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MEHMET Y. YILMAZ

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MEHMET Y. YILMAZ >Semicolon instead of a full stop

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While President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was answering reporters’ questions before his visit to the U.S., he said, “Now we will hold this meeting with President Donald Trump at a very top level. Our talks will not be at a comma level; they will be at a full stop level.” 

Speaking to citizens in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington after a meeting at the White House, he was asked by Voice of America’s Turkish service reporter Mehmet Sümer whether the situation was at a comma or a full stop. He also asked, “How are you evaluating this? Which stage has been reached?” Erdoğan replied, “It wouldn’t be fine it we put a full stop.” 

I will not be making a provocative remark by saying “What did he say beforehand; and what is he saying now?” 

It is a correct stance that the president’s views evolved from “breaking up and moving on” to “continue talking.” 

It is pretty obvious that the U.S. will not give up on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) soon. This intention was made very obvious by allowing the provision of heavy weapons to the YPG just before Erdoğan’s visit. It was apparent that pre-visit contacts were inadequate in preventing this. It was not an issue to be solved in a 20-minute meeting.  

On the other hand, the U.S. is not in a position to completely give up on Turkey in such a region either. 

Yes, the U.S. maybe is strong, but we should not forget that there are things Turkey can do that cannot be “ignored” in the region. 

In this case, the correct approach is to minimize the unpreventable damage. This would be, at first, to establish mechanisms and take measures to prevent heavy weapons from reaching the hands of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).  

On the other hand, what will happen to Raqqa after it is liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Will it be handed over to local powers, or will the Democratic Union Party (PYD) also rule Raqqa? 

In Turkey’s point of view, Raqqa should be ruled by local powers. The path to provide this is effective diplomacy. 

The matter of the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is another point of tension. But it looks as if the U.S. will not easily hand over Gülen. 

Legal procedures will continue and we will see, with this opportunity, how effective U.S. government institutions will be in the legal process.

In such cases, to have a full stop in relations would mean losing all kinds of negotiation opportunities and any form of leverage. 

Cancelling May 19 celebrations in Beşiktaş 

The Istanbul Governor’s Office cancelled the May 19 Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day celebrations organized by the Beşiktaş Municipality.  

According to Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar, the reason for the cancellation was “the conditions our country is in due to possible provocative acts, the possibility of the disruption of public safety and the possibility of acts causing panic in the society.” 

Istanbul Governor, on the other hand, said he “did not have any knowledge” on the matter. 

If there is a security issue in Istanbul, then it is the governor’s duty to correct this before anybody else. The police and the gendarmerie are at his service and it is his job to take the necessary precautions. 

His duties are not to cancel celebrations; they require taking measures. Meanwhile, this is also a reality; that security concerns are scaring even the top official ruling this province. If they make him cancel the celebrations, then why would any tourist come to this city?

May/19/2017

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