Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu became the first foreign official to visit Libya after insurgents entered the capital of Tripoli and wrested control of Gadhafi's headquarters.
Turkey released $200 million of financial aid, which has been promised to the new administration in Libya. Following his meeting with Davutoglu, Libyan Interim Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil thanked Turkey, saying: "Turkish officials overcame the bureaucratic obstacles and delivered the financial aid."
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Not Optimistic About UN Flotilla Report
Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, Gaby Levy, said Tuesday that he was not very optimistic about the UN report concerning the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists last May.
Levy, who is set to leave in September, said there was still chance for a solution to restore the ties that were strained after the deadly attack.
On Monday, the UN postponed the release of the report, and Turkey the delay is a request from the Israeli government.
Levy said he thought the report, which is now expected to be released in 10 days, would not be delayed once again, saying both Israeli and Turkish diplomats were working for a solution. But, he added, he is not very optimistic. "I can even say I am pessimistic," he told reporters at a reception in Ankara.
The Turkish government has repeatedly said that relations with Israel would not go back to normal unless the Israeli government made a formal apology and paid redress to the families of the victims.
While admitting it was hard for him to work in Turkey due to the soured relations, Levy said the decision to quit his post in Turkey was a personal one.
Levy was born in Bergama -- a western town in Turkey -- in 1944. He left Turkey with his family when he was four. In 1959, he visited Bergama with his father and came to this small Aegean town after he was appointed as the Israeli Ambassador in Ankara for a three-year term.
Shortly before the Gaza flotilla raid, his tenure was extended for another year, and then extended again until September 2011.
Levy is expected to host a farewell reception in Bergama before his departure from Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Arrives in Benghazi for Talks
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday to meet rebel governing council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, even as Moammer Gadhafi's forces staged a fight-back in Tripoli against insurgents who had surged into the capital on Sunday.
The Turkish minister on Monday hailed the developments in Libya as a "significant achievement" and said the change in the North African country was a lesson for everyone.
In July, Turkey recognized the rebel National Transitional Council, based in Benghazi, as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
Davutoglu previously visited Benghazi on July 3.
In early May, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Gadhafi leave power.
Parliament Speaker Discusses Process for New Constitution
Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek spoke regarding the process of the new Constitution as well as the meeting he held with 24 professors of Constitutional law.
"The new Constitution will not be prepared by professors. The real process will be set by a consensus commission among political parties without a rush," Cicek said.
CHP Updates 1989 Kurdish Report
Turkey's main opposition is about to conclude a revision of its Kurdish report from 1989, a senior party official said late Monday, calling on the government to release its own proposals to prove its sincerity.
"We will soon make [the revised report] public after addressing its deficiencies. We have always stood behind this report," Gursel Tekin, a deputy leader of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, told a group of journalists. "But I wonder if the ruling party has ever tried to present such a report in its nine years in government."
The initial Kurdish report was prepared by the Social Democratic People's Party, or SHP, a predecessor of the CHP, in 1989. It described the issue as the "Kurdish problem," a milestone in Turkish political history. Under former chief Deniz Baykal, CHP leadership ignored the report, but with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's election as the party chairman, it has been brought back into the spotlight.
"Those who criticize the CHP now should explain their own approach to the problem," Tekin said, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which he said had launched an opening project toward the country's Kurds but failed to develop concrete proposals for a solution to the issue.
"I want to ask [the AKP] now. Where is your report? What do you suggest for the solution of the Kurdish problem? If there is someone who knows, please do inform me," Tekin said, criticizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's changing approach to describing the Kurdish issue.
"In 2002, [Erdogan] said there was no Kurdish question. In 2005, he said, 'Call it a terror problem or a Kurdish problem; I will stand for a solution to it.' In 2011, he said, 'There is no Kurdish issue, but problems of my Kurdish citizens,'" the CHP official said, accusing the prime minister of confusing people about the problem.
"Isn't it our right to ask the reasons behind the rise of terror acts right after the [June 12 general] election?" Tekin asked, hinting at a secret deal between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
A CHP proposal to amend some articles of the Constitution to be able to ease Kurdish people's concerns was rejected by the government, Tekin added, accusing the AKP of spoiling Turkey's future to gain a few points in the general elections.
AKP 'showing off' with Somalia Campaign
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu meanwhile criticized the government for turning the campaign to aid famine-stricken Somalia into a way for the AKP to show off.
"What disturbed me most was Erdogan's turning the aid campaign for Somalia into a show. [Holding things like] dance shows was not decent; turning [this trip] into a public show was not good," Kılıçdaroğlu said in a televised interview late Monday.
Erdoğan traveled to Somalia last week with a large delegation that included pop star Ajda Pekkan and other celebrities who were seen dancing with Somali refugees during the visit.
"I would appreciate the visit of Turkey's prime minister to a country suffering from hunger, but the best way to help Somalia is [through] Kızılay," Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the Turkish Red Crescent.
Kurdish Groups Demand Dialogue
A group of NGO'sm together with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, called for the silencing of arms in a statement Tuesday.
"The state should end these operations. The PKK should also silence its arms," Şerafettin Elçi, an independent deputy backed by the BDP, said in reading the organizations' joint statement.
The group also demanded dialogue to solve the recent problems. The Turkish military has been bombing PKK camps in northern Iraq since last Wednesday, following an attack that left eight soldiers dead in the eastern province of Hakkari. BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also said it would be a political development if they were allowed to meet convicted PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on İmralı island, where he is imprisoned.
Iraq Condemns Turkey for Air Raids on PKK Targets
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Tuesday that his government condemns both the Turkish and Iranian attacks along the border, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Turkish PM Talks about Syria, Libya at High-Speed Train Ceremony
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the first journey of a new high-speed train rail that links the Turkish capital, Ankara, and the central Anatolian city of Konya. Speaking at ceremony marking the inauguration of the high-speed train railway, Erdogan also touched on Syria and Libya, saying: "We hope that bloodshed will end in Syria." And regarding Libya, Erdogan said, "Our brothers and sisters in Libya are drawing close to the day they have longed for so many years. I hope the holiday of Ramadan will be a holiday for our Libyan brothers and sisters that crowns peace, unity and solidarity."
U.S. Envoy in Turkey Faces Armenian Flak Over Church Remarks
Armenian clerics and U.S. Armenian groups have been increasing pressure on the U.S. ambassador to Turkey after the diplomat said most of the Christian churches functioning prior to 1915 are still operating as churches in Turkey.
In a written response to questions submitted to him by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez earlier this month, Francis Ricciardone said a majority of Christian churches operating in the territory of present-day Turkey prior to 1915 are still functioning today, drawing strong reactions from Armenian groups in the U.S.
In a strongly worded letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the influential U.S.-based Armenian Diaspora, the Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, demanded a retraction, correction and apology for Ricciardone's statement covering up the Ottoman and Republican Turkey's systematic destruction of thousands of Christian churches.
"We have been troubled by his eagerness to embrace the government of Turkey's false and hateful genocide denial narrative, at lengths beyond even the administration's longstanding and shameful complicity in Turkey's denials of the Armenian Genocide," Hachikian wrote in his August 15 letter. "His verbal and written responses to questions during his Senate confirmation process, regarding the Armenian Genocide and other issues, ranged from evasive to deeply offensive."
The ANCA also encouraged "concerned citizens to contact Secretary Clinton via the State Department Comment Line to offer their views regarding Ambassador Ricciardone's misstatements."
Faced with pressure, the U.S. envoy on Monday partially backtracked on his earlier remarks.
"With your permission, I would appreciate the opportunity to clarify the record. The corrected text should read as follows: Most of the Christian churches functioning prior to 1915 are no longer operating as churches. Christian community contacts in Turkey report that a total of 200-250 churches that date to 1915 and before offer Christian worship services at least once a year. Many churches do not offer services every week due to insufficient clergy or local Christian populations. Some churches of significance operate as museums, others have been converted into mosques or put to other uses. Still, others have fallen into disrepair or may have been totally destroyed," ANCA quoted him as saying in a correction, apparently addressing Senator Menendez.
But the Armenian groups in the U.S. say this is not enough and accuse him of artificially inflating the number of currently operating Christian houses of worship in Turkey.
"It took Ambassador Ricciardone, with the help of his many State Department colleagues, over a week to submit in writing a patently false misrepresentation about the destruction of Christian churches in Turkey, and another 10 days and a full wave of Senate and citizen pressure for him to finally take half a step back from the most offensive and obviously incorrect aspects of his response," ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian said.
"He just keeps digging himself into a deeper hole as an apologist for Ankara. His use of false figures and euphemisms to try to twist his way out of his misrepresentation – while somehow still trying to stick to Turkey's genocide denial narrative – clearly confirms that Ambassador Ricciardone is not the right representative of U.S. values and interests in Turkey."
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian each also issued powerfully worded spiritual messages in response to the ambassador's statement. In an Aug. 15 statement, Archbishop Choloyan stressed that the ambassador's assertion was "so blatantly false that it cannot remain unchallenged."
Turkey to Begin Development of National War Jet Project
Turkey's Undersecretariat of Defense Industry and Turkish Aerospace Industries Company, or TAI, will sign an agreement to begin a project on the development of a national war jet.
The national war jet project will bring together the whole Turkish defense industry and companies, like Havelsan, Roketsan and Aselsan.
TAI will be the leading company in the project, and Turkey will begin manufacturing jet engines as of 2015.