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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 98-05-19

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. 87/98 -- 19.5.98

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Cook on Turkey's EU accession, Cyprus issue.
  • [02] Cook brought new proposal on EU issue.
  • [03] Meeting in UK focus on Turkish-Greek, Cyprus problem.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Cook on Turkey's EU accession, Cyprus issue

    Daily MILLIYET (Internet version, 19.5.98), publishes the text of an exclusive interview with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook by correspondent Sami Kohen.

    The 52-year-old British Foreign Secretary replied to the paper's questions in writing before leaving for Ankara the other night.

    Inter alia, Cook noted that Turkey is important for the EU, but at the same time sent the message that the EU Cardiff Summit in June should not be expected to change the decisions made at the last Luxembourg summit. But, according to Cook, the EU and Turkey are working on a mutually acceptable formula and Turkey's future participation in the Association Council and in the European Conference is significant.

    Cook supported the principles of a bizonal federation in Cyprus and said the talks must resume.

    He pointed out that Turkey should take further steps on human rights issues and condemned the attack on Akin Birdal.

    The following are Cook's answers to some of the paper's questions:

    Kohen: What is the goal of your visit to Ankara? What are the main views and messages that you want to convey to the Turkish side?

    Cook: I will come to Ankara to discuss with the Turkish Government how to assess the present situation of EU-Turkey relations.

    Britain wants to establish dynamic and lasting EU-Turkey relations. As the country in charge of the EU presidency, we feel we have a special responsibility to reestablish good relations with Turkey. All of us consider Turkey as part of Europe and a key power in a significant region. More specifically, we hope that a productive and mutually beneficial Association Council will be held at the end of the month and, consequently, preparations will be made for the EU Council meeting that Britain will host in Cardifif in June, when the expansion issue will be placed on the agenda.

    Kohen: Voices were recently raised in many European capitals in favour of reassessing the anti-Turkey attitude maintained during the Luxembourg summit. What does Britain think about this issue as the EU president? Do you believe it is necessary to review the decision reached during the summit and adopt the behaviour that will meet Turkey's demands?

    Cook: We know that Turkey was disappointed with the Luxembourg summit decisions concerning it. But it is also obvious that positive elements emerged from Luxembourg: Turkey's qualifications for EU accession were confirmed using the same criteria applied to the other candidate countries and a strategy to prepare for Turkey's membership has been determined. The important thing now is to decide on the strategy. We believe Turkey is important as a country that is an ally, a trade partner, and a regional power. We want to base EU -Turkey relations on firm ground.

    Kohen: Do you think there is a chance that the Cardiff summit will reassess the Luxembourg decisions and accept Turkey as a candidate under equal conditions? Is this a high expectation?

    Cook: Decisions previously made in Cardiff will not be discussed. It is time to move forward. I think the main issue is to create the necessary conditions for the productive relations that all of us in the EU and also the Turkish Government want.

    Kohen: Do you have in mind a EU strategy that is also acceptable to Turkey?

    Cook: The EU and Turkey should work to find the things that both sides will accept. We are aware of Turkey's EU vocation (last word in English) the need to include it in Europe's expansion process. We also hope that Turkey will grab the opportunity to strengthen and develop its relations with Europe. This is the main message that I want to give during my Ankara visit.

    Kohen: How will a lack of progress in Cyprus affect EU-Turkey relations? What does Britain intend to do to overcome the present deadlock? What are the obstacles preventing the beginning of a new process?

    Cook: The EU is convinced that reaching a solution in Cyprus will benefit alls sides. We were disappointed that a political solution was not reached before the accession talks between the EU and Cyprus began last March. Our goal is that both communities benefit from Cyprus' accession to the EU. A proposal was made for giving the Turkish Cypriots a real right of say in these talks.

    It is sad that so far the Turkish Cypriots did not accept the proposal. We strongly wish the Turkish Cypriots will participate in these talks.

    Our goal for the Cyprus issue is a bicommunal, bizonal federation. This is why we believe talks must resume under UN auspices. We also support Hoolbrooke's efforts in this direction.

    Naturally, Ankara has a very significant role to play.

    Turkey can contribute greatly toward regional peace and stability.

    From this perspective, we should work jointly to eliminate the current misunderstandings.

    [02] Cook brought new proposal on EU issue

    According to Anatolia Agency (17:13 hours, 19.5.98) the talks between Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Robin Cook, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, who is currently visiting Ankara with the aim of overcoming the impasse in Turkish-EU relations in the wake of the Luxembourg summit, have ended.

    Cem made a statement to the press following the meeting with Cook, who is in Turkey as the EU term president. Turkey had decided to refrain from discussing political issues with the EU after the Luxembourg summit. Expressing his pleasure over Britain's rotational presidency, Cem said both sides want to develop economic relations.

    "We do not have a quarrel with anyone," Cem noted, stressing that the meeting with Cook was held in line with the framework outlined by the government on 14 December namely, the decision not to discuss with the EU political matters or certain internal issues, including the Cyprus problem.

    Reiterating the claim that the EU is discriminating against Turkey, Cem said: "The restrictions we introduced to our political relations with the EU will remain valid unless this discrimination is eliminated". Cem emphasized that bilateral relations with EU countries can be developed.

    Noting that the talks focused on advancing "economic and social" issues, Cem said: "If both sides become convinced that they have reached a level of maturity, it is our wish that the Association Council will meet."

    Cem pointed out that the dialogue and contacts with Cook will continue along these lines, adding that the talks contributed to Turkish-EU relations. The foreign minister said that Turkey is not abandoning its principles but does not have a quarrel with anyone. He remarked: "I hope that the coming days will enable us to achieve more significant developments."

    Stressing that the Association Council is "a good step" Cem said that the council should meet if all the conditions are favourable. Turkey does not believe that the council should meet at all costs, Cem explained, and added: "We want to achieve progress through careful thought and discussion, by setting one brick on top of another."

    Asked what course Turkish-EU relations will follow if the Association Council fails to convene, Cem said: "Our political relations will not change, but our economic relations will continue to develop." He added that a delay of a few months may be experienced in the development of our economic relations.

    In reply to a question, Cem said that Cook did not bring a special package for Turkey, adding that ways of developing the "EU Strategy for Turkey" document prepared by the EU Commission for Turkey was discussed during the talks.

    The foreign minister noted that the consequences of the Cardiff summit, which is scheduled to be held in June, were not discussed at the talks.

    "We can be satisfied financially," Cem noted. He said that Turkey is not dependent on the $300-400 million to be extended by the EU. Cem remarked that the moral significance is more important than the quantity of the financial aid that the EU pledged to extend to Turkey within the framework of the Customs Union agreement. He said: "The matter itself is important. It is significant in denoting that the EU is beginning to fulfill its commitments".

    Asked if the Cyprus issue was raised during the talks, Cem stated that the problem was discussed in the second phase of the talks, which focused on bilateral relations.

    Raised during the second part of the talks were issues such as increasing the volume of bilateral trade to $6 billion, the development of political relations, and terrorism, Cem cited. He recounted that the British secretary expressed his views on Cyprus and the Aegean.

    Explaining that the Cyprus issue was discussed with Cook in his capacity as the British Foreign Secretary rather than as the EU term president, Cem said: "I, in turn, reiterated Turkey's long-standing views on these issues". Cem added that the government's policies are aimed at serving Turkey's interests first and foremost.

    Expressing Turkey's pleasure over Britain's EU presidency, Cem stressed that Cook is doing his utmost and exerting great efforts to improve Turkish- EU relations.

    Cem stated that Cook brought a correct approach to the matter and added: "Cook himself took the lead in broaching those issues he believed could cause controversy or make me feel uncomfortable."

    [03] Meetings in UK focus on Turkish-Greek, Cyprus problems

    According to a report in MILLIYET (Internet version, 17.5.98), last weekend the United Kingdom was the venue for two special meetings with "influential participants" who were discussing problems between Turkey and Greece and efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem. One meeting, in Scotland, was attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and the special representatives of the United States and Britain on Cyprus. In London, Turkish and Greek politicians, journalists, academicians, and businessmen were busy looking for solutions.

    The two-day meeting in Scotland was this year's round of the traditional Bilderberg meetings. The participants in this year's meeting included prominent figures such as Foreign Minister Cem; the US Special Representative on Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke; the British Special Representative on Cyprus, Sir David Hannay; the Political Director of the German Foreign Ministry; Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Papandreou; the President of the (Turkish) Economic Development Foundation, Meral Gezgin Eris; and the Chairman of the Privatization Administration, Ugur Bayar. The meetings were closed to the press.

    The meeting in London was organized by Britain's Royal Armed Forces Institute. Also held in camera, the meeting, entitled "Turkish-Greek Dialogue," was attended by eight representatives each from Turkey and Greece and British Academicians. Participants from Turkey included the former Commander of the Naval Forces and Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, Adm. (Ret) Guven Erkaya; Deputies Bulent Akarcali and Ali Dincer; Milliyet foreign policy columnist Sami Kohen; journalist Mehmet Ali Birand; and TUSIAD (Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association) President Muharrem Kayhan.

    Participants in the London meeting focused primarily on measures to exert a positive influence on the political will of governments during times of crisis or when problems turn into crises rather than the solution of the problems between Turkey and Greece.


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


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