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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-08-12

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.151/03 12.08.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Denktas claims that 18 Greek Cypriots have appealed to him for compensations for their occupied properties; statements on the issue of the missing persons
  • [02] Talat: "We have to say no to Denktas' line in order to be saved from the deadlock"
  • [03] Turkish Cypriots holding Cyprus Republic passports face problems in Turkey
  • [04] Turkish Foreign Minister denies ban on Turkish Cypriots leaving Turkey with Cyprus Republic passports
  • [05] Abdullatif Sener says that the "framework agreement" with the pseudostate is a step towards the Customs Union
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot businessmen say that the "customs union framework agreement" between Turkey and the pseudostate will not contribute to the economy of the Turkish Cypriots
  • [07] Justice and Development Party hang about over Cyprus
  • [08] AVRASYA TV began broadcasting yesterday
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Erdal Guven: "Customs Union with the 'TRNC': A Fiasco, not a challenge"

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Denktas claims that 18 Greek Cypriots have appealed to him for compensations for their occupied properties; statements on the issue of the missing persons

    Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper (12.08.03) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas claimed yesterday that the number of the Greek Cypriots who applied with his regime for compensation on their properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus increased to 18.

    Mr Denktas met yesterday with the members of the so-called "immovable property compensations committee" and handed over to them 18 applications by Greek Cypriots who had allegedly personally contacted the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    Mr Denktas, who did not reveal the names of the applicant Greek Cypriots, alleged that in case they do not agree with the decision of the "committee" they could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    "In the morning I had 15 applications and until I came here their number reached 18", alleged Mr Denktas adding: "The names of the applicants will definitely not be revealed". Mr Denktas said that soon the "committee", will announce how the Greek Cypriots could apply to it and what documents are necessary.

    Calling on the Greek Cypriot side not to prevent people who wish to apply to the "committee", Mr Denktas argued: "If the property rights are sacred, pursuing this right and defending them must be sacred too. No obstacles must be placed. Especially artificial obstacles for political reasons must not be placed".

    Meanwhile, during another meeting Mr Denktas argued that there were efforts to abolish the Missing Persons Autonomous Committee and expressed the opinion that this would be a great mistake.

    Mr Denktas met yesterday with a delegation of Vouno village Missing Persons Committee. The members of the delegation told Mr Denktas that they wanted to find out about the fate of their relatives. Speaking on behalf of the committee, Mr Erdinc Erdagli said that they wanted the remains of their relatives who are buried in the free areas to be found and taken to the occupied areas. Mr Erdagli said that they knew the "sensitivity" of Mr Denktas on the issue and expressed their readiness to contribute to his efforts in this direction.

    Mr Denktas told the relatives of the missing persons to be patient and alleged that the Greek Cypriot side began opening the graves as a result of the pressure exerted by the Greek Cypriot people after the easing of travel restrictions.

    [02] Talat: "We have to say no to Denktas' line in order to be saved from deadlock"

    Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper (12.08.03) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), said yesterday that during their December "elections", the Turkish Cypriots should say "no" to the line of Mr Rauf Denktas in order to be saved from the deadlock they had been driven in as a result of this policy.

    In a written statement Mr Talat expressed the opinion that the "elections" would determine whether or not the Turkish Cypriots will have equality and a state that is internationally accepted and based on the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots with the Greek Cypriots.

    Mr Talat accused Mr Denktas of being on the same line with those "who rule in the Greek Cypriot" side, who "want to keep the Turkish Cypriots without a state and without equality".

    [03] Turkish Cypriots holding Cyprus Republic passports face problems in Turkey

    Huseyin Alkan, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (11/08/03), under the banner headline "You Cannot Use a Greek Cypriot Passport, Come with a Turkish Republic Passport" reports as follows:

    "The Foreign Ministry has banned 'TRNC' citizens who hold 'Greek Cypriot' passports in order become EU citizens and who want to go to a third country via Turkey, from leaving Turkey.

    The circular said: 'When travelling to a third country, 'TRNC' citizens will only be able to exit from Turkey with a Turkish Republic passport.'

    Turkish Cypriots, who hold a Cyprus Republic passport in order to become EU citizens as of 1 May 2004, are banned from leaving from Turkey as a result of a circular issued by the Foreign Ministry. The circular number 48, which was defined as 'very confidential', was sent to the border gates on 31 July. This circular which came into effect on 2 August and which was signed by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Can Direkci does not directly refer to the Cyprus Republic. Instead, it says: 'When travelling to a third country 'TRNC' citizens will only be able to exit from Turkey with a Turkish republic passport.' After the circular was published a great number of 'TRNC' citizens who wanted to go to a third country via Turkey with a Cyprus Republic passport were stuck in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

    Those who hold 'TRNC' passports also received their share from the circular issued by the Foreign Ministry Undersecretariat. Dr. Mustafa Malyali, chief surgeon of the Nicosia Burhan Nalbantoglu Hospital, who wanted to go to Pakistan upon an official invitation to represent the 'TRNC', was not allowed to exit from Istanbul. Malyali who does not hold a Turkish Republic passport was forced to return to Cyprus.

    Issuing a statement with regard to what happened to Turkish Cypriots in Istanbul, the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, said: 'In addition to the fact that Turkish Cypriots who try to get a passport from the south are treated in a way that lags behind the times, now they are also being humiliated when leaving Turkey. Those who believe that no one protects the rights of the Turkish Cypriots are very mistaken.'

    There has been a sudden increase in the number of those who applied for a Cyprus Republic passport after the opening of the borders on 23 April. Greek Cypriot officials claimed that the number stands at approximately 40,000. Turkish Cypriots who form long queues at the Greek Cypriot state offices every day have to run around for six months in order to receive their identity cards and passports. The Cyprus Republic, which has been a monopoly of the Greek Cypriots since 1963, will become an EU member as of 1 May 2004. As of this date, those who hold Cyprus Republic passports will hold EU passports.

    This week all the members of the "Steps for Peace" folk dancing group that consists of Turkish and Greek Cypriots wanted to go to the Belgium via Istanbul at the invitation of the Belgium Westerloo Folk Dancing Association. The dancers initially gave the official in charge their Cyprus Republic passports. The policeman, however, did not accept these passports. As a result, the Turkish Cypriot dancers presented their Turkish Republic passports, but they were not able to achieve any results. The Turkish Cypriot members of the folk dancing group that consists of Turkish and Greek Cypriots had performed in Istanbul last year. The group named "Steps for Peace" aims to contribute to peace with dancing steps.

    Last Sunday a Turkish Cypriot named Ibrahim Yolcu and his wife went to Istanbul in order to go to Germany. The couple entered Turkey with their 'TRNC' passports and they wanted to exit from Turkey with their Cyprus Republic passports. The passport police chief said to Yolcu: 'This is a Greek Cypriot passport. You cannot enter or leave Turkey with this passport. ' Yolcu, in turn, said: 'You are encouraging us to commit a crime and to travel from Larnaka.' In answer the police chief said: 'You have already committed this crime by receiving a Greek passport.' The couple was forced to return their tickets and to go back to the 'TRNC'. 'TRNC' passport holders had been allowed to enter Britain without an entrance visa until 1998. However, Britain began to apply visa to 'TRNC' citizens after the increase in the number of the 'TRNC' citizens who sought refuge in Britain and after the Turkish side put the confederation thesis on the agenda for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Britain issues visas to those who hold 'TRNC' passports. The visa is not issued on the passport, but given as a separate note."

    [04] Turkish Foreign Minister denies ban on Turkish Cypriots leaving Turkey with Cyprus Republic Passports

    According to Anatolia News Agency (11/08/03), the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul said on Monday: "There is not a secret decree preventing citizens of the 'TRNC' from proceeding to another country with a passport of the Greek Cypriot side."

    Upon a question about information claiming that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had released a secret decree preventing Turkish Cypriots from using the passports of the Republic of Cyprus as they leave Turkey, Gul said that there was not such a secret decree.

    [05] Abdullatif Sener says that the "framework agreement" with the pseudostate is a step towards the Customs Union

    Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper (12.08.03) reports that Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister responsible for Cyprus, Mr Abdullatif Sener has said that the customs union is a long procedure and added: "That is, the 'Customs Union Framework Agreement' between Turkey and the 'TRNC' is a step towards the Customs Union".

    Speaking yesterday to Turkish CNN Turk television, Mr Sener said that there was a special reference about Cyprus in the bilateral trade agreements between Turkey and the EU. Wondering whether or not EU observers should have been present during the signing ceremony of Turkey's "customs union framework agreement" with the pseudostate, he accused the EU of not having taken the opinion of Turkey before signing trade agreements with more than 15 states such as Canada, Mexico, Algeria and Egypt. Mr Sener claimed that these agreements influenced Turkey negatively.

    [06] Turkish Cypriot businessmen say that the "customs union framework agreement" between Turkey and the pseudostate will not contribute to the economy of the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (12.08.03) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Businessmen Association (ISAD) has expressed the opinion that the "customs union framework agreement" between Turkey and the pseudostate will not contribute to the economy of the Turkish Cypriots and added that such agreements are ignoring the realities.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, ISAD argues that this "framework agreement" will put Turkey into a difficult situation and asks, inter alia, the following:

    1. Which Customs Union Agreement, which is in harmony with the EU norms, includes foreign affairs, defence and security issues?

    2. At which Customs Union Agreement's signing ceremony, which is in harmony with the EU norms, a "prime minister" announces that he would give a monthly raise of 100 million Turkish liras to the "civil servants" and says that this will be made with the support of the state with which they have signed the customs union agreement?

    [07] Justice and Development Party hang about over Cyprus

    Resat Akar reports in the Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (11/08/03) that there is an inconsistence in the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) regarding Cyprus. Akar notes that "the JDP says one thing and does another thing. And the decisions it announces to the public are not put into practice. On the one hand it declares that it will sign a 'customs union agreement' with the occupied area and on the other hand, it puts up incredible obstacles regarding importing olive oil from the occupied area".

    Akar goes on and gives examples how twenty tones of olive oil produced in the occupied area sold to a Turkish firm took three weeks to be cleared from the Turkish customs.

    As a second example of JDP inconsistent stance Akar mentions the so- called "customs union" agreement deliberations with the Turkish bureaucrats and how the "customs union" turned into a mere framework agreement following long deliberation of Turkish State Minister Abdullatif Sener with the Turkish government delegation that was negotiating the so-called "customs union" in the occupied Kyrenia Hotel without consulting the Turkish Cypriot side.

    [08] AVRASYA TV began broadcasting yesterday

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (12.08.03) reports that AVRASYA TV began broadcasting yesterday. At the opening ceremony of the TV station the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas was also present. The station will reach 42 countries via satellite. AVRASYA Media group general coordinator, Mr Ertan Birinci addressed also the ceremony.

    KIBRISLI wonders whether AVRASYA TV will be the voice of the people or the voice of the status quo.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Erdal Guven: "Customs Union With the 'TRNC': A Fiasco, not a Challenge"

    Writing in Turkish mainland daily Radikal newspaper (10/08/03), Erdal Guven writes the following under the above title:

    "First an assertion: none of the countries, which have concluded a customs union with the EU, would be allowed to enter into a customs union agreement with a country, which has not been included in the EU's customs union system, unless it is permitted by the EU. Similarly, if the EU is to enter into a customs union arrangement with a third country, it should first seek the consent of the countries with which it has established a customs union.

    Another assertion: the EU has not recognized the 'TRNC' as a 'country'. It is an illegal entity, which actually exists, but has not been legally recognized. Establishing a customs union with such an entity would also be an illegal move on the part of Turkey. Therefore, Turkey cannot enter into a customs union agreement with the 'TRNC'. Actually, it has not.

    In fact, it would neither be possible from an economic and legal standpoint nor reasonable from a political perspective. The agreement that was signed late Friday is not a customs union agreement, as described by our dailies, but a customs union framework agreement, which is actually an empty document.

    Therefore, it could only be described as a fiasco rather than a challenge. The agreement was designed to save face. The Justice and Development Party (JDP) took an initiative beyond its depth and it eventually failed.

    A customs union between Turkey and the 'TRNC' has been one of the aspirations of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. It was an idea, which has remained on his agenda for years. It was warmed over 15 days ago as a result of the recent developments. It appears that Denktas and the ruling National Unity Party-Democratic Party (NUP-DP) coalition, which also used the Turkish Foreign Ministry's influence, tempted the JDP into taking that step, but the JDP back-pedalled in the face of reactions from the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks and the warnings issued by the EU. As a matter of fact, it has made the right decision.

    Eventually, the ultimate goal of the agreement, which was initially defined as achieving economic integration between Turkey and the 'TRNC', was redefined as integration of the 'TRNC' economy with the world economy and aligning it with EU legislation. Given the legal situation I have just mentioned, however, whether that goal is realistic is also open to debate. Recent suggestions for postponing the deal and the Government's vacillations have all stemmed from that confusion.

    The JDP has averted a grave mistake at the last minute. It was almost tricked by Denktas and the NUP and the DP, which were intending to exploit the customs union deal in their election campaigns, into making that mistake. More importantly, the positive climate that emerged especially in the EU after adoption by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) of the seventh EU harmonization package could be poisoned and everything could have gone down the drain. Although the Greek Cypriots, who believed that the deal gave them new ammunition, are making a noise about the agreement (for which those, who gave them that opportunity, should be blamed), but the EU should not be expected to show a strong reaction to the revised wording of the agreement.

    There is no doubt that this surprising step, which could not be taken even by the Democratic Left Party (DLP) or the Nationalist Action Party (NAP), which are in favour of maintaining the status quo, will be regarded as one of the blunders of the government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which is being lauded in some circles for finding quick solutions to problems. As Ali Erel, Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, pointed out, nobody could oppose attempts aimed at strengthening the 'TRNC' economy, which is one of the reasons that motivate the Cypriots to seek a solution. Nevertheless, efforts made in order to achieve that goal should complement and contribute to the process of resolving the Cyprus question. Any initiative in the opposite direction would not be beneficial to the 'TRNC' or Turkey or contribute to a possible settlement.

    The JDP should discern a certain fact, which its predecessors could not perceive: 'The current impasse is the mother of all evils in Cyprus, especially in North Cyprus. It was also the reason behind more than 20 unsuccessful attempts, including the initiative taken two days ago, made by Turkey in a bid to bail out the 'TRNC' economy. The only thing that could salvage North Cyprus is a final settlement to be followed by accession to the EU. Any other suggestion would be nothing more than empty rhetoric.

    Therefore, Republican Turkish Party (RTP) Chairman, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, said that the Turkish Cypriots had not taken the agreement seriously.

    The JDP should perceive another fact: 'The economic situation is not the main problem confronting the Turkish Cypriots. Their primary problem is that they have been isolated internationally because of the illegal status imposed on them. A decision recently made by the Turkish state authorities was one of the most ironic examples of that status dictated to the Turkish Cypriots. A Greek Cypriot holding a Cypriot passport will be allowed to enter Turkey, but a Turkish Cypriot holding the same passport will be denied entry to Turkey. Ankara is openly discriminating against the Turkish Cypriots, who also have the right to hold Cypriot passport as much as the Greek Cypriots have under the agreement of 1960.

    If the JDP really wants to serve the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey while contributing to a possible settlement in Cyprus, it should abolish that discriminative policy rather than signing agreements which have no value."


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