1. "Kurds give Turkey 3 month ultimatum", the Kurdistan Workers Party is not declaring war on Turkey yet. This was announced by Yilmaz Shiar, official representative of the party in Armenia.
2. "Rebel move sends mixed signals", Turkeys main militant Kurdish group, the PKK, says it has called off a unilateral ceasefire with the Turkish Government in protest at what it says is Ankaras failure to grant Kurds greater political and cultural rights.
3. "Turkey's EU quest", in Turkey's long journey towards the European Union, the effort must often seem endless and the reward distant.
4. "AI says torture still widespread in Turkey", the German branch of the human rights group Amnesty International slammed Turkey for its human rights performance and said torture was still widespread, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened a visit to Berlin.
5. "UNCHR: Turkey deports Kurdish refugees back to Iran", Turkey has deported several Iranian Kurdish refugees who had sought asylum after fleeing here from northern Iraq, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
6. "Turkey Delays Deployment Decision", Turkish officials said the United States has refused to relay details of the conditions of such a troop deployment. They said this has prevented a Turkish government effort to seek parliamentary approval for the decision.
1. - KurdishMedia / Rosbalt News - "Kurds give Turkey 3 month ultimatum":
YEREVAN / 2 September 2003
He said the Workers Party is giving Turkey three more months to consider holding negotiations with the Kurds. If Turkey does not agree to hold negotiations, the Kurds may declare war. Moreover, Kurds will not fight in the mountains any longer, it will be new, contemporary warfare, said Mr Shiar. In order to avoid war Ankara must announce its peaceful intentions and willingness to start diplomatic reform on Kurdish territory.
The Workers Party is demanding that Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan is kept in better prison conditions and they want an independent committee to make sure he remains in good health. If his health deteriorates war may begin earlier than expected. In addition, Ankara must bring the Kurdish leader out of political isolation.
Further demands include the immediate withdrawal of semi-criminal Turkish forces from Kurdish villages. According to Mr Shiar, the Turks are paying Kurds to terrorize the Kurdish population. Abdullah Ocalan said that if someone wants to kill you do not let him live. Let Turkey know that this is an order for us, Mr Shiar said.
He added that Kurds will start putting democratic pressure on Turkey from today. Demonstrations will take place around the world. In Yerevan Kurds have gone on hunger strike: 25 people have declared that they will not eat for five days using the slogan Ocalans health is the health of the whole population.
2. - BBC - "Rebel move sends mixed signals":
2 September 2003 / by Pam O`Toole*
The group, now renamed Kadek, says it does not believe that there would be a return to all-out war - an apparent reference to its 15-year separatist conflict with Ankara in which more 30,000 people died.
But a spokeswoman said there could be a resumption of what she described as "low intensity warfare".
Four years ago this week, a senior PKK commander, Osman Ocalan, said the movement was complying with its imprisoned leaders order to observe a ceasefire and withdraw its forces from Turkey.
The PKK, he said, would never again take part in an armed struggle.
The group said it would concentrate instead on establishing a political process to win improved political and cultural rights for Turkeys Kurdish minority.
Things have moved on significantly since then. Over the past year, in particular, Turkey has introduced some fundamental reforms on Kurdish cultural rights, many of them linked to Ankaras long- term bid to join the European Union.
The Turkish parliament recently adopted an impressive raft of EU-inspired reforms, including measures which would pave the way for Kurdish language education and broadcasting.
It has also offered PKK members a partial amnesty, although the groups leaders and military commanders were explicitly excluded from this offer. Such measures would have been unthinkable in Turkey only a few years ago.
But as far as the PKK is concerned, this is still not enough.
Mizgin Sen, Kadeks European spokeswoman told the BBC: "Taking decisions is one thing, implementing is another."
The EU has already made it clear that it is waiting to see how Ankara implements these reforms. Now, it will also be watching carefully to see what happens on the ground in largely Kurdish south-eastern Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Government is continuing to do all it can to persuade sceptics in the EU that it will be ready to start accession talks by the end of 2004.
So far, Ankaras reaction to the PKK/Kadek statement has been low-key. Turkeys Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, on an official visit to Europe, shrugged off the statement.
"The terror groups shouting in recent days" he said " is the result of panic stemming from the partial amnesty law."
So how realistic are the groups threats? The PKK/ Kadek has suggested that it could re-instate the ceasefire by December, if the Turkish Government responds with its own ceasefire.
Thats not very likely; Turkey has traditionally refused to negotiate with the PKK, which it regards as a terrorist organisation.
Meanwhile, analysts like Michiel Leezenberg of Amsterdam University believe that the Kurdish organisation is militarily much weaker than it was at the height of the conflict in the 1990s. Mr Leezenberg says that he doubts whether the group could now produce anything more than what he described as "nuisance value".
Nevertheless, he believes that by making this announcement, the group is trying to send some political signals.
"They want to suggest that Turkey cannot become an EU member before the Kurdish question has a political solution " he said.
"Towards America, they signal that they are still very much part of the game and Northern Iraq cannot be peacefully settled unless a political settlement for the PKK is going on."
Certainly, any indication that the PKK intended to relaunch its military activities would ring alarm bells in Washington.
Several thousand PKK fighters are still based in northern Iraq.
Turkey has been pressing the US to take action against these bases. Washington, pre-occupied with security problems in other parts of Iraq, will be anxious to avoid any new problems breaking out in the relatively peaceful North.
The PKK is also likely to want to avoid any confrontation with the powerful US.
However, the groups leaders may be hoping that their latest statement could prompt Washington to put pressure on Ankara to extend its existing amnesty, or offer other concessions to Turkeys Kurds.
3. - Financial Times - "Turkey's EU quest":
3 September 2003
So it is hardly surprising Mr Erdogan constantly seeks assurance from EU leaders that he and his country are on the right road. He got this yesterday in Berlin from Gerhard Schröder, chancellor of Germany, the biggest EU state and pivotal on this issue because of its 2.5m Turkish-origin community. But Germany's support cannot be taken for granted. Many of its Christian Democrat politicians are using the populist luxury of opposition to denounce EU membership of so big a Muslim country as a cultural impossibility. And Mr Erdogan, despite Mr Schröder's nice words ringing in his ears, yesterday found himself facing a possible renewed Kurdish rebellion that could, depending on Ankara's response, complicate Turkey's relations with the EU.
The separatist guerrillas of the PKK, recently renamed Kadek, warned they would continue their ceasefire only if the Turkish government extended its new amnesty to cover all the Kurdish separatists, even those accused of violent crimes. The remaining Kurdish guerrillas, now based in northern Iraq, are alarmed about reports that Ankara is insisting the US deliver them up to Turkey, in return for Turkey's sending troops to help the US elsewhere in Iraq. Whether this is true or not, Mr Erdogan would be well advised to continue his efforts to defuse the Kurdish issue by political means, such as recent concessions on language rights. Any return to past brutality against the Kurds would backfire against Turkey in the EU.
On Cyprus, it is unrealistic for the EU to think Mr Erdogan can strong- arm Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, into accepting the United Nations-sponsored plan to reunify the island that he rejected in April. But it can realistically hope for some change, now that Ankara has persuaded Mr Denktash to open the border with the Greek part of the island and will be no longer unequivocally backing him in December's parliamentary elections.
If Mr Erdogan could bring about a settlement allowing a united Cyprus to join the EU next spring, he would certainly improve Turkey's chances of getting an early negotiating date. But the EU cannot dilute its political and economic conditions for Turkish entry merely for the sake of Cypriot unity. It can applaud Mr Erdogan's struggle to modernise Turkey. But the prime minister knows that struggle has to be waged, whether or not Turkey joins the EU.
"Schröder boosts Turkish hopes of entering EU"
BERLIN / 3 September 2003 / by Hugh Williamson
In his most positive comments this year on Turkey's EU entry bid, the chancellor said he had "lots of respect for progress made by Turkey under the leadership of prime minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. I'm pretty sure this will be helpful in achieving Turkey's wish to join the EU."
He was speaking after talks in Berlin with Mr Erdogan, who is on his first visit to Germany as prime minister. The EU is set to decide in December 2004 whether to open formal negotiations with Ankara.
The chancellor stressed that Germany and other European countries had raised Turkish expectations of EU entry over decades.
Mr Erdogan said Germany's stance was "helping make life easier" with regard to the early opening of EU talks.
Many EU members remain cautious on opening talks with Turkey, and Berlin's stance is seen as crucial, partly because there are 2.5m people of Turkish origin in Germany.
Mr Erdogan is due today to meet German human rights groups critical of Turkey but, in comments to journalists, Mr Schröder did not raise human rights concerns or questions about the treatment of the Kurdish minority.
Indeed, he explicitly criticised a German court that last month refused to allow the deportation of a prominent Turkish Islamic leader. The court refused due to concerns over torture and the independence of the Turkish judiciary. The government would appeal against the decision, the chancellor said.
Despite the government's stance, Turkey's possible EU entry remains controversial in Germany, and Mr Schröder also attacked the Christian-Democrat-led opposition for "cheap electioneering" by opposing Turkey's bid. Wolfgang Bosbach, deputy leader of the CDU parliamentary faction, said Turkey would "vastly over-stretch" the EU's capacity to integrate new members.
Michael Glos, parliamentary leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, said his party's opposition to Turkish entry would be part of next year's European election campaign. Turkey belonged to a "completely different culture" and was economically underdeveloped, he said.
Mr Schröder said the opposition was "damaging Germany's international standing" by departing from the pro-Turkey stance adopted by the government of former CDU chancellor Helmut Kohl. Despite having established closer ties with the CDU than with Mr Schröder's Social Democrats, Mr Erdogan also warned against Turkey's EU bid becoming "a domestic political battle" in Germany.
4. - Turkish Daily News - "AI says torture still widespread in Turkey":
ANKARA / 3 September 2003
In a written statement posted on its Internet site, Amnesty International said torture was still widespread and complained that law enforcement officials had failed to effectively combat it so far.
Turkey has passed several reform laws to eradicate torture and improve human rights standards as part of efforts to fulfill standards of the European Union, which it aspires to join.
Echoing a frequent complaint of EU officials, Amnesty International said the new reforms and existing laws should be more effectively implemented.
Erdogan met German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and was due to meet German human rights groups, who have severely criticized Turkey for its deficiencies in meeting human rights standards.
Representatives of Amnesty International's Germany branch were due to meet Erdogan on Wednesday. The meeting will be attended by representatives of three other human rights groups based in Germany as well.
This will be the first time a Turkish prime minister has an official meeting with representatives of nongovernmental organizations during a trip to Germany. The meeting will be held in Turkey's Embassy in Berlin and the Embassy has already sent invitations to the groups.
Erdogan is expected to seek support from the German rights groups, while the groups will most probably raise the Kurdish issue and human rights violations in Turkey.
According to Amnesty International, there are specific limitations concerning the rights of detainees in Turkey and complained that detainees are practically deprived of their rights to see lawyers, though there are laws allowing this.
5. - Reuters - "UNCHR: Turkey deports Kurdish refugees back to Iran":
ANKARA / 2 September 2003 / by Ayla Jean Yackley
Metin Corabatir, a spokesman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ankara, said the Kurds' enforced return to Iran placed them at grave risk.
''The UNHCR sought and received verbal assurances this would not reoccur. We requested...assurances the refugees be readmitted if they return.''
Corabatir said it was not clear how many had been expelled and was unable to confirm reports that 12 people were deported.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.
Corabatir said some 1,200 Iranian Kurdish refugees have been living mainly in the eastern Turkish city of Van since leaving Iraq between 2000 and 2003.
Nearly all the deportees had first won U.N. asylum status in northern Iraq but left because of security fears.
After the 1991 Gulf War, northern Iraq passed out of Baghdad's control as an autonomous Kurdish area, though frictions existed between various groups. Since the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein it has been under U.S. occupation.
Corabatir said the U.N. had asked governments not to expel
asylum seekers leaving war-torn Iraq.
''These are people who were politically active in Iran and had been given refugee status by the U.N. in northern Iraq after escaping from Iran,'' he said.
6. - World Tribune - "Turkey Delays Deployment Decision":
2 September 2003
The government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has delayed a parliamentary vote on Turkish deployment in Iraq until October, officials said. They said Erdogan and military chiefs have concluded that Ankara has failed to obtain sufficient information on the terms of the U.S. deployment request to persuade parliament to support the proposal.
Officials said the United States has refused to relay the terms Turkish deployment until parliamentary approval of Ankara's request, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the U.S. Defense Department would enter negotiations with Ankara after the proposal passes parliament.
Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said a U.S. military delegation will arrive in Ankara over the next week to discuss Turkish troop deployment in Iraq. Ozkok said the visit would be a folo-up to that of Gen. James Jones, supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe and scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.
"The issue isn't only military, but also political and economic," Ozkok, referring to the Jones visit, said.
Another factor blocking a vote in parliament has been clarifications of Ankara's request for U.S. policy in northern Iraq. This includes the U.S. vision of the future of northern Iraq, particularly in wake of fighting between Kurds and ethnic Turks around Kirkuk.
At the same time, officials said, Turkey has been laying the groundwork for deployment in Iraq. Turkish officials have been meeting tribal leaders in Iraq and winning support from some of them for the deployment of up to 10,000 Turkish troops in Iraq.
In late August, a delegation from the Al Obeid tribe, regarded as one of the largest in Iraq, held talks in Ankara. The delegation discussed Iraq's future with the Iraqi Turkmen Front, which has an office in Ankara.
For their part, U.S. commanders in northern Iraq have asserted that military coordination between Ankara and the U.S. military has improved. They said coordination increased over the last 10 days in wake of the fighting in Kirkuk.
"We have good coordination with the Turkish Special Forces and are cooperating on ways to prevent any repeat of these incidents," Col. William Mayville, commander of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in Kirkuk, said in a meeting with Turkish reporters in Kirkuk last week.