The following are translated excerpts from articles that appeared in the Turkish press.
PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN MEETS WITH TGS CHIEF BASBUG AHEAD OF THE CRITICAL MILITARY COUNCIL MEETING
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of the General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ held on July 29 a 140-minute meeting ahead of a high level military council meeting in which promotions and retirements in the army would be decided. The military council meeting is seen as critical, especially because a number of senior generals awaiting promotion but who are under a probe for their suspected involvement in an alleged attempted military coup.
US APPRECIATES TURKEY
Robert Einhorn, Senior advisor to the State Department on nuclear arms control says:" We appreciate the efforts of Turkey to convince Iran to take more reasonable position on nuclear issues. We know that Turkey shares the same policy with the US: to prevent Iran having nuclear weapons. Sometimes we disagree on tactics with Turkey but we know that Turkey wants to solve Iran's nuclear problem, too.
ARMENIAN-AMERICANS SUE TURKEY FOR CENTURY-OLD LOSSES
Armenian-American lawyers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Turkish government and two banks, seeking compensation for the heirs of Armenians whose property was allegedly seized nearly a century ago.
Lawyers are iniutiating a class-action suit, a process attorney Brian Kabateck said could take as long as three years.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Garbis Davouyan and Hrayr. It alleges breach of statutory trust, unjust enrichment, human rights violations, and violations of international law.
Compensation is being sought for land, buildings and businesses allegedly seized from Armenians as they were driven from the Ottoman Empire; assets include bank deposits and property, including priceless religious and other artifacts, some of which are now housed in museums in Turkey.
Attorney Mark Geragos said it was the first such lawsuit directly naming the government of the Republic of Turkey as a defendant. "All of the lawyers involved have relatives who perished or fled the Armenian genocide, which gives it a special poignancy for us," he said.
The lawsuit claims more than a million Armenians were killed in forced marches, concentration camps and massacres "perpetrated, assisted and condoned" by Turkish officials and armed forces.
Turkey fiercely rejects the "genocide" label, saying thousands died on both sides in what amounted to civil strife. The U.S. government does not recognize the World War I-era killings as genocide.
Also named in the lawsuit were the Central Bank of Turkey and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi, the largest and oldest Turkish bank, with origins dating back to the 1860s.
The lawsuit claims the government of Turkey agreed to administer the properties, collect rents and sale proceeds from the seized assets, and deposit the receipts in trust accounts until the property could be restored to owners.
Instead, the lawsuit said, the government has "withheld the property and any income derived from such property."
A message left with the Turkish Consul General's office in Los Angeles was not immediately returned. After-hours e-mails seeking comment from both banks were not answered.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs believe that records of the properties and profits still exist, and are seeking an accounting that could reach billions of dollars.
Geragos said that the biggest issue in Armenian communities is seeking recognition for what he termed ethnic bloodshed between 1915 and 1919.
In 2000, the California Legislature recognized the deaths as genocide when it allowed heirs to seek payment on life-insurance policies of dead relatives. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later invalidated the law. Geragos has appealed that ruling. Still, the heirs were paid nearly $40 million by New York Life Insurance Co. and French insurer AXA.
TURKISH FM SAYS 'NO CRISIS' WITH U.S. NOW OR IN THE PAST
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has denied the existence of any long-lasting diplomatic crisis with the United States, either currently or in the past, saying that, instead, the two countries' strategic priorities and approaches overlap.
"No long-lasting crisis has occurred between Turkey and the U.S., neither in the past nor now," Davutoğlu said in an interview with CNNTürk television late Wednesday, adding that the strategic priorities and methods employed by the United States, and the language used by U.S. President Barack Obama, had much in common with Turkey's approach.
The foreign minister said no problem has occurred in Turkish-U.S. relations in the wake of Turkey's "no" vote against the sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.N. Security Council. He added that the uranium swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil, known as the Tehran Agreement, did not lose its meaning in the wake of the sanctions vote, and was still valid.
"The process has already begun, and technical negotiations have been underway," Davutoğlu said. "We agreed in principle that a meeting could take place in September. But the date can change. Both parties want Turkey to be involved in the process."
Following his trilateral meeting with the foreign ministers of Iran and Brazil on Sunday, Davutoğlu said a meeting between Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and the EU's foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, could take place in early September.
In the interview with CNNTürk, Davutoğlu also touched upon the terrorism issue, describing the country's fight against terror as the most vital issue on the agenda. "We want to maintain our fight against terror without narrowing democracy and making any restrictions about human rights," he said.
Asked about the Israeli raid on the flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza, Davutoğlu said: "As the government, we made all necessary warnings. But we do not have the right to prevent a nongovernmental organization [from organizing the flotilla]. Israel today experiences the biggest isolation in its history since it has contradicted the conscience of humanity."
CROWD WAITED FOR BDP CONVOY WITH STICKS IN THEIR HANDS
As the tension caused by the killing of 4 police officers in Dörtyol, Hatay, raged on, the town continued to be the venue of interesting scenes. A convoy of 50 buses carrying Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members, including the Chairman of the party, Selahattin Demirtaş, and deputies from the party, set off from Diyarbakır to Hatay. As the convoy approached Dörtyol, reinforcements were dispatched to the town where tension escalated. Some groups waited for the BDP convoy with sticks in their hands.
In the end, the Hatay governor did not let the BDP convoy into the province on the grounds that it could lead to irreparable situations. The convoy, which was stopped at the Erzin gate of the Adana-İskenderun highway, turned back. Demirtaş, who spoke to Milliyet, said Interior Minister Beşir Atalay called him the night before and said, "We are investigating the incident. It will be better if you go a few days later."
RETIRED AMBASSADOR BOLUKBASI SAYS CELIK NOT TELLING THE TRUTH ON DUBAI AGREEMENT
The Dubai agreement, with which the main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu accuses Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with treason, vowing to make him wear the agreement over his neck, was first brought to light by Cumhuriyet newspaper on September 26, 2003. The 8.5 billion USD loan agreement, signed by Ali Babacan. was the means through which the U.S. forced Turkey to not enter the north of Iraq.
Muharrem İnce of the CHP said that retired Ambassador Deniz Bölükbaşı, now a lawmaker from Nationalist Movement Party, was willing to testify. According to İnce, Bölükbaşı says Jthat the ustice and Development Party's Hüseyin Çelik, who claimed that the agreement did not contain a provision to prevent deploying troops in the north of Iraq, was not telling the truth, adding that the agreement itself the result of negligence and depravity.
TURKISH CYPRIOT FM: "PLAN B" READY IN CYPRUS TALKS
The foreign minister of northern Cyprus said Wednesday that an alternate plan has been drawn up in the event that there is a failure in Cyprus reunification talks.
Foreign Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün, however, did not elaborate on the plan, saying, "We are not discussing it due to our intention [of reaching] a settlement on the island."
Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders have been continuing United Nations-sponsored Cyprus talks since September 2008 to reunify the island. Leaders discussed the "property issue" at their recent meeting on Wednesday.
The Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly said talks cannot continue forever, and must conclude with a settlement by the end of 2010.
In an interview with Turkish Cypriot state-run TV channel BRT, Özgürgün said that the Greek Cypriot side wanted to link the property issue with territory and settlers from Turkey, in a move to put talks on a difficult course.
"Greek Cypriots are trying to avoid a deal," he said. "They have never said 'yes' to a state based on equal partnership with Turkish Cypriots. Their aim is to recognize Turkish Cypriots as a minority and claim right to the whole island."
Stating that the Cyprus problem could only be resolved by two alternatives, Özgürgün said: "either two separate states are accepted or a new partnership should be formed."
At this point, he said, the international community should warn Greek Cypriots that the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be recognized if Cyprus reunification talks fail in the end.
"Someone must give a deadline to the Greek Cypriot side," he said. " This is not a threat, but facts must be seen."
Meanwhile, Turkish Cyprus President Derviş Eroğlu hosted a dinner in honor of the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration, Dimitris Christofias, and his wife, late Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after the dinner, Eroğlu said that meeting with Christofias, away from the negotiation table, was crucial for friendship. This friendship, Eroğlu stressed,
would pave the way for a fair solution at the negotiation table.
Social activities, he said, such as the dinner, have a positive reflection on the negotiation table. Eroğlu continued that Christofias had invited him to a dinner, but added that no date had yet been set.
Christofias, for his part, told the press corps that the dinner, which lasted two and a half hours on Wednesday, took place in a nice and sincere atmosphere.
"The dinner will contribute to our social relations," Christofias said.