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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-06-06

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. 106/02 06.06.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas before and after meeting President Clerides in the framework of the direct talks
  • [02] The Turkish Armed Forces reply to reports concerning the 30 May National Security Council meeting
  • [03] Former CIA Chief James Woolsey: "Not accepting Turkey's membership is crazy"
  • [04] Turkish non-governmental organizations call on politicians to work for EU membership
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [05] Interesting stirrings taking place in Cyprus
  • [06] Commentary in Turkish Daily News assesses the statements of the Office of the Chief of Staff and Turkish internal politics

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas before and after meeting President Clerides in the framework of the direct talks

    KIBRIS (06/06/02) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas met with President Glafcos Clerides at the buffer zone today. In a statement he made as he was leaving for the meeting, Denktas said that they will continue to discuss the security issue.

    In reply to a question on whether the issue of deploying NATO forces in Cyprus was raised at the ongoing talks, Denktas said: "There is no such thing."

    Alleging that the Greek Cypriots want to bring foreign troops to the island, Denktas continued: "The guarantor countries ensure the security of the entire island. UN forces, through new authorities to be bestowed upon them, will ensure the security for a temporary period provided the two sides reach an agreement. One should renounce ploys to deploy NATO or EU forces, and especially ploys aimed at bringing EU troops. There is no such thing."

    In statements he made after the end of the meeting, Mr Denktas said that they will continue to discuss the security issue and that they have not been able to complete it yet.

    [02] The Turkish Armed Forces reply to reports concerning the 30 May National Security Council meeting

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05/06/02) reported from Ankara that the Office of the Chief of the General Staff has declared that there is no change concerning the death penalty issue in the various statements issued personally by General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, chief of the General Staff.

    A statement issued by the Secretariat General of the Office of the Chief of Staff noted that recent media reports have been "citing a commander authorized to speak on behalf of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), and saying that the TAF support the abolition of the death penalty, but want heavy life imprisonment without amnesty or parole to be instituted for those condemned to death for crimes of war or terrorism."

    The statement continued:

    "Moreover, the media have been carrying reports and commentaries to the effect that a nongovernmental organization [NGO] composed of the business world met with General Staff officials and reached a consensus with regard to the matters under public discussion.

    "These media reports do not fully reflect the truth, and the paragraphs below contain the necessary clarifications in this regard for the benefit of the public.

    "During a symposium entitled "Post-11 September Developments and Turkey" on 28 May 2002, General Yasar Buyukanit, deputy chief of the General Staff, made the following statement in reply to a reporter's question:

    "'Do not even ask such questions. Direct your question to those who produce ideas on such matters. For example, if a person claims that Cyprus should not pose an obstacle before the EU, pose your question to that person. How? What is your solution? If another person claims that the death penalty should be abolished, ask that person. So, you will abolish the death penalty. Will the terrorist murderers with blood on their hands be released after a short time as a result of the existing system, or will they be kept in prison for life on the basis of legal and constitutional measures? Pose these questions to those who are trying to direct the public on these matters.'

    "We regrettably observed that the points outlined above were reported in a distorted manner by certain media organs. There is no change concerning the death penalty issue in the various statements personally issued by the chief of the General Staff.

    "An NGO composed of businessmen visited the deputy chief of the General Staff on 29 May 2002. During the meeting, the visitors explained the work they undertook regarding the death penalty and language issues, and conveyed the documents they prepared on these subjects. This was a courtesy visit, and the reports to the effect that these sensitive matters were discussed and consensus was reached do not reflect the truth.

    "Furthermore, the National Security Council meeting of 30 May 2002 discussed in particular Turkey's accession to the EU and the Cyprus issue, and the views of the TAF with regard to the death penalty or mother tongue education and broadcasts were not raised.

    "We felt the need to inform the public on these matters because of the proportions these discussions have reached."

    [03] Former CIA Chief James Woolsey: "Not accepting Turkey's membership is crazy"

    Turkish Daily News (06/06/02) publishes the following report:

    "The former chairman of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) James Woolsey said: 'European Union would be crazy, not to accept Turkey's membership.'

    Answering the questions of the Anatolian News Agency, Woolsey stated that omission of Turkey is crazy. 'The EU membership of Turkey is good for both the Turkish economy and the EU. The United States has only a middle term effect on the EU, because we also have problems with the EU. But in terms of commerce and economic modernization not to accept the Turkish membership is crazy', said Woolsey.

    Woolsey stated that to cope with the Middle East, Turkey's democratic, secular, muslim structure and prosperity should continue. Woolsey also indicated that all the muslim countries in the Middle East should take the happenings in Turkey in the 1920s as a sample and added 'this is the wish of the United States.'

    'I always say something to my Turkish friends. I know two leaders who won a revolutionary war, founded a state, created a democracy which has a continuity and was selected as president in democratic ways, they are Ataturk and the other George Washington', said Woolsey.

    Woolsey pointed out that Turkey is an open country for all the religions and a secular one and said that, 'Turkey is a wonderful model that indicates how the Middle East should be. The accession to the Turkish model for the Middle East would not be easy and at once. But Turkey has indicated the way of this 80 years before. Not doing anything for establishing Turkish type democracy in the Middle East is our fault. We should have done this in Iraq in 1991.'

    Woolsey also mentioned the Iraqi operation and 'Turkey is our vital ally besides England' he said. He also went on in his words like this 'We have to convince both Turkey and the two big Kurd groups in North Iraq that we are serious to overthrow the Baghdad regime, we are looking for your help, we are searching for a democratic Iraq which has a federal structure and a separate Kurdish state would be established.'

    The former CIA chairman said that, 'If we can achieve this, the Kurds in the north have a chance to play a role like the Northern Alliance played in Afghanistan.'

    James Woolsey also said that to perform an operation from north would not be adequate and they also have to perform an operation from the south with U.S. forces.

    James Woolsey is among the chief supporters of the military operation over Iraq. The former chairman of CIA is also the Democratic Party deputy and supports Turkey's EU membership."

    [04] Turkish non-governmental organizations call on politicians to work for EU membership

    According to Turkish Daily News (06/06/02) Turkey's major non-governmental organizations have set up a platform, which yesterday called on Turkish politicians to exert every effort for Turkey's EU accession.

    The report is as follows:

    "The Civil Society Platform, which was established by 175 civil society associations, issued a notice yesterday, announcing mobilization for war and warned the politicians. The notice stated that Turkey deserved the European Union (EU) and there was no time to waste.

    Turkey's most active employment institutions, labour organizations, disabled people's association, environmentalists, leftists, rightists, press organs and universities are among these 175 NGOs.

    In the notice, which was issued as an EU ultimatum for politicians, it was stressed that the society supported the EU membership and said, "It needed a political will which will take brave steps." Recalling that Turkey was at an important intersection for the EU membership, the notice said the following: "Turkey's goal is the determination of membership negotiations in the EU summit at the end of the year. Its precondition is to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria until the end of this month. Otherwise, full membership will be postponed to an indefinite date. Determination of political will is very important in this term, but there is not too much time and political consensus cannot be provided for the solution of some problems."

    The major organizations taking part in the platform are:

    Turkish Association of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ISO), Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM), Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), Turkish Employers' Union Confederation (TISK), Turkish Agricultural Chambers' Union (TZOB), Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans' Confederation (TESK), Turk-Is, Hak-Is, Revolutionary Workers' Union Confederation (DISK), Istanbul Stock Exchanges (IMKB), Turkish Bars Union, Turkish Banks' Union, Foreign Capital Association (YASED), Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), Turkish Young Businessmen's Association (TUGIAD), Young Executives and Businessmen's Association (GYIAD), Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), Turkish Economic and Social Studies Association (TESEV), Turkish Travel Agencies' Association (TURSAB), Tourism Investors' Association (TYD), Association for the Protection of Consumers (TUKODER), TEMA Foundation, Turkish Education Volunteers Foundation, Kal Der, Sector Associations Platform, Ari Movement, Turkey-EU Foundation, Turkey-EU Association, Helsinki Citizens' Association, Turkish Disabled People's Confederation."


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [05] Interesting stirrings taking place in Cyprus

    Under the above title columnist Mehmet Ali Birand, writing in the Turkish Daily News (06/06/02), analyses the bargaining process in Cyprus on sovereignty and refugee issues is continuing.

    The full text of the commentary is as follows:

    "I have written so many articles on Cyprus. You may be tired of this issue. However, I will have to write many more of these before the end of the current year. This is because we are going through a period of such significance, and we have such an historic opportunity in our hands, an opportunity which must not be missed.

    Please, don't let us waste our time with anachronistic reactions such as, 'Well, what should we do? Sell Cyprus to the Greek Cypriots?' reactions that lost their meaning long ago. Then we would not have to repeat over and over that no one has any such intention.

    Having drawn up the framework of the debate, in a way that even the most bird brained person could understand, now let us come to the latest developments.

    Do not take so seriously the developments that could be perceived as the 'TRNC' extending its territorial waters, mutual accusations or displays of toughness. The bargaining process is continuing between the two sides and will go on till the last moment. Just when we will be telling ourselves that nothing is happening, when everybody is crying out that with these Greek Cypriots or with these Turkish Cypriots no solution can be found, we will see, all of a sudden, that the two sides have reached an agreement.

    In fact, things seem to be gaining momentum.

    The developments are gradually becoming interesting -- judging by the information I received about certain parts of the behind-the-scenes talks held during President Clerides' visit to Athens, and the impression I get from the official circles in Ankara following the developments most closely. Certain persons known for their cautious reactions in general are now saying that the "solution ratio" has climbed to 40 percent. The figure they gave a month ago was 25 percent.

    The fact that the National Security Council's (NSC) May 30 meeting was devoted to the Cyprus issue, rather than to the Copenhagen criteria, and the news that Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will be going to Cyprus soon afterwards, are also signs indicating such a stirring.

    No one has revealed his hand entirely yet.

    The two sides are sounding one another out, trying to see how far the other side would be willing to go.

    Sovereignty and refugees: two issues of key importance

    If there is going to be a solution, it will be worked around these two words. The most important part of the bargaining process will be on these issues.

    One of these issues involves the 'TRNC's' sovereignty.

    The Turkish side is highly sensitised on this issue. It is convinced that the 'TRNC' must retain its sovereignty rights in this or that way. However, what I have observed is that there is no 'tremendously Catholic' approach. There is plunging on blindly. For the first time, I discern signs of flexibility in the talks.

    There are lines of flexibility in the Greek Cypriots' approach as well to the sovereignty issue. They are gradually making this felt to those around them.

    Now let us come to the second and even more important issue: territory-refugees.

    I write it in this fashion because the territory issue and the number of the refugees that would be returning to the North are interrelated. The more territory the 'TRNC' would cede, the more refugees President Clerides would be able to send back to the North.

    For the Cyprus Government the number of refugees is extremely important. This is because, if an agreement is to be reached, the way to make the community accept it is to satisfy as many refugees as possible.

    At this point, the most important factor arises.

    The Turkish side does not want to admit Greek Cypriot refugees into the 'TRNC' in any way.

    No Greek Cypriot migrants can be allowed into 'TRNC' for the time being

    Frankly, this approach is based on logic. If the Greek Cypriot refugees are admitted into the 'TRNC' -- regardless of how many of them are being admitted -- we would be placing time bombs on the island with our own hands. The next day, incidents would break out. Our militants may do all they can to make the Greek Cypriot refugees flee. Similarly, Greek Cypriot militants would provoke incidents.

    Therefore, no risks should be taken. Let us leave this issue to the future, that is, 10 to 15 years from now. The two sides, who would get richer within the European Union by then, can decide on this issue on their own, when the time comes.

    Then how will Clerides be satisfied?

    The Greek Cypriots want at least 40,000-50,000 of the refugees, out of an alleged total of some 120,000, to be able to return.

    According to the calculations being done, since no refugees are being admitted into the 'TRNC', the Greek Cypriot demands will be satisfied by giving them territory along the common border.

    Currently, 37 percent of the island is under 'TRNC' control. (This region has been kept so large so that the 'TRNC' would have a margin for bargaining in the future). This percentage may be reduced to 26-27 percent. However, this time a Turkish Cypriot refugees problem will have been created.

    Meanwhile, it should not be forgotten that an agreement on the refugees will contain also an exchange of -- or compensation for -- the Greek Cypriot property in the 'TRNC' and the Turkish Cypriot property in the South.

    One gives as much as one takes

    For the time being this is how everybody is reasoning.

    Clerides will display flexibility to the extent that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas cedes territory and admits refugees. Denktas will adopt a rigid stance on the sovereignty issue to the extent that Clerides takes a hard line on the refugees-territory-property issue, making extensive demands.

    The two sides have not yet been able to enter into a detailed bargaining process. They are still trying to impress their own followers. They are trying to see what those in the EU and in Washington are thinking. The bargaining process will accelerate once the EU and the United States clarify their own stance, and it will be over one day, abruptly.

    Either there will be a solution and we will have light or we will be plunged into the darkness of a lack of a solution."

    [06] Commentary in Turkish Daily News assesses the statements of the Office of the Chief of Staff and Turkish internal politics

    In an article in Turkish Daily News (06/06/02) Mete Belovacikli assesses the statement issued by the office of the Chief of Staff and the latest developments in Turkey's internal politics, as follows:

    "The latest statement by the Armed Forces is the product of tensions created among the military ranks regarding possible Turkish concessions on Cyprus for European Union membership, which may push the country into a political impasse that observers fear could lead to the derailment of Turkish democracy.

    According to the assessments of "senior political circles," the attitude of the military was indicative of an intention aimed at avoiding a direct interference in politics and underlines the necessity of snap polls sooner than later.

    For a long time, Turkey's relations with Europe were being discussed within the context of the Copenhagen criteria. The country was divided into two poles: those supporting the lifting of the death penalty, and those for preserving it; those who were supporting education and broadcasting rights in the "mother tongue" -- that is, in Kurdish -- and those who opposed such a practice. The two groups have been engaged in a heated national debate.

    The Gordian knot appeared to be resolved at the latest National Security Council (NSC) meeting.

    The Armed Forces, which have been persistently refraining from making any disclosure to the public regarding the death penalty issue, floated some new ideas on this extremely sensitive issue.

    According to these ideas, the death penalty could be lifted provided that a new arrangement was made in the Penal Code and other relevant laws, and a heavy life-term without parole sentence was introduced.

    "Why these new approaches?" questions were being asked in the political circles. The answer to those questions was:

    "The military did not believe that harmonizing with the Copenhagen criteria would be the determining factor in Turkish-EU relations. According to them, the real problem is Cyprus... Even if Turkey abides in full with the Copenhagen criteria, if the Cyprus problem is solved, with conditions contradicting the positions of the Turkish Cypriot people, Turkey-EU relations will be adversely affected. The military believes that the 'details' -- fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria -- must be done with as soon as possible, thus letting the real problem, Cyprus, emerge with all its dimensions."

    Thus, at the NSC meeting, the Cyprus problem was the dominant issue and the military members of the council, reminding other members that there was a report, a copy of which was at the Foreign Ministry and a copy at the EU General Secretariat, stressing that the EU considered Turkey only as a periphery country.

    The policies pursued with great care until that date have become a matter of debate with the remarks of the military, both before the NSC meeting and during the meeting.

    According to what was known, the military was against the lifting of the death penalty. Whereas papers were full of stories attributed a "top general," stating that the military would not object to the lifting of capital punishment if it was replaced with a life-term without parole.

    According to what was known, the military was very sensitive on education and broadcasting rights in Kurdish. Whereas TUSIAD was stating, "There are parallels between ours and the military's position" on these issues, and TUSIAD was calling for lifting restrictions on Kurdish education and broadcasting.

    It was believed that the military was fully supporting the position of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. But, according to what was reflected in papers as, "leaks from NSC minutes," the Armed Forces stressed at that meeting that this problem ought to be resolved as well.

    This situation led to some serious concerns in the military, particularly in the lower ranks, on the one hand, while on the other hand, those defending "EU membership at all costs" understanding, getting the upper hand in policy shaping in Ankara.

    The reactions both from the public and from within the military itself, were leading to the "erosion of the image" of the Armed Forces.

    That is why in the third article of the military statement, it was underlined that the death penalty, and education and broadcasting rights in the mother tongue were not "considered" at the NSC meeting, but Cyprus and EU relations were discussed.

    Another sensitivity issue was the image created with the statements of TUSIAD and the Economic Development Foundation (EDF).

    As these groups had started propagating in a manner meaning "the military is supporting our views," the military felt it necessary to clarify the situation and declare that it was not supporting anyone or any group, and its views were not overlapping with views of others and that the military was "different"

    This was because when the pro-EU media organs started applauding the new openings of the military, the public started asking the question, "Has the military started acting like politicians?"

    When all these were added together, different expectations emerged among those who had ambitions in the near future of Turkish politics.

    On the one hand, the Motherland Party (ANAP), trying to use the EU membership issue as material in a possible election, on the other hand, the Nationalist Action Party (NAP), which has built all its policies on "national sensitivities"... In the political corridors, there were expectations and speculations of an interim regime or technocrat government.

    Furthermore, those making political calculations started including the military in these plans.

    After NAP leader Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli's latest strongly worded statements, the question of whether the government was at the brink of collapse started taking ground in Ankara.

    All these prompted the military to make a reassessment and redefine where it stood on all issues.

    Within this framework, there were two options:

    First, when everything went astray, a "Parliament government" could be established...

    Secondly, a decision was taken for snap polls this fall...

    The speculations that the military was after the first option was necessitating the Office of the Chief of Staff to make a statement. Therefore, the statement should also be considered an expression by the military that, rather than a "Parliament government," it would be better to demand that the country be "taken to a snap poll sooner than later, in tranquillity."


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