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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-06-05

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

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



  • [01] The so-called minister of economy of tourism has been removed from his post
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot Civilian organizations oppose to efforts for turning the area between Rizokarpasso and Apostolos Andreas Cape into concrete
  • [03] BKP describes the allegations that the ECHR recognized the so-called Property Compensation Commission as unrealistic
  • [04] British journalist was briefed on the Cyprus problem by the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association
  • [05] Pertev and Tzionis continue their talks within the framework of the 8th July process
  • [06] Turkey-EU Ministerial Troika meeting was held in Ankara
  • [07] More on the developments of the elections in Turkey
  • [08] Turkish Land Forces Commander General Basbug visits China
  • [09] Turkish Deputy Prime Minister received the son of Fidel Castro
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] Cyprus has been forgotten
  • [11] Columnist in Hurriyet argues that Incirlik will soon not be indispensable for the U.S. since the worlds biggest airfield is under construction in N. Iraq
  • [12] The Turkish press on a possible Turkish military incursion into N. Iraq


    [01] The so-called minister of economy of tourism has been removed from his post

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.06.07) reports that the so-called Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci held a joint press conference yesterday and announced that Enver Ozturk, so-called minister of economy and tourism has been removed from his duties. Erdogan Sanlidag, Freedom and Reform Partys (ORP) MP in the occupied Morfou area is appointed in Mr Ozturks place.

    Mr Soyer said that his party responded positively to the demand of its partner regarding the removal of Mr Ozturk. Mr Avci said that his party decided that the change was necessary.

    Referring to the reasons of their decision, Mr Avci accused Mr Ozturk of not paying the necessary attention to the general policies and fundamental principles of ORP, of not being in harmony with the reformist policies of the party, of not adapting his behaviour to the vision and the mission of the party, of acting contrary to the decisions of the competent organs of the party and not working in harmony with them and of not responding to the expectations of the people while being at the post of a minister.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (05.06.07) reports that the removal of Ozturk from the post of the minister of economy and tourism was announced after his insistence on not submitting his resignation.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (05.06.07) reports that Mr Soyer stated that they do not hide the decisions of their government from the people and that they have not taken a decision for which they feel concerned. He argued that approximately the two thirds of the decisions of the council of ministers were taken secretly until 2003.

    Referring to the issue, Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (05.06.07) reports that Mustafa Akinci, MP of the Communal Democracy Party (DTP), called on the government to announce the real reason for removing Mr Ozturk from his post. Mr Akinci raised the issue in the parliament yesterday.

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (05.06.07) invokes some sources and reports that Mr Ozturk will make shocking statements today and reveal some documents.

    KIBRIS further reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP), held yesterday a press conference and demanded once again the conduction of early elections in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus. He argued that the elections should be held in 2007 and claimed that the more the Republican Turkish Party delays the elections the higher the price it will pay.

    Moreover, HALKIN SESI reports that referring to the removal of the minister of economy and tourism from his post, Mr Ertugruloglu described as tragi - comic the manner by which Mr Ozturk was removed from his duties. He argued that something was given to Mr Ozturk in order to remain silent after his removal from his post.

    Finally, HALKIN SESI reports that referring to the removal of Mr Ozturk, minister of economy and tourism, from his post, Mr Turgay Beydagli, chairman of the Hotel Owners Union, said they expected this development and pointed out that the minister of tourism should be an experienced person who knows the sector.

    He said that the government should not administer the field of tourism, that it should only supervise it and that it should leave the administration of the field to the professionals.


    [02] Turkish Cypriot Civilian organizations oppose to efforts for turning the area between Rizokarpasso and Apostolos Andreas Cape into concrete

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.06.07) reports that the thirteen civilian organizations which oppose to the project of drawing a line for transporting electricity from occupied Rizokarpasso to Apostolos Andreas Cape are determined to continue their struggle and appeal to the courts, if necessary.

    The chairman of the Green Peace Organization, Dogan Sahir stated yesterday that the project is not new, that it was stopped in the past as a result of their struggle and that it is unnecessary and contrary to the law.

    He reminded that there is a decision by the council of ministers for turning the area into a National Park and wondered why the tender for transporting electricity there came onto the agenda if the area is going to be a park.

    Mr Sahir said that the electricity which is planned to be transferred to the area is of too high voltage and argued that they want to create the potential for turning the area into concrete.


    [03] BKP describes the allegations that the ECHR recognized the so-called Property Compensation Commission as unrealistic

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.06.07) reports that the United Cyprus Party (BKP) issued a statement yesterday and argued that the allegations that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has recognized the so-called Property Compensation Commission with its recent decision are unrealistic.

    In a written statement, Abdullah Korkmazhan, member of the executive committee of the party, reminded that the ECHR found Turkey guilty of violating the human rights in Cyprus and convicted it to pay one million euros as compensation. He noted that according to the decision, the issue of the Commission will be discussed in a subsequent case.


    [04] British journalist was briefed on the Cyprus problem by the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.06.07) reports that Mr Will Henley, a journalist of London Times newspaper, who is currently visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus, held a meeting yesterday with Ertan Ersan, chairman of the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association.

    He also visited the museum of the association. Mr Ersan briefed the British journalist on the Cyprus problem and on the issue of the missing persons. He also gave him a CD with the Crimes in Cyprus and a brochure showing the situation of the cemeteries of the martyrs in the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus.


    [05] Pertev and Tzionis continue their talks within the framework of the 8th July process

    Illegal BAYRAK television (04.06.07) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev and the Chief of the Diplomatic Office of the Greek Cypriot Leader - Tasos Tzionis met today to continue the talks they have been holding within the framework of the 8-July process.

    The two senior aides have been working on ways of ending the deadlock on the setting up of technical committees.

    The two aides met again at the residence of the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus Chief of Mission Michael Möller. Until now, the two men have failed to break the deadlock on the setting up of technical committees which are to take up day-to-day issues. The Turkish Cypriot Side has been in support of the establishment of technical committees as it believes that such a move will create a positive atmosphere and will act as a confidence building measure between the two sides.

    But, the Greek Cypriot Side has been adopting a negative approach towards the setting up of such committees from the very beginning.

    [06] Turkey-EU Ministerial Troika meeting was held in Ankara

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (04.06.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish party underscored importance of international cooperation in dealing with terrorism during the Turkey-EU Troika meeting in Ankara on Monday. Diplomatic sources remarked that the Turkish executives emphasized at the meeting that explosives that came from Iraq have been seized in Turkey, and noted that the activities on Iraqi border aimed at restoring security.

    On the other hand, diplomatic sources said the EU party stated that they respected Iraq's territorial integrity. "We are pleased that the EU party alluded 'PKK terrorism' at the meeting," sources noted. The sources also indicated that the EU executives remarked that Turkey was justifiable in dealing with terrorism.

    Developments about Turkey's domestic policy were also discussed at the meeting. Amendment of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) was among the important matters underlined by the EU party, sources said.

    The Cyprus issue was also discussed at the meeting, while German Foreign Minister Steinmeier expressed the uneasiness felt over insolvability of the matter. Steinmeier stressed the difficulties over the Ankara Protocol and failure in extending the assistance to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) that were earlier pledged. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn pointed to the requirement of a comprehensive solution in Cyprus. Rehn also indicated that Cyprus issue should be settled under the U.N. roof.

    European Security and Defence Policy was also handled at the meeting. The EU executives stressed the importance of the role Turkey assumed particularly in Kosovo.

    Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier of Germany which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho of Portugal which will take over the presidency from Germany and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn participated in the meeting hosted by Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul.

    In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency also reported the following on the statements that Gul and EU Officials made after the meeting in Ankara:

    "We have told the EU (pertaining to Turkey's EU membership process) that Turkey does not consider any technical obstacle before negotiation process in case political matters are not included in the technical talks," Turkish Foreign Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said on Monday. Turkey-EU Ministerial Troika Meeting was held in Ankara.

    Speaking at a joint news conference held after the meeting, Gul said the meeting was very fruitful. "The meeting was satisfactory. We had the opportunity of discussing the relations and different ideas," Gul said indicating that Turkey's negotiation process was reviewed. Gul also thanked German FM Steinmeier for his constructive stance over boosting Turkey's negotiation process.

    Expressing belief that the same stance would be displayed during the rotating presidency of Portugal in the next period, Gul said, "Turkey fulfilled its responsibilities within the framework of negotiation process," and recalled the road map that was prepared with the collaboration of all institutions and disclosed by State Minister Ali Babacan last April. Gul said Turkey would continue to fulfil its obligations between 2007 and 2013 when matters are handled on technical basis, indicating that all the works in question were first of all were for the benefit of Turkish nation.

    Underlining that the Cyprus matter was discussed at the meeting as a political issue, Gul said: "We have underscored that this issue should be settled under the roof of the U.N." "We also had the opportunity to exchange views on issues like Iran, Iraq, Middle East peace process, incidents in Lebanon, Syria's inclusion to peace process, Central Asia and Caucasus."

    "We also discussed fight against terrorism. We have briefed the EU executives about the recent attacks of the terrorist organization on civilians and security forces," Gul remarked.

    Noting that northern Iraq was also discussed at the meeting, Gul said, "Turkey attaches importance to Iraq's territorial integrity and does not have any secret agenda. I have also clearly remarked that Turkey has the right to take any kind of measure in case of any move or terrorist act on its border against itself." Gul said the EU party, which has included PKK in list of terrorist organizations, also gave strong messages on the issue and stated that the EU would be in close cooperation with Turkey in efforts to deal with terrorism.

    Asked about domestic political developments and election process, Gul said, "Turkey's reform process for EU membership would continue with an increasing pace. We are looking to the future. Process has started for the elections set to take place on July 22nd. Democracy functions in Turkey."

    German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said Monday he did not get the impression that Turkey would launch a cross-border military operation into Iraq. In a joint press conference in Ankara after Turkey-EU Troika meeting, Steinmeier said that they discussed the matter at the meeting.

    "We asked Turkey about its position regarding the issue. My dear colleague Mr. Gul told us that Turkey should protect its people against terrorist acts. He especially told us how important the issue was in Turkey and on border between Turkey and Iraq. But indeed, I did not get the impression that Turkey would launch a cross-border military operation from what he told us," Steinmeier said.

    Steinmeier also pointed out reform process carried out in Turkey and said Turkey did a lot in its EU membership bid. "We, as the European Union, attach great importance to Turkey's reform process. We tried a lot to carry on and to speed up negotiations process during Germany's rotating EU presidency," he said.

    Steinmeier expressed his disappointment that the expected developments about Cyprus problem have not occurred during Germany's EU presidency. "It is also disappointing that there is no progress on direct trade. I am sure that Portugal will work on that as the EU president," he said.

    Reminding that Turkey will hold general and presidential elections in the coming months, Steinmeier said, "I am sure that every power and institution in Turkey will assume its responsibility. I hope that there will be no other alternatives than Turkey's path towards the EU and its democratic reforms."

    "The European Union (EU) is on Turkey's side in the fight against terror," said the European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, on Monday. In a press briefing held after the Turkey-EU Troika meeting in Ankara, Rehn said: "I will attend an important energy conference in Istanbul on Tuesday and will elaborate on Europe's energy strategy within the framework of membership negotiations". Rehn began his speech by condemning the terrorist attack in Ulus district of Ankara on May 22nd, 2007. "I want to express our solidarity with the Turkish people. Turkey can be sure that the EU is on its side in the fight against terror," noted Rehn.

    Olli Rehn indicated that "the EU is pleased with the progress Turkey has made in the EU process." "We expect three more chapters to be opened," he underlined. According to Rehn, technical negotiations are "the walls and roof of the building. However, the base of the building is the actual reforms made." Rehn stressed that the new government of Turkey must re-activate the reform process. "Freedom of expression, religious freedoms, women's rights, union rights must be enlarged. Political forces in Turkey should act together to modernize and reform Turkey. This is important not only for the EU but also for Turkey," stated Rehn. Rehn underscored that political stability and democratic development are highly important for Ankara.

    "We expect the reform process in Turkey to speed up after the national elections," said Joao Cravinho, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, on Monday. In a press briefing held after today's Turkey-EU Troika meeting in Ankara, Cravinho remarked that, as the next rotating president of the EU, Portugal will gladly carry Turkey's EU process further. Cravinho stressed that in the 18 months covering the rotating presidency of Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, relations with Turkey have high priority. "We will continue to work with Turkey and help the process to go further," noted Cravinho.

    Meanwhile, Robert Cooper, the head of external affairs dept. of the EU, indicated that they handled topics such as the Middle East. "Both sides seem to have parallel views on the Middle East", noted Cooper. He remarked that the issue of Iran was also discussed. "Turkey helped the overture of a new channel with Iran in nuclear talks," stressed Cooper. Robert Cooper underlined that Turkey's role in European security and defense policies were also discussed today. "Turkey's role in this matter is extremely important. We want to develop our relations with Turkey on security matters. The EU will assume prominent duties in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Turkey will be an important partner in this matter," underscored Cooper.

    [07] More on the developments of the elections in Turkey

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (04.06.07) reports the following as regards the forthcoming elections in Turkey:

    Party leaders in Turkey will run in elections from different locations. Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for parliament from Istanbul's 1st region. Chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal will run for parliament from Antalya. Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) Chairman Erkan Mumcu is running for parliament from Isparta province. Chairman of the Democrat Party (DP) Mehmet Agar is expected to run for parliament from Elazig. Devlet Bahceli, Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is running for parliament from Osmaniye. Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Muhsin Yazicioglu runs for parliament as an independent candidate from Sivas. Recai Kutan, Chairman of the Felicity Party (SP), runs for parliament from Istanbul. Cem Uzan, Chairman of the Young Party (GP), is running for a seat in the parliament from Izmir. Dogu Perincek, chairman of Workers' Party (IP), runs for parliament from Istanbul.

    In addition ANKARA ANATOLIA (04.06.07) also reports that all political parties that will run in general elections submitted their lists of candidate to the High Board of Elections (YSK) on Monday. Communist Party of Turkey, People's Ascent Party, Labour Party, Young Party, Justice & Development (AK) Party, Felicity Party, Workers' Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Freedom & Solidarity Party, Motherland Party, Bright Turkey Party, Democrat Party, Nationalist Movement Party, Independent Turkey Party and Republican People's Party executives submitted their candidate lists to YSK.

    The YSK will examine the lists and notify the political parties if there are any irregularities. The parties are to eliminate the shortcomings until June 8th. The temporary lists of candidates will be published in the Official Gazette, and be aired on radio and TV channels on June 10th.

    The final lists will be published in the Official Gazette, and be aired on radio and TV channels on June 20th.

    [08] Turkish Land Forces Commander General Basbug visits China

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (04.06.07) reports the following from Beijing:

    "Turkey and the People's Republic of China have parallel views on world matters," said Turkish Land Forces Commander General Ilker Basbug on Monday.

    Having a meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan in Beijing, General Basbug indicated that "Turkey and China have similar viewpoints on world matters. There are similarities in threats faced by the two countries."

    General Basbug stressed that "China is one of the strongest countries in the world from a political, economic and military perspective. It is becoming stronger with each passing day."

    "We observe with admiration China's economic progress made in the past two decades. We are proud of China as a friendly country," said Gen. Basbug.

    Meanwhile, minister Cao remarked that China will continue to develop ties with Turkey, a prominent country in the world.

    General Basbug visited the Chinese National Defence University and met Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff Jang Li.

    [09] Turkish Deputy Prime Minister received the son of Fidel Castro

    Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (05.06.07) reports the following:

    Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Abdüllatif ^ener welcomed Fidel Castro Diaz Balart, the son of Cuban State Minister (title as published) Fidel Castro, at his office in the South-eastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration.

    During Balarts visit, the Turkish state minister presented him with a painting of Che Guevara, a vase and an English translation of Mevlana s masterpiece, Mesnevi. ^ener s son ^amil ^ener accompanied his father and Balart during the meeting.

    Balart is the oldest son of the legendary Cuban leader and president of the Atomic Energy Research Centre. Balart is expected to succeed his father in the event the death of Castro Senior. ^ener and Balart first met each other during a meeting in Cuba last year.

    Balart expressed his appreciation for ^ener s sincerity and openness and said the Turkish public and the Cuban public are similar in many ways. Noting that his fathers health is improving, Balart referred to the nuclear crisis between the US and Iran. We defend Irans right. Every country has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Seventeen percent of the worlds electricity is produced from nuclear energy. Turkey is taking a step toward nuclear energy. It is politically inappropriate to ban some countries and encourage other countries. We defend the right of all countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Balart said.

    Asked about ^ener s potential Turkish presidential nomination, he said, I don t want to comment on the domestic politics of another country. I did not come to Turkey to support a particular party. Such comments are inappropriate.

    State Minister ^ener s gift portrait of Che Guevara was handmade with beads by a prisoner in Burdur. A prisoner in Burdur saw the picture of me and my son in Cuba taken in front of a Che Guevara painting. He made the portrait of Che with beads and sent it to me with a letter. In the letter, he said he could not afford to buy his daughter a laptop. I was very touched so I sent his daughter a laptop, ^ener said. The likely future Cuban leader touched on cultural similarities between the two countries.

    Like Turks, we are outspoken and sincere -- we are a happy people. Our people know their history and try to protect it, he said. Both countries have historical records of movements for independence and to protect the cultural values of the people. The founding fathers of both countries and their political leaders have always supported independence and nationalist values.

    Balart is an expert on nuclear energy and is expected to aid Turkey in nuclear energy programs, ^ener said. Despite the geographical distance between the two countries, Cuba and Turkey have friendly relations. I see great benefits in developing our relations. I believe we will be able to contribute to world peace as our economic, diplomatic, and cultural relations improve, the Turkish state minister said.

    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [10] Cyprus has been forgotten

    Under the above title, Sami Kohen, a columnist writing in Turkish daily M0LL0YET newspaper (05.06.07), writes the following:

    We forgot the Cyprus problem, as though

    There are various reasons for this: Turkeys attention focuses now, regarding the internal affairs, on the elections and, regarding the foreign affairs, on Northern Iraq In addition to this, there is no important development on the Cyprus problem. There not seem to be any mobility towards the resumption of new talks neither on behalf of the UN, nor the USA or the EU. Moreover, the Greek Cypriots are preparing from now for their presidential elections, which will be held next February

    In these conditions, it must not be surprising if the issue of the Cyprus settlement drops not only from Turkeys agenda but also from the international one. Is this situation bad or good from the point of view of the Turkish Cypriots?

    Subtitle: There is a development, but

    The statement of the TRNC leader Mehmet Ali Talat when we met at the Presidential palace in Lefkosia was that the removal of the Cyprus problem from the international agenda was not good. Because, he said: The Turkish Cypriots do not wish for a non-solution. For example, the policy of isolation against the TRNC continuous; the restrictions are not lifted, because of this it is not possible for the Turkish Cypriots to be integrated with the world

    In the meantime, Talat also mentioned that the existing situation (status quo) is not completely against the Turkish Cypriots and explained that lately the TRNC showed progress, especially in the economic field. For example, the annual per capita income increased to over 10,000 dollars There is a major development in the sectors of tourism, constructions, and land-sales to the foreigners

    In spite of the fact that the foreign world applies restrictions, a new example of this revitalization in the economy was the opening ceremony of the Artemis hotel last Saturday night at Bafra area (occupied Vokolida), which is known as the golden coast of the island. Artemis is a hotel with the capacity of 2,500 hotel beds and was built on the basis of the architectural concept of the temple of Artemis.

    As Talat also mentioned, despite the embargoes, Artemis hotel shows what the Turkish Cypriots can achieve.

    Subtitle: Whether there is a solution or not

    President Talat says that the Greek Cypriot side does not show any desire on the issue of the solution and the Cyprus problem is abandoned to the time and to the indifference of the international platforms.

    In reality, the Cyprus problem has entered a period of stagnation. There is no possibility for mobility or for a compromise in the near future.

    For this reason, the thing that the Turkish Cypriot side will do is to exploit very well this time, to consolidate its institutions, to strengthen its internal structure and to raise its economic and social standards.

    It is worth to ask why until now there was a slack behaviour on this matter, why they did not correct the serious limping in the bureaucracy, why they did not make any administrative amendments regarding the daily life.

    Replying to this question, Talat says: I do not know either and continues: Now is the time to correct the internal structure. Whether there is a solution or not, we must work to obtain a healthy structure

    Subtitle: The unification became a fantasy

    No doubt if there is a solution, these affairs will be materialized in a faster and more systematic manner. But even Talat, a leader who maintained a solution approach, it seems that he lost his former enthusiasm and hope since he came to power. Talat admits that although they have not abandoned the vision of a united state based on the equality of the two sides, it has been very difficult to materialize this.

    In general, our view is also that the majority of the Turkish Cypriots (from the politician up to the man in the street) have lost their hope for unification. The opinion polls also show this.

    In this situation, where the status quo will continue in the coming period and the world, including Turkey, will be faced with other troubles, the best thing the Turkish Cypriots will do is to ensure that they can stand on their own feet and to take steps to strengthen these situations.


    [11] Columnist in Hurriyet argues that Incirlik will soon not be indispensable for the U.S. since the worlds biggest airfield is under construction in N. Iraq

    Under the title: The worlds widest airfield in Arbil, HURRIYET newspaper (04.06.07) publishes the following article by Fatih Cekirge:

    An airfield is being constructed in the Northern Iraq city of Arbil... But it is not just any old airfield.

    It [referring to its runway] is five kilometres long, and 90 meters wide. These figures, which might strike non-pilots as normal, are in the language of aviation a gigantic criterion from the standpoint of "military strategy." Why?

    Because in Turkey, and indeed in the world, there is no other airfield [runway] this wide.

    And as for its length, even the length at the airport in Ankara is approximately four kilometres.

    In other words, the runway in Arbil is even longer than the runway in a world capital like Istanbul.

    I asked Dogan News Agency General Director Ugur Cebeci, who is known as an aviation expert, about this runway.

    Subtitle: Money from the United States

    His answer was as follows:

    "Such a length and width at an airport cannot be just for commercial traffic. There is no runway this wide in the world. If looked at from the military and strategic standpoint, there would be no more need for Incirlik [airbase]."

    Well, then, why is such a huge airfield being built in Northern Iraq? The two firms constructing it are Turkish. The firms are doing the construction with permission from Turkey. Well, whom is the money for the construction coming from?

    Even if it should appear that it is coming from [Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Mas'ud] Barzani, who in recent days has threatened us, and whom for this reason we have rejected and are not speaking with, and whom we have even declared a "terrorist," the source of the funds is in fact the US Treasury. Now let us make an assessment... The construction of an airfield of this size in Northern Iraq cannot be merely for commercial purposes. It is obvious that this is a matter of very serious military use. In other words, the United States, which has been unable to provide sufficient air and logistical superiority with its warships, will be able easily to utilize this airfield. Well, then, what does this mean?

    There will be no more need for them to put up with "coquettishness" in Turkey, which they believe deceived them in terms of the 1 March [ 2003 military authorization] motion, for the sake of Incirlik. They are aware that, in a possible war with Iran, Turkey will not make Incirlik available. So in a sense, they [the Americans] are going to say "you can keep your Incirlik."

    Subtitle: Let Iran consider

    Or else there will be no such requests any more. In other words, that expression that we use so much of "Turkey as a strategic partner" will be weakened. At least the "strategic partnership" will not pass through Incirlik. And this will, either in the short term or over the medium term, mean the end of Incirlik. And the other consequence will be this:

    The airfield will be finished in eight months. A situation that Iran will then have to think about.

    [12] The Turkish press on a possible Turkish military incursion into N. Iraq

    The Turkish Press on 4 June 2007 covers extensively with reports and commentaries the much speculated cross-border operation into N. Iraq by Turkish troops, as follows:

    In MILLIYET Yasemin Congar focuses on how the US Administration received the latest statement by General Buyukanit, chief of the Turkish General Staff, during his address to the symposium on International Security, in connection with north Iraq. In a commentary, Congar says the US Administration circles reached three conclusions: One, that the Chief of Staff, by asking "are we going to fight only against the PKK after entering Iraq or also take some actions against Barzani?", was really taking a step back from his 12 April remarks where he had strongly stressed the need for a cross-border operation. The second conclusion is that Buyukanit uses the issue of north Iraq and the PKK for domestic political purposes, to highlight the fact that the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), government is doing nothing about that. The third conclusion reached by the US circles, according to Congar, is that "the Turkish army considers north Iraq a tribal region, and Barzani a tribal chief," nothing more. The columnist recalls that the way to solve the north Iraq issue is to negotiate with the Kurdish administration in that area. This is being recommended not only by the United States and by the Kurds, she notes, but also by the Iraqi prime minister himself. She concludes: "If Iraq's sovereignty and unity are important for us, then these messages coming from Baghdad should also be important."

    Also in MILLIYET, Taha Akyol, argues in a commentary that the General Staff is using harsh language "as a warning to the north Iraqi leaders, not as a tool for domestic politics." Nevertheless, Akyol maintains, Turkey's domestic politics are going through a tense period and certain circles tend to believe that the army is playing a role in domestic politics. In fact, the columnist says, some seem to wish for a military coup against terrorism or to protect secularism. Akyol warns against a military coup because it would "totally destroy finances, tourism, investments, exports, and the entire economy." An economic collapse would encourage terrorism, and a military intervention would completely isolate Turkey in the world, Akyol cautions. Advocating a "Western-style democracy" as the only way for Turkey to become a free and advanced society, he says depriving Turkey of that would be tantamount to treason, and that he does not expect any of Turkey's institutions to assume such responsibility.

    Writing in the same paper, Semih Idiz recalls the harassment of Turkish Armed Forces personnel -- who were in civilian garb -- by the peshmergas, and says it was a minor incident that was understandable, given the chaotic situation in the region. That is how the General Staff also viewed it, Idiz says in his article in MILLIYET. Nevertheless, he notes, what is important is that Turkey complained about the situation to the United States, and not to the Iraqi Kurds. "Turkey considers the United States to be its interlocutor regarding security issues in north Iraq, and not the Iraqi Kurds," Idiz points out, adding that this falls contrary to the stand of the United States and is the basis of a clear disagreement between the two countries. Meanwhile, he stresses, the situation in the area is dangerous and unpleasant incidents may yet occur.

    In an article in HURRIYET, Fatih Cekirge maintains that the United States has equipped the peshmergas in north Iraq like US soldiers, and that after this, the peshmergas tried to stop the Turkish soldiers in Al-Sulaymaniyah. What that meant, he says, is that the Iraqi Kurds were telling Turkey to get out. Turkey now finds itself in a very vulnerable situation in north Iraq, Cekirge argues.

    In an editorial in The New Anatolian, Ilnur Cevik, too, highlights the fact that Turkey refuses to recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government, and that certain circles are trying to escalate the tension following the "relatively small incident" involving Turkish soldiers at a peshmerga checkpoint. Cevik believes that both the Turkish Government and the Iraqi Kurds are aware of this campaign and are trying to avoid a conflict.

    A front-page report in YENI SAFAK, entitled "They get the message," asserts that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the leader of the regional Kurdish administration Mas'ud Barzani got across "warm messages" to Turkey calling on Ankara to "solve problems through dialogue" at a meeting they held in al-Sulaymaniyah yesterday. Talabani and Barzani said that the ongoing Turkish military deployments did not constitute a border violation, the report says.

    In an article entitled "War is too serious business to be left to the Military", VAKIT columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil criticizes the General Staff's statement in response to the recent confrontation between a number of Turkish military officers and "regional forces" in al-Sulaymaniyah by posing such questions as what the Turkish military officers in civilian clothes were doing 270 km inside Iraq, what authority they had to be there, what else "regional forces" were supposed to do but point guns at "suspect civilians," and whether the General Staff issued a similar statement when a group of Turkish soldiers had hoods placed on their heads by US troops in the same area back in 2003.

    In an article entitled "Talking to America in the language of Incirlik", ZAMAN´S Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan asserts that "even implying that the authorization for the US to use Incirlik Air Base may not be renewed, let alone passing a formal parliamentary decision to that effect, is enough to make top US decision-makers in Washington jump." Aslan questions why Ankara is not using the "language of Incirlik" in the same way to force the United States' hand in northern Iraq as it is using it to block Armenian genocide bills and poses the question whether the Turkish state does not consider the PKK threat as serious as it seems to or whether the security establishment is worried that making use of Incirlik in this way to obtain results in the fight against the PKK may boost the AKP's popularity at home.

    Under the title: "How far is Turkey prepared to go in conducting a cross-border operation?", Associate Professor Melih Can comments on recent developments suggesting that the Turkish military is prepared to risk clashes with US forces in carrying out a campaign into northern Iraq. Mr Can argues that there is a conflict between the US agenda in Iraq and Turkey's goals serious enough to cause a "deep rift" in bilateral relations and that with certain groups in the Turkish army starting to sympathize with Russia and Turkey beginning to "play its own game" in the region, Washington has started to perceive Turkey as a "threat" to US interests over a large area.

    Finally, in an article entitled "What does the security establishment really want?", TODAY´S ZAMAN columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that the Turkish Armed Forces' calls for a cross-border operation into Iraq mask a desire to "redesign Turkish politics in a way that will reassert their hegemony over the system."


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