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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-02-04
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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. 24/08 02-04.02.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Gerhard Schroeder visited the areas of Cyprus under the occupation of more than 40,000 Turkish troopsAnkara Anatolia news agency (01.02.08) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who arrived in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Friday, said Europe does not need a divided island. Visiting TRNC upon the invitation of TRNC Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, Schroder said what Europe needs is a united, not a divided Cyprus.
Reminded that Tassos Papadopoulos was unpleasant over his visit to TRNC, Schroder said: I do not understand his displeasure. I am here upon an invitation. Upon another question, Schroder said he flied to TRNC via Istanbul, but added that he believes direct flights can be held from Germany to TRNC's Ercan [occupied Tymvou] Airport. I hope my visit will contribute to a new process and a new move on Cyprus led by the United Nations, Schroder said.
Ankara Anatolia (01.02.08) reported the following also from occupied Lefkosia: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who arrived in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus TRNC) on Friday, met TRNC Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. The meeting was closed to press.
Schroder is accompanied by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's adviser Cuneyt Zapsu and several German businessmen.
Schroder will also have a meeting with TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat on Friday. Schroder is scheduled to hold a joint news conference with Soyer on Saturday and leave the island the same day.
On Schroeder“s visit illegal BRT (01.02.08) broadcast the following: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is having contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as guest of Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Soon after his arrival in the TRNC, Mr Schroeder was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. Mr Schroeder expressed the hope that his visit would positively contribute to the new initiative expected to be launched by the United Nations on the Cyprus issue.
For his part, President Talat called the former chancellors visit as an important step towards the removal of isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people.
The private plane carrying Mr Schroeder landed at Ercan Airport at around two oclock this afternoon. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Soyer at the Airport.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Mr Soyer, the former Chancellor said he had accepted an invitation extended to him by Prime Minister Soyer to learn more on the Cyprus issue. Expressing his readiness to help make it possible for the two peoples on the island to live together, he said `this is why I supported the Annan Plan from the very beginning`. Stressing that Europe needs unity, he said `Europe does not need a divided island. Asked to comment on the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos words that he was sad about his visit to the TRNC, he said I cant understand his reaction. I am here as an invited guest.
Responding to a question on direct flights to Ercan Airport, he explained that he visited Istanbul before flying to the Republic to take a friend but said that there is no drawback in carrying out direct flights to Ercan. On the Cyprus issue, Mr Schroeder expressed the hope that his visit would positively contribute to a new initiative expected to be launched by the United Nations on the Cyprus issue.
For his part, Prime Minister Soyer said he would be very pleased to host Mr Schroeder in the TRNC. The Premier also shared the view voiced by Mr Schroeder that the visit will contribute to the efforts aimed at bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem under the aegis of the United Nations.
Later, Mr Soyer and Mr Schroeder held bilateral discussions at the Prime Ministry before being received by President Mehmet Ali Talat. Speaking after his meeting with the former Chancellor, President Talat called the visit as an important step towards the removal of isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people. He said that the visit shows the international communitys continued interest on Cyprus.
He also came together with representatives of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce. Tomorrow, Mr Schroeder and Prime Minister Soyer will hold a joint press conference in Girne [occupied Keryneia]. Cuneyt Zapsu, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans adviser is accompanying Mr Schroeder during the visit.
On Mr Schroeder“s meeting with Talat Ankara Anatolia (01.02.08) reported the following: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat said Friday the visit of former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to the TRNC can be viewed as a continuation of efforts to find a solution in Cyprus and end isolation of the TRNC.
President Talat received the former German chancellor Schroeder at his office in Lefkosa on Friday. During his tenure as Germany's chancellor, Schroeder made efforts to end isolation of the TRNC. We are pleased to welcome Schroeder to the TRNC, Talat noted.
Meanwhile, Schroeder on his part said the goal is to make possible a united Cyprus and united Europe. There must be direct economic relations between the EU members and Turkish Cypriots, Schroeder underlined.
Asked if the EU should display the same tolerance shown to the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the TRNC and Greek Cypriots and recognize two separate states in Cyprus, Schroeder indicated that there are many examples in Europe and opportunities.
The road to be followed in Cyprus is towards union, Schroeder also said.
Finally, illegal Bayrak television (02.02.08) broadcast the following:
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who arrived in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus yesterday for contacts left the republic today. Before his departure, Mr Schroeder held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Speaking during the press conference, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer stated that the Turkish Cypriot side is aiming to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the UN parameters and also convenient for the essence of the European Union.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriot people is attaching great importance to the EU membership, he reminded that the Turkish Cypriot side is always supporting the UN peace plan. In his speech, he also said that Mr. Schroders visit means a new effort for the solution of the problem. Noting that the non solution of the Cyprus problem is harming the Eastern Mediterranean common economic field, the Premier said Mr. Schroders visit once again proved that North Cyprus is not a country like North Korea.
For his part, the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed his pleasure for visiting the TRNC. Noting that the image of North Cyprus has changed following the referendum in 2004, Mr Schroder said he is pleased to see that the EU has honoured part of its promises it gave to the North Cyprus.
Praising EU for providing financial aid to North Cyprus, Mr Schroder pointed to the need for starting direct trade as the financial aid is not enough alone. He called for the lifting of the unjust isolations on the Turkish Cypriot people adding that the division of the island is a big problem for the EU. Furthermore, Mr Schroder reiterated his support for the Annan plan.
Soon after his arrival in the TRNC yesterday, Mr Schroeder was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Speaking after his meeting with the former Chancellor, President Talat called the visit as an important step towards the removal of isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people. He said that the visit shows the international communitys continued interest on Cyprus.
As part of his contacts, Mr Schroder also met with representatives of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce. Completing his two-day visit to the TRNC, Mr Schroeder and his accompanying delegation left the republic in the afternoon.
 Turkish Cypriot columnist argues that Gerhard Schroeder has undoubtedly been granted a plot of land in the occupied areasWriting in Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (03.02.08), Erol Atabek commends on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeders visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport. Mr Atabek notes, inter alia, the following:
...Why have you come? It is not political; it has nothing to do with politics. It is commercial! E, what they agreed to give you! Could it be the Dome Hotel? A Turkish person who lives in Germany and is a former representative of a neighbourhood --a person who now is an honorary member of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP)-- has been very interested in the Dome Hotel. That is, he is living in Germany, you are also German. Therefore, I related this with Dome Hotel. Perhaps they have divided into plots for you some places in Bafra [occupied Vokolida] as well. Or in the Altin Kum [Golden Sand] beach. However, they have undoubtedly divided into plots some places for you former Herr Schroeder! Otherwise, would you come here having the advisor of Mr Tayyip by your side? What job do you have here! A, let me ask before I forget. What is the number of your TRNC identity card? Or have not acquired one yet?
 Avci briefed journalists on his contacts in LondonAnkara Anatolia news agency (01.02.08) reported the following from London:
Turgay Avci, Foreign Minister of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Friday Turkish Cypriot side was ready to start negotiations under UN parameters but noted that TRNC would not forever wait for the pleasure of Greek Cypriots.
Turgay Avci, who is in British capital of London upon the invitation of the House of Lords, briefed reporters on his visit and his talks in London.
Avci said he had voiced the difficulties Turkish Cypriots faced under isolation and that he had once more reiterated the importance of British Parliament's support. Avci recalled that the process, which was started with the initiative of the Greek Cypriots did not bear any results because it was blocked by the Greek Cypriots. The goal of Greek Cypriots in resorting to such tactics is gaining time and getting unilateral concessions, said Avci.
Avci said the ferry trips between Gazimagusa port of TRNC and Latakia port of Syria continued despite oppression from Greek Cypriots and said: These new developments discomfort Greek Cypriots. If they could, they would try to hamper our breathing: they are attempting to exert pressure to all countries that we are trying to establish bilateral relations with.
Avci said he hoped a new negotiation process would be started after the elections in the Greek Cypriot side. He stressed that if the Greek Cypriots continued their negative stance, Turkish Cypriots were ready to consider different initiatives with Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.02.08) also reports that Mr Avci while in London had a meeting with lawyers and judges headed by the Turkish Cypriot lawyer Emma Ethem regarding legal work going on in order to remove the so-called embargo imposed on the occupied Tymvou airport on direct flights.
In addition, Kibris (02.02.08) reports that Mr Avci speaking to foreign and local journalists in London stated that they will continue the efforts for the recognition of the TRNC and for the opening of new representations. As he stated they cooperate closely with Israel and Austria and soon they will announce the result of this cooperation to the public.
 Talat gave an interview to KIBRIS newspaper and noted: Unification is not Gods wordTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.02.08) publishes an exclusive interview given by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to the paper correspondent Aral Moral. The paper reports in its first page under the banner headlines: Unification is not Gods word and says that Mr. Talat had claimed that if the Greek Cypriot side insists on the non-solution and no result is achieved then the world inevitably will come and say: They could no more come together and unite and will look for different solutions. Unification is not Gods word, Mr. Talat declared.
Mr. Talat went on and said that the Turkish Cypriots had expressed their political will and as regards their right to the self-determination issue they had crossed an important milestone. Mr. Talat said that a possible non-solution again will emanate from the Greek Cypriot side.
Referring to the forthcoming elections in the free area, the Turkish Cypriot leader said that after the elections the picture, as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem, will become clearer. He went on and said that after the elections if the Greek Cypriot side moves forward then there will be movement in the Cyprus problem as well. The expectation after the elections is that the UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Pascoe will visit Cyprus and the region. This is naturally a positive step and the results also are very important because, after this visit the UN Secretary-General will decide what will be his next step.
When asked to comment on the leadership profile of a possible Greek Cypriot leader who could lead the Greek Cypriot side to a solution after the elections, Mr. Talat said: A Greek Cypriot leader who is ready to accept power sharing with the Turkish Cypriots as the infrastructure of an inevitable solution, could contribute to a solution.
When asked whether the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey have a new strategy following the 23 April referendum, Mr. Talat said that they have no new conditions or policies. First of all we want the solution of the Cyprus problem. We accept that this solution will be on the UN basis where the two peoples will definitely be politically equal. The founding states in the newly created state will have equal status. This new state will be a new state that is not the continuation of the old state. That is, not the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus. The new state will have the form of the new partnership state. The way the Annan plan envisages in principle. That is, I want to say a federal structure, Mr. Talat declared.
When asked whether he has the foresight for the scenarios based on the division, in case there is no result in new negotiations to be resumed after the elections in the free areas, Mr. Talat said: If you are asking as foresight, of course there is. Just think a new process has started and this process also ends up with failure. And again it is the Greek Cypriot side responsible for this failure. That is, again the Greek side did not accept. Then we cannot stay on the you cannot change position.
When asked to comment on Mr. Schroders visit Mr. Talat branded it very important.
 Asil Nadir bid 1.5 million Euros for the illegal Lefkoniko airportTurkish Cypriot Yeni Volkan newspaper (03.02.08) reports that Asil Nadir, who evaporated 12 million dollars from the Industrial Bank, tries to get the illegal Lefkoniko Airport. Asil Nadir, who did not pay his debt to the state, offered 1.5 million Euros through the CAS (Cyprus Aviation Services) Company, which he owns, and it is said that he will invest 58 million Euros.
Asil Nadir is in the wanted persons list of Britain after escaping from there with 65 law cases against him. Asil Nadir cannot go to any other country except the TRNC. There are also a number of cases against him in the occupied areas because he cannot repay his debts to various organisations, the paper reports.
The paper wonders whether if this person could not repay his debts, where did he got 58 million dollars to invest for the illegal Lefkoniko Airport, and whether there is any relation between this money with the 12 million evaporated dollars of the Industrial Bank.
Finally, the paper asks Mr Avci, who declares from Britain that the TRNC is not a state that can shelter the fugitives, the following: Regarding the fact that the TRNC cannot be a shelter for the fugitives, why are you protecting Asil Nadir who escaped when he was about to be tried in Britain?
 Pirates stole a boat in occupied KeryneiaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.02.08) reports that two people from Lebanon went to the occupied Keryneia marina and negotiated with the owner of a boat to buy the boat named Dime. The owner of the boat Adil Cakir and the captain of the boat Turan Yesilada agreed with the prospective buyers to test the boat and they sailed out of the marina. When the boat was 2.5 miles off the Keryneia coast the two pirates drew their knives and under threat threw them into the sea without allowing them to wear lifesaving jackets. Mr Yesilada was found in the sea by fishermen after swimming six hours.
He informed the so-called police about the incident and said that he carried Mr. Cakir who could not swim, for one hour and then left him. He most probably was drowned. The paper reports that an immediate search was embarked to find the pirates.
 UK heists fugitives in TRNCUnder the above title, Turkish weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (02-08.02.08) reports the following:
Three fugitives from Britains biggest ever robber the £53 million Securitas raid in 2006 are believed to be hiding out in North Cyprus. British police also believe a substantial chunk of the missing £32 million may also have ended up in the TRNC.
They believe martial arts instructor Sean Lupton 47 and Turkish Cypriot brothers Hussein and Mustafa Basar have fled to North Cyprus, which has no official extradition treaty with the UK.
The claim comes just days after Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer denied that suspected Securitas gang member Sean Lupton, or any of the stolen money, was in North Cyprus.
A spokesman for Kent police, Colin Topley, told Cyprus Today yesterday: We believe Sean Lupton is in North Cyprus. We are continuing our inquiries there and in other parts of the world where cash and other assets may have been transferred.
A possible connection between North Cyprus and the robbery first came to light during the Old Bailey trial of five men who were last week sentenced to long prison terms for their part in the heist at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2006.
 Water salinity Citrus growers in the occupied area face very serious problemsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.02.08) reports that the citrus growers in the occupied area face very serious problems. The paper reports that the total citrus growing area in the past was between 50-60 thousand donums and today this area is reduced to about 36 thousand donums. It says that because of the salinity another 10 thousand donums of land is out of production.
 Turkey's Security Council candidacyTurkish Daily News (02.02.08) reports the following:
Turkey has a good chance of securing representation at the United Nations Security Council, said Baki 0lkin, permanent Turkish representative to the UN, during a meeting in New York Friday. For the 2009-2010 term Turkey is competing with Austria and Iceland for the two seats in the Security Council, which is the heart of the United Nations, he said.
On the same issue Turkish Daily Milliyet newspaper (04.02.08) reports that among the issues to be discussed between President Gul and the Emir of Qadar, Shaikh Hammad Bin Khalifa al Thani during his visit to Qatar tomorrow, will be Turkeys membership of the U.N Security Council
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish press of 1-3 February 2008Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 1, 2 and 3 February on issues of the current Ankara political agenda:
a) Headscarf issue: According to a report by Namik Durukan of Milliyet (01.02.08), Democratic Society Party [DTP] Deputy Aysel Tugluk asserted that her party is planning to say "yes" to the constitutional amendment to be made by the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] and the Nationalist Action Party [MHP] to lift the headscarf ban in universities. Tugluk is quoted as noting that the DTP regards the headscarf issue "within the framework of freedoms."
In his article in Milliyet (01.02.08), Melih Asik strongly criticizes the AKP-MHP coalition for planning to lift the headscarf ban in universities. He says: "The AKP and the MHP are making a deadly move on the headscarf issue. Their move to lift the headscarf ban will please a few number of ladies, but it will lead to endless debates and confrontations that might drag the country into chaos." He urges the government to avoid lifting the ban before the Constitutional Court makes its final decision on the matter.
A column by Oktay Eksi of Hurriyet (01.02.08) criticizes MHP leader Bahceli's stand on the headscarf issue and asks what if male university students begin to complain about the female students who attend the classes without covering their heads. Eksi sarcastically says that male students might easily say that they are distracted by the girls who do not wear an Islamic headdress. He goes on to ask whether such a demand will also be accepted in the name of freedom.
Cumhuriyet (01.02.08) reports that the nongovernmental organizations which are against the lifting of the headscarf ban will stage demonstrations in 18 different locations in Turkey on 2 February. The most comprehensive demonstration will be held at Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara, the report says.
In a an article in Yeni Safak (01.02.08) entitled "Baykal fails to get what he expected", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan analyzes Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal's remarks yesterday expressing his "dissatisfaction" with Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit's statements regarding the Erdogan government's bid to lift the headscarf ban at universities. Dogan cites Baykal's "reproachful" tone as an indication that the CHP, a party that is used to "doing politics under the shadow of the military," feels it has been left alone in its opposition to Islamic headdresses.
A report entitled "Agreement to keep promise" in Hurriyet (02.02.08) says that officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, and the Nationalist Action Party, MHP, have signed a written undertaking during negotiations over the bill on Islamic headdress. The report quotes MHP's Faruk Bal as saying that the document contains the text of the bill agreed upon between the two parties.
In an article entitled "The way out of crisis," in Milliyet (02.02.08) by columnist Melih Asik calls on the government to shelve its plan to enact a regulation aimed at lifting the current ban on wearing Islamic headdress in universities until the related constitutional amendment is examined by the Constitutional Court. He cautions: "If you lift the ban and students wearing Islamic headdress create a de facto situation in universities, you would not be able to reintroduce the ban even if the Constitutional Court annuls the law. You would both throw the country into fire and face the risk of maintaining an unlawful practice."
In an article entitled "Changing situation in Ankara," in Radikal (02.02.08) by columnist Haluk Sahin notes that the MHP's proposal to permit female university students to wear Islamic headdress has actually foiled the AKP's plan to resolve the problem through a constitutional amendment and to take advantage of the issue in the local elections scheduled for 2009.
Milliyet (03.02.08) carries a report, stating that "the number of academics who support the constitutional amendment proposal allowing women to wear the Islamic headdress in the universities has reached 1,300." According to the report, these academics declared that universities should be places advocating freedoms, including freedom of attire and freedom of expression.
Referring to the large-scale rally held at the Ataturk Mausoleum, in Milliyet (03.02.08) columnist Fikret Bila states that this act of protest and the remarks recorded in the mausoleum book showed that there are serious concerns regarding the status of secularism in the country. On the other hand, Bila remarks, in a counter rally in Ankara, the MAZLUMDER, Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed, spokesman expressed support for extending the freedom to wear to the Islamic headdress to the entire public sphere. It is clear that the headdress is a political symbol and the initiative to lift the relevant ban is a political move, Bila maintains. He adds that this initiative has risks and is liable to create an atmosphere of confrontation along the "Islamic headdress-secularism" axis. The government should act knowing that the responsibility to prevent such a clash falls on it, Bila concludes.
Under the banner headline "You cannot use an axe for repairing a watch," Yeni Safak (03.02.08) carries a front-page report which quotes Religious Affairs Director Ali Bardakoglu as saying that covering head is a religious obligation for Muslim women. Bardakoglu also criticizes some scholars for saying in television interviews that there is no verse in Koran ordering women to wear headscarf and cautions against turning secularism into an anti-Islamic ideology.
Under the banner headline "Angry backlash against academic preachers," Vakit (03.02.08) carries a front-page report which says that a statement issued by the Inter-university Council which said that academics would boycott classes if female students wearing Islamic headdress are allowed to enter universities has provoked a storm of protests from some academics, non-governmental organizations, and politicians.
Finally, in an article entitled "Tempest in a Headscarf," in Sunday Zaman (03.02.08) by columnist Yavuz Baydar analyzes the arguments voiced by the opponents and proponents of the ban on Islamic headdress in universities and the possible risks that could be faced if it is lifted. He says: "Simple demands for a basic freedom are leading the country into yet another year of deep turbulence."
b) Kurdish issue: Ozgur Gundem (01.02.08), reports that "in its 2008 edition, Encyclopedia Britannica explains Kurdistan, the Kurds, and the PKK at length." According to this Dicle News Agency report, the Encyclopaedia describes Abdullah Ocalan as "a Turkish politician and leader of the Kurdish people," and the PKK as the "Kurdish national party."
An article in Referans (01.02.08) by columnist Cengiz Candar quotes Kurdish sources as saying that Iraqi President Talabani is expected to pay his first official visit to Turkey on 20 February. Candar says that Chief of the General Staff Gen Buyukanit's recent response to a question related to Talabani's possible visit is seen as a sign that shows that the General Staff lifted its veto on his arrival. According to the columnist, Talabani's visit may open a new page between Ankara and Arbil and facilitate the establishment of a dialogue with Barzani.
An editorial by Ilnur Cevik in The New Anatolian (01.02.08) says that recent claims that Turkey is putting pressure on the Iraqi Kurds by imposing an electricity embargo are not true. Noting that Turkish authorities categorically reject the idea of cutting power supplies to the people of the Kurdish region in Iraq, Cevik says: "They do admit that Turkey has been forced to stop sales of electricity to Iraq as a whole because of serious energy shortages created by the Iranian move to stop natural gas exports to Turkey."
In a column for Gundem Online (03.02.08), Mustafa Karasu argues that the liberalization of the headscarf is a favour made by the army to the AKP for the latter's willingness to suppress the Kurds, and as such it will be a mistake to expect a serious objection to the headscarf from the military. "No objections are being raised to the various measures put in place by the AKP because it has been invested with the important task of crushing the Kurdish freedom movement," the columnist declares, pointing out that chauvinism is so strong in Turkey that it can even consent to a shari'a regime if it means denying Kurds their rights. The columnist also argues that foreign powers, too, want to replace the Kurdish freedom movement with a group of Kurdish collaborators who would serve these countries' interests in the region. He also says the attacks on Christians in Turkey are organized by those Turkish circles who want to cleanse Turkey of its remaining Christians to prevent the revival of Christianity in Anatolia once Turkey joins the EU.
Ali Saim in his column also in Gundem Online (03.02.08) writes that Gen Buyukanit's evasive remark on the headscarf was the price he was paying for the suppression of the Kurdish problem with AKP's Islamist policies under the guidance of the United States. Saim also expresses the belief that the liberal intellectuals who supported the AKP against the Democratic Society Party will themselves be eventually harmed by the "Turkish-Islamic synthesis" developing between the AKP and MHP, pointing out that the AKP will discard the liberal intellectuals once it legislates the headscarf law and the army will tolerate the AKP reforms until the AKP manages to conquer Diyarbakir for the army.
Assessing recent Turkish arguments that the United States wants to turn Kurds into a second Israel in the Middle East, Selahattin Erdem argues in his column in Gundem Online (03.02.08) that Kurds do not have the financial and military strength to play such a role, rather after Erdogan's and President Gul's meeting with President Bush Turkey has started to play the role of the United States second Israel in the region, warning that this role will eventually drag Turkey into Iraq, and like Israel, pit it against the Arabs and Iran. Erdem expresses the view that the Turkish democrats are mistakenly supporting the US-dependent AKP, which is fast pushing Turkey into a serious military-political conflict in the region.
c) Aftermath of Karamanlis visit: In a commentary entitled "What Ecumenism is and what it is not", in Zaman (01.02.08) by Professor Ekrem Bugra Ekinci argues that the Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul would not turn into another Vatican even if it were given land to establish a separate state because in the Orthodox faith, unlike in Catholicism, ecumenism means the spiritual rather than the worldly leadership of the Patriarch over the global Orthodox community.
In a commentary entitled "This foreign policy taboo should be scrapped, too" in Zaman (01.02.08) by Assistant Professor Gokhan Bacik of Fatih University, asserts that ecumenism is a theological issue that primarily concerns Orthodox Christians, adding that the desire to "rebuild one of the most fundamental principles of a long-standing and universal faith according to 'Turkey's realities' is simply unrealistic and crude Turkey-centrism."
In an article entitled "From Karamanlis to Ergenekon" in Today's Zaman (01.02.08) by columnist Etyen Mahcupyan, argues that it is because "the Ergenekon formation clearly reveals our underdeveloped condition ... as an example of the statist policies generated by the worn-out Turkish identity" that "it crossed no one's mind to object to [Greek Prime Minister] Karamanlis' statements" expressing Greece's desire to see "a democratic Turkey as a neighbour."
In an article entitled "Tough Deal" in Milli Gazete (01.02.08) by columnist Huseyin Altinalan, takes issue with news reports asserting that Ankara and Athens made mutual gestures of goodwill during Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis' recent visit to Turkey. Altinalan claims that aside from a "preposterous" statement announcing that the Greek government could allow the Turkish minority in Western Thrace to elect its own mufti on condition that muftis stop implementing the rules of Islamic sharia, Karamanlis made no moves aimed at meeting Turkey's expections in return for Prime Minister Erdogan's statements announcing that ecumenism is an internal issue of the Orthodox world, that the AKP will be making its own decision on the issue of the reopening of the Heybeliada Seminary, and that the Annan Plan on Cyprus is no longer feasible.