Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Turkish army

Coups away
From The Economist print edition

BOMBS target the faithful in Istanbul’s busiest mosques; a Turkish air force jet is shot down over the Aegean, provoking a war with Greece. Chaos descends over Turkey. The army steps in, overthrows the mildly Islamist Justice and Development (AK) Party that has governed Turkey since 2002, and takes control.
This plan, codenamed “Sledgehammer” and hidden among 5,000 pages of army documents, was exposed in January by a small independent newspaper, Taraf. It caused a storm. The army said it was just a “simulation exercise”. How, thundered General Ilker Basbug, the chief of the general staff, could Turkish soldiers, who charge into battle crying “Allah, Allah”, bomb a mosque? It is a question which civilian and military prosecutors are now attempting to answer.
“Sledgehammer” is only the latest in a string of alleged coup plots to have been exposed in recent years. That helps explain why, on February 4th, Turkey’s government scrapped the controversial security and public order (“Emasya”) protocol, which lets the army choose to take charge in the provinces when law and order breaks down. Critics argued that Emasya’s real purpose was to provide the legal framework for a future coup.
The army’s image has been badly tarnished and its role is now being questioned. Is its influence fading irreversibly as Turkey becomes a fully fledged Western democracy? Or is this just the latest twist in the long battle between the elite, made up of generals and an old guard used to monopolising wealth and power, against a rising class of overtly pious Anatolians, symbolised by the AK government?
The answers matter, and not just to the Turks. Turkey is a strategic pivot between Europe and the Middle East. It has a large and growing population of 72m people. It is poised to become a main transit route for oil and gas from the east. It has NATO’s second-largest army, after America’s. And it is a rare example of a secular democracy in a mainly Muslim country, closely watched by other democracies, such as Pakistan and Indonesia, where the army is strong.
Herein lies the conundrum. The Turkish army has long been seen as the guarantor of the secular republic founded 86 years ago by Kemal Ataturk. For all its recent troubles, it remains the country’s most trusted and popular institution (although its ratings are slipping to unprecedented lows). Yet the generals’ persistent meddling in politics and the red lines they seem to draw around some of the thorniest subjects—such as Cyprus or the Kurds—are among the biggest obstacles to Turkey becoming a full democracy. Turkey’s constitution was drafted by the army 30 years ago; it urgently needs a rewrite. And the issues on which the army is most recalcitrant are precisely those that most bedevil Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union.
A parallel state
The army has staged three coups since 1960, when it hanged the country’s first freely elected prime minister, Adnan Menderes, established the National Security Council and set up its own courts. “They created a parallel state,” explains Umit Kardas, a former military prosecutor. The generals cemented their power after the 1980 coup by pushing through an authoritarian constitution that remains in force.
In 1997 the generals toppled the country’s first Islamist-led government, on the dubious ground that it was seeking to introduce sharia law. This “post-modern coup” came after a sustained campaign orchestrated by the generals and their friends in the media and business. In 2007 they threatened to intervene again, this time through a web posting on the defence staff’s website objecting to Abdullah Gul, then Turkey’s foreign minister, becoming the country’s president. They were unhappy that Mr Gul’s wife chose to wear a headscarf, which is banned in state institutions as a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism.
This “e-coup” proved a huge miscalculation. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, called a snap election, AK won a second term with a greater share of the vote (47%), and Mr Gul duly became president. “The army tried to dictate its will and the people said no—and what’s happened since shows that the army is losing its power,” notes an EU diplomat in Ankara.
Undeterred, in 2008 the generals tacitly backed the country’s chief prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, when he tried to persuade the constitutional court to ban the AK party on the flimsy charge that it was seeking to reverse secular rule. The constitutional court ruled against the ban, though by a whisker.
Since then, the government has been fighting back. Over the past two years the public has been bombarded with revelations of the army’s alleged skulduggery. Scores of officers, including retired generals, have been interrogated or arrested in connection with the so-called Ergenekon case, named after an alleged shadowy network of rogue security officers, academics, journalists and businessmen. Prosecutors accuse the network of planning to foment chaos through a series of bloody provocations, thus justifying a coup against AK. But the evidence has not always been convincing, and some innocent people have been caught up; many have been detained for months without charge.
The generals insist that Ergenekon is part of a smear campaign led by Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Islamic cleric who heads Turkey’s richest and most influential Islamic brotherhood. This movement, which abhors violence and embraces capitalism, is acknowledged to have kept Turkish Islam tame. But the generals believe Mr Gulen and his followers are steering Turkey towards Islamic rule. One of the army’s alleged coup plots involved the planting of weapons in the homes of Gulenists in an attempt to discredit them.
It is not just coup-mongering that is blighting the army’s image. A recent string of bloody attacks by the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has raised questions about the army’s prowess in the field. These grew louder when Taraf published documents purporting to show that the army had advance warning of a PKK attack carried out in 2007 on Daglica, a remote outpost on Turkey’s border with Iraq. The revelations provoked an outcry, and previously taboo questions about Turkey’s military activities are now being asked. Ali Bayramoglu, a liberal academic, notes: “Until recently, losing a son in service of the country was a badge of honour. But for the first time the Turkish people are openly questioning the merits of the war.”
Ergenekon and Daglica have sapped the army’s prestige. But it is EU-oriented reforms that are nibbling at its power. This may explain why the generals, although paying lip service to the goal of joining the EU, are in fact rather ambivalent about it.
Suits v uniforms
The reforms began in earnest in 2002, when AK formed Turkey’s first single-party government in 17 years. In January 2004 the National Security Council, through which the generals used to impose their views, was shrunk to an advisory body. In one of its boldest moves, the AK government passed a constitutional amendment last year paving the way for officers to be tried in civilian courts.

Basbug, the anti-coup leader
The generals may be down, but they are by no means out. The civilian-trials amendment was struck down by the constitutional court in January. To say that the army’s power is declining indicates “a comfortable assumption of linear progress, where democracy and the politicians are gaining ground,” comments William Hale, a British analyst; that is not entirely accurate, he says.
In truth the army is strong whenever the civilian government is weak, or when danger threatens. Many people worry that tensions between Turks and Kurds could escalate into the kind of unrest that might justify a fresh army intervention. And there is another catch. The army’s own internal-service law allows it to intervene in defence of secularism and “the indivisible unity of the state” when these are perceived to be at risk—from Kurdish separatists, for example. Although General Basbug endorsed the scrapping of Emasya, he has made it clear that this last safeguard must remain untouched. EU demands that the generals should be answerable to the defence ministry, rather than the other way round, have yet to be met. “Let them subordinate the army to the ministry of sports if they want,” scoffs Armagan Kuloglu, a retired general. “The army will still do what it needs to do.” Lale Kemal, a military analyst, says that “until the constitution is replaced, civilian control over the army is a pipe-dream.” Mr Erdogan has vowed to replace the constitution, but he is widely suspected of cutting deals with the generals behind the scenes.
Quarrels between Turkey’s soldiers and its civilian rulers are nothing new. In 1908 the “Young Turks” mounted the first successful modern coup when they overthrew the tyrannical Sultan Abdulhamid II. The army was hailed then as a force for modernisation. It also offered a leg-up for the rural masses to climb the social ladder.
But it was not until Ataturk rescued Turkey from dismemberment at the hands of the western Allies after the first world war that the army was put on a pedestal. Millions of Turks believe that, had it not been for Ataturk and the army, there would be no Turkey today. Such feelings are cemented during the 15 months of military service that are mandatory for all Turkish men. The army also owes its popularity to an education system which decrees that “Every Turk is born a soldier”.
For millions of secular Turks the army remains the sole guarantor of their freewheeling lifestyle. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), founded by Ataturk, should be in the vanguard of pro-EU changes. Yet it has opposed many of them, even though it is EU membership, not the army, that offers the best shield against radical Islam.
With no credible rivals in sight, the AK party may well win a third term in 2012. This could give freer rein to what critics call Mr Erdogan’s tilt towards authoritarianism. His attacks against opposition newspapers and his reluctance to change laws that keep smaller (ie, Kurdish) parties out of parliament have reinforced this image. “One might feel better about the military’s loss of power if Turkey had a balanced political system with the possibility of alternance of government,” says Eric Edelman, a former American ambassador to Turkey.
Unlike the crooked politicians who have long mismanaged the country, “the Turkish army doesn’t represent narrow interests,” argues Mesut Yegen, a sociologist at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. “It draws its legitimacy from the people. It is truly a national force.” This may explain why Turkey’s generals have always handed power back to civilians after their coups. Yet for all its talk of being of the people, “the army believes that it knows what is best for them,” says Mr Kardas. Cloistered in their barracks, clubs and holiday camps, soldiers are often out of touch. “We lived in a surreal world where officers who wanted to get promoted had to drink wine and dance the waltz,” says Senol Ozbek, a retired lieutenant-colonel.
A very modern general
If Turkey’s army is beginning to lose its addiction to political meddling, it is in part thanks to the efforts of the man at the top. General Basbug, who won a reputation for toughness in the early 1990s during the height of the Kurdish insurgency in south-east Turkey, is as strict a secularist as any. But he is well aware that the army’s perceived aversion to Islam has contributed to its sagging popularity.
The general has a more enlightened understanding of the army’s role than did some of his predecessors. According to Mr Edelman, General Basbug’s experiences as a cadet during the 1960 coup convinced him that there was no place for the army in Turkish politics. His name has never been linked to any alleged coup-plotters. He says he is determined to weed them out. Now some of his soldiers seem to be catching the bug; they are said to be behind many of the alleged coup plots that have been leaked. “Some are out to get their peers, some are Gulenists, but many are idealists who believe the army should keep out of politics,” says Mehmet Baransu, the Taraf journalist who broke the Sledgehammer story.
Such attitudes are spreading throughout Turkey, helped by the forces of globalisation and the internet in a country where half the population is below the age of 29. Every Tuesday night millions of Turks tune in to watch a new mini-series called “Would This Heart Forget You”. Were it not for the romantic plots, the programme might be mistaken for a documentary on the army’s abuses during the 1980 coup. Recent episodes showed torture scenes in the notorious prison at Diyarbakir. “The soldiers would stick truncheons up our anuses, urinate on us and force us to eat dead rats,” says Salih Sezgin, a former inmate. Until recently such a series could not have been aired.
Back in 1909, Ataturk delivered a speech to his fellow Young Turks. “Our colleagues in the army should no longer dabble in politics,” he said. “They should direct all their efforts to strengthening the army instead.” Over 100 years later, the message may at last be getting through.

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Ο Τούρκος Υπουργός Επικρατείας και επικεφαλής των διαπραγματεύσεων με την Ε.Ε., Εγκεμέν Μπαγίς, επέκρινε την πρόσφατη έκθεση του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου για την Τουρκία και ισχυρίστηκε ότι «ορισμένες εισηγήσεις είχαν ως συνέπεια η φετινή έκθεση να χάσει την ουδετερότητά της.» Η Τουρκία – είπε – δεν είναι δυνατό να αποδεχθεί όσα αναφέρει η έκθεση για την Κύπρο. Και πρόσθεσε: «Η Τουρκία δεν έχει ούτε προγραμματίσει, αλλά ούτε και έχει κάποια σκέψη όσον αφορά την απόσυρση στρατιωτών από το νησί» ισχυριζόμενος ότι «οι εκεί στρατιώτες μας επιτελούν ένα σοβαρό καθήκον για την ειρήνη και την ευημερία.» Και κατέληξε: «Βεβαίως, η ενταξιακή μας πορεία προς την Ε.Ε. είναι μια σημαντική διαδικασία. Όμως, δεν είναι τόσο σημαντική, ώστε να θυσιάσουμε την Κύπρο. Το θέμα αυτό αποτελεί εθνική υπόθεση της Τουρκίας».
Λίγες ημέρες νωρίτερα ο κ. Μπαγίς είχε καυχηθεί ότι η Τουρκία κατόρθωσε να ξεκινήσει την διαδικασία των ενταξιακών διαπραγματεύσεων με την ΕΕ χωρίς να υποχρεωθεί να αποσύρει ούτε ένα στρατιώτη ή να επιστρέψει έστω και μια χούφτα γης στην Κύπρο.
Η Τουρκία με άλλα λόγια, φτύνει κατάμουτρα στην ΕΕ και το κοινοβούλιο της και κανένας δεν συγκινείται από όλους εκείνους τους Ευρωπαίους, ή μάλλον όλους εκείνους που συνιστούν την Ευρώπη στην οποία μας παραπέμπουν όσοι πολεμούν την εξεύρεση λύση για να αξιοποιήσουμε συμμαχίες και φίλους» για να «αναγκάσουμε» την Τουρκία να αποδεχθεί το κεκτημένο ως πλαίσιο λύσης του Κυπριακού. Ο Μπαγίς τους ξεγυμνώνει και τους αφήνει έκθετους. Όπως έκθετους αφήνει και όσους από το λεγόμενο διεθνή παράγοντα προσποιούνται ότι η Τουρκία παραμένει εφόσον δεν αντιμετωπίζει κόστος, ένας ταραχοποιός.
Αλλαγές συντελούνται βεβαίως στην Τουρκία, αλλά μπορεί το Κυπριακό να παραμείνει σε εκκρεμότητα έως ότου οι αλλαγές αυτές να είναι τέτοιες που να καθιστούν τη λογική και την συνδιαλλαγή πολιτική της Τουρκίας;
Η στάση αυτή των Τούρκων «παίζει» και στην εκλογική αναμέτρηση στα κατεχόμενα, όπου ο καθένας μπορεί να την ερμηνεύσει ως υπέρ η κατά του Έρογλου ή του Ταλάτ. Η στάση εκείνων την Ε/Κ κοινότητα που κυκλοφορούν τον ψίθυρο ότι «ο Χριστόφια υποστηρίζει νίκη του Έρογλου» πώς να ερμηνευθεί άραγε;
Η σκόπιμη βαβυλωνία –όντως- που δημιουργείται στο εσωτερικό μέτωπο ποιον υπέρτατο εθνικό στόχο εξυπηρετεί; Το βέβαιο είναι ότι απουσιάζουν απλώς οι εκρήξεις βομβών και οι επιθέσεις εναντίον αστυνομικών σταθμών για να αποτελούν αναβίωση της περιόδου προ του πραξικοπήματος.
Ο Μπαγίς με την αλαζονεία της δήλωσης του και η αποκάλυψη της υποκρισίας του διεθνούς παράγοντα απλώς υπογραμμίζει για άλλη μια φορά το μάταιο των «επικών αγώνων» που οραματίζονται μερικοί και μας προσγειώνει στην πραγματικότητα: Έχουμε ΑΜΕΣΗ ΑΝΑΓΚΗ λύσης ως το μόνο τρόπο για να ανακόψουμε τον εποικισμό, για να κλείσουμε την στρόφιγγα του εποικισμού και να περιορίσουμε στο ελάχιστον την επιρροή της Τουρκίας στους Τ/Κ. Τα συστατικά της τουρκικής συνταγής της Αλεξανδρέττας συγκεντρώνονται τάχιστα και ο μόνος τρόπος ανακοπής της εφαρμογής της και στην Κύπρο είναι η λύση που θα θέτει τέρμα στον εποικισμό και θα περιορίζει την τουρκική επιρροή. Και αυτό επιτυγχάνεται μόνο με λύση. Όχι βέβαια οποιαδήποτε λύση, αλλά μια λύση που να συνιστά έντιμο συμβιβασμό και να ενέχει το στοιχείο της βελτιωτικής μετεξέλιξης που επιφέρει μέσα από το χρόνο η ίδια η ζωή και οι ανάγκες της.

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Friday, 5 February 2010



Davutoğlu calls for ‘Eurasian union’
Given the European Union’s peaceful environment, which is based on a joint economic basin, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has called for the establishment of a similar union encompassing the Eurasia region.
“There is a need to embark on a new vision in order to have the Eurasia region regain its historical importance,” Davutoğlu said on Thursday at a meeting organized by the Turkish-Eurasia Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) in Ankara. In addition to Davutoğlu, Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız also participated in the meeting, which brought together ambassadors and commercial officers accredited at the embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
“If peace and welfare do not reign in Eurasia, it is not possible to make peace and welfare reign in the world, either. This region can export peace and welfare to the rest of the world,” Davutoğlu said in a speech delivered at the meeting, which aimed at dealing with new strategies for multilateral and regional cooperation.
In the absence of stability in Eurasia, this region can become the source of war and chaos in the entire world, Davutoğlu warned, urging for the highest level of dialogue among Eurasian countries for the sake of global peace. The minister suggested revitalizing historical, economic and political relations which were maintained at the time thanks to the Silk Road via today’s railroads, highways and air links.
“The western and eastern ends of Eurasia should be reconnected,” Davutoğlu said, while underlining that the region should also serve as a link between energy-supplying countries and energy-receiving countries. “We can become the power engine of the world’s economy.”
Later on Thursday, Davutoğlu and Dussanbay Kasseinov, the secretary-general of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TÜRKSOY), signed a host country agreement.
TÜRKSOY was founded in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 1993 upon Turkey’s initiative. TÜRKSOY, which has diplomatic status as an international organization, began its activities within the same year. TÜRKSOY member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), the Gagauzia Autonomous Region of Moldova and some autonomous republics of the Russian Federation -- the Altai Republic, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Republic of Khakassia, the Saha (Yakutistan) Federal Republic, the Republic of Tatarstan and the Tuva Republic -- participate in TÜRKSOY’s activities as observers.
The official language of TÜRKSOY is Turkish, and its headquarters is in Ankara. The signing of the host country agreement on Thursday aims at outlining legal privileges and immunities of TÜRKSOY staff during their activities in Turkey. The agreement is expected to facilitate TÜRKSOY’s activities here and lead to concrete contributions to the organization.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Είναι κάποιες στιγμές που η εικόνα που εκπέμπουν οι πολιτικοί αυτού του τόπου είναι εικόνα γενικής συνέλευσης φοιτητών της δεκαετίας του 60, όταν το αποκορύφωμα του ψυχρού πολέμου έβρισκε έκφραση στις υπερβολές και τα κτυπήματα κάτω από τη ζώνη μεταξύ των διαφόρων παρατάξεων. Αυτό που είχε σημασία δεν ήταν το ίδιο το αντικείμενο, η ουσία ενός ζητήματος, αλλά πώς θα μπορούσε να παρουσιαστεί ώστε να αποφέρει πόντους στην παράταξη.
Είναι ή δεν είναι προεδρικό κατά τους Τ/Κ και ψευτοπροεδρικό κατά τους Ε/Κ το γραφείο του Μεχμέτ Αλί Ταλάτ; Αυτό προέκυψε από την επίσκεψη του Γενικού Γραμματέα των Ηνωμένων Εθνών στην Κύπρο! Όλα τα άλλα υποσκιάστηκαν από το φοβερό αυτό ερώτημα. Η ουσία θυσιάζεται για άλλη μια φορά για συμβολισμούς άνευ σημασίας σε σχέση με τον διακηρυγμένο στόχο της εξεύρεσης όσο γίνεται πιο σύντομα λύσης στο Κυπριακό.
Αλλά και επί του θέματος, ποια είναι η αλήθεια;
• Το λεγόμενο προεδρικό ή ψευτοπροεδρικό στα κατεχόμενα δεν είναι παρά το γραφείο εργασίας του ηγέτη της Τ/Κ κοινότητας. Και μάλι-στα από το 1963. Τίποτα περισσότερο και τίποτα λιγότερο. Εκεί ο εκάστοτε ηγέτης τα ης κοινότητας -πρώτα ο Κουτσιούκ, στη συνέχεια ο Ντενκτάς και τώρα ο Ταλάτ- εργάζεται, στεγάζονται οι συνεργάτες και δέχεται τους ξένους του, περιλαμβανομένων ξένων διπλωματών και ξένων απεσταλμένων. Ακόμα και μετά την παράνομη ανακήρυξη του ψευδοκράτους το 1983.
• Ο συγκεκριμένος χώρος απέκτησε σημασία και συμβολισμό που του απέδωσαν όχι οι Τ/Κ αλλά οι Ε/Κ δημοσιογράφοι και πολιτικοί. Οι οποίοι επιμένουν να το αποκαλούν «προεδρικό» και όχι απλά «το γραφείο του ηγέτη της Τ/Κ κοινότητας».
• Ο Ταλάτ και οι Τ/Κ μπορούν να το αποκαλούν «προεδρικό». Ή σεράι, ή οτιδήποτε άλλο θέλουν. Αν οι Ε/Κ ήταν σταθεροί και το αποκαλούσαν αυτό που είναι, τότε και οι ξένοι θα το έπρατταν και ουδέποτε θα δημιουργείτο πρόβλημα.
Το ερώτημα είναι σε τι στοχεύουν αυτοί που προτιμούν μια αντιπαράθεση για ένα ζήτημα συμβολισμού παρά να κοιτάξουν την ουσίας της επίσκεψης του ΓΓ στην Κύπρο. Και δυστυχώς η ουσία, για άλλη μια φορά, καλύφθηκε κάτω από την εθνική οργή για το ατόπημα και το μέγα αμάρτημα -όχι εκεί-νων που πέφτουν στην παγίδα των Τούρκων και λανθασμένα αποκαλούν το γραφείο του ηγέτη της Τ/Κ κοινότητας «προεδρικό»- του ΓΓ του ΟΗΕ να προσέλθει στο «προεδρικό» στα κατεχόμενα. Και βεβαίως συνάμα το εγκα-λούν γιατί δεν είπε το ένα, δεν είπε το άλλο, δεν έκανε τούτο, δεν έκανε το άλλο, κοκ.
Αυτά που είναι πολύ πιο ανησυχητικά είναι τα εξής δύο:
1. Ο Ταλάτ είναι ίσως η μοναδική περίπτωση Τ/Κ που είχε την ανεπα-νάληπτη ευκαιρία να ανελιχθεί από το επίπεδο ηγέτη μιας μικρής κοινότητας στο επίπεδο του Κύπριου ή Παγκύπριου ηγέτη. Την κλώτσησε άγαρμπα και επικίνδυνα για τον τόπο. Και σαν να μη φτάνει αυτό, ενήργησε ως πονηρός ανατολίτης με την παγίδα που έστησε στα Ηνωμένα Έθνη, προφανώς προβλέποντας σε κέρδη ενόψει εκλογών, χωρίς να φαίνεται να αντιλαμβάνεται ότι παράλληλα –εφόσον αθέτησε τη συμφωνία στην οποία κατέληξε με τον ΟΗΕ για την επίσκεψη του ΓΓ- εξανεμίζει όση αξιοπιστία του απέμεινε. Πως θα τον πιστέψουν όχι οι Ε/Κ- οι Τ/Κ όταν αποδεικνύεται αναξιόπιστος
Είναι όμως και η απαράδεκτη ομιλία του στο γεύμα που παρέθεσε στο ΓΓ με την οποία θύμιζε Ραούφ Ντενκτάς στη μαύρη προπαγάνδα του και στην παραποίηση της αλήθειας προκειμένου να υπηρετήσει τον στόχο του. Προφανώς και τα δύο συμβάντα απευθύνονταν για προεκλογικούς λόγους στους απλούς Τ/Κ. Αλλά, αυτό σημαίνει ότι ο κ. Ταλάτ δεν έμαθε τίποτα από την παγίδευση του σε συνθήματα που τον κατέστησαν ανεπιθύμητο στους Τ/Κ. Και που ανέβασε τα ποσοστά του Έρογλου.
2. Η εμφάνιση του ΓΓ του ΟΗΕ στην Κύπρο, ανάμεσά μας, ήταν τουλάχιστον θλιβερή. Παρουσιάστηκε να είναι σε απόλυτη εξάρτηση από τους συνεργάτες του, οι οποίοι και καθόριζαν πότε θα καθίσει, πότε θα είναι όρθιος, πότε θα μιλήσει, τι θα πει και πως θα το πει. Είναι αμφίβολο αν αντιλαμβανόταν πού τον πήγαιναν –στη νεκρή ζώνη για παράδειγμα- τη σημασία των χώρων – το πέρασμα στη Λήδρας, για παράδειγμα- ή ακόμα τη σημασία των συνθημάτων –αν του τα μετά-φρασε κανείς- που φώναζαν οι διαδηλωτές και στις δύο πλευρές του περάσματος. Ειδικά στην περίπτωση των Τ/Κ όλων των ηλικιών οι οποίοι των υποδέχθηκαν μαζικά με θέρμη και με συνθήματα της εξέγερσης του 2003 κατά του Ντενκτάς και της πολιτικής του, εξέγερση που άνοιξε τον δρόμο στον Ταλάτ και ο οποίος στη συνέχει διέψευσε τις προσδοκίες τους. Είναι αμφίβολο αν ακόμα και οι συνεργάτες του που ζούν στην Κύπρο γνώριζαν τη σημασία των εκδηλώσεων και των συνθημάτων των Τ/Κ και τη σχέση τους με εκείνη του 2003. Άρα, έχασε την ευκαιρία ο ΓΓ να αντιληφθεί μια πραγματικότητα διαφορετική από εκείνη που του παρουσιάζουν οι από το παρασκήνιο γκαουλάιτερς του.
Αποκορύφωμα όμως ήταν η εμφάνιση του ενώπιον των δημοσιογρά-φων όταν ένας εκ των συνεργατών του ανακοίνωσε ότι ο ΓΓ θα προέβαινε σε μια -προκατασκευασμένη- δήλωση και θα διάβαζε την κοινή ανακοίνωση των δύο ηγετών, αλλά δεν θα απαντούσε σε ερωτήσεις. Και οι αφελείς δημοσιογράφοι που είχαν προστρέξει στην πολυδιαφημισμένη διάσκεψη του από κοινού με τους δύο ηγέτες για να ρωτήσουν και να πάρουν απαντήσεις που ενδεχομένως να φώτιζε την εικόνα που διαμορφώνεται, έπρεπε να μείνουν άφωνοι! Ενέργεια που ισοδυναμεί με περιορισμού του τύπου και της πληροφόρησης.
Όλα τα πιο πάνω απλώς καταγράφουν το σημερινό διεθνές περιβάλλον και τον τρόπο που ενεργεί η λεγόμενη διεθνής κοινότητα που εκπροσωπεί ο ΓΓ. Και αυτήν έπρεπε να λάβουν υπόψη οι εθνικώς θιγμένοι που επικαλούνται αρχές, αποφάσεις και αξίες που υποχρεώνουν τη διεθνή κοινότητα να αναγνωρίσει δίκαιο στην Ε/Κ πλευρά.
Είναι όντως κάποιες στιγμές που διερωτάται κανείς αν στ αλήθεια αυτός ο κόσμος θέλει και επιδιώκει μια αίσια κατάληξη της οδύσσειας του.


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I, my wife, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the leaders of the Political Parties that are represented in the Parliament would like to extend our warmest welcome to H.E. Secretary-General Ban, Madam Ban and the members of the UN delegation
We are indeed honored to welcome H.E. Ban today. His visit clearly demonstrates the continued interest of the international community to bring the Cyprus issue to a mutually acceptable solution and reinforces our commitment to achieve this goal without further delay.
Your Excellency,
Turkish Cypriot people (Only the T/C? The G/C did not suffer as much? Why isn’t there reference to the suffering of both communities?)have long suffered from a conflict that started almost half a century ago. Just three years after the establishment of the 1960 partnership Republic we have been ousted from the government by force by Greek Cypriots (Is this true? Or perhaps they were forced to leave the government and their jobs by TMT? Mr. Talat knows that very well.). These attacks reached their climax in 1974 when a coup d’état was attempted to annex the island with Greece. Our very existence was saved only when Turkey, invoking her rights and obligations under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, intervened through the Peace Operation.(This is exactly what Denktash would have said and Talat would criticize him in the past. The truth is that in 1974 there were no attacks on the T/C in the seven days of the coup. The coupists were not interested in them at that time. They were interested in the G/C resistance.)
Turkish Cypriots suffered from what happened from 1963 to 1974. Our goal now is to establish a new partnership state in Cyprus that will ensure that the bitter experiences of the past will not repeat. The structure of this partnership has been well defined in the past and more recently by the 23rd May 2008 Joint Statement between the two Leaders which states that our goal is to establish a bi-zonal bi-communal partnership with political equality between Turkish and Greek Cypriots and that this partnership will have a Federal Government with single international identity as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State of equal status.
Our efforts have since been concentrated on how to build this Federal structure. The full fledged negotiations of the past year and a half had produced significant convergences in some aspects of the problem, yet some other crucial issues remain. Yet the recent two rounds of intensified talks were productive and I hope we agree on their continuation.
Your Excellency,
As you well know, the 2004 UN Comprehensive settlement plan was supported by the whole international community. The UN, the EU and motherlands Turkey and Greece were all in favor of its acceptance. Until attaining unilateral EU membership so was the Greek Cypriot leadership. Turkish Cypriot people by exercising their free democratic will in their own referendum overwhelmingly said “Yes” to this UN plan but the Greek Cypriot resounding “No” prevented the solution. (He makes no reference to the fact that for 30 years it was Mr. Denktash, otherwise known among Turkish journalists as Mr. No, who kept any settlement out of reach.)Today we are still faced with inhumane isolations despite the call for its end by the UN Secretary General, despite the 26 April 2004 decision of the EU Council, despite the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, decision of the Organization of Islamic Conference and the others. (Despite also of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights?)This is simply unacceptable. We expect much more from the international community. We cannot be held responsible for the Greek Cypriot “No” while they enjoy all the benefits of international recognition and EU membership. (Does he remember how heavily the G/C paid for Mr. No nos?)
Mr. Secretary General,
Time is working against the settlement. External developments like court cases as well as growing disillusionment among Turkish and Greek Cypriots make the solution more complex and difficult to attain. Therefore we need an urgent solution. I am ready to shoulder my responsibility to achieve this goal and am confident that we will have your continued support in this endeavor. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank your Special Advisor and the whole UN team in Cyprus for their invaluable contributions in this effort.
Your Excellency and Mrs. Ban,
I would once again like to welcome you and raise my glass for your well being and wish that 2010 will be the year of solution.