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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-01-31

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 <>



  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader has reacted to statements made by Mr Alvaro de Soto and Mr Verheugen.
  • [02] Mr Alvaro de Soto met with Mr Rauf Denktas. He denies reports on statements he made in Ankara.
  • [03] Interview by Mr Denktas with TV8 private Turkish channel.
  • [04] MILLIYET newspaper on today's meeting of the National Security Council.
  • [05] Deniz Baykal: Turkey is betraying Denktas.
  • [06] Interview with NTV by Mr Yakis and Mr Papandreou who is visiting Ankara.
  • [07] Tayyip Erdogan held a two-hour meeting with representatives of the platform "This country is ours" in Ankara.

  • [08] The puppet regime is making moves to join the EU together with Turkey.
  • [09] The Turkish Press on Erdogan's policy on Cyprus.
  • [10] EU preparing new list of shortcomings.


    [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader has reacted to statements made by Mr Alvaro de Soto and Mr Verheugen

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (30.01.03) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, during a meeting with a delegation from the occupied Morphou Art Association today, said that the people are concerned over the future. No one can uproot the Turkish Cypriots from their land and forcibly take them somewhere else if an agreement is not reached with the consent of the Turkish side, Denktas underlined, adding that an honorable agreement is needed to obtain the consent of the Turkish Cypriots. He explained: "An honorable agreement has criteria and principles determined together with Turkey. We are defending these criteria and principles, and we are being subjected to certain accusations because we are defending them. We do not take any notice of these accusations."

    Denktas responded to a statement made by Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary- General's special envoy for Cyprus, during a visit to Ankara to the effect that Denktas refuses to sit at the negotiating table. Denktas said: "We spent long hours at the negotiating table. The documents we submitted can fill rooms. The statements we uttered shed light on every aspect of the cause. If de Soto indeed made such a statement, shame on him. We will ask him about this."

    Mr Denktas declared: "This country came about with the will of the people and a state that was born through the will of the people will not be eliminated through anyone's will. An agreement can be reached with someone else. A partnership or good-neighborly relations can be forged with another side. A joint life can be established through agreements, but no one can say: You do not exist, you never existed, your performance of the past 40 years must be forgotten, it is invalid."

    Referring to EU Commissioner Verheugen's statement that the EU will not negotiate separately with the Turkish Cypriot side, Denktas said that from the outset Verheugen decided that the Greek Cypriots are the legitimate Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots are the minority. Denktas alleged that Verheugen blocked the talks by continuously giving the Greek Cypriots the message that Cyprus will become an EU member regardless of whether an agreement is reached. It is not clear why Verheugen is doing this, Denktas remarked, adding that Verheugen is not aware of the Turkish Cypriots' rights, of what the Greek Cypriots aim to achieve in Cyprus, or of what the Cyprus problem consists of. Mr Denktas stated: "We are writing to him in goodwill. We spoke and explained things to him in goodwill, but he does not intend to understand."

    Further alleging that Verheugen's recent statement constitutes a threat and unacceptable pressure, Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriot side expects justice, fairness, and impartiality from the EU.

    In a statement during a meeting with a National People's Movement delegation, Mr Rauf Denktas said that one must always act keeping the peace doors open. Peace does not mean surrender, Mr Denktas said, explaining that it means reaching a sound agreement that will not allow a repetition of the 1963 events. Pointing out that the Annan plan is a document that needs to be changed, Denktas stated that the document can be signed if it is changed and rendered sound. Denktas said that in its existing form, the Turkish Cypriot side failed to find what it is seeking in the Annan plan. He remarked that a sound agreement cannot be reached with these ingredients. There is no end to seeking peace, Denktas stated, adding, nevertheless, that the state cannot be pushed aside just because there is a quest for peace, one cannot turn one's back on it or renounce it, or let the flag fall on the floor.

    Denktas continued: "We cannot join a world we do not know in the wake of the Greek Cypriots and as a part of the Greek Cypriots just because we are facing difficulties. We can take a better step toward the future as two equal sides and honorable people who reach a sound agreement." Pointing out that it is essential to ensure these things, Denktas said that it is necessary to continue on the road with intelligence, a cool head, and a knowledge of what one is doing and seeking, rather than with vengeance, hatred, and rage.

    Denktas added that the Turkish Cypriots are experiencing very difficult days, but each time motherland Turkey has been by the side of the Turkish Cypriots and it will continue to be by their side in the future as well. He declared: " Let us feel the happiness and pride of this. Knowing this, let us assist one another to reach a sound agreement as honorable people with upright rather than bowed heads, an agreement that will allow us to live honorably."

    [02] Mr Alvaro de Soto met with Mr Rauf Denktas. He denies reports on statements he made in Ankara

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (30.01.03) broadcast that Mr Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary-General's special envoy for Cyprus, stressed that Mr Rauf Denktas is at the negotiating table and denied the Turkish media reports according to which he stated that Denktas refuses to sit at the negotiating table.

    Alvaro de Soto met with Denktas this afternoon. After the meeting, which lasted one hour and 15 minutes, de Soto was asked the following question: Mr de Soto, the Turkish media mentioned that you stated that Mr Denktas is not at the negotiating table and that he refuses to sit at the negotiating table. Is this correct?

    In response, de Soto said: "I did not utter such a thing. How can this be? We are meeting three times a week. I believe this is a kind of mistake. I certainly did not say such a thing to the media."

    [03] Interview by Mr Denktas with TV8 private Turkish channel

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.01.03) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktas said late on Wednesday that peace was difficult even if agreement was reached on the island.

    Denktas replied to questions on a program broadcast on private TV8 channel.

    Asked if the two communities could live together if an agreement was reached, Denktas reminded the words of former United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General`s special envoy Hugo Gobi who allegedly said that ``it was a good idea to think that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could live together in harmony but it was a dream,`` and added:

    "There was peace in Cyprus for 28 years, there was no blood but fire would re-start if they were intermingled again. There are many things to be done till February 28, a date foreseen for solution of Cyprus issue. It is a big mistake to limit the solution of the issue with the European Union (EU) program. The Greek Cypriot side also voiced that it would not be possible to solve the issue till February. However, whether or not an agreement could be made could be seen till that day".

    Denktas noted that talks could continue if time was given and stressed that the views of the person who would win the elections in the Greek Cypriot side were also important.

    When asked about his evaluation of the following few months unless an agreement was reached on February 28, Denktas said: ``The Greek Cypriots will continue their life and work by feeling relieved to make Cyprus an EU member with its former name. We should follow the steps of the Greek Cypriots with the EU and take the similar steps with Turkey, deal with economy and protect our state.``

    Putting the Cyprus issue as an obstacle before Turkey would show the intention of the EU, Denktas stated. He said that this would mean that the Union did not want Turkey.

    Denktas also pointed out that they set the Cyprus policy together with Turkey and that they did not have any differences of view with the new government regarding the criteria of a compromise and the principles.

    [04] MILLIYET newspaper on today's meeting of the National Security Council

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (30.01.03) publishes the following report by Serpil Cevikcan under the title: "NSC to draw 'attention' to Erdogan's style":

    "The fact that Justice and Development Party [JDP] leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lately been leveling certain harsh accusations against President Rauf Denktas has displeased the top of the state. It is expected that this displeasure will be voiced at the critical National Security Council [NSC] meeting to be held tomorrow. It is being rumored that Commander of the Land Forces Aytac Yalman's visit to the TRNC was an expression of the annoyance caused by Erdogan's remarks and that the messages that General Yalman issued during his meeting with Denktas will be repeated in the declaration the NSC will release after its meeting tomorrow.

    Subtitle: He has no official title

    According to information obtained from various sources in Ankara, the NSC will get across the message to the Government tomorrow that Erdogan is placing the TRNC and Turkey in a difficult situation by continually making remarks criticizing Denktas and that this situation has to be ended.

    It is also expected that the NSC will call attention to earlier NSC declarations supportive of Denktas issued after meetings where the Annan plan on Cyprus was discussed and to the fact that "although Prime Minister [Abdullah] Gul is taking care to adopt an approach on Cyprus consistent with the said declarations, Erdogan is acting in a manner diametrically opposite to the decisions taken at NSC meetings on Cyprus." The NSC is similarly likely to issue a call for those who hold no official titles to refrain from making statements that could put the TRNC and Turkey in a difficult situation. Among other issues to which the NSC is expected to draw attention is the fact that the Cyprus dispute is a national issue which occupies an important place in the National Security Document and that no changes have been made to the policies and strategies defined in this document.

    The NSC is also expected to emphasize that Erdogan's remarks about Cyprus have detracted from Denktas' bargaining power and that the JDP leader's attitude is furthering the interests of the Greek Cypriots rather than those of Turkey and the TRNC.

    It is being said that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer is also annoyed by the manner in which Erdogan is availing himself of every opportunity to make accusations against Denktas without putting forward any substantial proposals himself. Sources are saying that Sezer believes that it is wrong of Erdogan to make statements about a national issue like Cyprus that are not within the Government's purview and that conflict with NSC resolutions. Sezer is said to hold the opinion that Erdogan's attitude is weakening Denktas' hand.

    Another important item on the NSC's agenda tomorrow will be the issue of Iraq. It is expected that the NSC will discuss the latest developments concerning Iraq and the report issued by the UN arms inspectors and call on the Government and Parliament to take decisions pertaining to these issues.

    [05] Deniz Baykal: Turkey is betraying Denktas

    Istanbul NTV television (30.01.03) broadcast that the leader of the Republican People's Party (RPP), Mr Deniz Baykal, was interviewed by the NTV representative in Ankara, Murat Akgun.

    During the interview Mr Baykal criticized Erdogan for his remarks on Cyprus and claimed that Ankara was sabotaging Denktas in the negotiation process and added:

    "What are you going to negotiate? How are you going to persuade? How can Denktas feel strong enough to wage a struggle during the negotiations to make this change, to guarantee bizonality, and to prevent 60,000 Greek Cypriots from coming to the north? How can he do that if he does not get any support? In other words, we have sabotaged him ourselves. We have stabbed him in the back."

    Baykal charged that Ankara saw the rejection of the Annan plan as a disaster, and emphasized that the government must take precautions in case the plan is not approved, and concluded:

    "Turkey is waiting for the National Security Council to adopt a serious stand in this regard. Turkey must formulate an urgent action plan, an economic action plan, in connection with Cyprus."

    [06] Interview with NTV by Mr Yakis and Mr Papandreou who is visiting Ankara

    Istanbul NTV television (30.01.03) broadcast a news conference by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Yasar Yakis, and Greek Foreign Minister, Mr George Papandreou in Ankara.

    Following are the statements and the replies to questions by Mr Yakis and Mr Papandreou:

    Yakis: Greek Foreign Minister Mr Papandreou is visiting us on a different capacity this time. I would like to state that I am happy to see him in Ankara. At our meeting a little while ago, we discussed the bilateral ties between Turkey and Greece. We exchanged views on how to advance our rapprochement between our two neighboring countries and how to spread it to other new fields of cooperation. The establishment of close relations between Turkey and Greece is not only in the interests of our two peoples; but it will also help the consolidation and reinforcement of peace, stability, and cooperation.

    During our meeting, we also exchanged views on regional and international issues. We took our first step in our consultations on the Iraq issue, and we will discuss this issue further during the Troika meeting tomorrow.

    As Turkey and Greece, we reconfirmed our mutual political will and determination to solve the problems and to advance together toward a bright future.

    Mr Papandreou will be received by President Sezer in a little while. He will also meet the honorable prime minister and Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the Troika meetings tomorrow, we will continue with the talks we started today.

    On this occasion, I would like to state once again that I am pleased to see my friend, Mr. Papandreou, in Turkey. I welcome him.

    Papandreou: I thank my honorable colleague and friend, Mr Yakis, for his words. I am pleased to be here in Turkey not only as the Foreign Minister of a neighboring and friendly country but as the foreign minister of the country that is the term president of the EU. Greece has always supported Turkey's candidacy and course toward the EU. During the Troika meetings tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to discuss once again all the issues concerning Turkey's process toward the EU.

    As Mr Yakis has pointed out, today we dwelled on bilateral relations. We discussed how to develop our cooperation and how to spread it to new fields. We made great progress in recent years. We see the new government's approach with great pleasure, the approach that there should be a new strategy in our bilateral relations. I believe that in such a framework, we will be able to eliminate the various difficult and historical issues between us.

    Both sides have agreed to continue with the ongoing negotiations. We exchanged views on the negotiation process in Cyprus.

    As Mr Yakis just said, we discussed the very important Iraq issue, but because it is such an important issue, we will continue to discuss it tomorrow. As the term president of the EU, Greece is very pleased about the decision reached by Turkey to organize another meeting on the issue of Iraq, and to discuss the issue broadly with the regional countries.

    I am happy that I will meet with the Turkish president, prime minister, and other officials. I would like to present Mr Yakis with a pin that symbolizes the EU presidency. This is a symbol of peace, because the bird is a swallow.

    Question: Mr Blix and Mr Bush talked about a war against Iraq. Will there be a war and will Turkey take part in that war?

    Yakis: Let me start from the end of your question. Turkish troops will not enter Iraq to fight there. They will enter only for humanitarian purposes and to stop a possible influx of Iraqi civilians into Turkish territory, and to stop them within Iraqi territory. We will not be there for war purposes.

    Question: Did you discuss this issue today?

    Yakis: This issue was not discussed to that extent today. We will discuss it tomorrow.

    Question: Is there going to be a solution to the Cyprus problem by 28 February?

    Papandreou: I am sure we all want a solution in Cyprus. It is something which, for generations now, has made our bilateral relations much more difficult. And now that we are moving toward a very different world, the rapprochement between the two countries, a common European future with Greece, Turkey, but Cyprus also, I think this is a great opportunity. We must not miss this historic opportunity to be able to allow our peoples to live in peace and cooperation. And certainly we, both as Greece and as the EU presidency, attach great importance to Kofi Annan's call for finding a solution by 28 February.

    Question: Did you discuss the details of the Annan plan?

    Papanderou: We have exchanged views on that, yes.

    Question: Mr de Soto said that if Turkey and Greece agree, the Annan plan can be revised. What points do you want revised?

    Papandreou: If the two leaders can find amendments on which both sides can agree, so much the better. This is what we would like, a give-and-take, real negotiations, this will be better for all sides.

    [07] Tayyip Erdogan held a two-hour meeting with representatives of the platform "This country is ours" in Ankara

    KIBRIS (31.01.03) reports that the leader of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting yesterday in Ankara with a group of representatives of the platform "This country is ours".

    According to the paper, the meeting lasted two hours and was held behind closed doors. Erdogan and the members of the platform discussed the UN Plan, the solution of the Cyprus problem and the EU. The members of the platform described the meeting as "useful".

    Ten persons, who represent the Turkish Cypirot organizations consisting the platform, are visiting Ankara where they held discussions and exchanged views regarding the latest developments in the Cyprus problem. The members of the platform met with various Turkish politicians and members of the Turkish parliament during their visit, among them the deputy speaker of the Turkish Assembly, Mehmet Dulger. The group announced that after its return to Cyprus today, it will make important statements regarding the UN Plan, the solution of the Cyprus problem and the EU.


    [08] The puppet regime is making moves to join the EU together with Turkey

    Under the title "It does not differ from a torpedo" Turkish mainland SABAH (30.01.03) expresses the opinion that the decision of the illegal assembly of the pseudostate regarding the approval of an agreement providing the cooperation with Turkey in the field of internal affairs and justice, aims at torpedoing the peace process in the island. SABAH writes, inter alia, the following:

    "You should know that the assembly of the TRNC has quietly and unobtrusively accepted a law which aims at torpedoing the peace process on the island. When we say 'quietly and unobtrusively' we mean that this development has not been explained to the public opinion of Turkey. .

    Let us tell the story and explain the issue from the very beginning. An agreement was signed at a meeting of the Joint Council between Turkey and the TRNC on 30 September 2002 in Ankara: The 'Agreement for cooperation in the field of internal affairs and justice between the government of Turkey and the TRNC'.

    What an innocent name it has, has it not? For Turkey Sukru Sina Gurel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of that period signed the agreement. This is one of our hawkish politicians who now is trying to create a platform in order to preserve the 'status quo' in the TRNC and one of the candidates to succeed Ecevit. Tahsin Ertugruloglu, Foreign Affairs and Defense, signed the agreement on behalf of the TRNC. This is the friend of Denktas who was sent to Copenhagen between 12 and 13 December without having authority to sign.

    According to the text of the signed agreement, it is provided that 'the two countries should have an overall cooperation in the field of justice and internal affairs, on the basis of the human rights and the rule of law, the common peace and freedom'.

    What a noble cause, is it not? .

    With this agreement the TRNC commits itself to comply with Turkey's National Program in the EU process. What does it mean? The TRNC rejects a priori making peace and acceding into the EU together with southern Cyprus. More clearly the message is: 'We shall join the EU together with Turkey, as a part of Turkey'. .".

    [09] The Turkish Press on Erdogan's policy on Cyprus

    On Wednesday 29 January 2003, the Turkish press dealt extensively with the Turkish government's policy on Cyprus and the tension between Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktas.

    Istanbul HURRIYET published an editorial entitled "Erdogan Must Assume Responsibility for Making Concessions" by Oktay Eksi, who said that the recent statements made by Erdogan have shown that he is very angry with Denktas and regards him as an obstacle to a possible solution. Quoting Erdogan as saying in a closed meeting of the JDP's parliamentary group that he regards the Cyprus issue as a national cause and that he has no intention of resolving the dispute by accepting all the demands made by the Greek Cypriot side, Eksi urges the JDP leader to clarify his negotiating position and publicly say whether he plans to back down on Turkey's traditional national policy on Cyprus.

    He wrote: "He has not said a single word about his policy and only noted that they were in favour of finding a solution to the problem. He effectively issued a message to Denktas, tacitly warning him that they would have already taught him his place if it were not for their respect for his age and position. How could this be regarded as an acceptable stand? I want to make an appeal to Erdogan. Presently, he is not holding a government position. He should wait until he is elected as a deputy on 9 March and subsequently assume premiership. He could then make concessions if he can."

    Istanbul MILLIYET carried a column entitled "What is he Actually Expecting?" by Fikret Bila, who wrote that the reason behind the harsh criticisms leveled by Erdogan against Denktas still remains a mystery, as, he said, Denktas is acting in line with Erdogan's suggestion that the Annan plan should be negotiated after it has been revised . He comments: "Time has come for Erdogan to disclose his ideas about the Cyprus issue and the Annan plan. He must also outline the solution he is suggesting. Only saying that they are in favor of a solution is not enough. If he has any solution in his mind he should share it at least with Denktas, if not with the public at large."

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET published an article entitled "Admiration and Astonishment" by Hikmet Bila, who says that Army Commander General Aytac Yalman's recent visit to the island and his remarks expressing the Turkish Armed Forces' support for Denktas thwarted a plot designed to force Denktas to step down. He comments: "Those remarks expressed more than the Turkish Armed Forces' support for Denktas. They actually exposed those who want to create conditions that would precipitate Cyprus into a civil strife reminiscent of the incidents witnessed in 1963 and thus lead to a bloodshed in the island only in order to attain their goals."

    He also refers to the argument that the JDP government's efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue is blocked by the traditional policy and the nationalist posture. He says: "There are many questions that the advocates of that opinion cannot answer: Does the JDP actually have a policy aimed at resolving the Cypriot question? Is it taking determined steps consistent with that policy? Finally, do all the JDP officials share the same policy?" After citing what he describes as contradicting remarks made by Erdogan, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Bulent Arinc, Speaker of Turkish parliament, Bila says: "Could you really understand what the JDP's policy on Cyprus looks like? Do you believe that it is a policy arousing admiration?"

    Istanbul RADIKAL carried an article entitled "Here is the TRNC's ["Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"] Latest Picture" by Murat Yetkin, who quotes an unidentified senior Turkish diplomat as saying that there is no serious disagreement between the military and the Foreign Ministry or the government and that they expect the third revised UN plan to be submitted to the parties in mid-February. The diplomat's remarks, Yetkin says, indicate that Yalman's statements and the support lent by Yakis to Denktas were probably aimed at strengthening Denktas' negotiating position and improving his tarnished image. Yetkin also points out that the current social unrest and division in the Turkish Cypriot side, which, he says, was revealed by a recent opinion poll conducted by Istanbul-based Sonark, is a source of anxiety both in Ankara and the Turkish-controlled part of Nicosia.

    Istanbul VATAN newspaper published an editorial entitled "We are not Missing the old Days" by Gungor Mengi, who calls on Deniz Baykal, Chairman of the Republican People's Party, the sole opposition party in parliament, to tone town his criticisms targeting the JDP, because, he warns, severe criticisms would strengthen the radical wing within the JDP. He also criticizes Baykal for urging the government to safeguard the Turkish people's national identity by backing Turkish Cypriot statesmen. He comments: "Backing Denktas, who is now associated with the current impasse, would be tantamount to succeeding the Democratic Left Party, which was liquidated by the voters in the election held on 3 November. Such a stand would condemn the RPP to opposition forever. It should be realized that the JDP is in favor of a solution that would help Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people overcome the existing obstacles rather than getting rid of the problem by making every possible concession."

    Istanbul STAR newspaper publishes a column by Zeynep Gurcanli, who argues that the contradicting statements made by Erdogan and Gen. Yalman on the Cyprus question have cast doubts on the government's assertion that there is no political vacuum in Turkey and that the political authority is above the military. Gurcanli also points out that Gul prefers a moderate and reconciliatory tone whereas Erdogan uses an acerbic language. She comments: "The difference in the statements made by those two powerful men is only limited to their style for the time being. This minor difference, however, is shaking Turkey's extremely fragile dynamics."

    [10] EU preparing new list of shortcomings

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (31.01.03) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "From Turkey's standpoint the Copenhagen summit had been extremely important. It had come to be called a "turning point", an "historic rendezvous." In the end, while expecting a final, definite date, we were faced with a conditional date.

    If, in December 2004, the European Union countries decide that Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria, they will, without any delay, specify the day on which accession talks would begin.

    Due to various reasons the EU member countries have delayed until December 2004 the job of taking a final decision on Turkey. Some have done that because Turkey is not ready yet. Some others have been worried that Turkish accession could jeopardize the 10-member enlargement. Some others have done that because they find it difficult to see Turkey as a full member of the EU.

    In other words December 2004 will be a summit where the "last word" will be uttered. In December 2004 Turkey will either be granted the "visa" required for the start of the accession talks or Turkey will not be put on the agenda once again for many years to come, even having to wait for Russia and Ukraine.

    More importantly, neither we nor the EU will be enthusiastic anymore.

    Due to these reasons, the next one-and-a-half years will be of vital importance. This is quite a short time.

    In December 2004, there will be no further postponement. The final decision will be taken. So, by that time Turkey must have eliminated all its shortcomings.

    Yet, there are still certain shortcomings. More importantly, though the laws have been amended, these changes are yet to be translated into action.

    We are faced with the bitter truth. The international community does not trust us. There is a widely-held conviction to the effect that "Turks change the laws but they do not implement them. They stick to their old habits."

    Not only the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe but also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) think in that vein.

    During the next one-and-a-half years we must wipe out that impression. We will have to show both ourselves and the world that the reforms are really being implemented.

    Not only the government but also all members of the bureaucracy must be mobilized to improve Turkey's "performance card" by the autumn of 2004. Otherwise, the EU file will remain on a shelf.

    Subtitle:New Accession Partnership Accord being prepared

    Today Ankara will experience an "EU day". We have become so preoccupied with the Iraq and Cyprus issues that we have forgotten the EU. As if everything has been completed, over, we are, in the aftermath of the Copenhagen summit, displaying our habitual absent-mindedness.

    Term President Papandreou, Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, who is Papandreou's would-be successor, and Commissioner responsible for enlargement Verheugen, who have come to Ankara for a meeting of the troika, will remind us the EU.

    I conducted a lengthy interview with Verheugen for MANSET program -- broadcast at 5. p.m. every day -- on CNN TURK and I was faced with an interesting view.

    They respond to the Copenhagen summit in a more positive way than we do. They see the December 2004 date as a "pledge" and reiterate in a crystal clear manner that if Turkey eliminates its shortcomings in practice, accession talks with Turkey will begin in 2005.

    Verheugen has disclosed that these days, in line with Turkey's wishes, a detailed new accession partnership accord is being drafted.

    This document will not introduce any new criteria. It will draw attention to the shortcomings vis-a-vis the criteria cited in the "old" document, especially to the shortcomings observed in the implementation.

    If Ankara eliminates these shortcomings by December 2004, the green light will be flashed for the accession talks.

    Subtitle: Cyprus not a criterion, but...

    Verheugen stressed that relations with Cyprus and Greece would be tackled in the manner cited in the "old" accession partnership accord, that this issue will not be turned into an additional criteria.

    However, he went on to say that if a solution cannot be found in Cyprus until February 28, the island will be represented by Greek Cypriots, causing problems for Turkey in the future.

    In the future, a Cyprus represented entirely by Greek Cypriots, will have a say, for example, on whether accession talks should be held with Turkey. They will be in a position to exercise their veto rights if they wanted to. They will be able to affect Turkey's relations with the EU.

    In this context, February 28 is being described as an "unchangeable" date. Verheugen is giving a veiled message in the vein of, "If an agreement can be reached in Cyprus you stand to gain from it. If not, that is your decision." If you get the message... "


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