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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 97-09-09
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA
No. 166/97 -- 9.9.97
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 US Cyprus Coordinator says `There are problems'According to Anatolia agency, (15:12 hours, 8.9.97) Thomas Miller, US special coordinator to Cyprus, said on Monday that "the most important issue on Cyprus is to understand that the solution of the conflict is a process."
Miller, who arrived in Ankara to hold contacts with Foreign Ministry officials, told an Anatolia agency correspondent that there were many problems on the Cyprus question.
Responding to a question on how the missile "crisis" will be solved with regard to the Cyprus issue, Miller said: "I do not know. There are lots of points to feel concern. I came here to understand how the solution will be found."
Miller said he worked in the region for a long time, adding that "I cannot say the missile crisis will be solved easily." While evaluating Russia's missile purchase to the Greek Cypriot side, Miller said: "Accusing a side will distant us from the solution of the question." Miller said he could not guarantee the success and stressed that he would do his best to this end.
Miller said there are two important criteria in peace talks and added: "First, nobody will leave the negotiation table with a satisfied face. What is important is to find a lasting and sustainable solution. The second one is that it is very difficult. You should not expect a turning point in a night. The message I can give here is that expectations should be pressed down."
Miller is scheduled to meet Turkish Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Onur Oymen and Deputy Under Secretary Inal Batu, who is responsible for Cyprus affairs.
 Inal Batu reiterates Turkish view of "Turkish-Greco balance" in CyprusAccording to illegal Bayrak radio (10:30 hours, 8.9.97) Inal Batu, Turkish Foreign Ministry deputy under secretary in charge of Cyprus and Greece, has declared that any formula for a solution that overlooks the Turkish-Greek balance in Cyprus has no chance of success.
In a statement to the NTV television station, which broadcasts in Turkey, Batu said that contrary to the EU, the United States has been signaling that it is in favour of preserving this balance in Cyprus. Answering the questions put to him by an NTV correspondent, Batu claimed that Greek Prime Minister Simitis' statements do not contribute positively to Turkish-Greek relations. "Greece is the country that triggered this missile crisis. The state that encourages the Greek Cypriot side and maybe even inspired the Greek Cypriots with regard to the missiles is Greece. They are now creating this crisis, on one hand, and sounding inappropriate war cries, on the other. The whole world will probably deduce the necessary lessons from these expressions."
Batu noted that the primary message to be given to Thomas Miller, the new US coordinator for Cyprus who will have contacts in Turkey, will consist of the "adverse affects", as he put it, of the EU stand on the negotiating process in Cyprus.
 Kinkel on Cyprus' EU accessionAccording to KIBRIS (9.9.97) German Foreign Minister Kaus Kinkel speaking to foreign reporters in Bonn has said: "With Cyprus' present situation it would be difficult for it to be accepted in the EU.
However, I hope that we will solve this problem before that"
Kinkel has said that the Turkish Cypriot side could not be included in the membership talks and declared: "But you know my position on this issue. I have exerted intensive efforts so that the north part of the island be accommodated in the talks. This is not only my idea. This is the stance of all the EU Foreign Ministers." Kinkel concluded by saying that the EU does not want to accept countries with minority problems and border disputes into membership. (MY)
 Lamberto Dini on CyprusAccording to KIBRIS (9.9.97) Italian Foreign Minister, Lamberto Dini, declared that he has never said that the Turkish Cypriot side should be recognized as a separate state.
Speaking to reporters prior to his meeting with US State Secretary Mrs Albright in Washington, Dini said: "I do not think we will take up the Cyprus problem. I could say that we have more important things than Cyprus on the agenda."
When asked to comment on press allegations that he had said that the occupied area should be recognized as a separate state Dini said:
"I have never made such statement. However, the reality that there are two entities should be recognized. If this was not the case then there would be no USA initiatives and efforts. This was what I had said". To a question if there are two equal entities in Cyprus, Dini said: "I cannot say two equal entities. There are two separate entities existing on the island and they are living side by side. This is the existing realities. I hope the UN sponsored negotiations will be resumed soon. The UN's bicommunal federal settlement approach seems a reasonable settlement. Everybody should work towards this direction." (MY)
 Denktash to go to IstanbulAccording to illegal Bayrak radio (9.9.97) Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will be leaving the occupied area for Istanbul to attend a TV programme. (MY)
 Miller said he would try 'sledgehammer diplomacy' in Cyprus.According to Turkish Daily News (5-6.9.97) Tom Miller, the U.S. State Department's officially-appointed Special Coordinator for Cyprus, said he will do a lot of listening when he leaves Washington on Monday for a trip to Europe and to the region. Miller's visit to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, Paris, London, Bonn, Brussels and Luxembourg is expected to last until Sept. 20.
During the first press interview he has given (since his SCC appointment) on Wednesday to a small group of Turkish and Greek journalists, Miller made it clear that caution and pragmatism would rule his approach to the issue.
Talking to the Turkish Daily News and the Anatolian news agency, Miller said he would try "sledgehammer diplomacy" in Cyprus, that is, persisting doggedly and trying over and over again until victory is achieved.
During the interview, Miller repeatedly emphasized the importance of keeping a low-profile approach to the difficult issues awaiting him. He said he did not want to comment on such sensitive issues as sovereignty, for example, since such on-the-record exercises only help escalate the tensions by inviting a public reaction from the other parties, which would certainly trigger another reaction, and so forth.
Here are excerpts from the Miller interview:
QUESTION -- What is the objective of your trip?
MILLER -- I've got a couple of ideas. Obviously, the first objective is to do a lot of listening. I've had some experience with the Cyprus problem in the past. This is the first time I'll be in this role. And I'll go out to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, and several European capitals, talk to some of the people involved in these issues for many, many years, and get a better sense of where they are coming from with their ideas.
QUESTION -- What is the main obstacle right now to solving the Cyprus issue?
MILLER -- Whenever there is a problem as difficult as the Cyprus problem has been, there is usually not just one obstacle. There are a number of considerations and a number of issues that are out there, that have been out there in various forms over the years. I think these kinds of issues, be it security, constitutional issues, or some of the other categories of issues out there, obviously they have to be worked more. I got some experience before I went to Athens in 1994 working on the Middle East process. While the elements are obviously very, very different between the Middle East problem and the Cyprus problem, there are a couple of considerations that I got out of the Middle East peace process that perhaps would be applicable here.
One is that no one, neither side, gets everything one wants. In a good compromise, a good solution, endurable and lasting, neither side walks from the table with everything that he wants. But by the same token, both sides walk away satisfied that they came out better as a result of discussions than they were before. So I will be very much in a listening mode. But I'll have some of these considerations from some of my experiences and background.
TDN -- The U.N. Security Council wants a step-by-step approach where humanitarian issues, for example, would be discussed by Turkish and Greek Cypriots. The Turkish side, on the other hand, first wants to settle on major issues like security, sovereignty etc. The United States agreed with the U.N. perspective in the past. Which of these two approaches will you adopt?
MILLER -- It's a good question. There are many tactical approaches to the Cyprus problem. It's very, very difficult for me to say, "This one's right, this one's wrong." We fully support the U.N. process. I want to make that very, very clear. We are not competing here, and we are 100 percent supportive of the U.N. process and we'll continue to be.
Now, your question is one of the questions that I'll be exploring when I go out to the region. Which tactical approach makes the most sense? And frankly, over time, sometimes, the tactical approach will change. Sometimes "Approach A" will make sense at a certain point in time and at a later date it won't. I'm not in a position at this point to answer "Is this one better? Or that one?"
I recall the last three years, I dealt with this question often when we were discussing the Aegean tensions between Greece and Turkey. Do you go for a comprehensive package? Or do you take a step-by-step (approach)?
Is there a right or wrong answer? No. The right answer is what works. And what works is what you can get both parties to agree on.
TDN -- Kofi Annan is the fourth U.N. Secretary-General working on the Cyprus issue. Can you say that the U.N. approach worked in the last couple of decades?
MILLER -- The Cyprus issue is a very difficult issue. It's been going on for 23 years so far. I don't think it is particularly productive to say, "Well, this hasn't worked. This has worked." I have a favorite practice called "sledgehammer diplomacy." You just keep on going back, you think you've got a good idea. You go back. You might repack the kit. Try a different way and -- lo and behold, as we discovered with the Middle East peace process -- ideas that have been tried and discarded, when tried again, and perhaps repackaged, somewhat worked. There is nothing brilliant or particularly original about sledgehammer diplomacy. But you don't give up. You just keep on persisting. And that's what we're going to do.
Obviously, with the entry of Dick Holbrooke as Special Presidential Envoy, I've got tremendous respect for his talents. I'm hopeful that we might be more successful than in the past. And when I say "we," I mean all of us, not just the United States. Because any effort to solve the Cyprus problem would take the efforts of the international community, working very much in close conjunction with the U.N. efforts.
QUESTION -- The United States has undertaken major peace efforts -- one in Bosnia and the other one in the Middle East. They both seem to be shaky. The Cyprus problem has been going on since the early '60s. What makes you hopeful this time?
MILLER -- It's a very good question. Number one, I'm in this job. You have to enter this job with a spirit of optimism. Your real question is, why am I optimistic.
I know, the times that I worked on Cyprus in the past, there were several actors involved. Obviously, the key actors are the actors on the island. The other very, essential actors are Greece and Turkey. I'd like to think that the conditions for settlement, both on the island and in Greece and Turkey, are better than what we've seen in the past. And what I mean particularly, I served in Greece in the 1980s. When I compare the situation, the mood in Greece in the '80s vis-a-vis Turkey, with when I went back in 1994, I'd argue that public sentiment was much more responsive to rapprochement over the last couple of years than what I experienced in the mid '80s. This is the mentality, the spirit.
Now, where it translates to concrete results? It is too early for me to make a prognostication about that.
QUESTION -- As you know, Clerides and Denktas had two rounds of talks. The EU has decided to start the accession talks of Cyprus six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference. How does the U.S. approach this issue of EU membership?
MILLER- It is no secret that we were very supportive of the March 1995 agreement. Half of it was that the negotiations would begin six months after the Intergovernmental Conference for Cypriot accession to the EU. And [Turkey's accession to] the [European] customs union was the other half. This is something we supported back then. We still support it.
Obviously there are a lot of steps to be gone through before we reach the fruition of that agreement.
QUESTION -- Mr. Denktas and Turkey are making the accession of Cyprus a main point, an obstacle for the settlement of the issue. They say Turkey also has to become an EU member. Ecevit said if the accession talks start, Turkey will annex Cyprus. How will you deal with this problem?
MILLER -- This is part of what I hope to have my discussions about. I don't want to start getting into specifics before these discussions. Perhaps when I come back, we'll be able to talk more specifically -- perhaps.
One of the secrets that I believe in my business is that secret diplomacy works best. I that know from my experience out there -- and this is no criticism of you or your profession. But once you start dealing with these issues through the press, it becomes infinitely more difficult to deal with them. So I ask you respect my flexibility to have some quiet discussions. I think we all have the same ultimate goal here. And we'll see how they come out.
I'm going to listen [during my contacts overseas]. Then I'll come back and talk with Dick Holbrooke, and other key colleagues like Marc Grossman, our assistant secretary who just came on board.
TDN -- There is the issue of the S-300 missiles that Greek Cypriots ordered from Russia. Turkey made it clear that she will hit these missiles if they are ever deployed in "Greek Cyprus". The official U.S. position is "we still have some time and time will hopefully heal things." But what if time does not solve things on its own? We have only nine months left before these missiles arrive. What is the U.S. fallback position?
MILLER -- I understand your concern. I can appreciate it. We made our concerns about S-300 missiles known publicly at the highest levels of the Cypriot government and we talked to the Russian government about this. So I think our record on this is pretty clear.
You mentioned time, and you mentioned missiles as an element working against time.
I'd say that Cyprus problem is something in which time is working against [all of] us. We'll continue to do what we can. I ask you to go back to my earlier comments on quiet diplomacy. Sometimes you get a lot more done when you're not doing it through the media. Because what that does is, we all know, it forces the other side to make a statement that escalates the ante and makes it more difficult to diffuse tensions.
My goal is to try to fix the problem and diffuse tensions and to get out of the spiral that we too often see where there is a statement, then an action, then there is a reaction. In the five years that I spent in the region I saw this time and time again. It just spirals out of control where the governments on both sides are locked into positions. I don't want to see that happen.
TDN -- I don't want you to tell me what those scenarios exactly are. But can you say if the administration does have such fallback scenarios? That's what I want to know.
MILLER -- Let's cross that bridge [first]. We are far from it at this point. And I appreciate the seriousness of the issue. I think we expressed ourselves publicly about how serious we consider this issue to be. But I don't want to go beyond what I said already.
QUESTION -- Does Turkey have the right to threaten to attack Cyprus if and when such missiles are deployed?
MILLER -- I don't want to get into a discussion of "Is this action useful? Is that reaction useful?" I find that singularly unhelpful to try to get a serious negotiation process going. You can phrase the question however you want. But you're going to get the same answer. This action-reaction, stimulus-response cycle, I find time and time again, is not helpful for a serious negotiation process. Our views on the missiles are well known. Our views on the Turkish statement are well known.
What I want to do and what Dick Holbrooke wants to do is focus on the substance of the Cyprus problem. That's tough enough in and of itself. Obviously that's going to be a tall order.
This is something where we'll look to you in the press for help.
Helping us helps your countries and your people. Because we're all going to be in this together if we have any chance of success.
TDN -- What do you think the "substance" of the Cyprus issue is?
MILLER -- The substance is some of the issues that I laid out before -- security, constitutional arrangements, the three freedoms... you can go right down [the list]... But the core issues are out there for the two sides to deal with.
QUESTION -- What will Turkey's and Greece's roles be in the future in this process?
MILLER -- Turkey's and Greece's roles are essential. No question about it. Obviously my first focus will be on the island, talking to President Clerides and Mr. Denktas, the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community. But there is no question that the roles of Greece and Turkey are very, very important.
QUESTION -- Greece seem to be more constructive in approaching the talks. Do you think Turkey is stable enough to contribute to the process?
MILLER --I'm not an expert on Turkey. I just visited and talked to the experts. What the experts tell me is that there is a greater willingness than there was well before the Davos period. It is hard to compare things in Turkey now. So I'll shy away from doing so because I don't have that expertise. But I do remember say, back in 1987, and I remember how high the level of hostilities got back then. I recall Greek public opinion very well. I remember a bit of Turkish public opinion because I visited Turkey right around that period. But again one visit does not make an expert. I again want to make that very, very clear. But I detect a different spirit, a greater willingness to work together. They are neighbors. You can't change your neighbor.
TDN -- Greek Cyprus is recognized by the world as the only government of Cyprus although no Turkish Cypriots work in that government, nor did any Turkish Cypriots vote for it. And the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is not recognized by anyone but Turkey. When there is such great asymmetry between the partners, how can you have a negotiation on a just and equal basis, without giving the same recognition to both parties?
MILLER -- There are a lot of parts of this equation that are very difficult. And I understand what you're talking about. But the one thing the two sides have agreed upon is a "bi-communal, bi-zonal federation." And in that clearly there are differences of interpretation, differences as to what they mean by a bi-zonal bi-communal federation. But that's the framework there.
If this was easy this would have been solved a long time ago, clearly. If this was easy then we wouldn't have someone of Dick Holbrooke's stature engaged in this. There wouldn't be a special Cyprus coordinator at the State Department anymore. This isn't easy. No question about it.
You laid out one of the many difficult dimensions of this problem.
TDN -- What are the prospects for the introduction of a NATO-based or another multinational peacekeeping or observer force as a part of the negotiations? Something to replace UNFICYP? Is such a thing on the cards?
MILLER -- There is a lot of talk out there about various formulations. It is premature way to start talking about this or that. UNFICYP has done a very good job over the years. As to the future, addressing security guarantees etcetera, this is obviously a key element in the negotiations. But it is absolutely premature and wrong just to start speculating about if this or that formulation is preferable.
QUESTION -- When do you expect the direct talks between Clerides and Denktas to resume? What is the next step?
MILLER -- The talks were put together by the U.N., by Mr. Cordovez. I think that is a question for the U.N. to address. These were not our talks. We are supportive of him but you have to ask him.
QUESTION -- But you said you expect the efforts of all parties and nations to go all together, the EU and Turkey etcetera. So probably you have something in mind. You think these talks will go forward again?
MILLER -- It is really a question you will have to address to the U.N. These are not our talks. I came on the job eight days ago. When I came on the job Mr. Cordovez unfortunately was not in New York. He is definitely one of the first people I would want to meet with. I haven't met the gentleman yet. So it is really premature for me to start speculating about the process that is driven by the United Nations.
QUESTION -- State Department deputy spokesman Jim Foley, when asked a similar question, said: "Yes, we support the direct talks and we want to see them go forward."
MILLER -- Yes, I read what Foley said. We support the direct talks. I don't know what the plans are for the future. I am not aware that there is a specific proposal for a third round of talks at this point. But again this is a question best addressed to the United Nations.
QUESTION -- Can there be two sovereignties on the island [after a solution]?
MILLER -- That is a very very central and very difficult question and the answer to that is bound up in how one defines "sovereignty." I think for me to start to say "yes" or "no" to that, and I'm not accusing you asking a trick question, I'd feel... this is one of the concepts I'd be dealing with when I go on my trip. So I'm going to pass on this one.
A reliable Turkish Daily News source listed the following possible suggestions that Miller is expected to put before the EU and Greek- Cypriots:
1) He'll probably ask the Greek - Cypriots to cancel their order of S-300 missiles from Russia while there is still time to do that.
2) Miller is expected to plead with the European Union to find a formula according to which both the Greek and Turkish-Cypriot sides can apply together for a parallel accession to the EU. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos rankled the Turks by saying the talks for Greek-Cypriot accession would start in January '98, regardless of the outcome of the direct talks.
3) He may ask Athens not to fly any Greek jets over Cyprus during the upcoming joint military exercise to be held by Greece and the Cyprus Government.
4) Miller is also expected to ask the Cyprus Government to stop the construction of an air base in Paphos which would allow the deployment of Greek fighter jets on the island.
 Gurel: "Turkey won't remain silent on Greek Cypriot accession talks"According to Turkish Daily News (6.9.97, Internet version), Sukru Sina Gurel, the Turkish minister of state with the Cyprus and EU portfolios, visited Washington for a series of meetings with various American officials.
Gurel said he came to Washington to deliver an address at a two-day program on Turkey's foreign policy hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The program was closed to the press.
Stating the traditional Turkish views concerning resolution of the Cyprus issue as well as on the application of Cyprus for full membership to the European Union (EU), Gurel said if the EU has certain incorrect impressions, then that could not be binding on Turkey. Gurel was referring to the EU contention that, back in March 1995, Turkey had accepted the accession talks for Cyprus in return for being admitted into the EU customs union.
During a press conference held at the Turkish Embassy, Ambassador Nuzhet Kandemir said Gurel had participated in a two-hour working lunch hosted by the embassy in which the minister met with the Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus desk officers at the U.S. State Department along with those officials responsible for Turkey, Europe and Canada from the White House.
The two top agenda items during the working lunch were the Cyprus issue and the EU, Gurel said, in response to a TDN question. The American officials also wanted to better understand the policy lines adopted by the new ANAP- DSP-DTP coalition. Gurel is a member of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) -- the party of Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
Gurel also met with the State Department's special Cyprus coordinator, Tom Miller, who will be leaving for the region on September 7th. Miller is Special Presidential Envoy Richard Holbrooke's point-man on the issue. He also said he'll probably meet with Holbrooke in New York.
The United States is deeply interested in the Cyprus issue, since it involves regional balances, he said, making it clear that the meeting with Miller was introductory in nature.
Gurel dwelled at some length on the American and European contention that Turkey, back on March 6, 1995, reportedly had assured the EU of its acquiescence to the beginning of accession talks with Greek Cyprus six months after the end of the Inter-governmental Conference (i.e. January '98), in return for Turkey's acceptance into the EU customs union.
"That's a wrong impression on the part of such observers and it does not bind Turkey," Gurel said. He recalled that, back then, the Turkish Foreign Ministry had sent a letter to the EU, making Turkey's position on Cyprus very clear.
Any solution in Cyprus has to be "realistic," Gurel said. "To search for solutions that are not realistic is futile," Gurel added. "Unless the political equality of both sides are secured," he claimed.
Using a railway analogy, Gurel said the Greek Cypriot train was travelling to undesirable destinations on the EU railroad. What is his view on those observers who suggest a second and parallel track for the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish Daily News asked.
"In what capacity would they deal with the TRNC, since the world does not recognize its independence," Gurel asked. He also added that "recognition is one, but not the sole, determinant of a state's sovereignty. The TRNC, even if not recognized by anyone except Turkey, is nevertheless still a viable and real state," he claimed.
[B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS
 Yilmaz cautioned Against S-300 missilesSukru Elekdag, writing in Milliyet (8/9/97) under the title "Yilmaz, Ecevit, and a Strategic Mistake", says that speaking to journalists at a dinner last week, Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz reportedly described the Greek Cypriot initiative to have S-300 missiles deployed in Cyprus as a "stupid" effort, claiming: "I believe the Greek Cypriots will use the missiles to strengthen their bargaining position. That is because the missiles they will receive will not be enough to either defend themselves or attack Turkey. Their initiative is meaningless." (Cumhuriyet 04.09.1977)
Elekdag adds that deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit also commented on the problem, however his views conflicted with Yilmaz's approach. Ecevit alleged: "The Greek Cypriots have moved to quickly arm themselves because they are convinced they will be able to place north Cyprus under their control again with support from the EU and Greece. Considering that, they may make a frenzied move. They are fortifying their area and preparing to deploy missile systems to prevent Turkey from rushing to support the Turkish Cypriots." (Milliyet 04.09.1997)
And Elekdag continues: "By describing the Greek Cypriot administration's [GCA] initiative as a `stupid' approach, Yilmaz has indicated that he does not attach importance to the problem. That is an inappropriate conviction because the GCA will deploy its missiles in Cyprus in accordance with a carefully considered two-stage plan, which will create a very dangerous situation for Turkey. The first stage calls for bargaining talks aimed at having the 30,000 Turkish troops, which guarantee the TRNC's existence, withdrawn from Cyprus. The missiles will be used as a means of pressure.
The Greek Cypriot objective is to weaken the Treaty of Guarantees, which gives Turkey the right to intervene in Cyprus, and have an international force replace the Turkish military units for the purpose of demilitarizing the island. The GCA plans to give up the deployment of the S-300 missiles if the Turkish side makes the necessary concessions.
However, Ankara will not agree to that, regardless of the serious foreign pressure it may be subjected to. That is when the GCA will move to realize the second stage, accusing Turkey of maintaining an irreconcilable approach. It plans to have the missiles installed to defend the recently established Greek air base in Paphos.
Some of our columnists have said that `the S-300 missiles will not be effective against the Turkish military planes, which can fly with a high speed at low altitude', and noted that `Greece will be able to land only eight or 10 planes in Paphos.' That indicated that they are convinced the threat the GCA may create should not be taken seriously.
Their assessment conflicts with the realities. The information we have received from high-ranking officers in the command chain on the S-300 missiles is as follows: `The S-300 missile systems can simultaneously pursue 100 targets in flight. They can establish their targets from a distance of 300 km and destroy them with nearly 100 percent precision from a distance of 75 km.' (It must be stressed that the GCA already has low altitude defense systems and the air base in Paphos can be enlarged).
Considering that, the Greek air base in Paphos, which will be defended by S- 300 missiles, will pose a direct military threat to Turkey. That will harm Turkey's absolute air superiority over Cyprus and the support it gives to the TRNC and the Turkish military units based in the island.
Furthermore, the Incirlik Air Base in Adana and the other important military establishments in the region will be within the range of the Greek military planes that will either be based in Paphos or land there to refuel. How can Turkey not react to such a development? A dangerous situation, prone to clashes, will be created if the Greek Cypriots, considering the possibility of integration between Turkey and the TRNC and the opening of Maras [Varosha] to settlement as a reaction to the talks the EU and the Greek Cypriot administration may hold on accession, make a frenzied decision to install the S-300 missiles. So, Ecevit's views must be heeded...
Russia is a key country in the missiles crisis. However, Moscow has said `no' to all the initiatives Ankara has made to prevent the GCA from acquiring the missiles. It is common knowledge that Russia, in addition to making a profit from its sales, wants to have access to the Mediterranean Sea. Regardless of that state of affairs, the Yilmaz government signed an agreement to buy natural gas from Russia last week. According to the agreement, Turkey will acquire 60 percent of its needs from Russia. That has given an opportunity to that country to monopolize Turkey's natural gas imports. That state of affairs is unbelievable.
Undoubtedly, Ankara's move to improve Turkey's trade and economic relations with Russia will be very useful. However, the clashing interests between Moscow and Ankara in various fields, the fact that Russia has friendly relations with all the neighboring countries that maintain a hostile policy toward Turkey, and the fact that it supplies arms to nearly all of them have to be kept in mind. Considering all that, concluding an agreement that will force Turkey to depend on Russia for its power supply was a strategic mistake that may create very serious security problems for our country... The Yilmaz government must definitely rectify its mistake. It must always remember that it is in Turkey's national interest to maintain a policy that will enable it to meet its needs for power supply from several countries."
 Report on improvement of Russia - Turkey RelationsDaily Cumhuriyet (2/9/97), reports on the improvement of Russia - Turkey relations explaining it as follows: ``There has been a `calm softening' in relations between Turkey and Russia, which had gone sour because of issues relating to the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] and Chechnya problems, the sale of S-300 missiles to the Greek Cypriot side, and the crossing of Caspian oil pipelines through the Straits. The agreement on natural gas signed between the two countries, and the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov is coming to Turkey in October, has been assessed as the first signs of improvement in the atmosphere.
Attention was drawn to the beginning of rapprochement between the two countries, which was made within the context of the 55th government's aim to make improvements in relations with that country one of the priorities in its foreign policy.
The signing in recent days of an agreement on natural gas has been assessed as an indicator of improvement in relations between the two countries. According to the agreement, aimed at meeting Turkey's future need for natural gas, Turkey will take 16 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia by the year 2003. The natural gas will be transported through a 380 km long underwater pipeline in the Black Sea. Russia will install the section of the pipe extending up to Samsun, and Turkey will install the section extending from Samsun to Ankara.
Diplomatic sources underlined that Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov's visit to Turkey in October is important from the perspective of the renewal of high level visits between the two countries, something that has not been taking place for a long time now. Reminding that Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz invited Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for a visit to Turkey, the same sources said that in the event that this visit is realized, all the problems creating tension between the two countries may be discussed. The issues that create problems between the two countries were put in the following order:
PKK and Chechnya: Turkey and Russia used the PKK and Chechnya problems as trump cards against each other. Russia alleged that Turkey supported the groups struggling for Chechnya's independence, that Turkey sent Turkish volunteer fighters to Chechnya, and that injured Chechens were treated in Turkey. Turkey, for its part, accused Russia of allowing the Kurdish Parliament in Exile, known as the political wing of the PKK, to hold its meetings in Russia. After the end of the struggle between the Russian and Chechen forces and the signing of an agreement, the problems between Ankara and Russia progressed towards a solution.
The S-300 missiles: Russia's sale of the S - 300 missile system to the Greek Cypriot side is the most serious problem now between the two countries.
When Turkey indicated that Russia's stand is not befitting of a country that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russian officials defended the sale by saying that it was done for purely commercial reasons.
The Straits: Turkey thinks that Azerbaijan's early oil should pass through the Baku-Cyhan route, and that traffic in the Straits is too crammed. Russia, for its part, has indicated that the free passage should not be obstructed at the Straits, as the Montreux Agreement stipulates, but that radar systems should be placed for ensuring safer passage.
NATO: Russia, which is against NATO's eastward expansion, is uneasy with the joint military action under the Partnership For Peace program, between Turkey and Black Sea neighbours of Russia. Arguing that the Sea Breeze 97 exercises is a military movement targeting it, Russia said that NATO should cease taking this kind of action.
The Turkic republics: Russia is also uneasy at the relations Turkey is forming with the Turkic republics, which gained independence from the former Soviet union. Fearing losing to Turkey its historic influence over these countries, Russia followed closely the Turkish World Congress. Turkey stressed that its relations with these countries is not aimed at a third country,'' the paper concludes.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/