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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 97-11-05

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. 205/97 -- 5.11.97

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Outcome of Yilmaz-Simitis talks.
  • [02] Denktash meets Annan.
  • [03] Ecevit and other politicians comment on Yilmaz-Simitis.
  • [04] Yilmaz: Important to eliminate lack of communication between Greece and Turkey
  • [05] Sezgin speaks of Turkey's "Deterrent Role" in Cyprus.
  • [06] Yilmaz interviewed on meeting with Simitis.
  • [07] Denktash: Equality and sovereignty are essential.
  • [08] Holbrooke comments on Aegean, Cyprus issue.
  • [09] Sezgin holds contacts in pseudostate, stresses Turkish support.
  • [10] Fourth Holbrooke - Denktash meeting.
  • [11] Karadayi extends invitation to Greek Chief of Staff.
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [12] Birand says moratorium best solution for Aegean problem.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Outcome of Yilmaz-Simitis talks

    According to daily MILLIYET (4.11.97), Turkish Prime Minister Yilmaz and Greek Prime Minister Simitis, who met in Crete while the Turkish and Greek military exercises in the Aegean strained the atmosphere in the region, have decided to defuse the military tension. The two Prime Ministers met the other evening and reconfirmed the Madrid Accord and agreed to reactivate the mechanisms established to reduce the military tension between the two countries, mechanisms that have not functioned thus far.

    Although they failed to agree on the way the problems between the two countries should be solved, they agreed to maintain their dialogue and meet again. Yilmaz invited Simitis to visit Turkey and his invitation was accepted.

    The two Prime Ministers were to meet for 40 minutes.

    However, they met for 80 minutes. In a statement after their talks, Yilmaz said: "We have agreed that the removal of the existing tension and the obstruction of undesirable developments is our most important priority." He also said he has found Simitis to be a sincere and very constructive official and noted that he adopted a positive approach on the establishment of a dialogue that will improve the relations between the two countries.

    In a separate statement, Simitis disclosed that they reconfirmed the Madrid Accord and noted that they agreed to realize the 1988 Yilmaz-Papoulias agreement, which is aimed at defusing the military tension between the two sides but has not been put into effect thus far. He also noted that they agreed to put into effect the articles of the NATO package of confidence-building measures for the Aegean, on which Turkey and Greece have agreed.

    Meanwhile, Simitis said Greece expects Turkey to respond to its letter on the committee of wise men and noted that Athens will then assess the question as to whether the experts should be authorized to hold bilateral talks. He disclosed that they agreed to step up the cooperation between the two countries against drug trafficking and smuggling.

    Meanwhile, Yilmaz said that the two sides agreed to meet again after they assess the developments. He asserted that the reestablishment of links between Turkey and Greece will be very important and noted that the exchange of visits by high-ranking officials will contribute toward the removal of the difference of views between the two countries. Recalling that the Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers have not visited each other's country since 1959, Yilmaz invited Simitis to visit Turkey. His invitation was accepted. Simitis said he will visit Turkey at an appropriate time if the necessary preparations are made.

    The two Prime Ministers failed to agree on the way the problems between Turkey and Greece should be solved. Simitis insisted on the Greek approach that "a dialogue should not be held on all the problems, step-by-step progress should be made, and the first step should be an appeal to the International Court of Justice on the Kardak islets." Meanwhile, Yilmaz maintained that "the conviction that only a single problem exists between the two sides and that there is only one way of solving it is a very limited and unrealistic approach." Stressing that Turkey wants a dialogue on all the problems, including those in the Aegean, to be quickly established without preconditions, he asserted that Ankara does not exclude any method, including the involvement of a third party, for the removal of disputes.

    The warm and sincere atmosphere in the talks held by the two Prime Ministers had a bearing on the disclosures they made after their meeting. Simitis said: "We agree on various issues and disagree on others. Let us resolve those on which we do not agree. Our common objective is peace, stability, and cooperation". On his part, Yilmaz said: "The meeting has strengthened my conviction that the problems between the two countries will be solved in time. Our meeting has been useful because it has given us an opportunity to outline our positions. I have established that the misunderstandings between the two sides have to be removed. We view Simitis' approach as a positive factor. He must rest assured that we will eagerly respond to his sincere approach in the talks if he maintains it."

    In a statement to Der Spiegel Simitis said: "We favour cooperation. That is our basic position. We are aware of the opportunity for Turkey and the EU to cooperate. We do not want Ankara to be excluded from the EU. We want peace in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. However, neighbouring Turkey maintains an aggressive policy. All the countries that cooperate with the EU must support Europe's peaceful structure and basic policies."

    Referring to the Aegean islands, Simitis said:

    "Gendarmerie units made up of a few hundred men guard the islands. The number of personnel depends on the size of the islands. The claims that they may attack Turkey are ridiculous." Simitis also said that "the policy of acquiring strength through threats in Europe should have been abandoned after World War II." Stressing that Athens does not want to maintain the arms race between the two countries, he asserted that arms purchases have created serious problems for Turkey and Greece.

    Simitis called for the implementation of the UN resolutions for the solution of the problems between the two sides. Regarding Cyprus, he said that "a united republic should be established," one that will draw up its own foreign policy and maintain its own security. He asserted that that will contribute toward the improvement of the cultural and economic relations between Turkey and Greece.

    [02] Denktash meets Annan

    According to TRT (8:00 hours, 4.11.97) Rauf Denktash, has said that the international community should treat the two sides in Cyprus equally, and claimed: "The acceptance of the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side is an independent and sovereign country constitutes the first and foremost condition for securing a solution." Denktash met with UN Secretary Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council (UNSC) president in New York.

    In a statement after the meetings, Denktash alleged:

    "The Greek Cypriot talks for EU membership pose a grave obstacle to the solution of the Cyprus issue."

    [03] Ecevit and other politicians comments on Yilmaz-Simitis meeting

    According to TRT (18:00 hours, 4.11.97) speaking at Ankara Esenboga Airport, Bulent Ecevit, deputy prime minister and Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader, said that the meeting between the two prime ministers of Greece and Turkey seems to have gone off quite positively.

    "Most important of all is that they have started a dialogue. Speaking is certainly much better than fighting. Of course, there are certain tough problems between us. The fact that Greece relies on the EU makes it difficult for it to approach our problems in a realistic manner. I hope that this obstacle will be overcome during the dialogue process," he said.

    On his part, Motherland Party deputy leader Kececiler said: "The Yilmaz- Simitis meeting which was held at the climax of the tension between Turkey and Greece has reached its aim; it has eliminated the possibility of a hot clash as a result of this tension."

    Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Baykal said:

    "Yesterday, we were at the brink war. Today, we have peace. Such things may be forgiven in other fields but not in foreign policy. We must not forget that such issues must be assessed very calmly and seriously. Such approaches would lead us to an impasse."

    [04] Yilmaz: Important to eliminate lack of communication between Greece and Turkey

    TRT (9:00 hours, 4.11.97) aired a recorded statement by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz during a news conference following his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Simitis in Crete. Asserting that Turkey's final goal is to secure comprehensive solution for all the issues between Turkey and Greece, in particular the Aegean issue, and to ensure that these solutions are in accordance with the basic rights and legal interests of the two countries, Yilmaz added that it is of utmost importance to refrain from creating tension or undertaking actions that may prompt possible clashes, at a time when efforts are under way to secure solutions to the issues between the two countries.

    Moreover, it is of utmost importance to eliminate the lack of communication between our two countries, he said.

    "I believe that high-level visits between Turkey and Greece will greatly contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two countries and the settling of any existing differences of views. In compliance with this stand, during our meeting today, I invited Prime Minister Simitis to Turkey. There have been no visits at the Prime ministerial level from Greece to Turkey since 1959. Mr. Simitis, in turn, told me that he accepts my invitation and that he will visit our country at an appropriate time", Yilmaz stated and added:

    "Mr. Simitis and I mutually affirmed our allegiance to former agreements during the meeting. Moreover, we agreed to activate the existing mechanisms between Turkey and Greece, mechanisms that have not been activated until now. In addition, we agreed that we should assess our contacts and then get together once again after a reasonable period of time to discuss ways of speeding up these mechanisms."

    [05] Sezgin speaks of Turkey's "Deterrent Role" in Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak radio (16:30 hours, 4.11.97) in a statement at occupied Tymbou airport before his departure, Ismet Sezgin, Turkish deputy prime minister and national defense minister, said yesterday that he had the opportunity to observe part of the Toros-97 exercises jointly conducted by the Turkish occupation forces and the so-called Turkish Cypriot Security Forces. He claimed: "The presence of our armed forces is the greatest guarantee for the Turkish Cypriot people in the face of the arms buildup of the Greek-Greek Cypriot front."

    Sezgin further claimed that peace and tranquility arrived in Cyprus in 1974, and that, "in line with its historical responsibility, Turkey will not accept the disruption of peace or a return to the pre-1974 period. For this reason", he said, "the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) will continue to be an effective deterrent force".

    [06] Yilmaz interviewed on meeting with Simitis

    TRT (18:00 hours, 4.11.97) broadcast a live interview with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz by Zafer Kiraz in Crete, after his meeting with Greek Premier Simitis.

    In reply to a relevant question, Yilmaz inter alia said:

    "I believe that there are a few important factors that brought our bilateral relations to the current stage. If one of these factor was the misunderstandings, another important factor was the absence of contacts. If nothing else, we have taken a great stride on this issue today." And added: "I believe that this lack of contact is a thing of the past. We have found the opportunity to express our positions, our understanding, our perspective on bilateral problems, and our essential points firsthand. I can say that my impression of Mr. Simitis was one of trustworthiness." On the issue of military exercises, he said:

    "As you know, we concluded two agreements with Greece in 1988.

    One of them was concluded in Athens and the other in Istanbul.

    According to these agreements, these military exercises were to have been determined through consultations between the officials of the two countries. They introduced certain restrictions in terms of venue and time. Some of the provisions of these agreements have been fulfilled to date, but the parties have not fully adhered to them. We will reactivate these agreements. In this way, we are trying to prevent a recurrence of the tension we are experiencing today."

    On the issue of the appointment of special envoys, Yilmaz said: "I proposed this. Because we, as two prime ministers, will not be able to meet frequently and because our opportunities to make joint assessments are limited, people we trust can come together and make such assessments on our behalf. I said that two persons we trust can get together without the time factor, without public pressure, and without the consideration of conveying a domestic policy message, and they can discuss, as an intellectual exercise, the issue of how we can advance further and how we can surmount the existing problems. He did not object to my proposal. He said he needs some time to assess it. I believe that we will be in touch within a week or two. We have agreed to strengthen the existing mechanisms between us through this or other similar methods."

    Asked if they discussed restricting the exercises, Yilmaz said: "I do not believe that we need such restrictions. The Greeks cannot have any objections to our exercises, nor can we to theirs. The important issue is to coordinate during the planning stage of these military exercises, as has been agreed. In other words, our authorities should consult one another. As a matter of fact, an agreement on the issue exists. I am referring to the 1988 agreements. We should abide by this agreement. I believe that, in the periods to come, we will hold our exercises but they will not cause tension as they do now, because the two sides will have taken the necessary measures in advance. We also have a contractual foundation for a new dialogue. As you know, there is the joint Madrid declaration. In that declaration, the two countries pledged to mutually avoid faits accomplis and to refrain from the use of force. This is a very sound foundation for a dialogue. In other words, we can advance on this basis. As I have said, I found Mr. Simitis to have goodwill and be constructive. Simitis, instead of proposing a dialogue that will not yield results and could cause disappointment after creating high expectations, expressed the view that it would be more realistic to advance step-by-step and modestly. I agreed on principle."

    To a final question whether the two Aegean coasts will be able to unite one day, Yilmaz replied: "I believe that after this 30-year period of regression, both countries have realized that peace and neighbourly relations are not only beneficial but inevitable. I think that both the Greek and the Turkish sides have the necessary will and desire on the issue. The whole issue is to free ourselves from our past conditioning and to set out on a new course. This can be achieved through certain contacts. I do not want to sound overly confident, but I believe that we have made a good start which makes me hopeful with regard to the future."

    [07] Denktash: Equality and sovereignty are essential

    Illegal BRTK (19:00 hours, 4.11.97) aired a live telephone interview with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York by Mete Tumerkan on the program Akis.

    Commenting on his contacts in the United States, Denktash said: "Mr. Holbrooke is with me now. He told me that he came to bid me farewell. I met him four times here, twice in Washington and twice here (New York). These are serious and continuing (word indistinct) meetings. I think that we have explained our cause in full. Of course we did not tell them anything different from what they already know but we stressed that we will not retreat on any of the points. As stated often, Holbrooke has an influential role in Europe-Turkey relations and wants that to continue. I told him that everything is in front of him. We discussed everything in detail, in a way we had not discussed things with any diplomat before. For this reason, what he needs to do is to talk with Clerides and take note of his views and affirm whether or not a bridge can be built between us or see what can happen. I told him that he may affirm this and inform us. The matter came to an end there. We are now packing to leave after one hour. We discussed all the meetings that we held here with the editors of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and reporters from other serious organizations this morning. I think that everything went well but of course the problem cannot be solved like this. The problem can be solved by showing the world that we stand up for our rights with goodwill and by stressing that we are searching for the means to achieve peace. Naturally, peace does not mean bowing to the other side, entering under their administration, becoming their citizens, or accepting their right to do everything for Cyprus.

    We stressed that equality and sovereignty are essential".

    Asked to comment on the fact that he has stated that the intercommunal talks have come to an end and that he is sitting at the table as a "state" and what is Holbrooke's reaction to these remarks, Denktash said:

    "This is of course a difficult approach for them but we are emphatic on this. We are following the EU talks with Cyprus and the fact that they are talking in the name of Cyprus. We are obliged to maintain our position by stressing our opposition."

    To a question about Cordovez's arrival, he said:

    "Cordovez set a date before consulting us. I will not be in Nicosia then. He knows this. If he arrives knowing this, then our colleagues will take him on a sightseeing tour."

    Asked if he thinks the EU meeting in December can start a process for a more realistic approach regarding the Cyprus problem, Denktash claimed: "I think they will stubbornly do whatever they want to do by opposing us under Greece's pressure and blackmail. They think we are weak. They are counting on Turkey backing down and abandoning the 1960 rights because it wants to enter the EU. These are miscalculations. I hope that recent important meetings with Greece will help correct them.

    I am convinced that they will oppose us and we will be obliged to do the necessary. I heard that the Commonwealth too has appointed a coordinator and I saw the response the government gave and I completely approve it. The Commonwealth has not been interested in us for the past 34 years. They should not have assumed that the Turkish Cypriots would be so insensible. Why do the English not interfere in this? Why did they make this mistake? I do not understand this. We should think about it".

    [08] Holbrooke Comments On Aegean, Cyprus Issues

    According to daily Sabah (Internet Version, 2/11/97) US Special Representative on Cyprus Rirchard Holbrooke, who met with Rauf Denktash in the United States last week, said that there is no chance of war breaking out between Turkey and Greece.

    Holbrooke said: "I met with Mr. Denktash twice this week. I understand his position extremely well. We agreed not to disclose to the public what we discussed privately. We discussed extremely serious and current matters. We are trying to move forward an inch at a time."

    Commenting on observations that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides have hardened their positions as the negotiation timetable draws nearer, Holbrooke said: "If people know four months ahead of time that they will be negotiating intensively four months later, they will tend to harden their positions. I do not like that, but I have no control over it. This is a timetable set by the EU. It would be much better if the EU had advised Denktash and Clerides to engage in intensive talks one year ahead of time. If I were in a position to tell the EU how to run their business, I would advise them to retain a hard-working special negotiator on the island this year before 13 December. They have not done that."

    Describing Cyprus's EU membership as a long and winding road, Holbrooke said: "Cyprus' membership is extremely complicated. Will it join the EU as a single federation? That is our hope. Europe also wants Cyprus to join the EU as a bicommunal and bizonal federation. This is a very long-term issue. The membership process will begin with the arrival of invited countries in Luxembourg on 13 December. All signs we have received so far suggest that Cyprus will be among the countries invited. This is only the beginning of the road. There are bends, obstructions, and maybe mines on that road. Nor is the length of that road known. It will probably take four or five years."

    Describing Turkish charges that Greece will start a war as an incitement of public opinion, Holbrooke said:

    "A senion Turkish official has alleged that Greece plans to start a war in the Aegean. I want to say the following to my friends in Turkey and Greece:

    The United States does not share that view. The United States does not believe in the slightest way that Greece intends to start a war. That would be at odds with Greece's interests. Such allegations cannot help the resolution of any problem. That is madness. This is not a real crisis. This is only a matter of some people getting emotional over words. Turkey and Greece have to live and work together in this region, in the Aegean. I would like to reemphasize the following: I know the leaders of these countries. They are all intelligent people. They are defending their national interests. However, there is no question of any issue that may justify any one side to start a war."

    Commenting on Turkey's [EU] membership, Holbrooke said: "Negotiations are under way between Turkey and the EU about the type of opportunity that may be offered in December. The position of the United States on this issue is clear: Turkey belongs to an integrated Europe. Based on that view we are trying encourage the Europeans to come to that point. On the other hand, I would like to be candid: The Turkish Government may make things difficult by what it does. Turkey must remember that what it does at home has an impact on its relations with Europe. For example, the imprisonment of the blind lawyer (Yagmurdereli) one day before the meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg led to much controversy about Turkey. That was a very unfortunate incident. Such things open real wounds."

    [09] Sezgin Holds Contacts In Pseudostate, Stresses Turkish Support

    According to illegal Bayrak Radio(1130 hours, 4/11/97) Ismet Sezgin, Turkish acting deputy prime minister and national defence minister, has once again stressed that the Turkish Cypriots are under Turkey's quarantee.

    Sezgin, who began his contacts in the pseudostate yesterday, held his first meeting with Lieutenant General Ali Yalcin, commander of the so-called Turkish Cypriot peace forces. Sezgin later called on Hakki Atun. "Prime minister" Dervis Eroglu, Serdar Denktash, "state minister and deputy prime minister," Ertugrul Apakan, Turkish envoy, Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, and Communal Liberation Party leader Mustafa Akinci were also present at the meeting. In a statement at the meeting, Atun said that the Turkish Cypriots, with the help of Turkey, are determined to protect their "state", adding that the world should understand this determination.

    Referring to Denktash's contacts in New York, Atun said that the "TRNC" is acting in conjunction with Turkey in these contacts.

    Sezgin expressed his pleasure at making this visit which is an indication, he said, of the unity and solidarity between Turkey and the "TRNC". Pointing out that the Cyprus issue is a national cause for Turkey, Sezgin said that the "TRNC" has been able to surmount its problems under the guidance of Dr. Fazil Kucuk and Rauf Denktash, adding that he is confident that it will continue to surmount them in the future as well through Turkey's support. "I would like to once again stress that our Turkish Cypriot brethren are under Turkey's guarantee", he said.

    Sezgin claimed that by commencing accession negotiations with the Greek Cypriots, the EU will render them more "provocative, thus leading to instability in the region. He alleged that the EU, in time, will realize that it has made a mistake. Sezgin said that in the face of the developments, Turkey is determined to take all measures necessary in a bid to continue its deterrence in Cyprus.

    [10] Fourth Holbrooke-Denktash Meeting

    According to illegal Bayrak Radio (1130 hours, 4/11/97) it was reported that Rauf Denktash met once again with Richard Holbrooke, U.S. President Bill Clinton's special envoy for Cyprus, upon Holbrooke's request. Dentkash met with Holbrooke four times in the past week.

    Commenting on the meeting, which lasted two hours and which was held behind closed doors, Denktash said : "We conducted a mutual exchange of views. The meeting was very favorable."

    Sources report that Holbrooke asked to meet Denktash in order to seek answers to certain questions that popped up in his mind and that there are no changes in the stands pursued by the two sides.

    Certain U.S. sources, who asked not to be identified, say that Holbrooke requested a meeting with Denktash after he learned about the meeting between Denktash and the UN Secretary General.

    According to the same sources, during the meeting Denktash was told that his stand with regard to not wanting to meet President Clerides adversely affected the efforts exerted by the United States and the United Nations. It was also reported that Holbrooke conveyed to Denktash the message that the Turkish Cypriot side's refusal to participate in the Greek Cypriot - EU talks will not prevent Cyprus from becoming an EU member.

    [11] Karadayi Extends Invitation To Greek chief Of State

    According to TRT (1800 hours, 4/11/97) General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, Turkey's chief of the General Staff, has extended an invitation to his Greek counterpart.

    In reply to reporters questions in Ankara on whether he invited his Greek counterpart to Turkey, Karadayi said he had invited the previous Greek chief of staff but did not receive any reply.

    "Our bosom is open to all. We want to establish friendship with all our region, all the world. This is our national trait. We are not an aggressive nation. Therefore, my call for friendship should be viewed as natural" Karadayi said.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [12] Birand says moratorium best solution for Aegean problem

    Mehmet Ali Birand writing in SABAH (4.11.97) under the title "The Most Rational Solution in the Aegean: Moratorium", inter alia, says:

    "One perceives that Greece is looking at the developments in a way that is completely different from ours. The Greek thinkers and government circles are said to be increasingly demanding that an agreement be reached or a middle ground be found.

    The number of those who believe that the Aegean is not and will not be a Greek sea, and that Turkey will not bow in any way to such a standing, is increasing. At the same time, the Greek confidence in themselves is increasingly growing. Contrary to the past, they have started seeing themselves as European and are comfortable with the fact that they are relying on the EU, so much so that efforts are increasing to save themselves from being blamed for obstructing Turkey's approach towards the EU. The number of those who think that Turkey's complete break up with the EU is contrary to Greece's interests is increasing.

    Whatever they say, there are important realities on the ground, and the fact that war may erupt between the two countries as a result of the very dangerous Aegean crisis is the most important reality of all.

    It is very clear that the Aegean problems cannot be solved at this stage. Under the circumstances, there are two choices before us:

    1. We continue to have friction in the Aegean, which is full of explosives, and spend our time waiting for an explosion. In the end, a mine explodes and we lose our lives because of this crisis.

    2. If we cannot solve the problems, then at least we can freeze these problems, albeit for a while.

    A moratorium may increase ease in the Aegean. Each of the two countries may hide its stand, and the present situation may be conserved. Military exercises could be halted, with both sides breathing a sigh of relief. At least the danger of war would be removed."


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


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