Cumhuriyet (06.09.09) that during the 1965 census, when Turkey's population was 31,391,421, some 7.1 percent, that is 2,219,547, said their mother tongue was Kurdish. The columnist points out that this was the only and last census in which people were asked about their mother tongues. Noting various studies which put the Kurdish population between 4.9 and 14 million recently, the columnist argues that Milliyet's KONDA poll in 2007 is probably closer to the fact: There are some 11 million Kurds, forming 15.68 percent of Turkey's population; of this, 35 percent, that is 3,800,000 Kurds, live outside the southeast and east.

    Also commenting on the same issue in a column in Radikal (06.09.09), Hasan Celal Guzel says various high figures claimed by foreigners and Kurds have no scientific foundation, pointing out that the most realistic figure is found in the 1965 census which put the Kurdish population at 7.07 percent. Guzel disputes Kurdish arguments that the Kurdish population has increased dramatically because of high birth rate among Kurds, and based on various studies he argues that the Kurd constitute 7 to 11 percent of the population, that is some 5 to 8 million of Turkey's population.

    In an article entitled "A thorny issue: 'Education in mother tongue,'" in Yeni Safak (04.09.09) columnist Kursat Bumin emphasizes that permitting Kurdish children to receive education in their mother tongue is not an issue that could be addressed easily. He comments: "Setting aside how teachers capable of successfully teaching in Kurdish can be found which is a big problem, if Kurdish is used for teaching students whose mother tongue is Kurdish, will it put those students in an advantageous position in the 'homeland' where they live or will it prove to be a wrong choice for them? My opinion about the matter is that Turkish rather than their mother tongue should be used at schools for the time being."

    In an article entitled "The other face of the democratic overture" in Zaman (06.09.09) columnist Hamdullah Ozturk ascribes the Turkish Government's overture to Kurds to its intention of resolving its internal problems as part of its plan to ensure security in the region. Drawing attention to the outcome of opinion polls conducted in the eastern and southeastern provinces which, he says, showed that teachers have strong influence over local people and that young Kurds living in urban slums in major cities are more inclined to join the PKK than their peers living in the southeast, Ozturk comments: "This being the case, it would be a serious mistake to assume that the problem has a regional nature and that intrigues being carried out by foreign powers are limited to the region."

    b) Opening of borders with Armenia

    Commenting on the Turkish-Armenian agreement initiated on 2 April in his column in Milliyet (04.09.09), Melih Asik states that a promise was made to President Obama that the agreement would have no preconditions. Despite this promise, during his visit to Baku on 13 May, Prime Minister Erdogan announced that the Turkish-Armenian border would not to be opened until the Karabakh issue was resolved, writes Asik, pointing out that Erdogan gave assurances to the Azerbaijani government that contradict the agreement initialed on 2 April as well as the promise made to Obama. Quoting Republican People's Party, CHP, Deputy Onur Oymen that Turkey was never reduced to such a point of untrustworthiness, Asik agrees with the CHP deputy, concluding that, though Azerbaijan is currently silent, a scandal is bound to break out.

    Viewing the opposition encountered both in Turkey and Armenia to the protocols that have been initiated between the two countries, in Milliyet (04.09.09) columnist Sami Kohen in his article finds this to be natural as is the case in the solution of every difficult problem. The most criticized point in Armenia is that President Sargsyan has made concessions on the issue of the Armenian genocide, writes Kohen, adding that the point most criticized in the Turkish front is that the solution of the Karabakh problem was not set as a precondition to opening the border. This, however, does not mean that Turkey will not be exerting efforts to resolve the conflict, stresses Kohen, adding: "Turkey will adjust the endorsement of the protocols according to the developments in this field. Therefore, the border will not be opened immediately." The writer concludes that the rapprochement and dialogue process between Ankara and Yerevan constitute a good opportunity to the solution of the problems between Yerevan and Baku.

    Assessing Turkish-Armenian-Azeri relations in an article in Radikal (04.09.09), Erdal Guven writes that Ankara is conducting a written diplomacy with Yerevan and an oral one with Baku. While the Turkish-Armenian protocols refer to the opening of the border, the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the normalization of bilateral relations, they, in no way, mention the status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the fate of Azeri territories under Armenian occupation, states Guven, adding that, however, oral promises are being made to Azerbaijan that the border will not be opened before the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. It seems as if the government is hopeful that the movement along the Turkish-Armenian line will help solve the knot in the Armenian-Azeri line, says Guven, pointing out that a strong opposition is awaiting the administrations of the three countries.

    If Turkey is facing the problem of Azerbaijan and Karabakh, Armenia is facing not only the Karabakh problem but also that of the Armenian Diaspora which believes that the recent Turkish-Armenian protocols have blocked the Armenian Diaspora's claims to compensation and to the right of return, writes Amberin Zaman in an article in Taraf (04.09.09). The claims of the Diaspora that were anyway difficult to realize from the viewpoint of international law, will become an impossibility if the protocols are endorsed, explains Zaman, calling on Ankara to well assess the risky and courageous step taken by Armenian President Sargsyan in accepting the establishment of a history committee to look into genocide claims. Recalling Foreign Minister Davutoglu's remarks that so long as Armenia does not make peace with Azerbaijan, Turkish-Armenian peace cannot be realized, Zaman underlines that "with the same logic, a peace that does not take into consideration the demands of the Armenian Diaspora, whose numbers are more than twice of the Armenians living in Armenia, might not be a total peace."

    c) Foreign policy issues

    In an article entitled "Al-Ahram conference notes", in Yeni Safak (04.09.09) columnist Fehmi Koru comments on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's messages in his address to a conference in Egypt held by the Al-Ahram newspaper's Political and Strategic Research Center. He asserts that Davutoglu's foreign policy preferences are based on the following principles: 1. Maintaining a delicate balance between security and freedom. 2. Ensuring that Turkey has zero problems with neighbors. 3. Pursuing a pro-active peace diplomacy toward regional countries. 4. Maintaining a "complementary" form of relationship based on respect with the United States and the EU. 5. Playing active roles in international organizations. 6. Helping solve global disputes.

    Under the headline, "He has no sense of shame, either," Vakit (04.09.09) publishes a front-page report which slams the Aydin Dogan Media Group for "lobbying" to persuade the EU to include statements in its forthcoming Progress Report on Turkey accusing the Government of censoring the press in imposing a tax penalty on the Dogan Group. According to the report, the Dogan Group was found guilty of tax avoidance in connection with the sale of shares to the German Axel Springer Group.

    In a column in Milliyet (05.09.09), Sami Kohen comments on what he terms "the dynamic and enterprising character of Turkish foreign policy" that is manifested through the latest "policy of overtures." Kohen mentions the Kurdish overture, which has its foreign dimensions, and the overtures pertaining to Armenia, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, the Middle East, and the Balkans. He explains that Ankara attempted to mediate between Iraq and Syria; it is preparing to implement new strategies if the Cyprus negotiations fail to yield concrete results; it wants to share with Egypt a central role in the Middle East; and it aims to assert Turkey's commitment to EU membership. Kohen argues that this policy is based on the vision of "assuming proactive roles as a regional power," adding that the aim is "to resolve frozen problems and put an end to the status quo of non-solution." He states that this policy has its risks, but asserts that sometimes non-solution is more damaging than these risks. However, Kohen warns of possible new problems and dangers as a result of "overstretching" in foreign policy.

    Also commenting on the government's recent efforts to solve "frozen problems" such as the Armenian, Kurdish, and Cyprus problems, in an editorial in Radikal (05.09.09), Ismet Berkan says that for now there is only talk of taking these issues out of the "deep freeze," but already there are circles that are disturbed by the idea of changing the status quo. Berkan claims that Nationalist Action Party leader Devlet Bahceli is one such politician, and criticizes these circles for "speaking too soon, or deadlocking matters too early." Berkan asks: "Is so much hate and hostility really necessary?"

    Notwithstanding the Kurdish overture, the Armenian protocol, and the Cyprus negotiations, Murat Yetkin warns of a possible crisis with the EU in a column in Radikal (05.09.09). Yetkin says that a crisis may emerge following the September elections in Germany, even before the EU summit in December. If Angela Merkel's party loses votes, a coalition without the social democrats in Germany is unlikely to support Turkey's EU accession, Yetkin maintains. He says that France's Sarkozy would then feel free to propose a "privileged partnership" for Turkey. The fact that the "Islam card" was used prominently in criticizing Denmark's Rasmussen when he was offered the post of NATO secretary general incited the European right-wing against Turkey even more, Yetkin reports. According to Yetkin, "the way to prevent a crisis with the EU is not only to accelerate the reforms and persist in the overtures in a convincing manner, but to demonstrate that Turkey has not lost its secular characteristic."

    In an article entitled "In the shadow of pyramids", in Yeni Safak (05.09.09) columnist Fehmi Koru continues to comment on Ahmet Davutoglu's "foreign policy vision" in light of the Turkish foreign minister's messages in Cairo. He claims that while the Government's new foreign policy approach, "to which Davutoglu has contributed both as a former advisor to the prime minister and as Turkey's current foreign minister," represents deviations from the country's traditional line, a closer look establishes that what appears to be a new foreign policy vision to a large extent corresponds with the preferences of the pre-Inonu era, namely the Ataturk period, in Turkish political history.

    In an article entitled "Israel seeks Muslim allies in its ideological war", in Milli Gazete (05.09.09) columnist Mustafa Ozcan criticizes Israel for what he refers to as its efforts to have a number of political Islamic groups recognized as terrorist organizations and persuade certain "moderate" Arab countries to take part in an international front against these groups. He claims that this Israeli effort is part of a bid to "globalize" Israel's "ideological and actual war on Islamic movements," adding that the course of Israel--Arab normalization will be determined by Arab states' attitude toward Islamic groups described as terrorists by Israel.

    In Cumhuriyet (06.09.09) Leyla Tavsanoglu interviews Bulent Aliriza from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on Turkish-US relations. In the interview Aliriza argues that uncertainty still persists in US-Turkey ties because the Obama administration continues to commit old mistakes regarding Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He says the United States can no more secure Turkey's unconditional support against Russia, which has now become a strong economic partner of Turkey. He believes the American power will wane in the next 20 years and Turkey will conduct a multifaceted energy policy. Aliriza hopes that the United States will eventually realize that the Turkish-Russian rapprochement is not to the detriment of the American interests. Noting that Turkey's interests no more coincide with that of the United States' as regards Russia and Iran, Aliriza says if the United States does not reconcile with this fact then serious problems might arise between the two countries in the future.

    In an article entitled "The United States, 23 'Ts' and Islam," in Vakit (06.09.09) columnist Ayhan Bilgin says that all powers dominating Muslim countries, particularly the United States, must immediately stop what he describes as "strategic taming operations" being conducted with their collaborators in various Muslim countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq if they really want peace and cooperation and abandon their projects to support a version of Islam which is not based on Koran. He also cautions that Islam could become a religion of war rather than a religion of peace if Muslims are subjected to atrocities.

    Finally, in an article entitled "Does moderate Islam mean collaboration?" in Milli Gazete (06.09.09) columnist Mustafa Ozcan says that Russian and Chechen leaders have devised a new formula aimed at promoting moderate Islam in the face of recent alarming developments in the Caucasus. He notes that a university will be established in the region in order to teach moderate Islam and to prevent Muslim students from attending Islamic universities abroad.


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