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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-11-02
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 206/09 31.10- 02.11.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Gul and Talat held a press conference after meeting in AnkaraAnkara Anatolia news agency (30.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:
The Turkish president said on Friday that Turkish Cypriots would never be a minority. Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said that the views that the Cyprus federation should be subject of an evolution. All the world should know that Turkish Cypriots would never be in a minority status in the island, Gul told a joint press conference with President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Talat paid a visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara, and met President Gul, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the press conference, President Gul said that Turkey was supporting Talat in the ongoing Cyprus negotiations, and Turkey would back any decision of the Turkish Cypriots.
Gul said Turkey and Turkish Cypriots had done everything they could for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, and expressed his hope that ongoing Cyprus negotiations would result in settlement of the Cyprus question. We also wish that negotiations will be concluded till the end of this year, and be submitted for ratification of the two nations, Gul said. However, it was not likely that the negotiations were concluded this year, Gul said.
Gul also said that therefore, Turkey wished negotiations concluded in a reasonable way within 2010. A solution should be lasting, and it should be a solution in which everyone lives in peace and cooperation, Gul said.
Gul said United Nations (U.N.) parameters should not be ignored in a possible settlement, and enumerated them as bi-zonal structure, political equality and a new partnership.
President Gul also said Turkey thought that isolation of the two parties in Cyprus should be ended at the same time.
Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders launched Cyprus talks in September 2008 in an effort to find a solution to the Cyprus issue. The first round of the talks was completed on August 6, 2009. And the second round started on September 10.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat said Friday it would be hard to reach a peace settlement to Cyprus problem by the end of this year. It seems that the goal to reach a solution in a short period of time has been put off, Talat told a news conference after his meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the Turkish capital Ankara.
President Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, (TRNC), and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias have launched peace talks in September 2008 to reunify the island which is divided since 1974. Their 13-month U.N.-supervised talks have not concluded yet.
We did our best to see a solution this year, Talat said. But we suggested intensified negotiations and talks on a deadline. However, Greek Cypriots evaded. Talat accused Greek Cypriot side of dragging the peace process out and ending up talks with a selfish solution by exploiting Turkey's relations with EU and using their EU membership.
Talat expressed hope to reach a settlement by the beginning of 2010 just before the presidential election in TRNC, saying Turkish Cypriot side has been trying to give momentum to talks considering Greek Cypriot concerns as long as they are reasonable. Talks cannot go on forever and we really need a timetable, Talat said.
Asked if he discussed a new road map for Cyprus problem with Turkish President Gul or if he had a B plan in case of a failure in talks, Talat said there was nothing such a new road map. We just discussed the level we reached through the negotiations, he said. But of course, we have alternatives if the process comes to a deadlock.
Following the news conference, Talat returned to TRNC.
 Talat talks to reporters after his return from AnkaraIllegal Bayrak television (31.10.09) broadcast the following:
TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat has stressed that Turkish sides clear policy it has been carrying out at the negotiations is also being supported by Turkey. The President also said that the Turkish Side will continue to force a United Nations based solution. Mr Talats remarks came at a press conference upon his arrival at Ercan [occupied Tymvou] Airport last night following the completion of his contacts in Ankara.
Explaining that the TRNC delegation had very useful contacts in the Turkish capital on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue, Mr Talat said Turkey and the TRNC has once again confirmed the policy that should be carried out during the negotiations process. The President also stated that they have not set a time limit for the negotiations because the Greek Cypriot side is supporting a negotiations process which does not have a time limit.
Noting that the Turkish side will carry out a policy which aims to orientate the Greek Cypriot side to a solution with more rapid actions, Mr Talat repeated that it is Turkey which is following an active policy during the negotiations process and this policy of Turkey has been appreciated by the international community.
At the press conference, the president also referred to the domestic issues and said he is not in a conflict with the government. Pointing out that every institution and person in the country can have different views on the Cyprus issue, he said the most important thing is to make all evaluations common for using it in favour of the Turks of Cyprus.
Meanwhile, President Talat is continuing to inform citizens on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue. Within this framework, the President has visited Dipkarpaz [occupied Rizokarpasso] and Mehmetcik [occupied Galatia] village today.
 The self-styled Foreign Minister calls on the international community to exert pressure on CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (30.10.09) broadcast the following:
Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has accused the Greek Cypriot side of using its EU membership to pressure Turkey and the Turkish side into making concessions on the Cyprus issue. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara this morning where he has been having contacts on the Cyprus issue, the TRNC Foreign Minister once again clarified the Turkish sides position at the Cyprus negotiations process.
Mr Ozgurgun said the Turkish sides objective at the continuing process is to secure a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem safeguarding the sovereignty of the Cyprus Turkish People, its political equality and full security under Turkeys guarantees. He accused the Greek Cypriot side of launching a full-scale diplomatic campaign of intrigues, with the aim of securing concessions from Turkey and the Turkish Side; rather than choosing to help conduct a just negotiations process. Their recent statements and remarks are a clear indication of their intention to achieve gains through blackmail and intrigues, and not through negotiations at the table, he said.
Mr Ozgurgun called on the international community to encourage and pressure the Greek Cypriot side to negotiate seriously. He said it is unacceptable to see the Greek Cypriot side claiming that in todays European Union there should be no place to the existing Treaty of Guarantees in Cyprus.
 Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Talat-Gul meeting; It denies reports on new Turkish proposal for opening of its ports to CyprusTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (31.10.09) reported the following:
The Turkish leadership and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) leadership held talks in Ankara on Friday days after the Turkish capital said its basic policy regarding the Cyprus issue was pushing for peace.
KKTC President Mehmet Ali Talat held talks with both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, while KKTC Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, accompanying Talat, held talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday. Ozgurgun, speaking to reporters on Friday, said the reason for their Ankara visit was evaluating the recent course of affairs regarding the Cyprus issue and drawing a roadmap for the future. Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias have been holding talks on reuniting the island since September 2008, but there has been little progress so far in resolving the main issues of dispute between the two sides.
Experts warn that this could be the last chance in years to reunite the island given the upcoming elections in Turkish Cyprus for a new president and a shrinking public willingness for reunification on the island, particularly among Turkish Cypriots, who voted for a UN plan to reunite Cyprus in 2004. Talat, who is pro-reunification, has said in the past he would not run for a second term if he does not see real prospects for a settlement. He is most likely to be replaced by a conservative, pro-independence leader if there is no real chance of a settlement on the island in the foreseeable future.
Last week, Davutoglu and around 40 top diplomats held a lengthy brainstorming session to discuss steps toward a speedy settlement in Cyprus. The meeting was also attended by State Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis.
Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Ozugergin summarized the meeting's outcome as a renewal of Turkey's willingness for pushing for peace. Despite noting that there was a limited time ahead due to the elections in the KKTC, Ozugergin said no calendar was set for Turkey's upcoming efforts for contributing to the resolution of the Cyprus issue.
This was not a meeting of Alas, the EU is coming!' It was a meeting of How do we resolve this Cyprus issue?' Ozugergin told reporters, in an implicit reference to an upcoming EU summit in December, in which the heads of state and government --the European Council-- must decide what to do about Turkey's failure to implement its signed obligation to open its ports to Greek Cypriot air and sea traffic.
Ozgurgun, when reminded by reporters yesterday of Turkey's announced approach of pushing for peace, said certain flexibilities could be shown in the ongoing negotiations, without making concessions on basic parameters such as political equality and the equal status of the parties. Ankara has constantly underlined its support of Talat in establishing a new partnership of two constituent states of equal status, based on political equality.
When reminded of news reports suggesting that Ankara was planning to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic, in the case of the EU establishing direct trade with the KKTC, Ozgurgun recalled that Turkey, which does not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration, has called on the EU to fulfil its commitment to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots as a condition for opening its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. Ozgurgun said this was the correct approach. However, he described an approach suggesting that ports and airports would be opened in the case of direct trade as thought provoking, without elaborating.
 Talat continues his pre-elections tour to the occupied villages of CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (01.11.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
President Mehmet Ali Talat paid a visit to the Karpaz [occupied Karpassia] region upon his return from Ankara yesterday. During his visit to Dipkarpaz [occupied Rizokarpasso], the president explained to the villagers the latest stage reached at the Cyprus negotiations process.
He said that before the Presidential elections take place in Cyprus, the Cyprus negotiations process must be concluded, an agreement must be reached and this agreement should be put to referenda. The President also noted that the most disagreed upon issues between the Turks of Cyprus and South Cyprus is the issue of executive and property. Explaining that he sees the Greek Cypriot leaders latest statements on the Cyprus issue as an insult, President Talat said that his spokesman Hasan Ercakica had made the necessary statements regarding this issue.
Referring to his Ankara visit, President Talat said during nearly all of his high-level visit they had come to an agreement on all issued and reiterated that Ankara supports a solution being found to the Cyprus problem. Explaining that the solution of the Cyprus problem is not only dependent on the Turkish side but the Greek Cypriot side as well, the President said the Greek Cypriot side must show the necessary willingness and flexibility towards a solution.
Also, speaking at the village of Mehmetcik [occupied Galatia], the President said as long as the Cyprus issue remains unclear the future of the children is uncertain as well. The President said we support a solution that is based on political equality, within the UN parameters and guarantees Turkeys guarantor rights in Cyprus. He concluded by saying that the Turks of Cyprus will never accept any other guarantor power apart from Turkey.
 Self-styled presidential spokesman criticizes President ChristofiasIllegal Bayrak television (31.10.09) broadcast the following:
Turkish Side has reacted to the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias statements in which he compared Turkey with Nazi Germany.
Speaking to the TAK news agency, the Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has accused the Greek Cypriot Leader of continuing his provocative acts by provoking EU member countries against Turkey with the aim of gaining advantages on the Cyprus issue.
Christofias serious disclosure has proved the reason of the main obstacle in the way of efforts aiming to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. Greek Cypriot Leader should be convinced that efforts aiming to insist on an agreement which violates the rights of the Turks of Cyprus by taking Turkey under the pressure of EU are in vain. This falls upon the EU member states he added.
 Serdar Denktas believes that a foreign resolution plan might be brought to the tableIllegal Bayrak television (30.10.09) broadcast the following:
The Leader of the Democrat Party Serdar Denktas has expressed the view that the Turkish side has already shown maximum flexibility at the Cyprus peace negotiations and warned that further flexibility would bring a breakdown. There cannot be a going backwards from the provisions envisaged in the Annan Plan, on the issues of property, governance and citizenship, Denktas told BRT.
Asked to comment on statements that points on which flexibility could be shown were discussed at the talks in Ankara on the Cyprus issue, the DP leader said we have made a mistake at the beginning. We have already shown maximum flexibility. We may reach a breaking point if we show further flexibility.
Mr Denktas stressed that it is not possible for the Turkish side to go backwards from the provisions envisaged by the Annan Plan on the issues of property, governance and citizenship. The DP Leader said he got the impression after his meetings with foreign diplomats that a foreign resolution plan might be brought to the table.
The DP Leader also announced that his party will take 11 laws, which have recently been adopted by the Parliament from decree into law, to the Constitutional Court on Monday because of, what he said, are serious problems that they embed.
 Research showed that the rising prices, unemployment, the inability to pay their debts, the pollution of the environment and the traffic are the main problems of the Turkish Cypriots todayUnder the title The crisis is frightening, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.11.09) reports that the rising prices, unemployment, the inability to pay their debts, the pollution of the environment and the traffic are the main problems of the Turkish Cypriots today. The paper publishes a research conducted by KADEM Research Company using the method of face-to-face interviews with 1144 persons from all over the occupied part of Cyprus.
According to the results of the research, during the past six months unemployment has been a very serious problem (49.8%) or a problem which somehow (16.8%) influenced 66.6% of the participants in the survey. The paper notes that 43.9% of the people are facing a problem in paying their debts, while 26.9% said they are facing to some degree a problem with this. According to the results of the research, the increase in the prices is the most important problem of the inhabitants of the occupied areas of Cyprus during the past six months. 58.7% of the participants in the survey said this problem is very serious for them, while 27.5% said they are facing problem with this to some degree.
 Anatolian eagle military exercise to kick off todayTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (02.11.09) reports the following:
Anatolian Eagle, a multinational military exercise from which Israel was excluded in October, will take place on Nov. 2-20 in Istanbul and Iskenderun, the General Staff announced yesterday on its Web site.
The Anatolian Eagle drill, an exercise in the transfer of troops, military build-up and finding the best spot to set up a command centre, will take place on Nov. 2-20 in Istanbul and Iskenderun. A total of 953 military officials, 103 of whom are from foreign military forces, will take part in the exercise, the announcement said.
The Turkish military's announcement did not make clear what foreign military forces will join the drill. In October, forces from NATO, Italy and Israel were planned to take part in the multinational part of the exercise. The cancellation of the international section of the Anatolian Eagle, widely seen as a way to exclude Israel from the exercise, sparked tension between Israel and Turkey, which was reportedly caused by a delay in the delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Turkey by Israel and not Turkish opposition to the country due to its devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip, as many claimed.
 Survey shows ruling AK party losing votesTurkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (31.10.09) reported the following:
According to the results of a survey, the votes of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] have decreased to 31 percent for the first time after the party came to power with the support of the 34 percent of the electorate on 3 November 2002. The SONAR Research Company said, "The AKP is weakening like the ANAP [Motherland Party]."
The SONAR Research Company's survey shows that the AKP has lost a significant number of votes because of the "democratic overture" project and the party's votes will decrease to 31 percent and the CHP [Republican People's Party] votes will increase to 28 percent if general elections are held today. The AKP votes decreased to 31 percent for the first time since the party came to power with the support of the 34 percent of the electorate on 3 November 2002.
The SONAR survey entitled "Research on Political Inclinations and Expectations in Turkey - October 2009," shows that the AKP is weakening like the ANAP in the past. The respondents were interviewed face-to-face during the survey, which was realized in 15 provinces, 20 districts, and 20 villages. Some 3,000 people were interviewed face-to-face during the research. Some 30 percent of the districts and villages were in rural areas.
According to the outcome of the survey, the AKP will secure the 27.45 percent of the votes, CHP 24.45 percent, MHP 16.98 percent, DTP [Democratic Society Party] 5.74 percent, SP [Felicity Party] 5.30 percent, BBP [Great Unity Party] 1.90 percent, DSP [Democratic Left Party] 1.73 percent, and DP [Democratic Party] 1.63 percent if elections are held today. The other political parties will receive the 1.47 percent of the votes.
The survey shows that 13.35 percent of the people are undecided.
The distribution of the undecided electorate will increase the votes of the political parties as follows: AKP 31.68 percent, CHP 28.21 percent, MHP 19.59 percent, DTP 6.62 percent, SP 6.12 percent, BBP 2.19 percent, DSP 2 percent, and DP 1.89 percent. The votes of the other political parties will increase to 1.69 percent.
The survey results show that the CHP is catching up with the AKP and the votes of the MHP and SP are increasing.
The Director of SONAR Hakan Bardakci has said that changes in the percentage of votes during the next elections seem impossible. He noted that the AKP will fall from the government and the new coalition will be established either by the CHP and MHP or the CHP, MHP, and a third party that will surmount the election threshold. He asserted that the survey shows that the electorate was undecided on the Kurdish overture in September and noted that although that did not harm the AKP, the recent developments related to the democratic overture show that the party has lost a large number of votes. Bardakci noted: "The Turkish people have not been able to look to the future because of the serious economic crisis. Suffering under the weight of the problems that have existed for 20 years, they observed that the developments that recently took place were almost in favour of the PKK and the DTP. Consequently, they began to adopt a clear approach without making a detailed analysis. The political administration's move after quickly realizing the difficult nature of its initiative to take measures and change the implementation of its plans has not escaped from the electorate's attention."
Stressing that the fall in the AKP votes to 31 percent has drawn attention, Bardakci said: "The ANAP was confronted with a similar situation in 1989. The AKP is suffering now. I will not be surprised if the AKP votes decrease to 20-30 percent during the first few months in 2010. It seems that the AKP will not be able to have a large number of deputies elected to be able to establish the government by itself even if it emerges from the next general elections as the leading political party either with a small or a big difference of votes."
The survey outcome shows that the CHP is catching up with the AKP and the MHP and SP are increasing their votes.
 Turkeys ANAP and DP merged into a single partyAnkara Anatolia news agency (31.10.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Two Turkish political parties, Anavatan (Motherland) Party and Democrat Party have merged into a single party at a joint congress on Saturday. Anavatan Party has dissolved itself and joined the Democrat Party. Anavatan will transfer all its assets, rights and member registration forms to Democrat Party.
Anavatan Party was founded in 1983 by Turgut Ozal. Recent party chairman was Salih Uzun. Democrat Party was founded by Suleyman Demirel in 1983 as the Dogru Yol (True Path) Party (DYP) and succeeded the former Democrat Party and Adalet (Justice) Party. Its current chairman is Husamettin Cindoruk.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in Hurriyet Daily News: There is particular hope, under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU may undertake steps that would provide a lifting of the international blockade against Northern CyprusUnder the title, New Cyprus strategy to be ad hoc?, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.10.09) published the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun were in Ankara Thursday and Friday for a two-day official visit that permitted them time to take in Republic Day celebrations in Ankara in addition to going through the Cyprus file with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
As the Ankara visit came just days after a two-day brain storming at the Foreign Ministry with the participation of all related ambassadors and top Cyprus experts of the ministry under the chairmanship of Davutoglu, it was obvious that Ankara was in the process of crafting a new Cyprus strategy, if not a Cyprus initiative.
On Friday morning, I was at a breakfast press conference and background meeting with Ozgurgun. The young foreign minister was quite adept at pontificating without saying anything at all. Yet, in reading between the lines, he indeed was revealing some important clues regarding the new approach of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey. Based on my impressions of the talk, along with some contacts with some well-placed sources at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, I can say that the new Cyprus strategy of Turkey is as haphazard as the Kurdish initiative. Though some principles were laid out, the approach is very much like the old saying, The caravan will be arranged on the road.
Though I do not share it, there is a widespread belief in northern Cyprus, Ankara and elsewhere that Talat has almost no chance of getting re-elected because of the frustration people there have about his failure to achieve a settlement despite being in office for five years. Still, it is obvious that irrespective of who is elected in the April presidential elections, the elections themselves will create some serious handicaps for the negotiations process. Especially in the last two months before the election, the campaigning will be so intense that Talat will have almost no time for the talks. Besides, election rhetoric between presidential hopefuls, which is normal in any country before a crucial election, will have some natural impacts on the talks. Ankara has thus been pushing for a Cyprus settlement to be signed by February at the latest so that the two peoples of the island can go to simultaneous referenda on the settlement plan. Furthermore, unlike the 2004 referendum which did not have a punitive clause meaning that there was no obligation for the Greek Cypriot side to vote yes, Ankara and northern Cyprus will apparently insist that the referendum text include a punitive clause that states that the non-ratifying side should pay a price.
In the event talks do not proceed as Ankara and northern Cyprus wish, Ankara will use accelerated and proactive diplomacy to explain the diligent effort made by Turkish Cypriots for a settlement and the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side to third parties interested in a Cyprus settlement, particularly Britain, United States, the EU and the United Nations secretary-general. It will further demand the Greek Cypriot side be penalized and the Turkish Cypriot side be rewarded for the willingness to ratify unification. There is particular hope that, under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU may undertake steps that would provide a lifting of the international blockade against northern Cyprus or, alternatively, may just remain silent and give tacit approval to some EU and non-EU countries engaging in informal relations with the Turkish Cypriots.
In the period ahead, the Turkish Cypriot side is expected to make some radical proposals in talks on both governance, power sharing and property headings without compromising its basic position. For example, there might be some improvement in the composition of the cabinet in the future joint central government. Presently Turkish Cypriots want a seven-member cabinet composed of three Turkish Cypriots and four Greek Cypriots while Greek Cypriots want a nine-member administration composed of three Turks and six Greeks.
There are lots of ideas, but excluding the principle of being flexible in details but firm on basics the inclination emerging from the Ankara talks is that the Caravan will be arranged on the road.
 Turkish Cypriot daily argues that the problems created by the uncontrolled flow of population pushed the community into a psychological fatigue and fearWriting in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (02.11.09) under the title The problems created by the uncontrolled flow of population pushed the community into a psychological fatigue and fear, Dogan Harman refers to the problems created in the occupied areas of Cyprus due to the uncontrolled flow of population from Turkey. He reports, inter alia, the following:
The uncontrolled and odd population policy or lack of policy has destroyed this country. We are being dragged from the one deadlock into the other only because of this population problem. The face of this country changed because of the uncontrolled flow of population. The country is Cyprus, but the streets are not Cypriot. It is as if our streets are not even in Cyprus. The voices, the smell and the colours of our streets changed. ...
The population who wander around in this country caused a boom in the crimes. The police are insufficient because of the boom in the crimes. The courts are insufficient as well. ...
All the problems and filth of Turkey, are being carried to the TRNC? ...
The uncontrolled population is being reflected in the schools as well. Insufficiency of teachers and classrooms came up. Afterwards, the number of doctors and the medicines in the hospitals has become insufficient because of the same reason. ...
The water is not enough for the increasing population in the island. Electricity is not enough. The roads are not enough. The houses are not enough. Squatter houses are starting to be built. All these create new health problems. ....
 From the Turkish Press of 30, 31 October and 01 November 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 30, 31 October and 01 November 2009:
Foreign policy issues:
Viewing the escalating tension between Turkey and Israel in an article in Hurriyet (30.10.09), Sedat Ergin writes that "a NATO activity could not be held because of Erdogan's stand. In conclusion, Turkey has opposed not only Israel but the United States and NATO as well." The recent rapprochement with Iran and Prime Minister Erdogan's stand on Iran's nuclear program that defies the West, coupled with his approach to Israel, has raised serious doubts about Turkey's fundamental foreign policy choices, argues Ergin. Erdogan's approach to Iran's nuclear program is not only a defiance of the United States and Israel but of NATO's nuclear policy as well, claims Ergin, asking whether Erdogan is also against the nuclear warheads at Incirlik Base.
In an article in Sabah (30.10.09), Okan Muderrisoglu relates the views expressed by President Gul regarding speculations that Turkey is changing its foreign policy course. Gul underlines Turkey's EU accession goal and the fundamental principles of the republic, adding that there can be no turning back and any other form of administration is out of the question.
Assessing Iran's nuclear program and Prime Minister Erdogan's advocacy of this program in an article in Radikal (30.10.09), Erdal Guven writes that Turkey wants, on the one hand, to be an ally of the West and, on the other, to be a friend of Iran. Pointing out that this is not tantamount to mediation, Guven underlines that neither the United States nor Iran needs any mediation.
In an article in Hurriyet Daily News (30.10.09), Ipek Zeydani emphasizes that Iran is the key issue in Turkish-American relations today and that the West will definitely be annoyed by Turkey's recognition of a nuclear Iran. "If the Obama administration believes that they will not be able to convince Iran in their nuclear program, then imposing new sanctions through the U.N. Security Council will probably be the plan B on the table," writes Zeydani, adding that Turkey will then have to decide whether it is going to be on the side of China and Russia or that of the United States and the EU at the UN Security Council with regards to new sanctions against Iran.
Assessing the relations between Turkey and Israel in an article in Hurriyet Daily News (30.10.09), Mehmet Ali Birand believes that a Turkey that upsets its relations with Israel might gain applause from the Arabs but cannot be a country with much influence, adding: "By turning our backs to Israel we are losing our part that we would like to play and Turkey is then no different from other aggressive countries."
In his article in Hurriyet Daily News (30.10.09), Burak Bekdil maintains that since Prime Minister Erdogan, on the Middle Eastern conflicts, speaks not only as a prime minister but also as a muslim, he should not object to the EU leaders acting like christians when it comes to Turkey's EU accession process and the Cyprus issue "since the right to view politics through a religious lens cannot be an exclusive right spared for the prime minister of Turkey."
In an article entitled "How absolutely amazing", in Yeni Safak (30.10.09) columnist Fehmi Koru, writing under the pseudonym Taha Kivanc, comments on recent reports and commentaries in newspapers like The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde asserting that Turkey is making moves under the ruling AKP that indicate a change of orientation from the West toward the East. Koru slams such reports as part of a disinformation campaign being conducted by certain foreign lobbies and capital groups and asserts that the Erdogan government is quite aware who the architects of this campaign are and "will probably not allow them to get away with it."
In an article entitled "They will cause Turkish soldiers to experience a second Korean disaster", in Milli Gazete (30.10.09) columnist Huseyin Altinalan slams the Turkish government and the General Staff for preparing to send additional troops to Afghanistan in "unbelievable" disregard of statements by the defence ministers of a number of NATO countries announcing that they will not commit any more troops to this country and a statement by US President Barack Obama disclosing that he will not "risk the lives of US soldiers by sending new troops to Afghanistan unless this is absolutely necessary."
Ismail Kucukkaya, in his column in Aksam (31.01.09), quotes Foreign Minister Davutoglu on the plane from Basra to northern Iraq as saying that he and his delegation are visiting Iraq to see how the agreements signed with Iraq are actually being implemented on the ground, adding that they are visiting Iraqi towns both in the south and north to stress the importance Turkey attaches to Iraq's territorial integrity. Davutoglu also says by visiting Arbil they are not "recognizing" the Kurdish administration as a state, adding that there exists de facto a federative structure in northern Iraq. Interpreting Davutoglu's statement, Kucukkaya says that this is a kind of "acknowledgment" not "recognition;" that is, it means the end of Turkish policy that so far disregarded the existence of the Kurdish administration. The columnist adds that Davutoglu's formula is clear to understand: Turkey and northern Iraq will establish mutual economic and diplomatic ties, even as Turkey forges cordial ties with the central government and upholds Iraq's territorial integrity, with the aim of denying the PKK shelter in northern Iraq. Kucukkaya believes the United States is supporting this plan as it prepares for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Commenting on Western press worries that Turkey is severing its ties with the West in a column in Sabah (31.10.09), Ibrahim Kalin argues that such a perception springs from a Eurocentric view of the world, when in fact Turkey has no plan of parting ways with the West. Rather all the actions of Turkey, like its endeavour to join the EU, show it is engaged with the West. He warns that those who look at history from a Eurocentric angle will fail to understand the fact that the course of history is no more being directed from one single centre and that such concepts as the "West," "East," and "political alignments" have become outmoded. Besides, the Europeans are being hypocritical in criticizing Turkey's ties with the Arab world when they themselves establish ties with despotic Middle Eastern regimes without regard to human rights and democracy. He notes that Turkey is no more the country living under the shadow of a superpower, as was the case during the Cold War, besides the fact that there is no more an effective single "Western axis" giving direction to the course of things. He says it is not Turks' fault if they know what they are doing at the time when Europe and the United States are mentally confused.
Commenting on Western media debate about Turkey detaching itself from the West in a column in Hurriyet (31.10.09), Cengiz Candar says rather than discussing whether or not Turkey is changing its course, the pundits should actually examine if the old paradigms are still valid. It may be that rather than Turkey changing its orientation, it is likely that the foundation of the entire international system is undergoing change. In view of the vacuum created by Europe and loss of American credibility, Prime Minister Erdogan is charting a correct political course in the Middle East and the world in general, declares Candar.
Emre Akoz, in his column in Sabah (31.10.09), argues that the United States and Turkey are shaping the new world order and that Erdogan visited Iran as the representative of the Islamic facet of the West. Akoz says there are some countries, like Israel, Germany, and France, which are upset with Turkey's newfound role and President Obama's peace plan. Considering Turkey's resurgence, the columnist concludes that the resignation of Gen. Ilker Basbug, who is obstructing the Ergenekon gang inside the army and is supporting the new world order, will benefit no one.
Listing the factors behind Turkey's changing foreign policy course in a column in Hurriyet (31.10.09), Sedat Ergin says President Obama's support for Turkey may be one of the reasons why Erdogan is acting independently of the EU, turning Turkey into a regional power, seeking the leadership of the Islamic world, and forcing Israel to change its policy on Gaza.
Also front-paged is a report entitled "Female Hitler," which accuses German Chancellor Angela Merkel of behaving like Hitler in "creating a visa problem" for some 22 muslim clerics to be sent from Turkey to Germany on the grounds that they submitted photographs showing their wives and daughters wearing headscarves.
A report entitled "Israelis not powerful enough to buy Al Jazeera" also in Vakit (31.10.09) quotes Yusuf Sherif, the Turkey representative of the Al Jazeera television network, as having told this daily that recent news stories in Turkey's "cartel" newspapers to the effect that an Israeli businessman wants to buy some 50 percent of Al-Jazeera's shares are totally baseless and that similar "conspiracy theories" have been voiced by those upset by Al Jazeera's broadcasting policies ever since this network was established.
In an article entitled "Behind the scenes of Turkey's support for Iran", Today's Zaman (31.10.09) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici takes issue with the way Turkey's "warm approach" toward Iran has been described as "a move away from the West ... toward the East." He claims that critics of Ankara's policy on Iran fail to fully understand "the new diplomacy mentality that Turkey is developing and the new international order that is emerging."
A report entitled "Has TRT taken a U-Turn?", the television series "Separation" aired by the state-owned TRT, "which caused great tension between Turkey and Israel" over its depiction of scenes from Israel's military operation against Gaza, has now come under fire from the Palestinian side because it has started to represent Palestinians as terrorists. The report poses the question whether the producers have made adjustments to the series in view of the backlash from Israel. It also asserts that [Yeni Safak columnist] Hakan Albayrak has resigned as "political advisor" for the series.
In a commentary in Milliyet (01.11.09), Fikret Bila recounts the meetings between Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Mas'ud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG. Bila stresses that the meeting ended in full agreement on all issues, mainly on the fight against the PKK. Barzani promised he would do all he could to help, and fully backed Turkey's democratic move to solve the Kurdish problem at home, the columnist says. On regional issues, Bila describes Davutoglu's "vision" as follows: "Davutoglu believes that the Middle East needs to be reconstructed. He thinks that the regional countries can solve their common problems and build a new Middle East in peace and tranquillity. According to the foreign minister, many borders in the Middle East were drawn artificially. Nevertheless, he believes that cooperation can be conducted by maintaining the political borders and without creating new borders. During his contacts in the region, his position is that the regional countries can strip their borders just as in the EU. France and Germany fought for hundreds of years but are now united, he says, why should we not do the same?"
In Radikal (01.11.09) Murat Yetkin confirms Bila's view that there is full agreement between Ankara and Arbil regarding the PKK. In an article entitled "Barzani actively in the picture," Yetkin notes that this situation is irking the PKK. He points out that in a statement to Radikal, a high-level official of the KRG said: "We are conducting team work with the Turkish officials in the full sense of the word. There is a possibility that an interesting statement may be made by PKK's Murat Karayilan in the next few days. Efforts are being made regarding the PKK members' return to Turkey. We are hoping that the process will not be halted." Yetkin suggests that the authorities are working on a formula whereby high-ranking PKK officials may be allowed to go to third countries or remain in Iraq after abandoning arms. He quotes diplomatic sources who say that more returns may be expected from Makhmur camp in the coming days, despite Ocalan's declaration that he is halting further returns to Turkey. The columnist concludes: "It is important that these developments are taking place after the Turkish Government received parliamentary authority to enter Iraq if need be. This shows that the Iraqi Kurds are convinced that Turkey will resort to such a move only if the PKK attacks and that nobody else is going to be hurt. We must point out that what played a role in this is Davutoglu's smiling diplomacy which has Turkey's economic and military power behind it."
Cengiz Candar in an article in Hurriyet (01.11.09) on Davutoglu's visit to Arbil, which he describes as a "historic" visit "in the right direction." Candar argues that Turkey is doing the right thing by developing its economic ties with the KRG, despite the ridiculous Turkish allergy to the term "Kurdistan." Candar maintains that Turkey's antipathy toward Kurdish things must come to an end. As for the Kurds' view of Turkey, he quotes from the blog of a long-time regional observer, concluding that even nationalist Kurds in Kirkuk would rather be under Turkey's yoke than under Iran's, especially if Turkey joins the EU one day.
"The islamist virus is infecting our foreign policy" is the name of an article in Milliyet (01.11.09) by Kadri Gursel, who analyzes the rivalry and balance between Turkey and Iran that has been going on since the 17th century, and the great public support Prime Minister Erdogan has recently been extending to Iran. According to the columnist, if Iran becomes a nuclear power, the balance will tip entirely toward that country. Erdogan does not seem to be aware of that, Gursel argues, because his government's foreign policy has been infected by islamist ideology, populism and emotionalism."
In an article entitled "Transferring the experience of theological High Schools to Pakistan," in Vakit (01.11.09) columnist Serdar Demirel disagrees with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's suggestion that Turkey may share its experience about theological high schools with Pakistan. Pointing out that Pakistan has an education system which also includes religious education and aims at preventing a possible conflict between religious and secular schools, Demirel comments: "I do not think that Pakistan which has already gained this experience would need our experience about theological high schools. The problem in Pakistan runs much deeper and it cannot be addressed by a model the success of which is open to debate even in Turkey."
Finally, under the headline "They should not be allowed to control the world," Milli Gazete (01.11.09) carries a report which highlights comments made by Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the National View movement, as saying that it is a duty for his movement to liberate humanity from Zionists whom he accuses of abusing their dominant position in the world for tyrannizing people.