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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-03-26

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.58/02 23-24-25-26.3.02


  • [01] Denktas says putting a time limit for finding a solution is wrong and claims that no one has the right to demand the re-unification of the two communities in Cyprus.
  • [02] A Turkish MP describes the occupied areas of Cyprus as Turkey's 82nd province.
  • [03] Akarcali tries to divest the responsibility of the Turkish side in case of failure of the talks towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefed the political parties on the direct talks.
  • [05] The Second Development Platform was held in the occupied areas.
  • [06] The Turkish Foreign Minister addressed a conference organized by the Turkish Foundation in Europe.
  • [07] The Youth Executive Council of PUM criticizes the pseudostate for preventing bi-communal activities.
  • [08] Ankara Anatolia News Agency on the recent visit to Turkey by Vice-President Cheney.
  • [09] Dervis Eroglu calls on the Greek Cypriots not to buy arms because Turkey has an army corps in occupied Cyprus and it can carry reinforcements easily.
  • [10] Bulunc stressed that a "common vision" in Cyprus must be found.
  • [11] The Patriotic Unity Movement announced their proposals for a Cyprus solution.

  • [12] The Fifth Eurasia Islamic Council to be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [13] A sad day for journalism.


    [01] Denktas says putting a time limit for finding a solution is wrong and claims that no one has the right to demand the re-unification of the two communities in Cyprus

    KIBRIS (24.03.02) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas has said that putting a time limit for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem is wrong.

    Talking on Friday after meeting with President Clerides and commending on the US special envoy on Cyprus, Tomas Weston's statement who noted that the speed of the negotiations procedure must be intensified and his remark that the UN have determined June as the time for making progress on the Cyprus problem, Mr Denktas alleged that "It is not right for others to put time limits. It is easy to say 'hurry up', because they do not know the work which is being done".

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said that "the talks are not a machine, which could go faster when the pedal is pressed and expressed the opinion that the matters must be solved after they are examined as necessary.

    Mr Denktas said: "The tempo is in accordance with the work. Some times it gets slower and sometimes faster. This depends on the matter, which is discussed. Until June it will be understood whether or not we will reach somewhere. Therefore, we have to be patient".

    Meanwhile, KIBRIS (25.03.02) reports that talking at a ceremony in memory of Osman Orek, who had been one of the first Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Denktas claimed on Saturday that no one has the right to demand the re-unification of the two communities in Cyprus after their separation, which was a result of "struggle and bloodshed". No one has the right to create in Cyprus a situation similar to the one, which exists between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he alleged adding that after the separation the Turkish side accepted to create a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots. Mr Denktas claimed that they did that in order to avoid Cyprus' becoming a reason for dispute between Turkey and Greece.

    Commending on statements by EU Commissioner responsible for the enlargement, Gunter Verheugen, who stressed that no one could prevent Cyprus' accession to the Union, the Turkish Cypriot leader said:

    ".When he refers to Cyprus, I wonder if he sees the tombs of Dr Kucuk and Osman Orek. These tombs are not in 'Cyprus'. They are in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Is Mr Verheugen going to drag these tombs too into the EU? Which Cyprus is he referring to? The applicant is the Greek Cypriot Cyprus. No one asked us about it. .Yes, we want friendship, but a friendship based on equal conditions. We could accede to the EU, but without overturning the equilibrium of 1960 and as a side the equal status of which has been defined. .".

    [02] A Turkish MP describes the occupied areas of Cyprus as Turkey's 82nd province

    AFRIKA (23.03.02) reports that Cahit Tekellioglu, MP of the Nationalist Action Party, who is illegally visiting the pseudostate in order to participate in the "Second Development Platform", described the occupied areas of Cyprus as Turkey's 82nd province.

    Upon his arrival Mr Tekellioglu said: "Turkey is here, with its parliament and its non-governmental organizations. We believe that Turkey is at home here". Referring to those who support that Cyprus is a burden on Turkey's back, Mr Tekellioglu noted: ".The states exist to curry burdens. On the back of Turkey there are 81 burdens more like the TRNC. TRNC which is the 82nd is not at all a burden.".

    Commending on the issue, AFRIKA (24.03.02), notes that those, who get furious when the paper argues that there is occupation in the northern part of Cyprus and allege that there is an "independent and sovereign state", thanked Mr Tekellioglu when he said that the pseudostate is the 82nd province of Turkey.

    The paper adds the following: "If we have become the 82nd province, it means that Turkey has annexed northern Cyprus by force to its own lands. We call this occupation, whereas they call it province".

    [03] Akarcali tries to divest the responsibility of the Turkish side in case of failure of the talks towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem

    KIBRIS (24.03.02) reports that Vice President of Turkey's Motherland Party, Bulent Akarcali claimed that in case the face-to-face talks towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem fail, both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides will be equally responsible for that.

    Talking to KIBRIS, Mr Akarcali argued that in case the Republic of Cyprus is accepted into the EU before a solution is found, then "a serious political rift will be created starting from the Aegean and the Western Thrace and reaching to Cyprus".

    "This will be one day broken and a political earthquake will be created", said Mr Akarcali adding that both Greece and Turkey will be harmed from this situation. Therefore, he concluded, solving this issue by accepting Turkey into the EU, will be in the benefit of Greece.

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefed the political parties on the direct talks

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (25.3.02) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas briefed the so-called Republican assembly speaker and political party leaders today on his ongoing talks with President Glafcos Clerides. Denktas did not make any statements before or after the two-hour meeting.

    Speaking after the meeting, the so-called Assembly Speaker Vehbi Zeki Serter said that "the Greek Cypriots continue to see the Turkish Cypriots as a minority and do not intend to establish an equal partnership with them." He also stressed that "it is of vital importance for the Turkish Cypriots to have a solution based on the principle of two states, on separate sovereignty, on separate political equality, and the continuation of the 1960 guarantee system." Serter warned that if the EU admits Cyprus before a solution is reached, there will be "chaos."

    The National Unity Party, UBP, was represented by Secretary General Suha Turkoz because the party leader Dervis Eroglu is away in Turkey. Turkoz expressed "cautious optimism" about the talks and promised continued support to the process.

    Salih Cosar, leader of the Democratic Party, said he was pleased to see efforts were being made to speed up the process, but stressed that the pseudostate will not give up its principles. On the visits of EU officials in Cyprus, Cosar said "in general, the approach displayed during these missions is prejudiced." He charged that "the foreign missions view the issue only in economic terms and promise the Turkish Cypriots that their economy will strengthen if they join the EU." He stressed that "the Turkish Cypriots cannot adopt this approach, give up their freedom, independence, or rights, or accept a minority status only because aid will be forthcoming to Cyprus, because the economy will grow, or because more foreign capital will come."

    Communal Liberation Party, TKP, leader Huseyin Angolemli pointed out that some progress was made during the talks. He said he has the impression "that a real rapprochement has taken place between the two sides regarding certain vitally important issues for the Turkish Cypriots. This is encouraging. We believe that this dialogue must go on." Angolemli stressed that third parties must keep equal distance from the two sides.

    TKP leader Angolemli emphasized that the so-called passport bill must be withdrawn.

    Republican Turkish Party [RTP] leader Mehmet Ali Talat stated that "despite the rumours that an agreement will be reached in June, no significant progress has been made and time is running out." He maintained that the Greek Cypriot side is relaxed and advancing toward EU membership, while a lack of solution hurts the Turkish Cypriot side. He emphasized that a solution must be reached before Cyprus joins the EU. "The Turkish Cypriot side must be more active in this respect," he said.

    Talat pointed out that the solution of the Cyprus problem is linked to Turkey's EU membership. He said: "I believe that this factor may activate the conditions which at the moment are maybe not at an impasse but at a standstill. I expect important developments in the coming days regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem."

    Nationalist Justice Party leader Kenan Akin said, in turn, that "the hopes that blossomed with the start of the direct talks on 16 January are being replaced by despair." He charged that the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side and the recognition of the Cyprus Government as the sole representative of Cyprus by the EU are obstacles before the Turkish Cypriots' efforts. Akin said that his party will not accept a solution that will take the Turkish Cypriots back to the 1960's just so that they can become EU members. Akin said he will continue to support Denktas in the talks process.

    [05] The Second Development Platform was held in the occupied areas

    In a despatch from occupied Nicosia, Ankara Anatolia (23.3.02) reports that the Second Development Platform was organized between 23-26 March 2002 with the aim of attracting Turkish businessmen to invest in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Addressing the opening of the Platform, Denktas called on Turkish businessmen to invest in the occupied areas.

    ``If an agreement is reached with the Greek Cypriots, the businessmen who will invest in `TRNC/, won't lose anything, but they will gain, `` said Denktas.

    Denktas said that the Greek Cypriots should not only see the Turkish soldiers, when they look at the north of the island, but they should also see the economic power of Turkey behind it, adding that Mersin customs gate should be opened to `TRNC/ producers.

    Denktas also proposed Turkish businessmen to sell potatoes and celery root of the occupied areas to the world via Turkey, adding that such kind of meetings encourage them and show them that they are not alone.

    Denktas said that the island of Cyprus can be purchased with the money spent by Turkey for Cyprus.

    Alleging that efforts are being made so that the things that could not be done to the Turkish Cypriots to date may be done by the EU membership, Denktas said that he made a big opening for EU membership and for the reunification of Cyprus and that they wanted recognition of their status and sovereignty rights.

    Denktas said: ``EU membership is the right of Turkey, but the EU makes a discrimination by telling Turkey ``go and sort out the Cyprus problem. `` Alleging that Turkey didn't start the Cyprus problem, Denktas said: ``It was the Greek Cypriots who shed blood in Cyprus, and the Greek Cypriots put the embargo in Cyprus. `` Denktas added that Cyprus is a strategic place for EU.

    Issuing a message to the meeting, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that he believed that the meeting would contribute to improvement of the pseudostate/s economy.

    ``The progress recorded by `TRNC/ in its economy despite the difficulties are a matter of pride for Turkey. Turkey will continue to extend all sorts of support to improve the income level of Turkish Cypriots and to enable `TRNC/ have an economic structure based on production and competition, `` Sezer said.

    Sezer also expressed hope that the direct meetings in Cyprus will result in a comprehensive and permanent solution, which has to take under guarantee the sovereign equality and prosperity of the Turkish Cypriot nation and take into consideration the strategic interests of the pseudostate and Turkey.

    Dervis Eroglu, so-called Prime Minister of the pseudostate also addressed the opening of the Second Development Platform. He said, in his address, that the pseudostate was encouraged by the support of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Turkey to development attempts. Eroglu also said that the Turkish Cypriots continue their fight not only in the political, but also in the economic field.

    Referring to the transportation problem in the occupied areas Eroglu said that the pseudostate started to implement the new economic model with Turkey to incite private sector investments.

    Referring to the Cyprus talks in his speech, Eroglu said that Greek Cypriots should not perceive the situation in the economy in the occupied areas as a weakness, adding that both the economic and political equality is important in an agreement to be reached on the island.

    Eroglu said that they will never give up political equality, sovereignty, Turkey's effective and de facto guarantee, stressing that they will never permit their people to migrate again.

    Sending a message to the meeting, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that the Turkish government will continue to improve the prosperity level of Turkish Cypriot people and to support its development studies.

    The so-called State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Salih Cosar said in his part that the Turkish Cypriots will think about EU membership after reaching an honourable agreement on the island. Cosar said that the customs between the psuedostate and Turkey have to be abolished.

    Bulent Akarcali, chairman of the Turkish Democracy Foundation and deputy leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said that the recent statements of EU officials sabotaged the ongoing talks in Cyprus and encouraged Greek Cypriots to have an uncompromising attitude. Akarcali said that EU officials can't respond to the question asking if the southern Cyprus would be admitted to EU only because Greek Cypriots are living there, adding that the north of the island concerns Turkey.

    Halim Mete, the acting deputy of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) said that the economic embargoes on the pseudostate and the delay in finding a political solution impedes economic development. Mete said that TOBB is ready to develop the Turkish Cypriot industry and trade, adding that tourism has an important place in the development of the occupied areas. Mete said that the pseudostate can be an international center of health, adding that industry based on agriculture and exports have to be encouraged in the occupied areas. He added that the common investment of the psuedostate and Turkish companies is very important.

    The Second Turkish Development Platform will continue until March 26, Tuesday.

    [06] The Turkish Foreign Minister addressed a conference organized by the Turkish Foundation in Europe

    TRT 2 Television (25.3.02) broadcast the following report by its Brussels correspondent Can Izbul:

    "Addressing a conference entitled `The Future of Turkey and Europe/ organized by the Turkish Foundation in Europe, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem compared the relations between Turkey and the EU to a marriage of convenience. He said: I hope convenience as well as love will prevail in the relations in the future.

    Cem pointed out that at times certain circles in Turkey approach the issue emotionally and that some view the Union as a rival rather than as a partner. He stressed that Turkey's membership will contribute to both sides in many respects. He also said that the behaviour of certain EU officials in Turkey makes the process more difficult. He said: When they come to Turkey, some of our colleagues from the EU display a colonial attitude. For some reason, they act as if they are teaching the Turks what to do and how to do it. It is an approach that is difficult to describe. Jokingly, we call these officials the colonial governors of the superpowers of past centuries. Their stand does not help the development of our relations.

    Cem called on the EU to adopt a more equitable stand regarding Cyprus. This is a very important issue, he said, in terms of the future relations between Turkey and the EU. Cem recalled that the EU has the legal and moral responsibility to ensure that a solution acceptable to both sides is reached in Cyprus. I am not convinced, he stressed, that the EU is doing its best in supporting the solution process in Cyprus".

    [07] The Youth Executive Council of PUM criticizes the pseudostate for preventing bi-communal activities

    Turkish Cypriot weekly YENICAG newspaper (15.3.02) publishes the following press release issued by the Youth Executive Council of the Patriotic Union Movement: "The prohibitive and increasingly arbitrary behaviour of the regime against the bicommunal activities is going on at the expense of the most basic human rights and democratic norms.

    The last bans were against the Patriotic Unity Movement (PUM) Youth which wanted to cross to the south to hold meetings with youth organizations in southern Cyprus, against the women that are members of PUM and the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) that wanted to cross to the south to attend the event organized by POGO organized on the World Women's Day on March 8 and against the politicians, businessmen and people from other professions that wanted to have meetings at various dates and also against the journalists that wanted to follow the various events taking place at the Ledra Palace Hotel.

    We have been witnessing the prohibition of the crossings from the north to the south, without being based on any regulation, for years. In a similar fashion, the crossings from the south to the north have been randomly banned, or depending on the daily conditions prevented with the childish excuses.

    The fact that the authorities do not even reply to the proposals to cross to the south violates our "right to proposals" guaranteed under regulations and also international law.

    And, as mentioned in Article 13 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1) everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Similarly, Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Article 20: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

    As can be seen above, our rights of movement, travel, assembly and impartation of thought are banned by the regime in the north.

    The ones who keep on talking about democracy and human rights are themselves not abiding by the international treaties and declarations safeguarding those and insisting on playing their game of "virtual democracy"

    These prohibitions on bicommunal events by those who, at every opportunity preach human rights and democracy, at a time when the bicommunal talks are going on at the highest level, can be understood as a sign of insincerity.

    The hindering of these bicommunal projects shows that the regime is insincere in its approach to the solution of the Cyprus problem and that it is insisting on its policy of "The status-quo is the solution"

    The fact that the youth is being kept away from participating in the process which will determine its future in such fundamental ways is unacceptable. We, as the YBH Youth demand the right to participating and decision-making within the negotiations.

    We demand that all the restrictions that apply to the bicommunal events be lifted and that all random behaviour be ended with the conviction that the projects which bring the two communities together will make a positive contribution to the solution and that all sectors of the community will be able to participate in and make contribution to these events. We emphasize that the Cyprus problem has meant nothing but unemployment, economic problems, a medieval way of life and finally emigration for the youth.

    If the rulers are so certain of the correctness of their enmity, there is no reason why they should be scared of the rapprochement of the two communities.

    Or are they scared of us being able to bring to life our vision for the re-establishment of a common homeland by the people sharing the same island and the same culture despite all the pain they suffered, "without forgetting, but forgiving" the past. Are they scared that such a future will mean an end to their wealth and fortune which they acquired unjustly?

    We should not forget the words said many years ago that no empire rooted in oppression has lasted forever and that at the end of each night, the brightest days have dawned. The darkness could never reign forever.

    The behaviour of those attacking the meeting of people from different backgrounds with great hatred at a time when the bicommunal talks are going on at the highest level is not acceptable.

    We would like to emphasize that such behaviour by certain groups in southern Cyprus is helping the regime in the north. The fact that the chauvinist and racist factors are attacking the bicommunal activities despite being from different communities shows that they have the same mentality and the same old-fashioned racist mind-set.

    The propaganda by the racist groups in the north should be taken into consideration too. It is obvious that their teacher is the propaganda master of Nazi Germany, Goebbels. We invite these people who act according to Goebbels "tell a lie and somebody is bound to believe it" to publish in a moral and ethical way.

    Although the YBH and YBH Youth have tried to inform the public of their activities, due to the black-out on anything that comes from the YBH, most of the media do not broadcast these. All the activities, however, are described in the party's newspaper Yenicag. But this has not been enough to prevent the students of Goebbels from hiding them from the public and producing their untruthful propaganda about them to provocate the people against YBH and YBH Youth. We emphasize that the publications which constantly call for the "punishment of these traitors" will be responsible for any attack against us. We also point out that using newspapers and articles to personally attack people and call for their silencing has nothing to do with the freedom of expression and emphasize the need to adhere to the media ethics in the press.

    YBH Youth is going to carry on with its bicommunal activities and work towards the abolition of all the obstacles in their way. We also call on all international youth organizations to work in the same direction.

    We reiterate our desire to participate in the most active way in the decision process that will determine our future and once again emphasize that no oppressive, outdated mentality will be able to hinder us".

    [08] Ankara Anatolia News Agency on the recent visit to Turkey by Vice-President Cheney

    Ankara Anatolia (24.3.02) reports that the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney told Turkish officials during his visit to Turkey on 19.3.02 that the U.S. attributed great importance to Turkey's becoming EU member in respect of helping the stability in Europe and the region.

    Cheney stated that the U.S. would support Turkey`s EU membership in all platforms both during the meeting in the Prime Ministry and also in his meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Cheney said that Turkey's EU membership was among the issues in U.S. foreign policy for its allies that has to be supported both in respect of regional security and stability.

    Noting that the U.S. applauded the reforms undertaken by Turkey in the economy and democracy fields, Cheney said that the U.S. believed that the reforms would be put into practice soon. Cheney said that Turkey`s forming an intercivilizational dialogue by holding a meeting between OIC-EU upon the initiative of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is very important and it constituted a model to the world. Cheney said that the Turkish-Greek relations constituted a sample to the world in respect of transition to friendship after many crises in the relations, and he thanked Cem and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou for the role they played in this success.

    Cheney noted that the solution of the problem related to European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) was on the way due to the positive step taken by Turkey. U.S. Vice President said that the negotiations between the sides in Cyprus were pleasing and he stressed that Turkey had to encourage the Turkish side for reaching a solution.

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told Cheney that the constructive initiatives of Rauf Denktas were not responded, underlining the fact that institutions like the EU had to leave the issue to the sides in Cyprus. Noting that the Cyprus question had to be solved this year in a fair way that recognizes the equality of the Turkish nation, Ecevit said that Greek Cypriots have to digest the Turkish existence on the island as this an important condition of solution on the island.

    [09] Dervis Eroglu calls on the Greek Cypriots not to buy arms because Turkey has an army corps in occupied Cyprus and it can carry reinforcements easily

    TRT 2 Television (25.3.02) reports that Dervis Eroglu, so-called prime minister of the pseudostate of occupied Cyprus was in Balikesir today to attend a conference entitled "the Past, Present, and Future of Cyprus." He replied to reporters' questions about the Cyprus question.

    In reply to a question, Mr Eroglu said: "The Greek Cypriot Administration has reached an agreement with Russia to buy 12 attack helicopters from that country. The Cyprus talks go on but the Greek Cypriot Administration continues with the arms buildup. So far, it has bought arms worth $2 billion. I do not think that it is a very wise decision to spend this money on arms when it is possible to use it in the economy. Turkey has an army corps in the `TRNC/. It is also extremely easy to transfer reinforcements from Turkey to Cyprus. In that sense, I think that the Greek Cypriot arms buildup is the wrong policy".

    [10] Bulunc stressed that a "common vision" in Cyprus must be found

    According to KIBRIS (23/3/02) the so-called representative of the pseudostate in Ankara, Ahmet Zeki Bulunc, delivered a speech on the Cyprus talks and the economic situation in the occupied areas at a panel organised by the Ankara Association of Industrialists and Businessmen.

    Bulunc, inter alia, said that in order to reach a solution in the current face-to-face talks, the "realities" in Cyprus and a "common vision" must be accepted.

    [11] The Patriotic Unity Movement announced their proposals for a Cyprus solution

    The Patriotic Unity Movement (PUM), while the current face-to-face talks are continuing for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, announced their proposals on the Cyprus solution, YENIDUZEN (26/3/02) reports.

    PUM, in a press conference held yesterday, distributed a four-page report on the Cyprus solution. They support a federation based on the Gali Set of Ideas.

    The PUM Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Alpay Durduran, said that the Turkish Cypriot side must make some concessions on the territorial issue and a specific number of Greek Cypriots may return to their houses and properties.


    [12] The Fifth Eurasia Islamic Council to be held in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Yavuz Donat, writing in the column "Front" of SABAH (25.3.02) says the following: "Several Religious men, among them the Mufti of Moscow, Mahmut Velitov.the Mufti of Belgrade, Hamdija Yusufsipahic.the Mufti of Tataristan, Osman Ishakov, will meet in Cyprus.

    They will come together during the "5th Eurasia Islamic Council".

    The Chairman of the Eurasia Islamic Council is a Turk: The Chairman of Religious Affairs of Turkey, Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz.

    Deputy Chairmen are: The Supreme Mufti of Muslims in Kazakhistan Prof. Dr. Abdsettar Derbisali and the Head Ulema of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Republic, Dr. Mustafa Efendi Ceric.

    The meeting in Cyprus will be held between 15-19 April.

    At the Council meeting everything will be discussed but mainly Religion and Terrorism.

    The subject of the papers to be presented at the meeting by Prof. Dr. Hasan Kamil Yilmaz of Marmara University, Prof. Dr. Ilber Oltayli of Galatasaray University and Ass. Prof. Dr. Samil Dagci of Ankara University is "Universality of Islam, Peace and Understanding of Tolerance and Looking to Terrorism".

    Yavuz Donat then refers to the 4th Islamic Council meeting which was held in Sarajevo between 25-28 July 2000, and notes some decisions taken there.

    He then says that the Chairman of the Religious Affairs Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz called him and invited him to attend the Fifth Council meeting in the occupied area. Donat says that he had asked Yilmaz why the Council meeting is going to be held in

    Cyprus and Yilmaz replied: "Esteemed Denktas said `do it here/ and the Council Secretariat found it suitable and decided to organize it there."

    Yavuz Donat further says that ministers, around 50 religious scholars and religious leaders from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Mongolia and other countries will take part in the meeting.

    [13] A sad day for journalism

    Under the title "A sorry day for `TRNC/ Journalism", Turkish Cypriot weekly CYPRUS TODAY (23-29.3.02) criticizes pro-Denktas KIBRISLI and VOLKAN newspapers for branding traitors opposition journalists who support the EU.

    The full text of the commentary in the column OPINION is the following: "DEVSIRME" was the word used in Ottoman history to describe the recruitment of Christian boys into the elite military corps known as the Janissaries.

    Now the term is being used in the `TRNC/, coined by newspaper KIBRISLI for a different "band of soldiers", referring to journalists.

    The new "recruits" are cited by KIBRISLI and VOLKAN newspapers as left-leaning journalists, nailing their colours to a new "empire", the European Union.

    And their number supposedly extends to Turkey, where some of the heavyweights of newspaper columns and TV commentators are also implicated as being on some form of EU "payroll".

    It is only natural that conservative, nationalist publications such as KIBRISLI and VOLKAN should take issue with the views of either liberals or leftists, but it leaves a sour taste when criticism oversteps political cut-and-thrust to touch upon the personal and the libelous.

    What we see now in the `TRNC/ is turning into a witch-hunt of journalists by other journalists, with allegations even of treachery being bandied around.

    Answers are demanded to questions including the number of times the journalists have traveled abroad, and how much they earn for their work. Are these matters for legitimate public scrutiny?

    One of the publications even suggested that the use of one such columnist/s words meant the entire paper was "tainted" by EU allegiance and its loyalty to the national cause called into question.

    What happened to the concept of lively debate, where establishment and opposition alike can set out their stall and vie for the public/s hearts and minds?

    A newspaper/s character may be seen in the objectivity of its news reporting and in the stance it takes in leader columns. The opinions expressed elsewhere in its pages, however - whether by paid columnists or in readers/ letters - are not to be taken as a reflection of the paper/s own outlook.

    Moreover, those personal views are often designed purposely to provoke discussion, by producing agreement and irritation in equal measure.

    This is healthy, free speech in any country where the twin rules of law and democracy are upheld.

    It/s a sorry day for the `TRNC/ newspaper profession, and for its people, when one journalist appears to call for the silencing of another".


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