Today's Zaman
May 22 2009

Turkey has been observing a "stirring" along with intensified efforts
within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Minsk Group of countries mediating the talks between Yerevan and Baku
for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

On Monday, Bernard Fassier of France, one of the three co-chairpersons
of the OSCE Minsk Group, held several meetings in Ankara, including one
with Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, the undersecretary of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. This was Fassier's first visit to the Turkish capital
in his capacity as a co-chairperson of the OSCE Minsk Group -- a post
he assumed in 2004. The other two co-chairpersons are Ambassador Yuri
Merzlyakov of the Russian Federation and Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State Matthew Bryza of the United States.

"In the Caucasus, there are two ongoing processes: the Minsk process
and Armenia and Turkey's negotiations for normalization of their
bilateral relationship. There is a stirring within the Minsk process,
and all three co-chairpersons from France, Russia and the United States
have been exerting intense efforts in reaching a resolution regarding
the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. These efforts are definitely noteworthy,
and we strongly support these efforts," a senior Turkish diplomat,
speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday.

The Turkish diplomat's remarks, as well as Fassier's talks in Ankara
following his meetings in Baku and Yerevan, came days after the
ongoing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process appeared to encounter
problems last week; Armenian leaders criticized Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, during a visit to Baku, for making the normalization
of ties with Armenia conditional on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh,
and urged him not to interfere in the settlement process.

"The Caucasus should not be considered solely from the aspect of being
a rich resource of energy. We are talking about a geography between
Europe and Asia -- the two continents which are constantly expanding --
and a geography next to the Black Sea. Issues are multilateral issues
in this geography, thus stability of this region matters globally,"
the same diplomat said, while noting that it would be optimistic to
expect full regional stability and peace in the Caucasus before the
next three to five years.

"Regarding the recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide; these
allegations will continue keeping us busy for a while, and Turkey's
approach in the Caucasus is the best possible approach for dealing
with this issue," the diplomat said.

'Upcoming UN stirring within Cyprus negotiations' On Monday in Ankara,
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special adviser on Cyprus, Alexander
Downer, met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Officials at the
Foreign Ministry said the meeting was part of regular consultations
between Ankara and the UN on the Cyprus issue.

Recalling Downer's visit to Ankara, the senior diplomat first of all
noted that the UN has been involved in the "persuading process," within
the ongoing negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

"The Greek Cypriot side is not warm towards the implementation of
the well-established UN parameters, which are bi-zonality and the
political equality of the two parties and a new partnership that
will be established by two equal, constituent states, although
[Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris] Christofias has been assumed as a
reconciling leader. The Greek Cypriot leader is trying to impose
new interpretations on the negotiation process. They even tend to
undermine parameters of the Annan plan, which is already a part of
the well-established UN parameters," the diplomat said, referring
to a reunification plan prepared under the aegis of previous UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"The Greek Cypriot side has a tendency to deviate from UN plans. In the
upcoming three or four months, I expect a stirring at and from the UN
front. Mr. Talat has already proven his loyalty to the UN parameters
and process. If this stirring takes place, then no EU review may be
necessary," the diplomat added, referring to the fact that the EU had
decided in 2006 to review progress regarding the opening of Turkish
ports to Greek Cypriot vessels in 2009.