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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-09-23

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. 181/02 23/09/02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader adduces statements by Henry Kissinger to justify his intransigence
  • [02] Turkish general describes the occupied part of Cyprus holy territories which will remain Turkish for ever
  • [03] Sukru Sina Gurel assesses his contacts in the United States
  • [04] Leading Turkish politicians banned from November 3 elections
  • [05] Erel asks Denktas to abandon his demand regarding the recognition of the pseudostate in order to sign an agreement on the Cyprus problem
  • [06] Sukru Sina Gurel will pay a short visit to London
  • [07] Turkey invested 258.1 trillion TL in the occupied areas in the first eight months of 2002B.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Editorial in Turkish Daily News criticizes the decision to ban leading politicians from the elections
  • [09] Ilter Turkmen views the election picture in Turkey today and prospects after the elections

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader adduces statements by Henry Kissinger to justify his intransigence

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20/09/02) reported from occupied Nicosia that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktas, said on Friday that the deadlock in the Cyprus problem continued and added that the real problem was about the basis on which a partnership would be founded.

    Denktas, who received a delegation said that the territory arrangement could be made, the borders could be drawn again, Turkey`s guarantee would continue and all of those things were and could be acceptable. Denktas said: ``The problem is on the ground. There should be two grounds so that they cannot leave us in the street again by saying that it is not working.``

    He added: ``The Greek Cypriots cannot use the European Union (EU) laws in the TRNC in case they join the EU by using the name `Republic of Cyprus` because there is another sovereign people and state in the North.``

    Denktas quoted U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger as saying with regard to the Middle East and Cyprus: ``The two sides are considered to accept their equalities by sitting on the table face to face. Otherwise, denying this after sitting on the table means the denier`s having the right to destroy the opposite side. You cannot tell me `you are not existing` by sitting on the table. If I accept this, I would have given the right to destroy me to you. Very few persons understands this. But we cannot give up defending ourselves because very few people understand it.``

    [02] Turkish general describes the occupied part of Cyprus holy territories which will remain Turkish for ever

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21/09/02) reported from occupied Nicosia that Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman said on Saturday that the Turkish Armed Forces will always support the Turkish Cypriots, adding that ``these holy territories will always remain as Turkish territory.``

    Gen. Yalman presented ``a medal of courage`` to Turkish Cypriot Forces Commando Regiment in a ceremony held the same day.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, so-called Speaker Vehbi Zeki Serter, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, Turkish Ambassador Hayati Guven, occupation Forces Commander Gen. Ahmet Ozteker, high ranking commanders and so-called ministers attended the ceremony.

    Addressing the ceremony, Gen. Yalman alleged that Turkey launched the Turkish invasion in 1974 in order to end the cruelty against Turkish Cypriots before 1974, to end the Enosis dream of the Greek Cypriots and to install peace and security on the island by using its guarantorship rights stemming from international agreements. Yalman claimed that peace atmosphere has been ensured by the Turkish invasion.

    Gen. Yalman wrapped up his contacts and left the occupied areas the same day.

    Speaking to the press before his departure, Gen. Yalman said that the Turkish Cypriots won`t accept any return to pre-1974 period and that they were resolved to protect the sovereignty of the occupation regime.

    ``In this respect, Turkey, as a guarantor country will continue to protect its rights and interests in Cyprus as a guarantor state due to international agreements and fulfill its responsibility to the Turkish Cypriots stemming from historical ties,`` he said.

    Gen. Yalman stressed that the Turkish Armed Forces is powerful and resolved enough to eliminate any kind of danger directed against the security of these holy territories.

    [03] Sukru Sina Gurel assesses his contacts in the United States

    TRT 2 Television (20/09/02) broadcast live the news conference by Sukru Sina Gurel, Turkish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, upon his return from a visit to the United States. The news conference takes place at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

    Explaining that the aim of the visit was to attend the UN General Assembly, (UNGA), meetings, Gurel says that "both the meetings in Washington and New York were very intensive and beneficial. We had a chance to hold several bilateral meetings." Noting that he also had a chance to deliver speeches at various UNGA and OIC meetings, Gurel adds that he also met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US Secretary of State Powell. Gurel continues by explaining that he went to Washington in the last day of his visit so that he could hold more detailed meetings with the United States administration.

    "At the end of all these meetings and contacts," continues Gurel, "I can say that the UNGA constituted an opportunity for Turkey not only to hold multilateral meetings but also to hold extremely beneficial bilateral contacts, mainly from the EU perspective. Beyond the fact that the UNGA constituted a multifaceted meeting, it also enabled us to hold bilateral contacts." Explaining that he "had the opportunity to share views and conduct assessments on regional and bilateral issues with another country, with which Turkey has a strategic partnership like the United States," Gurel adds: "In short, it was an extremely beneficial visit."

    In reply to a question on the stand Turkey will adopt in the event that the United States strikes against Iraq without the support of the international community, Gurel says: "From the beginning, we stressed the importance of securing consensus and legitimacy when taking necessary steps to resolve issues within the international community. Our stand in this regard has not changed."

    In reply to a question on the US stand with regard to the Cyprus issue, Gurel says: "The United States is capable of being objective to an issue like Cyprus, which they consider important both for themselves and the region. Consequently, we are pleased over this attitude of the United States so far. Within the framework of our strategic partnership with the United States, it is only natural that we should discuss issues that constitute a priority for us and the United States. The Cyprus issue, in turn, was raised along these lines. We have observed that the United States has and continues to have a very objective approach to the Cyprus issue.

    "Like us, the United States has the tendency not to link Turkey's EU membership process and efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus question. Actually, we were pleased to observe during our latest contacts that the EU also had this tendency. If the EU continues its mistaken steps to accept the Greek Cypriot side as a member to the EU, however, it will have committed a mistake and Cyprus' division will become definite. It goes without saying that the United States is aware of this."

    Istanbul CNN TURK Television (22/09/02) carried a live interview with Sukru Sina Gurel, by Mete Belovacikli and Murat Yetkin in the "Cafe Politics" program. The interview focused mostly on Gurel's visit to the United States.

    The first question posed by Belovacikli is this: What is the United States saying about the operation against Iraq and what is Turkey saying about it?

    Gurel replies that the issue is being conducted on two levels; one is at the UN level while the other concerns the multilateral efforts to bring about a solution to the problem. He says: "While we were in New York, we too contributed to these efforts. One morning for example, I met with US Secretary of State Powell and half an hour after that I met with the Iraqi foreign minister. I had the opportunity to convey my impressions of my meeting with Powell to the Iraqi foreign minister. These efforts did yield results."

    Gurel points out that the Turkish delegation's role cannot be called mediation but, he adds: "We are making contributions." In the end, he notes, the Iraqi Administration agreed to comply with the UN resolutions unconditionally.

    Asked if the United States can strike Iraq on its own, Gurel says: "It would not be appropriate, and it would not set a good precedent. The United States must be able to explain well why it is resorting to the operation, and it must be able to persuade others. There is no other choice. However, if the United States insists on doing that on its own, it can. It is difficult to say how that would serve long-term US interests, though."

    Asked if the operation will be conducted soon or in 2003, Gurel replies that during his visit to the United States he did not get the impression that all the preparations have been made.

    In reply to a question, Gurel says that since Turkey and the United States have a strategic partnership, they discuss foreign policy priorities of both countries. Therefore, he says, they also discussed the Cyprus issue and Turkey's EU membership.

    Asked if he saw any US efforts to support Turkey in Cyprus and in the EU, Gurel replies that the United States can assess "more objectively" the steps Turkey has been taking in connection with its EU ties. "I believe," he adds, "that the United States continues to make positive recommendations to the EU to give Turkey a negotiation date."

    On the Cyprus issue, Gurel says that Turkey has never complained about the US stand. In fact, he says, the United States has taken certain positive steps as far as Turkey is concerned. He adds: "Because it is not directly linked to its own interests, the United States can approach the Cyprus issue more objectively. It may not be completely equidistant from the representatives of the two sides in Cyprus, but it tries harder than others. So we see that the United States can assess that issue more objectively. It is good in that respect. Of course it is difficult to say that we have persuaded the United States completely about the Cyprus question or that the United States completely agrees with Turkey on the issue of Cyprus."

    Yetkin asks: "Have we made any progress in this regard as a result of our negotiations with Iraq?"

    Gurel replies: "Let us not say that, but rather the following: Having seen how effective Turkey can be regarding regional issues which closely concern the United States and which we discussed within the framework of our strategic partnership, the United States pays more attention to Turkey's foreign policy priorities and takes them more seriously."

    In connection with the EU, Yetkin asks what Turkey will do if it is given a date for negotiations but at the same time the EU issues an invitation for the Cyprus membership. Gurel replies: "If the EU continues to take wrong steps in connection with Cyprus at a time when Turkey is coming closer to the EU, and if the Union decides to admit the Greek Cypriots -- and that would be a real annexation, the EU would have annexed part of Cyprus -- then this would not be a step that can lead to a solution, nor would it be a step that could enable the development of the relations between Turkey and the EU. It would make the division in Cyprus more final and it would make it permanent, and it would also poison the relations between Turkey and the EU. The whole thing would become extremely complicated. We will continue to tell the EU to refrain from taking such a wrong step."

    [04] Leading Turkish politicians banned from November 3 elections

    NTV television (20/09/02) broadcast that the Supreme Election Board (SEB) ruled on Friday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the Justice and Development Party (JDP); former pro-Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, pro-Kurdish politician Murat Bozlak and human rights campaigner Akin Birdal cannot stand in the November 3 elections.

    All four had previously been convicted of breaking article 312 of the Turkish penal code, which covers crimes of incitement to hatred on religious, ethnic or class lines.

    According to a statement issued by the SEB late Friday afternoon, the four men did not meet the qualifications required to be deputies of parliament, even if they had benefited from an amnesty for their crimes.

    Under recent amendments of article 312, the actions that each had been convicted for would no longer be an offence.

    Erdogan's JDP leads in all the opinion polls and the former mayor of Istanbul was widely tipped to be the next Prime Minister of Turkey if he had been able to stand as a candidate.

    The statement said that a majority of the board had voted in favour of Erdogan and Erbakan not being allowed to stand as a candidate in the election. The vote against Bozlak and the former leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Birdal was unanimous.

    [05] Erel asks Denktas to abandon his demand regarding the recognition of the pseudostate in order to sign an agreement on the Cyprus problem

    KIBRIS (23.09.02) reports that Ali Erel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, met on Friday with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas and suggested that Mr Denktas should abandon his position that he will not sign an agreement on the Cyprus problem if the existence of his illegal pseudostate is not recognized.

    Talking after the meeting, Mr Erel said that they had a working meeting with Mr Denktas and informed him about their recent contacts in Brussels and in Turkey.

    Responding to a question, Mr Erel said: "We have not come here to persuade or to be persuaded, but we told the president that we believe that the position 'if you do not recognize the TRNC we shall not sign an agreement' must be abandoned and the accession to the EU must be registered by accepting the TRNC within the framework of a package, where a Greek Cypriot state in the South and a partnership state are also accepted. This is the final point where we shall reach. The way we shall reach this point is not so important for us. The important thing is for the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots to be unified in a partnership, having equal political rights, equal state and the accession of the whole of the island into the EU. We think that this will also open the way for the relations of Turkey with the EU. The Turkish businessmen share this view with us".

    [06] Sukru Sina Gurel will pay a short visit to London

    KIBRIS (22.09.02) reports that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel will pay a short visit to London in order to have meetings with various officials, including the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Jack Straw.

    Mr Gurel will first meet on the 24th of September with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament, Donald Anderson. Following this meeting he will have lunch with the Minister of States, Ministry of Defense Sir Tebitt. He will also have meetings with the Minister Responsible for European affairs Peter Hain.

    Gurel will give interviews to BBC and the Financial Times. He will also give a Press Conference to Turkish Journalists at the Turkish Ambassador's residence.

    Turkish Daily News (23/09/02) reports that Mr. Gurel/s visit is part of a Foreign Ministry Action plan and that after London he will visit Paris and Copenhagen.

    [07] Turkey invested 258.1 trillion TL in the occupied areas in the first eight months of 2002

    KIBRIS (22/09/02) reports that according to the Anatolia News Agency, Turkey, between January and August 2002, paid in domestic debts 31 quadrillion 438.8 trillion TL and in external debts 3 quadrillion 119.8 trillion TL. Turkey also paid for the same period 258.1 trillion TL to the occupied areas, which is included in the above amount.

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Editorial in Turkish Daily News criticizes the decision to ban leading politicians from the elections

    In his regular column "Editorial" of Turkish Daily News (21/09/02) Ilnur Cevik writes the following: "The decision to disqualify Erdogan, Erbakan and Bozlak is yet another blow to our fragile democracy and shows the ineffectiveness of the so-called reforms.

    The decision of Turkey's Supreme Elections Board (SEB) to disqualify popular former Istanbul Mayor Tayyip Erdogan, former Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, pro-Kurdish leader Murat Bozlak and leading human rights activist Akin Birdal as candidates in the upcoming November 3 elections did not come as any surprise to us who know well how such things work in a semi-democratic system.

    We had hoped for a major change in mentality in Turkey since the days when leaders like Suleyman Demirel and Bulent Ecevit were banned by the 1980 military coup administration. As a person who took part in Demirel's magnificent struggle to have the bans lifted in 1986 I had hoped that at least our minds would be freer and more tolerant than in those days, but I see with regret not much has changed.

    Still we are talking of bans and intolerance as we pretend to implement democratic reforms for the sake of getting a date from the European Union for accession talks.

    But it seems hatred, anger and intolerance has blinded some people to the extent that they simply do not care if Turkey enters the EU or not. By disqualifying Erdogan as a candidate for the elections you are not imposing a ban on him but you are actually preventing him from becoming the next prime minister of Turkey. That on its own is a very serious matter. But let us go further. Those who impose such bans are actually violating our right to vote for a candidate of our choice. It is clear from the public opinion polls that a massive number of voters would vote for Erdogan himself as they hoped he would bring about the revolutionary changes that the masses want in Turkey. The verdict now denies them this democratic right.

    The nation has been robbed from the right to vote for Erdogan, Erbakan, Bozlak or Birdal. Is this how a democracy should function? Past experience should have shown our masters that when you try to manipulate polls through bans and other undemocratic methods it either backfires and the people punish you at the polls or you create such an awkward outome at the polls that hurt your own existence.

    Those who think they have scored against Erdogan, Erbakan and Bozlak should only realize that they have created new heroes.

    The ban is on the nation. This situation has to change dramatically if we are to have any chance of even arguing that we are entitled for a place in the EU..."

    [08] Ilter Turkmen views the election picture in Turkey today and prospects after the elections

    Istanbul Hurriyet newspaper (21/09/02) publishes the following commentary in the "Close Plan" column by Ilter Turkmen under the title: "General Political Picture": Let us make the following assumptions: The election had not come onto the agenda, the coalition was composed of partners having closer political philosophies, the Prime Minister was someone who could understand the modern world better and who could comprehend the international and regional realities better, who did not have serious health problems, who could travel like a normal head of government and could talk with presidents and prime ministers of other countries. Then a Turkey, which had passed the EU convergence laws and realized comprehensive economic reforms, would be at the threshold of a major evolution. Turkey would go beyond the seeking of a date and would come closer to the negotiations with the EU with the impetus that would be produced with some positive developments in the Cyprus problem. Entering into the course of realization of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline would also emphasize in a more obvious manner the important role of Turkey in the Eurasian balances.

    Unfortunately, the picture today is quite different. There is an almost paralyzed government where its partners are taking great care not to talk with each other, in a critical period when there are as many opportunities as there are dangers for the country. Whether or not the elections will be held has been transformed into a suspense movie. Over one hundred Members of Parliament [MPs] changed their political parties. Political tactics and games are abundant. The increase in reaction votes like an avalanche is not in vain. Those who mock the common sense and ethical values of the people will definitely pay a price.

    The crisis in which Turkey is suffering greatly is not stemming only from the faults in the election system, from the authority of the leaders, from the very high election threshold and from the absence of a preferential system. Unfortunately, the bad traditions and distorted political culture, which have become well established, have a great share in the formation of the present conditions. The candidate lists are the best example of this. The RPP [Republican People's Party], which caught a wind much above its expectations with the joining of Kemal Dervis, could not abandon its old habits, even at its strongest moment. The egocentric impulses overwhelmed. The people liked and respected by the Turkish public were removed from the list all at once. The French have an expression, "However much it changes, it remains that much the same". The attitude of the RPP fits this very much.

    Another major weakness of the Turkish political life is that new leaders do not emerge. Dervis preferred to remain in the background. However, in any case, he is perceived as a potential leader. Besides him, except for the JDP [Justice and Development Party], there is no one else. A young politician, who was brought with great hopes to the chairmanship of a small party, could not show perseverance in the principles of speaking the truth and transparency, which he defended with enthusiasm at the beginning. He could not develop a clear and concrete statement. He always took refuge in complex and evasive expressions. He neglected the organization of his political party and kept them distant from himself. He very quickly got himself caught into an autocratic tendency. When he was searching for a future in the long, narrow corridors of intrigue in Turkish politics, he preferred the short-term to the long-term and found himself taking refuge in the lap of a political party leader, whom he had criticized the most mercilessly. Perhaps from now on he will try to play at being the chairman of that party.

    As the elections are approaching, the impression that we are being dragged into a crisis of democracy is gradually increasing. The candidacies of Tayyip Erdogan, Akin Birdal and Murat Bozlak paved the way for very intensive disputes on whether or not they were legally valid. Even these disputes show how open the legal system and the judicial judgments in Turkey are to interpretations completely opposite to each other. The judgments made could be the requirement of Turkish laws, but it cannot be said that they are in conformity with the principles of the European Charter of Human Rights. It will not be surprising that the EU, which is as sensitive to the application of laws as to their contents, has now felt an even greater doubt on the subject of the convergence laws. However, beyond all of the present-day developments, what is producing real concern is the picture that could emerge after the elections. Democracy will pass through a very difficult test. The probabilities appearing on the horizon transformed the elections almost into a gamble. Either our course will miraculously be opened or we will lose a lot and will be confronted with economic and political impasses. From now on, how can we save the elections from becoming a gamble? Is there anyone who knows the answer to this question?


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