Arafat's Visit And Turkey's Role

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Mon Feb 19 08:45:59 MST 2001

Arafat is expecting shallow hopes from Turkey!


----- daily news, Feb 19 2001

Arafat's Visit And Turkey's Role

HURRIYET- Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Yasser Arafat's sudden visit to
Turkey and Turkey's role in the region. A summary of her column is as follows:

The recent developments in Israel compel Turkey to plan a more active role in
the region whether she wants to or not. Until today, Turkey was aiding the
communication between Israel and Palestine. Without undertaking the role of a
mediator, Turkey occasionally intervened but was careful to stand at an equal
distance from both countries. Even this was only done when requested. Foreign
Minister Ismail Cem underlined the issue. However, with the advent of Ariel
Sharon this period is coming to a close. The surprise visit of Palestine leader
Yasser Arafat, shows that expectations from Turkey are on the rise. Israel is
returning to her old stance. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an
article he published in the French daily Le monde on 13 February said, 'Our
nation is based on values which can never be bargaining chips.' He believes
Barak has made concessions to the Palestinians on basic issues. According to
Netanyahu, the reasons for Barak's defeat include the opening! ! up of
Jerusalem's status to discussion, abandoning the Lebanon valley to Palestine and
taking the backward steps to return to the 1967 borders. The former Prime
Minister believes that Israelis chose Sharon not because they did not want
peace, but because they felt their national security was threatened. In fact, as
soon as Sharon was elected he spoke of a new peace. He said during the peace
processes seen until today, none of the negotiations and bargaining led to
anywhere. These included the sharing of Jerusalem, and concessions made to
Palestinians. He puts forth a condition to begin negotiations with the
Palestinians: put an end to the violence. It is not certain if this tough stance
will continue after a coalition with the Labor party. But one thing is certain,
the pressure on Arafat will continue. As the Middle East Process has been dealt
a harsh blow, the expectations from Turkey are increasing. The requests come
from both sides. Arafat's calling for a more active role ! ! by Turkey reveals
this fact. Additional evidence of this increased expectation is Arafat's request
for the international observers, among whom are Turks, to be turned into a peace
force and be deployed all over Palestinian lands and the siege by Israel to be
lifted. A simultaneous telephone call by the Israeli Foreign Minister requesting
Turkey to persuade Arafat to end the violence points again to the increased
expectations. At present, both sides expect Turkey to persuade the other party.
This has passed neutrality, they are both expecting Turkey to choose sides. The
difficulty lies in making the sides listen to what you say without leaning
towards any of the parties.


BYEGM 2/16/01 7:57:32 AM   --- Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx Ph.D Student Department of
Political Science SUNY at Albany Nelson A. Rockefeller College 135 Western Ave.;
Milne 102 Albany, NY 12222        

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