Both Uludere and Kocatepe are results of the same mistake
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s group speech on Tuesday was awaited with curiosity. He was expected to make important remarks. However, we had already heard a bit broader form of what he had to say on the same subject before. From time to time, I found myself thinking how nice it would have been if Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin had taken speech lessons from his leaders.
I can summarize the prime minister’s speech thus: He said that not only in our country, but everywhere in the world, security forces could make mistakes. He gave examples, such as the sinking of our own ship Kocatepe by our air forces during the Cyprus operation, and also the clash of our own divisions with each other during World War I. He said, “Yes, there has been a mistake. Justice will determine who is responsible.” He emphasized that the security forces are under huge pressure in these types of incidents, and that the government will protect them.
He said the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was the real target of the recent attacks related to the Uludere incident. He said the opposition and the media were exploiting this incident to wear down the government, adding, “Why don’t you show the same reaction when the PKK [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] is killing our people?”
There was no new element in the prime minister’s speech, but it was significant for demonstrating the angle from which he views the incident. In effect, the AK Party government is openly stating that unless the PKK lays down its arms, it will not start the political negotiation process.
Armenian border, Azeri visa
Two very interesting deductions are made in the interview Murat Arvas of daily Yeni Şafak conducted with Professor Kamil Veli Nerimanoğlu, from İstanbul Aydın University’s Turkish Language and Literature Department. I wanted to share them with you.
Nerimanoğlu mentioned an extremely significant point. He said, in a nutshell: “Markets in Armenia are jam-packed with Turkish goods. Because the border is closed, the mafia is using Georgian, Iranian and Russian roads. There are nearly 100,000 Armenian citizens illegally living and working in Turkey. In this situation, there is no sense in keeping the border closed. Open the border gate, sell more goods and also make entry and exit easier. Let’s legalize a situation that already exists in fact. This move would be very well thought of. This step would also affect the viewpoint of Armenians.”
What a correct presumption, isn’t it? However, you would immediately hear these words from politicians in Ankara: “The Azerbaijanis would be very offended. We do not want to offend them.”
Well, then why are our Azerbaijani brothers offending us? For example, despite having negotiated numerous times, their visa policy has not been lifted yet. According to Nerimanoğlu, Baku will not lift the visa because Iran does not want it to, and Baku does not want to give offense to Tehran. Is that true? Is there such a concern?
It has been said that Azerbaijan has vetoed the Nabucco pipeline project that would pass through Turkey to Europe in order to avoid offending Russia.
I guess we are the only country available at present that Azerbaijan can easily afford to offend.