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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-06-16

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.119/02 26.06.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before and after meeting President Clerides.
  • [02] Bulent Ecevit said he feels uneasy about Mesut Yilmaz and Tansu Ciller's approaches towards the Cyprus problem.
  • [03] Ismail Cem assesses the latest developments in the Cyprus problem during interviews with CNN Turk and Kanal D.
  • [04] Devlet Bahceli criticizes the EU.
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot teachers criticize the fact that the occupation regime opened an investigation against the bi-communal choir.
  • [06] Yilmaz:Everyone has to sacrifice for enlargement.
  • [07] Clinton to visit Turkey.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before and after meeting President Clerides

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (25.06.02) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas and President Glafcos Clerides met again today within the framework of the direct talks launched with the aim of finding a lasting solution for the Cyprus problem. The meeting, which lasted approximately one hour and 15 minutes, focused on the territorial issue. During today's session, the Greek Cypriot side expressed its views on the territorial issue, while the next meeting, which will be held on 28 June, will dwell on the Belgian model proposed by Denktas under the heading of constitutional issues, in line with the agreement reached between the sides.

    Before leaving for the meeting Denktas replied to journalists' questions. Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot side will listen to the views of the Greek Cypriots regarding the territorial issue, Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriots' view on this matter is known. He said: "We are talking about the principle of sovereignty, and we will continue to talk."

    Reminded about President Clerides' remarks regarding the Belgian model to the effect that he is willing to discuss this model in its entirety, not only parts of it, Denktas reacted: "This subject will also be discussed on 28 June. We will discuss the Belgian model as a whole. However, discussing it is not tantamount to accepting it. Let us discuss it, and let us see if it has aspects that suit us. There is no harm in exchanging views. We are exploring everything."

    Mr Rauf Denktas replied to reporters' questions after the meeting as well.

    He recounted that the territorial issue was discussed and will be discussed further, adding that there is no change in the program. Noting that the next meeting will be held on 28 June, Denktas said that after that meeting, Alvaro do Soto, UN Secretary-General's special envoy for Cyprus, will leave for New York on 3 July.

    Asked how the meeting was, Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriot side listened to the views of the opposite side, and added: "There is much statistical information. We will study them and give our response."

    In reply to a question if the news conference he held last week was mentioned, Denktas said: "No. Whatever everyone does outside the meeting room is his own private matter."

    [02] Bulent Ecevit said he feels uneasy about Mesut Yilmaz and Tansu Ciller's approaches towards the Cyprus problems

    CUMHURIYET newspaper (23.06.02) publishes an interview with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit by Mustafa Balbay in Ankara.

    Following are the questions and Mr Ecevit/s answers on Cyprus:

    Question: The Cyprus issue is heating up. Different reports are reaching us from the island. Mesut Yilmaz is saying that we must be more flexible regarding the Cyprus issue. What are your views regarding the Cyprus issue?

    Answer: Yilmaz made a mistake by making these remarks. Ciller's suggestion that we must first discuss the Cyprus issue is also wrong. These kinds of approaches make me uneasy. What is the relation between Cyprus and the EU? Moreover, Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean region and not on the borders with Europe. The Cyprus issue has no relation whatsoever with the EU membership issue. The importance of Cyprus will increase further to us after the completion of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. There are two states, two communities, two languages, and two religions in Cyprus.

    Question: However, the EU is applying pressure. While new states have been formed in the Balkans, the EU is seeking to reduce the two states that have come into being in Cyprus into a single state... Answer: This is a strange and artificial issue. For us, the Cyprus issue has been solved. We will explain this to the EU when the latter continues to be interested in the matter.

    [03] Ismail Cem assesses the latest developments in the Cyprus problem during interviews with CNN Turk and Kanal D

    CNN TURK Television (24.06.02) carried an interview with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem by Mehmet Ali Birand in Istanbul during the latter's "Headline", program.

    Birand's first question is this: If we had lifted the death penalty, and if we had allowed education and broadcasts in the mother tongue before we went to Seville, would we have received a better message from the summit?

    Cem replies: "I am not displeased." He then says that yes, the message would have been better, and also Turkey would have felt more confident to make demands on the EU. Cem also stresses that the democratization steps Turkey must take should not be presented to the public as negative things that have to be done in order to achieve membership in the EU. He explains that they are positive steps that must be taken for the sake of the nation, as advocated by many Turkish circles for a long time.

    Birand points out that when he hears Deputy Prime Minister Bahceli speak, that is what he hears Bahceli say. Birand says: In his speeches last weekend, Bahceli implied that the Copenhagen criteria would divide Turkey.

    Cem affirms that he "did not specifically mean Bahceli, but also the media, other circles, and even circles that seem to be advocating membership in the EU."

    The foreign minister emphasizes that if a consensus is reached by the government regarding the political criteria, the Assembly will convene in an extraordinary session. He adds that this must be achieved by mid-September so that it can be included in the EU report. If that is done, he says, he will be able to exert pressure on the EU so that the EU can reach a favourable decision during the 22 October meeting in Brussels, and a date for the start of the negotiations can be announced in Copenhagen.

    Birand asks how the upcoming German elections will affect Germany's stand on Turkey's membership prospects. Cem explains that given the controversial topics of illegal migration and foreigners in Germany, German politicians do not want to speak about Turkey at the moment because it has associations with those topics. He adds: "No matter who wins the elections in Germany, certain difficulties may arise for Turkey but those difficulties will not be decisive on the relations between Turkey and the EU."

    Prompted by Birand, Cem asserts that Turkey's relations with Europe and with the world have never been as good as they are now. "We are at our peak strategically speaking," he says, and therefore this is a good time to join the EU. "We cannot remain at that peak forever," he adds, so we must hurry.

    On the Cyprus issue, Cem reiterates that "the Cyprus issue has no legal links to our membership in the EU, but it is a political factor." He goes on to say: "Mr. Denktas' interlocutor at the table is not only the Greek Cypriot Administration; it is also the EU, the United States, the United Nations, and Britain. We must not ignore this fact. To tell you the truth, I discern positive approaches on the part of these interlocutors, but I see that they lack courage. Let me add: If there is going to be common solution to the Cyprus problem, it is going to happen in a few days. Until those last few days, the two sides will reach conditional accords, saying I will accept that if this happens. At the last stage, they will agree on the solution of the few most important issues. The problem will be resolved then. That is the optimistic scenario. That possibility still exists. In the pessimistic scenario such an agreement will not be reached. The EU will make a historic mistake and take certain advanced steps. We will also take certain advanced steps. The EU and Turkey will not eliminate their bilateral relations. In one way or another, the EU will adapt to the inevitable steps Turkey will take."

    In reply to a question, Cem says that "the solution of these problems will be very difficult in the case of early elections. However, if the government agrees on these issues and receives the parliament's approval, then early elections will not change anything and the problems will be resolved."

    Moreover KANAL D Television (24.06.02) broadcast a live studio interview with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem by Fatih Altayli on Turkey's relations with the EU, the recent rapprochement with Syria, and Turkey's role in the Caucasus.

    In response to a question on Turkey's ties with the EU, Cem begins by saying that it is clear that Turkey must first comply with the EU criteria before talks can begin. He reiterates the view that Turkey should implement these democratic reforms for its own sake, not merely to please the EU. Noting that the expansion of freedoms carry a certain risk, but "sensible and intelligent societies take the necessary measures against such threats and risks within the framework of democracy." Cem explains that once we adopt the principle of freedoms, "the implementation is up to us," but the question of death penalty is a "black and white" issue.

    Cem goes on to point out that "at present, Turkey is at its most powerful stage with respect to world balances and its strategic position." It is beneficial to settle our issues with the EU at this point, Cem notes, adding that the rising conservative trends in Europe can also make things more difficult for Turkey. If Turkey implements these criteria, it will find itself in a very strengthened position both with regard to EU accession and the Cyprus issue, Cem states.

    On the relatively low rates accorded to Turkey's possible EU accession in European opinion polls, Cem says that Europeans are generally wary of the expansion process, but the decision making centers are in favour of Turkey's membership, because "this is a matter of interest." Cem says that Turkey can help the EU in becoming a more effective player in regions such as the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Balkans, etc.

    Altayli then questions Cem about the situation in Cyprus and the stand of the EU in this regard. Cem answers: "Basically, the EU, the United States, and Britain -- with the exception of a few specific areas -- want a solution in Cyprus. In other words, they do not want developments that will spell trouble for them. They want a solution and they want the two sides to reach an agreement. The details do not interest them. I may be exaggerating a little, but this is the essence of their stand." As long as there is a single respondent, the EU is willing to accept any solution, Cem explains. He adds: "This is the only factor that is working in our favour within this balance. No one wants to take on a problem. If there is no solution and the EU admits Cyprus, there will be a problem. Everyone knows that. These dynamics are working in our favour."

    As for the course of the Cyprus talks, Cem notes that the Turkish side is the prominent side that is producing ideas and proposals. He reiterates the assertion that foreign diplomats did not raise essential objections to the written proposal submitted by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. "Having said all that," Cem adds, "I see the chances of settling this problem as less than 50 percent. However, there are developments all the time. Mr. Denktas is a wonderful politician." He also praises the entire Turkish Cypriot team. Cem estimates that if at all, the crucial point for the solution of the Cyprus problem will come in October.

    Altayli asks Cem if Turkey made a concession regarding the European Security and Defense Policy during the Seville summit. Cem categorically denies this. "Not only were there no concessions or a quest for compromise, there was not even a situation to which I had to say no," Cem declares. He points out: "In my opinion, Greece did not do the right thing. The United States, Britain, and Turkey produced a joint document. When this document was presented to the NATO-EU joint meeting six months ago, everyone congratulated us. However, Greece turned this into a domestic policy issue. Greece's domestic politics is no different than ours." The Greek Government was intimidated by opposition and public cries over alleged concessions to Turkey. Cem explains that before the Seville summit, the Greeks sought to reach a formula with Spain, the term president of the EU, and Turkey rejected a draft proposal submitted by the EU.

    Questioned about the right to free movement within the EU if Turkey becomes a member, Cem states: "It is a fact that, compared with other countries, Turkey's position triggers greater sensitivity because of its population, the unemployment rates, the relative size of the rural sector in the economy, and the concern that the adaptation of our citizens to EU countries will cause more problems than other countries." Turkey may need a longer period than other countries before it is accorded free movement in the EU. Naturally, this does not mean that it will never happen, but in view of the realities, it is something that must be overcome gradually.

    Altayli then proceeds to ask a question about the "spring" in Turkey's relations with Syria. Cem replies: "1999 was a turning point in our policy. First, the terrorist chief was captured. Turkey adopted a stand vis-a-vis Syria which led to his capture. We warned that if Syria fails to take the necessary steps in this regard, this will constitute a casus belli. I remember, we stated this very clearly. As a result of this, the terrorist chief was evicted from Syria, he went to Europe, we adopted a very decisive attitude, and finally we launched the process that eventually allowed us to overcome terrorism to a great extent. This is very important. If we had not brought the terrorism under control in this way, the EU would not have admitted us as a candidate country in December 1999. This was one of the factors that played a role in our candidacy. Since that day, our relations with Syria followed a positive course. There are still problems, they have not been eliminated totally, but we have resolved them to a great extent. Syria still has issues such as maps dating back to history. As for the water issue, we managed to reach an atmosphere of understanding. Syria knows that we will not use our waters as a tool. Syria realized that we do not have bad intentions. I instructed our ministry to explain everything openly. We invited the Syrians to come to Turkey and observe the situation of our dams."

    "As for military agreements, we have concluded agreements similar to those we signed with Israel with many countries, including Arab countries and the Turkic republics of Central Asia. We will do the same with Syria as our relations with it improve. We are signing economic agreements with Syria. Syria is a very valuable neighbour for us. Countries like Syria, Iran, and Iraq are our neighbours. Government and leaders come and go, but we will live together with these countries. Especially in the past five years -- I am concluding five years as foreign minister at the end of this month -- we greatly developed our commercial and economic relations with our neighbours, excluding Armenia, but including Greece and Bulgaria and indirectly Ukraine and Georgia. In this respect, Syria is very valuable for us, and our relations will go further. This is not just a temporary spring in our relations."

    Altayli's next topic is the Caucasus, which he terms Turkey's backyard, and asks for a general assessment of the relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Central Asian republics. Cem first recounts that former President Ozal was very effective during the upheaval period in this region, and Mr Demirel brought these policies to life. That was a different period, Cem remarks, when these countries were actually being born and Turkish businessmen were bold enough to undertake projects there. Now, after 10 years, this is a different period, and the performance of President Sezer and other politicians should be assessed accordingly. "We are maintaining our special ties of brotherhood, while at the same time developing relations based more on materialism and profit-and-loss considerations in line with today's conditions. I shared this view with the Central Asian countries in 2000, and this relieved them greatly."

    On the subject of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Cem says: "This is a greatly sensitive issue for Turkey. Although nothing is certain yet, it looks as though there is a crack in the door regarding a positive and facilitating role to be assumed by Turkey. I proposed this one year ago. I said the three countries should meet and discuss the Caucasus. We had to wait for one year to realize this. The Armenian side -- maybe justifiably -- may have feared that the two Turkish republics will join forces against it. It was also reported that Turkey and Azerbaijan planned this together and now want Armenia to join. It became clear that these thoughts were wrong and that Turkey launched this in goodwill without any ulterior motives." Cem adds that the first meeting was substantive beyond his expectations. Contacts were held and views were exchanged since then, Cem notes, and says that "I will probably meet separately with the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides in Istanbul now, and explore if we can advance the matter further."

    Cem states: "The agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the solution of the Karabakh problem is very important for Turkey. We want to reach new countries, other countries, and Central Asia more easily -- be it through Armenia or Azerbaijan. This is a matter of Turkey's strategic and economic interest. If a conciliation is reached, these two countries will be relieved, for one, and this region will reach Europe via Turkey and Turkey will secure direct passage especially to Central Asia. In other words, everyone stands to benefit."

    Prompted by Altayli, Cem explains that Turkey has two problems with Armenia -- the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and the policy of hostility against Turkey. "In our opinion," Cem says, "if the Armenian-Azerbaijani problem is settled, the possibility of Armenia looking at Turkey more correctly will grow stronger, and if this happens, there is no question of Turkey's being enemies with any country or with Armenia, which is in a difficult situation. I regard the starting point as Karabakh. We are exerting efforts to this end. The possibility of reaching a solution is not that remote."

    Asked about the indifference of the international community to the Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan, Cem says this is a matter of interests and domestic politics, not justice.

    On the subject of relations with Greece and the latest rapprochement, Cem remarks that "the old lack of trust has disappeared, the economic relations have developed, and the contacts between the people are different. If you are to ask if the issues have been resolved, the answer is no. Problems are not solved so quickly. This is more difficult in Greece. The situation in Greece is different. There is no fury vis-a-vis Greece among our public. No one seriously criticized me for bringing about this rapprochement with Greece. Across the shore, on the other hand, Papandreou is being criticized in this regard in certain Greek circles. Things can go better with Greece. As you know, we started to talk about the Aegean issue." Cem remarks that things are going slowly, and adds that the Cyprus issue was never discussed with Papandreou. We should carefully consider whether we should discuss this matter at all. Cem also expresses the belief that "the relations with Greece will develop positively," despite difficulties and reported violations.

    [04] Devlet Bahceli criticizes the EU

    CNN TURK Television (25.06.02) broadcast that Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli has harshly criticized the EU and those supportive of the EU. He said: The NAP [Nationalist Action Party] will neither be the main actor nor one of the extras in the EU game.

    Bahceli devoted a large section of his speech at the NAP parliamentary group meeting today to relations with the EU and explained his party's outlook on the EU.

    He said: "It should be known that the NAP will neither be the main actor nor one of the extras in the EU game. We have never viewed and will never view any international relation or project, including that with the EU, as an issue of faith or as a relation we are condemned to."

    Describing the Joint Turkey-European Parliament Committee meeting held on 18 June as a disgrace, Bahceli criticized the remarks made by the co-chairman of the committee. Assessing the Seville summit, Bahceli said that the EU administration is confused on the issue of Turkey, and added:

    "The remarks made by the Spanish foreign minister to the effect that Turkey should be made to try harder and a date for the commencement of the negotiations should be fixed when it fulfils the Copenhagen criteria were refuted by the administrators of other countries and primarily by the German Chancellor. It was noted that the Spanish foreign minister's remarks are not binding on the EU administration."

    Bahceli also conveyed a harsh message on the Cyprus issue. He said that the EU efforts to grant full membership to Cyprus mean that it does not attach importance to Turkey.

    "One should bear in mind that efforts to grant membership to the Greek Cypriot administration despite Turkey indicates that the EU does not attach importance and worth to our country," he said.

    [05] Turkish Cypriot teachers criticize the fact that the occupation regime opened an investigation against the bi-communal choir

    YENIDUZEN (26.06.02) reports that Erdogan Sorakin, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot primary school teachers' trade union (KTOS), has said that his organization could not accept the fact that the occupation regime opened an investigation against the five Turkish Cypriot teachers who had participated in the bi-communal choir, which visited Istanbul.

    Talking yesterday during a meeting of KTOS and KTOEOS (trade union of Turkish Cypriot secondary school teachers) with Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr Sorakin argued also that "there is a great assault" against the teachers and their trade unions.

    Expressing the opinion that the education system of the pseudostate is collapsing, Mr Sorakin demanded measures to be taken and added: "Important steps must be made on the educational system so that the migration of the young people is stopped".

    Meanwhile, KTOEOS chairman Ahmet Barcin noted that they would continue their struggle and asked for RTP's support on the issue. "We have decided to visit the political parties because of the recent restrictions of the democratic rights and the continuation of the investigation opened earlier against the teachers", he added.

    Mr Talat said that his party has already undertaken an initiative on the issue of supporting the teachers who participated in the bi-communal choir.

    [06] Yilmaz: Everyone has to sacrifice for enlargement

    Turkish Daily News (26.06.02) reports that Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz stated that everyone has to make some sacrifices and get rid of unnecessary doubts in order to reach success during the European Union enlargement process.

    Yilmaz, speaking at the "Turkey's progress toward EU membership" conference set up by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) in Brussels, indicated that Turkey's membership will add power to the EU. Yilmaz, stressing that Turkey's membership will increase the EU's role in global issues, said, "everyone has to make a sacrifice, get rid of unnecessary doubts, stereotypes and egocentric approaches in order for the EU enlargement process to succeed." Yilmaz indicated that Turkey-EU relations were at a critical stage and said that the Copenhagen summit in December would reveal the EU's future.

    Yilmaz prepared a press statement the day before the conference and indicated that Turkey should not be behind Bulgaria and Romania in membership negotiations. Yilmaz stated that Turkey's main aim should be to become an EU member by 2008.

    At the press conference, Yilmaz pointed out that the coalition government had not reached an agreement on how to fulfil certain parts of the national program. "At the summit set up by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, it was decided that an agreement should be reached in Parliament and we are still searching, but an agreement has not yet been reached," Yilmaz said. Indicating that Parliament will be on vacation during the summer months, but that it was possible to call Parliament for an extraordinary meeting said, "we know well how important the calendar is."

    Subtitle: International court on Greek Cypriot membership

    Yilmaz stated that Turkey may bring Cyprus/ EU membership to the international courts, even if the issue in Cyprus is solved. "As a government, we think that Greek Cyprus needs Turkey's ratification and, according to this view, we may bring the case to the international courts if it is not solved in a way we can accept," Yilmaz said.

    Yilmaz stated that efforts were ongoing to put the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) on the EU list of terrorist organizations and said, "KADEK's goal and leaders are the same as the [Kurdistan Workers' Party] PKK. We want KADEK to be put on the list. I guess the EU authorities will see the drawbacks of not putting KADEK on the list soon, and put KADEK on the list."

    State Minister Tunca Toskay, speaking at the same conference, said that "EU countries should observe Turkey without stereotypes." Toskay indicated that EU-Turkey relations were gaining momentum, but that Turkey was still behind the other candidate countries. Toskay indicated that candidate countries have received 19 billion euros in financial support from the EU, "Poland and Hungary, in 9 years, have gotten more than two times the amount that Turkey has received in 36 years."

    European Commission Energy and Transportation Deputy Secretary Loyola de Palacio, stated that they have been following all of the progress that candidate countries have made. Palacio stated that they have observed all of the changes that Turkey has undertaken in the banking, energy, and gas sectors and that Turkey is believed to be an energy bridge between the Caspian Sea and Europe.

    TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu stated that Turkey has a big economy; the Turkish economy is ranked 20th in the world economy.

    [07] Clinton to visit Turkey

    According to Turkish Daily News (26.06.02) former U.S. President Bill Clinton will visit Turkey next month, as the guest of the Turkish-American Businessmen's Association (TABA).

    According to a written statement issued by TABA, a meeting entitled, "Turkey-Europe-U.S. relations on the way to the European Union," will be held in July, and Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, will speak at the meeting, along with State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

    It was also stated that TABA Chairman Zeynel Abidin Erdem will elaborate on the extent of the meeting and Clinton's visit at a press conference.


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