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					                             TURKISH PRESS
                            AND OTHER MEDIA
No.247/07                                                      21.12.07
A. NEWS ITEMS
1. Soyer says that 12 chapters for harmonization with the EU are now on
the agenda of their “government”; Avci alleges that the solution in
Cyprus will be found between two states and two peoples
2. The “TRNC” was represented in a medical conference which took
place last week in the city of Exeter in Britain
3. Turkish Cypriot businessman says that the occupied areas of Cyprus
should be declared as a free trade zone
4. Tickets have not been issued for two weeks now for the sea journey
between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia
5. Personal archives of Ecevit are opened to journalists
6. Demirtas names his trial as the dark stain in the history of Turkish
justice
7. Kurdish Parties and NGO's protest the Cross-Border operation
8. Iraqi Kurds pledge to defend civilians
9. Turkish Air Force commander on claims that civilian targets were hit
in Northern Iraq


B. COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
1. Turkish Cypriot columnist argues that Mr Talat is worried about the
foreign policy applied by the “government”
2. Columnist in Yeni Safak argues that between Turkey and Barzani the
U.S. opted for Turkey
3. From the Turkish Press of 20 December 2007
                                       2


A. NEWS ITEMS
1. Soyer says that 12 chapters for harmonization with the EU are now on
the agenda of their “government”; Avci alleges that the solution in
Cyprus will be found between two states and two peoples
Under the title “They will not be able to prevent us from taking our place in the
EU”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.12.07) reports that the self-
styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the so-called minister of foreign
affairs Turgay Avci, who have completed their contacts in Brussels and Rome
respectively and returned to the island yesterday, “sent a message to the
Greek Cypriot administration and to the countries which succumb to their
threats”. According to the paper, the message is that they will not be able to
prevent the Turkish Cypriots from taking their place in the EU.


In statements made together with Mr Avci at the illegal Tymbou airport, Mr
Soyer stated that “neither the Greek Cypriot dominant leadership nor some
EU officials who succumb to the threats will be able to prevent the process of
the Turkish Cypriot people taking its place in the EU”.


Mr Soyer argued that their “government” will never abandon its EU vision and
it will continue in an unstoppable and effective manner its efforts “to be
represented in the EU as an equal people”. Mr Soyer alleged that the Greek
Cypriot leadership exerted every effort in order to sabotage the meeting he
would hold with Mr Olli Rehn for the sake of voting in favour of the EU
decisions on the issue of Kosovo.


Mr Soyer noted that during their visit in Brussels the EU officials underlined
the work on the three existing regulations and the harmonization program they
submitted to the Turkish Cypriots last week so that harmonization is achieved
in the laws and the administrative structure with the EU norms and
regulations. He said that in this framework the EU officials conveyed to them
their wish to start the harmonization work regarding 12 chapters.
                                        3


Mr Soyer said that they informed the EU officials that “as government” they
will participate with great will in the works for these 12 chapters and that “this
issue is now on the agenda of the government”. He noted that the journalists
will be able to acquire more detailed information on this issue by the “EU
Coordination Centre” within the next few days.


Mr Soyer argued that the only negative development during their meetings in
Brussels was the fact that the EU did not reply to the “Greek Cypriot threats
on the issue of Kosovo”, but the officials from the office of Mr Rehn told the
Turkish Cypriot delegation that they were sorry for this development and that
they will try to plan a meeting again within the next few days.


On his part, Mr Avci said that no obstacle will be able to make them abandon
their EU target. He added that they attach great importance to their openings
to the Islamic Conference Organization, the Arab countries and the EU
member countries and noted that they will continue their efforts on this issue.
He alleged that whatever the “fanatic views of the Greek Cypriots may be”, the
Turkish Cypriots will continue their unification with the world in every field and
develop their bilateral relations.


Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (21.12.07) refers to
Mr Avci’s statements under the title “We have been opened abroad after many
years” and reports that Mr Avci strongly criticized the former Turkish Cypriot
“administrations”. He alleged that the initiatives and efforts they are exerting
now is “the best policy of being opened to the world during the past 30 years”.


He noted: “Since the first day we came to power I have been saying the
following: Our understanding is not ‘let us sit in Nicosia, sink into our political
chairs and talk with the outside world when it comes to us’. We have set off for
the Turkish Cypriot people”.


Referring to the opening of the “TRNC representation office” in Rome, he said:
                                         4


“The opening of a representation office in Rome will secure a great
contribution to us. Italy is a very important country of the EU. Because Italy is
a country with which many mutual approaches, cooperation and organizations
could be made on the issues of tourism, trade, culture, education and art. I
have seen these in all the visits I held. We have seen this in all the units with
which we met and exchanged views. The Rome representation office is
important from this point of view. …The Italian citizens, the Italian non-
governmental organizations, the MPs are very sensitive on the issue of the
injustice which the Turkish Cypriots suffer and the isolation applied against
us”.


Referring to the postponement of the meeting between the self-styled prime
minister Soyer and the Commissioner responsible for the Enlargement of the
EU, Olli Rehn, Mr Avci argued that this confirmed the double standards used
by the EU.


He argued: “This move is considered as a continuation of the initiatives for not
creating equal opportunities for the Turkish Cypriots and this is the biggest
mistake of the EU. The solution will be found between two states, two
peoples. No solution can be reached by excluding, ignoring the Turkish
Cypriots with the pressure of the Greek Cypriot side. I am saying it again and
again: no one can abolish the reality of two equal peoples in Cyprus”.


Mr Avci referred also to the developments in the internal politics in the
occupied areas. He argued that nobody pays attention to what Serdar
Denktas says anymore, because the leader of the Democratic Party has said
that he would carry out a poll and he would resign if the result was in this
direction. They said that they would resign on 20 December, but they did not
do it, in spite of the fact that the result of the poll was in the direction of their
resignation, argued Mr Avci.
                                            5


Referring to Mr Rasit Pertev and Mr Ahmet Yonluer, Mr Avci wished them luck
in their future political life. He noted that his Freedom and Reform Party (ORP)
will not be unified with any other party.


He said: “Serdar Denktas opened the debates regarding Ankara and said ‘I
went to Ankara and saw that the ORP openly receives the support of Ankara’.
That is, receiving Ankara’s support gives us strength and pride. The Turkish
Cypriot people came to these days with the support of Ankara for 40 years…”.
(I/Ts.)


2. The “TRNC” was represented in a medical conference which took
place last week in the city of Exeter in Britain
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.12.07) reports that the “TRNC” was
represented in a medical conference which took place last week in the city of
Exeter in Britain by the Peninsula Medical School. The breakaway regime was
represented by Dr. Umut Altunc, doctor at the occupied Famagusta Medical
Centre and columnist in Kibris. Dr. Altunc said that the breakaway regime
participated in the conference under the name of “TRNC”.
(I/Ts.)


3. Turkish Cypriot businessman says that the occupied areas of Cyprus
should be declared as a free trade zone
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.12.07) reports also that Ali
Polatkan, businessman and owner of Polatkan Tourizm, has stated that in
researches they have carried out it was established that a spark is needed for
the economy of the breakaway regime to be put in order and this is the
declaring of the occupied areas as a free trade zone.


In statements yesterday, he said that there are four million tourists today only
in Antalya and noted that the tourists after they visit the occupied areas of
Cyprus they go to Dubai for shopping. He argued that in case the
opportunities given to those tourists in Dubai are provided also in the occupied
                                           6


areas, they could come to the occupied part of Cyprus even if they had to
swim.
(I/Ts.)


4. Tickets have not been issued for two weeks now for the sea journey
between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (21.12.07) reports that tickets have not
been issued for two weeks now for the sea journey between the occupied port
of Famagusta and the Syrian port of Latakia. The paper wonders whether the
trips have stopped and calls on the “government” to issue a statement on this
matter.
(I/Ts.)


5. Personal archives of Ecevit are opened to journalists
Under the banner headline “That night with handwriting”, Turkish daily Hurriyet
newspaper (21.12.07) reveals the notes that the Prime Minister during 1974
Mr Ecevit took during the so-called “Cyprus Peace Operation” on the 19th of
July until the 20th. The paper under the subtitle “Three hours before the
operation” writes: “The time is 02:00 am. Three hours before the deployment
of the troops to the island, that is before the beginning of the operation. Ecevit
is meeting the mediator between Turkey and Greece and who is reluctant to
the peace operation to Cyprus, the US Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Joseph Sisco and the US Ambassador William Macomber.”


The paper continuous: “Sisco transferred to Ecevit the message of the US
Secretary of State Kissinger, ‘We are open to all the alternatives in order to
solve the problem’. But [Sisco] by seeing Ecevit determined he said: ‘If you
continue your way you know the difficulties that you will encounter. The 80%
of the island are Greek Cypriots. The USA is not a bad ally. Nor in the past
was it a bad ally; and in the future it will not be’.”
                                         7


In its inside pages the paper adds, inter alia, the following under the title “You
made me go on a milk truck: “Sisco starts the conversation and says: ‘You
may have heard some words before. We understand your worries. We know
the history of Cyprus. On certain occasions we agreed with Turkey’. He
continues by explaining the atmosphere existing in Greece: ‘They are aware
about the seriousness of the situation. They are ready to negotiate, bargain
and start a dialogue. In parallel they are preparing to fight as this is a situation
that interests the army as well. America is opposing to direct or indirect
‘ENOSIS’.”


The paper writes also an incident which happened the night of the “operation”:
“The UK Prime Minister of that time Harold Wilson called Ecevit and said: ‘You
made me run from my house to Downing Street (the Prime Ministry). I could
not even find a vehicle; I came to the Prime Ministry on a dairy truck.”


The paper also reports that a 7-man group from Abant Izzet Baykal University
from the Department of Political Science will edit Ecevit’s book and prepare it
for publication.


Prof. Dr. Alemdar Yalcin is the contact between the group and Rahsan Ecevit.
The proceeds of the book, reports the paper, taking into consideration
Rahshan Ecevit’s sensitivities, will be shared between the Mehmetcik [Turkish
army] Foundation and the Gulhane Military Medical Academy for buying
especially up-to-date and modern operating room equipment.
(EA / MHY)


6. Demirtas names his trial as the dark stain in the history of Turkish
justice
The New Anatolian newspaper (20.12.07) reports the following:
“Arrested leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) Nurettin
Demirtas said the trial against him will be remembered as a dark stain in the
history of Turkish justice.
                                         8


Demirtas who was detained upon his return to Turkey Monday night at the
Esenboga Airport in Ankara, was arrested on Tuesday and will be tried by a
military court on charges of forging documents to avoid military service.


During his first testimony at the military court, he denied all the charges
against him adding that he did need to defend himself as he did nothing
wrong. "I am a political party leader. I stayed 12-13 years in prison between
1993 and 2006. Due to lack of knowledge on military and civilian procedures, I
accepted some people's offer to help. I followed the procedures according to
their directions. Some of these people might have bad intentions," he said.


He noted that he is not a suspect but a victim in this incident. If convicted, he
faces up to ten years in prison.


Demirtas who was returning from a trip to Europe underwent medical check-
up early on Tuesday and then sent to the military court for his arrest. The
prosecutor reportedly said that Demirtas avoided conscription by forging a
health report saying he had serious respiratory problems.


But Demirtas has repeatedly denied allegations and links to the PKK terror
organization adding that his medical report is genuine.


Former leader of the party, Ahmet Turk who is the parliamentary chief of the
DTP, said injustice in Turkey reached a peak with the arrest of Demirtas.
Although his party has 20 seats in Parliament, Demirtas is not a legislator and
has no immunity accordingly. Turkish men are required to serve in the army
for up to 15 months after the age of 20 unless they have health problems that
prevent them from fulfilling military duty.


Demirtas also faces criminal charges for his speech on World Peace Day on
Sept.1, where he accused the military of employing chemical weapons in an
                                       9


operation to oust PKK terrorists from Uludere, Sirnak, in southeastern
Turkey.”


7. Kurdish Parties and NGO's protest the Cross-Border operation
Turkish Daily News newspaper (20.12.07) reports the following:
“A group of nongovernmental organizations and political parties criticized the
military Wednesday for crossing the border to strike at terrorist targets and
said operations do not solve the problem but only deepens it.


The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), Party of Labor (EMEP),
Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP), Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) and
some NGOs objected to the military's operation in northern Iraq at a joint
press conference.


Reading out a statement on behalf of the group, SDP leader Filiz Kocali
argued that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) garnered Kurdish
votes in the July general elections after pledging to speed up democratic
reforms and sending the message that it would not allow a cross-border
offensive. She said the government failed to keep its pre-election promises.


"The AKP has been pursing insincere policies regarding a solution to the
Kurdish problem since the very beginning," she added. "Those who see cross-
border operations as a solution to the Kurdish problem are challenging the
chance of peoples' living together."


The DTP's Diyarbakir deputy Akin Birdal, speaking to journalists after the
conference, underlined that the Kurdish problem must be resolved through
democratic and peaceful means. "The solution of the problem lies in Turkey
and the Turkish Parliament," he added.


Birdal urged everyone to make use of the positive opportunity attained in the
aftermath of the July 22 elections. Asked if a general amnesty for members of
                                       10


the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) would bring benefits, Birdal
claimed that the first step of societal peace was "general political amnesty."
The government calls on terrorists to lay down arms and surrender under
Article 221 of the Penal Code. In the face of opposition criticism, the AKP said
it was not considering declaring a general amnesty but instead treating the
PKK members by enhancing the existing repentance law.


"This article (221) is a penitence law. This is not a law of returning to societal
life, nor a peaceful law. Therefore, I don't believe that this law will provide an
answer," said Birdal.”


8. Iraqi Kurds pledge to defend civilians
The New Anatolian newspaper (20.12.07) reports the following:
“Iraqi Kurds angered by American support to Turkey's limited cross border
incursions into their territory to hit KK hideouts are saying their forces will
defend civilians if they were caught up in any fighting between Turkish troops
and Kurdish militants in the northern Iraq.


On Tuesday, Turkey sent special troops across the border into the rugged
mountains of northern Iraq, disclosing it inflicted heavy losses on the PKK
militants in the small-scale incursion and in air strikes two days earlier.
Turkish authorities said they detected a group of PKK militants trying to
infiltrate into Turkish territory from northern Iraq late Monday night and
responded immediately by engaging in hot pursuit.


In a sign of increasing tension, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
reported that more than 1,800 people fled their homes in parts of Iraq's
semiautonomous Kurdistan last weekend.


Iraqi officials have complained that Turkey's actions are a violation of Iraqi
sovereignty, although they also have said they recognize the threat posed by
the PKK.
                                        11


"We are not part of the military dispute between Turkey and the PKK," said
Jabar Yawar, a spokesman for Kurdistan's Peshmerga militia.


Yawar said that "if there are any violations by Turkish troops against any
secure civilian villages, the Peshmerga will do their job to defend their
citizens."


Tuesday's raid was the first confirmed Turkish ground operation targeting
rebel bases inside Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003, though about 1,200
Turkish military monitors have operated in northern Iraq since 1996 with
permission from local authorities.


However, the incursion was not a large-scale push that some feared could
destabilize a relatively calm part of Iraq — and which is adjacent to the
nation's main northern oil fields around Kirkuk.


The militants have been waging a terrorist campaign in southeastern Turkey
for more than two decades and use strongholds in northern Iraq for cross-
border attacks. Turkey has said it can no longer tolerate the attacks on its
troops, and in October Turkey's Parliament authorized the country's military to
strike back at the PKK inside Iraq.


In November, the Turkish military reportedly massed 100,000 troops along the
border, and there were fears that a major Turkish offensive could cause
civilian     casualties   and   lead    to   conflict   with   the   Peshmerga.
The Turkish military issued a statement saying ground forces based close to
the border crossed into northern Iraq after spotting a group of militants trying
to infiltrate into Turkey overnight. "A heavy blow was inflicted on the group
with the land forces stationed in the area," it said.


The incursion came after Turkey launched air strikes by as many as 50
Turkish fighter jets Sunday against the PKK positions in northern Iraq.
                                     12



The military said it was not able to give the number of PKK militants who may
have been killed during the air strikes, but maintained that "many facilities
harboring the PKK were hit."


U.S. military commanders in Iraq didn't know Turkey was sending warplanes
to bomb in northern Iraq on Sunday until the planes had already crossed the
border, said American defense and diplomatic officials, who were angered
about being left in the dark. However, experts said the fact that the U.S. did
nothing to stop the three hour long air operation showed some kind of tacit
U.S. approval.


Americans have been providing Turkey with intelligence to go after the PKK in
northern Iraq, and a "coordination center" has been set up in Ankara so Turks,
Iraqis and Americans can share information, U.S. officials in Washington have
said.


The latest ground incursion is small compared with Turkish offensives across
the border during the 1990s, when Ankara launched a series of major air and
ground attacks against rebel bases. In the most extensive campaign —
opened in March 1995 — more than 35,000 Turkish troops pushed up to 35
miles into Iraqi territory.


Meanwhile, France said on Wednesday that Turkey and Iraq must continue a
dialogue they have engaged on the problem of the PKK.


France noted that the European Union Presidency "has expressed worry
about the military action recently undertaken by Turkey in Iraqi territory and
has called it to show restraint," the French Foreign Minister indicated
Wednesday.


"We understand the legitimate concern of the Turkish authorities in protecting
                                       13


their citizens," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said in a
press briefing Wednesday.


"We are equally attached to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq. We
consider that it is primordial that the dialogue engaged between the Turkish
and Iraqi authorities is pursued," the French official said. She further stated
that France "sides with Turkey in its fight against the PKK", which Andreani
point out is "an organization that has been placed on the European list of
terrorist entities."


9. Turkish Air Force commander on claims that civilian targets were hit
in Northern Iraq
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (18.12.07) reports the following:
The claims that were made after the air operation the Turkish military forces
carried out two days ago were similar to those that were made after the 24
operations the military units launched in the past. It was said again that the
military planes "attacked civilian targets and some people were killed."


How has the Air Force, which carried out a successful operation, responded to
the allegations?


Air Force Commander Gen Aydogan Babaoglu responded to a question I put
to him during our telephone conversation yesterday as follows: "The Air
Force achieved its objective. Our chief of the General Staff has already made
the necessary disclosure. I will only say this: What is important is the fact
that the operation achieved its objective. The target was achieved through
good planning."


General Babaoglu declined to answer my questions on the number of military
aircraft used in the operation, the number of sorties carried out, and the type
of bombs that were dropped on the targets. He only said, "We used various
types of munitions and systems."
                                         14


However, he noted: "It was a very sensitive operation. The Air Force is proud
of the work our colleagues carried out. I am proud of my colleagues. I thank
all my colleagues who contributed to the operation, from the planning stages
to the execution of the military action. I called to thank them."


Not a single bomb was dropped on the civilian population
General Babaoglu then recalled the claims that "civilian targets and people
were hit." Stressing that there was no deviation from the plan that was drawn
up even for once, he asserted: "Not even a single bomb was dropped on a
target outside the plan. What is said about civilian targets being hit are
intentional reports. I have said that in the light of the information we have
received from our intelligence units. Everything was in accordance with the
plan. I wish to say that a civilian target was definitely not hit."


General Babaoglu reiterated what he said when we had our second
conversation during the day: "Not a single civilian target was hit."


I recalled a conviction that existed like a city legend for many years: "Qandil
Mountain cannot be hit because the bases where the military planes take off
are far away from it." He briefly responded by saying: "The Qandil Mountain
is not a problem."


He then said that he wished to correct a report in the press yesterday. He
asserted: "Everyone seems to be wrongly informed. Our F-4 planes also
participated in the operation. As far as we are concerned, there is no
difference between our pilots and military planes.        All of them successfully
fulfilled their duties in accordance with the plan that was drawn up for the
operation."


General Babaoglu, ended our conversation at that point.
It must be quickly noted that the information given by the military forces is
always right and sincere. However, that does not apply to the high-ranking
                                        15


officials of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. They claimed until
recently that "no one lived in the area [Qandil Mountain] and described it as a
restricted region (no man's land). But, they said yesterday that "civilian
people live there."

B. COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
1. Turkish Cypriot columnist argues that Mr Talat is worried about the
foreign policy applied by the “government”
Hasan Hasturer, columnist in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper
(21.12.07) writes that as it is said at the political backstage, the Turkish
Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is worried about the contacts abroad and the
initiatives by the “government” and especially by the self-styled minister of
foreign affairs, Turgay Avci.


“When someone sees the statements, especially recently, the Prime Minister
Soyer is not worried about the initiatives of Turgay Avci”, reports Mr Hasturer
and suggests a meeting between the three men for an evaluation of the policy
of the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus problem. Mr Hasturer writes, inter
alia, the following:


“In spite of the fact that Talat is not obliged to say that ‘we do not want the
recognition of the TRNC’, he does it. Is this situation valid for the government?
I think not. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Avci, completely on his own
initiative, forced and secured the opening of a ferry line with Syria. A project of
Mr Avci is the granting of the TRNC citizenship to two Italian MPs. And
recently a representation of the TRNC in Rome was opened.


Except the Embassy of the TRNC in Ankara, the representations in all the
other centres, including London, are registered in that country as a formation
having trade purposes. However, those countries know that it is a
representation. In any case, the inscriptions on the doors write that it is a
representation.
                                        16


The Prime Minister Soyer held contacts in Brussels and made statements.
Soyer, who said ‘If the EU recognizes the TRNC and makes it its member, we
will have no objection’, said, in a sense, something which Talat does not say.
The CTP-ORP Coalition Government, even if it is concerned about the
statements made by the Presidency, does not show any reaction. But, this
situation is not valid for Talat. …”.
(I/Ts.)


2. Columnist in Yeni Safak argues that between Turkey and Barzani the
U.S. opted for Turkey
Istanbul Yeni Safak newspaper (20.12.07) publishes the following by
Abdulkadir Selv under the title “No respite for the PKK”:
“The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) destruction of the PKK camps on Qandil
Mountain, and the cross-border operation with 700 commandoes that it
conducted afterwards, have dealt a serious blow to the terrorists. Whenever a
PKK presence is identified within the borders of Iraq, operations will be
conducted immediately.


Following the successful cross-border operation on 17 December, serious
cracks in the regional alliances are opening up. The government obtained a
one-year authorization from the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] for
cross-border operations. This period was reflected exactly in the government
directive issued to the TSK.


In other words, until 17 October 2008, an operation can be conducted, and will
be conducted, whenever a PKK presence is detected within the borders of
Iraq. The cross-border operations are planned along two axes.


1- Planned operations. The "Eagle Strike" operation conducted against
Qandil on 17 December with 50 aircraft was a planned operation.
                                       17


2- As for the operation conducted by our special units entering by land on 19
December, this was an "operation of opportunity."


An effective operation was carried out against the terrorist group that was
detected.


Following the operations, various units in Ankara are on alert. "Situation
analyses" are being conducted in light of intelligence gathered from the
region.


When it emerged that Iraqi Regional Kurdish Government President Mas'ud
Barzani was not going to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
contact was immediately taken up with his close circle.


It was determined that Barzani was very tense. In addition to not meeting with
Rice, Barzani had also made comments calling for the United States to
reassess the moral dimension of the relationship. Barzani was telling those
close to him regarding the United States that "it is getting into three-way and
four-way relationships. It is an immoral state."


Did Barzani, who a year ago had been hosted at the White House, and who
went from Iraq, which he had departed on the pretext of "dental treatment," to
Austria, and had expected to be invited to the United States, then have to
return from Austria empty-handed when the appointment that he waited three
weeks for did not materialize?


Following the 5 November meeting between [Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip] Erdogan and [US President George W.] Bush, the process is
proceeding quite differently in terms of the regional balances.


It has emerged that Erdogan's expectation that in the choice between Turkey
and Barzani, Bush would choose Turkey was correct. The only country that
                                        18


was advised of the operation beforehand is the United States. Because since
the day when the United States first invaded Iraq, the ability to carry out
military operations on Iraqi territory has been granted only to Turkey.


Well, was Barzani unaware of all these things? After all, Barzani gave implicit
support for this operation against the PKK by cutting off its logistic resources.


As for his stance of defying the United States, this is a show directed
completely at the Kurdish public. Yet another point is that it is being evaluated
as a step taken in order to forestall more extensive operations.


It is being said that Barzani, in his behavior toward the United States, is
vacillating between the line of "you cannot do anything in this region without
us" and wooing it by saying "do not abandon us."


3. From the Turkish Press of 20 December 2007
Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press
of 20 December 2007 on issues of current Turkish political agenda:
Military intervention in Northern Iraq: The Democratic Society Party, (DTP),
other parties and certain nongovernmental organizations criticize the military
for the cross-border operation, according to a report in the Turkish Daily
News.


Writing in Milliyet Sami Kohen denies the assessments that the real aim of the
Turkish raid in northern Iraq was to establish a military presence in the area,
or to eliminate the regional Kurdish administration, or to take control of the oil
in Kirkuk. In his article, Sami Kohen insists that the operation was simply a
part of the struggle against terror, and urges Turkish officials "to constantly
explain to the world that the raid had a limited objective and scope."
According to Kohen, "the Turkish Government strategy seems to aim at hitting
the PKK militarily on the one hand and rendering it ineffective politically on the
                                      19


other." He calls on the government to take the belated political, economic,
and social measures to help end terrorism.


In a commentary in Vatan, Gungor Mengi praises the Turkish operation in that
it refrained from hurting civilians and from damaging civilian property. The
columnist compares this to the US troops in Iraq who were "like a bull in a
china shop... and who caused the death of hundreds of thousands of
civilians." Mengi calls on the Turkish Government to complement this military
victory with economic and other measures in the southeast.


In a four-line commentary on the issue entitled "The Summary of the
Summary" in Milliyet, Dogan Heper writes: "The government's tactic against
the PKK is successful and praiseworthy. The United States is on the way to
regaining its prestige and friendship in Turkey. The Turkish army has shown
what it is capable of, and that it is the most powerful player in the region.
Barzani who until recently spoke insolently about Diyarbakir is now dazed and
confused."


In an article in Hurriyet, Cengiz Candar points out that the foreign press found
the Turkish military operation useless and the Turkish media's praise of the
operation uncalled for.     The columnist wonders if the Justice and
Development Party, (AKP), government is taking the right political steps at a
time when the DTP leader is arrested, the Semdinli suspects are released and
treated like heroes, and the AKP and other parties announce they will not visit
the DTP on the occasion of the Bayram holiday. All this, Candar argues, help
create tension and do not seem to be in line with a plan to solve the Kurdish
problem.


In an article entitled "Being right and powerful", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin
Dogan describes the recent air strike against PKK camps in northern Iraq as a
legitimate act and says: "The cross-border operation was a rightful move
made by a powerful country with legitimate reasons. It would be wrong to
                                      20


assert that it was not appropriate." He emphasizes that description of the air
strike as an unjustifiable and hostile act by the local government in Iraq was
an allegation which could not be taken seriously because Turkey is taking the
utmost care in order to avoid being accused of using excessive force.


A report entitled "Pressure on PKK will not ease off", Yeni Safak says that
new military operations may be conducted in northern Iraq by 17 October
2008 when mandate given by the Turkish Parliament to the government for
conducting cross-border operations will expire. The report also highlights
reports about Mas'ud Barzani's reactions to the air strike and policy toward the
United States.


In an article entitled "Could somebody be watching us while we watch
Qandil?" Vakit columnist Ihsan Karahasanoglu writes about recent reports that
a group of US officers have established a center for analyzing intelligence at
the headquarters of the Turkish General Staff. He asks: "It may be true that
the center used for displaying images shows every tiny detail about Qandil.
But, are we sure that it does not communicate detailed information about the
headquarters of the General Staff to the Pentagon? "Karahasanoglu also
cautions that information which the United States may gather today may be
used for blackmailing during a possible US military operation against Iran in
the future.


In an article entitled "Details", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal says that
allegations that the recent military operation was conducted by using
intelligence provided by the United States are unfounded. He says: "It was
proven once again that Turkey has sufficient intelligence in order to fight
against the PKK across its borders. Although technical intelligence provided
by the United States was useful to a certain extent, the capability of the
Turkish   Armed    Forces   to   gather    technical   intelligence   cannot   be
underestimated." Unal also notes that Turkey did not obtain prior permission
from the United States for conducting the operation, but only informed it
                                         21


beforehand. Pointing out that the Turkish public is against the establishment
of what he calls a puppet state in northern Iraq, he concludes by saying: "The
United States should understand that they cannot maintain friendly ties with
us if they establish a puppet state in this part of the region."


Turkish – U.S. relations: In an article in Sabah, Meliha Okur argues that
Secretary of State Rice managed to bring together the Turkomans, Kurds, and
Arabs in Kirkuk for the first time in 18 months. The three groups signed an
accord, Okur states, under which they will be represented equally in the
Kirkuk parliament, thus solving a major problem. The reason, according to the
columnist, is that the United States does not want another problem in the
Middle East. Okur opines that "whatever anybody says, the United States will
not give up on Turkey."


Writing in Sabah also, Soli Ozel maintains that a new era began in Turkish-US
relations with the 5 November Erdogan-Bush meeting.                In a 650-word
commentary, Ozel argues that recent developments show that the United
States is not insistent on the independence of the Kurds in north Iraq. The
day Secretary of State Rice visited north Iraq, he writes, the Kirkuk
referendum was postponed by another six months. On Turkish-US relations,
the columnist argues that "Strategically, Turkey will be on the same axis with
the United States and Israel on the one hand, and the conservative Arab
states on the other." He predicts that "in return for the solution of the Kirkuk
problem, Turkey will establish proper relations with the Iraqi Kurds. The
United States, Turkey, and the Regional administration of Kurdistan will not let
the PKK survive."       In conclusion, the columnist cautions the Turkish
Government to solve the Kurdish problem at home "within the framework of
human rights, citizenship rights, democracy, and the state of law." If it misses
this opportunity, Ozel warns, Turkey may endanger its own future.


In an article entitled "Where do we stand in Turkish-US relations?", Zaman
columnist Sahin Alpay says that it remains to be seen whether the recent air
                                       22


strike will pave the way for expelling Kurdish insurgents from northern Iraq
although it seems to have delivered a severe below to the PKK's facilities in
northern Iraq. Emphasizing that the political consequences of the military
operation, including enhanced cooperation between Turkey and the United
States were far more important than its military outcome, Alpay points out that
military measures would not be sufficient to liquidate the PKK. He comments:
"If the PKK is to be finished off, the Kurdish question must be resolved
because the PKK is one of its by-products." Alpay concludes by saying that
the Kurdish question cannot be resolved unless Kurds are allowed to express
their demands through democratic channels freely and their culture is
respected.


Pianist Fazil Say statements: An online survey in Hurriyet shows that 45
percent of the readers think Fazil Say was right in saying "'Turkey is becoming
so conservative that I may leave." Nevertheless, 75 percent believe that it
would not be right for him to leave.


In an editorial in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli writes: "The attacks on
Say by the pen slingers in the Islamist media indeed demonstrate how serious
the threat the pianist was complaining of indeed is. The attacks on Say reflect
how serious a growing religious intolerance problem we have in this country.
Those attacks are no different than the attacks on non-Muslims as they
represent the same repressive and oppressive mindset which this country
should find a way to overcome."


In Milliyet Dogan Heper writes that he agrees with Say's criticism, but rebukes
him for opting to leave the country. In his commentary on the issue, the
columnist maintains that creationism threatens the country, but stresses that
the people should resist and fight it back.


In an article entitled "Not the Islamists, Democracy won," Today's Zaman
columnist Huseyin Gulerce writes about pianist Fazil Say's complaints about
                                          23


the Islamist climate in Turkey and says: "An elite clique in Turkey, also called
the 'white Turks,' think that the changing and democratizing Turkey has
ceased to be under their control. And because they see themselves as the
real owners of the country, they are suffering from a 'defeatist syndrome.'"
Gulerce says that Say and others who shares his views are not right in their
fears, because democracy, rather than Islamists has won."


Attack on Priest in Izmir: "For the religious officials of the minorities who
have been living on this land since Istanbul's conquest, Turkey has become a
land of fear," Can Dundar writes in his article in Milliyet. Listing the attacks on
priests during the past two years, the columnist affirms that most of the
aggressors are uneducated and poor youths between the ages of 16 and 20.
Relating a recent conversation he had with the Greek Cypriot Patriarch,
Dundar says they both agree that these youths are guided by unseen hands,
or by the deep state.




                               --------------------------

EG/

				
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