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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 97-04-24

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>


TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA

No. 74/97 -- 24.4.97

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Denktash invites Greek Cypriots for weekend visits.
  • [02] Ciller reaffirms Turkey's support for Turkish Cypriots.
  • [03] Durduran raps prohibition on seminar participation.
  • [04] Turkish, Greek Chiefs of Staff meet in Brussels.
  • [05] Inal Batu interviewed on Greco-Turkish relations and Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Denktash invites Greek Cypriots for weekend visits

    According to illegal Bayrak radio (15:30 hours, 23.4.97) Rauf Denktash has said that the Turkish Cypriots want to initiate good neighbourly relations with the Greek Cypriots, adding that those Greek Cypriots who wish can enter the "TRNC". Denktash said: "If there are those who wish so, let them come and spend the weekend in our hotels. Our government and our police force can take the measures they deem necessary to ensure their security."

    Noting that the pseudostate is "sufficiently established to allow the Greek Cypriots to visit their religious site in the TRNC", Denktash said: "If a partnership is to be established then let them come and see the Turkish Cypriot partner. Let them see that what they are being told about us that we are going bankrupt and that we are ruined is actually not true."

    Replying to questions by illegal TAK (Turkish Cypriot News Agency) Denktash said that the Turkish Cypriots want to initiate good neighbourly relations with the other side, adding that the Greek Cypriot side should be prepared for that. Alleging that the Greek Cypriots "should not covet the equality and sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot side as well as its right to self government", Denktash claimed that the Greek Cypriot side should bear the consequences of and digest the results of their acts aimed at turning Cyprus into a Greek Cypriot republic.

    Denktash also claimed that the Greek Cypriots can attain nothing by describing the "TRNC citizens" who cross over to the south as Cypriot citizens crossing from occupied territories into the liberated ones. He noted that the time has come to accept the realities in Cyprus and to let people relax.

    [02] Ciller reaffirms Turkey's support for Turkish Cypriots

    A statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller was read during the Akis program of illegal Bayrak Television on 22 April.

    Ciller calls the Turkish Cypriots "an extension of the Great Turkish Nation in the Mediterranean Sea", and adds:

    "Turkey wants a just and viable solution to be found to the problem in Cyprus through talks that will be held by the two sides in the island in an atmosphere of freedom. It supports the effort that has been made under UN auspices for that purpose.

    Mutual consent and agreement are essential for a just and durable solution. That is a key principle for all aspects of the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, it must be known that international disputes can be resolved only through the recognition of the equality of the sides concerned. That is a fact that must be realized by the international community.

    The Turkish Cypriots must not be worried. Their security has been guaranteed. Considering its treaty obligations and historic duties, Turkey will continue to guarantee peace and tranquility in Cyprus, as it has done in the past. Within that framework, it will continue to fulfill its duties.

    We are determined to safeguard the Turkish Cypriot people's rights and interests, which are based on international agreements.

    Turkey has guaranteed the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC in the past. It will continue to do so in the future."

    [03] Durduran raps prohibition on seminar participation

    According to illegal Bayrak radio (10:30 hours, 23.4.97), New Cyprus Party leader Alpay Durduran has criticized the fact that party members were not allowed to attend a seminar held at the Goethe Institute next to the Ledra Palace. In a written statement he issue, Durduran said that the refusal by the occupation regime to allow people to cross over from the north to attend the seminar is a violation of basic rights and freedoms.

    It is impossible to understand the explanation that participation in such seminars might undermine foreign relations, he said, calling for an attitude that takes into consideration the fact that the two communities might unite under one umbrella soon and live side-by-side.

    [04] Turkish, Greek Chiefs of Staff meet in Brussels

    According to TRT (17:00 hours, 23.4.97) Chief of Staff General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, who is in Brussels to attend the NATO military committee meetings, has met with Greek Chief of Staff General Athanasios Tsoganis. It has been learned that confidence building measures were discussed at the meeting that was realized through the initiatives of NATO Secretary General Solana.

    [05] Inal Batu interviewed on Greco-Turkish relations and Cyprus

    Following is the text of the interview given by Ambassador Inal Batu, head of the Cyprus,,Greece, Marine, Aviation and International Organizations Desk at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and deputy Under Secretary at the said Ministry, to CUMHURIYET (20.4.97) correspondent Leyla Tavsanoglu.

    "Question: What kind of developments could come out for Cyprus on the medium term from the meeting between TRNC President Rauf Denktash and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Geneva, Switzerland?

    Answer: Basically it was an acquaintance meeting. We do not think that they have gone into the substance of the issue in Geneva.

    Mr. Annan had had a meeting in Geneva with the President of the Greek Cypriot Administration Clerides. Thus Mr. Annan had the chance to get acquainted with the leaders of the two communities. He learnt theirs views regarding a political solution. More important, he is trying to find out whether the resumption of face to face meetings between the two leaders is possible or not.

    Question: Do you think that it is a coincidence that both meetings took place in Geneva?

    Answer: It is a coincidence that both meetings took place in Geneva. The UN Secretary General had already gone to Geneva for another conference. For this reason the meeting took place there. It could have taken place in New York as well.

    Question: To your opinion, what is the possibility of face to face meetings between Denktash and Clerides?

    Answer: Of course there exists such a possibility. We, too, support the early resumption of the talks. The Greek Cypriot side had abandoned the negotiation table on October 1994. The calculations of the Greek Cypriots at that time were: To put the blame of not holding negotiations on the Turkish Cypriot side and on Turkey, and start the EU accession talks unilaterally representing the whole of Cyprus, and become an EU member on their own, without sharing power with the Turkish Cypriots. Now, too, they are dragging on their feet regarding the resumption of the negotiations. However, as a result of persistent work carried out by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, common sense has started prevailing in some EU capitals. At last in these capitals they have started to realize the fact that accepting the Greek Cypriots as the Republic of Cyprus into the EU prior to a political settlement, is not a much desired situation and that this would create various complications.

    Thus, both the European capitals and Washington have started conveying to the Greek Cypriots the message that they should not expect full EU membership prior to a political settlement in Cyprus. Thanks to these efforts there is now the possibility of holding direct talks between the two communities.

    On our part, we express cautious optimism on this issue.

    Question: You have said that European capitals and Washington have started expressing the view that it would be difficult for the Greek Cypriot side to be unilaterally accepted for EU membership. Do you think that they are sincere on this or is it a manoeuvre?

    Answer: No. The Europeans are experiencing the difficulty of carrying the Greco-Turkish problems in the EU. Most probably they have now realized the problems that full membership of the Greek Cypriots will cause.

    Question: Well, why then did the EU members accept the Greek Cypriot side's full membership application in the first place?

    Answer: I think they said `yes' for the following reason: for the following purpose they said "Yes":

    The European countries thought that the two sides would compete each other in goodwill gestures in order to become EU members. But at the end they noticed that the Greek Cypriot side had abandoned the negotiation table. For this reason there was a change of stance among the EU members. They started conveying stronger and stronger messages to the Greek Cypriot side that the EU membership will be very difficult prior to a settlement.

    For example, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has openly said: "As long as I am Foreign Minister and unless a settlement is reached in Cyprus the Greek Cypriots cannot enter into the EU. Similar messages came from London, Paris and Rome.

    If today we are more optimistic regarding the resumption of the direct talks, we owe it to the stance of the EU member countries. The Greek Cypriots do not believe in the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots nor do they have digested the concept of bizonality. The Greek Cypriots are going to the negotiations very reluctantly. This is very obvious. Also, I would like to say that no support has come from Athens to Cyprus for the resumption of direct talks in Cyprus. As you know, Athens considers the continuation of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem as an important obstacle on the road to Turkey's relation with the EU, and Athens does not want to remove this obstacle. Unfortunately, from the beginning of the issue, Greece has never adopted a constructive stance for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Question: However, recently it seems that Greece has changed tune. On many platforms the Greek diplomats have started saying: "We shall no longer use the Cyprus trump-card in the Greco-Turkish relations. We are already not using it. We are doing the same thing on the EU platform. We did not preclude the Customs Union agreement timetable either". What do you think on this issue?

    Answer: I do not believe in the sincerity of such claims. First of all, they did not preclude the Customs Union, because, in return, they got the concession that accession talks between Cyprus and the EU would start six months after the end of the intergovernmental conference. However, once they secured this promise, they did not preclude the Customs Union, but they are now precluding the functioning of the Customs Union. They are placing obstacles against the financial protocol, thus they are obstructing the fulfillment of the requirements of the Customs Union. They are obstructing the establishment of a meaningful dialogue between Turkey and the EU. There is no sincerity in these statements.

    Question: Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has reacted to Chancellor Helmut Kohl's statement that "Turkey cannot join the EU because of its cultural differences" by saying that "Turkey is a part of Europe". How can you assess this?

    Answer: Pangalos has made several gestures towards Turkey. He has said that Turkey is a part of the European Civilization and that it is impossible to think of Europe without Turkey. We noted these statements with satisfaction. However, those who carefully look into the Greco-Turkish relations, those observers who follow the issue closely are saying: `Pangalos seems not to be opposed to Turkey's EU membership and integration. However, Greece's basic position hasn't changed. Greek vetoes are still in force, Greece continues to reject the dialogue" . We cannot ignore all this.

    Question: If that is the case, why has Greece made these statements?

    Answer: Because Turkey's complete exclusion from Europe will not be in Greece's interest. That is, the continuation of the present situation in Turkish-EU relations is ideal for Greece. Thus Turkey's integration with the EU will been precluded.

    If Turkey is completely banned from Europe then Greece will lose one of her major trump-cards against Turkey. Allow me to put it more clearly. Turkey's EU membership issue is a trump-card in Greece's hands to use as blackmail.

    Secondly, the claims that `Turkey is not part of the European civilization' have made Greece a bit uneasy because Greece is worried that after this, claims will follow that `the orthodox community is not part of the European civilization'.

    Third, a careful observer will see that Pangalos made this statement, while visiting Washington and when the Christian Democrats came up with a firm stance against Turkey's EU membership. It is possible that Pangalos made the following calculation: ` In any case, someone else is trying to keep Turkey away from Europe. So this way we can be considered as making a gesture to Turkey'. I want to repeat that, in principle, we have considered Pangalos' statement as positive. However, careful observers have never ignored the three points I have just listed.

    Question: Following the Kardak (Imia: Tr. note) crisis and its aftermath, former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz had said: "Turkey can appeal to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for arbitration'. Why has a step not been taken to this effect so far?

    Answer: No, esteemed Yilmaz did not say that. He said Turkey can `consider doing it'. In addition to the issue of `arbitration', in his 24 March call Yilmaz had said: `The ideal method for the solution of the problems between Greece and Turkey is the establishment of a dialogue. We do not oppose appealing to a third party for the settlement of these problems. We can discuss this with the Greeks as well'.

    The alternatives include reconciliation, arbitration, and the International Court of Justice. All this was included in Mr. Yilmaz's statement. Unfortunately, Athens failed to favourably respond to him at the time. We expected Greece to agree to a dialogue. We expected a dialogue to be established so that the two countries could decide on the third party to which they should appeal to have some of their problems resolved. However, this has not been the case. What took place in Bucharest could be regarded as a modest initiative. However, nothing has been done to follow it up.

    Question: If I am not wrong, an interesting development took place in Geneva after what took place in Bucharest. The dialogue completely broke. You were closely involved. Can you explain what happened?

    Answer: Ambassador Gunduz Aktan and I met with former Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Alexandros Filon and his assistant, Savvakhidhis, in Geneva at the time. We held lengthy talks in a relaxed atmosphere. We bid farewell to each other by saying that we hoped to meet again in Berlin. The then Foreign Minister Emre Gonensay and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos would visit Berlin to attend a NATO meeting there a few days later. We were in Geneva to prepare the agenda of the meeting that would be held by the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers. We left Geneva and arrived in Ankara the next day. We were shocked to be told at the Foreign Ministry that Greece decided to unilaterally cancel the meeting that was to be held in Berlin.

    Question: I have been told that Greece has claimed that Turkey unilaterally canceled the meeting.

    Answer: No, that is definitely wrong. The disclosure that the meeting that would be held by the two foreign ministers had been canceled was made by Athens.

    Question: TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Serdar Denktash informed us some time ago that the TRNC's accession to the EU as a full member cannot be realized without Turkey being on the scene even if north Cyprus is given an opportunity to join the organization. Can you assess this approach?

    Answer: His view is very right. In fact, President Denktash maintains a similar approach. Let us leave what the Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkey, Greece, and Britain think on the matter aside and consider the international agreements on Cyprus. They clearly outline that the Greek Cypriots cannot join the EU by themselves. Let us look back a little. A balance was established between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, and Thrace through the Lausanne Agreement in 1923. The concept of balance was considered when the London and Zurich Agreements were signed in 1960. Those who signed the agreements were statesmen. They maintained the balance that was established through the Lausanne Agreement. The balance we are talking about has many aspects. One of them is a provision that has been clearly outlined. It says: `The Cyprus Republic cannot join any organization in which the two guarantor powers, Turkey and Greece, are not members.' Another provision says: `The Cyprus Republic will give the highest preference to Turkey and Greece.'

    The records indicate that the then Turkish and Greek foreign ministers, Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Evangelos Averof, fully agreed.

    Greece and the Greek Cypriot side realized their military integration through their joint defense doctrine. The two sides will have realized their political and economic integration if the Greek Cypriots join the EU before Turkey becomes a member of the organization. This will create a significant advantage for Greece on Cyprus. In other words, the balance will significantly change in its favour. The statesmen, who signed the 1960 Agreements, included the condition that obstructs Cyprus from joining any organization in which Turkey and Greece are not members in order to avoid such a possibility.

    Question: International agreements and International Law must not be breached. Is this not right? Why are conflicting statements made against the conditions in those agreements at the present time?

    Answer: No one has argued that the agreements are not valid.

    However, some of the realities conflict with the interests of various circles.

    Question: Turkey used the right it has been recognized by the London and Zurich Agreements to land its military forces in Cyprus as a guarantor power. However, international organizations now seem to be ignoring the agreements. Is this right?

    Answer: The way they behave is very wrong. Everyone must agree that Turkey has used the right it has been recognized by the international agreements on Cyprus to intervene on the island. It urged the other guarantor powers to agree to take joint action as called for by the Treaty of Guarantees. It used the right the international agreements recognized to it to unilaterally intervene only when the other guarantor powers rejected its appeal.

    Cyprus' accession to an organization in which Turkey and Greece are not members was obstructed in 1960. Turkey used its legal right in 1974. Its intervention has not removed the 1960 Agreements. That means that the Greek Cypriots do not have the right to unilaterally join the EU. The promise the EU has made to the Greek Cypriot side on the commencement of the talks that will be held for Cyprus' accession is wrong. It conflicts with the provisions of international law. The EU decision has not contributed towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Three years have been lost in the effort made to resolve the Cyprus problem because of the EU promise. As I have said earlier, a dialogue has not been established in Cyprus during that time. The Greek Cypriots have not been able to accept the fact that they have to share power with the Turkish Cypriots. So, their eagerness to unilaterally join the EU has taken the form of a passion. They will realize the political and economic integration between Greece and south Cyprus if they join the organization. Consequently, ENOSIS (annexation of Cyprus to Greece) will no longer be a valid and useful formula for them.

    Two Hellenic republics will exist in the EU. This means that there will be two veto rights against Turkey. Obviously, this is the main strategic objective of Greece and the Greek Cypriots.

    Question: Do you believe that Turkey has satisfactorily fulfilled its obligations towards the TRNC? A financial protocol was signed between the two sides in January. It called for the transfer of $250 million to north Cyprus. The transfer procedures have not been put into effect thus far.

    Answer: An agreement has not been concluded on the transfer of the entire amount all at once. Yes, the transfer has been delayed.

    However, high-ranking officials informed TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu when he visited Turkey that the transfers will begin in a very short time. We expect them to begin in the next few days. There has been a delay but it will be redeemed.

    Question: Do you believe that the Foreign Ministries of Turkey and Greece have the technical cadres they need to resolve the problems between the two countries?

    Answer: I can only speak for my own ministry. Several of my colleagues sincerely want to work to resolve the problems between the two sides. They are experienced officials. All the officials in the Foreign Ministry sincerely want to have the problems between the two sides resolved through a dialogue. They agree that an appeal may be made to a third party for the solution of some of the problems. Some of the officials in the Greek Foreign Ministry may have a similar approach. However, as an institution, the Greek Foreign Ministry has not put its weight down for a dialogue that will bring us closer to peace.

    Question: Attention was focused on the Gavdhos islet after the crisis on the Kardak islets was resolved. Can you explain the reason for this? Why has Turkey been interested in this islet?

    Answer: According to certain circles, the ownership of the islet is debatable. Greece has tried to include it in one of the NATO exercises. This was done with an evil intention in mind.

    Question: Why?

    Answer: Well, the islet should not be fortified if it belongs to Greece. In this case, a military exercise cannot be held on it.

    Nor can a military exercise be held on it if it does not belong to Greece. This is because its ownership is debatable. In other words, Greece made an initiative with an evil intention in mind.

    One of our officers in NATO reacted to it. That is all."


    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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