The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
TOP AMERICAN COMMANDER IN IRAQ VISITS TURKEY
The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd Austin, has arrived in Turkey to hold security talks with Turkish officials.
The Interior Ministry says Austin on Tuesday will meet Turkish generals and Interior Minister Besir Atalay who recently traveled to northern Iraq to urge the Iraqi Kurdish administration to do more to stop Kurdish rebels from using the [northern Iraq majority Kursdish region] area to launch deadly attacks in Turkey. The Turkish parliament is to vote shortly on extending for another year a mandate authorizing the military to carry out cross-border operations against Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq. The current authority expires Oct. 17.
Turkey has long demanded that Iraq capture and hand over rebel commanders who fight for autonomy in Turkey's southeast.
ATALAY SAYS EXPECTATION CONVEYED TO US GENERAL FOR SOLID MEASURES AGAINST TERRORISM IN IRAQ'S NORTH
Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay said he conveyed during a meeting on Tuesday Turkey's expectations to Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, over solid measures against terrorist groups in the north of Iraq.
"We have taken up further intervention by the United States and Turkey's expectations regarding terrorist PKK's presence in Iraq's north," Atalay told reporters after his meeting with the top U.S. soldier in Iraq.
"One neighboring country cannot harbor a terrorist organization against another neighbor, which is also a provision of the Iraq's constitution," Atalay said.
Atalay said they had discussed several issues including security concerns in Iraq, fight against terrorism and the U.S. withdrawal of its troops from Iraq.
Atalay said Turkey, the U.S. and Iraq had recently agreed on an action plan against the PKK presence in Iraq's north, adding that the plan included diplomatic and military dimensions with a single goal to eradicate terrorism once and for all.
Atalay said the meeting did not take up a U.S. request to transit some of its troops over Turkey in their exit from Iraq.
TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS WITH IRAQI COUNTERPART
Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir Muhammad Jassim al-Mufriji al-Ubaydi said Tuesday that they appreciated Turkey's efforts for extension of the government's mandate to wage cross-border military operations, adding "our desire is that it will be limited."
Al-Mufriji and an accompanying delegation met with Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul in Ankara as part of their visit to Turkey.
Prior to the meeting, Al-Mufriji told reporters while replying a question about the government's mandate, "all our desire is that the mandate will be limited. I hope that all the problems would be resolved within the tripartite mechanism."
He added that they were aware of the difficulties faced by the Turkish Armed Forces.
The Iraqi defense minister said that Iraqi armed forces could fight against only the terrorist elements within Iraqi borders.
Turkish National Defense Minister Gonul said: "Today, we will talk about the fight against the PKK terrorism organization. Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay traveled to Iraq and held talks with local authorities in northern Iraq in order to find a solution to this problem under the tripartite agreement."
Earlier this week, a decision was opened for signature at Turkey's Council of Ministers meeting on extension of government's soon-to-expire mandate to wage cross-border military operations. The motion allowing the government to launch operations to eradicate terrorism threat and attacks stemming from north of Iraq against Turkey will expire on October 17.
FORMER TURKISH POLICE CHIEF HANEFI AVCI ARRESTED
An Istanbul court arrested Hanefi Avcı, the former police chief of Eskişehir and author of a controversial best-selling book, on Tuesday after he was taken into custody for [his] alleged links to an outlawed group.
Detained Tuesday morning in Ankara following a search of his house, Avcı was escorted to Istanbul later in the day, for questioning by the prosecutor. Avcı refused to testify, leading the prosecutor to request his arrest.
His office and residence in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir were also searched by police.
Avcı was recalled from active duty at his own request.
The former police chief was transferred to the Beşiktaş Courthouse in Istanbul under strict security measures and was reportedly being questioned by Public Prosecutor Kadir Altınışık as the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press Tuesday.
The former Eskişehir police chief was drawn into the media spotlight following the recent publication of his book "Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar: Dün Devlet Bugün Cemaat" ('Devotee' Residents of Haliç: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation).
The book alleges that the religious Fethullah Gülen community has covertly taken over control of the [Turkish] state. Avcı claimed in his book that members of the community, led by Fethullah Gülen, had illegally tapped telephone conversations, including some of his own phone calls.
Prosecutors in Ankara had called on Avcı to answer allegations that he had been using a telephone line belonging to a member of an illegal organization called "The Revolutionary Headquarters." He did not answer the accusations.
Members of The Revolutionary Headquarters were arrested last week in a series of operations carried out in various Turkish cities.
The telephone line in question allegedly belonged to Revolutionary Headquarters member Necdet Kılıç, who was detained after police reportedly found his fingerprints in the house of Orhan Yılmazkaya, the group's alleged leader. Yılmazkaya was killed last year in a shootout with Istanbul police that also claimed the lives of a police officer and a civilian.
During his questioning about the claims that Avcı used his phone line, Kılıç said: "They have tapped into the phone line that belongs to me by making it seem to belong to someone else. This phone-tapping is illegal."
Asked, "Do you know Hanefi Avcı?"
Kılıç replied: "I know him; he is my torturer. I was detained on the claim of being a member of the THKP-C [Turkish People's Salvation Party-Front] and then he tortured me."
Prior to his detainment, Avcı sent a written statement to some members of the media, saying he might be taken by force but refused to testify of his own accord.
"I will bow to no one and no office that follows the plan and program of the [Gülen] community and I will not answer any question from the judiciary, which I do not believe acts according to the laws of this state," Avcı said in his statement, in which he also denied any ties with The Revolutionary Headquarters.
GAZA CONVOY IN ISTANBUL TO COMMEMORATE DEAD ACTIVISTS
An aid convoy headed to the Gaza Strip stopped in Istanbul Tuesday to commemorate nine Turkish activists killed in an Israeli raid on aid ships in May.
"I greet the people of this great country and in particular the families of the martyrs who fell on May 31... in a massacre by the terrorist state of Israel," former British parliament member George Galloway, who leads the convoy, told reporters.
"Israel launched this attack to terrorize the world, to frighten them into leaving Gaza alone. But I say this now: we will never leave the people of Gaza alone," he added.
The overland convoy, including about 40 vans, cars and ambulances loaded with medical supplies and food, is organized by the Britain-based group Viva Palestina which campaigns for lifting the blockade of Gaza.
It set off from London on September 18 and passed through France, Italy and Greece before arriving in Turkey late Monday.
The about 90 activists in the convoy, nationals of a dozen countries, were to visit the graves in Istanbul of two of the nine Turks who were killed in the raid on the Mavi Marmara ferry, which was part of a flotilla that had aimed to break Israel's blockade of Gaza via the sea.
The convoy is scheduled to cross into Syria on Friday and meet up with fellow activists from Algeria, Jordan and Gulf countries, organizers said.
A total of up to 200 vehicles are then scheduled to take a ferry to Egypt and reach Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.
US CRITICIZES 'UNBALANCED' ISRAEL'S FLOTILLA RIGHTS PROBE
The United States on Tuesday criticized a UN probe into Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, urging the Human Rights Council to prevent the report from being used to torpedo peace talks.
"We are concerned by the report's unbalanced language, tone and conclusions," US ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the Human Rights Council. "We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks now underway or actions that could make it harder," she added.
A probe ordered by the UN Human Rights Council said last week there was clear evidence to back a prosecution against Israel for killing and torture when troops stormed the flotilla in May, leaving nine Turkish activists dead. The report also threw out Israel's argument that the activists were violent, thereby justifying the decision by soldiers to open fire. It found that no offensive weapons were taken on board any of the vessels of the flotilla except a few catapults.
From the outset, Israel has rejected the probe as biased. Other Western states however, called for the report to be transmitted to a separate United Nations probe into the incident which was set up by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders relaunched peace negotiations earlier this month but the fledgling process is already in danger after the expiration of a moratorium on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
SOYSAL NAMED NEW UN AID ENVOY TO PAKISTAN
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Turkish diplomat Rauf Engin Soysal as the new United Nations Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, replacing Jean Maurice Ripert of France, who held the post since last August.
Ban Ki-moon created the special envoy position last year to help the government and the international community to respond to needs in the wake of Pakistan's displacement crisis. About 2.3 million people, mainly in the northwest of the country, were displaced by fighting at the peak of the crisis last year, fleeing their homes as the Pakistani military moved against Taliban strongholds along the Afghan border to weed out insurgents.
FORUM TO FOCUS ON THE FUTURE OF BLACK SEA ECONOMIES
Representatives of the public and private sector from approximately 30 countries of the Black Sea and neighboring regions will come together for three days of brainstorming to explore ways [toward increasing] economic cooperation, which to this day remains below [its] potential.
The Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum 2010, which starts Wednesday in Istanbul, will try to contribute to the formation of "a greater sense of community across Eurasia and its neighborhood," according to Ross Wilson, director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, which is organizing the meeting.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and State Minister Egemen Bağış, also the chief negotiator to the European Union, are among the keynote speakers.
Speaking to a group of journalists Monday, Wilson admitted that complex political problems in the region complicate relations between countries. Yet, the political situation should not prevent the development of economic ties, he said. "People in this region are good at making money. If we can work with the business community to make money, setting aside politics, then we can form a constituency to make it easier to move toward political integration," the former diplomat said.
Georgia's prime minister and the economy ministers of Albania and Bulgaria will also be attending the meeting.
The list of participants shows the priority given to energy issues. Richard Morningstar, the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, Rovnag Abdullayev, the head of Azerbaijan's oil giant Socar, and Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, are attending the forum.
In addition to Iraq, Afghanistan is also invited to the forum. "Afghanistan's future is very important for the future of Eurasia," said Wilson, adding that Iraq's presence is also important within the framework of connecting Iraq's energy outlook with those of Turkey and Europe.
Although Wilson said Russia has a role to play in the region, Moscow is not represented by any high-level officials. As to the absence of Iran, Wilson emphasized their preference to look forward on optimistic venues as to economic cooperation and business development.
Iran is under economic sanctions due to its controversial nuclear program.