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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 99-10-05

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 <>


No. 180/99 -- 5.10.99






    Anatolia Agency (0912 hours, 4/10/99) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the so-called foreign and defense minister of the pseudostate, said on Monday that the assurance of U.S. President Bill Clinton who said that "the solution aimed in Cyprus won't result in a return to pre- 1974 period" is positive, yet this guarantee is not enough for the concerned sides to sit at a negotiation table in New York under the auspices of U.N.

    Ertugruloglu, who is currently in Washington D.C. stated that he will explain in his contacts in the U.S. State Department that "they don't favour" the Greek Cypriot side to have the title of Cyprus Republic and "the two communities leaders sitting at a negotiation table for the so- called intercommunal talks."

    Ertugruloglu who will come together with Alfred Moses, the U.S. President Clinton's Special Representative for Cyprus and Tom Weston, the U.S. State Department's Coordinator for Cyprus, told reporters that "our task is to reiterate our position. These policies don't change daily. We determine policies with Turkey. We are ready to sit at a negotiation table as being two separate states."

    Tahsin Ertugruloglu pointed out that the indirect negotiations that will be held to found the basis of face-to-face meetings between the two sides won't take place in New York.

    "If there will be a meeting, it will be in Cyprus," said Ertugruloglu, adding "we won't say yes to Camp David model as it will lead to unnecessary speculations."


    Anatolia Agency (0710 hours, 4/10/99) reports that Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreou said on Sunday that it is not convenient for Greece to ask for any demands from Turkey, adding "in this new spirit of cooperation, it is not right for Greece to tell Turkey what to do. This is not our view. Everybody has to exert efforts to find the golden mean."

    Responding to questions of journalists at the "Taksim Meetings" held in "The Marmara Hotel" in Istanbul, Papandreou said that Greece will be a vanguard in the confirmation of Turkey's full membership to the European Union (EU) as this is also necessary for Greece.

    Responding to a question about the Nikiforos military exercise and the S- 300 missiles, Papandreou stated that the process of softening and rapprochement between the two countries started before the earthquake disaster in Turkey, recalling that Ismail Cem and he had started an important dialogue between the two countries.

    Regarding Cyprus he said: "Turkish Cypriots consider themselves under threat. The event in 1974 is a tragic one. Southern Cypriots say that there are 35,000 soldiers beyond the Green Line and they are afraid. Tension escalates.... We wish an island which is disarmed. Certainly the two communities will find the way of living in peace. But we should let them find it by themselves. Things can't change in one day. But if we have a decision about Cyprus, we can change things. This will come true when we demilitarize the island."

    Responding to another question, Papandreou added that both the problem in Aegean and in Cyprus have to be solved and one shouldn't separate the two from each other. "Cyprus is a problem, we have to accept this problem and cope with that", he added.


    Anatolia Agency (0812 hours, 4/10/99) reports that Turkish President Suleyman Demirel claimed on Sunday, "Cyprus question is not a matter between Turkey and the U.S., or between Turkey and the European Union (EU), or between Turkey and Greece. And it should not be."

    Addressing a television programme named "Pulse of Politics" on the state- run TRT-1 channel, President Demirel claimed: "The Cyprus question cannot be solved without taking into consideration the de facto situation on the island. There are two nations, and two states on Cyprus. One of them is not the state of whole island. If the world recognizes the Southern Cyprus as the state of whole island, this will be a great mistake. The Cyprus question cannot be solved without recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)."


    Anatolia Agency (1232 hours, 4/10/99) reports that Georgios Papandreou, Greek Foreign Minister, participated in the opening ceremony of the new academic year of the Istanbul University on Monday.

    Papandreou, who gave a lecture during the ceremony, said he will devote all his sources for the peace of Turkish and Greek peoples.

    Noting that Greece shared a vision with its neighbours, Papandreou said "this vision is the United Southeastern Europe extending from Cyprus to Romania and from Turkey to Bosnia, where the borders are respected and protected and that nobody investigates them."

    Papandreou said "we will be a nations-family. We will be a bouquet of cultures", and also noted that "double standards should not be implemented. For example, Greece will demand for only one standard on the issue of Turkey's membership to the European Union (EU). " Stressing that several people claimed that "peace will come by calling for different states for different ethnic groups", Papandreou said "I say no to this. Because there is not short ways in our region going to peace. Also, there are not quick and easy ways. European nations and EU are a multi-ethnic structure region and it is proud of this. We, together with Turkey, share the basic principle that borders should not be changed according to minorities. All our efforts should be intensified on preservation of them within the borders they are in. There are two things which I think you will understand. Let us break the last Berlin Wall. Let us save Cyprus from this burden. Let us save all of us from this burden." Papandreou noted that entrance of Cyprus to EU will be for the benefit of the two communities, adding that Greece believed that Turkey wil have a future within EU. He also said it was for Turkey's benefit to be the full member of the most successful, politic and economic regional union.


    According to Anatolia Agency (1350 hours, 4/10/99) Ismail Cem, the Turkish Foreign Minister hosted an unofficial lunch in the honor of Georgios Papandreou, the Foreign Minister of Greece, at the Foreign Ministry's Representation in Istanbul on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters following the lunch which lasted nearly 2.5 hours, Papandreou said they had started a process a few months ago, adding, "this does not mean that we solved the problems. We are in the very beginning of a long process."

    Noting that he had explained Greece's position towards the problems between Turkey and Greece during his contacts in Istanbul, Papandreou said the ways for negotiations, discussions and understanding were opened.

    Stressing that he thought the understanding between the Turkish and Greek peoples was very important and would constitute the basis for peace, Papandreou defined his visit to Turkey as "a very fruitful visit". Responding to a question, Ismail Cem said Turkey and Greece had their own positions towards the Cyprus question, and this was a reality, adding that they were trying to recover the relations between the two countries. Emphasizing that they were trying to take a step in the right direction to this end, Cem expressed his pleasure over hosting Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou in Turkey.

    Stressing that his counterpart and he had held unofficial contacts, Cem said, "I believe we understood each other better."


    Illegal Bayrak Radio (10.30 hours, 2/10/99) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has said that he will immediately resign if he is pressured to meet with President Clerides before the current conditions are improved. Participating in the TRT's Morning News program by telephone last Saturday, Denktash was asked to comment on the confirmation by Prime Minister Ecevit and President Clinton that there cannot be a return to pre- 1974. He replied: "It is because we do not want a return to pre- 1974 that we want any agreement we will sign not to remain on paper. We want an agreement based on our sovereignty. The agreement must retain Turkey's guarantees, the balance between Turkey and Greece, and must be based on our equality, so that there will not be a return to pre- 1974."

    Asked what his attitude will be if he is pressured to hold direct talks, Denktash said: "That is impossible. This is a national policy, it is a national decision. It is outside my will. If everybody pressures me to hold direct talks without the recognition of my state, than I will resign. If I do not, I will have disappointed and compromised my people."


    According to MILLIYET (5.10.99), the commander of the War Academics in Turkey, General Nahit Senogul, has declared that "they will not make concessions in Cyprus."

    Addressing the opening of the National Security Academy at the National Security Council General Secretariat, General Senogul referred to the Cyprus problem and said: "There are a lot of problems. However, it is not a must to make concessions, because the problems have acquired further weight. For example, we do not accept any help or cooperation that imposes a settlement in line with the Greek views on Cyprus".



    KIBRIS (5.10.99) reports that a journalist from the newspaper will observe the NATO conference on "The American Perspective on Europe's Security" which will be held in Napoli, Italy, between 7-8 of October.

    It's the first journalist from Cyprus who is invited to a NATO conference.



    Cengiz Candar, writing in Sabah (Internet version, 3/10/99) says that Turkish prime Minister Bulent Ecevit left in the United States more questions than there were before his arrival there. He adds: "When the balance sheet of Ecevit's tour is tallied with a cool head, the picture that emerges is not dazzling. Turkey is not in a more advantageous position after the visit than it was before the visit.

    [17] Virtually none of the financial expectations expressed before Ecevit embarked on his US trip have come true.

    [20] The political and strategic association between the United States and Turkey is not stronger than it was before the visit.

    [23] The visit did not clear Turkey's path to the EU summit in Helsinki.

    [25] The Turkish Prime Minister could have sent conforting and encouraging messages about the resolution of the Kurdish problem in a free country and

    open society like the United States. He did not do that, and he did exactly the opposite.

    With these outcomes, Ecevit's US visit revealed the limits - or rather the 'imposed limits' - of Turkish-American relations.

    It is now evident that political and financial issues that look unrelated are definitely related even if not stated explicitly. As long as Turkey refuses to take steps forward on political issues, the support it will receive from the United States will remain confined to certain limits, and limitations that can certainly be overcome will not be overcome.

    With the present international circumstances and balances Turkey will remain an important US ally no matter who its leader is. American administrations will try not to push or offend Turkey, but they will stand back from doing their best for Turkey. The United States will refuse to lift the 'limitation' in its relations with Turkey as long as Turkey refuses to become a democratic country.

    It is evident that Cyprus is the most important factor that can block the EU path that is opening for Turkey. Cyprus is also a problem that can become a fundamental roadblock in Turkish-American relations.

    The proposition the United States has made to Turkey in accordance with the decision of the G-8 is not an unacceptable proposition. On the other hand, neither the United States not the EU can accept Ecevit's position. The EU- backed US proposal envisages to reopen the Cyprus talks - which have been interrupted for more than two years - under the aegis of the UN. Note that the talks are an essential step not so much for 'an immediate solution' but to maintain the 'momentum' in Turkish-Greek relations and to open the doors to Turkey's EU candidacy at Helsinki.

    The Turkish position has been stated by Rauf Denktash on several occasions. Ecevit reiterated that same position in every speech he made outside the White House: 'the recognition of the existence of two independent states.' This may appear good to us but it is not compatible with international realities, because accepting that position means acknowledging that 'the Cyprus problem has been solved.' You cannot make anyone accept this argument.

    The United States has left a sufficient margin of flexibility to suggest that even this position can be defended but that it must defended at the negotiating table. What is so unacceptable about this if you are serious about making progress on the path to Europe?

    Sitting at the negotiating table is not the most unacceptable concession in the world. If things do not work out you can always leave the table, as was done many times in the past. However, when one sees that there is resistance to this step knowing full well that it would clear the way for Turkey's EU candidacy, it is legitimate to ask the following question:

    Does Ecevit really want to block avenues to the EU by taking an intransigent position on Cyprus? When Greece applied for membership in the EU (then the EEC) in the late 1970s, Ecevit missed a historic opportunity and played a role in dragging Turkey into the unbalanced relations that remain with us to this day.

    Will he make the same mistake - assuming it is not a deliberate choice - for the second time in 20 years?

    Do not lose sight of your goals in the confusion over pressure, concessions, and ploys over Cyprus. Candidacy for membership in the EU means [endorsement of] 'the Copenhagen criteria.' In other words, it means forcing Turkey onto the path of democratization.

    Now think: Who may not want that? To what extent is Ecevit their spokesman on basic strategic issues? Look for answers in your memory."


    Fikret Bila, writing in Turkish daily Milliyet (2/10/99), says that Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's unexpected meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during the second leg of his visit to the United States raised the question as to whether or not it was President Clinton who suggested that he should meet him.

    Considering the call the G-8 countries made for the resumption of the Cyprus talks without preconditions, the initiatives Kofi Annan made for that purpose, and President Clinton's statement that "the situation that existed in Cyprus prior to 1974 cannot be reinstated," the timing of the Annan-Ecevit meeting drew attention, Bila says. And adds:

    "It can be said that the White House wanted Annan and Ecevit to meet and that it welcomed their talks. Obviously, an initiative has been made on Cyprus after President Clinton's meeting with Ecevit.

    What were the views Kofi Annan conveyed to Ecevit? We have been informed by the high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials that Annan asked him to use his influence to persuade Rauf Denktash to agree to the resumption of the talks. However, he neither 'insisted' nor tried to put 'pressure' on Ecevit. The Foreign Ministry has assessed Annan's initiative as a 'traditional' and 'routine' request.

    Annan asked: 'Can you inform me on how you assess the situation. What would you suggest?' Ecevit responded by saying that 'an equal status must be recognized to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.' He asserted:

    'The Turkish Cypriots have been independent since they were evicted from the constitutional system in 1964. Bloodshed has not taken place in Cyprus since 1974. Forcing them to live together again will be difficult. So, I believe that you should not rush to solve the problem. The necessary preparations must be made for the talks.' The Foreign Ministry officials, who participated in the meeting, supported Ecevit's approach by recalling incidents in various parts of the world, particularly those in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Kofi Annan might decide to heed Ecevit's recommendation. However, would that have negative effects on the improving relations between Turkey and Greece? The high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials said that 'it would not'. They noted: 'Foreign Minister Papandreou will visit Istanbul on 3 October. He and Ismail Cem will participate in the ceremony that will be held on the occasion of the Istanbul University's new academic year. Papandreou will address the ceremony. We prefer not to link the relations between Turkey and Greece to Cyprus.' Assessing Ecevit's visit to the United States, the Foreign Ministry officials said that they were convinced that Washington and the UN Organization are now able to better understand why Turkey maintains a 'sensitive' approach on Cyprus. In fact, Ecevit was asked to comment on the talks he had on Cyprus the night before he left the United States. He said:

    'We are convinced that they were very positive.' In short, it can be said that Ecevit was also 'satisfied' with the New York leg of his visit." [150] ON ECEVIT'S 'WRANGLE' WITH US SENATORS OVER CYPRUS

    Cengiz Candar, writing in Sabah (1/10/99) says that a real intersting debate took place during Ecevit's recent visit to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms. "A fiery argument over Cyprus took place in the presence of Turkish parliamentarians with nine US Senators including heavy Senate guns such as Joseph Biden, Richard Lugar, Paul Sarbanes, and John Cochran. Maryland Senator Sarbanes began the argument by asking Ecevit whether he retains his view of the 1970s over Cyprus. At some point the argument became so heated that Foreign Minister Ismail Cem could not keep his calm and jumped into the argument. As a result the meeting crossed the founds of 'politeness' and 'business talk' and turned into a bitter 'wrangle'.

    An interesting development occurred at the end of this meeting between prominent senators and the Turkish delegation - a meeting as significant as Ecevit's meeting with Clinton. When Ecevit was leaving, Sarbanes said that he 'still does not have an answer to his questions about Cyprus'. Although Ecevit smiled at these remarks initially, just when he was walking out of the door he turned back suddenly said: 'There has not been any change in my views on Cyprus'. Then he left.

    During this meeting the senators said that it would be hard for Turkey to expect any assistance if there is no progress on Cyprus.

    Another interesting aspect of the meeting was that the senators, especially Senator Lugar who is a prominent figure in US foreign policy, referred to the late [former President] Turgut Ozal and praised his policies and contributions to Turkish-American relations. The presence of Ahmet Ozal [Turgut Ozal's son and independent deputy] in the delegation created ample opportunity for frequent references to Turgut Ozal.

    Ecevit addressed three gatherings in Washington. In these speeches Ecevit articulated roughly the same themes. He expressed the well-known Turkish position on Cyprus - which has been described as 'intransigent' - and reiterated the classical state policy and arguments about the Southeast. The Prime Minister, who was not able to obtain anything from the United States on financial matters, hinted at the possibility of the start of an era of confrontation with the United States over political issues. The performance of the Turkish delegation in Washington and signs of some progress over Cyprus were important for opening Turkey's path for 'EU membership' in Helsinki. At this time question marks over this issue have not only failed to dissipate but have increased in number. It seems that much will depend on what will happen during the contacts of Clinton's Special Representative Al Moses next week and the OSCE summit in Istanbul and Clinton's visit to Ankara in November.

    On departing from Washington Ecevit did not have his suitcases filled with dollars, but he left behind many arguments and question marks hanging in the American capital," Cangar concludes.

    Furhermore, Yasemin Congar writing in Turkish daily MILLIYET (1/10/99), reporting on the same meeting, says that addressing Ecevit and the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) who were with the Prime Minister, senator Biden said, "If you do not introduce a solution to the Cyprus problem, I will not have the provision of the $5-billion financial aid you are expecting the United States to give to your country endorsed by the Senate." Congar adds:

    "The meeting became very tense once Biden uttered these words. During the meeting, which centered mostly on the subject of Cyprus, Biden said, 'It is time the sides came to the negotiating table on Cyprus, talked with one another, and reached an agreement.' Biden also wanted the Turkish side in Cyprus to be persuaded to hold talks with the Greek side.

    Thereupon Ecevit referred to the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and voiced their concerns. He proceeded to emphasize that he and President Clinton had agreed that there would be no return in Cyprus to the pre- 1974 period. Annoyed by this answer, Biden said, 'solve the problem in Cyprus or forget the money,' referring thereby to the $5- billion debt that has been incurred because of the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) credits and which Turkey wants the United States to erase. This retort disturbed the Turkish side. Then, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem asked Ecevit if he (Cem) could answer Biden. Once granted the permission to do so, Cem started a long speech, explaining that the basis of the Turkish-US relations is a cooperation on a large scale, that Turkey had sided with the United States in Kosovo and Iraq, and that it would be in the interest of the United States to maintain good relations with Turkey. When Senator Biden responded by remarking that, as far as they know, 'Turkey needs our help in social and financial terms,' Cem said, 'You are wrong.' Still not satisfied, Senator Biden came to Ecevit's side after the meeting had ended and said that he had not received an answer to the question he had asked. The Prime Minister replied by saying, 'There are two separate states in Cyprus.' Biden was supported in the Senate meeting by Democrat Senator from Maryland Paul S. Sarbanes, who was more moderate than Biden."


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