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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 97-04-18

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>


No. 71/97 -- 18.4.97


  • [01] Pentagon: Initiative on Cyprus is close.
  • [02] Denktash repeats known positions, expects "understanding" by President Clerides.
  • [03] Human rights abuses continue in Turkey.

  • [04] Greek, Turkish, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot businessmen to meet in Istanbul.
  • [05] Columnist on strategic importance of Turkey's presence in Cyprus.


    [01] Pentagon: Initiative on Cyprus is close

    According to Turkish Daily News (18.4.97) the much-talked-about "Cyprus initiative" that the Clinton Administration is said to be preparing for quite a while is "very close to be finalized" and is "just about to go to the President [Clinton]" for his final approval, according to a senior US Defense Department official who talked off-the-record to a small group of invited journalists and think-tank scholars on Wednesday.

    The initiative is not exclusively on Cyprus but covers the "Aegean issues" as well, according to the official who ask not to be identified by name. Previously discussed issues, like the "moratorium" on all armed-flights over the island, would be just one measure within a much larger package, he said. "One should not place too much emphasis on any one measure", he said.

    When the paper asked the official if "land-for-peace" formula was at the heart of the said initiative, the official replied negatively. " I can't even characterize it as such," the official said. "We'll address the issue broadly, within the context of the Aegean and other issues. Territorial aspect of the settlement is NOT included in the proposal to be sent to the President", he said. "I don't know what type of territorial arrangements have to be made in a final settlement".

    The Pentagon senior official made it clear that one indispensable condition of such settlement is the willingness of all parties "to find a mutually acceptable solution." The alternative to such a goodwill approach was the attempt by the parties to use protracted, negotiations as a platform "to use the Untied States' influence for their own ends." The US, armed with the frustrating negotiation experiences of the past, is apparently careful this time around not to be manipulated by any party.

    The Pentagon official also talked at length about the new uncertainties introduced into the European security picture by the Refah-led coalition government in Turkey.

    "Another threat that we don't necessarily talk about as one of the major European security issues but one which Secretary Cohen started to spend more time thinking of is the question of Turkish estrangement from Europe, and whether or not that is really a trend, whether or not that is a deception, if it is real what it means for Europe and for Turkey", he said.

    "The United States, all the members of the NATO alliance, including both Greece and Turkey, got a lot of common interests in southeastern Europe. As we focus on the sometimes difficult issues in the Aegean and in Mediterranean and southeastern Europe, it is far too easy to forget that it is in no one's interests that Greece and Turkey should have an open conflict. The stability and security in Europe and southeastern Europe in particular, for the United States is a very important interest. The implications for the US of open conflict between Greece and Turkey would be profound."

    "We care about what happens to the Aegean. We care about what happens in the eastern Mediterranean for a number of very practical reasons and not for broad reasons of what would happen if there were an open conflict."

    The official emphasized an interesting point which both Greek and Turkish officials would perhaps find it hard to accept and digest: The very issues (like continental shelf, territorial water limit, airspace limitation, sovereignty of islets in Aegean, etc.) that sent Turkey and Greece almost to war twice within the last ten years actually are not central to Europe's present security concerns.

    "This may not sound very important because this is what we pay the staff people for. But what they are NOT doing is probably more important if they are instead focusing on bilateral issues which although very important to Greece and Turkey are not central to European security issues."

    The official reminded how central and important a mission it was to enlarge NATO. Thus Turkey's threat to bloc that expansion was the worst thing Turkey could do, he implied. It was "disruptive" to hold the alliance "hostage" with such a threat, he said.

    EU enlargement is not central to NATO's security mission. Such an insistence by Turkey to link the two is "complicating the European security" dialogue, he said.

    "Question of EU enlargement does NOT seem to be central focus of US Department of Defense policy -- yet it is in a way because EU enlargement has very important security dimension... because members of the EU have access to Western institutions, have opportunities to develop relationships with the West..."

    "EU enlargement is a complicated process not only for economic reasons but also for political reasons. The EU enlargement process is complicating the European security dialogue when it comes to Cyprus, when it comes to Turkey".

    "There is a different security environment now in the Aegean and Southeast Europe than was a year ago. It effects what our policy options will be. It probably also h as an impact on how much priority we give addressing the Aegean and Cyprus issues. Change in security partners in eastern Europe makes it more important that we focus in that region now than compared a year ago."

    Commenting on the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah)'s rise to power as senior coalition partner in June 1996, the official said Refah's reluctance to deal with the West presented new security questions for Pentagon.

    "Turkey while still interested in deepening its relations with European nations at the same time is reaching out in other directions", the official said. He certainly discouraged "deeper relations with Islamic nations".

    [02] Denktash repeats known positions, expects "understanding" by President Clerides

    According to KIBRIS (18.4.97) Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has claimed that the Turkish Cypriots are always ready to meet and talk with the Greek Cypriots under equal conditions. He said that everybody should know what they mean when they say equality.

    Referring to the efforts to bring President Clerides and himself together Denktash said: "We have no demands from Clerides. However, there are things that Clerides asks from us, which we cannot give".

    "What does the Greek Cypriot side expect from us? If we know these expectations and prepare the answers to be given, then we will be more comfortable. The Greek Cypriot side wants us to give up our sovereignty. It wants us not to insist on the equality and allow all the Greek Cypriots to return to their places thus doing away with bizonality. It wants us to give up Turkey's guarantorship. It wants us to accept their government as the legitimate government of the whole of Cyprus. We cannot do this. We did not do so until today, and we will not do it".

    "We want from Clerides to accept our equality. He cannot say `I deny it' because this exists in the 1960 basis. It is also included in the principles put on the negotiation table by the UN Secretary-General. We expect understanding from Clerides, we want to establish a bizonal partnership. Let the two people be neighbours living side-by-side, let them create the future basis for an agreement by cooperating slowly-slowly. No one should touch upon Turkey's guarantorship and right to intervention and the balance between Turkey and Greece should not be tilted through entering the EU gate."


    [03] Human rights abuses continue in Turkey

    Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD) announced its report on the March summary of human rights abuses. According to Turkish Daily News (17.4.97), the following statistics are included in IHD's March report:

    * Eight people died in unsolved murders. * Seven people lose their lives through execution without trial, after torture or while in custody. * 168 people died in armed clashes. * Attacks on civilians left 12 dead and six injured. * 11 people "disappeared" while in custody. * 48 people were tortured or claimed to have been tortured. * 2910 people were taken into custody, 41 of whom were from the press. * 107 people were arrested. * Four villages and hamlets were evacuated. * 10 locations were bombed. * Six associations, trade unions and press agencies were raided. * 26 publications were confiscated. * At present, there are 150 prisoners of conscience in jail. * Courts have approved of prison terms exceeding 12 years and fines totaling TL16,548,000.


    [04] Greek, Turkish, Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot businessmen to meet in Istanbul

    Tufan Turec writing in HURRIYET (18.4.97) under the title: "Important Meeting in Istanbul" says that "A very important meeting will be held in Istanbul on 25 May which will contribute to the settlement of the Greco- Turkish problems.

    Six businessmen from Turkey, six from Greece, six from the Turkish Cypriot side, six from the Greek Cypriot side will be sitting around the table in Istanbul.

    The businessmen who will take part in this historic meeting, purged from all kinds of political bias, will try to find answers to the following two questions:

    1. How could we develop economic cooperation among us? 2. What kind of a role could we play in the settlement of the problems between Greece and Turkey?

    During the one-day meeting most probably a committee will be formed to continue the relations and carry out the work.

    They will continue to meet at certain intervals.

    The four-party meeting, the great dream conceived by Ozal on the political level, which was never materialized, will be realized years later by the businessmen.

    The meeting will be attended by the following businessmen from Turkey: Rohmi Koc, Sarik Tara, Osman Kavala, Selim Egeli, Meral Gezgin Eris, Yavuz Zeytinoglu. This meeting is very important from the point of view of the relations of this two countries, which for years have not been possible to develop.

    The businessmen from Greece, and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides who will attend this meeting, will be of the same level of that of the Turkish businessmen.

    How the realization of this very important meeting was secured?

    Let us tell you its story. The first step was taken at the Greek-Turkish and American forum organized by former US Ambassador Abromowitz under the name of the Carnegie Foundation.

    Eight people from each country - Greece, Turkey, the US - took part in this meeting.

    During the interval, the General Secretary of the Greek-American trade Chamber, Samakos, came to Sarik Tara and said that they will soon visit Istanbul with some of his Greek friends.

    As a result of this Tara, taking this opportunity, proposed the holding of a meeting. The Greeks accepted.

    Last November the Greek businessman did come to Istanbul. The meeting was held again in Istanbul and the city was shown to the guests.

    After some time the Turkish businessmen reciprocated this visit and went to Athens.

    During these meetings the cool atmosphere between the Greek and Turkish businessmen was removed.

    Another fact was also revealed; the Greek and Turkish businessmen were both complaining over the huge sums of money that their respective countries are spending on armament.

    The Greeks invited the Turkish businesssmen to the conference held in Thessalonika on "Greece and the Balkans".

    Our businessmen went to Thessalonika.

    They did well by going, because very interesting developments took place there.

    Greek Foreign Minister Pangalos and the Foreign Minister of the Greek Cypriot section Michaelides (he now left this post) in their speeches said very positive things.

    Both foreign ministers vehemently opposed the demands for excluding Turkey from Europe and especially they criticized the Germans. As a result of this the Turkish businessmen justifiably put the following question to Pangalos:

    `Why don't you sit with your Turkish counterpart around a table and seek settlement to the problems?' To this Pangalos said: `Let Turkey stop threatening us, then we can sit around a table'.

    At the interval, this time Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Michaelides approached the Turkish businessmen and made the following interesting proposal; `At this moment I am a politician but I am also a businessman. Let us come together and do this job. Businessmen solve problems better. Let us come together before the politicians meet'.

    Our businessmen gladly accepted this proposal, and decided to hold this four-party meeting in Istanbul and the outline of the meeting was drawn there.

    Afterwards, permission was secured from the officials of the four countries, and the date was fixed.

    Here it is. This great meeting will take place in Istanbul next month, on the 25th. And most probably, it will be repeated in Athens and in the Greek and Turkish sectors in Cyprus.

    The businessmen will try and do what the politicians failed to do, thus trying to do away with the cold atmosphere existing between the two countries.

    Provided of course that the politicians, who for years were unable to realize this, do not preclude it at the last moment". (MY)

    [05] Columnist on strategic importance of Turkey's presence in Cyprus

    Mensur Akgun writing in YENI YUZYIL (17.4.97) under the title "There should be no miscalculations" refers to the thow in the relations between Greece and Turkey as well as in Cyprus and and welcomes this atmosphere. However, he warns the USA and the British not to make miscalculations regarding Turkey's strategic interests in Cyprus. He says "The Americans and the British by talking with the soldiers here (in Cyprus, occupied area) will easily understand that Turkey's military presence in Cyprus is not only important from the Greco-Turkish relations point of view but also from the view of Turkey's strategic interests in this region. Turkey's military presence in Cyprus is directly related to the security of its ports in the Mediterranean, to the defending of the South Anatolian Project GAP, the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, if it is realized, to developing relations with Israel as well as to having a saying in the Middle East geo-politics. For this reason no one should take a wrong step when observing the thowing of the relations" concludes Akgun. (MY)

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at

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