The following are translated excerpts from the Turkish press.
PM ERDOGAN OFFICIALLY COMPLAINS TO THE COURT ABOUT GEN. BERK.
PM Erdogan claims that Gen. Berk (former commander of the Third Army–in charge of east and south east region of Turkey, recently appointed as the Commander of Training and Doctrine Command of Turkish Land Forces) accused him of selling the country in front of various witnesses. The PM said: "No such State personnel may accuse the other in front of the public without any direct evidence." Gen. Berk returned the Third Army Command Flag to his successor in a ceremony without any participation of civilian authorities in Erzincan.
INSISTENCE ON AUTONOMY
The leader of the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP], Selahattin Demirtaş, said in the southeastern province of Şırnak, "If you respect this people, you will accept their language, their culture and their demand for democratic autonomy."
THE "RED BOOK" IS TO BE AMMENDED
Publicly known as "Red Book," the National Security Policy Document is to be amended foir an October meeting of the National Security Council. The Members of the National Security Council gathered yesterday at the Dolmabahce Palace under the chairmanship of President Gul. A draft of the new "red book" was distributed to the members for their comments. It was noted that the draft reads: "the border neighbors will not be considered as an international threat to Turkey's National security any more." The new draft states that "irtica" (which has no definition in any legal document) is not an interior threat, but that organizations which are using religious beliefs for their policies are to be considered as internal treat. The new draft was prepared at the Prime Ministry, as opposed to the previous ones, which were prepared at the National Security Council Secretariat.
SHAME ON ISRAEL
It was revealed that the Mavi Marmara ship, which was raided by the Israeli commandos while carrying aid to Gaza ,was robbed by soldiers in Ashdod Port where it was anchored. An Israeli third lieutenant who had permission to enter the ship stole and sold laptop computers and mobile phones from the ship.
Two soldiers connected to the incident were detained.
TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ROTATING PRESIDENCY OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL
Turkey will take over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council on Sept. 1 for a month. President Abdullah Gül will host world leaders during the General Assembly meeting on Sept. 21. Issues such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, North Korea, the fight against terrorism, and climate change will be high on agenda of the meeting.
WARNING DELEGATION FROM THE UNITED STATES
The U.S. administration sent a delegation to Turkey and threatened to punish institutions doing business with Iran. The outlines of the warning are that sanctions will be imposed on those who invest in Iran's energy sector, like the Turkish Petroleum Corporation [TPAO], and those who sell processed oil products to Iran, like the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation [TÜPRAŞ]. In the event that their relations continue, all those companies' commercial relations with the United States will be terminated.
DEAL-MAKING BEGINS IN WAKE OF PKK CEASE-FIRE IN TURKEY
Following the announcement by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK], of a one-month Ramadan truce, the country's pro-Kurdish parties are determining how to respond to the move ahead of the Sept. 12 constitutional referendum.
"The Democratic Society Congress [DTK], an umbrella organization for Kurdish parties and actors, will gather Aug. 21 in Diyarbakır in order to discuss the possible outcomes of the cease-fire. Our demands will take final shape in that meeting," Bengi Yıldız, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party [BDP] told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday.
The PKK's cease-fire has been seen in some quarters as an initial gesture to strengthen the hand of the government in the referendum. The ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] is pushing for a "yes" vote on the proposed constitutional changes, while the BDP has called for a boycott unless the government meets its demands.
"The negotiation process can start if the government takes steps to meet our demands; then we can support the new Constitution," BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş said Tuesday.
The conditions set by DTK co-chair Ahmet Türk include ceasing military operations against the PKK, releasing arrested Kurdish politicians and reducing the 10 percent election threshold; there has been no immediate response from the government to the demands.
Türk said Wednesday that they would closely follow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit in early September to Diyarbakır, where he will address the public as part of his referendum campaign.
"We want to hear the messages we are awaiting from him," Türk told the private channel NTV late Wednesday.
Following the DTK's late-August meeting, BDP and DTK officials will ask for meetings with Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, Yıldız said. Gül is already planning to meet with Türk and his DTK co-chair, Aysel Tuğluk, the Daily News has learned.
Senior PKK member Murat Karayılan previously said the cease-fire was brokered following talks between the outlawed group and the government, a claim denied by the AKP in a written statement.
"Making negotiations with an illegal organization is out of question," the statement read, arguing that Karayılan's remarks were part of an anti-AKP propaganda effort to influence the referendum process.
The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
"It has become obvious that the government is in negotiations with the PKK for the referendum," Oktay Vural, deputy leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, told reporters Thursday.
Muharrem İnce, deputy parliamentary group leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP] also said Karayılan's statement reflected the collaboration between the government, the PKK and the BDP.
MGK convenes; Türk to meet Talabani
Pro-Kurdish politicians in Turkey are also seeking communication channels with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Iraqi Regional Kurdish Administration President Massoud Barzani in order to strengthen their hand politically. "We [asked for an] appointment long before. A couple of days ago, Talabani responded to our request," Yıldız told Daly News. "The visit will be held after the DTK gathering."
The DTK delegation to northern Iraq is likely to be led by Türk, Tuğluk and some BDP deputies.
The country's top security board meanwhile convened Thursday to review the state of anti-terror fight in the country amid the PKK's unilateral one-month ceasefire, one of the key topics discussed at the National Security Council [MGK] meeting. Security measures to be taken around the referendum and the future of Iraq following the withdrawal of U.S. troops were also on the agenda.
Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who will retire from the army in late August, participated in the MGK meeting for the last time, while Necdet Özel, the new gendarmerie commander, attended for the first time.
The meeting was ongoing as the Daily News went to press late Thursday.