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From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <>

Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Directory



24/96 3-4-5.2.96


  • [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry envoy: Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations are indirectly connected.

  • [02] Holbrooke on Cyprus: We can't start it quite yet.

  • [03] Denktash to London for a lecture.

  • [04] Mumtaz Soysal on Cyprus and the Aegean.

    No.24/96 3-4-5.2.96


    [01] Turkish Foreign Ministry envoy: Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations are indirectly connected

    According to TRT television network (11:00 hours, 2.2.96) Ambassador Inal Batu, Turkish Foreign Ministry deputy under secretary, in an interview with a TRT correspondent, inter alia, referred to Cyprus and said:

    "The Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations are indirectly connected. Any positive developments in Greek-Turkish relations will reflect positively on the Cyprus issue and any progress on the Cyprus issue will have positive effects on Greek-Turkish relations. The connection is such that the atmosphere in terms of the Cyprus issue will be more favourable if we can start a dialogue with the Greeks."

    [02] Holbrooke on Cyprus: We can't start it quite yet

    Turkish Daily News (2.2.96) publishes excerpts from US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke's remarks at the National Press Club in Washington last Wednesday. Speaking on the latest crisis in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey, Mr Holbrooke referred to Cyprus, saying he will go to Ankara, Athens and Nicosia and will take with him Deputy Undersecretary (of Defense) Jan Lodal, "to have a joint State-Defense trip, on which we will focus not on Cyprus, because it's not time yet to launch our Cyprus initiative - we can't do that yet because of the political situation - but to focus on trying to reduce tensions in the Aegean." Mr Holbrooke, in reply to a question added: "We committed ourselves early last year to a major effort on Cyprus. Now, all the old Cyprus hands, people of great distinction, said this is hopeless, it's been going on for 30 years. But the president decided to appoint a presidential emissary, the first one since 1980; his name is Richard Beattie, he's a distinguished lawyer in New York... And we agreed that we would launch an effort on Cyprus when the time was right.

    It had to follow Bosnia for a lot of technical reasons, and it had to follow certain events in Turkish and Greek politics, all but one of which have now taken place.

    But the last one, the formation of a stable government in Turkey, which I believe will take another few weeks, based on my conversations with the Turks last night, has to come first.

    We are committed to a Cyprus initiative this year. It's my own view that this is an easy decision because if it doesn't succeed there is really no harm in trying. And if you let this issue fester in the post-Cold War environment, unconstrained by the Soviet threat, it could explode. If these little rocks nearly exploded last night, think of a serious island with serious people and a Berlin-type wall running down the middle of the island for 180 miles.

    And secondly, because until Greece and Turkey normalize their relations, by which I mean what Adenauer and de Gaulle did for Germany and France in the 60s and what Venizelos and Ataturk did in the 30s but then it eroded between Greece and Turkey; until that happens, there's always going to be instability in that area, and these are two important American treaty allies.

    And beyond that, Turkey is and remains the front-line state of the new Europe. Any country that has common borders with Syria, Iraq, Iran, a lot of former Soviet republics, Bulgaria, plus its own problems with Greece plus its own problems with the Kurds, is a country of critical importance. And so we are committed to a major effort on Cyprus this year. We're not promising success. But we can't start it quite yet."

    [03] Denktash to London for a lecture

    According to KIBRIS (95.2.96) the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is to go to London for a lecture.

    During the lecture Denktash will convey to the Turkish Cypriots living in London the latest developments in the Cyprus problem. The paper also claims that on 17 February Denktash will inaugurate the Islamic Religious Center bought and restored by the Sultan of Brunei.

    KIBRIS says that Denktash is going to London for the first time since 1992. (MY)

    [04] Mumtaz Soysal on Cyprus and the Aegean

    In an exclusive interview to MILLIYET's (4.2.96) correspondent Nilgun Cerrahoglu, former Turkish Foreign Minister and Denktash's "constitutional advisor" Mumtaz Soysal speaks about Greco-Turkish relations, the Imia crisis, the Cyprus problem and Holbrooke's forthcoming visit. He once more exhibits his hawkish and warlike stance towards Greece. The interview is as follows: Question: Is the US intervention "The flags should be lowered and the soldiers should leave" a Pax Americana? Answer: If there will be a "Pax" in the Aegean it will be a Greek and Turkish Pax. Question: The USA is not thinking along this line. Holbrooke says "it is once more shown that from North Ireland, to Bosnia and the Middle East there is need for US leadership. This period, for the historians, will be a period, following the Post-cold war, where US foreign policy will be shaping. Answer: What does Holbrooke know? He is not a prophet. What does Holbrooke know about the Aegean issue? He will commit mistakes by trying to solve a problem that he does not know anything about. Question: Wasn't it USA that solved the Kardak issue (Imia)? Answer: No, it was Turkey's determination that solved the problem. The same determination exists regarding 12 miles issue. I have experienced this during my term of office as Foreign Minister. Once Greece declares that it has extended its territorial waters to 12 miles, this means war. Question: Did the proposal "go and raise the flag to the opposite rock" not come from the USA? Answer: The press reports on this issue are wrong. It was a Turkish invention. Question: Was the lowering of the flags not realized following Mr Clinton's parallel telephone conversations with Ankara and Athens? Answer: In doing this they did not solve a problem. They just stopped a war. The moment Holbrooke becomes big-headed by thinking that he can solve the Aegean problem, then he is mistaken. He can only avert the war. He cannot solve the problem neither in Aegean nor in Cyprus... Question: Simitis was in favour of a dialogue with Turkey. Why this question was raised when such a person took office? Answer: Do you want to say that, "someone initiated this crisis in order to pave the way for the USA arbitration?" I do not share this view. The USA has already seen that its arbitration will not bring any benefit. If Holbrooke has some brains, I hope he does not think that he could come and solve the Cyprus problem. Cyprus is a far greater problem than Bosnia. He is unaware of it. He will realize it when he comes and gets in. Question: It is possible to look into the issue in a hawkish manner. However, Clinton says: If you land on those rocks you will receive neither ours nor NATO's support. Answer: In fighting against Greece we are not expecting support from anybody. War breaks out. Finding support is a matter of Greece's calculation on Cyprus. They think: "We do a half-a-day war. We occupy one or two places, the next day the US will stop the war. If the US does not, then the UN Security Council does. We do not lose the rest". This is a wrong calculation. They cannot stop the war. Question: If you look at it from the West... Answer: So, don't look at it from the west. Question: It is alright if I don't, but the world does. Answer: Let them... Question: They are looking and say that while a peace process has started from Bosnia to Israel-Palestine, and Israel-Syria, Turkey is a country that does not produce solutions to problems through peaceful means, including the Greek, the water and the Kurdish issues. Answer: Israel exhibited a determined and consistent stance regarding war prior to entering into the Middle East peace process. Then it forced peace into a circle. Turkey, too, should clearly convey the message that if its fundamental interests are harmed, then Turkey will "fight". Once this becomes obvious, then the peace policy comes out by itself. This is what Greece, Europe and the USA do not understand. Why does Greece resort to this kind of trials? Because since 1830 it has the impression that it has an umbrella: "The West will not let me be prey to the Turks". This has reached the limit. It cannot be tolerated by Turkey any longer. Question: But this time (Greece) was left alone... Answer: Because we did some explaining. For example, in Cyprus we are always saying: Please don't do this, please do not get involved in this issue, and please tell the Greeks: "You are not the Cyprus Republic, you are the Greek Cypriot Republic". They are not telling this. Or we are saying, tell them "please give up the 12 mile dream". Or even: "Do not fiddle about with this issue because then this nonsensical map can be altered."

    It is a nonsensical map. If they make a mistake, it will change. Question: The Dodecanese? Answer: I do not know. It will be altered to a more reasonable map. In this form, it is a crazy map. Westerns should tell this to the Greeks. Instead, they offer advice and say: "For God's sake, no war, be a gentleman". You could do it to a certain point. Then you stand-up and hit. We do not say only the islands are involved. All the Greco-Turkish relations shall be taken up in a package. I will use the phrase used in the case of Cyprus: "Integrated whole". Question: Athens does not recognize the package... Answer: Let the US, or Europe make Greece to approach this. Unless the package is solved, the problem will not be settled. Question: There is a lot of tention in Greece. Do you expect an explosion? Answer: During my tenure as Foreign Minister twice, actually twice and a half times, I proposed the peace package to the Greek Foreign Minister Papoulias. They said "No". They said "Greece has nothing to negotiate but the sea-bed issue which should be solved by the International Court of Justice". Question: They are after a diplomatic victory. Answer: Then, in that case we shall not give Cyprus. Question: How do you find the confidence-building measures (CBMs) proposed by the USA regarding the Aegean? Answer: The CBMs mean to return to the "status quo ante" Question: That is? Answer: We have just returned to the "status quo ante". Something that from their (Greeks) point of view can be argued. For us the status quo ante is very clear: "Those rocks belong to us". We can test that by placing a lantern on the rock. I am a seaman. You can place a lighthouse that produces electricity with a windmill to give out light during the night. There are brands that lit automatically, and when there is fog they play a warning given. Thus, safeguarding the ships from running aground. The name is "Lighthouse (lantern) diplomacy".

    This time we have been caught without a lighthouse. Question: Is a hot line useful? Answer: Yes, on condition that the one end of it should not be connected to Washington. It should be between Athens and Ankara. USA, please... don't come here. You will run aground, and hit the rocks. You should not try to have a parallel line connected to this hot line either. Question: At the beginning of February Hollbrooke will be coming. What are his expectations? What does he want to realize? Answer: What they are waiting for is the 8 November elections (US presidential elections). They are expecting that until that day this problem will be solved. They are anxious to settle this issue prior to resuming the election campaign. They will try to settle a problem, which has not been solved for 50 years, in two months. Something which is not possible what will they do? They will say: "We have come, and we have taken up this issue as well very seriously." Nothing more than that. Question: Hollbrooke hopes to settle the Cyprus problem through the influential New York lawyer Richard Beattie... Answer: We, headed by Denktash, as well as the Greek Cypriots have very able lawyers. This is not a lawyer's job. The following must be said to Clinton, to Beattie and to Mr Hollbrooke prior to boarding the plane: The Turks established a state on the northern part of the island. Does this state exists or not? If you say it does not then don't waste your time and don't board the plane. Don't bother. What shall we do with the TRNC? Shall we put it in front of the door, shall we throw it out in the street, because they do not recognize it? This is our legitimate child, it will live. The USA opened its umbrella in the Aegean and nobody says anything to the USA. Who will interfere with us for the umbrella we have opened over Cyprus? Question: Cyprus will become a full EU member. Answer: Let it become. This means the north will integrate with Turkey. It is as simple as this. Question: Customs Union? Answer: Together with us the north will enter into Customs Union with the EU. If they will dismiss us because the TRNC integrated into us, it is their problem. The EU benefits more from the Customs Union. Their benefit will diminish. Europe should not become Greece's tool. The coming period is very interesting. The Greeks have started threatening. They say: "We have put Turkey into difficult situation within the EU. We do not let the 3 billion USD to be given to Turkey with the Customs Union agreement". Nothing will change whether they give it or not. Question: Will Turkey alone challenge the world? Answer: We are challenging Greece. We will not sacrifice national interests because we will be isolated. This is what Europe does not see. They think that they are thinking rationally. They are mistaken. Even if they tell us that "the US will rain bombs on you, don't do it", this will have no effect on us. Question: Do you think that Greece got the message and for this reason wants safeguards for its borders at the EU Intergovernmental Conference? Answer: Of course, but let us suppose Greece mobilizes the EU and they pass this decision. And they say: The Greek borders in the Aegean are our borders, so we are unable to refuse Greece. And they extend (the territorial waters) into 12 miles. If they want let them take the USA as well on their side. We will start a war and we will succeed, because we are hundred percent right. Those who are right will win. Question: How do you evaluate the press (Turkish) regarding the latest crisis? Answer: There was no need for hoisting and lowering flags. People are already sensitive to this issue. It shows lack of quality in the press. Question: What kind of lessons have you learnt as a seaman? Answer: One has to keep observing the wind. Everything can change in a moment. The ship should be strong. You have to know where to go. You cannot chart your course haphazardly. The crew is directed according to the course. Question: Could you make an evaluation between Republican People's Party leader RPP Deniz Baykal and the Democratic Left Party leader Bulent Ecevit? Answer: We have yet to see Baykal as prime minister. Ecevit at least during his prime ministerial period succeeded in solving a foreign policy issue: He solved the Cyprus problem. The Cyprus problem has been solved. (MY)

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