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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-11
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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. 235/09 10.12.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat described as unnecessary concerns that the Turks will lose Cyprus because of their policy on the Cyprus problemTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has said that no one should worry that their policy in Cyprus will lead to losing the island and described such a concern as unnecessary. In statements at the opening ceremony of the Travel Turkey 2009 Fair in Izmir, Mr Talat alleged that the pro-peace policy followed by Turkey and the breakaway regime is correct and added: This policy will never cause a result that some people call losing Cyprus and are rightly concerned. Let no one doubt about this.
Mr Talat alleged that an important peace process was unsuccessful in Cyprus in 2004 and claimed that the effort of the Turkish side for peace was not something that lasted for one moment or an effort for creating image. He alleged that Turkey and the breakaway regime continue their policy towards a solution today and argued, inter alia, the following: ...Even in the EU, in spite of the efforts exerted by the countries which try to put a time limit to Turkey and are not satisfied with its position, it is not possible to prevent Turkey. While the Cyprus problem is one of the important issues of the agenda, [Turkey] was able to be elected as member of the UN Security Council with great support. All these are results of the pro-peace policy of Turkey and the TRNC. ...The TRNCs economy can take steps forward both with the support of Turkey and with the further acceptance of its policies.
 Gul described the Cyprus problem as technical issueTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (11.12.09) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that the target of Turkey is the full accession to the European Union and added that Cyprus cannot prevent Turkeys EU accession course. Asked on the eight chapters which have been frozen in Turkeys accession negotiations with the EU and how this issue will be overcome, Mr Gul replied: The direction of Turkey is known. Our target is to become a full member of the EU. The Cyprus issue is a technical matter. Cyprus cannot prevent Turkeys EU accession course. When the day comes, these issues will be solved. If the issue is the restrictions, they could mutually be lifted.
 Turkish Cypriot businessman alleges that the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus prevent him from selling his products to the free areas of the islandTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) alleges that the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus have launched an initiative to prevent the sales of products from the occupied to the free areas of the island within the framework of the Green Line Regulation. The paper claims that the Greek Cypriot officials launched an initiative to prevent a Turkish Cypriot businessman named Suleyman Ozerman from selling products to the free areas of the Republic, because they were concerned about the fact that the quantity of the sales was increased. The paper alleges that the officials asked from the businessman to translate the documents he was presenting from the English into the Greek language. Mr Ozerman had the documents translated, but his products [substances used by builders] were not allowed to pass to the free areas of Cyprus, claims Kibris.
In statements to the paper, Mr Ozerman said that his company has been selling products to the free areas of Cyprus since 2005 within the framework of the Green Line Regulation. In the first year his sales were ten thousand euro and this year they increased to 240 thousand euro. He alleged that the Greek Cypriot side prevents him to sell products after his sales increased.
 The catalogues distributed recently in the occupied areas of Cyprus by IKEA Company were thrown into the seaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that the catalogues distributed recently in the occupied areas of Cyprus by IKEA Company which is based in the free part of Lefkosia have been found in the sea of occupied Keryneia. The paper writes that hundreds of catalogues were seen in the area east of the Keryneia Castle by Faik Gencer, chairman of the Yacht Owners Union.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that the local furniture producers have asked from the self-styled government to take measures against the distribution of catalogues and the promotion of IKEA in the occupied areas of the island. Under the title The customs should be controlled, the paper notes that the chairman of the Wood Furniture and Kitchen Producers Union, Ahmet Celer alleged that the catalogues of IKEA have been sent from Britain to Syria and from there to the occupied part of Cyprus. In statements to Kibris, Mr Celer claimed that six thousand euro was given to a Turkish Cypriot for the distribution of the catalogues.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that the teams of the customs department have intensified their controls at the barricades after the distribution of the IKEA catalogues. Yesterday journalists of Kibris visited the Agios Dometios barricade where they established the intensification of the controls.
 Serdar Denktas says no coalition could be made with the DP without his participationTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP) has said that they have not held any meeting on the issue of making a coalition with the National Unity Party (UBP), they have not received any proposal on this issue and such a coalition between the two parties is out of the question. Replying to a question yesterday after one of his meetings, Mr Denktas said that he met with the chairman of the UBP, Dervis Eroglu in the beginning of December, but the meeting was related to the contribution of the DP to the work of the assembly, because of the illness of Irsen Kucuk, MP with the UBP. We are not a party that would make use of the illness of a friend, said Mr Denktas adding that in that meeting they told Mr Eroglu that they could offer him the necessary help, but they have not discussed the issue of the coalition between their parties.
Mr Denktas expressed the view that the occupied areas of Cyprus need a coalition and pointed out that there are several alternatives for this. He noted that there is no need to say anything else because the DP received no proposal on this issue. Commenting on the rumors which were heard yesterday from circles close to the UBP about a coalition without Serdar Denktas, he said: It is possible. A coalition without Serdar could be established. The coalition without Serdar will be among the UBP and the CTP, TDP and ORP. However a coalition with the DP without Serdar is not possible.
 Sener Elcil says he has invited to a meeting the Greek Cypriot teachers trade unionsTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.12.09) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot primary school teachers trade union (KTOS), told the paper that he has invited to a meeting and lunch in the buffer zone the Greek Cypriot teachers trade unions POED, OELMEK and OLTEK. Mr Elcil has been elected as representative of the whole of Cyprus at the Federation of the European Teachers Trade Union (ETUCE). He said his primary duty is to represent the Cypriot teachers, and, therefore, he wants to meet with the Turkish and Greek Cypriot trade unions. He noted that he received no reply yet from the Greek Cypriot organizations to his invitation. Reminding that the Greek Cypriot organizations are preparing an action plan against his election at ETUCE, Mr Elcil described this reaction as unwarranted.
 Tatar says they oppose to the displacement of the inhabitants of occupied Morfou for the third timeTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (11.12.09) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled minister of finance has said that they oppose to the displacement of the inhabitants of Morfou for the third time and that they will support Morfou. In statements yesterday during a meeting with the Union of Tradesmen and Craftsmen of occupied Morfou, Mr Tatar alleged that injustice was committed in the past against this area, but now all these should be left behind. Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Tatar noted that it is said that there is disagreement on the property issue, but no one says anything on the issue of the economy. He alleged that the Turkish Cypriots, who do not know what will happen on this issue, might lose a lot.
 Cavusoglu announces that their target is to export citrus fruits to Europe next yearTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (11.12.09) reports that Nazim Cavusoglu, self-styled minister of agriculture has said that they are carrying out a research in the European market and that next year exports of citrus fruits from the occupied areas to Europe will start. In statements to illegal Bayrak television, Mr Cavusoglu said the price of the citrus fruits increased by 70% last year and added that their target is to be opened to the European market.
 Statements by the UN Special Adviser for Cyprus after the UNSC meeting on CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (10.12.09) broadcast the following:
The Cyprus issue was on the agenda of a meeting at the United Nations Security Council yesterday. The Council was briefed about the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons latest reports on UNFICYP and on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus.
Speaking to reporters following the closed-door meeting, UN Chiefs Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer said that the two leaders made steady progress in the negotiations.
The UN Envoy stated that he and the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus Taye Brooke Zerihoun briefed members of the Security Council on the two reports.
Mr Downer said: We are cautiously optimistic that an agreement can be reached and noted that the two leaders are conducting the negotiations in good faith and with good will.
Replying to a question, the Envoy said he believed good progress has been made and pointed out that over the past couple of months there has been a good deal of growing convergence.
To other questions concerning efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, he said that this is a matter for the Cypriots and what the international community wants is for Cypriots to reunite and what is interesting is that for the time being the international community is quite focused on this issue.
Downer said he met with US Secretary of State Hilary Clintonand some of her officials, and has a constant round of discussions within meetings with ministers of foreign affairs and other senior officials from countries that are interested in the issue.
 Turkey and Mexico agree to strengthen cooperation in the UNSCTurkish Hurriyet Daily News.com (10.12.09) reported the following:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday. The two leaders agree to collaborate on fighting drug-trafficking and improving economic ties.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that there might be steps Turkey and Mexico could jointly take to deal with organized crime.
In the 1990s, Mexico succeeded in the destruction of a terrorist organization, Erdogan told a joint news conference the prime minister held with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Erdogan called his visit to Mexico a diplomatic milestone between the two nations, as only three high-level visits have taken place since relations between Turkey and Mexico began 81 years ago.
The political importance of Mexico, the 13th biggest economy in the world, gradually rises in Latin America and in the world. Turkey and Mexico work in close cooperation under important institutions such as the G-20, the U.N. Security Council [UNSC] and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], he said.
The Turkish prime minister added: We have agreed on turning relations between Turkey and Mexico into a closer and fruitful cooperation. We have also closely assessed developments that concern the two countries and threaten international peace and stability. We agreed that continuing cooperation under the G-20 is useful in dealing with challenges such as the global economic crisis.
Referring to the fight against illicit drug-trafficking, Erdogan said: Turkey is positioned as a transit country for drug-trafficking activities stemming from Afghanistan en route to Europe. Turkish security forces have been carrying out very successful operations. Mexico experiences similar problems. We agreed to launch joint efforts.
Commenting on bilateral economic relations, Erdogan said the trade volume between Turkey and Mexico amounts to $450 million. This figure is, of course, very low for the 13th and 17th largest economies in the world. We agreed to address this issue, he said. Businessmen from both countries should be encouraged to make investments.
Mexican President Calderon said the two leaders had reached a consensus to collaborate in encouraging investments and resolving global problems in various international platforms.
Referring to the geo-strategic importance of both Mexico and Turkey with respect to their populations, economies and leadership, Calderon said his country also has problems stemming from its geopolitical location.
The Mexican president said Turkey and Mexico would strengthen their cooperation in the U.N. Security Council and ally to prevent future disagreements on security. Calderon added that Mexico supports the Alliance of Civilizations, a joint initiative of Turkey and Spain, as well as work to boost dialogue between Islamic and Western cultures.
We also aim to boost scientific and cultural cooperation. Mexico will assume roles in activities such as the exchange of students, artistic activities and the promotion of institutes. We should accelerate commercial relations and reciprocal visits, he said.
Earlier during the meetings, Calderon said the common goal of Mexico and Turkey was to implement the Peace at home, peace in the world principle espoused by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founder.
During his visit to Mexico, Erdogan also delivered a speech Wednesday at the Matias Romero Institute on Turkey's Quest for Global Peace in the New Millennium. The prime minister said international dialogue and cooperation have become an urgent necessity in a world characterized by complicated obstacles and uncertainties.
Difficult issues such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and illegal immigration compel us, more than ever, to search for international dialogue and solidarity, Erdogan said.
He said Turkey continues to make reforms designed to make the country a member of the European Union, adding that Ankara's accession would benefit both Turkey and the EU, but strengthening the bloc's global power and boosting its representation power.
Europe should continue to keep a strategic vision politically and economically and walk with us toward this strategic target, he added.
Erdogan said Turkey's foreign policy also aims at securing peace and stability in the country's immediate region, including in the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
Our constructive and peaceful policy in our region aims not only at securing regional interests but also at contributing to global peace, Erdogan said.
The Turkish premier said Turkey is closely involved with both Afghanistan and Pakistan and had made necessary contributions to them in both bilateral and multilateral platforms.
 Armenia calls on Turkey to honor the protocols it signed and to stop linking their ratification to Nagorno-KarabachTurkish Hurriyet Daily News.com newspaper (10.12.09) reported the following:
Armenia on Thursday threatened to walk away from a landmark deal to establish ties with Turkey if Ankara continues to link the agreement with the dispute over Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia is prepared to honor its international commitments and we expect the same from Turkey, President Serge Sarkisian said during a press conference with his Latvian counterpart, Valdis Zatlers.
If Turkey drags out the ratification process, Armenia will immediately make use of possibilities stemming from international law. I have instructed relevant state bodies to prepare amendments to our laws pertaining to the signing, ratification and abrogation of international agreements, Sarkisian said.
Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols in October on establishing diplomatic ties and re-opening their shared border in a deal hailed as a historic step toward ending decades of hostility stemming from World War I-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.
Neither country's parliament has yet ratified the agreements amid nationalist opposition and objections from Turkish ally Azerbaijan.
Turkish officials have repeatedly said the agreements will not be ratified without progress in Armenia's dispute with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Sarkisian warned against attempts to link the two issues, saying any linkage is doomed to failure.
Backed by Yerevan, ethnic Armenian separatists seized control of Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan with which it has strong ethnic, trade and energy links against Yerevan's support for the enclave's separatists.
 The US supports ratification of the protocols Turkey and Armenia signed as soon as possible and without preconditionsTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.12.09) reports the following:
Within days of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly linking the issues of normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan to resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Baku and Yerevan, a senior US State Department official urged Turkey to make progress on normalization efforts with Armenia without setting preconditions.
Following a White House meeting with US President Barack Obama on Monday, Erdogan said progress in ongoing efforts at normalization between Armenia and Turkey was related to progress concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Obama had already encouraged him [Erdogan] to continue to move forward along this path, in regards to the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. Obamas remarks are considered an apparent reflection of the US expectation of further progress on the normalization efforts with Armenia, probably through the swift ratification of the two protocols signed by the governments on restoring diplomatic ties and reopening the common border between the two neighboring countries.
Philip H. Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the US State Department, who participated in White House talks between US and Turkish officials, touched upon the issue on Wednesday during a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Reiterating US support for the process of normalization between Armenia and Turkey, Gordon added: We would like to see the protocols ratified. We think this would benefit Turkey and Armenia and help peace and stability throughout the region.
On Monday Erdogan said: We have also discussed relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are of great importance. This is important in the context of Turkish-Armenian relations. We have discussed the Minsk Group and what the Minsk Group -- the United States, Russia and France -- can do to add more impetus to that process. I can say that to have more impetus in the Minsk process is going to have a very positive impact on the overall process, because the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia is very much related to these issues. As the administration in Turkey, we are determined to move forward in this area.
The Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has striven to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a territorial dispute between Baku and Yerevan, for 17 years.
In response to a question regarding Erdogans call for more impetus within the Minsk process, Gordon continued: We are actively engaged in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Not because we see it linked to the Turkey-Armenia relationship, but because we think it could be also contributing to peace and stability in the region that both Armenia and Azerbaijan would benefit from. [A] Minsk group co-chair is in the region right now because we think this is hugely important. But it has long been hugely important, and its hugely important independently of any other issue. Its something we care [about], and we would like it to succeed. If both of these processes were to succeed, it would really be a historic development for the region.
Underlining US expectations of seeing a move forward as quickly as possible, Gordon said the US has been asking both the Armenian and Turkish governments for the ratification of the protocols as soon as possible, without preconditions and independently of any other issue.
Gordon, meanwhile, called what appeared to be the diverging approaches of the two NATO allies toward Irans nuclear program a tactical difference. Yet, he also noted that the US told Turkey about their disappointment over the fact that Turkey had abstained in a vote on a resolution in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), passed on November 27, which censured Iran for covertly constructing a second enrichment plant near the city of Qom, demanding a halt to construction.
There could be problems if measures such as sanctions are taken against Iran without seeking a diplomatic solution, Erdogan said on PBSs Charlie Rose show following his meeting with Obama.
Voicing gratitude for Turkeys support in Afghanistan, Gordon underlined that Richard Holbrooke, Obamas special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, cares deeply about the special cooperative relationship between the US and Turkey in Afghanistan.
Ruling out arguments that Turkey has been drifting away from the West, Gordon said what he has observed is a Turkey that is aspiring to become a full European Union member, a goal supported by the US administration.
When reminded of Washingtons silence on the influence of the military in Turkish politics, Gordon said: I think we have always made clear that first of all we respect Turkeys democracy and the need for appropriate civilian-military relations in Turkey. And when the prime minister comes here, we believe he is speaking for Turkey and the Turkish government. And we are satisfied with that relationship.
 Death toll from influenza A(H1N1) in Turkey reached 353Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (11.12.09) in its front-page title, Swine flu: Death toll 353, reports that the Turkish Ministry of Health reported that the death toll from swine flu reached 353. The ministry said 121 of the victims were below the age 50 and people who did not face other health problems.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Yusuf Kanli: The strong, British-led friends of Turkey group within the union could carry Turkey to full membershipUnder the title Hostages of Cyprus, Hurriyet Daily News.com (10.12.09) published the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:
Particularly during the past few months, leading members of the government have been worried that if asked to choose between Cyprus and the continuation of the open-ended EU membership process, Turkey would definitely opt for Cyprus.
But opting for Cyprus is not an easy task at all for Ankara.
There is muted celebration in the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government, and to a lesser degree at the Foreign Ministry, that the EU General Affairs Council that is, the council comprised of foreign ministers did not heed the Greek Cypriot demands for a suspension of the process of accession talks altogether. Their grounds for this demand were that Turkey has not complied with a pledge to open its ports and airports to new members of the European bloc, including the Greek Cypriots.
On the contrary, they decided to recommend that the EU Council that is, the summit of leaders that convened its two-day meeting yesterday decide on the opening of talks on the environment chapter before the end of the term presidency of Sweden, that is, by the years end.
So far, so good. If we are to describe the issue with that famous metaphor of a half-full glass, there is indeed some water in the glass, but the amount is persistently decreasing. Soon Turkey may find that there is no longer any water in the glass.
First of all, irrespective how the EU Council decides today, it is clear that there is consensus among the EU countries, as reflected in the General Affairs Council decision, to bow to the Greek Cypriot unilateral veto threat on the opening of talks on five more chapters. These included the free circulation of labor, trans-Europe network, regional policies, judiciary and fundamental rights and common security and foreign policy.
Already eight chapters were hostages of the Greek Cypriot side; when these five new chapters are added, it means a total of 13 chapters are now mortgaged by the Cyprus problem. Opening talks on five additional chapters is blocked by France. Thus, a total of 18 of the 35 overall chapters are off-limits for Turkey for the time being in this open-ended process of accession talks, the outcome of which is not guaranteed to be full membership in the group.
For some time, and for reasons ambiguous for this writer, European diplomats have been telling their Turkish friends that they should not be discouraged by the French and German objections to Turkish membership. Once the Cyprus problem is resolved, they say, the strong, British-led friends of Turkey group within the union could carry Turkey to full membership. The same diplomats keep on stressing that the French opposition to Turkey has been conjectural, and that once the leadership in Paris changes, a new and more positive climate might emerge, but the German opposition is more structural, and thus more difficult to eradicate. Germany, they say, is fed up with financing the enlargement of the union. Still, most EU diplomats tend to believe that Cyprus is the main stumbling block for Turkish accession.
That appears to me a gross underestimation of other reasons, headed by the overwhelming Muslim population of Turkey and the associated cultural differences, and an exaggeration of the importance of a resolution of the Cyprus problem for Turkeys EU membership prospects.
Still, it is a fact that by agreeing to process the unilateral Greek Cypriot membership application and later agreeing to its accession as the representative of the entire island despite the continued Cyprus problem, the EU has indeed surrendered to the German obsession with the eastern expansion of the group. It has also given in to the Greek challenge to block the eastern enlargement if Cyprus was not admitted. Thus the EU has become a hostage of the Cyprus problem, just like Turkey.
Even if today there might be some water in the glass, it is a fact that over the years since Turkey started the process of accession talks, only 11 chapters have been opened, one was provisionally closed and 18 are blocked either by Cyprus or France. All of this means that we may open talks only on five more chapters. Soon, we will discover that there will be no free chapters that we may open and the process of accession talks will come to a firm halt.
Can the EU sacrifice Turkey to satisfy the caprices of the Greek Cypriots? Or, how long can Turkey stay on this EU course and deliver Cyprus compromises in a salami tactic without getting a clear perspective of membership, even at a distant date?
Or if Turkey could not even get firm American support during the latest White House talks for its drive for a quick fix on the island, how long can Ankara say that if asked to choose between Cyprus and the EU membership process, Turkey would definitely opt for Cyprus?
Its like a story of a dwarf holding everyone hostage.
 From the Turkish Press of 10 December 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 10 December 2009:
a) Is the Kurdish overture over?
In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, Hasan Cemal argues that 10 mistakes have been made in connection with the realization of the Kurdish overture. Describing the overture as a peace process, he outlines the mistakes the sides have made and says: "The overture is a peace process that needs time, patience, and political determination. It is said that hurried work is doomed."
Kadri Gursel is convinced that the government does not want to disclose that the Kurdish overture has ended. In a column in the same newspaper, he wonders how the administration will maintain its effort to realize it without the participation of the Kurdish side and accuses it of not sincerely wanting to cooperate with the Kurds to solve the problem. Gursel argues that whether or not the overture will be shelved depends on the decision the Constitutional Court will make in connection with the closure suit against the DTP and notes: "I do not believe that the guerrillas in the party, who are dressed in civilian clothes, will regret the closure of the DTP like Ahmet Turk. So, the threat that they might return to the bosom of the nation must be taken seriously." Drawing attention to the Turkish nationalist groups, Gursel argues that they have at last learned that the Kurdish problem can be removed only through a political solution. However, they do not want to be an equal partner of the Kurds. In view of that, they began to discuss their own political solution, "which calls for separation from the Kurds."
According to Mehmet Tezkan, a grave situation exists in Turkey. He claims in a column in Istanbul Milliyet that the people are worried and wonder whether they will be confronted with a situation similar to the one that existed in the 1990s. He argues that the Turks and Kurds treat each other with scorn now and draws attention to the need for removing tension in Turkey. He urges Prime Minister Erdogan, CHP leader Deniz Baykal, and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli to quickly hold talks to defuse the situation and says: The first step must be taken by the political leaders. The government and the main opposition have not held talks on Turkey's problems for many years. "Look at the faces of the people who live on this land. Look at their photographs in the newspapers. What you see will be pain and fear. What you see will be an expression of hopelessness. It is the duty of the leaders to change that."
Mahmut Ovur blames the opposition parties for the failure of the effort that has been made to realize the Kurdish overture and the policy of no problems with Turkey's neighbors. In a column in Istanbul Sabah, he argues that the MHP and CHP maintain their traditional concept of opposition and are unable to realize that Turkey needs constructive and democratic opposition parties to contribute to the solution of its problems.
Writing in Istanbul Vatan, Okay Gonensin laments the recent incidents in Turkey and argues that the country is moving toward a very dangerous junction. He disagrees with the argument that the United States and Europe are responsible for the present situation in Turkey and says: "We have dragged Turkey toward that junction with our political parties... The country has been dragged toward that junction by the politicians, who believe that they will be in a difficult situation if the AKP manages to silence the arms in Turkey." Focusing on the possibility of the closure of the DTP, Gonensin warns: Undoubtedly, the closure of the party and the suspension of the democratic overture will move Turkey closer to the road that leads to more bloodshed, pain, hostility, grudge, and economic decline.
Rauf Tamer insists in a column in Istanbul Hurriyet that the DTP should not be closed down. He agrees that the DTP deserves to be closed down because of its activities and support for the PKK but says: It must not be closed down, regardless of what the laws say. "The decision to be made must be political. It must not be relating to laws. The DTP must not be closed down. Political parties are not closed down in democracies."
Writing in Istanbul Sabah, Nazli Ilicak opposes the closure of the DTP by the Constitutional Court. In a column, she argues that the ECHR might not agree to the closure of the party just because it sympathizes with the leader of the PKK and refers to the PKK members as guerrillas, not terrorists. Drawing attention to the Venice criteria, she notes: But, the DTP calls for the continuation of the democratic order and the broadening of freedoms. Meanwhile, no one has been able to prove that organic ties exist between the DTP officials and the PKK. Furthermore, financial links between the PKK and DTP have not been found. So, we hope that the Constitutional Court will carefully consider those details."
In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, Asli Aydintasbas cites DTP leader Ahmet Turk's views on the recent developments in Turkey. She says that Turk insists that the DTP has been left out of the effort that is made to realize the overture but it has been blamed for the problems that have obstructed the initiative. Regarding the possibility of the Constitutional Court deciding to have the DTP closed down, she says that Ahmet Turk, Aysel Tugluk, and Sirri Sakik are known as doves which oppose violence in the organization and notes: Turk is skeptical on the incidents in Tokat. He doubts whether the PKK was involved and says: "It was a provocation. We have investigated the matter. The PKK was not there." Aydintasbas quotes Turk reacting to the reports on the possibility of the closure of his party by saying: "Let the party be closed down if violence is to end. However, I believe that violence will increase. Poverty and the failure to find a solution to the problem will create a chaos in the country."
Melih Asik strongly criticizes the officials for failing to blame the PKK for the martyrdom of seven soldiers in Resadiye. In a column in Istanbul Milliyet, he believes that the administration fears that accusing the PKK of being responsible for the incident will harm the overture and says that the lengthy statement Murat Karayilan made to the Firat News Agency on 3 December conveyed clear messages to the PKK militants. Asik notes: "Is it not true that his messages gave the green light for the attack in Resadiye? The PKK has not denied being responsible for the attack thus far. Obviously, the side that carried out provocative activities is quite clear."
In an article entitled "MHP and DTP see eye to eye", Yeni Safak columnist Yalcin Akdogan, writing under the pseudonym Yasin Dogan, comments on what he presents as similarities in the way the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, and the Democratic Society Party, DTP, "positioned at the opposite poles of nationalism," are "bashing" the Government's democratic "overture." He also argues that the latest domestic tensions have been caused not by any moves made by the Government but by the MHP's "provocative" messages about a separatist threat facing Turkey and the DTP's confrontational rhetoric.
Under the banner headline, "Real traitors are merchants of terrorism," Vakit runs a front-page report which highlights Interior Minister Besir Atalay's remarks in response to a statement by Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal accusing the Government of treason in implementing the "democratic overture." The report quotes Atalay as saying that "the real traitors are those opposing this initiative." Illustrating this story is a cartoon which shows MHP protestors, "cartel" newspapers opposed to the democratic initiative, and PKK supporters carrying out Molotov cocktail attacks in urban centers as finger puppets manipulated by the "ETO" [Terrorist Ergenekon Organization].
In an article entitled "Who was that 'Good guy?'", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak comments on allegations that Ali Kaya, a non-commissioned officer to whom Former Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit referred as a "good guy" when asked to comment on Kaya's alleged involvement in the so-called Semdinli bombing incident, used to serve as PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's personal bodyguard. Dilipak asks whether prosecutors, the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, and the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee are investigating these claims and whether the DTP and the PKK have anything to say about the allegations. He also claims that this allegation underlines Turkey's need to unravel the "deep reality" about a shady network within the news media, the Mafia, capital groups, political parties, the bureaucracy, and NGOs whose members include "prostitutes as well as shaykhs."
Under the headline, "Our children are coerced with death threats into staging molotov cocktail attacks," Zaman publishes a front-page report which highlights "striking disclosures" by the families of "the children arrested [in Istanbul] on charges of fatally burning a young girl named Serap Eser in a recent Molotov cocktail attack."
In an article entitled "The war lobby cannot win this time", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay holds Turkey's "war lobby" responsible for the recent acts of violence staged by PKK supporters in urban centers and the "cowardly" attack on a group of Turkish soldiers in the Resadiye district of Tokat. He compares the assault in Resadiye to the killing of some 33 Turkish soldiers in Bingol in 1993 and argues that the "war lobby" is unlikely to achieve today what it was able to achieve in 1993 because the Government is resolved to establish peace, Turkish generals have realized that the PKK cannot be neutralized merely through military measures, Kurds in Turkey are providing increasing support for the efforts to "end the war," and Turkey's neighbors no longer support the PKK thanks to the AKP's regional policies.
In an article entitled "Who is smarter: We or the terrorists?", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone asserts that the recent terrorist assault in Resadiye was carried out by a group displeased with "the way things are going" in a bid to create general chaos and trigger widespread protests against the Government's democratic initiative. He claims that commentators who hold the democratic initiative responsible for the attack are promoting the purposes of the group that engineered the assault.
In a commentary entitled "Four possible explanations for the terrorist attack in Tokat", Today's Zaman writer Emre Uslu cites the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front, DHKP-C, the PKK, and the "deep state" as possible perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Resadiye. He also speculates that the attack may have been carried out by the PKK in response to a change in the route of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
In an article entitled "The provocateurs should be nabbed", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan asserts that notwithstanding the public perception of the latest terrorist attack in Resadiye as the work of the PKK, there is a consensus of opinion among "experts" based on the timing and location of the incident that the assault is an act of "provocation" staged jointly by terrorist groups and "deep state" elements.
b) Ergenekon case:
Focusing on the detention of three MIT [National Intelligence Organization] officials by the anti-terror teams in Erzincan in connection with the Ergenekon investigation on 5 December in Milliyet, Murat Yetkin argues: This is the second time the MIT has been confronted with the judicial organs within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation... The detention of the three officials has caused serious tension among the bureaucratic officials who are related to security. Stressing that a state official has not yet made a disclosure on the detentions in Erzincan, Yetkin warns that the developments might lead the state institutions to launch a struggle to defend their rights if the government fails to take the appropriate measures.
Under the headline, "Do not pin your hopes on chaos," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which highlights a statement by Prime Minister Erdogan announcing in response to "the recent acts of provocation against the democratic overture" that the Government will not be deterred by any "threats" or "foul play" from pressing ahead with the democratic initiative. According to the report, Erdogan's remarks include indirect references to the Ergenekon network.
c) Foreign Policy issues:
In an article entitled "So much for conceit" in Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru lauds Prime Minister Erdogan for "not mincing his words" in calling US President Barack Obama's attention to the "mistakes" in the US foreign policy or criticizing Israeli "extremism" at the recent White House meeting. He also asserts that it is to Obama's credit that he "lent an ear to Erdogan's polite warning urging him to 'come to your senses,'" adding that Erdogan's attitude at the White House meeting is likely to encourage other leaders to give "sensible" advice to Washington instead of allowing US "conceit" to "take the wind out of their sails. If an egalitarian style becomes the norm in the conduct of international relations with Washington, the United States will benefit as much from it as others."
In an article entitled "No reapers but predators from US", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Kemal asserts that the Obama-Erdogan meeting "appears to have been partially hijacked by issues related to terrorism" and finds it "frustrating" that both the news media and Erdogan have put the "emphasis" on "strengthening US real-time intelligence cooperation with Turkey as if this has been the most important issue in solving Turkey's terror problem."
In an article entitled "The Erdogan-Obama duo defines 'Model partnership'", in Today's Zaman columnist Ibrahim Kalin explains in what sense what is called "model partnership" between the United States and Turkey defines "a shift from the traditional 'strategic partnership' to a new model of relationship ..." He also argues that Obama has found in Erdogan the "serious and strong-willed partner" he is seeking as part of his effort to "meet the expectations his presidency generated in the US and around the world."
In an article entitled "Turkey's stance on Iran", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren argues that if Turkey can "make a difference" in its region, it is because it is able to disagree with the United States, Israel, and the "Jewish lobby" over what policies should be implemented in relation to Iran or Afghanistan or Iraq.
Finally, in an article entitled "What the visit to the United States indicates" in Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven details the results of Erdogan's visit to Washington. He claims that the Obama-Erdogan meeting proved a "watershed" not from the viewpoint of what the United States had to offer Turkey but from the viewpoint of revealing "the new course of bilateral relations." He also asserts that the visit indicated that Israel has become far less capable of guiding and controlling US policies than it used to be during the 28 February process.