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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 99-04-23

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. 66/99 -- 23.4.99

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish general election unofficial final results
  • [02] MHP not considering two-party coalition
  • [03] CHP leader baykal resigns
  • [04] MHP leader discusses need to reconsider Turkish-EU relations
  • [05] MHP's preconditioons for forming a coalition - Cyprus problem cited
  • [06] Ecevit cited on MHP, election outcome

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] TURKISH GENERAL ELECTION UNOFFICIAL FINAL RESULTS

    TRT Television Network (17.00 hours, 22.4.99) carries the following unofficial final results of the Turkish general elections:

    No. of opened ballot boxes: 208,587 Rate of Participation: 87 percent

    Party Percentage Seat Distribution ANAP 13.22 86 DSP 22.06 136 FP 15.38 111 DYP 12.00 85 MHP 17.98 129 IND 0.93 3.

    Key to abbreviations: ANAP -- Motherland Party; DSP -- Democratic Left Party; FP -- Virtue Party; DYP -- True Path Party; MHP -- Nationalist Action Party; IND -- Independents.

    [02] MHP NOT CONSIDERING TWO-PARTY COALITION

    According to Anatolia Agency (13.43 hours, 22.4.99), MHP (Nationalist Action Party) deputy leader Sadi Somuncuoglu has said coalition debates should not be held before the High Election Council announces the final and official results. He added, however, "We have no party prefences for the coalition".

    Replying to reporters' questions at the MHP headquarters, Somuncuoglu said that the coalition debates will start after President Demirel designates a party leader prime minister. The MHP deputy leader pointed out that the press is talking about a DSP-MHP-ANAP (Democratic Left Party-Nationalist Action Party-Motherland Party) coalition. He said: "At this stage, we do not think it is right to name parties. The coalition negotiations will start after a party leader is designated. At this stage, we have no party preferences for the coalition. The MHP has a certain outlook. We have reached the present by paying a heavy price. We feel the responsibility of the past and we will take it into consideration during the coalition negotiations".

    Somuncuoglu said that a five-party assembly that will bring stability emerged from the previous 10-11 party pluralistic but unstable assembly. He asserted that in this assembly, Turkey will find the stability it has been seeking. He added: "The MHP has brought new life to the assembly. That is what the political conditions called for. All the parties at the Assembly have been in the government. It is now the MHP's turn. We too will do all we can to ensure Turkey's stability. Following the designation, coalition negotiations will be held to establish a government that will bring stability. We are not considering a two party coalition. Stability is necessary and the public will no longer extend advance credit to the governments".

    [03] CHP LEADER BAYKAL RESIGNS

    According to TRT Television Network (09.00 hours, 22.4.99), CHP (Republican People's Party) leader Deniz Bayrak has resigned from the leadership of the party. In a statement to a TRT correspondent, Baykal said that a detailed statement on the subject will be made later by party officials. CHP deputy Cevdet Selvi held a news conference at the party headquarters and announced Baykal's resignation.

    Meanwhile, Anatolia (10.14 hours, 22.4.99) reports that the CHP (Republican People's Party) Party Assembly, which convened after leader Deniz Baykal's resignation, decided to hold the 28th congress of the party on 22-23 May 1999.

    According to information received while the Party Assembly meeting was still continuing, the no-confidence motion submitted at the Party Assembly against the Central Administrative Council was defeated by 25 votes against 23. Accordingly, the Central Administrative Council will remain in office until the party congress.

    In line with the party statute, a vote was also held to designate one of the deputy leaders to act as party leader. Cevdet Selvi, who received 40 votes, was elected acting leader.

    [04] MHP LEADER DISCUSSES NEED TO RECONSIDER TURKISH-EU RELATIONS

    According to Hurriyet (21.4.99), Devlet Bahceli, who is the leader of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) which emerged from the turkish elections as the second largest party and which is expected to have weight in the new coalition, has said that every aspect of Turkey's relations with the EU must be carefully studied.

    Replying to Hurriyet's question on Turkey's full accession to the EU, Bahceli said: "The question of Turkey joining the EU as a full member has become a state policy. However, all the political parties have agreed that the matter is among the issues that have to be reconsidered. If progress has not been made in the direction of accession for many years, then it means that certain points have to be reconsidered. The reason why a result has not been achieved must be studied. The matter must be mutually reconsidered from the beginning to the end".

    Bahceli was asked: "Full membership is a long-term objective. Do you believe that you will be committed to it?" He asserted: "Matters related to the transfer of national sovereignty in accordance with the EU's legal status have made the nationalists uneasy. The MHP will take that into consideration. However, the government has launched a process for accession. It has persistently maintained its approach. Meanwhile, a long time has passed. We have had other alternatives. We are convinced that we must make a wide-ranging assessment on the opportunities we have instead of maintaining a narrow approach. For example, the Turkish republics can be considered?"

    [05] MHP'S PRECONDITIONS FOR FORMING A COALITION - CYPRUS PROBLEM CITED

    NTV Television (17.00 hours, 22.4.99), aired a live interview with Koray Aydin, secretary general of Turkey's Nationalist Action Party, in Ankara. Asked which are the MHP's principles that are the sine que non condition for forming a coalition, Aydin replied:

    "I believe that the MHP's basic principles are the same as the common values of the parties that crossed the threshold and that will be represented in parliament. They are our territorial integrity and the protection of the unitary structure of our state".

    Asked to clarify whether the MHP has no other preconditions, Aydin said:

    "Of course there are issues about which we are sensitive. In these elections, the MHP stood before the people with claims on two basic issues:

    the first is our program to fight corruption and the second is our program to fight poverty. When we study the other parties' programs regarding these two basic issues, we see that even if there are a few differences here and there, common ground can be found on certain basic issues. Therefore, we believe that we can conduct a serious struggle in these two spheres together with the other parties in parliament. We believe that Turkey's problems cannot be resolved unless these two basic problems are resolved. Unless we solve the problem of corruption radically, we cannot solve any of Turkey's basic problems. Establishing the people's trust in the politicians and in parliament can be possible only if we end the corruption in Turkey".

    In reply to the question "Whether or not the MHP can adopt radical policies about the Cyprus issue, the EU issue, and in the economy is being questioned. That is what I meant by my previous question. If the MHP is in the coalition, will it have a different and radical policy to posit?", Aydin replied:

    "The MHP is not an unknown party. We have been in Turkey politics for the past 33 years. Ours is a settled political party, and one that has conventions and experience. We are a party that closely follows the developments in the world and in Turkey and that adopts its stand accordingly. Since we are not an unknown party, and since we declared our views on these issues to the public in our election communiques, I think that there are no doubts about this issue. Turkey's foreign policy is not formulated in one day, in one months, or in one year. It is formulated in line with the experience of many years and it becomes a national policy involving basic preferences. The MHP shares these basic preferences. In addition to that, in our party election program we brought certain proposals. We think that these have been posited by other parties too and we can share them with other parties. The MHP believes that the state policy regarding bilateral relations or the various agreements that bind the state must be maintained. The public sees the MHP's positive stand in this respect. In other words, I do not think that there will be any problems regarding such issues".

    [06] ECEVIT CITED ON MHP, ELECTION OUTCOME

    According to Hurriyet (22.4.99), commenting on the Democratic Left Party's (DSP) success in the election, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said: "It was not unexpected". Sedat Ergin, reporting in Hurriyet, says that however Ecevit was surprised by the amount of votes the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) received. Ecevit asserted: "We believed that the MHP would not find it difficult to surmount the election threshold but we did not expect it to secure so many tvotes".

    According to Ergin, Ecevit believes that the MHP attracted votes particularly from the True Path Party (DYP). He said: "Some of the DYP members, who felt uneasy in the party, voted for the MHP to demonstrate their reaction. Nevertheless, I believe that the MHP attracted votes from all the political parties, except the DSP".

    Asked whether the success the MHP achieved was due to the effort Devlet Bahceli made to have the party adopt a moderate approach and describe it as a centrist organization, Ecevit noted: "That might have been one of the reasons".

    What Ecevit then said, Ergin reports, was a delicate message to the MHP:

    "The situation now must be appropriately assessed by those who maintain a rather militant approach and those who are inclined to follow the old party line".

    Ecevit's remarks were an indirect reference to the traces in the MHP of the antagonistic spirit that existed prior to (the military takeover on) 12 September 1980.

    Nevertheless, Ecevit said that he has ovserved that Devlet Bahceli maintains a careful approach. He asserted: "Obviously, such an inclination has made him uneasy. He wants to close the MHP doors to such people and to those who have links with the mafia groups. Undoubtedly, he acts with goowill".

    What Ecevit said was a varorable response to the statement Bahceli made at the weekend: "Mr Ecevit is a valuable statesman in Turkey's political life. He has maintained a very consistent and balanced policy".

    Ergin adds: "Let us now look at the personal relations between Ecevit and Bahceli. We asked Ecevit to comment: 'We shook hands with him a few times. Other than that, we have not been in contact with each other. No negative development has taken place between us. As far as I know, they did not select the DSP as their target during the electioneering period. Nor did we select them'.

    What Ecevit meant was quite clear. His remarks showed that he has not adopted a biased approach towards Bahceli at a time when the political circles expected him to establish a coalition of the DSP, MHP and ANAP.

    However, the conclusion we have drawn from Ecevit's views is the following message: The MHP avoiding initiatives reminiscent of the antagonistic party policy prior to 12 September 1980 will facilitate the survival of a possible partnership.

    We asked Ecevit: 'The Republican People's Party (CHP) is a part of your past. You headed the party for many years. Can you comment on how its failure to surmount the election threshold has affected you?" He said:

    'Recalling the time when I was the leader of that party makes me happy. However, the CHP is a different party now. The organization is different from what it was in the past. The party members gave up easily during the 12 September era. They failed to support their party when it was closed down. They agreed to all the conditions. However, what is important is as follows: New concepts began to emerge in the CHP as of the 1960s. The center left concept was one of them. The CHP changed its approach and prepared the ground for the democratic left. The DSP emerged from all that after 12 September 1980'.

    Ecevit objected to the argument that the absence of the CHP from the National Assembly will be a serious disadvantage from the point of view of the representation of the left wing in the parliament. He said: 'It will not be a disadvantage for the regime. Nor will it be a disadvantage for the left wing. The marginal CHP approach is different. We created the national left-wing concept and embraced various sectors of the community. While we refused to make concessions from secularism, we refrained from making the religious but not fundamentalist people uneasy. That is what makes the DSP different from the CHP. We realized what Blair and Schroeder had in mind before they realized their objectives. Blair is trying to associate religion and the free market economy with left-wing principles. We achieved that many years ago'."

    Ergin continues and says that regarding the loss the FP suffered during the elections Ecevit said: 'The political parties that exploited our religion were unsuccessful. The defunct Welfare Party (RP) was successful in the suburbs in 1995. The suburbs suffer from economic problems. However, the RP failed to solve them. The outcome of the elections showed that the 21 percent of the vote received in 1995 was not only from the religious people. Many people voted to support it because of the economic and social problems'.

    He further adds that Ecevit carefully refrained from responding to the questions he persistently put to him in connection with the formulas he had in mind for a coalition. Asked whether or not a "national front can be created", Ecevit said: "I do not want to discuss that matter. We are making a new assessment at this time. Everyone needs time to do so. Meanwhile, I do not believe that the new prime minister will be designated in May".

    [07] MHP FOREIGN POLICY

    According to a report in Turkish Daily News (21.4.99), the powerful representation that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will have in Turkey's new Parliament leads to suggestions that Turkey's foreign policy will toughen on an array of issues and will place a stronger emphasis on strengthening the Turkish presence abroad.

    The MHP's foreign policy program, which has a strong scent of Pan-Turkism, reveals the party's determination to strengthen relations with the Central Asian republics and to preserve the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". It also makes clear their hawkish position towards the European Union. And last but not least, the MHP has revealed its determination to support its foreign policy with a more powerful military.

    However, the MHP's position of many foreign policy issues still remains hazy and shallow, with no concrete suggestions on an array of significant matters.

    The MHP emphasizes relations with Turkish and Turkic-origin communities and states abroad, but appears not to have a position on many other major issues that directly influence Turkey's international relations.

    Surprisingly, the MHP makes no reference to Turkey's relations with its number one ally, the United States. It has not explicitly expressed a position on Turkey's thorny relations with a number of other countries, including Greece and Syria. It makes no reference to the water problem with Syria and Iraq nor does it express any position on the Middle East peace process.

    Despite defining the Turkic states as its priority, the MHP fails to say anything about the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project, which is one of Turkey's major priorities at present.

    Nor does the party outline any clear approach towards the Balkans, merely expressing the wish for closer ties with the Turkish communities in the region.

    The MHP states that it aims to have "an efficient foreign policy" that will bring Turkey to the position of "a leader state". First of all, Turkey's national interests should be protected, and then improved, the party's program says.

    According to the program, the MHP's primary foreign policy objectives include transforming Turkey into " a powerful, reliable and influential country", which will be "a model and a cultural center" in the region, as well as in "the Turkish and Islamic World". The party suggests that Turkey should not be just a passive geostrategic bridge between the East and the West, and between the North and the South, but also an active gate of economic activities on both these axes.

    The MHP says that Turkey should efficiently use the system of "most favored nation" in order to establish warmer and more comprehensive cultural, economic and military ties with certain countries.

    "A ring of pacts should be formed around Turkey", their program states.

    The MHP asserts its respect for international law and stresses the importance of the principle of pacta sunt servanta (the observance of agreements).

    In order to achieve these aims, the MHP says that the institutional structure of the foreign affairs administration should be strengthened and equipped with "a new spirit and understanding".

    The MHP attributes a major role in foreign affairs to the military due to "Turkey's geopolitical position and the responsibilities streaming from its historical and cultural heritage".

    "A strong and modern military is an indispensable condition for an efficient foreign policy", the program says.

    The MHP says that a very far-reaching modernization program should be initiated in order to bring the Turkish military up to the level of the world's most advanced armies and to enable it to successfully carry out "not only cross-border but also transcontinental operations".

    Strengthening relations with Turkish and Turkic-origin communities and states is a major priority for the MHP.

    Its election program frequently refers to "the Turkish World" - an ambitious definition that includes not only the Turkish communities living abroad, but also states and groups of Turkic origin. Another significant terminological difference is the MHP's definition of the Central Asian republics. They are referred to not as the Turkic republics, which is the widespread definition, but "the Turkish republics".

    "The Turkish republics" and Cyprus are highlighted as the most important areas of interest for the MHP. Along with the Turkish communities in the Balkans and the Turkomans in the Middle East, these two issues are defined as "the indispensable part of Turkey's national interests".

    The MHP aims at establishing a social, economic, scientific and cultural union in "the Turkish World" and defines this objective as "compulsory and vital". The party says that the peace and stability in the world in the next century depends on the establishment of peace and stability in Eurasia, which can become possible "only with cooperation and prosperity in the Turkish World".

    In order to achieve these ambitious objectives, the MHP finds it necessary to establish "a ministry of the Turkish World". It says that "a common market of the Turkish World" should be set up in order to strengthen economic ties with "the Turkish republics". It attributes importance to the Organization of the Back Sea Economic Cooperation and states that the group's activities should be rapidly galvanized.

    The MHP says that Turkey's activities in Central Asia in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the level of its ties with "the Turkish republics" there are insufficient. It underlines that in recent years there has been a pause in the already inadequate process of cooperation between Turkey and the regional states.

    The MHP voices unconditional support for the continuation of the pseudostate which appears to be an indirect disapproval of the international suggestion for reunifying the Turkish and Greek Cypriots within a federation.

    The MHP says the pseudostate is "of vital and strategic importance" for Turkey. It says that Turkey is obliged to provide all kinds of support for the pseudostate and in no way will permit it to become a Greek island. "The Cyprus cause is a national cause not only for our Cypriot brothers, but also for Turkey", the party program says.

    The MHP claims that EU's policy vis-a-vis the Greek Cypriots is "one-sided and unacceptable".

    It says that the Cyprus problem can be solved only by establishing mutual confidence and securing a compromise between the two sides. The party program does not comment on the proposal for the establishment of a confederation which is the official solution framework put forward by Turkey and the pseudostate.

    The MHP's attitude towards the EU is chilly, although it approves Turkey's full membership goal "in principle".

    The MHP accuses the 15-member bloc of having hostile attitudes towards Turkey.

    "The EU has imposed a multitude of conditions for Turkey and has neglected the existing agreements. In short, it has adopted an unfriendly attitude towards Turkey. Therefore, the present stage (of Turkey-EU relations) must be seriously revised", the MHP program says.

    "Turkey must make it clear that it will not accept such biased and alienating attitudes imposed by the EU", it states.

    The party believes that the EU must openly declare Turkey's candidacy for membership and outline an accession calendar.

    It calls on the Union to give up its "increasingly hostile" policies on Cyprus and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    The MHP does not reveal its position on the customs union between Turkey and the EU.

    The MHP's objectives regarding the Mideast appear to be overblown and negligent of the political realities in the region.

    The party program suggests the establishment of an East Mediterranean Union between Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Palestine, which could later be joined by Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia. It does not explain how Turkey will bring together the Jewish state and the Arab countries and does not make any reference to the Middle East peace process. Despite this, it goes further by saying that "the Turkish states" and Iran should be integrated economically with the countries of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the East Mediterranean Union.

    The MHP at the same time does not put forward any concrete suggestion for solving the problems between Turkey and an array of Arab states. It only says that "efforts should be expended to solve the problems with Arab countries". No reference is made to Turkey's strategic cooperation with Israel either.

    The MHP says that Turkey should initiate the outline of three friendship and cooperation agreements - in the Caucasus, the Middle East and in the Balkans - that are supposed to bring a spirit of cooperation and stability to these regions.

    The MHP also suggests new openings for Turkey with Ukraine, China, Japan, India, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, which it defines as "countries that will become significant powers in the beginning of the 21st century".


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


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