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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-10-27

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.203/03 25-26-27.10.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish Cypriot party leaders met with Mr Thomas Weston.
  • [02] Weston: Ankara and Athens want solution for the Cyprus problem before the island becomes member of the EU.
  • [03] The Turkish Cypriot leader speaks openly about his vision to Turkify Cyprus by saying that all the illegal settlers who were given citizenship must stay in Cyprus because all the Turkish Cypriots came from Turkey at some stage.
  • [04] Erdogan: No need to be in a hurry for a solution in Cyprus.
  • [05] Mr Deniz Baykal was re-elected RPP leader.
  • [06] The Supreme Election Board reveals the legal ground of November 3 elections verdict.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in RADIKAL supports that the EU course is the guarantee of survival of the JDP.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish Cypriot party leaders met with Mr Thomas Weston

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.10.03) broadcast that Mr Thomas Weston, the US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, held separate meetings today with the leaders and representatives of the political parties in the occupied areas. Mr Thomas Weston met with the leaders and representatives of the National Unity Party [NUP], the Republican Turkish Party [RTP], and the Peace and Democracy Movement [PDM].

    Starting his contacts with the NUP, Mr Thomas Weston met with Mr Suha Turkoz, the Secretary-General of the NUP, and Mr Ilker Nevzat, the head of the NUP Foreign Relations Committee.

    Describing the meeting with Weston as beneficial, Suha Turkoz said that Weston told them that he requested this meeting as part of his programmed visit and that it has no connection with the ^”elections^‘. Turkoz added that Weston briefed them about his contacts in Athens, Ankara, and the free areas of Cyprus.

    Turkoz also said that the Annan plan too came up on the agenda and that Weston was informed of NUP's known position on the issue.

    Weston held his second meeting with Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the RTP-United Forces.

    In a statement after the meeting, Talat said that his side reiterated loyalty to RTP's past statements on the solution of the Cyprus problem. Talat also noted that he asked Weston for the continuation of the US support for the Annan plan as it is considered the basis for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Thomas Weston next met PDM leader Mustafa Akinci. In a statement on the meeting, Akinci said that Weston's visit demonstrates the United States' continued interest in the Cyprus problem. Indicating that the Cyprus problem also has an international dimension because it interests Turkey, Greece and other countries besides the sides on the island, Akinci said that this is why the United States feels the need to follow the course of negotiations on the island.

    [02] Weston: Ankara and Athens want solution for the Cyprus problem before the island becomes member of the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.10.03) publishes an interview with Mr Thomas Weston, the US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus.

    Mr Weston stated that both Ankara and Athens have a common position towards the settlement of the Cyprus problem prior to Cyprus^—s accession to the European Union. He also said that despite the fact that the two capitals have a set of differences regarding the Annan Plan, they have the dominant opinion that the Plan is the only road for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Weston also said that after the so-called December elections of the pseudostate, the Cyprus talks must be put onto the agenda again. He said that inspite of what the so-called election^“s results may be, the talks must be started again and stressed that the United States hopes very much that this will happen. The American diplomat also stressed that in case there is political will and negotiations start within the framework of the good offices mission of the Secretary-General of the UN, a solution could be found in Cyprus and the island could become member of the EU in May 2004.

    [03] The Turkish Cypriot leader speaks openly about his vision to Turkify Cyprus by saying that all the illegal settlers who were given citizenship must stay in Cyprus because all the Turkish Cypriots came from Turkey at some stage

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (27.10.03) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas has called on those who preach at the mosques to ^”enlighten the people^‘ on the Annan Plan during the Friday prayer and expressed the opinion that for this reason lawyers who know well the plan should preach there.

    In statements during the opening ceremony of the Osman Fazil Polat Pasha mosque, which is the biggest in Cyprus and has been built in occupied Famagusta area, Mr Denktas attacked the Annan Plan and its supporters and alleged that they do not say what price they will have to pay if they sign the plan.

    Mr Denktas claimed that those who say that the Turkish Cypriots will benefit from the freedom and the wealth of the EU when they accede into the Union are lying, and, referring to the issue of the illegal settlers from Turkey, he alleged:

    ^”You cannot discriminate our citizens according to their origin, because the origin of all of us is the Motherland. There is no such thing as ^—those who came this or that year^“. Those, who according to the laws of our state acquired the citizenship, are TRNC citizens and have all the rights. ^ŇLet everyone open his eyes. We shall never allow the sound of the call to the prayer to silence once more in this country^‘.

    Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (26.10.03), Mr Denktas visited on Saturday the so-called mayor of occupied Morphou. In statements during his visit Mr Denktas alleged that Morphou ^”could not be given away by the pen, because the boundaries here had not been drawn with a pen^‘.

    ^”The boundaries here have been drawn with blood and with lives and therefore the bargaining could be made by the people and on behalf of the people^‘, he added.

    Mr Denktas alleged that the people who settled in Morphou after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus had gardens in the free areas of the island and were wealthy people before the invasion. Mr Denktas alleged, inter alia, the following: ^”The one third of the gardens and the vineyards in the south belong to the Turks. The right of the one third of the produced wines belong to the Turks. This right and this income were much more than the income from Morphou^“s oranges. These people were wealthy people^‘.

    Furthermore, according to Turkish Cypriot KIBRISLI newspaper (25.10.03), in statements to the Turkish semi-official Anatolia news agency, Mr Denktas has said that there are three preconditions he puts in order to return to the negotiating table: 1) The Annan Plan should be changed on the basis of the realities, 2) The maps of the Annan Plan should be removed and 3) Everything in the plan should be included in the elements that could be changed.

    The paper notes that Denktas made these statements after the US Special representative for Cyprus, Mr Tomas Weston had said that ^”everything could be changed in the plan^‘. However, adds KIBRISLI, the fact that Denktas says now that he could negotiate the plan does not mean that he has given up the delaying tactics.

    [04] Erdogan: No need to be in a hurry for a solution in Cyprus

    According to Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (26.10.03), the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to Tajikistan, said that one should not be in a hurry for a solution prior to the ^”Greek Cypriot membership in May 2004^‘ in Cyprus. Mr Erdogan went on and said: ^”Let us take the issue from the other end, is this the end of the world?^‘

    Referring to the Annan Plan Mr Erdogan said: ^”Rejecting the Annan plan continuously is not a solution. Rejecting the plan entirely (Tr. Note :in the Turkish text it is used bŁtŁnŁnŁ for the word entirely and tŁmŁnŁ as a whole) is one thing and rejecting it as a whole is another. Now we say that this has its positive and negative aspects. However, rejecting it as a whole could put you in a position of being accused where actually you are right. Well, how would we be solving this problem? By sitting around the negotiation table. That is, we will say it is possible to negotiate, to argue, to bargain the Annan Plan. If we agree on positive and on negative aspects then there are no problems^‘.

    Moreover, the local Turkish Cypriot HALKIN SESI newspaper (27.10.03) reports that Mr Erdogan speaking on the private Turkish TV NTV said that Cyprusīs accession to the EU is not the end of the world. However, it would be unfair and risky approach if the two peoples who live in Cyprus come up and say ^—we have done it and it is alright^“ giving the impression that they have solved the problems between them.^‘

    Mr Erdogan also said that twice he had proposed to Mr Simitis to hold a four-way meeting on Cyprus to solve it, however, he said Mr Simitis had rejected it on the ground that there will be no results from this meeting.

    [05] Mr Deniz Baykal was re-elected RPP leader

    Turkish Daily News (25.10.03) reports that the opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) Chairman Deniz Baykal was reelected at the party's 30th convention in Ankara, this time becoming the party's "sole boss". He has left the dissidents in the social democratic party no breathing space.

    Now that he has the power to handpick the candidates for the executive positions in the party, he has undertaken the entire responsibility for the RPP performance in the forthcoming local elections.

    If the party performs poorly on March 28, 2004, Baykal will have no excuse at all.

    Baykal won a victory at the convention. Not heeding the objections raised by the RPP Secretary-General Onder Sav and by the dissidents, he managed to have the delegates vote in favor of the changes he sought in the party bylaws.

    This way he has not only prevented the dissidents from getting elected to the party assembly but also given the message, "If you want to do politics in the ranks of RPP you will have to do what I say."

    Baykal had suggested these changes in the bylaws only 15 days prior to the convention. He did not give the party rank and file chance to discuss them. Now that the convention has embraced these changes a new era opens up for the party.

    The most important change made in the bylaws involves the introduction of the "block list" practice at the RPP conventions and at the party congresses at the county and province level. When a proposal to this effect was put to a vote -- by a show of hands -- initially at the convention, it was rejected.

    However, Abdullah Emre, who chaired the meeting, decided that the delegates should vote on that issue anew, this time staging a roll call. This time the motion was accepted with 964 to 265 votes, with three delegates abstaining.

    Every delegate had to shout either "Yes" or "No" after his or her name was called and this put strain on them. Dissidents objected to the roll call to no avail.

    With another change made in the bylaws, Baykal ensured that those who put their names on one "block list" to be elected to the party assembly, would not be able to put their names on any other "block list". Also, the number of seats in the party assembly has been raised from 72 to 80.

    Then the convention adopted another proposed change in the bylaws. Under the old system a person had to obtain signatures from a minimum 65 delegates to be a candidate for party chairman. This has been changed to "a minimum 260 delegates".

    This way Baykal ensured that there would be no challenger and, also, prevented the dissidents from being elected to the party assembly. He was nominated as chairman by 720 of the 1,089 delegates and was reelected with 973 votes while 116 ballots were either blank or invalid.

    Rejecting the argument that RPP has not been serving as an effective opposition party in the face of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government, Baykal said he was extremely satisfied with the party's current position.

    He complained that the press was not giving RPP adequate support. He said that a negative campaign was being waged against RPP because of that party's Cyprus and Iraq policies.

    He could not explain why RPP popularity -- 19 percent in the November 3, 2002 election -- has not risen.

    The convention was tense from time to time and lacked a mood of excitement. The changes made in the by laws was the main event. No ideological debates took place. No one talked about what kind of politics should be conducted in the face of the JDP government to bring RPP to power.

    RPP Istanbul Deputy Kemal Dervis had said, prior to the convention, that the party should restructure its policies by merging Kemalism with the contemporary social democratic mentality. This proposal was not debated seriously at the convention.

    Now that he has gathered all the power in his own hands, Baykal will have no excuse at all if the party performs poorly on March 28, 2004 when local elections will be held to elect the new members of the provincial assemblies. If the party performs poorly Baykal's leadership will be seriously questioned. One of the first names that come to mind as an alternative to Baykal, is Dervis.

    [06] The Supreme Election Board reveals the legal ground of November 3 elections verdict

    Turkish Daily News (25.10.03) reports that the Supreme Election Board (SEB) revealed yesterday the reason for its verdict rejecting appeals against the results of the November 3 elections.

    In the report SEB issued, it was stated that the procedures of the November 3 elections were completed and any appeals against the results would be accepted as invalid since the period for appeals has expired.

    It was also noted in the report that SEB gave the final decision on the issue and no applications to courts against its decision could be accepted.

    Cancellation of the November 3 elections first appeared on the agenda after the Supreme Court of Appeals' ruling that the pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (DPP) participated in the elections with forged documents.

    The SEB revealed its decision last month, noting it would report the legal ground for its decision later.

    The November 3 elections brought JDP to power, eliminating the majority of traditional parties in Turkish politics.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in RADIKAL supports that the EU course is the guarantee of survival of the JDP

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (26.10.03) publishes the following commentary by Erdal Guven under the title: "An angular column":

    ^”Turkey's foreign policy over the past 80 years can probably be summarized in one word as "Westernization", or, in the words of Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk], "becoming civilized" [Turkish 'uygarlasma']. At its point of departure, there were two institutions that opened the path to Turkey's Westernization process: the military and the RPP [Republican People's Party].

    Certainly, Westernization and democratization are not the same processes. In order for Turkey to understand this, it had to come to the threshold of EU membership. The military and the RPP may indeed stand, both historically and conjuncturally, at the westernmost pole in Turkey. But it is indisputable that they are still below the bar in terms of democratization.

    In the context of the Copenhagen Criteria, the most serious obstacle standing between Turkey and EU membership is the place of the military in political life. And the military, in order to maintain its place, gets its strongest support from the RPP. This support was made clear most recently in the controversy over the 7th EU adaptation package.

    And also when you take democratization with its foreign dimension (rationalization), you are faced with the same scene. Today, on the Cyprus issue, which is considered to be the number one external obstacle in the context of EU membership, the military and the RPP are upholding the policy of "non-solution". This togetherness likewise was demonstrated most recently in the debates regarding the Annan Plan.

    Until the recent past, Ankara, with both its soldiers and its civilians, had been united vis-ŗ-vis the EU. For one thing, in the process in question, the EU had never been seen, as it should have been, as the catalyst for democratization and liberalization domestically and rationalization abroad; on the contrary, unfortunately, it had been seen as a saboteur. Secondly, the shadow of suspicion was never absent from the Ankara-Brussels connection. The "Sevres paranoia" [i.e., that the Europeans seek to divide Turkey as in the unimplemented Treaty of Sevres of 1920] was always strong. Thirdly, the steps that Turkey had to take along the path to membership were always treated as topics for bargaining. While Ankara could have sat down within the framework of some master plan and carried out all that was required of it, it instead expected some compensation from the EU before every step it was about to take, or after every step it took. And finally, Ankara tried to wrest special treatment from Brussels by adducing its "special" circumstances.

    Yet the EU has no hidden agenda, nor are its criteria (and particularly its political criteria) open to debate or bargaining. These are two realities that Turkey has for years resisted and been unable to understand. (A comment by the late Foreign Minister Turan Gunes in fact expressed very well Turkey's situation as a "hopeless case" in the face of the EU in this process: "One does not play 'pispirik' [a Turkish card game] at the bridge club.")

    It is indeed strange that pushing Turkey's democratization process in a fundamental way has fallen to a party that has been nourished by political Islam, a tendency that has been rejected throughout the Westernization process. For the unity that I cited above was shaken when the JDP [ruling Justice and Development Party] came to power.

    The JDP, above all else, has a critical approach, in light of its origins, with the implementation (but not the principle) of secularism in Turkey. With this approach, it makes the hair of both the military and the RPP stand on end. And since it has no hesitation in entering into the reforms required by EU membership, the party is also out ahead of both the military and the RPP in terms of the rights of the Kurds as well. Finally, the JDP also follows a "pro-solution" policy on the Cyprus issue, once again in contrast to the military and the RPP, even if it has not been able to bring about an actual solution.

    There is no doubt but that, when the JDP looks at the EU, it sees something that a good many pro-democratization organizations and institutions in Turkey do not see: the guarantee of its own survival. The JDP knows that the soundest road to defend its own existence and future under the umbrella of political freedom passes through the EU. In short, the JDP leadership, with its performance to date, has demonstrated that it has the necessary intention in terms of doing what is required domestically in terms of Turkey's EU accession process. Whether or not it also has the necessary will for this will be seen in the period ahead.

    For we do not have another 80 years to pass in waiting for democratization and rationalization.^‘

    /SK


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