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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 97-12-18

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


TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA

No. 236/97 -- 18.12.97

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Yilmaz: Turkey to withdraw application if EU stand not revised.
  • [02] Cem says Greece can no longer use the EU "tool" in Cyprus issue.
  • [03] Ecevit on UD, EU ties, foreign policy.
  • [04] Batu on EU decision, Cyprus.
  • [05] EU's Hans van den Broek says Turkey misunderstood message.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Yilmaz: Turkey to withdraw application if EU stand not revised

    According to TRT (18:00 hours, 17.12.97), Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has said that Turkey will give the EU six months to review its decision regarding Turkey. Claiming that those who want to see the EU as a Christian club have won at the Luxembourg summit, Yilmaz addressed the EU officials: "If this is the way you think then we will withdraw our application." Yilmaz made this announcement while talking to reporters aboard the plane in Brussels where he stopped over for refueling on his way to New York. He added that the venue to do that will be the next summit.

    In reply to a question by a journalist on whether Turkey gave the EU six months to decide, Yilmaz replied: "Yes". Yilmaz went on: "Now it is your turn for self criticism. If you aspire for a Europe like the one you described then the criteria will depend on the stand you will be adopting vis-a-vis Turkey. If you are sincere then rectify your decision and inform us of your stand in June." Yilmaz said that Turkey will not change its stand unless it takes its place as the 12th country within the basket of the 11 candidate countries.

    Upon being reminded of the invitation to attend the European Conference, Yilmaz claimed that this was nothing but a deception and added: "As long as I am the prime minister it is impossible for Turkey to participate in the European Conference."

    Referring to German Foreign Minister Kinkel's statement that the EU is not a banana republic, Yilmaz said: "Kinkel is talking utter nonsense. All his statements are contradictory. We are well aware of the fact that the EU is not a banana republic.

    Therefore, I said that this issue will continue until June. They should know that we are not a banana republic either."

    Assessing the stand of the other EU member countries, Yilmaz claimed that Turkey was discriminated against, adding that none of the countries used their veto right. He noted that, therefore, Turkey was forced to question the sincerity of every country that seemed to be a friend. Yilmaz accused that the extent of the discrimination was once again revealed "as a result of the inexperience and garrulousness of the term president".

    Noting that Turkey began to receive indications of the decision to be adopted in Luxembourg prior to the summit, Yilmaz said that the Turkish stand vis a vis such a decision was announced prior to the decision itself.

    [02] Cem says Greece can no longer use the EU "tool" in Cyprus issue

    According to TRT (18:00 hours, 17.12.97), Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has said that those who planned to use Turkey's full membership in the EU as a tool in the Cyprus and Greek issues have been "baffled" in the face of the determined stand adopted by Turkey. Cem said: "The EU tool is no longer at the disposal of Greece or certain other Western countries."

    Cem, who is in Brussels to participate in the NATO meetings, replied to press questions and drew attention to the Greek reaction in face of the Turkish stand. He claimed: "Greece is acting as though our misunderstanding with the EU is its problem". Noting that Turkey is pursuing a determined stand in line with its interests, Cem alleged: "In this way, their plans to employ the EU tool to intimidate Turkey on the Cyprus issue have failed."

    "The EU tool is no longer at the disposal of Greece or certain other Western European countries. They were planning to use the EU tool to intimidate Turkey and make it commit mistakes on the Cyprus issue," he further claimed.

    When reminded about the statement made by German Foreign Minister Kinkel that the EU is not a banana republic and that it will therefore not review its decision, Cem said:

    "If the EU reviews its decision it becomes a banana republic. Whereas, when Turkey reviews its decision it is congratulated. In other words, if the EU wants to improve its relations with Turkey it should offer more than what they offered us at this summit. It should make a more just proposal. Whether such a proposal is submitted is their business. Now this is the process", Cem replied.

    [03] Ecevit on US, EU ties, foreign policy

    TRT (17:50 hours, 16.12.97) broadcast live a speech by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit at the Turkish Grand National Assembly during a debate on the 1998 budget bill.

    Stating that there may be those who were disappointed with the EU decision on Turkey, he added themselves had no dreams about the EU and, therefore, they were not disappointed. "Long before this government was established, it had become clear that the EU was not considering admitting Turkey as a member", he said.

    At some point in his speech he said that according to the claims of foreign statesmen who met with some of Turkey's high-level administrators, Turkey gave hope and indicated-orally, not in a written guarantee-that it will be willing to make certain concessions with regard to Cyprus when Turkey joins the Customs Union. "I hope these claims are wrong. Unfortunately, it is alleged that such an impression was given by Turkey", he added.

    And Ecevit continued claiming: "Following the decision that our government adopted and the reaction it displayed, it is becoming clear that these countries are in a great flurry, that they are even panicking, and that, in their terms, some of them have feelings of regret. In that case, what is their aim? By giving the hope that Turkey may one day join the EU, they are aiming at applying political pressure on our country, extracting concessions from Turkey on Cyprus and Greece and even on our internal affairs, and forcing Turkey to make concessions to the separatist movement. In other words, they presented these so-called opportunities, which do not satisfy us, in order to be able to say: We can continue to pressure Turkey with regard to these issues if we give it slight hope for the future.

    Their pressure was to no avail in any case, but now they have completely lost the chance of bringing any pressure to bear on Turkey. Even if we make all the concessions they want, it is evident that they will find other excuses.

    What are the real reasons behind their desire to exclude us from the EU? First of all, they are scared of Turkey's large population. They believe that in a few years Turkey will constitute the largest group within the European Parliament, and they fear this. They are under the impression that they will face a vast influx of unemployed workers from Turkey. I say they are under the impression because if they admit us as a candidate member, they must supply us with extensive assistance. The investments we will undertake with these funds will not only create employment for Turks, they may even trigger a flow of unemployed workers from Western Europe to Turkey. Therefore, this concern is not valid.

    Moreover, they are intimidated by the prospects of the Turkish economy. They know that if our candidacy is officially acknowledged, they must extend enormous assistance to Turkey, and this will further strengthen the Turkish economy. They do not want to risk this. The EU has pledged to supply $1,000 per capita annually to the five plus one countries that are slated for membership in the first phase, and $600 to the countries that are scheduled for membership in the second stage. Consider our population. If we are in the first group, the EU must give us $62 billion in one year, $32 billion in six months. Maybe, we would not have been so exigent. If they had told us that this is a problem, we would have suggested a solution; but, they did not have the necessary courage for this.

    In the final analysis, my dear colleagues, the EU can neither encompass Turkey, nor accept it. This is a fact. Even if they do not say it openly, some Europeans thank God, not all of them -- subconsciously harbour a crusader mentality, religious fanaticism and discrimination. They have even begun expressing such views. It is also clear that a significant number of European youths - not all Europeans - subconsciously maintain racist tendencies."

    Ecevit stated that Turkey's application for full EU membership will remain in force. "This is our legal right. It is not merely a right deriving from the 1963 agreement, it is a right that stems from our being a European nation and from our having lived in Europe for centuries. Therefore, no one can force us to renounce this right. Our membership application will remain on the agenda as a valid application, regardless of whether we obtain results in the foreseeable or unforeseeable future," he said.

    He added that other than subjects that directly and jointly concern the bilateral relations, they will not discuss any political issue with these countries or with the EU. "We will no longer discuss the Aegean issue, the Cyprus issue, or the southeast Anatolia issue with any EU country", he said.

    [04] Batu on EU decision, Cyprus

    TRT (5:00 hours, 17.12.97) aired a live interview with Ambassador Inal Batu, Turkish Foreign Ministry deputy under secretary, by Gulden Ozel and Riza Okur on the "News Agenda" program.

    In reply to a relevant question, Batu said:

    "The decisions the EU adopted in its recent Luxembourg summit are far from satisfactory for Turkey. I will not say that they came as a surprise, but they were far from being satisfactory. The Greek shadow has been cast over Turkey's relations with Europe. This tempo in our full membership process, in other words this refusal to grant the candidate membership status to Turkey, should not be exaggerated. Turkey made its choice in favour of Europe in the middle of last century. These are temporary incidents. In other words, there is no need to discuss Turkey's European nature. We have made our choice but we were faced with injustice and a lack of understanding and love in Luxembourg. This, however, is neither the beginning nor the end of Turkey's adventure toward becoming part of Europe. There will be many more similar summits and meetings. We should reassess our relations with Europe and the world without exaggerating and without overreacting. We should base these relations on new foundations, and while doing that we should maintain our dignity and a cool head."

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, he claimed: "As for the Cyprus problem, the EU has made a historic mistake on the issue.

    It has given priority in membership to an administration that is sovereign over half of the island and that has unjustly usurped the fake title of the Republic of Cyprus. This is a historic error and the entire world will witness its detriments. Placing the entire responsibility of solving the Cyprus problem on Turkey is also a blatant injustice. Our European friends have, unfortunately, once again applied double standards. In other words, the Cyprus issue did not constitute a problem for Greece's membership. Neither did it constitute a problem for the candidacy of the Greek Cypriots. The Cyprus problem, however, was placed as an obstacle for Turkey's membership. Surely, the entire world is capable of observing this blatant injustice.

    If we have a look at all the obstacles being placed in front of us we can see that part of these concern issues that we should be rectifying on our own initiative independently from our relations with Europe. These issues are unemployment, the rate of inflation, and certain human rights shortcomings. As for the other issues, we need the participation and contributions of Greece and the Greek Cypriots. This is a clear injustice."

    Asked what does Turkey intend to do for Cyprus, Batu said: "The 20 January declaration is a very important fundamental document. The word integration has been used. In other words, it mentions an integration between Turkey and the TRNC. The word integration, however, has certain negative associations giving the impression that the existence of the TRNC will come to an end and it will become a part of Turkey. It is wrongly being associated with concepts such as annexation and division. These associations are being exploited by Greece and the Greek Cypriots. The essence of the 20 January declaration is as follows: The relations between Turkey and the TRNC will become more profound and the TRNC will be strengthened. That is the essence of the declaration.

    The TRNC will not be annexed to Turkey nor will it become a part of Turkey. The issue is about further strengthening the existence of the TRNC. We have to do that because south Cyprus is advancing toward a unification with Greece under the EU roof. Given the situation, it has become our duty to bring closer together and intensify our economic and political relation with the TRNC."

    [05] EU's Hans van den Broek says Turkey misunderstood message

    Show Television (20:30 hours, 16.12.97) broadcast a satellite interview with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek, in Brussels, by Mehmet Ali Birand, in Istanbul, on the "32d Day" program.

    Asked what is his reaction to Ankara's response, van den Broek said: "I am a politician myself and I know that politicians do not want to create the impression that preconditions or certain things are being imposed on them by force contrary to their own beliefs. If Turkey has construed the EU decision as a precondition, I can say that the signal we sent was misunderstood."

    He added: "In my opinion, it is a very rash reaction.

    If our proposal to Turkey was studied in detail, it would become clear that for the first time the EU submitted extremely positive and constructive proposal."

    Asked what is the practical significance of the suspension of the political dialogue from his standpoint, if for example, it disturbs him that he can no longer discuss the Cyprus issue with Turkey, van den Broek said:

    "In my view, Turkey will talk to us. I am saying this with such great confidence because I am certain that I know Turkey's interests. Therefore, the dialogue in Cyprus will continue."

    Asked if Turkey misunderstood the whole thing and if Turkey was the only side that failed to appraise the situation, he replied: "No, the responsibility must be shared equally. This is what I want to say: If we have failed in conveying a sufficiently clear message until now, we will be clearer in our future statements. However, it is necessary to reassess the latest decisions in a collected manner."

    To a final question if like the prime minister of Luxembourg, he also views Turkey as a state of torturers, van den Broek said:

    "Let us be constructive. You know me well. I do not spare my words. Even Turkey's administrators openly admit to shortcomings in the field of human rights. Let us set aside words that will offend one another, and examine how we can develop cooperation."


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


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