Fatih Çekirge - English

Four capital cities, 10 extraordinary days

2 Mart 2009
An unbelievable level of traffic is taking place between Washington, Ankara, Tehran, and Baghdad...

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.


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

23 Şubat 2009
Cuneyt Ulsever, a columnist for Hurriyet daily, made a very interesting comment last week; in brief he said:

- 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.


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That Israeli commander should be removed from office

16 Şubat 2009
Who was the accusation, “You know very well how to kill people," which was made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Davos, directed at?

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...


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

9 Şubat 2009
Why does the Turkish Prime Minister pay so much attention to Istanbul, particularly to main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ahead of the upcoming March bi-elections? I put this question to Gursel Tekin, the CHP's Istanbul provincial chairman; his response was very biting:

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:


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Everyone needs each other in the Middle East region

2 Şubat 2009
I asked Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, who monitored the war and the recent Davos crisis, about the other side’s perspective.

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?

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

26 Ocak 2009
Newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Ankara, James Jeffrey, visited one of the most important memorials of our Republic at Duatepe, the site for the pitched battle of Sakarya...

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”.


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?

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Who fooled Turkey in the Hamas-Israel conflict?

19 Ocak 2009
A question circulates the increasingly secluded corridors of the Foreign Ministry headquarters: "How is that the Foreign Ministry failed to learn that Israel would attack Gaza prior to the operation? If they did know, how would they have reacted towards Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during his Ankara visit?"

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.


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? 


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

5 Ocak 2009
It is 4:30 am on Sunday morning, and while most Turks are still asleep, two international television news networks, CNN and BBC, air live broadcasts from Gaza, as one point draws my attention.

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?


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