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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-07-08

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.126/03 08.07.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Delegations of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties met in Strasbourg; Walter Schwimmer: ^”The Annan Plan is on the table^‘.
  • [02] Akinci states that he is pleased with Erelīs statements and stresses that the Peace and Democracy Movement is open to everybody who wishes to joint it.
  • [03] Only half of Turks satisfied with JDPīs EU efforts.
  • [04] Statements by the Turkish Chief of General Staff on the detaining of 11 members of the Turkish military in Northern Iraq.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Commentary in Turkish Daily News analyses the repercussions on Turkish-US relations of the arrest of Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Delegations of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties met in Strasbourg; Walter Schwimmer: ^”The Annan Plan is on the table^‘

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.07.03) reports that delegations of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties met yesterday in Strasbourg within the framework of a meeting for dialogue, organized by the Council of Europe.

    The Turkish Cypriot delegation consisted of Dervis Eroglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP), Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), Mehmet Ali Talat, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Huseyin Angolemli, chairman of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP), Ertugrul Hasipoglu, chairman of the Renewal Progressive Party (RPP), Alpay Durduran, secretary for foreign affairs of the Patriotic Union Movement (PUM), Izzet Izcan, chairman of the United Cyprus Party (UCP) and Mehmet Suleymanoglu, general secretary of the Cyprus Socialist Party (CSP).

    The representatives of the Cypriot parties planted a sapling in the park in front of the building of the Council of Europe, as ^”a symbol for peace and reconciliation in Cyprus^‘.

    In a short statement at the ceremony Mr Walter Schwimmer, the General-Secretary of the Council of Europe, said that everybody wishes to see a united Cyprus in Europe.

    In their statements to Anatolia news agency, Mr Eroglu and Serdar Denktas criticized the fact that the Greek Cypriot parties have been represented at a low level and alleged that the Turkish Cypriots are not treated in a just manner at the Council of Europe.

    According to KIBRIS, the Turkish Cypriot delegation will meet with officials of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and inform them about the so-called ^”compensations law^‘ adopted recently by their ^”assembly^‘. Commenting on the issue Mr Serdar Denktas said that thanks to a ^”special legal committee^‘ to be established in the occupied areas, the appeals of the Greek Cypriots to the ECHR regarding their being deprived from the right of freely using and enjoying their property in occupied Cyprus, would be transferred to so-called courts in the pseudostate. Mr Denktas argued that the Greek Cypriots would acquire the right of demanding their rights at Turkish Cypriot ^”courts^‘ and ^”thus the issue of global exchange of property could come onto the agenda^‘.

    Meanwhile, in statements during a press conference, Mr Schwimmer said that the majority of the delegates had expressed their support to a solution in Cyprus on the basis of the Annan Plan and added: ^”The Annan Plan is on the table. Let the window of opportunity not be closed^ŇJustice has a key importance on the solution of the Cyprus problem. There should be no winner and no loser. The important thing is for the Cypriots to belong to Europe. ^‘.

    Mr Shcwimmer said that the two communities in Cyprus should be politically equal. He expressed the opinion that the history books in the two sides should be re-written and noted that the media had an important role to play on this issue. Mr Shcwimmer said also that he would meet with the UN Secretary ^÷ General, Kofi Annan at the end of this month in New York and discuss with him the role, which the Council of Europe could play in Cyprus.

    Asked about the issue of the settlers from Turkey, Mr Shcwimmer said that he did not support the opinion that the settlers who came onto the island a long time ago and got married should be sent away by force.

    [02] Akinci states that he is pleased with Erelīs statements and stresses that the Peace and Democracy Movement is open to everybody who wishes to joint it

    Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper ORTAM (08.07.03) reports that Mr Mustafa Akinci, the leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) commented on the statement made by Mr Ali Erel, the president of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. Mr Erel yesterday expressed the opinion that the Turkish Cypriot opposition, which is in favour of solution and EU accession, should participate in the December^“s elections with a joint list.

    Stressing that he totally agrees with Mr Erelīs statement, Mr Akinci said that the PDM is ready to hold a meeting and talks with any force that shares the same aims and goals and stated that PDM is open to anyone who wants to joint it. Mr Akinci said that the points made by Mr Erel, that the Turkish Cypriots and the Civil Society Organizations expect from the Turkish Cypriot opposition to participate in the elections with a joint list, is correct and stressed that the PDM will continue to work for the realization of the Turkish Cypriotsī expectations.

    [03] Only half of Turks satisfied with JDPīs EU efforts

    Turkish Daily News (08/07/03) reports that almost fifty percent of Turkish people are not satisfied with Justice and Development (JD) Party's efforts towards Turkey's full European Union membership and support civilianization of the council of Turkey's top military and civilian officials, according to the public survey conducted by respected ANAR research company.

    EU leaders will review at a December 2004 summit Turkey's performance in fulfilling membership criteria with a view to opening accession talks without delay. According to the survey some 77 percent of Turkish people are in favour of EU membership.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish government has made EU membership a priority and pushed many reforms through Parliament to advance its bid.

    Some 47 percent of Turkish people think that the JD Party is successful in its efforts towards EU membership, while 42 percent think the ruling party is unsuccessful.

    ANAR conducted the public opinion poll in 12 different cities and surveyed 1,900 people. ANAR holds monthly surveys in an effort to see the changing choices and demands of the public.

    Half of the people that participated in the survey stated that they believe a civilian official should be appointed as the head of the powerful council of Turkey's top military and civilian leaders, National Security Council (NSC). Only some 31 percent of the people did not support civilianization.

    Meanwhile, the number of people in favour of representation of the military only by the chief of general staff in the NSC is half the Turkish people. The proportion that opposes this proposal is 32 percent.

    The survey showed that almost half of the people think civilianization contributes to democracy.

    Some 38 percent of people support the abolishment of the controversial Article 8 of the Anti-Terror law, a proposition that was sent back to Parliament by the Turkish president on grounds that it may create a vacuum in struggling against terrorism. Another 38 percent of people are against the abolishment of this law.

    While 42 percent of the Turkish people are in favor of broadcasting in Kurdish on private radio and television, 48 percent are against this.

    [04] Statements by the Turkish Chief of General Staff on the detaining of 11 members of the Turkish military in Northern Iraq

    NTV television (07.07.03) broadcast that the detaining of 11 members of the Turkish military in Northern Iraq by US forces has sparked the greatest crisis of confidence between the armed forces of the two countries in the history of their relationship, the Turkish Chief of the General Staff said on Monday.

    General Hilmi ÷zkok, the head of the Turkish armed forces, said that he regretted that the US had staged a raid on the headquarters of a Turkish unit in Northern Iraq on July 4 and detained 11 Turkish soldiers.

    The US returned the Turkish soldiers to their base at Sulaymaniyah on Monday, after having held them in Baghdad.

    Speaking during a meeting with outgoing US ambassador Robert Pearson, ÷zkok said that it was incomprehensible that US paratroopers had captured the 11 Turkish soldiers and caused extensive damage to the equipment in their office.

    ^”Unfortunately, this incident has created the biggest crisis of confidence between the Turkish and US armed forces and this has turned into a crisis. I wished that it had not occurred that way,^‘ ÷zkok said.

    The Chief of the General Staff said that it was vital that the honour of the Turkish armed forces be respected.

    ^”There is one more thing as important as relations between the two countries and that is our national pride and the pride of Turkish Armed Forces,^‘ he said.

    ÷zkok also said that a great deal of expensive equipment had been damaged in the raid by US forces.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Commentary in Turkish Daily News analyses the repercussions on Turkish-US relations of the arrest of Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq

    Turkish Daily News (08.07.03) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Ulsever:

    ^”The unpleasant house arrest of 11 Turkish soldiers by U.S. soldiers in Iraq has really put the already injured relations between the two countries to its worst in the recent history.

    Before healing the wound of the failed March 1 vote on allowing American soldiers in order to attack northern Iraq from Turkey, this is a new blow to the relations.

    I personally believe that the hawks of the U.S. are primarily responsible for this ugly incident i.e. soldiers of an ally house arresting the soldiers of another NATO country!

    We all know that the Pentagon and the State Department are not getting along in Washington D.C.

    The team headed by Donald H. Rumsfeld and Paul D. Wolfowitz, under the protege of Dick Cheney, is by-passing Colin K. Powell and his aide Richard L. Armitage each passing day with more powerful steps.

    The neo-cons are winning in D.C. and they have also won the digital war in Iraq but so far they are not victorious in establishing order in Iraq, an order that will best fit their interests.

    They are allies with Kurds in the area i.e. northern Iraq but they have not "convinced" the majority Shiites yet!

    The Sunni-pro-Saddam militia costing lives to American soldiers has openly challenged them.

    The loss of soldiers is also costing the neo-cons by the decreased support of American people at home.

    The open failure in the area after a successful war is urging the neo-cons to take an even more hard-line approach and they are also loosing their nerves.

    The neo-unilateral international policy of the U.S. "you are either with me or you are a rival!" is loosing a lot of credit to the U.S. as we have seen in Turkey in the last incident.

    The reasoning of the hawks for the cause of house arrests as reported by the New York Times (July 7, 2003) is:

    "Senior American officials cast the incident in a different light, saying the Turkish soldiers appeared to have been involved in a plot to assassinate an American-backed Iraqi official.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Defense Department official said the soldiers who stormed the Turkish compound in Sulaymaniyah on Friday were "acting on intelligence about possible illicit activities that were being planned against municipal officials in the region'.

    A senior American military official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this account, saying the plot appeared to be aimed at the governor of Kirkuk, a nearby city.

    The assertion by American officials that Turkish soldiers may have been plotting to undermine the American occupation is bound to have an incendiary effect here."

    On the other hand, the way the Turkish side approaches the ugly incident is as follows, according to Financial Times (July 7, 2003):

    "A senior Turkish official said that the 11 soldiers were part of a Special Forces contingent in northern Iraq whose number, purpose and location were known to the Americans.

    "There is nothing unknown, illegal or harmful in their presence," the official told the FT, adding that it was "impossible" that the soldiers were involved in plotting to assassinate Kurdish officials.

    He noted that they had been detained together with members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two parties that run northern Iraq with U.S. support."

    But again according to the FT, the Kurdish groups believe:

    "The Kurdish parties that control the northern region fear that Turkey is using the ethnic Turkoman minority to subvert their influence. The situation was inflamed when the city of Kirkuk, claimed by both Turkoman and Kurdish as part of their historical homeland, elected a Kurdish mayor under U.S. supervision in May".

    But also:

    "Since the early 1990s Turkey has based 1,500 troops in Dohuk, partly for peacekeeping and partly to ward off PKK guerrillas from using northern Iraq as a base of operations against Turkey.

    Turkey also keeps a small force in the Iraqi Kurdish town of Arbil, officials to monitor a ceasefire between warring Kurdish parties. According to the Kurdish authorities the force has outlived its use, calling it a "nuisance".

    In May the Kurdish parliament formally asked the Turkish forces in Iraq to withdraw but so far there was no response".

    It seems to me that the Turkish hawks who strongly believe that they cannot trust both the U.S. and the EU at all as:

    1) Both want to weaken Turkey by bringing more freedom to the country, and

    2) Turkey cannot also depend on the U.S.'s guarantee that they will not allow PKK terrorists to assault Turkey. Turkey should take her precautions in northern Iraq and help the Turkomans there in order to minimize the Kurdish power.

    I believe that this round of tug of war between the hawks has been won by the Turkish side as the American side made a serious and foolish mistake this time by detaining the soldiers of the only Islam country they can trust and depend on in the area!

    I also believe that the Turkish side has also equaled the score to "1-1 after loosing to the American side during the March 1 voting!^‘

    /SK


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