Tag Archives: Gul

Turkish President–We’ll Solve Kurdish Problem!

President Abdullah Gul said he was working to resolve problems with Turkey’s Kurdish minority and urged the European Union or other outside groups to remain out of the issue. “There are already good things happening. We are resolving our own internal problems.” He emphasized his government was trying to cooperate with the Iraqi Kurdish government in order to clamp down on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Gul is expected to meet with President Barzani of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. There is some speculation that Gul is contemplating a general amnesty for Kurdish militants who have been fighting for years.

Perhaps, this is another example of the United States distancing itself from a regional conflict since there are signs progress is being made to resolve this issue. The United States does not always have to go charging in and impose its will to end disputes. In most cases, that attitude results in making the situation worse.

Iran Dismisses Turkey Mediation Offer

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the recent offer by President Gul of Turkey to serve as a mediator in the conflict between the United States and Iran. “There is no need for mediation,” claimed the Iranian president, “our stance is clear; if there is justice and respect not issue would remain in the world.” President Gul has visited with Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to discuss his plans for serving as a mediator in the conflict between the US and Iran. An Iranian news agency claims Khamenei that “in cases of Afghanistan and Iraq, the American government made a big mistake and the stance o the current American issue of Gaza is one of America’s other big mistakes.”

Khamenei at this point sees no significant difference between Obama policies and those of George Bush in dealing with issues such as Afghanistan or the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Gul just met with the leaders of Iran and is trying to persuade them to engage more openly with the United States in order to resolve regional issues. Gul is trying to convince Iranian leaders a change in policy is taking place in the United States. Can he convince them is the question.

Turkish President Blasts Islamophobia

Palestinian leaders have been arguing with Israel for decades and during the same period have been bitterly opposed to one another. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, made clear there would be no success in establishing a Palestinian state until all factions agree to cease their infighting and unite in the pursuit of diplomatic victory. He was the first foreign born Muslim to address the Saudi Arabia Consultative Council and he spoke in support of the Saudi proposal for recognition of Israel in exchange for withdrawal to the 1967 borders including evacuation of the West Bank. But, he made clear conflict within the ranks of Palestinians has made difficult achieving Palestinian goals. Gul emphasized Palestinians had to embrace one another because “division among Palestinians is the heaviest dynamite in the foundations of an independent Palestinian state.”

Gul went to great length to make clear the Muslim religion is NOT one of terrorism or violence. “We’ve never had any business with terrorism; however, terrorists may emerge from (all) societies, from every religion.” Perhaps, it is time for Israeli leaders to reach out in peace with Muslim leaders who seek reconciliation and compromise. But, Israel, must accept the principle of compromise and giving up some of its goals.

Turkish Opposition Asks Prime Minister To Admit Mistake

Main oppsition leader Deniz Baykal urged Prime Minister Erdogan to admit his party’s mistke in attempting to impose Islamic law on the secular nation of Turkey. He insisted the move to have Turkey’s hgh court close down the Justice and Development Party on grounds it violates the nation’s law by seeking to end the secular nature of Turkey would be avoided if the AKP admitted it was wrong to move in this direction and promise not to impose Shariah law on the people of Turkey. Baykal said: “Tensions were ignited by the AKP under Erdogan’s leadership. We need to overcome this problem. We need a fresh start.” The current crisis arose when chief prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya asked the Constitutional Court to close down the AkP and ban its leaders from engaging in politics for five years.

Many members of the oppostion are still angry that Abduallah Gul was elected president of Turkey since he was one of the founders of the Muslim oriented AKP. They believe the presence of a known supporter of Islam as leader of their nation was a provocative action which was bound to divide the country into pro Islamic forces and those fighting for maintaining the secular nature of the nation.

The reality is that the only action taken by the AKP was to lift the ban on the wearing of headscarf that was imposed on Muslim women attending universities. Perhaps, it is time for President Gul to be more forceful by ensuring secularists of his desire to maintain secular institutions.

Turkey’s Tense Political World Relaxes

President Abdullah Gul took steps to reduce tension in his nation by inviting several opposition political leaders to meet and dicuss issues that appear to divide the nation. In recent weeks, Turkey’s political world has been shaken by charges from virtually all ends of the political spectrum. Nationalist politicians charged the Turkish army invasion of northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels was halted due to pressure from the American government. The government’s decision to push for an end to the ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in universities aroused the anger of liberals who fear it is the first step towards the implementation of an Islamc fundamentalist society. To top off the list of angry encounters, a public prosecutor called for closing down the AKP which is the party of President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan.

Several leading NGOs urged the nation’s leaders to come together in a spirit of good will and confront these divisive issues. Prime Minister Erdgan responded positively to the call: “I agree with the message’s content and welcome it…We are ready for the formation of common sense.”

Turkey has the opportunity to demonsrate to the Muslim world that an Islamic party can govern while allowing freedom for those who have secular beliefs.

Turkey Opposes Political Approach To Kurds

President Abdullah Gul told an American press conference he had not discussed with Presidcent Bush any possible resolution of his nation’s conflict with Kurds insurgents through means of political actions. He insisted Bush had never urged him to engage in political activities with the Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK) and supported Turkey’s military operations. US State Department spokesperson, Tom Casey, told reporters “we favor putting thee PKK out of business. It’s a terrorist organization.” Gul indicated his government is focusing on economic and social emasures that reach out to Kurds in Turkey, but he will not engage in poltical negotiations with those he deems to be terrorists. “You can’t seek a political solution here, just like you can’t seek a political solution to al-Qaeda attacks.” He will engage in political dialogue with the government of Iraq to secure their cooperation in dealing with PKK forces in northern Iraq.

There is a fundamental difference betwen the PKK and al-Qeada. The PKK wants to ensure that Turkish Kurds have rights. Many of its leaders have even expressed a desire to end the fighting in exchange for a blanket pardon, but Turkey has rejected those offers. There is no record of al-Qaeda offering to end terrorism if given a pardon. A political solution is possible with the PKK if Turkey will reach out and enter into negotiations.

Religious Bigotry In Turkey Forces Girls To Leave School

The Islamic Justice and Development Party of Turkey has worked hard to avoid arousing fears of secular Turks they will impose Sharia law on the population. Unfortunately, at the lower levels of Turkish society that message has not gotten through to those in charge of schools. Four female students at a Turkish vocational school who were living in dormitories were forced to leave the school when teachers and dorm officials tried forcing the girls to adopt formal Muslim attire such as making them pray, and wear a headscarf. Turkish education authorities made clear no one could be forced to pray or fast or wear a headscarf and the incident would be investigated.

The party of Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul is trying very hard to avoid such situations because forcing females to wear a headscarf is as incorrect as forbidding women to wear one. Hopefully, this is a minor incident that will not occur in the future.

Israel Urged By Turkey To Back Syrian Attendance At Annapolis

The Turkish government is presently hosting a meeting with Israel President Peres and Palestinian President Abbas in hope of fostering peaceful relations. President Gul urged Israel to support the presence of Syria at the upcoming Annapolis conference but the Israeli leader was hesitant since he charged Syria is hostile to peace. Gul also emphasized the importance that “tangible and cocnrete results” will emerge from the conference. He also supported the desire of Abbas that all meaningful issues related to the Middle East should be open for discussion at the conference. Peres responded: “I believe we can make peace with Palestine, it takes time to make peace.”

Perhaps, the United States might learn the importance of allowing regional powers such as Turkey to assume leadership in moving the Middle East forward toward peace. Gul is right that all issues must be discussed, that Syria should be invited, and that the end result has to be more than talk. Peres is right that peace takes time, but it is also important for immediate steps in order to build some momentum to further the progress. After all these years of talk and promises, the region is anxiously seeking concrete results today, not in some unknown future.

Turkey Girds For Action Against Kurdish Rebels In Iraq

A high level summit was held last night in Turkey as its top leaders and military officials met to discuss a response to the latest Kurdish attack on Turkish forces. At least 12 turkish soldiers are dead and a reported ten have been taken as hostages by PKK rebels. According to Prme Minister Recep Erdogan, “we will make a decision at the end of our discussion about what sort of step we will take.” Although he said Turkey would act in a “cool manner,” the president made it clear whatever action is taken would not be influenced by what others feel regarding an attack across the border into Iraq. President Gul said Turkey “has no eye on Iraq territory but it is Turkey’s right to stop this as long as Iraq harbors terrorists.”

The ironic aspect of the current Turkish-Kurdish controversy is that any Middle Eastern expert in 2003 knew an invasion of Iraq would result in establishment of a virtually independent Kurdistan and such a creation invariably would result in conflict with Turkey. This is a fall out of the Bush invasion of Iraq which was emotional rather than cooly logical and diplomatic. The one consistent pattern of the Bush administration is its angry, threatening rhetoric which panders to right wing extremism in America, but only incites anger and violence in the remainder of the world. Bush claimed the right to invade nations in the name of dealing with “terrorism.” His rhetoric is now echoed in Turkey by leaders who also want to resort to violence in dealing with terrorism.

Bush Might Appease Turkey To Soften Resolution Bite

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives passed by a 27-21 vote the resolution which condemns Turkey for its genocidal policies toward Armenians in the early years of the 20th century. The vote came amidst growing tension inside Turkey over murder of 15 soldiers by Kurdish soldiers who retreated into the sanctuary of Iraq after the attack. Pesident Abdullah Gul of Turkey said the vote “ignored appeals for commen sense and once again moved to sacrifice big issues to petty games of domestic politics.” There is talk of Turkish retaliation such as expelling thousands of Armenians who work in Turkey or impairing American military over flights of Turkey. Turkish politicians are also hinting at retaliating against Israel which for some reason is being blamed despite opposition to the resolution by prominent Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League. There are reports President Bush, who opposed the resolution, might try some way to appease Turkish anger.

Most probably Turkish political leaders don’t grasp by retaliating against Armenian workers they are demonstrating the validity of charges that Turkey has committed hostile acts on Armenians. Leaders like Gul claim America is engaged in petty politics, but why does Turkey refuse to acknowledge the massacre of thousands of Armenians except for Turkish petty politics?