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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-08-05

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.146/03 05.08.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The new command echelon of the Turkish Armed Forces. The term in office of the occupation forces commander was extended by one year.
  • [02] Denktas says that they will be a toy in the hands of the EU if they accept the Annan Plan.
  • [03] Akinci accuses the occupation authorities and Turkey of committing a crime against the Turkish Cypriots by preventing them form using the passports of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [04] Talat: "We will show how we will support the 'state'".
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot organizations in London formed a new platform under the name "Platform for peace in Cyprus".
  • [06] Turkey prepares for customs union with the "TRNC"
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in Turkish Daily News: The more Turkey moves closer to the Copenhagen criteria the more critical Cyprus will become.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The new command echelon of the Turkish Armed Forces. The term in office of the occupation forces commander was extended by one year

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (AA) (04.08.03) reported from Ankara that at the end of the three-day Supreme Military Council meeting, the command echelon of the Turkish Armed Forces [TAF] will take the following shape as of 30 August 2003.

    Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok, Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman, Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Sener Eruygur, 2nd Army Commander Gen. Fevzi Turkeri, and Aegean Army Commander Hursit Tolon will continue to serve in their posts.

    The terms in office of Lt. Gen. Koksal Karabay, General Staff Operations chief; Lt. Gen. Ahmet Ozteker, commander of the "Turkish Peace Force in Cyprus;" Lt. Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu, 2d Tactical Air Force commander; and Lt. Gen. Hakki Kilinc, Gendarmerie General Command chief of staff; were extended by one year.

    Accordingly, the command echelon of the TAF will be as follows as of 30 August 2003:

         Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok
         Land Forces Commander Aytac Yalman
         Naval Forces Commander Admiral Ozden Ornek
         Air Forces Commander Gen. Ibrahim Firtina
         Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Sener Eruygur
         1st Army Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit
         2nd Army Commander Gen. Fevzi Turkeri
         3d Army Commander Gen. Oktar Ataman
         Aegean Army Commander Gen. Hursit Tolon
         Gen. Sukru Sariisik, National Security Council secretary general
         Gen. Fethi Remzin Tuncel, Land Forces Command chief of staff
         War Academies Commander Gen. Faruk Comert
         Gen. Ilker Basbug, deputy chief of General Staff
         Gen. Orhan Yoney, NATO Southeast Europe Allied Forces commander
         Fleet Commander Admiral Yener Karahanoglu
    

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.08.03) reports that General Sukru Sariisik had been the Commander of the Turkish occupation Forces in Cyprus.

    AFRIKA newspaper (05.08.03) notes, inter alia, that among those who have been promoted is Brigadier General Galip Mendi, who had been the commander of the so-called security forces in a period when icons from St. Barnabas monastery were stolen, journalist Kutlu Adali, was murdered and the printing house of AVRUPA newspaper were the targets of bomb attacks.

    [02] Denktas says that they will be a toy in the hands of the EU if they accept the Annan Plan

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.08.03) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas said yesterday that in case the Annan Plan is accepted as a solution in Cyprus, the two founding states could only make laws according to the EU norms. Therefore the hands of the state will be tight and it will be a toy governed by the decisions, which come from Brussels, he argued.

    Talking at a press conference which he organized in order to reply to the opinions expressed by the former Turkish ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ilter Turkmen in Turkish mainland HURRIYET newspaper, Mr Denktas described the word "founding states" as a "bluff", alleging: "there is nothing that the founding states are founding" in the Annan Plan.

    Mr Denktas alleged that the Annan Plan is "a plan to send the Turkish Cypriots away from Cyprus" and argued that it could not solve the Cyprus problem.

    Referring to Mr Turkmen, the Turkish Cypriot leader said also: "Persons who see the situation from far away and are not going to live one day with the Greek Cypriots according to the provisions of the plan, could not assess the plan by only reading it and making assumptions which are not included in the plan".

    [03] Akinci accuses the occupation authorities and Turkey of committing a crime against the Turkish Cypriots by preventing them form using the passports of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.08.03) reports that Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM), has criticized the fact that the occupation authorities and Turkey are preventing the Turkish Cypriots to travel abroad using the passport of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In a written statement issued yesterday Mr Akinci noted, inter alia, the following:

    "The issue of the (passports of the) Republic of Cyprus is not any more a simple traveling document for the Turkish Cypriots. It has been turned into a means for guaranteeing their personal EU citizenship and their future. Therefore the demand has been rabidly increased with the opening of the gates and within this environment where the non-solution prevails. Those, who before the opening of the gates wanted to make a law and send to prison those who were taking passports, have began saying: 'this is your right from the 1960's, go and take (passports)'. Because they had not accepted the opening of the gates and acquiring passports based on their principles and because they had been obliged to accept this, they had been putting obstacles in every opportunity.

    For example, they said: 'you can go to the south but you have to be back until midnight'. Where is the respect to the rule of law and the human rights in this decision? Which state governed by the rule of law could interferes today in the time by which its citizens will return home? In the same way, those who had said: 'you can take the passport of the Republic of Cyprus', now are saying: 'you can take it but you cannot use it. You cannot depart from the Lefkoniko Airport. You cannot exit from Turkey's ports'.

    The reality is that both TRNC and the Republic of Turkey, all those who have taken and apply these decisions are committing a crime. And they have to stop committing this crime as soon as possible because the old days are passed and gone now. .".

    [04] Talat: "We will show how we will support the 'state'"

    Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper YENI DUZEN (05.08.03) reports that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, the chairman of the Republican Turkish Party, answered yesterday to remarks made that his party "will diminish the pseudostate" and "abandons its isolation".

    Stressing that he was surprised to see these statements, Mr Talat said: "We will show to everyone how we will support the state". Mr Talat also stated that thanks to the Annan Plan the "Turkish Cypriot state" will become a part of the international law. "We will take the right place in the world as citizens of a component state the duties and responsibilities of which will be increased compared to our days", he said.

    [05] Turkish Cypriot organizations in London formed a new platform under the name "Platform for peace in Cyprus"

    Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper YENI DUZEN (05.08.03) reports that some Turkish Cypriot organizations in London formed a new Platform which supports the "democratic forces" for the forthcoming "elections" of the pseudostate.

    The Platform, under the name "Platform for peace in Cyprus", calls for common action by all the democratic forces which are in favor of a democratic solution in Cyprus based on the equality of the two communities. The Platform also supports that the democratic forces will be "elected" in the place of Rauf Denktas and that the new negotiator must be announced from now.

    The members of the new Platform are the following organizations: The Turkish Cypriot Democratic Association, the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) London Solidarity Association, the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) London Solidarity Association, the Unity-Sovereignty Party (USP) London Solidarity Association, the Patriotic Union Movement (PUM) London Solitary Association, the Turkish Cypriot Society Center, the Turkish Cypriot Fine Arts Association, the Cyprus Democratic Rights Committee, the Turkish Cypriot Students Union, the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights and Freedoms Association, the Turkish Cypriot Society for European Union and the Peace Association.

    [06] Turkey prepares for customs union with the "TRNC"

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (05.08.03) publishes the following report:

    "Five ministers of the Turkish government will head to the `TRNC' on Friday to discuss details of a customs union deal between the two countries, news reports said Monday.

    State ministers Abdullatif Sener, Ali Babacan, Kursad Tuzmen, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will be in the `TRNC' for the latest meeting of the Turkey-`TRNC' partnership council.

    The ministers will sign a customs union agreement with `TRNC' officials during that meeting, in an important step in direction of economic integration with the `TRNC', private NTV television said.

    The European Union has approved accession of the Greek Cyprus and some Turkish officials have reportedly commented that an economic integration with the `TRNC' might be perceived by the EU as a sign of Turkish side's unwillingness for a solution before the Greek Cypriot accession procedure is completed.

    The partnership council was set up in 1997 and has been convening once every six months."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in Turkish Daily News: The more Turkey moves closer to the Copenhagen criteria the more critical Cyprus will become

    Under the title "Mr Erdogan's biggest risk", Turkish Daily News (05.08.03) publishes the following commentary by Burak Bekdil:

    "There is and there isn't truth in what Ken Livingstone, British politician, once said: "If voting changed anything they would abolish it." There isn't, because the world would have been an entirely different place today had a few hundred Americans voted otherwise in November 2000. Now they must ask themselves tough questions.

    Their president, George W. Bush said in a December 2001 speech (barely three months after 11 September) that "all in all, this has been a fabulous year for me and Laura." Politicians too should have the liberty to forget minor events.

    But it was a genuinely fabulous week for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the exception of an unfortunate incident - that he fell on the ground while trying to ride a horse.

    His economic and political reforms went so smoothly that he has won numerous foreign pats on the shoulder. His fortunes may continue in the months ahead unless he tends to behave like himself. Mr Erdogan's biggest risk is Mr Erdogan - and Turkey skeptics in Brussels.

    The good week opened with news of Standard and Poor's upgrade of Turkey's debt rating as a sign minor deviations from targets under the $16 billion IMF program would not lead to significant sales on Istanbul's financial markets. Investment bank J.P. Morgan quickly followed suit and raised its allocation of Turkey's bonds in its model portfolio. But Mr Erdogan had more important concerns than foreign investors.

    His men in parliament successfully passed a landmark legal reform to curb the military's political influence - and without raising too much tensions with the generals. The law, as part of efforts to meet the Copenhagen criteria, strips the military-dominated National Security Council of its executive powers and turns it into an advisory body. Also, it abolishes some anti-terror laws curtailing freedom of thought and expression.

    EU reforms are notoriously controversial in Turkey as they challenge a state apparatus that often places nationalist unity and staunch secular principles ahead of democratic practice. But why did the military silently nod to all daring reforms passed by a government it deeply suspects of Islamist roots?

    The unusually submissive outlook reflects a policy preference by the military's top command. Although most parts of the armed forces advocate "tougher rules and practice" against the usual foes, i.e. the separatists and radical Islam, Turkey's top general, Hilmi Ozkok, apparently has a different strategy.

    Gen. Ozkok is a devoted believer in Turkey's long and difficult journey into the EU despite a deep-rooted mistrust. He prefers to face possible national security risks than to create a public image that the military obstructed the country's path into the EU.

    If, the army chief possibly calculates, the EU behaves fair and opens accession talks with Turkey once all reforms have been legislated and implemented successfully, security risks, now feared, will automatically fade away in time. If the anti-Turkish axis in Brussels succeeds in keeping Turkey at arms length despite all reform work, Mr Erdogan will be singled out as the culprit. Then there will be every reason to expect "tougher rules and practice" in Turkey.

    One thing is certain, though. The more Turkey moves closer to the Copenhagen criteria, the more critical Cyprus will become. After seven different packages of political reforms passed already and more possibly in sight, a solution in Cyprus now depends largely on the future of a presently fractured EU opinion on Turkish membership.

    If Turkey skeptics in Brussels gain an upper hand in policy- making and rebuff Ankara, for this or that reason, though indirectly, Turkish hardliners will gain an upper hand too and block a settlement on the divided island. And if things move smoothly between Ankara and Brussels on membership matters other than Cyprus, more and more powerful men in the Turkish state apparatus will tend to agree that the Annan plan could be a good starter for a final round of talks, with, then, good prospects to end the conflict.

    Mr Erdogan may have a secret agenda in hastily passing all democratic reforms. He probably thinks the EU is the best opportunity for him to prune the powers of the military, a move he is desperate to make for all his survival instincts but would not have dared had he not had this perfect justification no one can object to. All the same, whether or not he has hidden plans, he is doing the right thing.

    Still dizzy with unexpectedly smooth terms with the military and lots of praise from the European Commission, Mr Erdogan won more applaud - this time from the International Monetary Fund.

    Turkey's biggest foreign donor did not only approve a delayed fifth review of Turkey's loan pact, it also extended Ankara's loan repayments by one year for 2004 and 2005. That, according to Ali Babacan, treasury minister, means an immediate cash flow of $476 million and a repayment relief to the tune of $11 billion.

    With absolute control over 65 percent of the Turkish parliament, Mr Erdogan has a unique opportunity to make his country a better place. But sometimes he can be too ambitious and daring. Too much good news may make him feel he is just too powerful.

    Perhaps Mr Erdogan should read more of Turkey's recent political history. Here is one particular anecdote that could be useful for him. When one journalist asked Suleyman Demirel, former president and seven-time prime minister, why did he allow the military coup in 1980, Mr Demirel answered: "Unfortunately, I was not in a position to import an army to defend (the government) against my own army."

    /SK


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