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Fatih Çekirge - English

Four capital cities, 10 extraordinary days

2 Mart 2009

I find myself at the center of this traffic when I visited Tehran, accompanying Turkey's Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim during a two-day official visit.

 

Turkey's outlook in the Middle East becomes clearer when the details are observed...

 

This is the movement of traffic...

 

George Mitchell, the new special U.S. envoy for President Barack Obama, pays a visit to Turkey's capital city of Ankara.

 

Yildirim meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki...

 

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani meets with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the same hours...

 

Pakistan is there again...

 

Mottaki visits Geneva and stops by Turkey on his tour.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to come in Turkey on March 7-8.

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will fly to Tehran immediately after his meeting with Clinton...

 

Following this, influential officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry will travel to Tehran.

 

And finally, Turkish President Abdullah Gul will pay a visit to Tehran on March 11.

 

All this takes place in 10 days.

 

What can come out from such a level of traffic... The opening of a passage between the U.S. and Iran...

 

In other words, this traffic is the result of the "pro-active foreign policy" spoken about by Ahmet Davutoglu, the chief foreign policy adviser for Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan...

 

TURKEY IS THE COMMON POINT

If we make it clearer, the U.S. has three outstanding issues other than economic crisis...

 

1) Iran’s nuclear activities and the country’s relations with Israel and the U.S...

 

2) The withdrawal of American soldiers currently stationed in Iraq...

 

3) The new power balance in Afghanistan and Pakistan...

 

Turkey is the only country which stands as a common point in the solution alternatives for all three issues... Yes, Turkey...

 

And the reason:

 

A larger Turkish military presence in Afghanistan is on the agenda...

 

Turkey is a country in which both Iran and the U.S. have trust...

 

Turkey is on the withdrawal path of American soldiers leaving Iraq...

 

Therefore it is meaningful that Gul is due to pay a visit to Tehran following Clinton's arrival in Ankara...

 

PREPARED TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS

When it is observed from this perspective, the situation stands as follows:

 

- The new U.S. administration sends warm messages into the streets in the Middle East, including Iran. At least there is some hope of sitting at the table with Iran. Turkey will do what it can during this phase. This doesn't mean that Turkey is "a country announcing itself as a mediator and as trying to play a role" in this.

 

If we talk about Tehran; I have seen that Iran is ready to begin a normalization process with the United States. But the elections in Iran and the influential role of its domestic policy increase the sensitivities.

 

If we look at the situation from Turkey we see that; 

 

Turkey, who is seeking to boost trade relations, can be a "normalization base" between the U.S. and Iran at this phase, rather than being a mediator...

 

Yazının devamı...

Did the Turkish PM's co-chairing of the GMEI* project silence him on the 1.5 mln killed in Iraq?

23 Şubat 2009

- A major deterioration in the entire being of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was revealed after Numan Kurtulmus become new the leader of the Felicity Party...

 

I pondered this over an extended dinner engagement with Kurtulmus... Is he really the person that could change Erdogan’s being so fundamentally? Does he have inclination and the vision to initiate such a thing? I put such question to him and he responded with the utmost sincerity. 

 

Here are my observations:

 

- Unlike Erdogan, Kurtulmus doesn’t have a "tough, belligerent and fierce" stance. He rather prefers a style that tells it in a softer, more convincing tone.

 

WILL HE DIVIDE VOTES

He says, "We are not here to divide. We are here to gather the dispersed pieces together," to those, who say they will cause a split in the support for the ruling Justice and Development Party.

 

PUBLIC AID ISSUE

We are not against public aid, but the AKP's aid distribution method is not right. Those offering aid assistance and those in receipt of this aid should not see each other...A social state doesn't equate to a giver of charity. If you want to offer aid assistance, remove the tax paid on the minimum wage instead of handing out washing machines. Balance the unfairness in revenue sharing. Lower unemployment...

 

IMF DEAL

The prime minister is evading us and is therefore unable to sign a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). For years they ruled the country with the IMF and he knows the criticism he will face if he signs a deal. He will sign after the elections...

 

GAZA INCIDENT

His reaction was appropriate. But, if this is his reaction to the Muslims killed in Palestine, why has he remained silent about the 1.5 million innocent Muslims killed in Iraq?

 

CREATING A SOCIAL CLASS

If you are claiming to be Muslim, you first be against the clergy and class classification. But as the situation stands, it appears as if a new Muslim class is being formed. Now we can see a veiled sister waiting at a bus stop and a veiled sister passing by in a luxury car... Expensive jewelry, holidays in luxury hotels, yachts and designer brands...

 

ARRIVING POOR, LEAVING RICH

The details of all properties should be made public. In this way we will show that we did not come poor and leave rich. Political immunity should be lifted for all...

 

EUROPEAN UNION ISSUE

I said to the German ambassador when he visited me, "First take a decision regarding the expansion of East Europe. Let’s see your intentions. Until you make a decision, anything we do is pointless..."

 

These are the main points on the conversation I had with Kurtulmus... So, what can we say for Ulsever's comments after this conversation?

 

I don't know if he has been responsible for any change in Erdogan’s being, but I can see that Kurtulmus asserts his efforts to raising the "National Will" to an understanding of a global platform from a "desire of a third world country".

 

What is more, he does not owe "the cost" of this to anyone and he is in a position to analyze many important names within the AKP since they are come from the same background…

 

 

*Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI)

 

 

 

Yazının devamı...

That Israeli commander should be removed from office

16 Şubat 2009

Israeli Ground Forces launched an offensive into Gaza... And General Avi Mizrahi commands that force...

 

Mizrahi attacked Turkey's three sensitive issues during an international conference...

 

What is more, he did this by saying that "the Turkish prime minister should look in the mirror".

 

- The Armenian Genocide...

 

- Invasion of Cyprus...

 

- Attacks on Kurds...

 

A SHOT AT TURKEY

The Israeli general took a shot at Turkey's sensitive points on purpose... Can this be accepted?

 

In other words, can a general from one country "insult" the prime minister of another?

 

Is this consistent? How it can be explained?

 

What happens when soldiers start to speak in the place of diplomats? As you see, our chief of military staff officially delivered a "note" to the Israeli army...

 

In other words, "the soldiers started to speak".

 

A spokesman for the Israeli army says "those opinions are not official".  There not being official is worse...

 

IS THIS A COINCIDENCE?

This is the "state of mind" of the commander of the Israeli Land Forces. Therefore it is more dangerous. This commander has made the situation clear.

 

Can this be a coincidence? Can a commander at this level make such a remark without thinking; particularly as a great deal of military cooperation exists between the two countries?

 

Beyond diplomacy, the aim here can be to cut ties between the two armies.

 

In a bid to achieve this goal "radicals" and "extremists" might be starting to take action.

 

So, what should be done now? Both countries should step in to avoid the incident evolving into a hatred "between the people" of both countries. For this reason, Israel should be the first to step in.

 

DON'T GIVE OVER TO RADICALS

The removal of the Israeli Land Forces' commander would be considered as the first step by Ankara.

 

In return for this, Ankara could make a statement that would ease the tension and erase the "you know killing very well," remark...

 

Radicals dominate the atmosphere if these efforts are not made... And there is only one thing that the gallantry and radicalism in the streets brings…

 

Catastrophe...

 

Yazının devamı...

CHP's candidate leads a ruling AKP survey conducted for Istanbul

9 Şubat 2009

1- Erdogan asked an impartial institution to carry out the survey. The figures revealed that Kilicdaroglu leads the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP), Kadir Topbas by 1.5 percent... Of course, this is cause for alarm for the AKP.

 

Since the claim is serious, and since the person making it is the CHP's provincial chairman, I called him again to ask:

 

- Are you certain of the results?

 

He says: "Yes", and continues:

 

- They are absolutely correct… The prime minister also sees this. Notice that the prime minister is doing something that he should not be doing. He is contending directly with the CHP's candidate alone. That is because he has realized how tough the situation is. If he was to leave the campaigning to Topbas, the party would not succeed. Of course, it doesn't make any difference even if he does interfere into the campaign process.

 

So, how does the scene look on the "Istanbul Front" for both the CHP and AKP under these circumstances?

 

CHP'S STRATEGY

- In Istanbul, Kilicdaroglu started to differentiate from the CHP's central office. In my view, he does this purposely... He is softening opinions, particularly in a large segment of society, in this way... He is eyeing the votes of the other parties, including the Motherland Party (ANAP), Democrat Party (DP), Democratic Leftist Party (DSP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)... In other words, he is trying to establish an "Anti-AKP front".

 

Although he doesn't say it, he is trying to reach the ultra-conservatives segments of society, who are distanced from the AKP, by not opposing the CHP's recent "chador and Koran course initiatives". 

 

Kilicdaroglu says:

 

- My veiled sister waiting at a bus station; look, both you and the women passing you in her jeep have religious beliefs. Poverty has nothing to do with belief. I will exert every effort for the rights of the poor, regardless of what they believe and if they are veiled or not. It is for this reason I stand against poverty and corruption...

 

This is the message Kilicdaroglu is whispering in Istanbul...

 

AKP FRONT

- The prime minister personally interferes in the campaign in a bid to break the understanding that the "AKP is in defense"... In every situation, he attempts to show Kilicdaroglu and CHP are together. He is trying to place pressure on Kilicdaroglu by via attacking the CHP's leader, Deniz Baykal. He aims to maintain the support of all conservative people with his party.

 

AKP'S STRATEGY

The AKP campaigns on a district-by-district basis in a bid to lessen the risk of political fraying. Erdogan seeks votes for himself in Istanbul. What he constantly says while attacking the CHP is, "Look what you did and look at what we have done. You cannot launch a project; you can only argue and cast aspersions..."

 

CONCLUSION

So, is it possible for the AKP to lose its 15 year hold on Istanbul? Or, let's put the question another way:

 

- Sefa Sirmen was the previous mayoral candidate for the CHP in the last bi-elections. He was on trial at the time. The AKP won the election by 680,000 votes. Can Kilicdaroglu close the difference?

 

- It is clear that Kilicdaroglu has shown that he is the sole name prepared to put pressure on the current governorship...

 

For this reason the AKP front will do something special in Istanbul in the coming period...

 

 

Yazının devamı...

Everyone needs each other in the Middle East region

2 Şubat 2009

What will Israel do after this?

 

- Turkey and Israel are two important countries in this region. You’ll see that relations will continue in the same tone and at the same level in the coming term... This is the reality of diplomacy... Nobody needs one side more than the other. Everybody needs each other in this region... Israel will continue to give the same importance to Turkey. Just as Turkey does...

 

Tan, described the rhythm of relations between the two countries in the future as this... Plainly, this is the impression he got from Israel after the Davos crisis.

 

What about the sentiments of the two sides?

 

I also asked this of some very experienced diplomats in Ankara...

 

Here is my impression of both Turkey's and Israel's perspectives according to these discussions:

 

 

FROM TURKEY'S PERSPECTIVE

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has asserted great effort to achieve peace between Israel and Syria... Talks sourcing from mutual trust took place. What is more, hours of conversation text was dictated to the Israeli and Syrian leaders over phone. Erdogan reached the point of saying, "We brought about Middle East peace," to the entire world. He was dreaming of this. At that very moment Israel launched a ground offensive against Gaza. This situation created a huge disappointment for Erdogan. And the message that "Ankara is the center of a peace," which had hoped to be sent to the world, had failed to be delivered. This was evaluated as a "stab in the back". In other words a "complete disappointment..." Therefore the hatred rose and exploded in Davos.

 

 

FROM ISRAEL’S PERSPECTIVE

Israel was saying "the government in Ankara is very excessive" due mainly to the both Erdogan and his wife, Emine’s approach during the Gaza war. But the close cooperation between the two countries prevented Israel from responding. Instead, they shifted their focus during talks with Turkey, who undertook the task of mediating, and faced Egypt. This sent Ankara the message of, "You are closer to Hamas in your stance. I am losing confidence in you." Finally, Israel was shaken by Erdogan's remarks, "You know how to kill very well." Israel felt huge disappointment. The question being asked in Tel Aviv is that "Turkey was a friend of mine, what happened?"

 

SIMILAR FEELINGS

When the situation is evaluated from both sides it can be seen that the parties have similar feelings:

 

- "I was stabbed in the back... I am disappointed..."

 

But in the end, these "disappointments" are just filed away...

 

Diplomacy leaves them to be forgotten. All that remains is this:

 

- Erdogan was being accused by Israel recently of "using Hamas wording"... But now, he is not only an affective name for Hamas, but for the entire Arab world, beyond Egypt. From this point on, neither France nor Egypt would be seen as the sole representative of the Arab world. There is also Turkey now.

 

KEY COUNTRY FOR PEACE

This situation can trigger hostile plans in the Arab world, which I will refer to as "jealousy geography." In other words, it is possible that some people could explode a "bomb" in Tel Aviv in a bid to ruin this scene.

 

Therefore, the hand that Turkey extends to Israel has become even more important.

 

Because, not only Palestine, but a broader geography stands behind that hand.

 

This is why it is imperative that Turkey immediately repair its broken ties with Israel. Turkey can become a key country for achieving a real, lasting peace this time...

 

Yazının devamı...

U.S. Ambassador's message at a Turkish memorial

26 Ocak 2009

I wonder what for?

He not only makes the visit, but he writes in the memorial guest book, “The victory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk not only gave birth to our ally, modern Turkey, but served as an inspiration for all who yearn for independence and sovereignty”.

PICTURES ON EMBASSY INTERNET SITE

Photographs of the ambassador’s visit were uploaded onto the official U.S. Embassy Website... In other words he wants his "Duatepe visit" to be known...

What for?

-Has any other U.S. ambassador ever paid such a visit? I don't know. (They used to visit the southeastern province of Diyarbakir and the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP)).

And another question:

- Why did he want this visit to be made public?

Putting the pieces together...

Enmity against United States among radical religious supporters spread with the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza...

RUMOURS CIRCULATE

What’s more, new circles have joined this anti-American body in recent years...

 

One rumor that is increasingly circulating says:

-Certain people, including retired army commanders, harshly criticize the U.S... Anti-Americanism is being supported and gradually extending within these circles. The hatred has increased within the circles of those who refer to themselves as nationalist...  

- For instance, Tuncer Kilinc, a former general and General Secretary of National Security Council, harshly criticized the United States and the European Union during a conference held at the Turkish Staff Officers’ School and asked the question: "Why shouldn’t we cooperate with Iran and Russia?" 

- This anti-American alliance is a first... The Islamist National View meets at the line of anti - Americanism with those who refer to themselves as Nationalist-Kemalist...

 

MESSAGE TO PM'S ENVOY DAVUTOGLU

This is why Jeffrey's visit to the memorial is important...

 

The message being delivered is this:

 

"The new U.S. administrations will not allow those who conduct anti-American campaigns to use them for this purpose. We respect you, your history, the war of independence and also your sensitivities."

 

What’s more, the new ambassador delivers the following message to Prof. Ahmet Davudoglu, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Chief Foreign Policy advisor and Middle East envoy, who is also plays a role in determining Turkish foreign policy:

 

"Turkey has played a key role in the Israel-Palestine ceasefire process..."

 

This is a major show of support for Davudoglu, whose pro-active efforts for a ceasefire were harshly criticized as "unsuccessful". This statement can also be translated into verification of the Turkish government’s stake in the peace efforts.

 

Of course, this also has a practical side for the United States...

 

SYMPATHY BRIDGES

In addition, another important task for Jeffrey emerges... And that is to enable U.S. forces to withdraw easily via Turkey... He should establish new bridges of sympathy between Turkish society and the United States. Because U.S. forces will use this bridge of unity...

 

In summary:

 

U.S. President Obama's envoy Jeffrey says they are ready to open a new page...

 

This is the message sent from Duatepe...

 

Have we taken this message on board?

 

 

Yazının devamı...

Who fooled Turkey in the Hamas-Israel conflict?

19 Ocak 2009

This is a real test question for the government. A test question in the efforts to make Turkey "a solution center" in the Middle East... If the Foreign Ministry really had such a provision, then Turkey would not be seen as a country that is not aware of anything. As a result this war showed that:

 - The government, who built its foreign policy strategy on the basis that if a country wants to do anything to do in the region it should do it with Turkey, had been fooled in front of the whole world.

 BOTH SIDES FOOL TURKEY

Not only Israel, but Hamas who sent 200 rockets into Israel, also fooled Turkey.

 They prepared their plans for war as the "peace talks" were underway. And Turkey, who is not aware of these preparations, sent a messages of "don't worry, we are solving the issues" to the world. This is the "trust gap" that has existed in the Middle East for years.

Hamas said "Ok" but still sent missiles into Israel... Israel, paid a visit to Turkey at the prime minister level and shook hands for "Middle East peace", but later launched a massive attack against Gaza... And now, Iran shouts declarations of radicalism at every occasion and says "Didn't I tell you so? No peace can be established with these Jews."

 So, what will Turkey do in these circumstances? 

JUST AFTER DEFENSE AGREEMENT
What will these tears, meetings, harsh statements and protests against Israel count for? The ink on the December 18 defense agreement signed by Israel and Turkey had not even dried. Unmanned aircrafts was received from Israel just a month earlier... Our tanks are being modernized by Israel. There is a high trade volume between the two countries...

So what will Turkey do now? Will it end these contracts or deliver a note? Or will it cut ties with Israel? Are these any sort of solution and are they beneficial for Turkey

Of course not.

I believe there is a way out of this situation. But in order to achieve it, Ali Babacan, Turkey’s foreign minister, should listen to the nation’s experienced diplomats... The 20 or so Turkish diplomats currently serving in the region have not even been invited to the capital Ankara and asked their opinions.
 

BETTER THAN SHEDDING TEARS
A comprehensive evaluation meeting has not even been held... However, these meetings could be far more effective than angry speeches in front of crowds, banner waving, shedding tears, and protesting Israel in remarks broadcast on television.
 
Because diplomacy is not carried out emotionally, but logically.
 
WHAT ISRAEL SAYS

An Israeli official visiting Ankara said:


"Try to also understand us. Think about the mothers and children who rush to shelters daily when missile alarms sound. Hundreds of thousands of people residing in southern Israel live in a state of constant paranoia. What kind of psychology do the random missiles fired by Hamas create? We couldn't bear it any longer and said enough is enough."

 

I say this for anyone wondering what Israel has to say during this complicated period...

 

Yazının devamı...

The common factor preventing Arab countries from taking a stand over the Israeli Gaza offensive

5 Ocak 2009

Regardless of who is speaking on either of these two channels, the Israeli offensive on Gaza does not create any discussion on whether or not Israel is right in taking action.

 

The only two issues that are being discussed are the capturing of locations used by Hamas to fire missiles on Israel and the ceasefire process... In other words, from the very outset, Israel's operation is being legitimized by two international news channels.

 

Neither network talks about Turkey's efforts, and nor are Egypt and Syria mentioned...

 

There is a gaping silence... What else could be expected under the current circumstances?

 

What can a Saudi family, who has left the protection of its oil wells to the United States, do?

 

What can a Jordan king, who is bogged down in debt, do?

 

What solutions can the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, who faces the threat of the Muslim Brothers organization, offer? What show of power can Syria, who has lost its power, display? How can the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, who is weak, stand against this?

 

I am sure you have noticed that all these Arab countries have something common...

 

None of these countries has democratic regime... All of them are ruled by a dictatorship... Turkey is the sole country with a Muslim majority in the region that is ruled by democracy... And unfortunately, its "dreams of peace" could not move beyond a couple of official trips and a few Hamas visits...

 

It is pointless to even attempt to find a solution, because Israel is launching its ground offensive with permission from the United States. As a result, Israel won on the ground, in the air, and in diplomacy, in the war that took place on international television at 4:30 in the morning.

 

This is the reality... And the rest are details at the United Nations...

 

Yazının devamı...