The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
IS U.S. FOREIGN POLICY "GOVERNED FROM KARDASHIAN'S BEDROOM?"
An accusing article printed in a popular Azerbaijani newspaper, called New Azerbaijan, says that the U.S. administration and State Department are weak against the Armenian lobby and the "so-called" Armenian Genocide. The article emphasizes the efforts of Kim Kardashian on HR 252 and says: "It seems like the US foreign policy on Caucasus is governed from Kim Kardashian's bedroom."
ERDOGAN MAY BE ASSASSINATED!
Abdullah Ocalan [the PKK terror leader] speaks through his lawyers: "The period for the democratic approach for Kurds was misused. The government did not take the necessary steps properly. Now we are living in very dangerous situation. Both sides have to step back and prevent violence. My death will be a cause of war. PM Erdogan is also in danger."
HERE ARE THE SLEDGEHAMMER-COUP PLANS
New evidence has come to light, discrediting the claims of the daughter and son-in-law of Cetin Dogan – the number one suspect of the Sledgehammer Coup Plot – who suggested "the CDs were fabricated." The fingerprints and handwriting on the 19 CDs that make the strongest evidence in the case show the CDs were recorded in 2003.
Civil servants Melek Üçtepe and Sivilay Erkani Bulut, who testified to a military prosecutor, admit they prepared the 19 CDs. The two also said the user name of the CDs was their own registration number for retirement. "The CD that showed a note as K. Özel was supposed to be presented to the head of the 1st Army," Bulut noted. TÜBİTAK and the criminal investigation of the police confirm that the Sledgehammer CDs were prepared in 2003 and were not altered afterwards.
HERE ARE PKK'S DOCUMENTS
Some documents were found proving that the PKK terrorist organization collected money illegally from people in southeastern Turkey. The receipts include threats against businessmen: "If you do not want to be subject to any undesirable thing, you have to do what you are asked to do." Security forces seized 250 receipts amounting to 2 million TL [Turkish Lira].
TURKISH CANDIDATE FOR OSCE LEADERSHIP
Turkey, which has so far led many international organizations, named Ambassador Ersin Erçin as candidate for the new secretary-general of the 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou extended support to Erçin, who is currently acting as Turkey's ambassador to Brazil. There are no other candidates so far.
WE ARE READY FOR EU IN 2014
State Minister & chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bağış said that Turkey would be ready to become a full member of the EU by the end of 2013. "The EU cannot take any political steps because of impacts of the global financial crisis. We have a national program. And we will be ready to become a full member of the EU in 2014. What is important for us, for the time being, is to meet the Union's standards," he said.
ALEVIS TO TAKE ACTION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
The Alevi Congress will convene in Ankara on Jan. 15 and 16. The head of the Hacı Bektash Veli Foundation said the fundamental problem for the Alevi population was that they were not given the rights enjoyed by other religious groups.
GREECE TO PUT UP ANTI-MIGRANT WALL ON TURKISH BORDER
Greece has decided to build a barrier along its border with Turkey in a bid to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the European Union, a move that was cautiously received by Turkey on Sunday. "The Greek public has gone beyond its limits in terms of its capacity to welcome illegal migrants. Greece cannot take it any more," Greece's immigration minister, Christos Papoutsis, told the Greek news agency Ana on Saturday, without providing any details. "We plan to build a barrier on the land border to block unauthorized immigration."
It was the first time Papoutsis had raised the idea of building a barrier along the country's 150-kilometer land border with Turkey, which has become the main route for illegal migrants to enter the European Union, accounting for almost half of detected illegal entries, Agence France-Presse reported. "It's a sovereign right of every country to take measures to protect its borders," a senior Foreign Ministry official who was previously unaware of the decision told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Sunday.
"They do not have to inform us. It's a measure to protect their border," the official said on condition of anonymity. The Turkish Foreign Ministry official dismissed allegations that Turkey had failed to stop illegal human trafficking to Greece. "We are actively fighting against such attempts. Each year thousands of people are caught in Turkey's territories before passing the border to Greece. This is an international issue and needs international action," the official said. Referring to the measures taken by the United States to fight illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border, the Turkish official said: "I have not heard that that constituted a lasting remedy for stopping the illegal immigrants. We first have to see the details of the Greek plan to be able to further comment on it. But we have to underline that Turkey will actively continue its efforts to stop illegal human trafficking."
From January to the beginning of November last year, 32,500 illegal migrants were intercepted in a single 12.5-kilometer stretch of the Turkish-Greek border along the Evros river. Greece currently accounts for 90 percent of the EU's detected illegal border crossings, figures from the European border agency Frontex show. EU sea patrols in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey have stemmed much of the flow of migrants to Greek islands near the Turkish coast; the vast majority of migrants now use the northern land border, with most crossing along a 12-kilometer stretch near Orestiada. More than 200 Frontex guards were deployed in the area in November, which the agency said led to a 44 percent drop in the number of illegal entries. The guards carry out day and night patrols, and interview and identify illegal immigrants in order to send them back to their home countries, Frontex spokesman Michal Parzyszek said last month. Greece became the first European Union country to ask for help from the EU's Rapid Border Intervention Teams after hundreds of migrants from North Africa and war zones such as Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan began flooding through the porous Greek-Turkish border in recent months.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has repeatedly urged Greece to ensure its efforts to fight illegal immigration do not harm legitimate asylum seekers, including Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis, who are often among migrants crossing at its border. With Greece already facing a major financial crisis, the country's opposition, especially the left coalition SYRIZA, questioned the need for such an expensive move. The opposition said the Greek government has failed in addressing the immigration issue and accused Prime Minister George Papandreou of following EU directives without taking into account the real needs of Greek society. The opposition argued that the ruling PASOK party has no respect for "the value of human life when it comes to an immigrant's life or workers' lives. " Greek media reported that nongovernmental organizations plan to hold a rally this week against the decision and to show their support for immigrants.
Despite increased cooperation against human smuggling, Turkey and Greece have failed to sign a Readmission Agreement, prompting criticism from Brussels and Athens over Turkish sincerity in cooperating with Greece. Many immigrants who cross the border into Greece aim to reach a Western European country as their final destination. As the number of asylum seekers coming to Europe from Asian and Middle Eastern countries through Anatolia increases each year, the disagreement between Turkey and the EU deepens accordingly.
CONCERNED CITIZENS SHOULD RAISE THEIR VOICES
Republican People's Party (CHP) member Binnaz Toprak said: "Social changes have always come around when concerned people raised their voices."
"I have been uneasy for a long time because the AK Party has been strengthening its hold, it has been uncompromising, it has shown intolerance for the opposition, it has became more authoritarian as it gained power," said Toprak.
CNN ARABIC READERS CHOOSE TURKISH PM AS "MAN OF YEAR"
Turkey's prime minister has been named "Man of the Year" by readers of CNN Arabic's website.
According to the Dubai-based, Arabic-language news portal, 74 percent of readers voted for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, carrying him to the top position in the ranking.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad followed Erdoğan on the list, getting 20 percent of the vote.
The CNN Arabic website said Erdoğan had been given the "Man of the Year" title thanks to his recent success in diplomacy.
The portal pointed to Erdoğan's stance at the Davos summit, his diplomatic success in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara attack, Turkey's role in Iraq and Afghanistan, Erdoğan's role as a mediator between Iran and the world, and Turkey's efforts to solve problems between Syria and Lebanon.
Meanwhile, readers of The New York Times named Istanbul their "favorite travel destination" for 2010.
The paper, which asked its readers early in 2010 where they wanted to visit throughout the year, revealed in its latest travel edition that Istanbul was the winner of the poll.
The New York Times said its readers voted for Istanbul because of the city's history, people and culture.
Colombia, Seoul, Costa Rica and New York followed Istanbul in the ranking, the paper also said.