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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-05

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. 2/04 03-04-05.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Prime Minister on the letter he received from President George Bush
  • [02] Erdogan to ask for Mr Bush's support on Cyprus
  • [03] Gul says Turkey wishes Rauf Denktas to be the negotiator of the Turkish side at the Cyprus talks
  • [04] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat before a meeting of his party's central executive committee
  • [05] Interview by Mehmet Ali Talat with Milliyet newspaper
  • [06] CUMHURIYET : Strong objection from the army to the plan prepared by the Turkish Foreign Ministry
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Cyprus source of tension between the Turkish Government and the military

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Prime Minister on the letter he received from President George Bush

    Istanbul NTV television (03.01.04) broadcast that the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that he has not received a letter on the Cyprus issue from the United States. He replied to reporters' questions as he was leaving the JDP [Justice and Development Party] provincial office in Safranbolu. Reporters told Erdogan that US President Bush sent a letter on the Cyprus issue to Simitis and asked whether a similar letter was sent to the Turkish side. In reply, Erdogan said: 'No letter has been sent by the United States on the Cyprus issue'. Noting that the last letter he received from the United States was two days ago which dealt with the agenda of the US visit he is going to make, Erdogan added that this letter also referred to the Cyprus issue.

    [02] Erdogan to ask for Mr Bush's support on Cyprus

    Istanbul Ortadogu newspaper (03.01.04) reports that the two most important files in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's briefcase in the United States will be on Cyprus and Iraq. Erdogan will put the file on Cyprus on the table during his talks with President Bush and ask for the Washington administration's support.

    The Government has stepped up its effort to draw up a plan on Cyprus by the end of January. The Foreign Ministry has drawn up a new report on the Cyprus problem. It was submitted to Prime Minister Erdogan by Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and some of the Foreign Ministry bureaucrats some time ago. Erdogan had a lengthy meeting with Chief of the General Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok prior to the briefing that was given to him on the report.

    Prime Minister Erdogan is preparing to submit the report on Cyprus to President Bush. The report will be discussed for the last time during the summit that will be held at the Cankaya Mansion. The summit will finalize the report, which is expected to be adopted as the State approach on Cyprus. Erdogan will inform President Bush on the decision to be made and the policy to be adopted when he visits Washington.

    The Government has moved to draw up a policy by 1 May, when Cyprus will join the EU. On the one hand, Prime Minister Erdogan is making an effort to give a direction to Turkey's policy on Cyprus, and, on the other, he is preparing for his visit to the United States at the end of January. It has been reported that Erdogan will have a file on Cyprus when he visits Washington to hold talks with President Bush. He will explain that Turkey wants a solution to be found in Cyprus and that talks should be held on the Annan plan. He will stress that the Cyprus problem must not obstruct Turkey's accession to the EU. Erdogan will explain that Turkey calls for a just and durable solution in Cyprus and note that expecting concessions from only one of the two sides on the island will render the solution of the problem difficult.

    In addition to Turkey's plan on Cyprus, Prime Minister Erdogan will submit the Foreign Ministry's road map to President Bush.

    [03] Gul says Turkey wishes Rauf Denktas to be the negotiator of the Turkish side at the Cyprus talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.01.04) reports that Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdullah Gul has said that Ankara wishes the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas to be the negotiator of the Turkish side at the Cyprus talks. In statements yesterday on CNN-Turk's 'Kafe Siyeset' ('Caf¨¦ Politics') programme, Mr Gul reiterated his government' s view that the non-solution in Cyprus is not a solution and alleged that the Turks wanted a solution. Asked about his message to Mr Denktas, Mr Gul noted the following on the issue:

    Question: Have you got a message to Mr Denktas?

    Answer: Of course he will definitely think cold-bloodedly about the future of his own country. ˇ­Cyprus is not an issue only of the Turkish Cypriots, but at the same time it is Turkey's issue. It is a national cause. Mr Denktas is a name, which has become a symbol there. He is the leader of the community.

    Question: Must Denktas sit at the negotiating table?

    Answer: After the establishment of the new government we wish Mr Denktas to carry out the negotiations as the negotiator, because he is the leader of the community. As a leader he has to do this. Undoubtedly there are things, which could be accepted and others, which could not be accepted. If we come at a point, which could be accepted, undoubtedly he as well will say yes. He said this himself after the elections. However, neither Mr Denktas nor we could accept unacceptable things'.

    [04] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat before a meeting of his party's central executive committee

    Illegal Bayrak television (03.01.04) broadcast that the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces [RTP] Central Executive Council convened today to assess the National Unity Party's letter related to the establishment of the new so-called government. Prior to the meeting at the RTP central headquarters in occupied Nicosia, RTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat said:

    We asked three questions. The letter we received partly touched on only one of them. That is the question: Do you agree to establish a coalition government to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan by May 2004? However, it does not address the other two questions: Do you agree to join the government under the RTP? And, do you agree to end President Denktas' task as negotiator? The letter failed to address these questions.

    I would like to say before I participate in today's meeting that President Denktas maintains his destructive approach. While an effort is made to establish the new government, he sends instructions to the mukhtars of the areas where the people have very appropriately reacted against him. He tries to explain the people's will in a different way. He directs his destructive approach toward Turkey. If the reports I have received are correct, he sends out compact discs and other material to explain how the Annan plan, which has not even been debated yet, will destroy the Turkish Cypriots. President Denktas maintains his destructive approach in that way, regardless of the effort that is made to establish the new government. Instead of protesting the approach that has destroyed this country and thrust it into darkness, and instead of trying to find a solution, President Denktas summoned the Mayor of Nicosia, who provided valuable services not only as a Mayor but also as an official employed in other fields in the past, and seriously reprimanded him. He should have reprimanded the Government and the ministers. It will be recalled that Nicosia and many other parts of north Cyprus suffer from power shortages. Instead of concerning himself with the problem, President Denktas tries to react to those who criticize him. He tries to prolong the Cyprus problem, without considering what might happen after he retires. That is a regrettable situation. The Turkish Cypriots might be an unfortunate people. Turkey might be an unfortunate country. While Turkey seriously prepares to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan, President Denktas tries to undermine its effort. That is very unfortunate. That is all I have to say. I might reply to your questions after the meeting.'

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.01.04) reported from occupied Nicosia that Mr Talat told the A.A correspondent that the letter of NUP would be assessed in the meeting of RTP Central Administration Committee at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

    Stating that there were no answers, but some questions in the letter which was sent by NUP Talat said: ''Questions that we asked during our visit do not have any connection with this letter. But a letter is a letter. We will assess it at the meeting of the Central Administration Committee on Saturday.''

    Talat who visited NUP on December 30, 2003 wanted the views of NUP on whether or not NUP wants to be involved in a 'government' under the leadership of RTP and the issue of solution and negotiation on the basis of Annan plan till May 1, 2004. NUP leader and so-called Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that they would give an answer after those issues were discussed in the party assembly.

    Following the meeting of the NUP party assembly on Friday, the party sent a letter to RTP leader Talat which includes detailed questions on the Annan plan. The questions comprised of five articles include the issues of ''equal sovereign state status, guarantee system, global property barter/compensation, map and Turkish-Greek balance.'' Eroglu also said that they would assume an attitude after they assessed written answers of RTP to those questions.

    In addition in exclusive statements he made to Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper (05.01.04), Mr Talat stated that his party will wait for NUP' s answer regarding the establishment of a so-called coalition government between RTP and NUP, until 11:00 Monday morning. 'If an answer comes in this period we will evaluate it. If not, we will continue our course', said Mr Talat who added that the establishment of a 'coalition' government between his party and NUP 'is very difficult'.

    Mr Talat, who stressed that his party cannot tolerate further delays, said that RTP will hold contacts today with the Peace and Democracy Movement and the Democratic Party as regards the establishment of a 'coalition government' with these parties and that that RTP will evaluate the possibilities of establishing a 'coalition government' between the three parties. 'This has always been in our agenda. However we investigated if it was possible to establish a two-party or a four-party ˇ®coalition'', he said.

    [05] Interview by Mehmet Ali Talat with Milliyet newspaper

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (01.01.04) publishes the following report on an interview by Sefa Karahasan with Republican Turkish Party leader Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, under the title "Talat: Let 2004 not be venomous":

    'Republican Turkish Party [RTP] leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who was tasked by president Rauf Denktas with forming a government, said that the Cyprus problem absolutely had to be solved so that 2004 would not a poisonous year for Turkey. Emerging as the lead party in the 14 December 2003 elections with 19 deputies, the RTP leader gave his final interview of 2003 to Milliyet. Talat detailed his views on a range of topics from how he views the Justice and Development Party [JDP] to Denktas' status as interlocutor.

    Subtitle: He gave the mandate reluctantly

    "I did not observe a lot of comfort in the president when he gave me the duty. There was no sign of worry but I do not believe he was very happy with giving us the duty."

    Subtitle: Interlocutor's duty ours

    "I am still insisting when it comes to the duty of interlocutor. According to the Constitution the president has no responsibility. Those responsible are the prime minister and other pertinent ministers whose signatures are on the signed decisions alongside his. I will also be there during the talks process. He will be there but I will be responsible for all the work that is done. He will not be responsible.

    "The prime minister should take on whatever role the Constitution gives him. We will sort out the business of interlocutor in the spirit of compromise. Our aim will be to secure the president's backing during the talks. I even told this to the president. I said, 'If we run the talks we are going to receive your support'."

    Subtitle: Four-Way government difficult

    I would like that but a four-party government formula is very difficult. You can form a four-party government, for very short periods. If any attempt were made to extend this period then a four-party government would break up along party lines. You cannot have a parliament with no opposition. A broad consensus is fine but you cannot have the entire parliament in alliance with itself. The solution to the Cyprus problem will by virtue of its consequences have a great effect. Thousands of people will relocate. This is why I want all the parties to breast this issue together."

    Subtitle: Poisonous

    Turkey is a country with high potential. My wish is that it acts in 2004 to use this potential. A solution to Cyprus is also a prerequisite for 2004 being a prosperous year for Turkey. The Cyprus problem is Turkey's most poisonous foreign policy issue. Even if Turkey is not going to join the EU the Cyprus problem must be solved."

    Subtitle: I am Waiting an Invitation

    "No invitation has come from Ankara. I am expecting a lot of the talks in Ankara. Ankara should talk with the UN Secretary-General. The Secretary-General should persuade Ankara; I cannot."

    [06] CUMHURIYET: Strong objection from the army to the plan prepared by the Turkish Foreign Ministry

    Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (05/01/04) reports under banner headlines 'Strong Objections from the Army' and lists the main points on the Annan peace plan regarding the Cyprus problem that the Turkish Army disagrees with the Erdogan Government.

    Following are the main points of disagreement between the Turkish Army and the Turkish government:

    1. Guarantorship: Once the EU Laws are accepted the appendixes, addendums lose their meaning. The expression planned to be added to the 'Position Document' is not clear.

    2. Territorial Sharing: The maps are insufficient. Instead of several maps No: 15 map which envisages 29.9 percent territory should be discussed.

    3. Bizonality: The Annan Plan does away with bizonality. This philosophy has to change. The definition; 'constituent states and not the peoples shall be equal' is not realistic.

    4. Troops: Reduction of troops should be discussed in parallel with Turkey's EU full membership. However, this should not be reduced to 'zero'. Between, 1000-2000 Turkish troops should be deployed on the island forever.

    5. British bases: Britain should not bring a third power to the base because it so wishes. This issue should be clearly incorporated in the Cyprus' Accession Document.

    6. Exchange of property: If this problem is not solved radically through exchange of property and compensation, then in the future this issue could be against us.

    7. Turkish Settlers: Once the EU Laws are accepted and once the agreement is in force, those who come from Turkey to Cyprus will start losing their rights .And in future not a single person would remain in Cyprus.

    8. Common Borders: It is not possible to realize a lasting solution on the island in the near future. There must be, even if a narrow strip, a buffer zone and a border. Greece's naval and air bases on the island should be removed.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Cyprus source of tension between the Turkish Government and the military

    Cumhuriyet newspaper (02.01.04) publishes the following article under the title: "Military's triple reaction"]

    The tension between the military and the government, which became apparent when the General Staff issued a written statement the other day, is centered on three main issues. Statements made by Prime Ministry Undersecretary Omer Dincer and Justice and Development Party [JDP] deputy Husrev Kutlu as well as the government's position on the issues of Cyprus and Iraq are all creating disquiet within the military.

    The General Staff, to whom Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said, "We are in full agreement on every issue", has issued warnings first in face-to-face talks then in written and verbal statements over the past four days. Chief of the General Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok met with Erdogan on Monday [29 December] for an hour and a half and forwarded his views on the plan for a solution on Cyprus. Commander Land Forces Gen Aytac Yalman used the press to voice his sharp reaction to the funeral of a religious sect member in Istanbul and to statements made by Husrev Kutlu. One day later Gen Ozkok had a statement published in his name that criticized these images and the statements made by the JDP deputy. The areas of tension and the latest developments in connection with them that the government has been trying to ignore are:

    Cyprus: The foreign Ministry is working to find a solution to Cyprus, and the parts of its plan that leaked to the press made the military uneasy. The watering down of the guarantor rights, which are of vital importance for the security of the Turkish Cypriots, the reduction in Turkish troop numbers to below 10,000, the return of Turkish Cypriot borders to pre-1974 lines, the handing over of Morphou with its rich water reserves, and the giving of permission to the Greek Cypriots to migrate north and settle all became the topic of criticism. The press also reported the proposal by the General Staff, which is insisting on a settlement plan being formulated by disregarding these points [as published], that the shaping of State policy on Cyprus wait until the National Security Council [NSC] meeting this month.

    Iraq: News from Iraq is also creating disquiet within Turkey. Chief among all this news is the effort being made by Kurdish groups for a Kurdish region to be established. Kurdish groups are applying pressure for a federative structure that would split Iraq in two and are working hard to influence the United States to this end. Apart from the warnings issued personally by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul the government appears to be not in play. The agreement signed between the government and the United States for $8.5 billion, but whose conditions the government has failed to fulfill, removed from Turkey the right to intervene in Iraq unilaterally.

    Domestic Developments: Many moves by the JDP government are creating disquiet within the General Staff. The JDP created tension in previous months with initiatives such as the giving of privileges to the Imam Hatip schools, which could have seen changes in the national education system, and the provision of Koran courses in State schools. Most recently, it has drawn flak over the Public Administration Foundation Bill. This draft was prepared by Prime Ministry Undersecretary Omer Dincer, whose defense of a speech he made in 1995 advocating abandoning secularism in favor of Muslim structures is also creating tension. This week also saw the funeral of a sect member in Istanbul followed by JDP deputy Husrev Kutlu's remarks that he was uncomfortable with the barracks within the National Assembly as well as with the picture of Ataturk in full dress uniform. These events deepened the unease felt by the General Staff.


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