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Turkey Relieved Obama Did Not Use ‘G’ Word

Apr 24, 2013

“Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century,” President Barack Obama said today [April 24]. “Ninety-eight years ago, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.” He then went on to say: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Nations grow stronger by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past, thereby building a foundation for a more just and tolerant future.”

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/armenian-genocide-obama-anniversary-speech.html#ixzz2mS1yyQ3R

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Erdogan’s Many Positions on the Kurdish Issue

Apr 23, 2013

There’s been much debate in Turkey and abroad as to whether Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the right policies to end the Kurdish armed movement. Erdogan’s statements tackling the issue provide the best indicators available to assess whether he has a clear mind in addressing it, and whether the process is as transparent as claimed.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/erdogan-kurdish-issue-flip-flop-turkey-peace.html#ixzz2mRwRiC3q

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Friends of Syria Deliver Nothing New

Apr 21, 2013

“Enough of the ongoing bloodshed,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said during the opening of the press briefing early Sunday morning [April 21] after a six-hour meeting of the Syrian opposition and its 11 main foreign supporters in Istanbul. But the question for the past two years since the Syrians took arms to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime remains unanswered: How will this bloodshed end?

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/syrian-opposition-radical-elements-wester-arms.html#ixzz2mRveTsVh

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Palestinians Doubt Erdogan Will Visit Gaza

Apr 19, 2013

Although Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the Palestinian issue his vehicle to move Turkey closer to its Muslim neighborhood, and earned an unprecedented popularity on the Arab street like no other Turkish leader, he may be risking for the first time losing the support of at least a part of the Palestinian population if he chooses to travel to Gaza toward the end of May, before the Palestinian rift between Fatah and Hamas can be reconciled. And it seems the chances of overcoming this separation by then are dim.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/erdogan-gaza-visit-hamas-fatah-maarouf.html#ixzz2R0nPCGdo

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Turkey’s Backward Freedom Agenda

Apr 17, 2013

In the last few days, two deeply troubling court decisions brought to light Turkey’s double standards in respecting freedom of expression and religion. While historic churches risk being converted to mosques in Turkey, world class concert pianist Fazil Say has been given jail time for insulting Muslims. Something seems to have gone terribly wrong in how the Turkish nation develops its sensitivity to freedom and democracy.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/religious-freedom-speech-fazil-say-turkey.html#ixzz2R0n5Z5XW

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Turkey’s Mixed Human Rights Record

Apr 16, 2013

Although it yielded no result so far, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), or Turkey’s main opposition party, submitted a proposal to the speaker of the parliament on Jan. 22 to inquire about the alleged torture suffered by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We propose opening a parliamentary inquiry in order to determine when, where, and how the prime minister was tortured,” the CHP statement read, demanding that the torturers be identified and held responsible for this heinous crime.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/turkey-human-rights-mixed-record-trials-kurds.html#ixzz2R0mi2EtJ

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Turks Question Endgame Of Kurdish Peace Effort

Apr 15, 2013

Turkish people have an all-or-nothing thinking pattern about the US role on crucial domestic and foreign issues that shapes their future. When American diplomats hear about it, they often express sadness of Turkey’s self-perceived vulnerability and remind us that their conduct of diplomacy has no place in meddling anyone’s domestic affairs. This common dialectic unfortunately does not help either side to correct misperceptions, and that by refusing to meet halfway — by accepting some US influence in shaping policies here, it continues to make this an unhealthy alliance.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/turkey-kurdish-issue-endgame-peace-process.html#ixzz2R0mNylMg

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Former Mossad Agent: Israel Has No Regional Master Plan

Apr 12, 2013

Last week, for the first time in my life, I met an Israeli intelligence official, a retired Mossad agent. On April 7, I gave a lecture at Tel Aviv University on the state of Turkey’s Kurdish issue. Although the room was not as full as I had wished, the audience was not only sincerely interested in the subject but some interesting people were present. Such as Eliezer Geizi Tsafrir.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/mossad-chief-israel-turkey-kurds-territory.html#ixzz2R0m4nY8B

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Long Way to Normalcy For Turkey and Israel

Apr 10, 2013

JERUSALEM — After the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident and its diplomatic fallout, many debated long and hard whether Israel or Turkey most needed the other. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an official apology to Turkey on March 22, another type of debate ensued. Turks presumed that Israel decided that it could not bear the loss of Turkey as an ally, even if a frosty one, and therefore extended the apology. In Israel, meanwhile, the issue became that the Turkish government seemed to be deceiving the public in its statements on the apology. After spending nearly a week in Israel and having conversations with numerous diplomatic sources, the following is what I gathered about the state of Turkish-Israeli relations.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/turkey-israel-apology-normalcy-trust.html#ixzz2R0ldkZMi

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Israeli Spokesman to Turkey: “You Cannot Forget the Facts”

Apr 8, 2013

JERUSALEM – Minutes after I walked into the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry at about 10 a.m. today [April 8], the sirens sounded in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish souls who had brutally vanished by the end of World War II. Although there is no Holocaust denial in Turkey, there is a growing and deepening perception that Israel has become just like its Nazi perpetrators — cruel and merciless in the way it treats the Palestinians. From the Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AKP) members to the ordinary Ahmet, Mehmet, Leyla and Fatma on the street, Turks by and large consider Israel a “genocidal state.” While there may be room to educate the Turkish people on what the Holocaust really means for Israelis and the Jewish people, their current views of Israeli treatment of Palestinians makes this tragic chapter in history less important for their consideration. I have even heard from the Turkish diplomatic corps that Israel should overcome this traumatic experience in its societal psyche and stop thinking about everything from a security prism, which they see as the true cause of horrible mistakes Israel makes with its recent Gaza offensives. The more Palestinians get killed, the more support Israel loses from the Turkish public and international community, they say. To them, Israeli actions are the root of the debates challenging its legitimacy.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/israel-turkey-relations.html#ixzz2R0lJ8zQK

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