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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 01-07-26

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 PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.141/01 26.7.01

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Sukru Sina Gurel bypassed on Cyprus as Washington manipulates for a «compromise settlement».
  • [02] A delegation from Turkey's Central Bank arrives in the occupied areas today.
  • [03] Mehmet Ali Talat met with the French Ambassador.
  • [04] Talat: «The Cyprus problem must be solved»
  • [05] Reaction by Turkish Cypriots against turning Panayia Thermiotissa church into a discotheque.
  • [06] CP loses one more deputy: Avni Dogan resigns.
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [07] Sami Cohen sees new step on Cyprus problem.
  • [08] Something is happening on Cyprus.
  • [09] Turkish columnist sees difficult days for Turkey in Autumn because of Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Sukru Sina Gurel bypassed on Cyprus as Washington manipulates for a "compromise settlement"

    In its front page leader with the above title Turkish Daily News (25/7/01) carries a report by Lale Sariibrahimoglu on events behind the scene in Turkey regarding the formulation of the policies on Cyprus.

    The full text of the report is the following:

    "The internal dispute between Turkish 'hawks' and 'doves,' as well as among IMF panickers, reached a peak in recent months when a very serious divergence of opinion on Cyprus policies emerged behind closed doors. It has reached a level that the minister in charge of Cyprus affairs, Gurel, regarded as a hawk, was bypassed on all Cyprus issues, receiving no information at all from the foreign ministry in his area of interest.

    Writing two critical letters to Ankara blaming Turkey for making deals with the United States at the expense of Turkish Cypriots, Denktash's recent statement agreeing to go to New York has been the result of pressure exerted upon him by Ecevit, who has been panicked over the IMF syndrome that a possible tension in Cyprus would skyrocket the dollar again. Behind Ecevit's panic is said to be former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Mark Parris.

    Turkey's internal dispute over Cyprus peaked last week when Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktash wrote his second critical letter in less than three months to Ankara for Turkey's ongoing secret talks being conducted in Brussels with U.S. officials. Denktash described the Turkish attempts to force him to go to New York for talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan as making a deal at the expense of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Though known for his hawkish policies on Cyprus, however, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's recent statements have given signs of panic that an ongoing stalemate over divided Cyprus will be a factor in skyrocketing once again, this time on Cyprus, the US dollar against the Turkish lira.

    The first sign of Ecevit's panic came a few weeks ago when he was talking about the "foreign finger" on the upsurge of the value of dollar. Ecevit, while warning against those foreign fingers, also made a surprising statement when he voiced his fear that some political pressure for a solution on Cyprus might come.

    This has been a clear reference to certain pressure being exerted upon Turkey as part of an International Monetary Fund deal to save Turkey from the current deepening economic crisis.

    Though some speculators say certain foreign countries have been manipulating the market by bringing the Cyprus solution into the equation of the economic crisis, indeed yesterday the dollar started entering the Turkish market as a sign of confidence in the Turkish markets.

    There has been a strong indication that behind Ecevit's panic over Cyprus forcing Denktash for a compromise in the absence of meeting any Turkish requests at all is former US Ambassador to Ankara Mark Parris, who has visited Turkey twice coinciding with Ecevit's increased dose of pressure on Denktash.

    The U.N.-sponsored peace talks, which are attempts to find a solution to the decades-long problem of Cyprus and have taken place five times between the two communities, stopped since last November when the TRNC was denied equal status with the Greek Cypriots as a result of Annan stepping back from his earlier decision in this respect. Denktash storms Ankara

    Despite statements made by Ankara that the Cyprus proximity talks, under the auspices of the United Nations, are dead due to the United Nation's refusal to acknowledge the Turkish Cypriots as equal partners of the Greek Cypriots, there have been ongoing secret talks conducted in Brussels between Turkish Foreign Ministry officials as well as with U.S. officials in an attempt to come closer to a solution on the Cyprus issue.

    For example, a senior Turkish diplomat, speaking to the Turkish Daily News earlier, said: "For Ankara and TRNC both the proximity talks and the November 8 document are dead and buried. Now the United Nations should come up with new creative ideas for any dialogue between the Turks and the Greeks."

    But from the following chronology of events it would be seen that the reality on Turkey's Cyprus policies are different from the official statements, highlighting a serious and deepening internal row over this tiny but strategically important island in the Mediterranean.

    Following are the events that took place behind closed doors that led to a total bypass of Minister in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Sukru Sina Gurel, known for his hawkish policies, and Rauf Denktash;

    - After Denktash walked out of the U.N. talks in November last year, a Cyprus summit in Ankara with the participation of the president, the prime minister, the chief of staff as well as all of the leaders of the tri-party coalition government took place, from which a decision to support the Turkish Cypriot position to withdraw from talks unless U.N. Secretary-General Annan issued a new statement stressing the political equality of the two parties on Cyprus, was made.

    - In the meantime there were secret talks taking place in Brussels between senior Turkish diplomats and a U.S. delegation headed by the U.S. president's special envoy Weston Moses.

    - The talking points that emerged from the Brussels meetings were sent to Denktash as well as all related government organizations, with the exception of Gurel. Upon this Denktash wrote a very critical letter on May 24 to Ankara blaming Turkey for making deals at the expense of the Turkish Cypriots. The talking points at Brussels gave the impression that Turkey was ready to make some concessions on its Cyprus policies, which were the establishment of a confederation and the recognition of the equal status of the Turkish Cypriots with the Greeks.

    Gurel receives letter accidentally

    - Denktash's letter was "accidentally" sent to Gurel's office by the Turkish embassy in Nicosia just three days before the military dominated monthly National Security Council (NSC) meeting held on May 29, out of which support for Denktash emerged. But that NSC meeting also was the floor for a number of suggestions even from the military over whether it would be good for Denktash to start the talks in an attempt to not give the image that it was the Turkish Cypriots escaping from the negotiating table.

    - Acting as foreign minister in the absence of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Gurel participated in the NSC meeting. Still Denktash's letter was not included in the Cyprus file given to Gurel. Upon this Gurel distributed the five copies of the letter written by Denktash to the NSC participants.

    - Meanwhile, the U.S. formula backed by Britain developed at Brussels foresaw the legal documents to be discussed among the leaders of the Turkish and the Greek communities, which were binding and fell short of even recognizing the equal status of the Turks. The U.S. formula also foresaw not allowing Denktash to walk out of the talks this time.

    Parris may be behind Ecevit's IMF panic

    - In the meantime, in an attempt to give the impression that the Cyprus negotiation process was continuing, the idea of inviting U.N. Secretary- General's Special Envoy on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto to the island was developed. The invitation was made on May 18. However, Ecevit suddenly came up with the idea that Denktash should visit New York and Washington. This was the sign of Ecevit's panic over Cyprus and the IMF, said sources close to the Cyprus problem. The Foreign Ministry knew nothing, at least on paper, of this change of plan by Ecevit, said the same sources.

    - There were strong indications that this sudden change in Ecevit's attitude was linked to former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Mark Parris, who suggested to Ankara to convince Denktash to visit Washington to meet Marc Grossman, the number three in the U.S. State Department and another former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, and then visit New York to meet Kofi Annan.

    - Some circles in Ankara believe that the U.S. Secretary of States' office, stuffed with Democrats like Grossman, are those pushing Turkey to a Cyprus solution in the absence of meeting the Turkish Cypriot requests. They argue that Republican George Bush's administration has not been pushing Turkey on the Cyprus issue.

    Ecevit urgently calls Gurel to his residence

    - On the morning of July 18, Ecevit urgently invited Gurel to his residence. He told Gurel that Denktash had messed up everything by cancelling his visits to New York and Washington. However, Gurel was unaware of that development as he was being kept uninformed on the internal documents of the Foreign Ministry.

    - In the meantime Gurel's team suggested that if Denktash would not be able to meet the high ranking officials at the U.S. State Department other than Grossman then it would be better for Rauf Denktash to visit New York only.

    On July 19 Denktash wrote another letter to Ankara saying that he would go to New York. He, at the same time, warned Ankara that there was a risk of him walking out of talks if the Turkish Cypriot demands were not met, putting Ankara in a more difficult position. He also said that for him to return to the proximity talks, a new NSC decision supporting Denktash's refusal to withdraw from the talks was required."

    [02] A delegation from Turkey/s Central Bank arrives in the occupied areas today

    Kibris (26/7/01) reports that a delegation from Turkey's Central Bank arrives today in the occupied areas, in order to have contacts on economic issues.

    Replying to reporters' questions after the end of the so-called council of ministers/ meeting the "prime minister", Dervis Eroglu said the following on the visit: "There are some matters that must be seen and must be evaluated. The delegation/s visit is within this framework».

    [03] Mehmet Ali Talat met with the French Ambassador

    Yeniduzen (26/7/01) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, met yesterday in occupied Nicosia with the French Ambassador Mr Jacques Depaigne.

    During the meeting Talat exchanged views with the French Ambassador about the Cyprus problem and the accession negotiations between the EU and Cyprus. Stressing that the procedure the EU is following with the Greek Cypriots is unfair, Talat asked from Depaigne to contribute to the establishment of a procedure that will protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

    On his part Mr. Depaigne said that the purpose of his visit was the continuation of the contacts and that he would continue to exchange views with both sides.

    [04] Talat: "The Cyprus problem must be solved"

    According to Yeniduzen (26/7/01) RTP's leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talat in a statement he made yesterday he evaluated the latest developments on the resumption of the negotiations and the preparations for the meeting between the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    Talat pointed out that in case the latest initiative for the solution of the Cyprus problem is not successful then Turkish Cypriots will be pushed to dark days. Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriots are facing the danger of being extinguished from the island Talat said: "The Cyprus problem must definitely be solved, and Cyprus must accede to EU with a the problem solved. In order to secure this we have to participate in the EU accession negotiations without delay.

    Referring to the latest statement by Rauf Denktash that «the negotiations may begin again», Talat said that the Cyprus problem has reached an important and critical point. He also said that the resumption of the contacts with the meeting between Denktash and Annan is a good development, but what is important is that the talks should produce results.

    Talat continued: «I hope we will not be like the man who loses his donkey. To say it another way, the negotiations were interrupted after all, suddenly the negotiations begin and because of this the sides are satisfied, but there is no development in the end. We do not want to come to this point». The leader of the Republican Turkish Party also said that in case the Cyprus problem is not solved in a short time then the Turkish Cypriots will face a political crisis of greater dimensions than the economic crisis. Talat said: «If he does not want to behave like an ostrich, if the masses that pile in front of Greek Cypriots Passports Office means something for the president who claims that he is the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, the only way to do what is necessary is to solve the Cyprus problem».

    [05] Reaction by Turkish Cypriots against turning Panayia Thermiotissa church into a discotheque

    Turkish Cypriot daily «AVRUPA» newspaper (26.7.01) reports that as works to turn the 17th century historic church of Panayia Thermiotissa into a night club and restaurant are being intensified and the so-called Antiquities Department is keeping silent, the villagers of occupied Thermia are also intensifying their reaction.

    Sixty-three of the 100 inhabitants of the village signed a petition which was handed to the so-called Kyrenia District Office, the so-called Kyrenia Municipality and the Environment Office. The same petition will be given to the so-called Interior Ministry, Antiquities Department and the Vakif religious foundation today.

    The text of the petition is the following: «We, the following signatories citizens of Thermia village, have been informed that the church in our village and the surrounding area have been leased to certain persons in order to construct a discotheque. These persons have finally started to clear the area. We are definitely against turning the church into a discotheque and we ask you with respect to re-examine this decision».

    [06] CP loses one more deputy: Avni Dogan resigns

    Turkish Daily News (25.7.01) reports that one more deputy has resigned from the Contentment Party (CP), which was formed last Friday.

    Avni Dogan, Kahramanmarash deputy, resigned from the party on Tuesday.

    Another Kahramanmarash deputy, Ali Sezal had resigned from the party on Monday. This brings the total to two deputies who have resigned from the CP since it was established.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIAS

    [07] Sami Cohen sees new step on Cyprus problem

    Sami Kohen of Turkish mainland Milliyet (25.07.01), writes that a new step is to be made on the Cyprus problem, as a result of long lasting efforts by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. Mr. Cohen reports that the UN have prepared a new document in which they are making concrete proposals on issues such as the distribution of the powers and the status of the common institutions. The Turkish columnist says that this document is different from the «non paper» proposed by the UN Secretary - General, Kofi Annan, eight months ago, it «takes into consideration the worries of the Turkish side» and it creates the feeling that both the Greek and the Turkish sides will «win» in the end. Under the title «New step for Cyprus», Mr. Cohen says the following:

    «The good news came from very far away, from Malaysia. TRNC leader Rauf Denktash, who is visiting this Far Eastern country, has stated that he will go to New York and meet the UN Secretary - General, Kofi Annan on the issue of the resumption of the negotiations for Cyprus. The date of the meeting is not known yet, but UN officials confirm that such meeting will take place.

    In fact, matters regarding the procedure of the basic talks will be discussed in New York. That is, `a talk for the talks` will take place. However, even this is an important development. The sixth round of the proximity talks for Cyprus last November did not take place after Kofi Annan put on the table a draft document which was rejected by the Turkish side. As a condition for any new contact, Denktash put the prior acceptance of the two sovereignties and the equality in Cyprus.

    The fact that after many months the first step for the resumption of the talks is made, gives hope that a new procedure could begin.

    Coming to this point has been possible after the intensive efforts exerted during the last few weeks by the diplomats of the UN, the USA and the EU. On the one hand, some factors which were preventing Denktash to sit again at the table have been put aside. On the other hand, the Turkish side has softened its past attitude regarding the resumption of the talks.

    This is the climate in which the method, the time and the basis of the basic negotiation procedure will be discussed during the Annan - Denktash meeting in New York. If an agreement is reached on this matter and if the invitation of the Secretary - General is accepted by the Greek Cypriot side, it is said that the talks could begin in September when the meetings of the UN General Assembly will be taking place.

    As we have learned by a reliable source, after long lasting and detailed efforts exerted with the contribution of the interested states, the UN are ready for a new step for Cyprus. In this framework, there is talk of a new `document`, the main lines of which are defined. The ideas contained in this are different from those in the `non paper` proposed by Kofi Annan 8 months ago.

    According to information which leaked out, in this draft (of course at this stage it would not be right to name it a `plan`) they were careful not to use the terms federation and confederation. That is, no `label` is attached on the form of the proposed solution.

    It is said that the ideas in the draft about `the distribution of the powers` and the status of `the common institutions` take into consideration the worries of the Turkish side. That is, it is understood that for the common administration they provide for a flexible mechanism which is far from being a strong central administration.

    As a diplomat has said, this new initiative creates a `win - win` situation, that is a situation in which both sides will win.

    Is Denktash`s decision to go to New York a result of the appearance of such a light at the end of the tunnel? During a period in which the internal and external dynamics made the solution necessary, is the Turkish side ready to sit at the table having a new approach? And will the Greek Cypriot side, which this time is going to be cornered, abandon its old wrong behaviour and have a more realistic and conciliatory approach?

    We will see all these later, while every new step is made. For now, we have to wish that this first step will pave the way».

    [08] Something is happening on Cyprus

    In his regular column "Editorial" of Turkish Daily News (25/7/01) Ilnur Cevik refers to the danger of a social explosion in Turkey and on to Cyprus problem, which is the main news item in today's front page of the paper.

    The full text of Ilnur Cevik's commentary under the title: «Looking to the future with hope?» is the following:

    "Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit is a perennial optimist. He has always managed to look at the brighter side of things even at the worst of times. On Tuesday he was in a similar mood.

    While emerging from a TV interview at the state-owned TRT the prime minister was asked if he was concerned that the country faced the danger of a social explosion. Ecevit replied that he had no such concern and added that the nation looks to the future with hope.

    It was the prime minister who had recently told journalists only a week ago that the National Security Council (NSC) would review a security report about the threat of a social explosion at its routine monthly meeting scheduled for today.

    It seems the prime minister does not share the increasing concerns that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing to an alarming level in this country.

    The prime minister says Turks are looking to the future with hope and yet public opinion polls show just the opposite. A monthly survey of reliable pollster ANAR shows that people are deeply concerned about their future prospects. The ANAR survey shows that 50.9 percent of those questioned do not believe the economic austerity program will be successful.

    It is clear that national morale is low as people see the crisis take away whatever is left in their pockets. They also do not see the program offering the ordinary man in the street any premiums.

    Maybe the prime minister is talking about the Turks who live on the islands of Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean when he says the Turks look into the future with hope...

    Whatever the prime minister says we feel the authorities would be well advised to take the threat of a social explosion seriously and look at the recent trends of increases in crime, suicides and social disturbances.

    Cyprus issue

    Something is happening on Cyprus... Our banner headline story suggests important developments are taking place that could trigger a settlement on the island much to the dislike of the hawks.

    Prime Minister Ecevit has been sounding the alarm bell, saying the Western powers may well exploit Turkey's dependency on Western financial relief to pressure Ankara into accepting a solution on Cyprus. It seems President Rauf Denktash is also aware of these developments and has warned Ankara about possible implications if he is forced to go to New York to meet the U.N. Secretary-General. But the fact that he is going suggests that both Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leaders have been "persuaded" by the United States to take positive steps.

    Let us hope that sooner or later the way for a solution is opened and that the price we have to pay is worth it... "

    [09] Turkish columnist sees difficult days for Turkey in Autumn because of Cyprus

    According to Yeniduzen (26.07.01), the managing editor of Turkish mainland Radikal newspaper in Ankara, Murat Yetkin yesterday expressed the view that difficult days expect Turkey in Autumn, because of the Cyprus problem. Referring to the appointment of the former representative of the USA for Cyprus, Thomas Miller as ambassador to Athens, Mr. Yetkin says that this move shows that the USA «do not see with understanding» the Turkish views on Cyprus and that they will increase their pressure on Turkey. Mr. Yetkin writes, among other things, the following:

    «...I want to say that the ambassador who will be appointed by the USA to Athens is a specialist on Cyprus issues. The International Affairs specialists have two different views: One of them is pessimistic: According to this view, Miller's appointment to Athens shows that the American Government will not see with so much understanding Turkey`s policy on the Cyprus problem. The other view is more pessimistic: Miller's appointment to Athens shows that together with the pressure exerted by Europe on Turkey regarding the Cyprus problem, the American pressure will also be increased.

    Asked last week whether pressures are exerted on Turkey regarding Cyprus because of the economic crisis the country is facing, Prime Minister Ecevit said: `No, thanks God there are no such pressures. They do not use such methods to benefit from the economic crisis and this is satisfactory`.

    Furthermore, State Minister Mr. Gurel, when asked whether Turkey is preparing a B plan regarding Cyprus, within the framework of the developments on the EU accession, said that no such plan is being prepared and added: `No, besides, this is not necessary. It already appeared that no major development is to happen in the short term. We have declared that in case they accept South Cyprus as member of the EU, we could gradually integrate with the TRNC. In reality, the one that corners itself is the EU`.

    Mr. Gurel does not seem very touched by Mr. Denktash`s statement that he will go to New York to meet with the UN Secretary - General and after that he may return to the proximity talks with the Greek Cypriots.

    However, all these signs show that Turkey must be ready for difficult days regarding Cyprus, as from Autumn.

    President Sezer`s warning that we must make a step towards the beginning of the accession talks with the EU in 2003 and before the other candidate - states become members of the Union, strikes against the wall of Cyprus. Because within the public opinion there is no open and strong reaction against the fact that the Turkish economy, democracy and human rights must be improved. ...However, the situation is not the same on the Cyprus problem. On the one hand there is the belief in the public opinion that Turkey must not leave the Turkish Cypriots alone and, on the other, hand there is the lobby which nurtures the view that the best solution in Cyprus is the non-solution. These prevent Turkey from producing new solutions and new plans on the issue of Cyprus, which stands as an obstacle on her way towards the EU, which she defined as her strategic goal...».


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