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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-09-10

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.172/02 10.09.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Nationalists Action Party to challenge EU reforms.
  • [02] Ertugruloglu left for New York
  • [03] Occupied Tymbou will be closed to air traffic for three months for repairs.
  • [04] The pseudo-assembly rejected the "draft-law" for pardoning Levent and Ener.
  • [05] Talat: "The Cyprus problem cannot be entrusted to the hawks".
  • [06] The construction of Baku - Ceyhan pipeline will start on 18 September.
  • [07] Slovak ambassador bids farewell to RTP leader Talat.
  • [08] The occupation regime denies the pillage of Cyprus/ cultural heritage.
  • [09] Ankara reacts to Barzani-Talabani agreement.
  • [10] The foreign policy expert of the Felicity Party (FP) expresses the party/s views on Cyprus and other issues facing Turkey today.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Nationalists Action Party to challenge EU reforms

    NTV television (09.09.02) broadcast that Turkish nationalists, campaigning for November elections, applied to the Constitutional Court to annul some rights reforms enacted to help the country meet European Union membership standards.

    The 15-nation bloc is due to review Turkey's progress in December, with Ankara's hopes for a date to start membership talks hinging on the legislation passed in August.

    The Nationalist Action Party (NAP) opposed the EU laws as they went through parliament, particularly sections abolishing the death penalty, allowing Kurdish broadcasting and education, and allowing minority religious groups to own property.

    The NAP also opposes turning over Turkish courts' sovereignty to European Union courts.

    "We will demand today that the Constitutional Court cancels and suspends a section of the EU harmonisation laws," NAP leader Devlet Bahceli said in remarks carried on live NTV. Concern about its human rights record is the main reason why Turkey remains the only one of the 13, mostly ex-communist, candidate countries still waiting to open accession talks, concludes NTV.

    [02] Ertugruloglu left for New York

    According to KIBRIS (10.09.02), the so-called foreign and defence minister of the pseudostate Tahsin Ertugruloglu left the occupied area for New York yesterday via Istanbul.

    Ertugruloglu will follow the deliberations of the UN general assembly, which will start on 12.09.02. He will also follow the deliberations of the Islamic Conference Organization foreign ministers annual co-ordination conference to be held in New York on 17.09.02. He will return to the occupied area on 20.09.02.

    [03] Occupied Tymbou will be closed to air traffic for three months for repairs

    According to KIBRIS (10.09.02), occupied Tymbou airport will be closed as of today, to air traffic three months for repairs. During this time occupied Lefkoniko airport will be used.

    KIBRIS reports that Tymbou's tarmac, aprons, take off and landing strips will be resurfaced and will be repaired.

    KIBRIS reports that occupied Lefkoniko airport is ready for civilian traffic use.

    [04] The pseudo-assembly rejected the "draft law" for pardoning Levent and Ener

    KIBRIS (10.09.02) reports that the pseudo-assembly rejected yesterday a "draft law" proposal submitted by the Republican Turkish Party and the Communal Liberation Party regarding pardoning the two imprisoned journalists Sener Levent and Memduh Ener.

    The paper notes that the proposal was rejected with absolute majority. The National Unity Party (NUP), the Democratic Party (DP), the Nationalist Justice Party (NJP) and independent "MP" Ertugrul Hasipoglu voted against the proposal, which was supported by RTP, CLP and the independent "MP's" Kemal Havali and Gulboy Beydagli.

    AFRIKA refers to the issue under the title "NUP, DP and NJP said no to the freedom of thought!".

    [05] Talat: "The Cyprus problem cannot be entrusted to the hawks"

    "YENI DUZEN" (10.09.02) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), has sent a letter to some Turkish journalists regarding the Cyprus problem and the recent threats of some Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials that Turkey would annex the occupied areas of Cyprus, in case the Republic of Cyprus becomes a full member of the European Union (EU) without a solution to its political problem.

    According to the paper Mr Talat wonders what the result of these threats could be and how they could serve Turkey and the pseudostate. Furthermore, he asked from the journalists to bring onto the agenda that the Cyprus problem must rapidly be solved and that Cyprus must not be accepted to the EU in case the Greek Cypriot side abandons the face-to -face talks procedure towards finding a solution. The paper writes also that the RTP leader "drew the attention of the journalists" to what "the expectations of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots must be while the Cyprus problem approaches to its end".

    Mr Talat expresses, inter alia, the following positions in his letter: ".The important thing is for the two communities to have their own internal laws in their territories and the power to rule and administer. Naturally, a part of the sovereignty, the common administration, the executive power and the judiciary will be shared. The biggest part of all these will belong to the EU itself. .The solution of the Cyprus problem, Turkey's and Cyprus' EU accession and the approach of the EU to all these matters are closely related to each other, irrespective of the political expressions used. .".

    [06] The construction of Baku - Ceyhan pipeline will start on 18 September

    KIBRIS (10.09.02) reports that Turkey's Energy and Natural Recourses Minister, Zeki Cakan said yesterday that the construction of the Baku - Tiflis - Ceyhan pipeline would start on 18 September.

    Talking at a press conference regarding the work of his Ministry, Mr Cakan noted that Turkey's, Azerbaijan's and Georgia's Presidents will participate in the inauguration ceremony of the pipeline.

    Meanwhile according to NTV (internet version in English), eight oil companies have signed the foundation documents for the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan Company, which plans to build a 1-mil b/d crude export line from Azerbaijan across Georgia to the Turkish Mediterranean. The British Petroleum Company (BP) is to act as operator of the new company while the President of Azerbaijan's state oil company Socar will serve as head of the board of directors.

    A ceremony to mark the start of the pipeline's construction is scheduled for September 18 at Sangachal terminal, the landfall for pipelines bringing oil ashore from the AIOC's acreage in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea.

    Greek Consolidated Contractors International has been hired to lay sections of the pipeline crossing Azerbaijan.

    [07] Slovak ambassador bids farewell to RTP leader Talat

    According to KIBRIS (10.09.02), the Slovak ambassador to Cyprus Mr Dusan Rozbora continues his courtesy calls on Turkish Cypriot political party leaders. He met yesterday Republican Turkish Party, (RTP), leader Mehmet Ali Talat and bid farewell to him.

    Speaking to reporters Mr Rozbora said that this is the last meeting with Mr Talat since next week he is leaving the island at the end of 5 and a half years of tenure in Cyprus.

    Stressing that it was a good chance to review during his meeting with Talat the activities they have realized, Rozbora said that the RTP has extended support for the (bicommunal) meetings and activities and he himself attended these meetings.

    Noting that the evaluation and the assessment of the meetings and activities was done during last week/s meeting, Rozbora said that he was satisfied with the fact that the political leaders had confirmed the usefulness of these meetings. Rozbora thanked Talat for the support he extended as well as to the Turkish Cypriot press, which showed interest and followed these meetings. The Slovak ambassador further added that Slovakia's interest through the new ambassador who will replace him would continue the efforts to bring together the political party leaders in Cyprus.

    In his turn the RTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat said that they would remember Rozbora for his efforts to reconcile the two communities in Cyprus and to this aim his work to organize the Greek and Turkish Cypriot political party leaders' meetings and the positive results of these meetings.

    Saying that these meetings were proved to be very useful, Talat said that they had the chance to express their views openly and in turn listen to the views of the other side and try to understand each other.

    Noting that the aim of these meetings was not to try to find a solution to the Cyprus problem but to understand each other, Mr Talat expressed the belief that they fulfilled this aim.

    Referring to the intercommoned talks Talat said that it was still possible to find a solution framework until the end of this year, otherwise, he added, if Cyprus becomes an EU member before a settlement then this will bring the Turkish Cypriots face to face to new wave of problems because, he noted, in that case the Turkish Cypriots will leave the island and will emigrate. ''This will be the end of the story'', Talat declared.

    Talat warned that in case such things happen regional balance will be endangered. ''For this reason we are insisting on a settlement, at least for a framework settlement'', Talat stressed.

    Expressing the conviction that this was still possible, Talat said that all the avenues were not closed yet.

    Talat concluded by saying that Dusan Rozbora did his best and his contributions to the reconciliation and solution process will be kept in the depth of their thoughts. He wished every success to the ambassador in his future endeavours.

    [08] The occupation regime denies the pillage of Cyprus' cultural heritage

    In an attempt to deny the pillage of the cultural heritage in the occupied part of Cyprus, the so-called "Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministry" issued yesterday a statement rejecting the accusations made by the Greek Cypriot mayor of the occupied town of Lyssi that the occupation regime has stolen a treasure found in the yard of Panayia Church in the above-mentioned town during excavation works, reports KIBRIS (10.09.02).

    [09] Ankara reacts to Barzani-Talabani agreement

    NTV television (10.09.02 internet version) reports that sources in the Turkish capital repeated Ankara's position that it would not allow the establishment of a Kurdish state on its border and voiced their disquiet over the broad agreement reached by Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK's chairman Jalal Talabani during the weekend.

    The two agreed to end their differences in the region, forge a united front and to reconvene the local assembly, which was set up in the wake of the 1990-91 Gulf War, when Northern Iraq gained autonomy after the defeat of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by the Allied forces.

    While no official position has been announced by Ankara on the agreement, diplomatic sources have already pointed out that the document signed by the two Kurdish factions does not set out terms for representation in the assembly for the third largest community in the area, the Turkomen.

    Turkey and the KDP leader were already going through a period of strained relations, with Barzani accusing Turkey of aspiring to occupy part of Northern Iraq, a move he said would turn the region into a graveyard for the Turkish military.

    Ankara has alleged that Barzani has been working to set up an independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq, something Turkish authorities have vowed to prevent at all costs.

    [10] The foreign policy expert of the Felicity Party (FP) expresses the party/s views on Cyprus and other issues facing Turkey today

    Turkish Daily News (09.09.02) publishes the following interview with Oya Akgonenc, parliament Deputy and international relations expert of the Saadet (Felicity) Party of Recai Kutan:

    Question: We would like to start the interview with a question on Iraq. One of the very first things, if you come to power, to come on the agenda will be the Iraq problem. What is your approach to this problem? How should this problem be solved?

    Answer: Our political approach to the Iraq issue is very clear. Turkey has a systematic foreign policy infrastructure which it must follow. It does not change easily. Parties may change, governments may change but Turkey's vital interests remain the same. We have historical ties as well. Iraq is one of them. No one can say a new party shall follow a new policy. The Iraq policy should be based and followed according to national interest, in coordination with history and related to Turkey's strategic location. There are other inputs as well such as woundings or traumas and the impacts of destroying a country.

    Our party's vision cannot be simplified as a power struggle or balance of power. First, Turkey's strategic interests and second its moral values. The second includes humanitarian values, to reasonable explanations for war. We can not act according to someone's requests or considerations. President Sezer put it well in his speech in Johannesburg. He stated that legitimacy is important. There is a need to understand the reason very clearly. We agree. We say that Turkey shall not be involved in an adventure.

    Turkey has to follow a logical, well balanced policy which is harmonized with history and in coordination with strategies. We live in this region. We are going to face the result after the war because we live in the region. The Gulf War was an example of this. Our loss has not been compensated. Do we want to double the loss or do we want a new establishment (a Kurdish state in northern Iraq) that we really do not welcome? Our policies are obvious, we do not want such things. This has to be consistent, nationalist and in coordination with Turkey's projections for the future and strategies. You may ask about the U.S. factor at this stage. We need evidence that will satisfy our logic and moral values. This is the only way to be convinced because this is not only Iraq's problem. This will also affect Turkey. The most powerful country or other countries may want to but this is not the criteria for us. Everyone has alliances but national interest are vital criteria. This is a priority and then we can talk with our allies. What is the medium? How will this action satisfy us? It is our right to ask such questions. Say there is a military strike and the reason is mass destructive weapons. Is Iraq the only country that owns such weapons? The whole world questions this. Will another military strike take place?

    Question: Iraq is the only country that has used such weapons since World War I, and it even used them on its own people at Halabja.

    Answer: This is a discussion topic in the U.S. It is stated that some such weapons were sold to Iraq during the George Bush Sr. era. U.S. firms taught them how to produce such weapons at that time. How shall we discuss it? We cannot forget it. Who is responsible. In brief we do not want a war in our neighbourhood. War is destructive.

    This will also be a precedent. 'I did not like this person in this country I will change him' approach is unacceptable. Will you change the next person if you do not like him? How will this end? Will they intervene in Turkey as well if some one they do not like is in power? Will we say ok to that? Therefore we have to follow a policy which matches with Turkey's national interests and future projections. These questions are moral questions at the same time. If this attitude becomes a threat, how will world politics be affected? We do not want Middle Eastern politics to be changed so dramatically. You may topple Hussein. This is not the main problem. What will happen afterwards? Will Iraq be divided in three? Will Syria, Iran and Israel be affected by this? The problem will not be solved by toppling Saddam Hussein. Since we say Turkey is a regional country and we are a powerful country, then we have to consider the day after. This issue should be calculated very well.

    Question: What do you think about suicide attacks and the state violence on civilians? The Middle East may explode anytime. How do you consider the Middle East issue?

    Answer: This is more than an emergency. Everyone talks but no one suggests a solution. People are looking for personal satisfaction but peace of mind is more important than this. How can you get peace of mind? Is it possible to have such thing via pressure? Pressure never solves the problem permanently. If Israel considers herself a permanent state in the region then it has to follow a more friendly policy and create a more friendly atmosphere. The Arabs demonstrated that they are getting closer to this idea many times, most lately with the Riyadh declaration. Israel thinks pressure will solve the problem. They forget one thing, action and reaction. How much can you pressure?

    How do you see yourself? Part of the Middle East, or part of the outside world. Israel has to decide. I think Israel has not decided yet. Some 50 years later it still thinks "I'm from the outside but they will accept me." They know you are powerful. The revolt is against the unfairness not against Israel. Turkey can play a more important role. Turkey can be a mediator. Turkey has Middle Eastern experience. Our relations with Arabs and Jews force us to become a mediator. I believe Turkey has to follow this idea. It already does in fact. Turkey should tell Arabs to compromise and should ask Israelis, "How do you see yourself and how do you want to solve the problem? Violence results in violence, how it will be ended?"

    Question: Do you see any connection between international terrorism, U.S.'s military strike on Iraq and Palestinian conditions?

    Answer: During the Gulf War, 12 years ago, Israel was the main discussion topic and the question was what damage Israel would have. Middle East does not consist of only Israel; there are forty-plus states in the region, but the whole concern was would Israel be target of Iraq's missiles. The same subjects will be discussed again. There will be an operation but people will question the reason behind it. Will it really be for Iraq, for Saddam, for Kurds, for whom? If this issue is discussed again we have to ask whether it is in favour of Israel or to drawback of it in the long run. This has to be considered. We have to ask what will happen if rage is focused on that area for a long time. This is not as simple as shooting someone. There are very tiny balances. This may create a domino effect and no one would know how to end it. We are at the most critical point in foreign policy. We have to analyze it well.

    Question: Terrorism in the U.S. is considered by many people as a reflection of the Middle East problem. It is considered that unhappiness brought terrorism. Do you accept this assessment?

    Answer: This issue was discussed at the meetings I attended at the European Council. We talk about international terrorism but what is the source of it? The source is the Middle East. The reason is frustration. U.S. supports one side and that side has a "I don't need to make any concessions" approach. That is what Europeans say. This is not only considered in Turkey. BBC discussed the subject many times but it is not discussed in the United States. September 11 is presented as a hostile group that suddenly hit the U.S., as there was no beginning, no initiating point. We have experienced terrorism since 1975.

    Europe knows terror well. The U.S. has been involved very recently. Maybe they will go back and look for the reasons but no one is sure of that. The approach is discussed in the European Council. But no Israeli considers the issue in that way because they have the power. Israel has no willingness. In European Council speaking against 44 countries they said they will use their own policy whatever others say.

    Question: What about Palestinian suicide attacks. Civilians die in attacks. Do you consider suicide attacks as terrorism? Answer: A live bomb, this is very sad. It is not possible to accept and welcome it. If we consider that a human bomb can be anyone's child, if we consider the case with a second perspective, we see that people can do mad things if they lose hope. This is where they are. They see no hope. Israel has decided to apply pressure using violence.

    Palestinians say I have no hope, at least I can kill some of them while I die. That's how desperate they are. Israel has to understand what happens if you take hope away. To understand does not mean to justify. But they have to analyze why Palestinians are at this point.

    Question: What are your views on relations with Arab countries? Do you think Turkey's relations are good with these countries?

    Answer: They are medium, not good not bad. Our relations need to be developed. Syria, Iran and Egypt are powerful and important countries. They have history, civilization. This triangle has been an important factor in the region throughout the ages. We cannot act according to our feelings. We cannot say we got angry with them 80 years ago. There is no place for rage in politics. Politics is based on national interests and reality. This is the modern state approach.

    Question: How do you see Turkish-Israeli relations?

    Answer: If Turkey-Israel relations are based on critical agreements and they are already signed, then the continuity on the relations is a must. Turkey's future and security have first priority. Once these priorities are considered as the policy and relations are started, then they should continue. Policies must be based on logic and principles. I may have an ideology, but national interest has first priority, not ideology.

    Question: What about relations with Turkic Republics?

    Answer: This area is the back garden of Iran, Russia and Turkey. There is a power struggle among these three countries. In fact Turkic Republics are still influenced by Russia. All their infrastructure force them to be on good terms with Moscow. However, we have historical ties with them and Iran has a geographical advantage.

    We made a good start in 1992, but then we disappointed them. Since 1996, we have been trying to develop relations. We might be at our starting point level. We need to produce a Turkic Republic policy. What does Turkey want to do there? Be a bridge between the west and them, an active actor or just a mediator? I do not want to be a mediator. We can be an active player in the region. We must provide the Turkish model to the region. We currently make mistakes such as buying more expensive natural gas from Russia instead of buying it directly for example from Turkmenistan.

    Question: What about relations with Armenia?

    Answer: Armenia will remain a problem for a while because there are some powers which support Armenia. According to interviews with some Armenian people in Armenia, there are Armenians who are in favour of improving relations with Turkey. There is another tiny but powerful group in Armenian which says, "No, historical rights first." If a country says they have a territorial claim and they put this claim into their Constitution, while putting Mount Agri on their flag, then we have no choice.

    Of course there is the Nagorno Karabagh problem as well. Armenians have invaded 21 percent of Azerbaijan. Tolerance is a good thing, but how far can we go? Of course we can't get up to a level of stupidity. How can one have good relations with Armenia while it continues occupying 21 percent of Azerbaijan and over 1.5 million Azerbaijanis have been living, for almost a decade, in refugee camps?

    We did not explain the Armenian issue to the world as well. They play the "poor immigrant" in the U.S. and our efforts to present our case are not enough.

    Question: What is your approach, to apply more pressure or to lift the embargo and start trade?

    Answer: I prefer compromising. But I also believe we cannot compromise at a level of stupidity. We heard comments that not everyone in Armenia has negative feelings towards Turkey. This might be true, but we can not forget the ASALA terrorism prior to the PKK.

    When Armenians ask Armenians who died during World War I, the situation is presented in a different way. They might ask Turkey to "accept that we are responsible." ASALA ended, but has been used as a blue print for the PKK. Weren't we going to wonder?

    We have to seriously work on the Armenian issue and we have to look for regional peace. I will make peace with you and you will do the same with Azerbaijan. Now there is an Armenian enclave in Georgia and Yerevan is staging step by step some sort of what it did in Karabagh there. There is need for regional peace and Armenia must see this fact. You say you want peace, but you also undermine regional peace. You have to make up your mind also. Israel is an example for Armenians, "If they can do that we can do this," they say.

    Question: Balkan Politics?

    Answer:Turkey worked well and made good job in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania. There is a rapid deployment force there. We and six Balkan countries established it together. This works well. My husband and I, on a voluntary base, lectured at universities there for a long time and I know the mentality. We are good cooks. We cook it and somehow forget its in the kitchen, we do not bring it to dining room and serve. Greece does. We established the Black Sea Cooperation but the headquarters are established in Thessalonica, in Greece. Therefore I claim that we need a vision in the Balkans. What do we want to do in the Balkans? We shall not use the Balkans as a means in our domestic politics. In 1994-1995 when the Bosnia Herzegovina issue was hot there was a public opinion which emerged on its own. There were demonstrations in Ankara and in Istanbul. Tansu Ciller, prime minister at that time, stopped it. She said Refah (Welfare party) would benefit from these demonstrations. This example demonstrates how foreign policy is sacrificed for domestic politics. Therefore our influence in the region is half of what we should have in fact.

    Question: How do you consider EU reforms. Are they sufficient, well timed, what else shall we do, will we get a date from the EU?

    Answer: We need a consensus on the EU. For example, the Nationalist Action Party and Motherland Party speak differently. We speak with a clear voice, we want EU accession. We think the order of law will be better. All disorder in law will be regulated. Maybe the human rights notion will improve. We love our country and we have to say frankly that there are many human rights abuses. We can't claim that we practice human rights fully.

    Economic gain is in second place. If we do not solve our economic problems how we can expect them to accept us. We are logical in every issue but why are we emotional about the EU issue?

    I believe that the reform package is not discussed well. They were legislated in haste. This is something about the future of my children, my grandchildren. We have not discussed such things adequately. This disturbed me and I'm sure it disturbed Europe as well.

    Question: What about implementation?

    Answer: We shall not get angry if someone asks for the implementation. Everything seems to be fine on paper but what about practice? I say that there are things we do not fulfill.

    On the other hand Europeans act unfair as well. There are things they had promised since the Customs Union that they did not fulfill. What do they wait for? If we can solve all the problems on our own then why shall we need them? They criticize us all the time, however, they do not criticize themselves. You never support but always criticize. They always talked in a manner which made them unpopular. Karen Fogg for example. She could have behaved much better rather than trying to give an irritating image. Europe wants us in a way in which we cannot resist them. I want to access the EU but with my honour and in equal conditions.

    Question: What about the Cyprus problem?

    We are not ready to sacrifice Cyprus to access the EU. All parties may have struggles but all have a common point when Cyprus is the issue. Cyprus is important for Turkey. Greece is increasing tension considering that it will have two votes in the EU. Turkey will be faced with the EU not Greece when there is a problem. I think all parties will say yes to this power struggle. There are things which are important for Turkey. We have historical ties, Cyprus has strategic importance and they are key points for us for our long term approaches on the Cyprus issue. We need a national consensus on it.

    Question: Are you in favour of the same Cyprus policy to be followed?

    Answer: Yes, we may accede to the EU later. They do not want us for 20 years anyway. This is what we keep on hearing from European politicians, academics, economists...

    Question: Relations with the U.S.?

    Answer: U.S. is very important for us. U.S. is equal to all the countries together. There are two schools of thought, one says we shall be close to the EU and the other says Europe has prejudices and old mistakes thus we should turn to the U.S. Both arguments are right at some point. Turkey cannot prefer one to the other. Turkey has to balance it. There is the Russian factor and Asian factor. We have to keep these factors in mind. Turkey cannot act as if she was a small regional country. We have to think big but unfortunately we think small now. The U.S. is very important and we cannot avoid Russia.

    /SK


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