Erdogan Lashes Out at Sarkozy Over Armenia Comments
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday lashed out at French President Nicholas Sarkozy for his recent remarks calling on Turkey to face its history and recognize the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide, saying the French leader should keep his advice to himself.
"You see the French president, Sarkozy, is giving some advice to Turkey in a move to invest in the [upcoming French] elections. You should first listen to your own advice. He is different in France, different in Armenia and more different in Turkey. There cannot be a political leader with so many faces. Politics requires honesty," Erdogan said during a speech delivered at his party's parliamentary group meeting.
Erdogan accused the French president of disregarding his country's relations with Turkey for such "minor calculations," saying that nearly 600,000 Armenians in France, while nearly 500,000 Turks in France.
"Holding the title of a statesman requires thinking about future generations, not future elections," Erdogan said. "It will be too late for those who fail to understand this now when they understand the reality."
Sarkozy drew a strong negative reaction from Turkey when he said last Thursday, on a short trip to Armenia, that Turkey should recognize the 1915 incidents as genocide, threatening to pass a law in France that would make denying this a crime.
"The Armenian genocide is a historical reality. Collective denial is even worse than individual denial," Sarkozy told reporters. "Turkey, which is a great country, would honor itself to revisit its history like other great countries in the world have done."
On Friday, Sarkozy made further comments on the issue, calling on Turkey to "make a gesture of reconciliation" and warning that if Turkey refrained from taking any steps, France would consider amending its legislation to penalize a denial, Reuters reported. Sarkozy did not give a date for such a move, but noted that measures could be adopted "in a very brief time."
Amid tension between the two countries over Sarkozy's remarks, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe will pay an official visit to Ankara on Oct. 26 at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.
France has long been urging Turkey to acknowledge that the allegations of genocide are true. Turkey, in turn, has proposed that a committee of historians, not politicians, should decide what transpired in 1915. The French Parliament recognized the so-called "Armenian genocide" in 2001, which resulted in short-lived tension between France and Turkey. In 2006 the French National Assembly adopted a bill proposing punishment for anyone who denies the "Armenian genocide." The bill was dropped this summer before coming to the Senate.
The issue of the World War I-era killings of Armenians is a sensitive one for Turkey. Armenian groups say up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed during World War I in a systematic genocide campaign perpetrated under the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the charges, saying the death toll is inflated and that Turks were also killed as Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with Russian forces for an independent state in eastern Anatolia.
Turkish Government, Opposition Join in Slamming Sarkozy
Turkey's ruling and opposition parties have united in harsh reaction to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's threat to revive a bill criminalizing any denial of Armenian genocide claims.
Speaking during his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed Sarkozy's recent threats to criminalize any denial of Armenian genocide claims unless Ankara itself recognized the killings as such as an "election investment" for presidential polls next year.
"You should give advice first to yourself and behave yourself," Erdogan said in reference to France's colonial past, and slamming Sarkozy's comments, which were made in Yerevan last week. "If you fail to think big and choose to make petty calculations out of economic concern, you should know that Turkey is not an easy bite to swallow."
Devlet Bahçeli, head of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, also denounced the French president, calling his attitude "rude and ill-mannered." Bahçeli added that tensions also stemmed from the Erdogan government's "contradictory political dialogue" with France.
Sarkozy made the controversial remarks on the eve of his interior minister's visit to Ankara, during which the two countries signed a rare anti-terror cooperation accord. Despite the bilateral chill, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is scheduled to visit Turkey on Oct. 26.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mole in Fraud Case, CHP Head Says
The leader of the main opposition yesterday accused a deputy prime minister of providing insider information to suspects in a high-profile charity fraud investigation.
"The mole is Beºir Atalay," Republican People's Party, or CHP, leader Kemal Kiliçdaroglu said yesterday during his party's parliamentary group meeting.
Atalay swiftly denied Kiliçdaroglu's allegations, saying he would sue the main opposition leader over the claims.
"I have made absolutely no attempt to influence any ongoing case neither during my term as interior minister, nor before or after that," Atalay said in a written statement, adding that the accusations were "sheer lies."
Earlier, Kiliçdaroglu said he would reveal in the group meeting the name of the "mole" who allegedly sent an advance warning of an impending police search to suspects in the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) case.
Although Kiliçdaroglu did not reveal the name until Tuesday, several media reports had suggested that he had implied it was Atalay, who was the interior minister at the time of the police search.
"It looks like someone has to come out and openly say the name," Kiliçdaroglu told his deputies in Parliament, recalling a parliamentary question he submitted in 2008 in which he asked the prime minister if the investigation would be objective when Atalay and Lighthouse suspects, Zaid Akman and Zekeriya Karaman, who are both under arrest pending trial, were partners in a media and publishing company.
"I also asked if Atalay, who was paid as a consultant by Kanal 7 before being elected a deputy, could be impartial in the probe," the CHP leader said. "It has been three years and I'm still waiting for an answer."
Kiliçdaroglu disclosed a dossier that he said contained records of telephone conversations made from Atalay's office before the police raided the Kanal 7 headquarters on orders from the prosecutor's office. The CHP head said the call was made by Atalay's personal security head.
"These documents prove that the suspects were informed about the raid," Kiliçdaroglu said, giving information on telephone calls made on Sept. 14, 2009. The raid took place on Oct. 16, 2009.
"This is the dossier of the mole," Kiliçdaroglu said, lifting up the dossier in his hand to a cheering audience. "The mole is Beºir Atalay."
Atalay rejected Kiliçdaroglu's accusations in a written statement released late yesterday, saying Kiliçdaroglu should "look into those who betray their professions and leak secret documents" if he is looking for a mole.
"The method used by the CHP leader to cover the parties within his party is a low level for our politics," Atalay wrote. "Accusing people with baseless claims is immoral. Kiliçdaroglu is trying to cover up his in-house party difficulties."
The Lighthouse probe was launched in Turkey after a Frankfurt court in 2008 convicted three managers of the Lighthouse e.V. charity in Germany for embezzling 40 million euros. Most of the money is believed to have ended up in Turkish coffers of the pro-government Kanal 7 television channel, and a business group whose owners are close to the AKP.
'EU also Responsible'
The Lighthouse case was high on the agenda of a meeting between Kiliçdaroglu and the co-chair of the Germany's Greens, Claudia Roth, on Oct. 9.
Roth denounced the removal of the three original prosecutors from the case as an open intervention into the judiciary, CHP sources said. In a pointed response, Kiliçdaroglu said the EU was also responsible for the incident because of the support it gave to last year's constitutional amendments that changed the structure of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK.
Prime Minister Says Turkey Does Not Have Hidden Agenda
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey was not a country that had a hidden agenda on its region.
"Turkey is not a country that has a hidden agenda on its region, and remaining within the framework of our own wealth and values is a requirement of our national interests," said Erdogan, who is also the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
Speaking at a Parliament gathering, the prime minister said Turkey was one of unique countries that was working for peace and stability, adding that Turkey would continue to walk its own path, in line with its own principles and national interests, and without making any concession.
Turkish Army to Join War on Domestic Violence
Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma ªahin said support from the military and the Religious Affairs Directorate could be instrumental in raising awareness among men to combat mounting violence against women.
The army, a principal venue to reach out to adult men, has carried out projects in the past to educate soldiers on birth control and healthy reproduction, ªahin said Tuesday after a meeting with female lawmakers from opposition parties.
In remarks to the daily Hürriyet, the minister said she had requested a meeting with Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel to discuss how the military could contribute to efforts to stop the rising trend of women falling victim to murder and domestic abuse at the hands of men.
"I will ask the chief of General Staff that his privates and non-commissioned officers undergo a broader education," she said, adding that she would demand, particularly, an end to the use of language degrading to women, namely some military cadence calls.
ªahin said her ministry was also working on a project with the Religious Affairs Directorate to raise awareness among men through sermons on gender equality and self-control.
The projects are an effort to "reach out to grown men through all methods possible. It is a general gender education project for society," she said.
In a related development, deputies Oya Eronat and Ülker Güzel, from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, applied to Parliament's Human Rights Commission asking for the formation of a sub-commission that would be in charge of monitoring the implementation of laws aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence, the conduct of the security forces in such cases and the functioning of women's shelters.
Turkish Court Sentences Seven PKK Returnees to 10 Years in Prison
Seven suspects who were among 34 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who returned to Turkey from the Kandil Mountains and Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq and surrendered to Turkish security forces in 2009, have been sentenced to up to 10 years in jail on charges of being a member of and disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.
The ruling came during a hearing of the trial against seven suspects, three of whom are currently under arrest at the Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court. During the hearing, the prosecutor involved in the case reiterated his claims that the group had come to Turkey in October 2010 on orders from Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, and cannot benefit from Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code, or TCK, called the "active repentance" law.
The article stipulates the release of terrorist organization members who turn themselves in without any punishment as long as they have not been involved in any armed clashes with security forces or any other terrorist attacks against Turkey. The prosecutor demanded 20-year sentences for eight people who came from the Kandil Mountains for "being a member of a terrorist organization" and "disseminating propaganda on behalf of a terror organization."
After a short break, the court announced its decision and sentenced Mustafa Ayhan, Hüseyin ipek and Nurettin Turgut -- the three suspects currently under arrest -- to 10 years, 10 months in prison, while it handed down seven year, one-month prison terms for Haci Surgun, Kamil Ökten, Melekþah Soydan and Fatma izer, who were earlier released pending trial. The suspects were all convicted of "being a member of a terrorist organization," "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization" and "disseminating propaganda on behalf of a terror organization."
Suspect Ayhan wanted to deliver his defense in Kurdish, but the court said he was speaking "in a language that is not understood by the court." He switched to Turkish saying: "We left the camp and our guns and returned to Turkey of our own will. All of these efforts are for achieving peace."
Defense lawyer Fethi Gümüº also said a case should be filed against the United Nations, as the suspects accused of participating in a terrorist group were in Makhmour camp, which is under UN protection.
Turkey-Iran Tension Escalates over NATO Radar System, PKK
Iran may resort to a terror threat using the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, against its neighbor Turkey because of the latter's decision to host NATO's early-warning radar system, experts warned, adding that the move may boomerang on Iran.
Hasan Köni, professor of international law at the istanbul-based Kültür University, said Iran might use the PKK as leverage in the short run against Turkey.
"I do not believe that they will go to a great length in doing so because of the boomerang effect of the terror that might hit back at Iran in the future," he told Today's Zaman.
There has been a wave of threatening statements from top Iranian civilian and military leaders in recent weeks, all blaming Turkey for agreeing to host NATO's early-warning radar system on its soil, warning of unspecified consequences.
In September, Turkey agreed to go ahead with a NATO plan to set up an early-warning radar system in Malatya's Kürecik town, in the east part of Turkey. Claiming that the missile shield aims to protect Israel and target Iranian missiles, Tehran criticized Ankara for its decision to deploy the NATO radar system.
The latest warning came on Monday when the deputy head of the Iranian Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, said, "Turkey should rethink its long-term strategic interests and draw lessons from the 'bitter historical experiences' of other countries."
Jazayeri urged Turkey to reconsider its decision, Iran's state-run Press TV reported.
The Iranian commander also emphasized that Turkey should be held accountable for its all-out support for the Israeli regime following Ankara's agreeing to the installation of the U.S.-backed missile shield, saying: "Ankara should rely more on the strength of its Muslim nation, as well as the potency of Muslims elsewhere, and assume a role geared towards improving security in the region."
Köni argued that Iran may also decide to extend support to the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, and the PKK to destabilize Turkey.
"When Turkey is busy with its domestic problems, it will have no time to direct its attention either to Iran or to supporting Sunni groups in Arab countries," he explained.
Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed the defense system was meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks in the event a war breaks out with the Jewish state.
"The missile defense shield is aimed at defending the Zionist regime. They don't want to let our missiles land in the occupied territories [Israel] if one day they take action against us. That's why they put it there," Ahmadinejad said in an address to the nation on state TV.
Ahmadinejad said his government has conveyed Iran's displeasure to Turkish officials. "We told our Turkish friends that they did not make the correct decision and that it's to their detriment," he said.
Turkey EU Membership More Valid Now, Than in 2004
There are more valid reasons today for Turkey's European Union membership than there were in 2004, said Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe, or ALDE, at the European Parliament said Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference with his delegation in Ankara's Rixos Hotel, Verhofstadt said his group had a chance to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek and representatives of political parties in the Turkish Parliament.
"As the liberal-democrat group, we support Turkey's full membership in the EU," Verhofstadt said.
"We believe that there are more valid reasons for Turkey's EU membership today compared to 2004. This is due to Turkey's growing economic potential and its crucial strategic position in the region."
Also speaking at the press conference was deputy leader of the ALDE, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who said that if the Cyprus negotiations failed under the auspices of the United Nations, they would then propose (as a group) for Cyprus to become an issue of Europe and for the EU to play a stronger role in solving the Cyprus problem.
If UN Plan Fails, 'Europeanize' Talks in Cyprus, ALDE Chairman Says
The European Union should assume a stronger role in resolving the Cyprus conflict, liberal members of the European Parliament said, stressing that the current United Nations-sponsored peace process was heading toward failure.
"We want to see a solution, and if the UN process does not yield success by the end of the year, we would suggest a new approach with a much stronger role for the EU that would allow us also to exert pressure inside the EU on both sides," Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, vice chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, or ALDE, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
ALDE held meetings with high-ranking Turkish officials including President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, as well as with all parties represented in Parliament and EU Minister Egemen Bagiþ.
According to Lambsdorff, if the Cyprus negotiations failed under the auspices of the United Nations, they would "Europeanize" the Cyprus problem "to have a stronger role for the EU in this regard."
"It's hard to understand why the situation on an island with one-fourth as many inhabitants as Ankara determines the faith of 75 million Turks and 450 million Europeans," he said.
In the past, Turkish officials rejected EU suggestions for Europe to have a stronger role in Cyprus dispute, he said.
"That is the traditional position. In one of our conversations, there was clear indication that if the UN- sponsored talks failed, then we need a completely new approach," Lambsdorff said.
The leader of ALDE in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, said they believed there were more valid reasons for Turkey's EU membership today compared to 2004.
"This is due to Turkey's growing economic potential and its crucial strategic position in the region," Verhofstadt said. "European Parliament has to work with positive agenda for 2012 in the relationship between Turkey and the EU."
Brussels to Open EU Door to Serbia, Turkey Left in Cold
Balkans candidates for European Union membership, Serbia and Montenegro, appear set to get a foot in the door of the bloc Wednesday while Turkey is left out in the cold again, according to European diplomats.
But Serbia is likely to be asked to make a fresh effort to soothe tensions with neighbouring Kosovo when the European Commission hands out its yearly report on the progress made by candidates bidding for entry into the club.
The recommendations, which need the unanimous approval of the 27 EU states, will be made public Wednesday by the EU's enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele in reports to the European Parliament and to the press.
European diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity said the Commission would recommend opening accession talks with Montenegro in return for progress in fighting corruption and organised crime, as well as passing legislation bringing it closer to EU standards.
Serbia, which is a step behind Macedonia in the complex process, is likely to be recommended as a candidate -- but on the understanding it returns to EU-sponsored talks with Kosovo aimed at ending everyday headaches for ordinary people due to Belgrade's refusal to recognise Pristina's three-year-old breakaway.
Talks between the two that began in March were interrupted last month after violence on the border in northern Kosovo, home to a majority of Belgrade loyalist Serbs. Serbia's chances of pushing open the EU door rose this year when Belgrade handed over wanted war fugitives, Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, to the UN war crimes court .
Hopes of winning EU membership rose through the Western Balkans after Croatia in June wound up accession talks that will see it become the 28th EU state in 2013.
But Turkey, which like Croatia put its hand up for membership in 2005, appears stuck in a stalemate, partly due to its involvement in the dispute over Cyprus, but also because of continuing opposition from some nations, notably France.
Israeli Cabinet Approves Prisoner Swap for Gilad Shalit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet voted early Wednesday morning to approve a prisoner swap that will see Gilad Shalit, the Israeli Defense Force soldier who has been in Hamas captivity for the last five years, return to Israel.
Twenty-six ministers voted in favor of the deal, and three ministers -- Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau of Yisrael Beiteinu and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon of Likud -- voted against the proposal.
According to the agreement framework presented by Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen, the deal Netanyahu brought before the cabinet included, at first, the release of 450 Palestinian prisoners, including 280 with life sentences.
One hundred and 10 prisoners will be released to their homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Of that number, 55 are Hamas men; the rest belong to Fatah and the other Palestinian groups.
According to the deal, 131 Gaza residents will be released back to the coastal Strip, many of whom are reportedly top Hamas operatives. Another 203 prisoners will be expelled from the West Bank, 40 of whom will be deported overseas and the rest to Gaza.
In addition, six Israeli Arab prisoners who have been serving for many years will also be released to their homes. The deal also specifies the release of 27 female inmates. Terrorists Ahlam Tamimi and Amna Muna will be deported, while the rest of the female inmates are expected to be released to their homes.
The second wave of releases will take place in two months, at which point Israel will release 550 prisoners of its choosing.
Ahmed Saadat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, will also remain in prison, as well as Fatah strongman Marwan Barghouti. About half of those released to the West Bank will live under restrictions that include prohibiting them from exiting the West Bank and, in some cases, the towns in which they live.
Cohen added that the Shin Bet supported the newly signed deal, since releasing Shalit by means of military operation was deemed impossible.
"The security establishment finds this release very difficult," Cohen said. "It's easier for me to be tough. We had no possibility or better way of releasing Shalit, so we backed the deal."
"It's not a good deal, but, on the other hand, it's the only way if we want to bring him home," the Shin Bet chief said. "Hamas had to show flexibility as we did. What happened in Syria created instability and a need for Egyptian backup."
Prime Minister Writes about Somalia in Foreign Policy Magazine
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells the ongoing tragedy in Somalia in an article he wrote for Foreign Policy, one of the leading magazines in the United States.
"Somalia is suffering from the most severe drought and famine in the last 60 years, which has already resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people and endangers the lives of 750,000 more Somali.
"This crisis tests the notion of civilization and our modern values. It reveals, once again, that it is a basic human obligation to pursue international cooperation and solidarity to provide solace for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters.
"It is not realistic to consider Somalia's plight as caused solely by a severe natural disaster. We cannot ignore the fact that, in addition to the drought, the international community's decision to leave Somalia to its own fate is also an underlying factor causing this drama. Twenty years of political and social instability, lawlessness, and chaos have added enormously to the problems in Somalia. The horrifying truck bombing of the Transitional Federal Government's ministerial complex on October 4 is just the latest evidence of this. The international community must not respond to this act of terrorism by retreating from Somalia, but by redoubling its efforts to bring aid to its people.
"Nobody with common sense and conscience can remain indifferent to such a drama, wherever on earth it may be and whichever people have to bear it. Our urgent intervention as responsible members of the international community can contribute to the alleviation of the Somali people's distress. However, the establishment of lasting peace and stability will only be possible through long-term, far-reaching, and coordinated efforts.
"Turkey mobilized last month to help end this suffering. We consider this solidarity a humanitarian obligation toward the people of Somalia, with whom we have deep historical relations. Many of our institutions, NGOs, and people of all ages have made an extraordinary effort to alleviate the suffering of women and children in Somalia. We are proud of the sensitivity and cooperation displayed by the Turkish people during the holy month of Ramadan. In the last month alone, approximately $280 million worth of donations for Somalia were collected in Turkey. The Turkish people's generosity has served as an example to other donor countries as well as the international community, offering hope for the resolution of the crisis in Somalia.
"The Turkish government has also moved decisively to help alleviate this humanitarian crisis. Turkey took the initiative to hold an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, at the ministerial level on August 17.
At this meeting, which was attended by the president of Somalia and high-level representatives from 40 member countries of the OIC, $350 million was committed to help relieve the famine in Somalia, and the participants agreed to increase this amount to half a billion dollars. The Turkish Red Crescent is also standing shoulder to shoulder with international aid organizations and is working to meet the needs of those in all the camps in the Mogadishu region.
"Following the emergency meeting of the OIC executive committee, I -- along with a number of Turkish ministers, some members of parliament, bureaucrats, business people, artists, and families -- visited the country on August 19 to tell the people of Somalia that they are not alone. We visited the camps. We tried to give hope and encourage people who live in very different conditions from ours. We took note of the lack of such a high-level visit from outside of Africa to Somalia for the last 20 years, and informed the international community of this fact.
"Turkey has decided to launch a major humanitarian effort to help restore normalcy to Mogadishu. To this end, we are preparing to provide assistance in the fields of health, education, and transportation. We will inaugurate a 400-bed hospital, provide garbage trucks for the streets of Mogadishu, build a waste-disposal facility to burn the accumulated garbage in the streets, pave the road between Mogadishu's airport and the city center, renovate the parliament and other government buildings, dig water wells, and develop organized agricultural and livestock areas. Our embassy, which will be opened in Mogadishu shortly and headed by an ambassador who is experienced in the field of humanitarian aid and familiar to the region, will coordinate these activities.
"By supporting the restoration of peace and stability efforts, we will work with the Transitional Federal Government and other institutions in Somalia in order to launch the development process of this shattered country. To this end, we expect all Somali authorities to demonstrate an extraordinary effort in unity, integrity, and harmony.
"The success of aid operations is directly linked to the establishment of security. The withdrawal from Mogadishu of armed elements in the al-Shabab organization is clearly a positive development for security in the region. But this is not sufficient. Moving the Somali-related U.N. offices currently located in Nairobi to Mogadishu will be a positive step to support this process and one that should be taken without delay.
"Neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya bear a special responsibility regarding the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union will also share this responsibility, and Turkey supports them in their tasks. In line with the Djibouti peace process, Somalia's Transitional Federal Government should intensify efforts at reconciliation by maintaining dialogue with all fighting groups and pledge prosperity, brotherhood, order, and prosperity in return for peace.
"The military contribution provided by Uganda and Burundi within the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, to prevent chaos and terror deserves appreciation. With this opportunity, I would like to issue a call to all neighboring countries, including Eritrea, to increase their existing efforts for the establishment of peace and security in Somalia and to enhance long-term regional stability.
"In Turkish culture, it is believed that something good will come out of all bad experiences. In Somalia, too, this disaster can mark the beginning of a new process by focusing international humanitarian efforts and global attention on the plight of the region. However, this situation will only be sustainable if we continue to be sensitive to the needs of the Somali people.
"The tears that are now running from Somalia's golden sands into the Indian Ocean must stop. They should be replaced by hopeful voices of a country where people do not lose their lives because of starvation and where they express their eagerness to develop and restore peace and stability. Regardless of which culture we come from or where we live, I am confident that our common heritage as human beings will motivate us to ease the suffering of Somalia."