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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-07-23

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.138/02 23.07.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ismail Cem/s `New Formation/ becomes `New Turkey/ party.
  • [02] Distribution of seats in the Turkish parliament.
  • [03] National Security Council meets on Thursday.
  • [04] AFRIKA publishes an "Alternative Declaration" regarding the Cyprus problem and calls on its readers to sign.
  • [05] A gift of gratitude by pseudostate to the German State Minister.
  • [06] Mehmet Ali Talat met with the French Ambassador.
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [07] Mehmet Ali Birand: We are about to ruin it all.
  • [08] A draft analysis of the "New Turkey Party".
  • [09] The Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly wants the US Administration to recognize the pseudostate if an operation against Iraq is carried out with Turkey's support.
  • [10] RADIKAL columnist: Behind closed doors Iraq-Cyprus bargaining with America.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ismail Cem/s 'New Formation' becomes 'New Turkey' party

    Reporting on the founding of Ismail Cem/s party, Turkish Daily News (23.07.02) writes the following:

    The "New Formation" led by former Foreign Minister Ismail Cem became a political party under the name "New Turkey" on Monday after submitting their petition to the Interior Ministry, a step needed for a political movement to become an official party.

    The founders of the new party elected Cem as the "founding chairman" of the new centre-left political party, that has pinned all its hopes on its pre-reform and pro-EU platform for success in an early election in few months time.

    The ex-minister set up the New Turkey party after he and dozens of other disaffected deputies fled Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DLP) this month as government in fighting threatened pro-European Union reforms and an International Monetary Fund-backed economic recovery program.

    Although they have received substantial support from local and international business circles, the New Turkey has come to understand that it would be a challenging task to emerge as a strong party from the early elections that will most likely be held on November 3.

    The party has targeted to become a party that will both have a considerable number of seats in Parliament and a strong say in a potential coalition. But after the thrill of the first days is over, it's now even questioned whether the new party will be able to pass a 10 percent national threshold and make it to parliament.

    Financial markets sagged again on Monday after Ecevit indicated he still opposed holding early general elections, despite agreeing with his two coalition partners last week to call for polls in November.

    Investors fear a protracted political crisis would undermine a $16 billion IMF-backed economic reform program.

    The three-way left-right coalition of Prime Minister Ecevit has been at odds over sensitive political reforms needed to advance Turkey's decades-long dream of joining the EU. It became a candidate in late 1999.

    The New Turkey party, which has 61 deputies in Parliament, brings together Cem, credited with forging improved ties with Brussels and arch rival Greece, Ecevit's former close aide Husamettin Ozkan and Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, the architect of the IMF pact.

    Dervis, who still retains his seat in the Ecevit Cabinet has not signed in the new party officially, but he is anticipated to run in an early election for Parliament on its ticket.

    "God willing, with the people's support the New Turkey party will produce and establish a new Turkey, which everyone aspires to," Istemihan Talay, the former DLP culture minister who is now secretary-general of the new party, told reporters.

    "New Turkey is not just a name, it's an aspiration, a goal, and for everyone it's an ideal," he said.

    Meanwhile, Cem declared moments after the party was officially established that his party was ready for early elections.

    Cem told the parliamentary group of his newly established party that his party is ready to fulfil its responsibility to pass the laws crucial for Turkey's membership to the European Union. Noting their experience and knowledge on issues related to Turkey's ambition to the EU, Cem said his party's support for EU reforms would be "unconditional."

    "We have no conditions," Cem said and vowed that his party would introduce a new understanding in Turkey. "What we have done in the past is the guarantee of our future performance," Cem said.

    [02] Distribution of seats in the Turkish parliament

    Turkish Daily News (23.07.02) reports that Kirklareli Deputy Nural Karagoz resigned from Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DLP) on Monday. With the new defection, the total seats of the three-party government has been reduced to 270 in the 550-seat Parliament. Karagoz joined the newly formed New Turkey party, under the leadership of former Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, as a founding member.

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who has seen half of the deputies abandon his Democratic Left Party (DLP) this month, succumbed to pressure from his coalition partners last week to call for snap polls on November 3, but over the weekend questioned whether they should still go ahead on that date.

    Ecevit's former foreign minister Ismail Cem on Monday was elected leader of the New Turkey Party (NTP), presently made up of 63 deputies, including seven ministers, who had left the DLP.

    With 270 seats, the three-party coalition government has lost its technical majority but maintains its right to govern and a legislative majority in the 550-seat assembly.

    If that number falls below 269, the government loses its legislative majority. If it falls below 262, opposition parties would have the 276 votes they would need to carry out a no-confidence motion. It is, however, highly uncertain if all opposition deputies would back such a motion. The Nationalist Action Party (NAP) with 127 seats is now Turkey's largest political party. The coalition Motherland Party (MP) has 79 MPs while the DLP, with 64 seats, is now the junior party in government.

    The following is a list of political parties and the seats they hold in Turkey's Grand National Assembly after a spate of resignations from the largest party and as the country looks set for early general elections.

    Party Seats
    Nationalist Action Party (NAP) 127
    True Path Party (TPP) 85
    Motherland Party (MP) 79
    Democratic Left Party (DLP) 64
    New Turkey Party (NTP) 63
    Justice and Development Party (JDP) 53
    Felicity Party (FP) 48
    Social Democratic Party (SDP) 3
    Grand Unity Party (GUP) 1
    Independent 14
    Vacant 13
    Total number of government seats 270
    Overall total 550
    

    [03] National Security Council meets on Thursday.

    The National Security Council (NSC) will hold a meeting in Istanbul on Thursday, July 25 under the presidency of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will also attend the meeting, reports Turkish Daily News (23.07.02).

    Ecevit will fly to Istanbul by private airplane called "Ata", belonging to the Prime Minister's office. After the meeting a ceremony will be held by the War Academies to be followed by a reception.

    [04] AFRIKA publishes an "Alternative Declaration" regarding the Cyprus problem and calls on its readers to sign

    After the "Alternative Solution Plan", AFRIKA (23.07.02) publishes an "Alternative Declaration" regarding the Cyprus problem. The paper calls on its readers to sign and send back the declaration to its offices. The full text of the declaration is the following:

    "1. The Turkish Cypriots are one of the two founding partners of the Republic of Cyprus, established in 1960. Their rights deriving from this Republic are still legally valid, even if they are violently seized at the present.

    2. The Greek Cypriots cannot become a member of the EU representing the whole of Cyprus without the approval of the Turkish Cypriots.

    3. Within the framework of the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus a temporary government must be established, which will consist of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot Vice-President must return to his duties and the relations with the EU and the accession negotiations to the EU must be commonly administered.

    4. The negotiations towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem must be rid of the initiatives of Denktas and Clerides. This duty must be turned over to the temporary government.

    5. The temporary government must give the final shape to the federal structure of Cyprus, taking into consideration the work conducted until today. The federal solution must be the basis of the problem and formulas must be created to unify rather than separate the two communities.

    6. Neither Turkey nor Greece are the motherlands of the Cypriots. Our motherland is the land where we have been born and grown up.

    7. Only the interests of the Cypriots must be taken into consideration when solving the Cyprus problem. There should be no talk of either American, British, Turkish or Greek interests on the Island.

    8. An issue such as the Turkish - Greek equilibrium on the Island cannot be discussed. This can only be an element, which threatens the independence and the freedom of the Cypriots.

    9. One of the first duties of the temporary government, which will create the federal roof, must be the demilitarization and disarmament of the island.

    10. Withdrawal of all foreign armies from the island, including the British Bases, dissolving the local armies and transferring the security only to the police must be ensured.

    11. The Federal Republic of Cyprus must be a member of the EU having only one identity and will be represented in the United Nations with a single identity.

    12. Under the umbrella of the EU the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots will have the right of equal representation.

    13. The Treaty of Guarantee of the Republic of Cyprus will be annulled and the new partnership will have no guarantors.

    14. Solution to the problems of territory and the refugees could be found only with a tri-zonal structure. This will at the same time ensure the restoration of confidence between the two communities.

    15. We, who have signed this declaration, once again confirm that these are the demands of the Turkish Cypriots and reflect their real will. As from the moment of signing this declaration, we declare to the whole world that we are not participating in the bargaining conducted by Ankara and Denktas on our behalf and that we will never accept the result of this bargaining".

    [05] A gift of gratitude by pseudostate to the German State Minister

    KIBRIS (23.07.02) reports that the so-called Minister of Tourism and Environment, Sertar Denktas, gave a gift of gratitude to the so-called Cultural Attache of the pseudostate in Bavaria, Dr Turgay Hilmi, to present it to the German State Minister for Research and Art, Hans Zehetmair.

    The German State Minister covered the cost of the Bavarian Orchestra's flight to the occupied areas last year. The German official also said that he will continue his efforts to boost culture on the island. Serdar Denktas invited him to visit the island.

    Zehetmair, who said that he is aware of the existence of the pseudostate, added: "I am thinking of visiting your 'country' within the framework of a cultural activity in the near future".

    [06] Mehmet Ali Talat met with the French Ambassador

    According to KIBRIS (23.07.02) the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, met yesterday with the French Ambassador in Cyprus Mr Jacques Depaigne.

    In a brief statement prior to the meeting, Talat said the Cyprus problem is one of the serious problems faced by Turkey in its bid to join the EU. Talat also said that France is one of the countries that issue visas for "TRNC" passports. It is also obvious in the EU that France has good relations with the Turkish Cypriot community, Talat concluded.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [07] Mehmet Ali Birand: We are about to ruin it all

    In his regular column in Turkish Daily News (23.07.02) Mehmet Ali Birand writes the following:

    "Those who have been reading this column must have seen that a certain issue has been repeatedly underlined at the risk of boring the readers.

    We have been writing over and over that 2002 is the most critical year in the history of the Republic, that if the two problems we are faced with can be overcome Turkey can become one of the first league countries.

    One of these issues involved the adaptation to the EU bills. We have stressed that if a number of bills involving especially the abolition of the death penalty and introduction of the right to learn and broadcast in the mother tongue can be passed quickly we could get from the EU's December 22 Copenhagen summit a signal, if not a specific date, indicating when the accession talks with Turkey would begin.

    There have been those who argue that there is no need to hurry so much, that legislation of the adaptation bills could be completed in time, that is, by the three-year deadline.

    We countered this argument always with the same rationale, saying, "If the EU's December 12 summit gives a membership perspective to all the candidate countries while making no binding statement towards Turkey, the EU train will have to be considered to have been missed to a great extent. Turkey will have missed the train altogether if, by the end of 2004, when accession talks start with the other candidate countries, it cannot sit down for accession talks."

    At the point things have reached by now, it is getting increasingly more difficult to pass the EU adaptation bills by the November 3 election in Turkey. It is a strong possibility that rather than engaging in long-term thinking, our political parties will be preoccupied with sterile bickering and they will fail to pass the adaptation bills "to a satisfactory extent".

    In such a case we will have to content ourselves with getting from the December 12 Copenhagen summit a meaningless message such as, "You are on the right track. Keep going."

    We will be helplessly waving goodbye as we watch the European train as it leaves the station with countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.

    There is also the Cyprus problem.

    I think that Cyprus is even more important than the adaptation to the EU bills. This is because, for the first time in 28 years we are faced with such an historic opportunity. Never before had a situation forcing the parties concerned to reach a solution been created. In the past, things had never gone beyond the pressure exerted by the United Nations.

    This time Cyprus will be a full member of the EU and this will be the end of the matter. In the long run, the Turkish side will lose.

    For the time being the `TRNC/ holds strong cards in its hands. Unless the Turkish side comes up with impossible-to-fulfil kind of demands, pressure can be put on the Greek Administration. However, as of December 12, 2002, things will be different.

    In the future, the Turkish side will regret not having accepted many proposals it does not find satisfactory today.

    At such a critical point the Cyprus talks have come to a halt with the November 3 storm.

    Denktas and Clerides may still be talking but that is hardly meaningful. In a Turkey where the election atmosphere prevails, no one would be willing to take risks concerning Cyprus.

    I wonder whether the new coalition to be formed in the wake of the November 3 election can do something. Would there be enough time left for that? Or would the train be missed?

    For the time being it seems that Turkey is about to make a mess of it all.

    Subtitle: This may be less harmful

    I look at the situation also from another angle and I conclude that it is a lesser evil that this mess is being caused by the decision to have an early election. If we did not have the early election excuse what would we have told the world?

    We would have to say, "We cannot pass the adaptation bills. So as to stay in power for a little more, the coalition partners are not willing to have a solution in Cyprus or to work towards EU membership."

    We would be reduced to the position of a country that does want to become civilized.

    Now, at least we will be able to say, "Holding an election is the most basic rule in a democracy. Since we have to go to the polls, we are sorry to postpone work on Cyprus and the adaptation bills."

    This way we will have saved the appearance (!) We will have slipped out of this spot without showing our true colours, ignoring the fact that in the long run we, ourselves, will be losers.

    There must definitely be other people in the world who are like us. However, only few of them would have that much capacity for self-deception and self-destruction for the sake of staging a show. "

    [08] A draft analysis of the "New Turkey Party"

    Writing in his column "OPINION" of Turkish Daily News (23.07.02) Cuneyt Ulsever assesses the establishment of Ismail Cem/s party as follows.

    "As of July 22nd of 2002, we have a new party, in fact the 46th political party in the country. This party deserves a special attention because in a country tremendously in need of new faces in the political arena, this party possibly may satisfy at least some portion of this great need. The dynamics of "the new formation" mainly depends on two faces, not quite new, but generally respected: Ismail Cem and Kemal Dervis!

    Mr Cem is the internally and internationally well-respected, pro-EU, enlightened, intellectual and relatively new politician. He was the foreign minister for the last seven years. He is now the chairperson of the "New Turkey Party."

    Kemal Dervis is the imported economy minister, "the saviour" whose task has been to "save" the already sunk economy. He used to work for the World Bank for the last 25 years and is well respected by the IMF, the creditor of the country, which is passing through its most severe crisis. He is also internationally well respected, known to be an expert on economics and regarded "honest", an adjective not usually used before a name of a Turkish politician, by people. He is not yet a politician but rather a technocrat.

    I am personally sure that people will give a special attention to these figures. But there are some questions about The New Party as well:

    1-) Above all, we are still not sure whether Mr Dervis will join this new party. He is still in government led by the Democratic Left Party, (DLP) from which main founders of the New Turkey Party have recently resigned. It is said that he gave his word to his future fellow party members to join later but until he resigns from the government-- a delicate decision for the ailing Turkish economy-- he will stay away from the new party.

    On the other hand, it is also rumoured that Mr Dervis does not see a future in the new party. Thus, in order to stay away from the political storm in Ankara, before he makes his final decision, he is now taking a 10-day vacation abroad. We can easily claim that without Mr Dervis, the new party will loose a lot from its potential attraction before the voters.

    2-) The party is only formed because the founders of the party were sort of expelled from Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's (Democratic Left Party) DLP. Originally, it was planned that they would take the party over from the old and sick chairman. It was even expected that Mr Ecevit would give the party to them willingly. On the contrary, Mr Ecevit took their attempt as a betrayal to him and obviously to his wife and sort of forced them out of the party to crash down their "plot". Now, they are forced to organize themselves in three months-- assuming that we have an election in November-- countrywide and this is one of the most difficult actions people can take in politics. Moreover, the new members of the party will have to explain to their constituency why they have left the DLP and formed a new party. "Are they really traitors or good-willed saviours?"

    3-) The third "most important name" in the new party is Husamettin Ozkan and he carries both advantages and disadvantages for the new formation. He is known to be an excellent organizer and in fact he carried Ecevit, a man known to be a very difficult person, for 11 years on his shoulders. But, he also carries two disadvantages:

    a-) He is so much associated with Ecevit that he will certainly have difficulty in explaining to people why he left him.

    b-) He was also a man who has managed the relations of DLP with the businessmen in a country where businessmen become rich only through their "good contacts" with the government. So, he is allegedly held responsible for some "sunk credits" offered by some state banks to the businessmen. He is held to be a prominent name, the so-called "Economics of Impropriety" by many people.

    So far, it seems to me that the new party have widened the indefiniteness of the dusty atmosphere of Turkish politics rather than offering solutions."

    [09] The Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly wants the US Administration to recognize the pseudostate if an operation against Iraq is carried out with Turkey's support

    Istanbul ORTADOGU newspaper (22.07.02) publishes the following column by Murat Sokmenoglu, Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Parliament under the title: "Noble Warning":

    "The Turkoman population in Kirkuk is very important for Turkey. I want you to know that I am also a Turkoman." These words are from General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the Chief of the Turkish General Staff and clearly express the will and determination of the Turkish nation on this subject directly to the US Assistant Secretary of Defense.

    Turkey is squeezed among the pressures from economic problems, relations with the EU and Cyprus. It is understood that Turkey will also be concentrating on the position and results of a probable operation the United States will make against Iraq in the near future. However, we must state right away that it is impossible to agree with the claims that Turkey has lost its initiative on this subject and that its determination has weakened. The talks and meetings held with the high level officials realized by the US Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman, by their coming to Turkey, contrary to what is claimed, show the importance they place on obtaining the support and proposals of Turkey.

    General Kivrikoglu has emphasized the importance from the aspect of the sensitivities of Turkey in case an unwanted situation is created in Northern Iraq and especially in the Kirkuk region after the operation and in summary said the following: "If the establishment of a Kurdish state to include Kirkuk would be under consideration, then we want you to know that we will directly and clearly enter there and intervene. The Turkoman population in Kirkuk is very important for us. I want you to know that I am also a Turkoman".

    This noble stand is the clearest and most meaningful expression of the sensitivities and feelings of the Turkish nation.

    Turkey expressed its attitude and wishes with insistence and sensitivity to the Iraqi administration on the implementation of the decisions taken by the UN on the subject of the supervision of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that opening Iraq to UN supervision would prevent probable dangers. Fulfillment of this important responsibility of Iraq, is not only for Iraq, but is also of close interest to the countries in the region and naturally Turkey as well. Turkey is definitely in favour of the preservation of the territorial integrity of Iraq. It is being emphasized with importance and determination that if the present-day vacuum of authority, especially in the Northern Iraqi strip, is taken advantage of and the present situation acquires an official and legal status after a probable operation, then it could create the concern of great threats from the aspect of Turkey's external security. Turkey's interests are above all kinds of bargaining. Moreover, Turkey has not received the financial support promised after the last Gulf War. This makes it necessary for Turkey to evaluate the probable operation against Iraq with all of its dimensions and make definite conclusions. However, it is necessary for Turkey to oppose with determination the new formations in the Northern Iraqi strip under all conditions from the aspect of its national security.

    On the other hand, in this sensitive period it is necessary for the United States to accept the reality of the `TRNC/ and recognize it. It should also be dwelled upon with importance that this would be a meaningful gesture expected from a friendly and allied country. The undeniable existence of the Turkish Cypriot community on Cyprus is as important as the existence of the Turkomans in Iraq. It has become necessary for the Republic of Turkey to express this with ease and use the trump cards it holds. For this, the existence of the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] and the strong state structure as well as the existence of the present election government will also be sufficient."

    [10] RADIKAL columnist: Behind closed doors Iraq-Cyprus bargaining with America

    RADIKAL (21.07.02) published the following commentary by Murat Yetkin, under the title "Behind closed doors Iraq-Cyprus bargaining with America":

    "The conditions for the support Turkey are to lend the United States for any operation against Iraq have begun to become clear. Among them are ones well known to the public such as the prevention of a Kurdish formation in Iraq as well as surprising factors such as Cyprus and relations with the EU.

    It is being suggested that Turkey's demands to this effect might have been forwarded to EU officials when EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen met US Assistant Secretary of State (and former Ambassador to Turkey) Marc Grossman in Brussels on 18 July. Grossman had also attended the talks in Ankara held by US Assistant Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and Commander NATO European Forces (also Commander US Forces Europe) Gen. Joseph Ralston. That same day following the Grossman-Verheugen meeting the traffic seen in Ankara went as follows:

    Firstly, Chief of the General Staff General Huseyin Kivrikoglu went to the Presidential Mansion at 14:30 for his weekly talk with President Sezer, who held his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Ecevit an hour later. However, Kivrikoglu did not leave the Presidential Mansion. The meeting continued as a triumvirate. Presidential Chief Clerk Tacan Ildem confirmed yesterday that Iraq was discussed at the meeting.

    According to claims reflected deep behind the scenes in Ankara, it was noted at the meeting that the United States was definitely going to strike somehow at Iraq even though Turkey did not want this, that the United States' request for help from Turkey was legitimate and that it was perfectly natural for Turkey in response to this to ask for its national interests (including Cyprus) to be protected. When we asked Foreign Minister Gurel at the ceremony on Cyprus to commemorate the 1974 operation (Aired on CNN Turk following the news in the Cafe Politics program and afterwards with Mete Belovacikli.) he made the following analysis, which showed that bargaining is going on indirectly if not officially:

    'The United States has interests all over the world. While preserving these interests, just how those regions will be affected is not that important. Yet, as far as I am concerned, the people and territorial integrity of Iraq are more important than the regime there. If the United States is going to intervene in one of the countries in this region, in Iraq, the consequences are going to affect Turkey more than they will the United States. This is the most unstable and uncertain region in the world. We are also living in this neighbourhood. However, seeing that we have a strategic partnership with the United States we both need to disclose clearly our intentions for and interests in the region.

    Seeing that we have a strategic partnership, this encompasses all issues.

    Just as the United States supports its national interests, so we too stick to our national interests in this context including Cyprus plus the prosperity and well-being of our people.'

    For an indirect verification, it is sufficiently clear.

    But we can continue: It is known that Gurel is critical of what Grossman and other US officials have said over the EU and Cyprus as well as the EU's attitude here which only encourages the Greek Cypriots not to reach an agreement. He even stated, 'The EU's Rapporteur for Cyprus has not even set foot in the north let alone speak with the Turkish side.'

    I wonder whether Ankara asked the US administration to send a message to the EU about this? Did Grossman pass on such a message to Verheugen?

    Gurel replied: "It is most likely he said, 'the Turkish Government is not too pleased with the way you are treating Cyprus.' He most probably conveyed our other concerns as well. At least, that is what we hope he did."

    Gurel continued: "We want this to be understood: It is not possible to reach an easy solution over Cyprus by putting it in an EU context. While there are two separate peoples and states on Cyprus and while there will never be an entire entity known as Cyprus, acting like there is will get you nowhere."

    When we asked officials in Ankara they preferred to talk of "exchanging points of view" and "openly expressing intentions" rather than call it bargaining.

    Furthermore, it is still not clear how this request will be met by the EU, whether or not a mechanism will be established or how it will run.

    However, that the grounds for such talks have emerged means we could well observe a Turkey-centered upsurge in activity in the region.

    Subtitle: Bush: We Need the Turks

    US Assistant Secretary of Defence Wolfowitz told Prime Minister Ecevit what President Bush told him: 'Tell Turks we like them, we need them.' These words of Bush's have found a favourable echo in Turkey. Although the United States is not going to change its decision to strike at Iraq, it can be interpreted that they want more support from Turkey and are ready to haggle over Turkey's demands.

    This attitude of the United States has played a large part in getting topics discussed more openly now."


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