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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-01-24

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. 17/02 24.1.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Rauf Denktash before and after meeting President Clerides
  • [02] Ismail Cem: The United States has displayed the only rational approach towards the Cyprus problem
  • [03] Turkish Daily News : The resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not binding for EU member countries
  • [04] Turkey is not pleased with the opening of new embassies in Cyprus
  • [05] Ambassador Volkan Vural: Ôhe best scenario is Turkey´s, Greece's and Cyprus's EU membership.
  • [06] Clock ticking for EU's short-term expectations from Ankara
  • [07] Retired Turkish Ambassador says that the Cyprus problem may be solved this year but it will continue to be a problem for Turkey
  • [08] House in occupied Ayios Georgios village was leased to a member of the European Parliament at one dollar per annum

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Rauf Denktash before and after meeting President Clerides

    Illegal BRTK Television (23.1.02) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash made statements before meeting President Glafcos Clerides for the third time today within the framework of the direct talks process that started on 16 January.

    Rauf Denktash said that he will display intransigence and continue to display intransigence in the face of every type of proposition that brings the Turkish Cypriots to the minority status, adding that should equality be proposed, he would be the first one to accept this equality.

    He also stated that the talks will be interrupted during the holidays of the Sacrifices and replied to questions as follows:

    Question: Will you discuss Constitutional matters?

    Answer: As I said earlier, we are starting the talks. We said that there is black out. We also said a few things yesterday to the effect that we will start the talks.

    Question: There are reports to the effect that the talks will be interrupted during the holidays...

    Answer : The talks will be interrupted because Mr. de Soto wants to leave for New York during the holidays.

    Question : What do you have on your agenda today?

    Answer : As I said earlier, we will start the talks.

    Question: In reports published in the Greek Cypriot press, you have been accused of being intransigent in the talks between the two sides...

    Answer : I am proud of this. I have always been intransigent with regard to every proposition that would bring the Turkish Cypriots to the minority status. I will continue to be intransigent in this regard. I am proud of this. I will be the first one to accept anything that does not propose minority status for the Turkish Cypriots but proposes equality.

    Illegal Bayrak radio (24/1/02) broadcast that in a statement he made after the meeting, Denktas said that the meetings are continuing and will continue as scheduled. Explaining that he discussed and that he will continue to discuss the principles of an agreement with Clerides, Denktash said that both sides presented, listened, and made notes of each other's views. Noting that he will meet with the political party leaders on Monday morning [28 January], Denktash said that the framework of the developments should be brought to light even if not all the details and added: "The Greek Cypriot National Council knows everything."

    [02] Ismail Cem: The United States has displayed the only rational approach towards the Cyprus problem

    TRT 2 Television (22/1/02) carried a live studio interview with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Cem on the "45 Minute" program hosted by Fulin Kircak. The interview focused on Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's US trip.

    In reply to a question as to whether or not there is any change in the US attitude toward Cyprus, Cem said the United States has displayed the only rational approach toward the issue and that the United States believes that the start of the direct talks is a very positive development. Cem added that the two Cypriot leaders should first discuss the main issues and leave the discussion of the secondary issues to a later stage.

    Touching on Turkey's EU accession process, Cem said Turkey must secure progress in the democratic field, adding that he may use such progress as a tool in his talks with the EU countries.

    [03] Turkish Daily News : The resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not binding for EU member countries

    Turkish Daily News (24/1/02) publishes the following report: "The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued an advisory resolution expressing hope for the success of Cyprus peace talks and urging the European Union (EU) to set up contacts with the /Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus` (TRNC).

    Observers here described the PACE/s resolution the first of its kind, for approaching the /TRNC` relatively positively compared to its sharp criticism in the past. But the resolution is only advice and not binding for member European countries.

    Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktas and his Greek Cypriot Counterpart Glafcos Clerides are holding face-to-face negotiations currently in order to resolve the island's division between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities that dates back to 1974.

    Success of the talks are crucial as the divided island is expected to join the EU by 2004. Turkey has warned that it could integrate with the Turkish Cypriot north of the island if it becomes an EU member before a solution is reached.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Huseyin Dirioz declined to comment on the resolution before seeing the official documents but said the parliamentary deputies representing Turkey at the PACE viewed it as a balanced resolution. "Our parliamentarians there said it was balanced," Dirioz told a weekly-news briefing.

    PACE on Tuesday heard a report by Socialist Parliamentarian Andras Barsony on Cyprus that was later overwhelmingly approved by the assembly in a resolution, Anatolian news agency said. The agency quoted the resolution as saying that a solution between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots was possible and that it was sought ahead of the island's membership to the EU. There are EU countries opposing Cyprus's accession before a solution to its division. The Dutch parliament has already voted against Cyprus's entry before a settlement, apparently unwilling to see the EU becoming entangled in the thorny problem. Greece, an EU member, has warned that if Cyprus is excluded from the next list of entrants, it will veto their accession treaties.

    The PACE resolution urged the Greek Cypriot side to avoid statements that could provoke a negative response by the Turkish Cypriots over the island's membership while it asked the Turkish Cypriots to adopt a further positive approach towards the EU.

    The PACE also called on the EU to set up contacts with the /TRNC` by opening up an information office there to encourage the Turkish Cypriot north to join the 15-nation club along with the Greek Cypriot administration. It is the Clerides' government that conducts membership negotiations with the EU. Meanwhile European diplomatic sources in Ankara said there have been unofficial contacts between the EU and the north of the island.

    [04] Turkey is not pleased with the opening of new embassies in Cyprus

    According to Hurriyet (24/01/02), Ankara has considered negative the decision by some EU countries, including Spain, to open embassies in Cyprus. The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz during his routine press briefing, has said that a new process has started in Cyprus, and that they do not think that any step that might be in favour of the one side in the new process will be helpful.

    [05] Ambassador Volkan Vural: Ôhe best scenario is Turkey´s, Greece's and Cyprus's EU membership.

    According to Kibris (24/01/02), Turkish Foreign Ministry European Union Secretary General ambassador Volkan Vural has said that the best scenario for Turkey and the occupied area is Turkey's ,Greece's and Cyprus's membership to EU .He said.'' This may not take place at the same time but this perspective should be clear and net''

    Speaking at a conference organized in Athens on ''Europe's Future and Turkey '', Ambassador Volkan Vural said that among the foreign factors that affect Turkey's EU dossier is Greece -Turkey relations and Cyprus.

    Drawing the attention that Cyprus's entry into EU without solving the Cyprus problem will create serious problems, ambassador Vural said that Turkey's being left out of the EU perspective will have very important reflections and that a negative picture will be painted.

    Ambassador Vural went on and said:''It is said that the EU deem necessary, in realizing its major objective, in enlargement process, to secure Greece's cooperation and for this reason it has to secure Cyprus's membership to EU and once this is realized, the EU will loose its interest in Turkey's EU membership. If there is slightest truth in this, then this is the shortest sighted and unproductive scenario. This approach will create a vicious circle of insecurity. The EU needs a strong East Mediterranean leg and this could only be provided by Turkey and Greece, which have solved their differences between them. Such a cooperation will make the EU a world power ''.

    [06] Clock ticking for EU's short-term expectations from Ankara

    Under the above title Saadet Oruc, writing in Turkish Daily News (24/1/02) analyses the difficulties faced by Turkey in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria.

    "Without a radical change in the state tradition of Turkey, it is not easy to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria expected to be implemented by the European Union from Turkey, officials in Ankara say.

    Despite the earlier statements given by Turkish officials that 60 percent of the short-term work had been completed, experts focusing on EU affairs commented that "the implementation of the Copenhagen criteria was not an easy task" without making the necessary amendments.

    The time for the fulfilling of the short-term criteria, which were stated in the Accession Partnership Accord, will be completed in March. And from the use of mother tongue in TV and radio broadcasting to capital punishment, the EU expects important changes to be realized by Turkey. "For centuries, since the Ottoman period, there has been a state tradition, which is based on the protection of the state. However, the EU values depend on the principle of the protection of individuals. That basic contradiction will make the implementation of the Copenhagen criteria difficult," officials say, evaluating the recent situation of the Turkish efforts for fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria.

    Another important obstacle in front of the fulfilling of the Copenhagen criteria is commented to be related with the Turkish judicial system. Without a fundamental change of the interpretation of law by the Court of Cassation, it is impossible to implement the constitutional amendments, according to official sources closely focusing on the recent package of amendments. "

    [07] Retired Turkish Ambassador says that the Cyprus problem may be solved this year but it will continue to be a problem for Turkey

    Under the title "If necessary we may confront the United States", Radikal newspaper (21/1/02) publishes an interview with Retired Ambassador Gunduz Aktan.

    The full text of the interview is as follows:

    "Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit was invited to the United States against a background of growing signs that the world is on the threshold of a very serious change. Everyone is curious to know whether this visit will create major changes in Turkey's near future. The role Turkey may assume in a U.S.-Iraqi conflict, which is expected to occur sooner or later, will apparently determine Ankara's relationship with the United States. One question for which everyone has been seeking an answer is what the United States expects from Turkey over Iraq. Other issues are the Cyprus problem, whether Turkey will take the democratisation steps the United States and the EU expect, and whether Turkey will be promoted around the world as a model of a modern and prosperous Muslim country. We posed these questions to Gunduz Aktan, a retired ambassador who served in Athens, Geneva, and Tokyo most recently and who has been following foreign policy affairs very closely as a columnist. We tried to find out how Aktan, who is known not to be too well disposed toward liberal views, and circles that share his views approach these problems.

    Question: Prime Minister Ecevit's U.S. visit was full of expectations. Both sides reportedly attached great importance to this visit. Do you think that this visit could be a turning point in Turkey's foreign policy?

    Answer: In my opinion this visit ranks second behind Ismet Inonu's U.S. visit after the Johnson letter of 1964 in terms of importance. However we have to wait to see whether it marks a turning point. We will know in about six months.

    Question: What will we know?

    Answer: Turkey has justifiable expectations from the United States. Its first expectation is economic. The United States has a trade regime with the EU but this regime is not applied to Turkey even though it has a customs union with the EU. This unfairness must be rectified. Second, it is said that we are moving from strategic cooperation to strategic partnership with the United States. Strategic partnership means that we act in consort with the United States on every issue, especially in our region. This partnership needs to pass the test of Iraq in order to consolidate itself. The two countries have not yet reached an agreement over Iraq; there are differences between them.

    Question: In your opinion what exactly does the United States expect over Iraq?

    Answer : The U.S. assessment of Iraq is as follows: "Iraq, which has the world's second largest oil reserves, has demonstrated that it may pursue aggressive goals with its oil revenues. It attacked Iran. It used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and its own Kurds. During the Gulf War it fired missiles on Israel, which was not a party to the war. Such a country is dangerous and can cause instability. There is no way to rectify such a country. The supervision of the UN is not enough to limit this dangerous power." The United States wants to share this assessment with Turkey. I think that Ecevit was invited to the United States because of Iraq. If the Americans have their say Iraq will be the top item on the U.S. agenda in March. The probability of war is high.

    Question: In your opinion what position should Turkey take in such a conflict?

    Answer : The eruption of a serious war right next to us can have an adverse effect not only on our economy and tourism industry but--depending on Ankara's role in the military campaign--our relations with Arab and Muslim countries in the region. In addition the new Iraq that would surface after the campaign may make Turkey uneasy. If a military campaign becomes inevitable it will have to be conducted largely over Turkey. The use of the Incirlik air base for airplane sorties will not be enough this time because there will also be a ground campaign. Even a minimal participation by Turkey in this campaign would require Ankara to open its territory to the use of American forces. Turkey has not done this for any country until now. Beyond that Turkey has to participate actively in the campaign.

    Question : Should Turkey send its army into Iraq?

    Answer : Yes. Turkey has not participated in a campaign where it deploys its forces as part of its cooperation with another country since the Crimean War. However the United States may expect that from Turkey. I am only trying to describe the various aspects of the affair.

    Question: Turkey was arguing that "there should be no military campaign against Iraq because that would cause Iraq to disintegrate." Turkey is worried about the formation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Why exactly are we afraid or worried? Are we worried that our Kurdish citizens may want to secede from us and merge with this Kurdish state?

    Answer: Large numbers of Kurds live not only in Turkey but also in all countries in the region. The establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq would not pose a vital threat to Turkey. Turkey has the strength to defend its borders and territorial integrity. However such a state could create a new sphere of conflict. The prospective Kurdish state may work for a "Greater Kurdistan" regardless of whether Turkish Kurds want to join it. That would consume some of Turkey's energies and create turmoil within our Kurdish population.

    Question : If we are uneasy about possible changes in Iraq what position should we take with respect to the U.S. policy on Iraq? Should we adopt a foreign policy that is at odds with U.S. policy because we are concerned that our Kurdish citizens would be perturbed?

    Answer: No, but you may have a confrontation if necessary. You may refuse to cooperate if your basic interests are affected. A Kurdish state in northern Iraq will inevitably pursue a "Greater Kurdistan." We may want to protect the [Kurdish] population in Turkey against its provocations. In any event there will not be any disagreement with the United States over the territorial integrity of Iraq. There will not any structure that goes beyond a federation. However the Kurds should know the following: First, everything they want for themselves in northern Iraq will be applicable to the Turkomans who make up at least 15 percent of the population. Second, the Mosul and Kirkuk oil fields remain not in the Kurdish but the Turkoman zone. This does not mean that Turkey will seize the oil fields. Turkey has never pursued expansionist policies.

    Question : U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice said in a briefing to Turkish journalists that the United States expects Turkey to become a prosperous, developed, and moderate Islamic country which is free of corruption and which has solved its educational problems. What do you think about this expectation? Do you see the goal of a developed and moderate Islamic state in Turkey's interests or against its interests?

    Answer : There is no need to define such a role for Turkey. Turkey is already playing such a role. The United States has realized this role only now. We are not going to march toward that goal because Rice has pointed at it. In any event our historical attributes and objectives require this.

    There is no desire to have Turkey serve as a model for the Islamic world with its own unique concept of freedom. The desire is to have Turkey serve as a model with a universal concept of freedom and democracy.

    We are already marching in that direction. This is not a role that anyone has defined for us. Turkey is not secular because the United States wants it. It is also far ahead of other Islamic countries in the area of democracy. Whether it has been adequately successful may be debated but what matters is objectives.

    Question : Why do you think Turkey is so reluctant to attain that objective?

    Answer: There is no doubt that Turkey has been reluctant. However show me another country that has gone through a civil war for 15 years. There was a serious disruption of 15 years.

    Question: Turkey's democracy problem is not 15 years old though.

    Answer : When Apo [Abdullah Ocalan] surrendered in 1999, in terms of mentality Turkey's democracy had declined compared to where it stood on 15 August 1984. The effects of a major civil war on society cannot be minimized. Thus it is natural that Turkey be reluctant to take democratisation leaps. In order to initiate democratisation steps Turkey must be sure that the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] and HADEP [People's Democracy Party], which represents the PKK's views, will not take up arms again to wage an independence war. We still do not know the allegiance or loyalty of these groups to Turkey. In any event what you call democratisation is actually comprised of four interrelated stages. What the Copenhagen Criteria mean by "freedom of expression" is the freedom to demand "ethnic independence." This freedom of expression will eventually turn into a "political party along ethnic lines." That is supposed to be followed by broadcasts in their mother tongue. The fourth step is education in their mother tongue. A political movement that will march toward independence must be so small, ineffective, and unimportant that it cannot break up Turkey.

    Question : Is it sufficiently strong to break up Turkey now?

    Answer : The 15-year civil war left the region outside the domain of economic development. People in the region are unemployed. There are serious problems. These problems create a favourable environment for such a separatist movement. The leaders of HADEP send very dangerous messages of ethnic nationalism. This movement of ethnic nationalism caused 40,000 deaths among its followers and the rest of society in 15 years. To be persuasive now they must clearly declare their full loyalty and state that their super-identity is Turkish. The super-identity of a Kurd must be Turkish just as it is the super-identity of a Circassian. The Turkish super-identity is not an identity in an ethnic sense. If they do not want to accept this super-identity then you should have no doubt that the democratisation process will move slowly. Democracy can come only in circumstances of peace.

    Question : Is this not the right time for that? Terrorism is over, and the armed conflict has been reduced to a manageable level.

    Answer : This is a time when the process of granting democratic rights must begin. However this should be done in steps and with the proviso that the good will of the other side is gauged at each step. It is impossible to grant "all rights all at once because this is a democracy." This will not happen. Imagine that you fight for independence for 15 years and then you come out and say: "Everything is over. Let us have democracy right away. You have to grant the rights stipulated by the Copenhagen Criteria. You have to grant the right of education [in the mother tongue]." No. First you have to declare: "The Turkish identity is my super-identity." The state cannot take any risks in any way. It is a lie to say that "we resorted to arms because our language rights were taken away." This war was fought for independence. Apo himself said it. Now we are returning to where we started. The Kurdish elite must take steps to reintegrate itself with Turkey. I have not yet seen this intent in HADEP.

    Question : You mentioned loyalty. In the modern state should the relationship between the state and the individual be expressed in terms of loyalty or citizenship?

    Answer : I am also in favour of the state-citizen relationship you describe. However the problem has turned into a battle of "collective rights." The demand for collective rights is very close to the demand for secession. Numerous European Parliament resolutions call on Turkey to grant collective rights in the Southeast. The Copenhagen Criteria make no provision for collective rights and specify only individual and cultural rights.

    Question : Is it not the European Council that has the last word in the EU? It is this Council that will decide whether to admit Turkey into the EU. Does this Council want Turkey to grant collective rights to the Kurds?

    Answer : No. However the problem is the existence of a group that wants collective rights in a country. In Turkey there is such a group. In my opinion HADEP is demanding precisely this. Inside the EU the Basques, the Catalans, and the Scots have gone beyond collective rights. For example the Scots want to secede. Secession is a normal process in the EU, but it is not normal for us. Most of the EU countries accept the existence of this process even if they do not want to face its consequences. Their position is different from ours.

    Question : Are you saying that there is a chance that Turkey may break up if it enters the EU?

    Answer : That possibility exists. We cannot say that because no country that has entered the EU has broken up until now it cannot happen in the future. Given that Turkey has embarked on a venture to enter the EU we must view the prospect of a break-up as a serious possibility. We cannot hide this. We are told that we can have stronger integration if we grant rights. On the contrary, there may be no integration at all. There are measures you need to take if you do not want your country to be broken up. It is true that the EU countries would not try to break each other up and that they would support each other's integrity. This is an advantage for us but a break-up is the worst nightmare of a nation-state. This nightmare will always exist. Nation-states may not exist forever but they have been around for 150 years. They have not been in existence since the beginning of the world. Thus they may not exist in the future also.

    Question : Are not the rapid changes around the world pointing in that direction?

    Answer : I predict that the nation-state will still be around during my lifetime. One would not say "let us dispose of the nation-state now because it will disappear in 200 years." Turkey was late in becoming a nation-state. When Italy became a nation-state in 1870 only 4 percent of the country's population spoke Italian. Similarly half the population of France did not speak French. France declared itself as an assimilative power. Turkey can also declare that it is an assimilative power. A country that is the successor of an empire has to create a nation that can live in a world of nations. There is nothing offensive in assimilation efforts. Turkey can remain an assimilative power in the future if it has to. Today France openly declares that it is trying to assimilate African Muslims. Turkey can also do this.

    Question : We also have a Cyprus problem. Both Europe and the United States want this problem solved. Denktash and Clerides have agreed to meet three times per week. Will the Cyprus problem be solved?

    Answer : The Cyprus problem may be solved this year. However the problem will continue for Turkey in one aspect. Even if all the problems are resolved Cyprus will not be able to enter the EU with a single international identity because the EU has to allay our fears. Moreover they cannot admit only southern Cyprus. Anyone who does that would be risking a Turkish-Greek war or a war in Cyprus. If that happens the EU would watch from the sidelines the calamity that would befall upon one of its members. We would ask for a reckoning from a Greece that ruins Turkey's EU future. This is because they may not admit Turkey to the EU after they admit Cyprus. For example after Cyprus enters the EU the Greek parliament may call a referendum about Turkey's admission into the EU and Turkey would lose in that referendum. In any event similar voices are being raised in Germany and France. Turkey can put pressure on the EU for its own membership by refusing to approve the accession of Cyprus before its own. In other words Turkey can give up Cyprus and then lose its prospects for EU membership as well."

    [08] House in occupied Ayios Georgios village was leased to a member of the European Parliament at one dollar per annum

    Yeniduzen (24/1/02) under banner headlines "Irresponsible distribution of other people's properties", reports that the so-called Council of Ministers decided to rent to Mr John Alexander Corrie, a member of the European Parliament, a house in the occupied village of Ayios Georgios, in Kyrenia, for one dollar per year for the next 49 years.

    The interesting thing, the paper reports, is that Corrie is the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Group of EU and Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries as well as member of the European Popular Party and member of the Christian Democratic Office. Yeniduzen described Mr. Corrie a possible "Turkophile".

    The paper concludes by wondering whether the leasing of the house to Mr. Corrie at one dollar per annum is due to a mistake or whether "among friends money matters are not a problem".

    The paper publishes a photocopy of the so-called Council of Ministers/ decision, taken on 25.12.2001, with the number of the plot of land on which the house is built.

    KV/MP


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