The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS SHOW TURKEY HELPED AL-QAIDA
Wikileaks is planning to release files that show Turkey has helped al-Qaida in Iraq, according to London-based daily Al-Hayat. The newspaper also reported that the U.S. helped the PKK, a Kurdish terror organization.
One of the documents, a U.S. military report, reportedly charges Turkey with failing to control its borders, because Iraqi citizens residing in Turkey provided al-Qaida with supplies to build bombs as well as guns and ammunition.
A Wikileaks administrator also told Al-Hayat that the site needs Turks to volunteer to translate documents about Turkey's role in the war in Iraq and its bid for EU membership.
Other documents show that the U.S. has supported the PKK, which has been waging a separatist war against Turkey since 1984 and has been classified by the State Department as a terrorist organization since 1979. The U.S. military documents call the PKK "warriors for freedom and Turkish citizens" and say that the U.S. set free arrested PKK members in Iraq. The documents also point out that U.S. forces in Iraq have given weapons to the PKK and ignored the organization's operations inside Turkey.
On Wednesday, the Obama administration said that it had alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with friends and allies across the globe.
Officials said the documents may contain everything from accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians to disclosures of activities that could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.
U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that WikiLeaks may release these documents in the next few days.
"These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."
Crowley said the release of confidential communications about foreign governments probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner and could cause embarrassment if the files should include derogatory or critical comments about friendly foreign leaders.
"When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact," Crowley said.
U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that WikiLeaks may release these documents in the coming days, Crowley told reporters.
A Pentagon spokesman, Marine Col. David Lapan, said the Pentagon also has notified congressional committees of an expected WikiLeaks release. He said the files are believed to be State Department documents, but they could contain information about military tactics or reveal the identities of sources.
A statement on WikiLeaks Twitter site Wednesday said "the Pentagon is hyperventilating again over fears of being held to account."
DEED IS READY MONDAY
All the procedures needed to transfer the orphanage in Büyükada to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate have been completed. Patriarchate's attorney Cem Sofuoğlu will get the deed for the orphanage on Monday and then travel by ferry to deliver it to Patriarch Bartholomeos. "We are witnessing such a thing for the first time in the history of Republic of Turkey. It could not have been achieved if there had not been the political will," Sofuoğlu said.
COME, LET US ESTABLISH MIDDLE EAST SCHENGEN
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at a ceremony in Lebanon held to present him the "Leadership of the Year" award. Turkey is a country whose face is turned to the West and who is engaged in full membership talks with the European Union. However, this does not require us turn our back to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
"We have removed visa requirements with Syria, Libya, Jordan and Lebanon, we have not lost anything. EU says 'Schengen'. Why can't we make a similar Schengen among us? It is not possible to understand this meaninglessness, this fear and this reservation," Erdoğan said.
THOSE WHO SAY THERE IS AN AXIS SHIFT ARE ILL-INTENTIONED
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was given "Leadership Award" by the Union of Arab Banks in Lebanon on Thursday. Speaking at the ceremony, Erdoğan said those who assigned a different meaning to Turkey's closeness to Arabic countries and tried to start axis shift discussions were ill-intentioned.
"In fact they are jealous of our solidarity. The target is different," he said.
TURKEY "WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT" IF ISRAEL ATTACKS LEBANON
Turkey will not remain silent if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Beirut on Thursday, as ties between the longtime allies remained at an all-time low.
"Does Israel think she can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?" Erdogan said at a conference organized by the Union of Arab Banks. "Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us."
Turkey was once Israel's closest military and diplomatic ally in the Middle East but ties began to deteriorate when Ankara criticized Israel's December 2008 to January 2009 offensive against Gaza. Relations then nosedived on May 31, 2010 when Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish-registered protest ship, the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the operation.
Erdogan has said his country will not begin to restore relations with Israel until it apologizes for its "savage attack" on the vessel. Thursday was the final day of the Turkish premier's two-day visit to Lebanon, during which he inaugurated a burns treatment center in Sidon, a major southern coastal city.
South Lebanon was badly hit during the Hezbollah militia's deadly 2006 war with Israel.
TURKEY RISKS INCREASING TENSION WITH EU AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
Turkish-EU relations could be set for more tension with elections in the country approaching, analysts warn. EU diplomats, however, are expressing concerns about any escalation in rhetoric. "It would be a real shame if such an important issue for the future of over 70 million Turkish people was subordinated to short-term politics," says one diplomat.
Strong-worded remarks by Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bağış have irked some European diplomats, who are calling on Turkey to avoid escalating tensions with the bloc.
Turkey's government risks ratcheting up tensions with the European Union to score points with voters back home in the lead-up to general elections next June, according to analysts and EU diplomats.
"Turkey can no longer make any gestures especially about the Cyprus issue as the elections are coming. The language employed by Turkish politicians could harden in the coming period," Nilgün Arısan, an EU expert from Ankara-based think tank TEPAV, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday. A lack of an opening from the EU side could give the government the chance to challenge Brussels, she said.
The initial signs of policy tension on the part of the government emerged earlier this week when Turkey's top EU negotiator, Egemen Bağış, told a conference that, "If tension is expected from us, we are ready for that, too."
His remarks irked EU officials in the Turkish capital. "We are concerned about any escalation in rhetoric during the election process," one EU ambassador told the Daily News on condition of anonymity.
Another EU diplomat also said it was a sensitive time, adding that there were many opportunities as well as risks. "It would be a real shame if such an important issue for the future of over 70 million Turkish people was subordinated to short-term politics."
While the EU does not necessarily have high expectations of the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] given the critical run-up to elections, what is most feared is a repeat of the Luxembourg crisis of 1997, during which then-Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz openly challenged the bloc after member states overtly stated that Turkey would never be permitted to join. By 1999, relations had returned to normal as Turkey was provided with official candidate status at the Helsinki summit, yet problems have remained. Turkey formally launched accession negotiations in October 2005, but the talks have come to a near standstill both due to the unresolved Cyprus dispute and because of stiff opposition to any Turkish membership from some EU members. As such, Ankara has opened only 13 of 35 policy chapters since accession negotiations began.
"I don't believe the ties will reach a point of complete rupture. I don't expect another Luxembourg crisis," said Can Baydarol, an expert on Turkish-EU relations from Istanbul's Bilgi University. "That would benefit neither Turkey nor the EU," he said, adding that it is unlikely that relations would proceed in such a fashion. "It is necessary to turn a new, white page and the two sides should take symbolic steps." The major stumbling block in Turkish-EU relations is the fate of the long-divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
Brussels, the locus of the EU decision-making process, has criticized the Turkish government for not even partly meeting the requirements of the Ankara protocol under which Turkey is obliged to open its ports to shipping from Greek Cyprus. The EU Commission has drafted several proposals to break the deadlock in the hopes of a partial solution, but Ankara has categorically rejected them, saying it will not compromise unless progress is made on past EU promises to lift the sanctions imposed on northern Cyprus. "The two sides' positions on Cyprus are quite clear. If some progress had been made on the EU Commission-proposed direct trade regulation, Turkey could have taken some steps forward, but under the current circumstances it is hard to expect bold steps from the government with only seven months left until the elections," said TEPAV's Arısan.
Any breakdown in Turkish-EU relations would be heavy for both parties, politically and economically, according to analysts and diplomats. "Turkey and the EU both gain from the accession process and eventual Turkish membership," the EU diplomat said. "That requires patience from both sides – the prize is great enough. Turkey's economy is improving but any breach with the EU would only damage the recovery," added the diplomat. TEPAV's Arısan said two-thirds of foreign investment in Turkey was from EU countries. "Turkey cannot risk a breakdown in relations."