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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 01-08-31

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. 166/01 31.8.01

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat says that time is running out for the Turkish Cypriots.
  • [02] Basin - Sen criticizes the illegal TAK news agency.
  • [03] The Turkish Cypriots are not hopeful about the negotiations.
  • [04] New islamic party leader supports rapprochement initiatives started by Cem and Papandreou.
  • [05] The European Union's dilemma over Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat says that time is running out for the Turkish Cypriots

    According to «Yeniduzen» (31.8.01), Mehmet Ali Talat, Republican Turkish Party's (RTP) leader, has expressed the view that the time is running out for Turkish Cypriots and therefore they must participate in the negotiations with good will, aiming sincerely at solving the Cyprus problem.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Talat criticized the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas because, as he supported, Mr Denktas just found out that the European Union (EU) is not a pro-Greek Cypriot organization, which is going to impose its own terms to the Turkish Cypriots. Furthermore, Mr Talat expressed the view that Mr Denktas` attitude facilitated the accession course of the Greek Cypriots to the EU.

    «Loosing time is against us. We must approach the negotiations with good will and having the sincere aim to solve the Cyprus problem», underlined Mr Talat adding that trying sincerely to solve the Cyprus problem will be both for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

    [02] Basin - Sen criticizes the illegal TAK news agency

    «Avrupa» (31.8.01) reports that Kemal Darbaz, president of the Turkish Cypriot Journalists` Union (Basin - Sen), has criticized the illegal TAK news agency accusing it of putting embargo on Basin - Sen`s press releases.

    Mr Darbaz referred also to the fact that the so-called Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministry refused the Greek Cypriot journalist, Andreas Manolis, permission to go to the occupied areas in order to receive the «Kutlu Adali Award» awarded to him by Basin - Sen and the «Kutlu Adali Foundation».

    Mr Darbaz notes that the fact that the so-called Ministry prevents the Turkish Cypriot journalists from having contacts with their Greek Cypriot colleagues «is unacceptable».

    [03] The Turkish Cypriots are not hopeful about the negotiations

    According to a mini - public opinion poll conducted by KIBRIS (31.8.01), the Turkish Cypriots are not hopeful about the results of the negotiations towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    KIBRIS has asked 12 people of different ages who live in the occupied Nicosia whether they believed that the negotiations procedure which started recently would have any results. The persons who participated in the research answered that the Cyprus problem could be solved only with mutual concessions.

    KIBRIS reports that «a significant majority» of the Turkish Cypriots support the accession to the European Union (EU) and are in despair because of the economic crisis.

    «We must too join the developed countries», said the participants in the research.

    [04] New islamic party leader supports rapprochement initiatives started by Cem and Papandreou

    Turkish Daily News (30.8.01) carries the following report on a meeting held in Ankara between Greece/s Ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Ioannis Korantis and Justice and Development Party, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

    «Greece/s Ambassador to Ankara Amb. Ioannis Korantis has paid an official visit to the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party/AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Anatolia News Agency reported yesterday. The visit took place at Erdogan/s office in Cankaya and was closed to the press.

    However, afterwards Erdogan gave a statement to waiting journalists in which he announced that the AKP found rapprochement initiatives started by Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers George Papandreou and Ismail Cem very positive and that the AKP supported them.

    Erdogan expressed his pleasure at Ambassador Korantis being the first Ambassador to visit his party. He said they discussed the social, economic and political aspects of relations between their two countries. Erodgan also stated that he told the Greek ambassador of his party/s foreign policy views within the context of the party/s program and also said that the volume of trade between the two countries should not stay at $1.6 billion. They both reportedly discussed ways of improving tourism.

    For his part, Ambassador Korantis said the visit was at his own request and was aimed at getting to know the newly formed AK Party. He said they discussed bilateral relations in general terms. Noting that Turkey was on the road to joining the European Union, Ambassador Korantis said both he and Erdogan agreed that Turkey should comply with the Copenhagen Criteria. He said he had further offered Erdogan assurances that Greece would continue to support Turkey/s membership of the EU».

    [05] Ôhe European Union's dilemma over Cyprus

    Turkish Daily News (31/8/01) publishes the following news analysis by Lale Sariibrahimoglu under the title "Turkey leaves EU with two choices on Cyprus... Accept Greek Cypriot membership and alienate Turkey":

    "Turkey has already been at odds with the European Union (EU) on a bilateral level due to its failure to meet democratic reforms required for Ankara to start accession talks, as well as on the parameters of the Turkish participation in the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) of whose planned force is to be activated later this year. Added to that is the unresolved Cyprus issue and what the consequences would be for both Turkey and the EU, if the Greek Cypriot section of the divided island is formally accepted as full member to the Union at the end of 2002 or early 2003 as planned.

    Ankara itself has been divided between the Hawks and the Doves over policies to be pursued on making a fresh start for a dialogue to begin between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and the Greek Cypriot Leader Glafkos Clerides. Turkey's internal dispute over Cyprus peaked early this month when Denktas 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. Denktas, at the time, described Turkish attempts forcing him to go to New York for talks with the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as making a deal at the expense of the Turkish Cypriots.

    However, the fact that Denktas refused to go to New York for what he feared to be imposed proximity talks with Clerides over the former parameters under which the Turkish Cypriot request for equal footing with the Greek Cypriots were abandoned, is interpreted as the current policy being pursued on Cyprus is in line with what the Hawks have been seeking.

    In fact, Denktas met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Salzburg, Austria, on August 28. This was followed by the current visit taking place on the island by U.N. Special Envoy Alvaro de Soto. Before meeting with Annan, Denktas held talks with European Union enlargement commissioner Guenther Verheugen.

    Upon his return to Istanbul on August 29, Denktas told the press that he would not oppose restarting U.N.-brokered peace talks over the divided island if he was given equal footing with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides.

    "If common points that satisfy us and a date and manner we can accept emerge from (de Soto's visit) we would not oppose the start of talks," Denktas said. "So a step has been taken. We will not obstruct this step."

    When asked what those common points would be, Denktas said: "It would mean they accept our existence and our equality."

    It is early to say what the Denktas-UN exercise would lead to. However, what is for sure is that Turkey and the EU have already entered into difficult times on Cyprus as the Greek Cypriot formal acceptance to the EU is planned for either the end of next year or early 2003.

    The EU will have two choices. It will either accept the Greek Cypriot's full membership as planned, thus taking the risk of alienating Turkey, triggering a possible instability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    A senior Turkish diplomat, speaking to the Turkish Daily News, recalls that Turkey made clear its policies to the EU over the grave consequences if EU goes ahead with its plans to integrate the Greeks to the Union.

    If the EU goes ahead with its plans, the Turkish Cypriot section of the island, recognized as a state only by Turkey, would be regarded as land under the occupation of the Turkish forces according to international law.

    Such a result has been something that would have serious repercussions on Turkey vis-a-vis its relations with the international community. Many European diplomats wonder what the grave consequences would be in the Eastern Mediterranean if they accept the EU membership of the Greek Cypriots.

    Turkey is not going to give details of this contingency plan, says a senior Turkish diplomat, however, adding that if the EU integrates the Greek Cypriots into the club, Turkish reaction to that would not be a surprise for the EU since Ankara has already made clear about the repercussions.

    Turkey has for many years hinted at the possible integration of the Turkish Cypriot section of the island with the mainland in case its own membership has not gone parallel with the Greek Cypriots, and if the EU accepts Greek Cypriot membership before a solution was found on the island.

    For Turkey, the concrete result of EU's acceptance of the Greek Cypriots to membership would be the formal division of the island, and the second would be to lose Turkey forever.

    Already militarily fragile Turkish-Greek relations would, not surprisingly, have an adverse effect in the Eastern Mediterranean in the case of the formal division of the island.

    "There is going to be two Hellenic states within the EU, one being Greece and the other being Greek Cypriots. Is it worth risking relations with Turkey for a population of 400,000?" comments the senior Turkish diplomat.

    For Turkey, the November process under which the fifth round of proximity talks conducted by Annan halted when Denktas left the negotiating table upon Annan's denial of his earlier paper recognizing equal status of the Turkish Cypriots.

    "Any talks should start on the basis of equality of both communities of the island. Any new talks between the two sides would not be the continuation of the November process. It is dead now," says the senior Turkish diplomat, adding that, the UN should now come up with new ideas based on the reality that the two communities on the island are equal sovereigns.

    "The world community has disregarded this reality for almost 27 years. There needs to be a mental change on the part of those treating the Turkish Cypriots in any future solution as a minority. The target should be to set up a new state, a new partnership on the island," adds the same diplomat.

    The testing ground for both Turkey and the TRNC to see to what extent the views of both sides have been perceived correctly by the U.N. would become clearer as a result of the ongoing talks between Denktas and Annan."

    KV/SK


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