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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-11-13

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.215/03 13.11.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Gul, Erdogan meet ahead of Cyprus visit.
  • [02] Denktas says he could create a ^”National Congress^‘ after the 14th of December.
  • [03] Akinci reminds the Turkish officials that occupied Cyprus is not just an empty piece of land and that people live there ^”waiting to be saved from uncertainty^‘.
  • [04] HALKIN SESI publishes a new public opinion poll conducted on behalf of the Nationalist Peace Party.
  • [05] Alevis call on the Turkish government to recognize and respect their faith. Message by Denktas to their meeting.
  • [06] A deputy of Justice and Development Party stated that Ankara will announce in the coming days a new solution method based on the Annan Plan.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in HURRIYET continues to criticize the Turkish chief of Staff for his statements on Cyprus.

  • [A] NEW ITEMS

    [01] Gul, Erdogan meet ahead of Cyprus visit

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (13.11.03) reports the following: ^”Prime Turkish Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and top Foreign Ministry bureaucrats on Wednesday to prepare for his critical one-day visit to Cyprus at the weekend.

    There was no statement after the meeting, which was closed to the press, but Gul indicated that the agenda for Erdogan's visit would be confined to celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of the `TRNCī 20 years ago, contrary to media reports that Erdogan was going there to unveil a new policy.

    The prime minister's visit is seen as crucial by many as it comes a month before general `electionsī in the `TRNCī thought to be critical for the future of efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus issue, and soon after a warning from the European Union that Turkey's membership aspirations may be harmed if no settlement is found.

    Erdogan met Gul, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Ambassador Deniz Bolukbasi to discuss what should be said during the one-day visit, Anatolia news agency said.

    On Tuesday, Gul said he was optimistic that the Cyprus problem will be solved before the island joins the European Union but added that Greek Cypriots need to do more.

    Gul, who met in Rome with the so-called EU troika (foreign ministers from current EU president Italy, successor Ireland and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen), reiterated that the compromise should come from both sides, saying, "The problem comes not only from [the Turkish] side, it comes from both sides and we need to reach a compromise." Gul said he hopes a compromise can be reached even if parties loyal to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas win the `parliamentary electionsī on December 14. Denktas rejected U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's unification plan.

    "I am hopeful a solution can be reached before May 2004, when Cyprus becomes a member," Gul told reporters in Rome. He declined to offer any details for a possible solution.

    The EU recently urged Turkey to do more to find a solution in Cyprus and is backing a settlement on the basis of the U.N. blueprint for re-unification. Gul did not say if the solution would be based on the so-called Annan plan but did say that Turkey would do its part.

    The discussions in Rome centered on the EU Progress Report issued recently. The report contained a blunt warning that Turkey must do more to help reunite Cyprus. Cyprus was called a "serious obstacle" to Turkey's membership aspirations.

    Verheugen told reporters that "settling the [Cyprus] problem would help us maintain the momentum," created by the recent domestic reforms in Turkey.

    Turkey's human rights record and economic situation have also been factors in the EU's decision. EU leaders have said they will decide in December 2004 whether to open formal talks with Turkey.

    Cyprus, a Mediterranean island split into Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot sides since 1974, is one of the 10 countries scheduled to join the EU in May.

    Under the accession agreement for Cyprus, EU benefits and other changes will not apply to the north until the island is reunified.

    Turkish officials have consistently rejected any link between Turkey's efforts to join the EU and a solution for Cyprus.^‘

    [02] Denktas says he could create a ^”National Congress^‘ after the 14th of December

    Under the banner headlines ^”Sly plan!^‘ Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (13.11.03) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas has said that he could create a ^”National Congress^‘ after the 14 December ^”elections^‘ in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The paper notes that Mr Denktas always applies such plans and adds: ^”The fascist National People^“s Movement (NPM) organization had before brought onto the agenda the suggestion for the creation of a ^—National Congress^“ aiming at turning into a marionette the ^—Parliament of the People^“ formed after elections^ŇThe fact that Denktas brought this issue onto the agenda without any reason before Erdogan^“s visit, is showing us another danger. No one should be surprised if tomorrow Erdogan, upon a suggestion by Denktas, supports the meeting of ^—the national congress^“ in the name of ^—the national unity and cooperation^‘.

    [03] Akinci reminds the Turkish officials that occupied Cyprus is not just an empty piece of land and that people live there ^”waiting to be saved from uncertainty^‘

    Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (13.11.03) reports that Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM), ^”has criticized the fact that there are efforts (by Turkish officials) for Cyprus as to be used as a trump card on Turkey^“s EU accession course^‘.

    Talking yesterday on a programme of Genc TV television, Mr Akinci pointed out that Turkish officials have admitted that Turkey is trying to use Cyprus as a trump card on its EU accession course.

    Mr Akinci underlined that after the recent report of the EU regarding Turkey, the Turkish officials are, on the one hand, saying that they do not accept any relation between Turkey^“s EU accession course and Cyprus and, on the other hand, they are exhibiting the approach: ^”Take us into the EU and we shall solve Cyprus^‘.

    ^”This approach completely disregards the Turkish Cypriots^‘, noted Mr Akinci and said: ^”Northern Cyprus is not only a piece of land. There are people in it who want to be saved from the uncertainty. The Turkish Cypriots are not just an object which could be put in the freezer waiting for Turkey^“s accession to the EU^‘.

    Mr Akinci added: ^”In order to use Cyprus as a trump card, the supporters of the status quo, ignoring the Annan Plan that ensures serious benefits to the Turkish Cypriots, are now openly stating that they have made the future of the Turkish Cypriots an issue of bargaining saying ^—take Turkey into the EU and we shall solve the problem^“^‘.

    Commenting on statements of Turkish officials regarding the strategic importance of Cyprus, Mr Akinci noted that with these statements they are trying to defend their non-solution policy.

    [04] HALKIN SESI publishes a new public opinion poll conducted on behalf of the Nationalist Peace Party

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (13.11.03) publishes a new public opinion poll for the forthcoming December ^”elections^‘ of the pseudostate. The new opinion poll was conducted on behalf of the Nationalist Peace Party (NPP).

    The poll was ^”secret but serious^‘ as it was stated by the NPP leadership. The party did not give any other information regarding the dates that the opinion poll was conducted or the number of the sample used.

    The results of the poll are the following:

    Party                          Percentage   Seats
    National Unity Party (NUP)         28,5%      16
    Republican Turkish Party (RTP)      26%       15
    Nationalist Peace Party (NPP).      15%        7
    Democratic Party (DP):              14%        7
    Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM)  12,5%      5
    Solution and EU Party (SEUP)         3,2%     
    Cyprus Justice Party (CJP)           0,8%     
    

    [05] Alevis call on the Turkish government to recognize and respect their faith. Message by Denktas to their meeting

    Istanbul SABAH newspaper (09.11.03) publishes the following report by Izzettin Dogan under the title: "Alevis will file complaints if Government fails to recognize their faith":

    ^”Alevi representatives met to establish an "Alevi Center for Islamic Faith Services." Dogan, Chairman of the Cem Foundation, said, "Thousands of persons will file complaints against the government by the end of the year if it continues to resist the Alevis."

    Alevi leaders met at the "Third Meeting of the Leaders of Anatolian Faiths," which was organized by the Cem Foundation. Izzettin Dogan, Chairman of the Cem Foundation, said, "Turkey lacks a joint institution that represents the values of the 20-25 million people who adhere to the Alevi, Bektashi, and Mevlevi Islam faiths," and continued, "We aim to establish an Alevi center for Islamic faith services."

    Dogan, who criticized the government's approach to the Alevis, harshly criticized the Prime Minister's following words: "Alevism is a culture. It is not possible to compare Cem Foundations to mosques. Cem Foundations cannot become places of worship. Mosques are the only places of worship in Islam."

    Subtitle: Harsh reaction to Prime Minister

    Dogan continued: "He has been able to say this. I believe it is my duty to state that we disapprove of and condemn this approach. The Prime Minister of the secular Republic cannot forget his political identity and decide on the religious or cultural templates with which people's beliefs should conform. He cannot speak as if he is not the Prime Minister of the secular Republic, but a cleric who represents the Sunni majority. The Prime Minister can only apologize by saying, 'The State will serve Alevi citizens in the way that they perceive and practice Islam,' and by declaring in everyone's presence that his words 'exceeded the objective'."

    Dogan, Chairman of the Cem Foundation, answered journalists' questions and said nearly 2,000 Alevi, Bektashi, and Mevlevi leaders from Anatolia and the Balkans would take part in the meeting. Dogan said the leaders would debate the issue of establishing a joint institution. Dogan also informed that, "This institution will use the official channels of the State to explain to the people the Alevi, Mevlevi, and Bektasi understanding of Islam in a competent and able manner. Thousands of people will file complaints against the government by the end of the year if the government continues to 'resist' on the issue of Alevi rights." Dogan, who also said they would "Help out with the legal amendments if the government accepts the institution as it is," added, "This institution should exist within the Directorate of Religious Affairs without a senior-subordinate relationship.

    Subtitle: Mesrob 2 also attended the meeting

    Motherland Party Leader Ali Talip Ozdemir, who attended the meeting and Young Party Deputy Chairman Oguz Ozcu said he had "come to convey the greetings of Cem Uzan." Dr. Hamdi Tekeli, who attended the meeting as a representative of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, said he had "brought the greetings of Chairman Prof. Ali Bardakoglu." Selahattin Ozgunduz represented the Jafari community in the meeting. Mesrob 2, Patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey, also attended the meeting. Ali Naki Horosani represented the senior dervishes from the Balkans. Rauf Denktas, ^”President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,^‘ sent a message to the meeting.^‘

    [06] A deputy of Justice and Development Party stated that Ankara will announce in the coming days a new solution method based on the Annan Plan

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (13.11.03) publishes an interview by Dr Suleyman Gunduz, deputy of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Sakarya district who made important statements regarding the Cyprus problem and the European Union (EU).

    Mr Gunduz stated that a new solution method has been developed based on the Annan Plan and that it will be announced in the coming days. He also said that the JDP will solve the Cyprus problem and Turkey ^”will do its homework^‘, as he said. ^”In December 2004 we will solve the whole problem, we will do our duties, as JD Party we will come to the door of the EU^‘, he stated.

    Referring to the forthcoming December so-called elections of the pseudostate Mr Gunduz said that these ^”elections^‘ are very crucial for the Turkish Cypriots. He also added that JDP support the conducting of fair and democratic ^”elections^‘.

    Commenting on the charges filed against some Turkish Cypriot journalists in a military court, Mr Gunduz said that no obstacles must be put in front of the press.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in HURRIYET continues to criticize the Turkish chief of Staff for his statements on Cyprus

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (12.11.03) publishes the second installment of an article by Hadi Uluengin under the title: "General Ozkok's views":

    ^”Today I will continue to criticize General Hilmi Ozkok's comments about Cyprus as a follow-up to yesterday's column, that is to say from the standpoint of international law and diplomacy, before proceeding to some of the words he used, such as "war" and "embargo", which cause great anxiety even when they are pronounced.

    The chief of the Armed Forces emphasized that the island had strategic importance for Turkey.

    I want to focus on that assertion, because it is even beyond Ozkok's own interpretation that Turkish military presence in Cyprus is based on international agreements, which is only shared by Ankara, and represents an approach that could lead to further isolation of our country.

    Turkey has never used the word "strategic" during implementation of its policy on Cyprus, which is allegedly based on international agreements, even in connection with the military operation carried out in 1974.

    You could not find even a single document including that term in the diplomatic archives of the past 30 years. In fact, Turkey's approach avoiding the use of that word is very normal based on its own logic.

    Otherwise, it would have justified criticisms that Turkey is pursuing an expansionist policy.

    Therefore, Ankara has always cited the need to ensure security for the Turkish Cypriots as a reason for its presence in the island and frequently repeated on every international forum that it would withdraw its forces from the island if that objective was achieved. What is the situation now?

    What could be the possible reactions when the international community hears that the chief of the TAF [Turkish Armed Forces], which is lending clear support to Rauf Denktas, who is known for his hawkish views about Cyprus and regarded as a champion of stalemates, has said that Cyprus is a strategic area from Turkey's standpoint?

    If the reason for the failure to reach a settlement is ascribed to the motive cited by Ozkok, which, in fact, would be a very natural outcome, would not the whole world come to understand that the promises given by Turkey so far were only designed to deceive the international community?

    Would not such a conclusion totally undermine Turkey's credibility on the international stage?

    Would not it also cement the deep-seated conviction shared by the international community that the Turkish Armed Forces is capable of dictating its terms through coercion?

    Furthermore, are we going to maintain our military presence in the island even if the native Turkish Cypriots oppose it?

    Thus, the emphasis laid by Ozkok on Cyprus' strategic importance was at least uncalled for or unfortunate from the diplomatic and legal viewpoints.

    Furthermore, although Ozkok added that he was in favor of finding a solution, his perspective renders the solution he has in mind open to interpretation just like his assertion that Turkish military presence is based on international agreements. Meanwhile, the fact that I was not graduated from a military academy cannot prevent me from expressing my opinions. I do not share the thesis that Cyprus has strategic importance for Turkey also due to practical reasons.

    The approach taken by Ozkok could be taken seriously only if air force and navy units of another country are deployed in the island in a manner posing a threat to our country.

    In fact, Annan's plan, if accepted, would totally preclude such an eventuality.

    Aside from that, the island across our southern coasts would become our main partner as part the EU, which Turkey will also join over the medium term, in the event of a settlement. In other words, we would become separate states within the same united organisation.

    If the issue is approached from that perspective, the assertion that Cyprus has strategic importance for Turkey would be as meaningless as arguing that Saarland has strategic value for Germany.

    Therefore, the TAF's chief, who has reflected a general mood of isolation by saying that the issue could assume different dimensions affecting Turkey's rights on the Aegean Sea and its airspace, has shown that he is approaching the matter from an angle isolating the events from their political and diplomatic context.^‘

    /SK


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