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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 01-12-31

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.248/01 29-30-31.12.01

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Rauf Denktas was interviewed by TRT on the dinner he had in President Clerides' residence.
  • [02] How the Turkish Cypriot Press saw the dinner given by President Clerides to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas.
  • [03] Kenan Akin elected leader of the Nationalist Justice Party.
  • [04] Joint statement by Turkish Cypriot organizations on the forthcoming talks on Cyprus speaks about two equal states.
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [05] Columnist in KIBRIS stresses the importance of the dinners between President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader on knocking down prejudices.
  • [06] Commentary in CUMHURIYET criticizes the Nationalist Action Party for its role in Turkey's EU course.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Rauf Denktas was interviewed by TRT on the dinner he had in President Clerides' residence

    TRT 1 Television (30.12.01) broadcast live an interview with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas in Cyprus by Nermin Tuguslu, Bekir Coskun, and Mustafa Balbay in the Ankara studio on the "Sunday Panorama" program.

    The interview is as follows:

    Question: How was the dinner? How was the atmosphere?

    Answer: It was an invitation extended in return for my dinner. It was a social meeting. Again, we mostly discussed the past. Issues concerning the Cyprus problem were not raised, because the preparations for that are being made for 16 January. However, when I was going in I heard someone ask from among the crowd if I had brought a good message in connection with the missing persons issue. As a result, we discussed the missing persons issue with Mr Clerides. There exists a missing persons committee. We exchanged views on the fact that this committee should work better, and that it is unacceptable that it has not solved a single case in the past 13 to 14 years. The dinner was held in a very sincere atmosphere. The evening ended with the decision to meet again on 16 January.

    I would like to say something in connection with the missing persons issue. From a mass of 600,000 to 700,000 people, from among the people who were involved in the war among themselves and then with Turkey, the Greek Cypriots first claimed that they had some 1,600 missing persons but then they brought this figure down to 1,300. The reason is that they had included in the missing persons list a large number of people for propaganda reasons even though they knew that those persons were dead. This number is slowly going down with the initiatives of the Greek Cypriot people too. What I want to say is that some of the people in the lists were killed in the war. Some 80 percent of them are soldiers. As for our side, even though we only have 200,000 persons, we have 803 missing persons, half their number. It is surely not logical to expect these people to be alive after so many years. We must approach this issue very sincerely and humanely. We think that we must bring this business to an end. We shall see what we can do.

    Question: These two dinners seem to have prepared the psychological ground between you and Mr Clerides for the 16 January meeting. What will you discuss first on 16 January?

    Answer: Naturally, we will prepare all that beforehand. Both sides will do that. I believe that the first meetings will concern the agenda, on whether to include this item or that item on the agenda. After that, the negotiations will be held in more detail.

    Question: When you invited Mr Clerides to dinner, the streets in Northern Cyprus were full of messages of peace. That is what our colleagues who were there told us. We also saw that in the live television coverage. The picture was different when you went there. You passed through the people. Did you find the Greek Cypriot sector ready for peace?

    Answer: First of all, I did not pass through the people. We were driven through unexpected ways. Strict security measures were taken. I did not see the people. Demonstrations were held in other places. Clerides is being widely attacked for having accepted my dinner invitation, for having agreed to meet with me. Who is criticizing him? The youth and the parties. However, I found out last night that a recent survey revealed that 75 percent of the Greek Cypriot people are happy with the continuation of our contacts. In other words, they too want a solution. Our people too -- it goes without saying -- want a solution. The question is whether these two solutions can converge. We must find that out. Until now, the aims of the two sides were totally opposed to each other, by 180 degrees. In order to see whether they can be brought closer together we must conduct tough negotiations and preparations.

    Question: Prime Minister Ecevit will be going to Washington at a time when you will hold your meetings. Cyprus will be one of the questions the prime minister and President Bush will discuss. Do you have a message you want to extend to the prime minister through the media in connection with that meeting?

    Answer: We have no differences of opinion with the prime minister in connection with the Cyprus problem. We are confident that he will protect all the criteria and all the principles in his sincere talks. What we expect from the United States is that it tell the Greek Cypriots: Stop acting with the belief that the United States and the EU are behind you, that Cyprus is in your hands, and that nobody can stop you. You must sincerely work to rebuild the partnership you destroyed, under new conditions, and on stronger foundations.

    Question: We observe that the EU is slowly moving toward this position you mention.

    Answer: It must if it does not want to deal with a major problem, if it does not want to create a new crisis in this region. The EU and everyone else must approach Cyprus from a new angle. The angle is to see who started this problem and for what purpose, and to decide how to put an end to the injustice being inflicted on the Turkish Cypriots for the past 38 years.

    Question: Some of the full members of the EU are signing exception agreements. For example, France is not allowing a debate on the Portuguese issue. It is being said that Turkey can also sign such an agreement -- that places mutual guarantees on property and trade -- in connection with Cyprus. What do you think about that?

    Answer: We are working on that. Many formulas exist as long as the Greek Cypriots give up the idea of taking the whole of Cyprus through the EU. The recourse to the EU at a time when we were conducting negotiations meant trying to give the whole of Cyprus to the Greek-Greek Cypriot camp, to annul Turkey's rights over Cyprus, and to revoke the guarantee agreement. Once these aims are given up it is very easy to solve the Cyprus problem.

    [02] How the Turkish Cypriot Press saw the dinner given by President Clerides to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas

    The Turkish Cypriot Press of 30 December 2001 covers widely the dinner given by President Clerides to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. Most of the papers deal with the details of the dinner on their front page and publish photographs. The Press covers the matter as follows:

    KIBRIS under the front-page banner title "The climate was positive" writes that on Saturday night Mr Denktas passed for the first time after 1974 to the free areas of Cyprus and adds that "thousands of Greek Cypriot policemen took extraordinary security measures" for Rauf Denktas who "entered the Greek Cypriot side from Mia Milia gate". According to KIBRIS hundreds of Greek Cypriot policemen and civilian policemen were on duty around the house of President Clerides. "The two leaders did not make any statement after the dinner which lasted approximately two hours", writes the paper adding that asked by a Greek Cypriot journalist about the missing persons issue and about the dinner, Mr Denktas answered "Happy new year, it was excellent". The paper deals with the dinner on its first, second and third page.

    "Halkin Sesi" under the front-page banner title "The second dinner has also been positive" writes: "Denktas in Southern Cyprus after 26 years" and adds: "Denktas passed to the Greek Cypriot side by the Mia Milia gate. The Greek Cypriot police had made some alternative route plans for security reasons. Clerides met and saw Denktas off at his house's door. Denktas told the journalists that 'the dinner has been excellent' and left waving his hand and saying thank you. While an organization named 'Autonomous Students Union ' distributed a press release against the dinner, a group of women members of the 'Greek Cypriot Missing Persons Committee' staged a protest shouting slogans and holding photographs in their hands. In a statement after he returned to 'TRNC', Denktas noted that both sides would make whatever is necessary on the missing persons issue".

    "Yeniduzen" under the front-page banner title "They met in the South" publishes a picture of the two leaders shaking hands and refers to the menu of the dinner. On its third page the paper writes that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot women organized on Saturday night "Meetings for peace" at Ledra Palace and in the free areas respectively, holding candles and olive tree branches and releasing pigeons.

    "Afrika" above the front-page banner title "Arm in arm with Clerides" writes that "the second dinner lasted two hours", and adds: "About 100 Turkish journalists passed to the Greek Cypriot part with Denktas. The vehicles for live broadcasting have been searched by police dogs. The photograph machines and the cameras of the journalists have been searched. The Greek Cypriot police, which took tight security measures, have not given the chance to the demonstrators to cause trouble. Greek Cypriot women in black held placards saying 'As a wife and a mother I have the right to know what happened to my missing husband and son'.

    "Yeni Demokrat" under the banner front-page title "After 26 years." writes that "the second historical meeting was held last night" and adds: "Denktas passed to Southern Cyprus after many years". According to the paper the menu of the dinner has not been rich.

    "Volkan" on its last page writes that "Denktas has been in the South after 27 years" and adds that "The Greek Cypriot fanaticism has been demonstrated once again. The Greek Cypriot women and students have organized protests".

    "Kibrisli" refers to the dinner under the title "The second step for peace".

    "Ortam" writes that "Clerides has hosted Denktas".

    [03] Kenan Akin elected leader of the Nationalist Justice Party

    According to KIBRIS (30/12/01) Kenan Akin was elected leader of the Nationalist Justice Party (NJP). Zorlu Tore and Mustafa Onder were also candidates. After the elections held in occupied Nicosia yesterday during the 2nd General Assembly of the party, Akin took 540 votes, Tore 204 and Onder only 3.

    Some MP's of the Nationalist Action Party (NAP) and the Nationalist Justice (NJP) Party of Turkey participated in the general assembly of the party. The Istanbul MP of NAP, Bozkurt Yasar Ozturk stressed that they will sign no agreement which will return territory that was taken during the Turkish history, adding that the territory that was taken by blood will be given only by blood.

    After his election Akin delivered a speech where he criticized the so-called government. He said that the pseudo-government is sleeping and that they are traitors, because NUP and DP remained silent during the event with the teacher Orhon.

    [04] Joint statement by Turkish Cypriot organizations on the forthcoming talks on Cyprus speaks about two equal states

    Ankara Anatolia (28.12.01) reported that the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Industry, the Association of Businessmen, the Association of Young Businessmen, the Union of Banks, the Association of Hotel Keepers, the Association of Contractors, the Association of Young Entrepreneurs, the Association of Textile Industrialists, and the Association of Women working at universities released a joint statement on Friday.

    The statement noted that the pseudostate should start adjustment works with the European Union (EU) as soon as possible, and all sections of the society should be informed on the issue of the EU.

    ``We should exert efforts to settle peace on the island without giving up the principle of equality. A new partnership based on two equal states can become a member of the EU. Turkey`s guarantorship should continue. An agreement to be reached on the island should not change the balances in Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean,`` it said.

    Stressing that they had been extending support to Rauf Denktas, the statement said that the so-called embargo imposed on the occupied areas should be lifted as soon as possible.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [05] Columnist in KIBRIS stresses the importance of the dinners between President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader on knocking down prejudices

    Under the title "Knocking down prejudices", KIBRIS (30.12.01) publishes a commentary by Basaran Duzgun.

    Commenting on the dinner given by President Cleridies on Saturday night to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas at his residence in Nicosia, Basaran Duzgun says that this was an extremely important step from the point of view of knocking down the prejudices.

    He says that one of the major obstacles before the solution of the Cyprus problem are the prejudices.

    He goes on and says: "Clerides and Denktas by meeting twice at a dinner, have knocked down a prejudice.

    Within this framework do the Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties support the knocking down of the prejudices or are they ready to do this?

    According to the information we have gathered from south Nicosia last night, the Slovak Embassy which is the organizer of the meetings that the Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties hold at the Ledra Palace from time to time, wanted Clerides and Denktas to join the next meeting of the political party leaders which will be held on 5th January, at the Ledra Palace and meet the party leaders.

    On this issue meetings took place with the Greek and Turkish political party leaders.

    In the Turkish side the proposal was received positively.

    However, in the Greek Cypriot side, certain parties, among them AKEL, try to express reservations to such a meeting by saying that "Now, it is not the time".

    If this is true, it means that the parties are yet to adapt themselves to the process of knocking down the prejudices that the two leaders started.

    And, this is a serious problem that faces us, which has not come to the surface yet.

    Human beings and communities with a view to solving the problems existing between them, first, they relax the atmosphere, by engaging in actions that do away with the enmities, and by creating the conducive conditions, then they take up the basic issues of disagreement, and get engaged in bargaining.

    From this point, the process started between Clerides and Denktas is positive and should be continued.

    First we have to knock down our prejudices, then the obstacles before the non-solution.

    Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties have a historic duty on this issue".

    [06] Commentary in CUMHURIYET criticizes the Nationalist Action Party for its role in Turkey's EU course

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET (29.12.01) publishes the following commentary by Oral Calislar under the title: "The MHP and Blocking Europe":

    "Two seriously opposed camps are formed whenever the topic of the European Union [EU] comes up. While one side sees Turkey's accession to the EU as indispensable and necessary from the standpoint of Turkey's future, the other says that the EU wants to divide up Turkey, and that Turkey will never be accepted into the EU anyway.

    It is the criteria that the EU has imposed on Turkey that cause discussions of the EU to be so heated. The EU puts forth certain political and economic standards, known as the "Copenhagen Criteria", as 'sine qua non' preconditions for entry into the Union. Meanwhile, the compromise reached on the European Military Force, the talks that have resumed on Cyprus, and the economic support obtained after the events of 11 September, have all increased hopes in Turkey.

    A new chance has arisen for the start of Turkey's membership negotiations. In conjunction with this possibility, the question of harmonizing the laws with EU standards as soon as possible has come onto the agenda. Toward this end, certain articles of the Constitution have already been amended. The MHP [Nationalist Action Party] came out against each and every one of these democratization amendments. As a result, the Constitutional amendments remained fairly half-hearted.

    Now the question of implementing these rather modest Constitutional changes in the legal system itself is on the agenda. These changes, which will raise Turkey's standards of democracy and human rights, will now come before the relevant committees in the National Assembly. The government first discussed these changes, and the MHP got involved here as well. Now it is seeking to vitiate them even further. The most critical articles of this package of changes are the much-debated paragraphs 7 and 8 of the Counter-Terrorism Law, and paragraph 312 of the Turkish Penal Code. The MHP has blocked these needed changes. As a result, these changes in the package of harmonization laws will once again be taken up along the lines demanded by the MHP. In addition, paragraphs 6, 9, and 10, which provided for retrial in accordance with a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, have been deleted from the package. Meanwhile, the other changes have in effect been shorn of all meaning.

    We know full well that the MHP tends in this way. MHP General Chairman Devlet Bahceli had reacted quite sharply against the changes called for by the EU. He had announced that he considered the changes called for by the EU to be "hostile". It is in fact only natural for the MHP to behave in this way. After all, from the MHP, what else could be expected?!

    What is strange, and disheartening, in all this, however, has been the stance of the majority of the media and of the political forces apart from the MHP. The MHP does not, after all, have a democratic formation that would fit within the EU. And thus it is doing all it can, as a member of the coalition government, to create obstacles.

    All the will for fundamental democratic change is being forcibly blocked by the MHP. In the very near future, these half-hearted changes will in all probability be found by the EU to be insufficient. At that time, all the supporters of the status quo will arise and say "Didn't we tell you that the EU just doesn't want us?" And then everyone who favours democratization will be accused of carrying the water of those who want to squeeze Turkey into a corner. That's the way it has always happened. It is now time to ask openly: Citizens of Turkey, what do you really think about the obstructionism of the MHP, which doesn't want Turkey to be democratized? Can you call this "patriotism"? Are those who are calling for freedom really traitors? The obstructionist efforts of the MHP don't really even make it into the news. The MHP's stance of blocking progress on every single topic doesn't even get seriously criticized. And all of these things, over time, have a cumulative effect.

    And then what do you think happens? Turkey, because of its internal political tension and its inability to generate solutions for its problems in a democratic way, gets forced into political and economic impasses. And this entire process opens the door to new economic crises. Then Turkey, its economy on the ropes, ends up knocking on the door of the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. And the new prescriptions of the IMF bring yet further problems with them.

    Turkey, after all its running back and forth, is now coming face to face with a situation of political and economic gridlock in which the main burden will be borne by the working class. In other words, the will for freedom and democracy is pushing at the door. And a focus of resistance, centered on the MHP, continues to block this development.

    It is a complete vicious circle. We go round and round and end up back where we started. We remain caught, squeezed between the MHP and nationalism, on one side, and democratization and EU standards on the other. And it is the millions of working people who suffer the most from this. It is the productive people who are most harmed.

    The MHP resists, Turkey looks on, and then everyone later seeks to blame someone else. We are struggling in vain, caught up in this vicious circle. Now once again the old familiar scenarios are being played out. Let those who do not see and do not hear be aware of just what is going on".

    KV/SK


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