The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
THREE MESSAGES FROM IMRALI
Co-Chairperson of Democratic People Congress Aysel Tugluk visited Abdullah Ocalan in Imralı yesterday. She made this visit in her capacity as a lawyer along with Ocalan's three other lawyers.
According to her, Ocalan had three messages for Turkey:
1-PKK will extend inaction process [ceasefire] at least one year;
2-Permanent ceasefire and peace will be realized in a certain period of time;
3-Problems will be solved within Turkey's [unified structure].
FIRST DIALOGUE, FIRST BARGAIN
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu got together at the meeting of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen at the Rixos hotel in Ankara.
Erdogan told Kılıçdaroğlu: "You said that the constitutional amendment package can be passed in a week. How can we do that? If you are ready, we can start to work."
Kılıçdaroğlu said: "Party groups should hold talks and establish a commission. We can enact articles on which this commission agreed."
Erdoğan responded: "You made promise regarding the headscarf during rallies. Parliament's recess will end on Oct. 1. We can support your proposal on the matter."
FORMULA BY BARZANI
The leader of the regional administration in the northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, announced his plan for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK].
Barzani said that the inaction [ceasefire] by the PKK should continue. "The PKK should be initially divested of heavy weaponry. Those in the mountains should be relocated to villages and camps. Until there is a solution, they should have their own defense zones."
HANEFI AVCI, FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE OF ESKISEHIR, IS IN CUSTODY
Police took Hanefi Avci into custody and searched his office in Eskisehir and his house. He is now on the way to Istanbul from Ankara with two police escorts to testify about his recent book "Simons living in Golden Horn."
POLITICIANS SHOULD USE THEIR ENERGY FOR THE COUNTRY
President Abdullah Gül said that polarization in politics was dangerous. "Politicians should use all their energy for the future of their country, not for mutual struggles. This is what we need," Gül said.
The president also noted that Turkey's problems could be solved in an easier way if everybody participated in the process.
ILHAN KESICI RESIGNED FROM CHP
CHP Istanbul Deputy Ilhan Kesici resigned from his party today. He said he has very good memories during his term of three years. The CHP now has 101 deputies [members of parliament], the number of independent deputies grew to 7.
ISRAEL MADE A GREAT MISTAKE, TURKISH PRESIDENT SAYS
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said about the Israeli attack on the six-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May.
"Israel made a great mistake." President Gul appeared on CNN International's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and gave his points of view on relations with Israel. When asked about impacts of the attack on Turkey-Israel relations, President Gul said: "This is not our choice, you see. We do not prefer this deterioration in the relationship but unfortunately it was a great mistake from Israeli side because this blockage, embargo on Gaza."
"It was not only Turkey which criticized blockade and embargo on Gaza. U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, members of the UN Security Council, and the European Union member states called on Israel to lift the embargo. Can we ignore it? Can we forget what happened in the Mediterranean Sea? Can we forget that eight Turkish citizens and an American citizen were killed on that ship? Those ships were carrying humanitarian aid. They did not commit any crime. It is a human value to give a helping hand to people who are desperate. There were representatives of non-governmental organizations on board the ship," he said.
Upon a question about Hamas, President Gul said: "After Hamas won elections in Gaza, a delegation from Hamas visited Turkey. They came. And, we talked with them, all in detail, and we told them, 'Look, now, your direction should be different from now. You are elected democratically, you should act democratically. Terror sending is nonsense, rockets -- you stop all these things'."
President Gul rejected allegations that Turkey pursued an aggressive foreign policy against Israel in order to improve its relations with the Arab world.
"We are not against Israel. We are not the enemy of Israel. But we do have the right to criticize [its] wrong policies," he said.
Asked whether Turkey-Israel relations could return to normal again, President Gul said it was up to Israel to decide if it wanted to re-establish the friendliness that existed before.
When recalled of statements of Israeli President Shimon Peres who said that a meeting that was supposed to take place between himself and Gul, but was allegedly canceled because Israel did not apologize or offer compensation to Turkey, President Gul said: "That version is not correct. There was not such an appointment."
Asked whether he would meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres without expecting him to apologize, President Gul said: "They are defending their act and they are criticizing us as if we acted somehow wrong. With this understanding how can I meet?"
Asked whether Turkey was a loyal ally of the U.S. and the West, President Gul said: "Turkey is a part of the Alliance [NATO] and there have been sound relations between Turkey and the USA. President Obama preferred Turkey as his first ever visit to a Muslim country [as U.S. president]. Turkey and the USA are allies. Turkey is the only country which increased number of its troops in Afghanistan."
Replying to a question about Iran, President Gul said, "there are two ways to resolve this issue -- waging war or using diplomacy. We prefer diplomacy."
TURKEY TO SEEK SEAT IN UN SECURITY COUNCIL FOR ANOTHER TERM BEFORE 2020, TURKISH FM
A top Turkish diplomat on Monday said his country planned to seek a non-permanent seat for another term of two years before 2020.
"Before 2020, Turkey will be candidate for the UN Security Council membership. We are working on which year it would be but with the power and the influence Turkey has, it is one of the top countries that contributed to the global peace the most," Ahmet Davutoglu told a press conference in New York.
Davutoglu, Turkish president, as well as the country's economic and environment ministers have been participating in the 65th General Assembly Meetings of the United Nations.
Turkey is one of the ten non-permanent members of the UN Security Council and the country's term will expire January 1, 2011.
The Turkish foreign minister said Turkey's foreign policy had been passing through "a structural transformation," adding that the country had started to get involved in global issues directly.
"Turkey is more interested in issues that only concerns itself such as Cyprus, Iraq, the Balkans and the Caucasus. With a non-permanent seat in the Security Council, Turkey is now making some serious contribution to crisis solving in issues of global scale," he said.
Davutoglu said Turkey and Finland had started a new group that aimed cooperation between countries and non-governmental organizations for peace mediation.
"What we will try to do is that we will bring together countries and organizations that exert effort for peace under a group that facilitates cooperation, solidarity and consultation with regular meetings," Davutoglu said.
TURKISH GOV'T PLANS EXTENSION OF PKK STRIKE MANDATE
The Turkish government will ask parliament to extend a mandate for military strikes on outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] bases in neighboring Iraq, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek said Monday.
The current one-year mandate expires on October 17.
"The motion was presented to the ministers today to be signed and will be discussed in parliament when lawmakers return from summer recess in October," Çiçek, who is also government spokesman, told reporters after a cabinet meeting. The motion is likely to be easily approved by parliament, in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds a comfortable majority. The mandate authorizes the government to order cross-border military action against PKK hideouts in northern Iraq which the PKK members use as a launching pad for strikes on Turkish targets across the border. Parliament has already twice extended the mandate, which was first approved in 2007. Using intelligence supplied by the United States, the Turkish army has staged a series of air raids against PKK targets in the region since December 2007, and carried out a number of ground incursions. PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
AID CONVOYS BLAMED FOR LINGERING GAZA MISERY
The ongoing dispatching of convoys of humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip are counterproductive to achieving peace in the region, a representative of a medical center in the area has said.
"By bringing in so-called aid, the convoys are supporting Hamas; they are supporting extreme groups that want to show that Israel is not doing enough for the people of Gaza," Lea Malul, the public-affairs director of a medical center in Ashkelon and a representative of The Israel Project, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in a Monday interview.
Speaking as the "Viva Palestina," an aid convoy carrying medical equipment, medicine and food to Palestine arrived in Istanbul en route to Gaza – which it is expected to reach in mid-October – Malul came to Turkey as part of a TIP effort to explain the situation in Gaza to the Turkish media. Emphasizing the longstanding relationship between the two countries, Malul called for Turkish and Israeli people to unite for peace in the region.
Malul, who is 46 and has four children, has worked for more than 10 years in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, under 10 kilometers from the Gaza Strip's northern border and 56 kilometers from Tel Aviv. The center offers medical services to the city's 500,000 inhabitants as well as injured and ill people from the Gaza Strip.
"The medical center where I am working is unique," she said, explaining that it not only served all patients, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, but was also exposed every day to the risk of a rocket attack.
Noting that Israelis and Palestinians used to live peacefully and move freely across the border, Malul said the situation had deteriorated and added that she and her family had had difficulty remaining in contact with their Palestinian friends.
A recent U.N. probe was "one-sided" Malul said, adding that Israeli military forces had violated human-rights law and international humanitarian law with their deadly May 31 attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
"I will only rely on the results of the investigations by the Israeli authorities," she said, adding that the U.N. Human Rights Council's report was unreliable because the organization had showed its bias by not investigating the case of an Israeli soldier kept prisoner by Hamas for four years.
She further said the threat of weapons smuggling by the flotilla left Israel with no other choice but to intervene.
Still, Malul said she was optimistic that a solution for peace and stability between Israel and Palestine would soon be achieved.
"At the end of the day, [both peoples] understand what we want; we want a quiet life, we want to raise our children and bring them to school in a quiet way," she said.