"Stirrings" in the EU process…

Turkey’s EU process seems to have peripherialized in Turkish foreign policy but that does not mean there is no progress. There is at least some "stirring" recently. The new chief negoatiator, Egemen Bağış, whose sole duty will be the negotiation itself will certainly have an impact. There is a huge roundup here on TR’s EU process. Towards the end of the post, there is a roundup on the Davos aftermath. There are a few pieces on linking TR’s EU process to developments in the Middle East. Finally, there is the case of Atilla Olgaç, that I could not cover before. I have to agree with Hans who labelled him as "just another idiot amongst others"……

A White Gentlemen’s Club

The European Union will lose credibility with the rest of the world if it doesn’t manage to integrate Turkey fully, says Şeyla Benhabib, professor of political philosophy at Yale University"

CHP leader heads to Brussels

In Columnists

There has been quite a flurry of Turkish diplomatic traffic passing through Brussels recently. Two weeks ago Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid his first visit to the EU capital in over four years.

[How to win over my dad]A thoughtful, emotional and broad appeal for Turkey’s EU membership by WOUTER KLEIJN


Turkey’s European Union bid is going nowhere. Since 2005 the reform process has slowed down, the EU is divided, support among populations in both Europe and Turkey has declined.

Atilla Olgac; just another idiot amongst others

By Internation Musing

You must have a super ego with tendencies towards narcism if you declare on the Turkish national television without any emotions (sensitiveveless) that you have killed 10 people because one of your superiors told you to do so. And the Turkish prosecutors, always ready to drag a writer or journalist into court for insulting ‘Turkishness’, were silent the last week while in any other country the police will welcome you – outside the studio – for questioning when making such statement, so not in Turkey.

Sinan Ülgen : Turkey’s Middle Eastern Road to Europe

ISTANBUL – Just a few years ago, Europe headed Turkey’s agenda. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s newly elected government had embarked on a series of ambitious reforms to meet the European Union’s political criteria for membership. At the end of 2004, the EU decided to initiate accession talks.

Turkey calls for free movement of scientists

Scientists should be free to move between the EU and Turkey, according to Turkish Minister of State Mehmet Aydin.

Greek Cypriots to go to Europe court over Turkish actor’s remarks

Greek Cypriots will go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over a Turkish actor’s remarks that he killed a prisoner of war and nine other people during the 1974 Turkey’s military operation on the island. (UPDATED)

Turkey rejects criminal prosecution in apology campaign to Armenians

The office of the Ankara Public Prosecutor ruled Monday against demands for the criminal prosecution of individuals who initiated an Internet campaign to issue a public apology to Armenians.

Turkey’s Middle Eastern Road to Europe by Sinan Ülgen


İSTANBUL — Just a few years ago, Europe headed Turkey’s agenda. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s newly elected government had embarked on a series of ambitious reforms to meet the European Union’s political criteria for membership. At the end of 2004, the EU decided to initiate accession talks.Washington Times – Gaza offensive jeopardizes Israel’s relations with Turkey

Would it be traitorous if we were all Hrant for a day? by ALİN OZİNİAN


I was in either my first or second year of middle school — I can’t recall which exactly — but it seems to me that it was the winter months.


In Columnists

There was one question the Turkish prime minister was not asked during his recent visit to Brussels and we can only speculate how he might have answered.

Barroso says a Cyprus solution would be in Turkey’s interest | EuropeNews

Questions about AK Party’s Gaza policy by EMRE USLU & ÖNDER AYTAÇ


The following questions were raised by a Western journalist. It seems that people in Washington and Ankara are trying to find the answers to the following three questions.

New 301 hammer cocked and ready

ANKARA – Article 301 is in play again. This time it is threatening the online Armenian apology petition launched by some intellectuals to express remorse for the events of 1915.

EU rediscovering Turkey’s importance

By YASIN DOĞAN on Turkish Press Review

Turkey’s importance makes itself known in many fields. Ongoing investments in Turkey by EU member countries, bilateral economic and commercial relations between Turkey and these countries, and the sine qua non position of Turkey for Europe as a big market is again in the foreground.

No alternative to EU bid, says EU negotiator Bağış

ANKARA – In a three-hour briefing, Turkey’s new negotiator for EU talks, Egemen Bağış, responds to questions one by one from the members of Parliament’s EU Commission and sought support from ruling and opposition party deputies

Interview With Dr. Laciner on Gaza:

Military Power Alone Did Not Solve Any Conflict



Question: After three weeks of Israeli operations in Gaza, the death toll has risen to over 1300 people. What do you think about the operation?

S.L.: "Israel has been making a fundamental mistake, in that it thinks applying more and more military power will lead to an easier solution of the Palestinian issue. Military power alone did not solve any conflict in the world: If you aim only to abolish the other side, to destroy your "enemy’, you cannot reach a lasting and just peace and security. As a matter of fact that Israel’s power policies created Hamas; Israeli power policies today spawn future years of Palestinians. If you harass and humiliate Palestinians now, you cannot make any constructive negotiation with them. Even an enemy deserves respect. Israel poisons the next generations. Israel will have to negotiate peace with the Palestinians. Maybe that will not happen soon, but one day it will. Especially with Obama presidency we have more hope. However after the Gaza, under these conditions Palestinians are becoming more rigid, less moderate and less constructive.

Jewish community assured

ANKARA – Accused of pursuing an anti-Semitic policy during the Gaza war, the government has intensified dialogue with the Jewish community in Turkey to assure them they are fully-fledged citizens of the country.

Popular Turkish actor draws fierce reaction over Cyprus remarks

A Turkish actor drew fierce reactions in the country Saturday after remarks he made about killing 10 Greek Cypriots, including a prisoner of war, during Turkey’s 1974 military operation in Cyprus. Greece and Greek Cyprus in response urged Turkey to investigate the issue.

EU expert says clear-cut accession date key for Turkey


European Union expert Can Baydarol says Turkey needs to pressure the EU to obtain an unequivocal accession date for full membership, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a historic visit to Brussels on Jan. 19 to revive the country’s EU accession bid.

Heading toward disaster with Washington

In Columnists

There are many important issues facing Turkish-American relations in 2009. Yet the number one priority for the next couple of months should be to avert a major crisis on the Armenian question.

Relations with Obama’s America

By SAMI KOHEN on Turkish Press Review

During the presidency of George W. Bush, relations between Turkey and the US were shaken and anti-Americanism in Turkey swelled to such heights that hope was born with the thought that regardless of who was elected the next US president, things had to get better, especially when the news came that the next president to head for the White House would be Barack Hussein Obama.

New stance on the EU process

In Columnists

It is not difficult to predict that this year in Turkey will be the year of the EU. Last week, the previous chief EU negotiator and minister of foreign affairs, Ali Babacan, and the new chief EU negotiator and minister of state, Egemen Bağış, held a meeting.

Greece supports Turkey’s EU aspirations, but…

In Columnists

Earlier this week Greek Foreign Minister Dora “the giant” Bakoyannis spoke in Brussels. Conveniently, her speech did not touch on the really tough issues facing Greece — namely rocky domestic politics including ongoing riots and street protests, and Greece’s crumbling economy.

Crisis to revisit Turkish-US relations

In Columnists

Every year, a few months before the US president delivers an annual speech on April 24, the day on which Armenians commemorate the killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire in 1915, which they claim constituted genocide, relations between Turkey and the US enter a tense period.

Turkey focused on EU project

ANKARA – With its ruling and opposition parties, with its old and young, Turkey is focused on the objective of full membership in the European Union, said the country’s newly appointed chief negotiator for EU talks yesterday.

Turkey-Israel relations after Gaza, Mustafa Kibaroglu

In the future of turkey

A few days before the first Israeli air assault on Hamas strongholds in Gaza on 27 December 2008, a meeting in Ankara was held between Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert. The visit appeared to focus on reviewing progress in the previously secret talks between Israel and Syria that had been ongoing for more than a year under Turkey’s mediation (see Carsten Wieland, "The Syria-Israel talks: old themes, new setting", 27 May 2008)Mustafa Kibaroglu is an assistant professor in the department of international relations at Bilkent University, Ankara. This article, with slight editorial variations, was published in bitterlemons.org  

‘Turkey key player in realizing of Nabucco’


Sinan Oğan, director of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis (TÜRKSAM), has said Turkey has a greater role to play in the creati
on of the Nabucco pipeline project, which is to bring gas from the Caspian region to gas-hungry EU countries via Turkey and Georgia, in view of the fact that the problem of securing gas sources for the pipeline has not been solved yet.

Is Turkey parting ways with Europe? by ŞABAN ÇALIŞ


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s reaction to Israeli President Shimon Peres’ remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos is one of the visible reflections of the foreign policy that Turkey has been pursuing with respect to the Gaza crisis. From this perspective, the prime minister’s attitude in Davos is compatible with Turkey’s official policies as well as its current discourse.

Is Turkey alienated from the West?

In Columnists

Israel massacred civilians with the entire world as a witness for 22 days. The toll was high: 1,350 people died and 6,000 people wounded.

Jerusalem Post Analysis: The political logic of Erdogan’s attacks on Israel
The Turkish PM’s vitriol is part of an effort to change the country’s balance between mosque and state.

Ha’aretz Zvi Bar’el / Erdogan’s hypocrisy shouldn’t hurt Israel-Turkey ties Given Turkey’s own war on terrorism, Erdogan’s Davos tantrum was not a little hypocritical

The four lessons of Gaza, Lucy Nusseibeh

In Lucy Nusseibeh

The Israeli army’s display of overwhelming force in Gaza during the three-week war of 2008-09 has not achieved its stated goal, as rockets continue to fall on southern Israel. This campaign by one of the world’s best-equipped military machines, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and destroyed over 18,000 homes, has not been enough to provide the Israelis with the security they desperately seek.

One minute…

In Columnists

Just imagine (you’d better shut your eyes — this isn’t going to be easy) that a Turkish prime minister does attend Davos next year and gets into a very public quarrel with the speaker of the US House of Representatives.

What does Davos actually tell us?

In Columnists

Life is exactly like this. Man fancies that he can make plans, make adjustments and draft perfect projects, and then, something incredible happens. Even if conspiracy theories are offered, destiny steps in and makes its impression.

Erdoğan, Peres and the unclothed emperor

In Columnists

The Gaza panel at this year’s Davos meeting will be remembered as one of the most dramatic moments in the entire history of Davos. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s face-to-face blasting of Israeli President Shimon Peres was unprecedented, as was his storming out of the meeting.

Armenian genocide hypocrisies

In Columnists

Washington-based Jewish lobbies are angry at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It seems that at least some of them have already threatened Turkey with withdrawing their support against the repeated attempts of the American-Armenian diaspora to pass a resolution over allegations of an Armenian genocide.

EU process and Turkey’s role in the Middle East by EMRE USLU & ÖNDER AYTAÇ


One point that may have gone unnoticed during the Davos storm but is nonetheless an important fact is that Turkey’s European Union membership will make Turkey an active European player in the Middle East.

A conflict with Turkey would mean the suicide of Israel (1) by AHMET TURAN AYHAN


Let’s have a flashback about the Palestine cause:
Israel played the world like a fish and made itself seem like a big playmaker by holding the initiative consistently.

If Obama turns into Erdoğan

By FEHMI KORU on Turkish Press Review

If I haven’t misunderstood the situation, Arabs, expressing their pleasure with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defiant stance at Davos, have started comparing him to a former tough Arab leader, saying, "He is the new Nasser."

Double standard in language

By GÜLAY GÖKTÜRK on Turkish Press Review

No matter what kind of platform you adopt, no matter how "diplomatically" you express yourself, none of this can make you right if you are in the wrong to begin with.

Turkish Prime-Minister did all in Davos to snatch out leadership from Iran


* How the Armenian lobby wished Turkish Prime-Minister’s conduct in Davos would have no effect on the Jewish lobby’s position on the Armenian Genocide!

Erdogan’s demarche in Davos aroused vain hopes in the US Armenian Community, as well as in the whole Armenian nation that the Jewish lobby might contribute to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Turkey on the side of the US Congress. At first glance, the Turkish press is seriously alarmed at such turn of events and keeps reminding that Turkey and Israel are allies and that the Davos occurrence was not aimed against the Jews.

The Gaza war and the Syria-Israel front , Carsten Wieland

In institutions & government

The strategic and political reverberations of Israel’s military operation in Gaza are being felt across the middle east. Amid intense diplomatic efforts to end the continuing violence and to agree a framework for Gaza’s reconstruction, all the major players involved in the core Israeli-Palestinian conflict – including the United States and Iran – are sifting through the rubble in search of  opportunity.

‘To Erdogan’ Is a Verb – Nine Things I Learned in Davos – TIME


It didn’t take long for Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s headline-making walk-out during a panel discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres to begin inspiring linguistic innovation. Bailing out on a discussion early—even without getting visibly angry about it—became known as ‘Erdoganning’ (As in, ‘Steven Schwarzman totally Erdoganned on that lunch.’). Let’s hope this catches on outside Davos as well."

Behind the Turkish Prime Minister’s Outburst at Davos


When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dubs himself a ‘Kasimpasa man,’ he is not referring simply to the drab, otherwise unremarkable middle-class Istanbul neighborhood in which he grew up, but instead to the macho code of honor for which it is famous. Kasimpasa men are notoriously quick to anger, painfully proud and blunt in word; they’re often called local cowboys. Erdogan’s blustery Kasimpasa bravado accounts for much of his popularity among Turkey’s conservative, male-dominated society, whose electorate last year returned him to power with 47% of the vote."

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