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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-02-25

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.38/03 25.02.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before and after chairing a so-called Council of Ministers meeting in occupied Nicosia.
  • [02] The Turkish President met with the UN Secretary-General in Ankara.
  • [03] The UN Secretary-General met with the leader of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara.
  • [04] Statements by the UN Secretary-General to CNN Turk and Mega Television.
  • [05] Mr Thomas Weston is holding contacts in Ankara. Sources quote him saying there might be efforts to change the Annan plan in line with the Turkish side's demands.
  • [06] The Deputy Chairman of RPP on Iraq and Cyprus.
  • [07] Serdar Denktas: " I am afraid of civil war in the TRNC".
  • [08] KIBRIS publishes a new public opinion poll showing that the majority of the inhabitants of the occupied areas are in favour of the Annan plan.
  • [09] Yakis: "The third Annan plan will be take it or leave it".
  • [10] Mrs Adriana Karembeu will reportedly be visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [11] Salih Cosar: "The Turkish Cypriots decided in favor of solution and EU accession".
  • [12] A new rally for EU membership and solution of the Cyprus problem will take place on the 27th of February in occupied Nicosia.
  • [13] Annan launches final bid for a Cyprus deal.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] Erdogan seems determined to solve the Cyprus problem.
  • [15] The last tango in Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before and after chairing a so-called Council of Ministers meeting in occupied Nicosia

    Illegal Bayrak Television (24.02.03) broadcast that the so-called Council of Ministers met in an extraordinary session under Rauf Denktas to examine the Cyprus problem.

    In a statement before going into the meeting, Mr Denktas said that he has obtained information about the planned changes to the Annan document and these will be examined.

    Asked if there has been any change in favor of the Turkish side in the revised Annan plan, Mr Denktas replied: "If we have been given a peanut, the other side has been given a cake."

    Question: Annan made a statement that the time is running out.

    Answer: All this talk about shortage of time is a pressure tactic. Everybody, each side, has already been saying that nothing is going to happen on 28 February. As such, it is meaningless to excite the people and bring them out into the streets by overemphasizing the 28 February. This is not a pilaf to be cooked in half an hour. These are efforts that affect the fate of a country and people. These efforts have been continuing for years without a result. Why? Because the other side refuses to give up what it has seized. What are they? They are the things that they seized after casting us into the mass graves, such as the title of the Cyprus Republic. They do not want to give up certain things that they seized by portraying us as a minority before the world. In short, they do not want to give up that which they seized through bloodshed and theft. That is why no agreement has been reached to date.

    Esteemed Yasar [Turkish Foreign Minister] made a statement today in connection with the Greek Cypriot desire to intermingle with us and demand their lands back. Let everyone read that statement. He is right. It already happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Those wanting to return to their property were killed by others opposing it. Proposals made without knowing the policies of the two peoples in Cyprus naturally please one side and frighten the other.

    Question: Are there any changes in this regard in the revised plan, in the form that it has reached you?

    Answer: If we have been given a peanut, the other side has been given a cake.

    Question: The new changes..

    Answer: We will inform you after the meeting.

    Question: Will you also brief the Republican Assembly?

    Answer: May be.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.02.03) reported from occupied Nicosia that speaking to reporters following the extraordinary meeting which he had chaired, Denktas said the press made speculations about Annan`s visit to the island. ``Especially news like `there have been great revisions in favor of Turks` are tried to be spread. As we don`t know whether Mr Annan would bring them to the negotiation table or not, today we looked at the content of the revisions which were planned to be made and were presented to us yesterday. The desire for giving Karpass to the Greek Cypriot administration was given up, but all Greek Cypriots who lived in Karpass but migrated to the south are given the right to return to Karpss. The whole region is wanted to be populated with Greek Cypriots. They spread news as if they had taken Karpass and they were now giving it to us. However, they did not take Karpass. Karpass is our sovereign territory,`` he alleged. Denktas said under revisions in the plan, the whole Morphou region, Karavostassi, Potamos and Limnitis were foreseen to be given to Greek Cypriots in return for Karpass, Denktas said they were again facing a zigzagged map, and he did not want to speak about other issues as they did not know what Annan would bring to the table.

    Stressing that the philosophical approach of Annan`s plans was wrong, Denktas said plans were based on the principle of existence of the ``Republic of Cyprus``, and were content with giving some rights to Turkish Cypriots for their protection, so they were not satisfied and pleased with plans.

    ``If there are factors that Mr Annan will put forward, let him do it; then, we will evaluate them in the parliament again,`` he said.

    When asked whether or not Annan could cancel his visit to Cyprus according to the atmosphere in Ankara and Athens, Denktas said: ``If he was mistakenly told that `there was a chance for signature on February 28; that is, if he was misled, he would come. If his intention is signature... Or else if his goal is to see the chemistry of the sides; how we can continue talks with a new Greek Cypriot leader; where we are and what the latest point is; he is most welcome. However, if he is going to come for signature, both sides have stated that there was no preparation and the compromise necessary for signature. Both sides still have differences as much as they had in the past.``

    Underlining that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides did not have the same opinion, Denktas said that the Turkish side was trying to protect their freedom, sovereignty and soil against Greek Cypriots who were trying to possess the whole island with their ``Republic of Cyprus`` title. Denktas said that reaching an agreement would be difficult as long as the Greek Cypriots kept saying that ``they would enter the European Union and do whatever they want as the legal government and they were Cyprus and also our (Turkish Cypriots) government.``

    Mr Denktas further said that they were in consensus with Turkey with respect to changes made in the Annan plan, underlining that Greek Cypriots rejected all the changes the Turkish side had asked.

    Noting that there was a new map that was put forward, Denktas said that the new map was worse than the previous one. Emphasizing that the approach of the United Nations to Cyprus was wrong after the 1964 U.N. Security Council decision, Denktas said: ``As long as they do not correct this mistake, they can only try to patch us in Cyprus as a minority under protection. Or else, unfortunately, it does not seem possible for them to give our right in the way we deserve.``

    [02] The Turkish President met with the UN Secretary-General in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia (24.02.03) reported from Ankara that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Monday that the new partnership state to be formed in Cyprus should be established between two equal peoples and two founder states and be based on realities in the island in order to find the right and permanent solution to the Cyprus issue.

    A statement of the Presidential Press Center said that Sezer received United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier in the day.

    The statement noted that Sezer thanked Annan for his efforts under the good offices mission in order to settle the Cyprus issue.

    Sezer said that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, accepted that the solution plan proposed by Annan in November was negotiable.

    However, there were some issues in the plan regarding territory, return of refugees, property, sovereignty and security which was difficult to be accepted, Sezer noted.

    The statement said: ``President Sezer said that these issues should be changed in the plan and the proposals for these changes should be examined and evaluated in order to have a permanent agreement. Annan said that he had been in close contact with the parties in Cyprus for years and a united Cyprus stood a very good opportunity of becoming an EU member. Annan noted that all efforts should be exerted to seize that opportunity and accession of a united Cyprus to the EU would have beneficial results for not only the sides in the island but also for Turkey and Greece. Annan said that it was not correct to perceive his proposal as `either accept or leave aside` and it was a balanced plan taking into consideration the concerns of all sides. Annan expressed the belief that proposals for changes in the plan would satisfy both of the sides and it would be the best solution.``

    ``Annan stressed that the sides should seriously evaluate the last proposals for changes and the existing conditions could never be found again. Annan appreciated the open and constructive approach of the Turkish government in the solution process and thanked the government during the meeting,`` the statement said.

    [03] The UN Secretary-General met with the leader of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.02.03) reported from Ankara that the Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan met on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting which lasted for about one hour, Annan said that they had a unique opportunity to make a united Cyprus be member of the European Union (EU).

    Stating that they had consensus on reaching an agreement on the Cyprus issue, Annan said that they aimed at lasting peace.

    Annan said that negotiations had been continuing for a long time and stated that he believed that all problems could be solved with good will.

    Noting that the two sides knew what the plan was and the U.N. was trying to remove the concerns of the sides, Annan said that he believed that a solution could be reached after intense negotiations.

    On his part Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: ``As far as I know,the third plan includes more solutions than the first two plans`` when he was commenting on the third plan presented by United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Cyprus.

    Following their meeting, Erdogan spoke briefly to journalists.

    Erdogan thanked Annan for his efforts to solve the Cyprus and Iraq issues and said that they took up the third plan regarding Cyprus during their meeting.

    ``I hope that negotiations between `TRNC' and the new administration in the Greek Cypriot side on the third plan will bring forth the solution we expect in Cyprus. And, I hope that the issue will be concluded with referenda to be held in both of the sides at the end of March. I believe that acceleration of this process with support and recommendations of not only Greece but Turkey will help overcome the non-solution, provided that the sides sit at the table to solve this issue. As you know, the road to the European Union (EU) will be closed if the referenda don`t take place in either of the sides or if they don`t have positive result,`` said Erdogan.

    Moreover, according to KIBRIS newspaper (25.02.03) the Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader as well warned the sides that they should sit around the negotiation table for a solution. And he said that with the Annan plan in its revised form the solution has better chance.

    Thanking the UN Secretary-General for his efforts regarding Cyprus and Iraq, Erdogan said that at the meeting, the third plan on Cyprus was taken up. He said that although he is unaware of the content of this plan, they know however, that this plan compared to the two previous plans, has more solutions.

    Erdogan said: "My desire is that the negotiations to be held on the third plan, between the `TRNC' and the new administration that came to power as a result of elections in the south Cyprus, will bring about the solution that we are expecting. And with the referenda to be held on both sides at the end of March, this issue will come to its end.

    Also I do believe that as Greece and Turkey, if the necessary support and advice is provided to the sides, the negotiation process will be speeded up, and it will be of great help in doing away with the non-solution. Provided that the sides sit at the negotiation table willing to solve this issue. You know that the EU path will close if the referenda to be held at the end of March do not take place in either of the sides or if they do not lead to positive results".

    [04] Statements by the UN Secretary-General to CNN Turk and Mega Television

    Istanbul CNN TURK (24.02.03) broadcast that the critical turning point has been reached in Cyprus. As we approach the deadline proposed for a solution on the island, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Ankara equipped with a third Cyprus plan in order to conclude the negotiations. In a special joint statement to CNN TURK and the Greek Mega television station, Annan replied to Mehmet Ali Birand's questions and declared that he did not bring the third plan with a take-it-or-leave-it condition. Annan further stressed that 28 February is not the final date.

    Annan said: "The 28 February deadline is not an artificial date. If we look at the timetable we are working on, we can see that my desire and that of many people in this region is to ensure that a united Cyprus joins the EU. 28 February is an essential deadline to enable both sides to hold a referendum by the end of March. I would not want to see too much slipping from this date, because if that happens a solution may be rendered impossible. If we fail to regulate the timetable to allow for an agreement, we will not attain a united Cyprus, the situation will change completely, and we will miss this opportunity. We do not know when such an opportunity would present itself again.

    Asked if one of the sides rejects the plan, he would still want them to conduct a referendum, Annan stated: "If one of the sides rejects the plan -- I am hoping that this will not be the case -- then we will face a new situation. I am hoping, however, that this will not happen, because accepting the plan will serve the interests of the peoples on both sides as well as of the region. As I mentioned earlier, I am confident that the leaders will demonstrate the necessary wisdom and courage to bring this about."

    Birand asked: If the leaders nevertheless say that they have to conduct consultations and fine tune this latest proposal, if they ask for a little more time, how much more time can they be given -- one week, two weeks, three weeks? Is there a question of a final date, such as 7 March?

    In response, Annan said: There may be slipping of a couple of days, one week maximum.

    Asked again if 7 March can be cited as a final date, Annan said: "Yes, this would take us to 7 March, but at this point, we want to concentrate on 28 February, not 7 March. We know the issues and the problems. I am very pleased with Mr Papadopoulos' declaration that the previous Greek Cypriot policy will continue and that he will proceed with the same policy. If the necessary will and determination is displayed, in my opinion, a solution can be reached by 28 February."

    [05] Mr Thomas Weston is holding contacts in Ankara. Sources quote him saying there might be efforts to change the Annan plan in line with the Turkish side's demands

    Ankara Anatolia (24.02.03) reported from Ankara that the U.S. State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston visited Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters following the meeting at the JDP Headquarters, Weston said that the U.N. Secretary-General`s duty was to find a successful solution to the Cyprus issue.

    "I could say that we left the meeting by understanding each other more," Weston said and added that they were in contact with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his special envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto and all relevant sides. Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador in Ankara Robert Pearson, who attended the meeting, told reporters that they had focused mainly on the Cyprus issue, and he had informed Erdogan on the latest point reached in talks between Turkey and the United States on military, political and economic issues.

    Pearson added they hoped talks between Turkey and the United States would be concluded as soon as possible.

    Sources said that at the meeting, Weston had underlined that time was running out for Cyprus, and there might be efforts for revisions in Annan`s plan in line with the Turkish side`s demands.

    Informing Erdogan on his meeting with the new Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos, Weston said that Papadopoulos had told him that he would not take a backward step from the point reached in talks with former Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides, sources said.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish side stated that it had no information on the latest details of Annan`s plan, and the Turkish side`s view would become clear following talks to be held with Annan, sources added.

    [06] The Deputy Chairman of RPP on Iraq and Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia (24.02.03) reported from Antakya that Republican People`s Party (RPP) Deputy Chairman Inal Batu said on Sunday that Turkey should not support a possible U.S.led military action against Iraq.

    Speaking at a conference in southern province of Hatay on the issue of ``Iraq and Cyprus``, Batu said: ``Iraq has 14 percent of world oil reserves. The United States will not pay the cost of a possible military action from its own budget. The cost will be met from the oil reserves in Iraq. Turkey should not support a possible U.S.led military action against Iraq.``

    Referring to the Cyprus question, Batu said: ``If the plan which was presented to the sides in Cyprus by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is put into practice, Turkish Cypriots will lose whatever they have gained, which they got as a result of long-standing struggles.``

    ``Implementation of the plan will also bring forth serious economic and political problems,`` he added.

    [07] Serdar Denktas: " I am afraid of civil war in the TRNC"

    Following is the full text of the interview given by Serdar Denktas to RADIKAL newspaper (24/02/03). He is the son of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas; he is the Chairman of the Democratic Party as well as the Minister of Tourism of the pseudo state. The interview has been conducted by RADIKAL correspondent Nese Duzel.

    Question: Forgetting that you are the son of president Rauf Denktas, that you are a minister and that you are a politician, and if I ask you- are you happy as a Turkish Cypriot?

    Answer: I am happy because I have security of life. However, from the social -economic point of view and as being the TRNC I am not happy. Not integrating with the world and not becoming a world citizen makes us unhappy.

    Question: Without changing the conditions, keeping the things as they are, is it possible for the Turkish Cypriots to be happy and prosperous?

    Answer: If we will continue the same status quo that existed for the last 28 years with the same policies and with the same way it is not possible.

    Question: How do you think the present conditions would be changed? What kind of changes are you expecting that would make the Turkish Cypriots happy and prosperous?

    Answer: The TRNC citizen by establishing its own administration could change certain things in this country. The people of the TRNC long for establishing their own rule. In 1974 the Turkish Cypriots considered the north of the island their homeland and established a state but they have never been able to become a ruling power in this state. They were forced to consult with Turkey for their every step that they wanted to take .They were always forced with the intervention of the representative of Turkey in the Island.

    Question: What does it mean by saying-'We have established a state but we were unable to become a ruling power?'

    Answer: If today in Turkey they are questioning whether Tayyip Erdogan is the ruling power or not despite the fact that they are the government, then with the same token, use the same logic to the Turkish Cypriots and understand the case. Of course we too here chose the easy way out and created an easy going people and administration. Money came from Turkey and here we have established a government of civil servants. Today in the TRNC whose population is 200 thousand, the state has 40 thousand salaried civil servants. For the last 28 years we have lived like this and with this method we were able to stay on the administration. And when the economic crises escalated in Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots were being affected twice as much than you in Turkey. Also the bureaucrats from Turkey have started to tell us that our establishments were too democratic and that it is necessary to curtail the rights to holding rallies, meetings as well as trade union rights.

    Question: Why, in your view, Turkey wanted to curtail the democracy in the TRNC?

    Answer: I relate this to some of those Turkish bureaucrats that wish to see here the set up that they are used to in Turkey. Turkey is not treating its own people differently in Turkey; it wanted to apply the same thing here. For example, north Cyprus has always been compared with one of the provinces of Turkey. They have said that Cyprus is comparable to Bayburt, 'a place the size of Bayburt' (Tr.note: a semi underdeveloped township in eastern Turkey). As a matter of fact the place that they should have compared us with is the neighbor in south Cyprus. For years we have asked why the south Cyprus was prospering and we were not. And at the end of the day we were unable to prosper because we were acting together with Turkey. Then the idea that if we act together with the Greeks we can more easily prosper was developed. This idea developed with the EU membership issue. The Turkish Cypriots for first time with the Annan plan have asked themselves-'what would happen to us?'

    Quesiton: How, those who reject the Annan plan think to bring about to the Turkish Cypriots the changes that will make them happy and prosperous if the Annan peace plan is rejected?

    Answer: I am not among those who reject the plan. Rather, I am struggling for making the plan to safeguard really the peace. Had we accepted and signed the plan last December we would not be having the chance to change certain important things; from the map to the constitutional rights, to vote and to be elected, to the Greek Cypriots moving back, wouldn't even have been able to be discussed in the plan? Therefore, what the president did was right.

    Question: Well, as far as you are concerned do you think that the Turkish Cypriots live more happily and prosperously by keeping the lands that Denktas refuses to give back? Or would they be happier by giving back the land and by signing an agreement?

    Answer: This is the subject that should be discussed most. Should we demand with this plan an arrangement that we will give more land and preclude the Greek Cypriots coming and living with us? Or return less land and allow Greek Cypriots to settle among us in ten years time. I favor the second solution plan, because I did not live the pre-1974 period. I neither killed nor was I killed. In the north Cyprus every body wants peace but they differ on how to attain this peace.

    Question: I was unable to hear in debates regarding the Cyprus problem a ruling politician that refers to the happiness and prosperity of the Turkish Cypriots. As far as you are concerned do you think that the TRNC administration has a desire and a plan to make this desire come true?

    Answer: We never had such thoughts. We have started thinking about these when we have reached the impasse.

    Question: Doesn't Denktas for the last forty years rule this place? You have said that the Turkish Cypriots were unable to rule themselves, Turkey governed here. The man who was charting the relations with Turkey was Denktas. This means that the TRNC was governed by Denktas together with the Turkish bureaucracy. Don't you think that Denktas has major responsibility regarding the present situation?

    Answer: Of course he has responsibility, partly and contribution. However, the responsibility of our being underdeveloped falls upon the government. Since 1980 Rauf Denktas directed foreign policy issues and not domestic policy. Denktas also directed the Cyprus policy of Turkey. In Turkey for years they only lend an ear to Denktas and they turned a deaf ear to the voice of party leaders, prime ministers and assembly speakers. Moreover, they were a few Turkish bureaucrats and not Turkey the ruling power here.

    Question: Do you think that Turkish interest and the interests of the Turkish Cypriots clash?

    Answer: I cannot say that they clash very much. The Turkish Foreign Minister of the previous government, Sukru Sina Gurel had said:' if you admit the Greek Cypriot side into the EU prior to a settlement our reaction will be unlimited'. This reaction was not to defend the Turkish Cypriots, but to defend Turkey's interests and rights. Also with this unlimited reaction Turkey was going to find a number of Turkish Cypriots opposing it as well. If Turkey has given up the integration, or annexation, it should be able to declare:' I have given up integration Cyprus with its north and south can enter into the EU'. Turkey is not saying this, Tayyip Erdogan says one thing, Prime Minister Gul says something else, the Turkish Foreign Ministry bureaucrats say another thing and the Office of the Turkish Chief of the General Staff says something else. As a result we are confused which one to adhere to.

    Question: Would Turkey annex the TRNC?

    Answer: It will not. Had the previous Turkish government's annexation project been put into practice, I would have been the first to oppose it. And if the TRNC is integrated with Turkey there will be major clash among us here in the TRNC.I am against the integration and annexation. As a matter of fact I would like to see in the Annan plan that the Turkish Cypriots have sovereignty.

    Question: Would Turkey's annexation of the TRNC bring a happier and more prosperous life for your people?

    Answer: No, it would not.

    Question: Why do the great majority of the Turkish Cypriot people support the peace plan so sincerely?

    Answer: We want to live like human beings. Living as civil servants has not brought us happiness. We want our identity as Turkish Cypriots to be accepted and understood. But this has been disregarded.

    Question: What are the characteristics that distinguish the Turks of Cyprus from the Turks of Turkey?

    Answer: We are islanders. This is something different. We are much more docile. We are not pugnacious. Our most extreme form of conflict is swearing regarding each other's wives and mothers. In Turkey, you could kill a person over something like this, but we hug each other again the following day. Every culture that has come onto the island over the years has left us something as an inheritance. We constitute a different mosaic. As a result, the Ottomans, the Turkish Republic, the British, the Byzantines, and the Greek Cypriots have all contributed something. We have a distinct identity as Turks of Cyprus who are islanders. They tell us that we resemble the Greek Cypriots. It's true, we resemble them more closely perhaps in terms of cursing, laughing at the same things, and being sad and crying. Do you know what our biggest problem is on Cyprus? Our biggest problem is the problem of sovereignty. In terms of the question of who the island belongs to, the Greek Cypriot says the island is his, and we say that it's ours. But there is no cultural problem between us. Even though the past thirty years have made us a bit more different, and the Greek Cypriots have become more Greek while we have become a bit more like people in Turkey, we still resemble each other to a great extent. There is a togetherness that has been brought about by the centuries.

    Question: HURRIYET newspaper wrote that the government in which you serve as Deputy Prime Minister has prepared a new economic and social plan in order to reduce the anger of the public. This package contains things such as building a mosque in every village in Northern Cyprus, and Koran courses for young people. Are these measures that will strengthen the Turkish Cypriot identity?

    Answer: No. I am opposed to these items. This is not a package of the government. Some things from Turkey have been added to this package. For instance, marriage between Turks from Cyprus and Turks from Turkey is to be supported. It must be that we're going to turn the Ministry of Tourism into a Ministry of Matchmaking or something. What we need is not a mosque in every village. The cost of each village mosque is 150 thousand dollars. With that money, I can create jobs for 15 or 20 young people. Moreover, this country is one that is proud of being Ataturkist. Even if the government in Turkey is that of the JDP, I cannot accept Koran courses.

    Question: The package also notes, as a problem, the separation on the island between Turks from Turkey and those of island origin. Is there such a separation?

    Answer:There is. Actually, the second and third generations [of Turkish origin] have finally fit in, but back in the 1980s an ambassador from Turkey, for whatever reasons, did indeed call some of them in and told them to set up a political party of people from Turkey.

    Question: So the Turkish state, which prohibits the establishment of an ethnically based political party in Turkey, arranged to have an ethnically based party set up on Cyprus?

    Answer: Of course; but it wasn't the state that had it set up; it was the Turkish Embassy that had it set up.

    Question: But is the Ambassador not the representative of the Turkish state here?

    Answer: Of course. This decision, which was to set the Cypriot Turks and the Turks from Turkey against each other, was in my view the personal decision of an Ambassador. These people were told to elect their own parliamentarians. The Ambassador who provided this directive later came to head the Cyprus desk at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. As a result, politics got mixed up in these matters. Politicians who fostered a distinction between [Turkish] Cypriots and people from Turkey sprung up. And these people are still around. They will continue this prejudicial approach as long as it brings them votes. But for me, to speak of Turkish Cypriots means all "TRNC" citizens who recognize this place as being their country.

    Question: The thousands of people who took part in the peace rallies were accused of being "traitors" by some officials in Turkey. In your view, are those who take part in such rallies traitors?

    Answer: No. Rallies are a democratic right. The great majority of those who went to the rallies went because they really wanted a solution.

    Question: On the Greek Cypriot side, a man who had opposed the peace plan [referring to President-elect Tassos Papadopoulos] has won the election. While a majority of the Turkish Cypriots want peace, the majority of the Greek Cypriots gave their votes to someone who does not approve the plan. Why do the Greek Cypriots not want peace?

    Answer: The Greek Cypriots don't want instability. And they as well have the fear that, with this plan, a new period of internal instability could begin. The plan does indeed provide for internal instability. And on both sides there are people who do not want any solution, who do not want to see either Turks or Greeks, respectively. There are those who say "I will kill the first Greek Cypriot I see." And there are people like this on the Greek Cypriot side as well. There may not be communal violence, but I am very worried about individual attacks. And there are circles on each side that have already begun to sharpen their claws in order to incite just such incidents, and this could drive us into new chaos. And in addition, the Greeks say "Why should I share my sovereignty with these crazy Turks?" Because living together carries with it the potential for a new conflict. If a bomb goes off on my side of the island, the number of tourists visiting is 300 thousand [per year], and so I may lose 20 thousand. But they get 2.5 million a year, and so the Greek Cypriot economy would be greatly affected by such a thing.

    Question: How do you explain the situation in which President Denktas, who is now at odds with the great majority of his own people, who want a solution, is now defending a policy that is in parallel with the wishes of the Cypriot Greeks, who look coolly on a solution?

    Answer: Denktas is only at odds with a portion of his people. In the meantime, some very untimely statements are being made out of Turkey. For instance, the statements by the JDP calling for a solution... Rather than openly pressuring the person sitting at the negotiating table in this way, they could put more pressure on him behind closed doors.

    Question: If Cyprus should accede to the European Union as a whole, would this development have a positive impact on the lives of Turkish Cypriots, or would the membership of only the Greek Cypriot side have such an impact?

    Answer: We are not prepared either for a solution or for the lack of a solution. But we have very little time left. We will be the ones who lose out, in either situation.

    Question: The Turkish Cypriots have been holding rallies, with great crowds, in favour of peace. But the government appears to be disregarding their wishes. Will this contradiction cause tension in Cyprus?

    Answer: My greatest fear is of an internal conflict among the Turkish Cypriots themselves. In a referendum, the solution option could win by just a small margin, or the lack of a solution. In this situation, sons will be arguing against fathers. Some will ask "Did I fight against the Greek Cypriots only for this?" Others will tell their relatives "You went and voted 'yes'; you sold us out, since you are not moving out of your house but I will have to move once again." And so there will be tensions.

    Question: President Denktas is your father. And you yourself are a minister. Do you have different views from those of your father?

    Answer: There is a generational difference, for one thing. The President considers that we have to be much more cautious vis-a-vis the Greek Cypriots. Since I don't have a prejudice of that sort, I am able to approach events a bit differently. I am saying that we have to reach a solution. I am saying that, if there is no solution, it will not be possible to continue the current situation. For Denktas, the solution is for the Turks to live in the north and the Greeks in the south. There is still a possibility for a solution of this type in the Annan plan.

    Question: What would the Greek Cypriot sector get from such a solution, in your opinion?

    Answer: Tranquillity.

    [08] KIBRIS publishes a new public opinion poll showing that the majority of the inhabitants of the occupied areas are in favour of the Annan plan

    KIBRIS (25.02.03) publishes a new public opinion poll conducted by the paper in cooperation with the Cyprus Communal Researches and Education Consultative Centre (KADEM). The poll was conducted between 8 and 20 February 2003 in 63 occupied villages and towns, with the participation of 1.349 persons above the age of 18.

    According to the results of the poll, 59.6 % of the inhabitants of the occupied areas of Cyprus approve the UN plan for Cyprus with its present form, while 33.8 % reject it. At a public opinion poll conducted by KIBRIS - KADEM in January 65.4 % had said "yes" to the plan, while 28.2 % said "no".

    64.8 % of the participants in the poll said that they would like efforts for some changes to the plan to be exerted and afterwards the plan to be submitted to referendum, the result of which to be decisive. 22.4 % believe that the Annan plan should be rejected in case the desirable for the Turkish side changes are not achieved.

    77.4 % of the participants in the poll believe that Cyprus should join the EU after its political problem is solved, 18.7 % believe that Cyprus should join the EU after its political problem is solved and simultaneously with Turkey and 2.1% think that Cyprus should never join the Union.

    [09] Yakis: "The third Annan plan will be take it or leave it"

    KIBRIS (25.02.03) reports that Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that there is no time for the UN Secretary - General to submit a fourth revised plan and therefore the third plan, which Mr Annan is expected to submit, will be in the form of "take it or leave it".

    Noting that the UN Special Advisor for Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto had given a document to Turkey's undersecretary ambassador Ugur Ziyal, Mr Yakis said that this document should be evaluated and compared to the second Annan plan.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister alleged also that "many balances have chanced" with President Papadopoulos' victory in the 16 February Presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus and argued that in the next few days "we shall see to what extend this development will influence" the solution procedure.

    Asked whether or not Mr Annan will submit his third plan in the form of an ultimatum, Mr Yakis answered: "I do not know if the word ultimatum is the right one. However, our feeling is the following: If the 28 February procedure is still there and if within the next few days, that is on the 24th or the 25th, a new plan comes up, then there will be no time for negotiations for a fourth plan. Therefore, this plan will be in time only if it is in the form of take it or leave it. .".

    [10] Mrs Adriana Karembeu will reportedly be visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus

    According to KIBRIS (22.02.03), the directors of "The Colony Hotel" in occupied Kyrenia, are aiming at bringing to the occupied areas the famous model Adriana Karembeu. The paper writes that the owners of the hotel are planning on doing this during the opening ceremony of the hotel, which is expected to take place on 19 May 2003

    [11] Salih Cosar: "The Turkish Cypriots decided in favor of solution and EU accession"

    KIBRISLI (25.02.03) reports that Salih Cosar, the so-called deputy prime minister and responsible for economic issues of the puppet regime, stated that the Turkish Cypriots decided in favor of solution and EU accession. Mr Cosar made this statement in a meeting he had with a delegation of the Association of Young Businessmen.

    Commenting on the recent developments in the Cyprus problem Mr Cosar said that this is a very crucial period for the Cyprus problem, "a crossroads of history" as he noted and added that one cannot find other thought than EU and solution within the society. Mr Cosar also said that according to him the "'people' took its decision" and this is in favor of solution and EU accession, despite the fact that the UN Plan is not a perfect plan and needs a lot of changes.

    According to the paper, Mr Cosar denied that the new economic plan for the pseudostate was prepared against the UN Plan. He said that the publicity regarding this issue was lacking of seriousness and stressed that the new economic measures are not really a packet or a program but consist of economic and social chapters.

    [12] A new rally for EU membership and solution of the Cyprus problem will take place on the 27th of February in occupied Nicosia

    ORTAM (25.02.03) and various other Turkish Cypriot papers, publish a half page advertisement calling the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the new rally that will take place on the 27th of February in occupied Nicosia. According to the paper, the new rally, which will take place at the Innonu Square at 11:00 pm, will send the message that the Turkish Cypriots are ready for solution and EU accession. Through the advertisement the Turkish Cypriots are called to go on strike and participate in the rally. "We will go on a general strike, we will shut down the rolling shutter, we will embrace solution and EU accession", is written in the advertisement.

    [13] Annan launches final bid for a Cyprus deal

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (25.02.03) reports that the UN Secretary-General called on to Turkey, Greece and the two sides on Cyprus to seize the chance to unite the eastern Mediterranean island before a February 28 deadline passes or the latest by March 7, but his call appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, unsatisfied with a second revision Annan has reportedly presented the two sides on Cyprus, as well as to Greece and Turkey, on Sunday declared that the U.N. Secretary-General should not travel to the island of Cyprus if he intends to get him and new Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos to sign the U.N. document.

    Denktas said the new document was unacceptable and, like the preceding documents, was written with the wrong assumption that there was a legal Cyprus government and the Turkish Cypriots would be patched up to that administration.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said that was the mistake the world body and the international community has been making since 1964. In 1964, in hopes that deployment of U.N. peace-keepers would end the bloodbath on the island, Turkey had agreed to accept a U.N. resolution referring to the all-Greek Cypriot administration on Cyprus as "Government of Cyprus" although it was contrary to the Cyprus constitution.

    Denktas said that approach of the U.N. and the international community has been instrumental since 1964 for the failure of all attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

    While Ankara, still examining the new U.N. plan, appeared Monday maintaining its "cautious optimism" on the prospect of a Cyprus breakthrough, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis declared that the chance of a Cyprus deal by the end of February or even March is "almost non-existent."

    The newly-elected Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadpoulos also cautioned the U.N. Secretary-General not to rush officially presenting his new Cyprus plan, although it was submitted to the two parties, as well as Greece and Turkey, on Sunday for evaluation.

    Annan is expected to officially present his new paper for a comprehensive settlement on Wednesday when he arrives on the island.

    The February deadline is crucial if the European Union is to admit a united island when it signs a membership deal with Cyprus on April 16.

    In talks with Turkish officials and at his meetings with ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Mr Annan said that the February 28 deadline could be extended by one more final week but no further than that because to meet the EU schedule the two sides must approve the accord in separate referenda on March 31.

    "We have reached a high point in efforts under way to solve the Cyprus problem. This is the defining moment for Cyprus," Annan said adding he was confident a deal was possible.

    "I wouldn't be here otherwise. I am still hopeful. I think we can do it," he said.

    The complex U.N. reunification plan faces criticism from both Denktas and Papadopoulos, who garnered votes in elections last week from many who feared the plan gave too much to the Turkish Cypriots.

    "It is the position of (outgoing president Glafcos) Clerides and my own that the hasty submission of a plan with the logic of 'take it or leave it' may impact the chances of this plan being used as the basis for further negotiations," Papadopoulos told journalists.

    Similarly, talking to reporters after an emergency Cabinet meeting he chaired, Denktas said if the Secretary-General was travelling to the island to attend a "signing ceremony" without negotiations on his latest document, "he better not come."

    Annan, in Ankara talks, however, stressed that his new plan would not be presented to the two sides on a take-or-leave-it basis. "Some fine tuning could be done," he reportedly said but cautioned that the entire document was based on a balance and therefore substantial change should not be expected.

    In the revised U.N. plan the Turkish Cypriot territory was increased from 28.5 percent foreseen in the previous document to 29.2 percent while the number of Greek Cypriot refugees to return to Turkish Cypriot state was increased from 65,000 to 85,000.

    Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides disclosed Monday that Britain may be willing to give up some territory on its military bases in Cyprus to smooth a settlement.

    Britain currently retains 98 square miles of Cypriot territory spread out into two sovereign base areas (SBA) on the southern coast. There are about 3,500 British forces on the bases.

    "It appears there is a proposal from Britain to offer a large percentage of the British bases if there is a settlement," Cassoulides told reporters.

    Part of the SBA include Akrotiri, a sprawling air base on the southern coast which is the largest RAF facility outside Britain. It was a key supply post during the 1991 Gulf War, and is expected to play an equally important role if the United States takes military action against Iraq.

    Diplomatic sources said if there was a peace deal ending Cyprus's division, Britain would be willing to give up between 40 and 50 percent of the bases to Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    David Hannay, Britain's special envoy on the Cyprus problem, conveyed the offer to the Greek Cypriots on Sunday, media reports said.

    The reports, unconfirmed by officials, said if there would be a hand-over, some 90 percent of British territory would go to Greek Cypriots and 10 percent to Turkish Cypriots.

    Britain, Cyprus's former colonial master, retained sovereignty over the territories when it granted the east Mediterranean island independence in 1960, after a short Greek Cypriot guerrilla campaign.

    Not all of the area is used for military purposes and the SBA include a large number of Greek Cypriot farming communities living under British civilian administration.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] Erdogan seems determined to solve the Cyprus problem

    MILLIYET newspaper (23.02.03) publishes the following commentary by Hasan Cemal under the title: "From branch to branch with Tayyip Erdogan":

    On Friday night JDP [Justice and Development Party] General Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I appeared on Erdogan Aktas's new show called "Shadow Cabinet" on NTV. We chatted for two and a half hours including commercial breaks.

    Erdogan tries to be calm and pleasant. His facial lines do not cringe--or even move--when he is confronted with remarks and questions he may find disagreeable.

    It is often said that Erdogan has an impulsive personality that may explode or become irritable unexpectedly. He was not like that on Friday night.

    Erdogan also tries to project the image of a self-confident and comfortable leader with his demeanor and style. He can deliver comprehensible messages with his correct diction and perceptiveness.

    However he needs to "develop some depth."

    In particular the JDP leader needs to do his homework better--and perhaps diversify his immediate circle--on issues related to international relations and the economy because it is not always possible to cover up inadequacies exposed to the outside with mental agility.

    On Friday night his demeanor was not that of a Kasimpasa [a low-income neighborhood in Istanbul where Erdogan grew up] resident.

    I did not have enough time to ask him a question on this issue. Is Prime Minister Abdullah Gul sometimes uneasy about Erdogan's Kasimpasa style especially in foreign policy? Does he find his style of expression, but not the essence of what he says, inappropriate?

    There is a sense to this effect in political anterooms.

    Some in the JDP are already looking for signs of a spar between Erdogan and Gul and forecasting future cracks.

    This may be true but it is still too early to tell.

    Erdogan must first be elected as a Siirt deputy to the National Assembly on March 9 and then take over the Prime Minister's seat. Will there be any changes in the cabinet? Will Gul become Deputy Prime Minister or--most probably--Foreign Minister? How can developments in the Iraq affair impact these developments?

    Erdogan answers such questions with a phrase from [former President Suleyman] Demirel: "You cannot tailor diapers for an unborn child."

    The JDP leader disagreed with my comment that he is leaning toward populist approaches on the economy. I told him that the government wasted its first two months in office and that this led to a rise in interest and exchange rates and negative expectations.

    However he thinks differently. He said that he is not and will never be a populist.

    Another topic that is of interest to Erdogan is the relationship between the elected and the appointed.

    The JDP leader knows very well from very recent experiences in his political life what this means in Turkish politics. That is why, it seems, he has begun to take a realistic approach to this issue in his power gambit that is only three months old.

    Erdogan said that [former President Turgut] Ozal was the only courageous leader on the issue of elected and appointed.

    Is Cyprus an obstacle on Turkey's path to the EU? Erdogan has no doubts on this issue. He says that today he thinks exactly what he thought about Cyprus three months ago and that he is determined to settle the Cyprus problem.

    Although he did not state this explicitly it is evident that he is not on good terms with [Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf] Denktas. Indeed in the course of a brief chat during a commercial break I got the impression that he believes Denktas will suffer the same electoral defeat Greek Cypriot leader Clerides suffered in south Cyprus. (Erdogan also mentioned in passing that he does not approve of the presence of [former Foreign Minister] Mumtaz Soysal, who is opposed to the EU, by Denktas's side as his advisor and negotiator.)

    On Turkey's upcoming debt payments of $73.5 billion, I think that this issue is possibly the most important point of deadlock in the ongoing bargaining between Ankara and Washington over permission for the presence of U.S. troops in Turkey. While discussing Iraq, Erdogan said that "Turkey has to pay a total of $73.5 billion this year to service internal and external debts." He added that he has no plans to burn bridges with Washington.

    Has he or has he not changed? This topic opened up unexpectedly during the show. At one point Erdogan said: "If Hasan Cemal has a right to change why should I not?"

    I answered: "Of course everyone has a right to change. I wrote about how I changed together with my past mistakes. I do not expect you to write a book, but why have you changed and why did you grow? You could at least explain those. You could talk about your past mistakes. After all you are a contender to govern Turkey."

    However these questions remained unanswered. Erdogan does not wish to talk about his radical Islamist past.

    During one commercial break we talked about soccer. As is known Erdogan is a devoted fan of Fenerbahce. He told me that just as he was about to enter Fenerbahce in the years he played soccer his father got very upset and stopped him from becoming a soccer player.

    He believes that [Fenerbahce's decision] to allow Revivo [a soccer player] to join us--sorry Galatasaray--was a big mistake. He thinks that Fenerbahce is not run well. He spoke favorably about Galatasaray President Ozhan Canaydin. He said that he has had several conversations with Canaydin and that Canaydin gave him the impression of a principled person who inspires confidence. He added, however, that Galatasaray made a mistake by giving away Lucescu who made them champion.

    I was going to ask one more question: "Turkey is preparing for a Prime Minister who is a graduate of an imam-hatip school. Do you think that this will be considered a watershed or a sign of normalization in Turkey's democracy?"

    We ran out of time.

    [15] The last tango in Cyprus

    Turkish Daily News (25.02.03) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has arrived in the region under very difficult conditions. On one hand the snowstorm and, on the other hand, the fatigue arising from the bargaining done with the Americans, have, unfortunately, pushed Cyprus to the background.

    In reality, the Iraq issue is temporary whereas the Cyprus is, from Turkey's standpoint, not only more important but also a lasting problem. If even half of the days and weeks spent on Iraq could have been spent on the Cyprus issue, a much more profitable result could have been obtained from our standpoint in the long run.

    The mood prevailing in Ankara seems to be one of, "If we are not going to obtain the things we want, let us leave this issue aside. We will tackle it anew if new conditions arise in the future." Other than Tayyip Erdogan no one seems to be insistent. Those who have a conservative view do not seem to be inclined to let go of Northern Cyprus.

    No one seems to be thinking, for example, that if no solution can be found today the Greek Cypriots will have a say over the entire Cyprus, that they will join the European Union on April 16 in the name of Cyprus, that they will take their place on the other side of the table when the EU engages in negotiations with Turkey, and that, in the future, we will have to make far greater concessions regarding Cyprus. Ankara is living day-by-day. Rather than making the sacrifices required today, it prefers to postpone the issue.

    Subtitle: Annan aims to stir Ankara into action

    It is in such a climate that Kofi Annan came to Turkey.

    Greeks and Greek Cypriots, meanwhile, are smugly watching the developments, knowing that with or without a solution they will end up having a "profit" by carrying Cyprus into the EU. At this stage, firstly the nationals of the `TRNC' and secondly Turkey, stand to lose. Therefore, Annan will try, with all his might, to sensitize Ankara.

    He will not disclose all three plans he has brought with him, not all of the details. In Ankara and in Athens he will explain the main lines of these plans and ask them to support these. Afterwards, when he goes to Cyprus, he will present these to Denktas and Papadopoulos. Meanwhile, it is not clear yet which Greek Cypriot figure will be dealing with him, Clerides or the new president, Papadopoulos.

    Annan will not tell the parties concerned, "Either accept it as a whole or reject it." Neither will he insist that they sign it by February 28. If the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides seek time in which to "ponder and engage in fine-tuning", he will give them a week or, at best, ten days. He is not inclined to postpone the issue any further.

    Subtitle: Will he be able to persuade Denktas?

    Kofi Annan knows that he cannot persuade Rauf Denktas. The entire UN team is convinced that Denktas does not want any solution at all. However, now there is also Papadopoulos. He has no intention either. In other words, this time the Secretary-General is surrounded by "proponents of a lack of a solution" on all sides.

    In Cyprus, those who want a solution are -- in Northern Cyprus -- the younger Cypriot generation, especially the university students, and -- in Southern Cyprus -- the refugees, that is, those who lost their property in 1974. The rest favor a continuation of the status quo or adoption of their own solution.

    Since the Greek Cypriots are at ease, with nothing to lose, this impasse should give food for thought to the Turkish side more than anybody else. We will see whether those who conduct high politics with the USA in Ankara, will view Cyprus in a long-term perspective.

    Subtitle:Denktas is Papadopoulos's only hope

    Greek Cypriots electing Papadopoulos the new president, has given Denktas relief. Reopening the "old accounts" he declared the president of Cyprus as an EOKA figure. In reality, if we looked at the past, we would see that Clerides had been no less of an EOKA figure than Papadopoulos. However, the election result has made the Turkish side quite happy.

    The Turkish side assumed that when the Turkish public, the `TRNC' public and the international community saw Papadopoulos they would agree with Denktas and the pressure on the `TRNC' leader would ease.

    Frankly, Papadopoulos is not charismatic at all. Unlike Clerides, he is not a world-renowned, much-respected leader. Besides, he definitely says "NO" to the Annan plan. In this respect, Denktas is right in trying to benefit from this situation.

    What about Papadopoulos's expectations?

    Denktas is his biggest hope.

    Denktas has been branded -- in the eyes of the world -- as "the leader that does not want a solution." Once you get branded, it would be quite hard to reverse the situation. This is the main card Papadopoulos holds. With great expectations he is waiting for Denktas to reject the Annan plan first. It is as if he is praying for that. If he manages to ensure that, he will be the winner. He will no longer be the "rejecting one" himself and, at the same time, he will seize Cyprus. And he will be able to perform this maneuver for free, that is, without suffering any political losses at all.

    Only Denktas can disrupt this game.

    Denktas and the Turkish side can save themselves if they face Papadopoulos by posing as a dove -- as Clerides did in the past -- and if Papadopoulos slips and makes a mistake.

    /SK


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