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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-07

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. 3/04 06-07.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Letter by Denktas to the members of the TGNA against the Annan Plan
  • [02] The Turkish army denies objections to the Annan plan
  • [03] The Turkish Foreign Ministry denies differences of views with the army
  • [04] Talat's views on Gul's statement regarding the negotiator of the Turkish side
  • [05] Statements by Cemil Cicek to the effect that Turkey wants resumption of talks based on the Annan plan
  • [06] Turkey in action over forming a so-called government in the occupied areas
  • [07] Reference to Cyprus by Erdogan during an address to his party Central Executive Committee
  • [08] CUMHURIYET: "Here are the Documents"
  • [09] Members of the JDP want Mr Baykal to participate in Cyprus Summit
  • [10] Deal on water signed between Ankara and Israel
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Columnist in Milliyet assesses the change in the Turkish government policy to support Denktas as negotiator.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Letter by Denktas to the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly against the Annan Plan for Cyprus

    Istanbul Tercuman newspaper (05/01/04) publishes an interview with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, under the title: "The clocks have stopped in Cyprus; We are waiting for Ankara".

    "In a letter sent to all members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 25 December 2003, TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] President Rauf Denktas said: "Cyprus is being lost. The truth is not what the Greek Cypriots claim. The Annan plan is a scheme to give away the island to the Greek Cypriots." An article about Denktas's letter and the attached CD on "the truth about the Annan plan" was featured on the front page of Tercuman yesterday.

    We began our Sunday conversation with Denktas with this letter and discussed one more time the Cyprus issue in all of its dimensions, naturally within the framework of the critical attributes of the current circumstances. Below are our questions to Denktas and his answers.

    Subtitle: Clocks Have Stopped

    Question: Mr. President, did anyone reply to the letter you sent to the deputies?

    Denktas: I did not receive any replies from anyone possibly because of the intervening New Year holidays. I think that someone may call to inquire in the near future.

    Question: Cyprus is a high-priority agenda item for Turkey. What do you think about Ankara's general attitude?

    Denktas: The clocks have stopped in Cyprus. We are waiting for news from Ankara. Our hope is that an agreeable result will emerge from Ankara and that this result will be in our and Turkey's interests. That is our expectation.

    Question: How easily do you expect such a result to emerge when you view it together with the Annan plan?

    Denktas: Easy or hard, we will have no objections if the principles on which we insist are accepted. Till now we have had no differences with Turkey over these principles. That is why we are optimistic.

    Question: What will your position be if Ankara says that "the Annan plan is a basis for achieving a solution"?

    Denktas: I do not think that this is the only thing that will be said. Many other things will be said together with that. We will evaluate the situation with Ankara depending on the circumstances.

    Subtitle: Harmony Continues

    Question: People still remember the polemics you had with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over "advisers." Has that tension been overcome?

    Denktas: Those are all in the past now. It is not right to remain stuck in such matters all the time. Such things happen in politics. We do not dwell on those.

    Question: Did you have any recent contacts with the Prime Minister?

    Denktas: I had a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Gul and Mr. Erdogan on the occasion of the New Year. Question: Do you think that there is a change in Ankara's policy?

    Denktas: We are not in a position to have negative opinions. First we expect to be in contact with Ankara. Our morale depends entirely on a positive atmosphere in Turkey. This has been true in Cyprus for many years.

    Question: Is your personal morale down?

    Denktas: My morale has not been down for years even in the toughest circumstances. That is why we feel very much at ease.

    Question: Did recent developments make you feel like saying, "this is enough I am exhausted and fed up"?

    Denktas: We have no right to say that. We have a responsibility to defend the state, sovereignty, and Turkey's rights. We have no right to say "I am tired and fed up." This is a common cause.

    Subtitle: Watch Out for Imposed Timetable

    Question: What will happen on the island if a solution is not found by May?

    Denktas: May is not the end of the world. At the end of the year a decision will be made on whether Turkey will be given a timetable [for accession to the EU]. That is the most important date. We believe that it is not right to try to resolve the problem with such forced timetables.

    Question: What do you think about arguments that if a solution environment is not created by May Turkey will become an occupier on the island after the Greek Cypriot side becomes a full member of the EU?

    Denktas: Turkey is in Cyprus by virtue of the 1960 agreements. It has a legal status. Cyprus' entry into the EU without Turkey is illegal. If they make such allegations about occupation then they give Turkey the right and the opportunity to tell them that what they are doing is illegal, that international agreements are being disregarded, and that no one has the right to do that. The issue must not be pulled in other directions and confusion must not be created with such declarations and imposed timetables.

    Subtitle: Clerides Confessed

    Question: What do you have to say about what Clerides said a short while ago?

    Denktas: This problem has been the same since the time of Makarios. The Greek Cypriots have always played the same game. From the perspective of the Greek Cypriots there is no problem to solve. They have gained recognition as the island's legitimate government. They have portrayed us as a minority and they have gained acceptance for the argument that "we are giving the minority these rights but they do not want to accept them."

    Both sides must take steps to make concessions. They see themselves as the sole owners of this place. They see what you give them as a recovery of their rights. They pretend to be giving you something. As far as they are concerned there is nothing to be given. This is what I have been trying to explain for all these years. This is what Clerides acknowledged after everything was over, after he got what he wanted, after guaranteeing membership in the EU, and after reaching the point of ending Turkey's guarantor status. Nobody paid attention when I said these.

    Subtitle: Talat on Dangerous Course

    Question: You designated Mehmet Ali Talat to form the government based on election results. What is your response to tough criticisms Talat has levelled at you?

    Denktas: What can I tell you? I wish God had given me Mehmet Ali's brains so that I could solve all problems myself (!). This colleague thinks he can solve problems quickly without knowing what is what, the truth, or the Greek Cypriots.

    Question: Did you express these opinions to Mehmet Ali Talat?

    Denktas: Of course I did. I told him that he is trying to take a shortcut without knowing anything and that the course he thinks is a shortcut that leads to a solution is actually very complex and more importantly very dangerous. I told him that if he pursues this course he will eventually realize the danger but that it will be very late for everything.

    Question: Finally, given the current situation what do you think should be done from this point on?

    Denktas: Look, the game that the Greek Cypriots have been playing for years is quite evident. This is where they brought the issue. They continue to insist that they are the sole owners and legitimate government of the island and that we are a minority. They will persist in their ploy of taking all of Cyprus in the future. Turkey and the TRNC must be able to explain this the world and block this ploy."

    [02] The Turkish army denies objections to the Annan plan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05/01/04) reported from Ankara that the Turkish General Staff said on Monday that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) believed in the importance and necessity of a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue through talks.

    A statement of the General Staff said that news published in a newspaper earlier in the day entitled ''Soldiers Put Forth Reservations'', ''We are Announcing Objections of the General Staff to Annan Plan'' did not reflect the realities.

    The statement noted that the media should refrain from such news which could have a negative impact on the negotiators of the Cyprus issue, which was a national cause.

    In the statement, the General Staff asked the Turkish nation to give credit only to official statements.

    "The TAF believed that finding a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue through talks was necessary and important", the statement stressed, and added:

    ''In this context, efforts and talks among concerned institutions continue in order to harmonize and concretize the views. This process in Turkey continues in the way that has to be in democratic and modern countries.''

    [03] The Turkish Foreign Ministry denies differences of views with the army on Cyprus

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (05/01/04) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied press reports to the effect that the Cyprus plans of the Ministry and those of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff [OCGS] contradict one another and that the traditional joint work between the two institutions has been eroded.

    The Foreign Ministry issued a written statement stressing that the necessary consultations and assessments with the OCGS within the framework of the preparations being made for the Cyprus negotiations are being held in a timely and orderly manner. The statement added that reports to the effect that there are profound differences of views between the OCGS and the Ministry regarding the Cyprus issue do not reflect the reality. The statement went on to state: "These reports are damaging to the efforts being exerted to find a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem through negotiations, to Turkey's national interests, and to the unity and solidarity of the Turkish Cypriot people. Our ministry is protecting the interests and rights of Turkey as well as those of the Turkish Cypriot people on the Cyprus issue, which is a national cause."

    [04] Talat's views on Gul's statement regarding the negotiator of the Turkish side

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.01.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party - United Forces (RTP-UF) has been asked to comment on Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gul's statement that Ankara wishes the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas to remain the negotiator of the Turkish side at the Cyprus talks.

    The paper notes that Mr Talat said: "Mr Gul referred to Turkey's wish. However, the constitution of the TRNC, our legal arrangements say that the governments should handle issues, which demand responsibility. We believe that it is a legal necessity that the government conducts the negotiations. Turkey might have some wishes. We shall examine and take into consideration Turkey's wishes".

    Furthermore, KIBRIS (07.01.04) reports that responding to questions after a meeting he had yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, Mr Talat said the following on the issue: "The issue of the negotiator has ended. During the election campaign we have been saying that the government would conduct the negotiations and that Mr Denktas would be removed from the duties of the negotiator. In the results of the elections our people have not given us this power. This is very clear. ... We have a constitutional situation. According to this, the administrative power belongs to the president and the government. Therefore, the president and the government will conduct the negotiations. This is my opinion. There is no need for me even to demand this, because it is written in the constitution. .".

    [05] Statements by Cemil Cicek to the effect that Turkey wants resumption of talks based on the Annan plan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05/01/04) reported from Ankara that the Justice Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek on Monday made statements following a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

    The Turkish Minister of Justice said that the Council of Ministers took up the Cyprus issue and went on:

    ''The Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, the Foreign Minister and his team briefed the President on the Cyprus issue at 11.00a.m. They made a detailed statement about their efforts in our meeting. The Cyprus issue is very important for Turkey. It is important not only for kinsmen living there and the TRNC citizens but also for Turkey. The Cyprus issue is a national cause.

    We have a position in the Cyprus issue depending on time as in the EU membership process. The issue could not be settled in the past due to some reasons which didn't stem from us. We think the issue should be solved. Turkey is launching an initiative to re-handle the issue after the elections.

    Any institution can't act on its own in such a national cause. A state sets its policy after consulting with all its institutions. Our government is also acting so. Because, the issue concerns different institutions. The government is acting in cooperation with other institutions when dealing with the Cyprus issue. Efforts to show as if there was disagreement or difference of opinion among institutions harm this cause. I hope everybody will behave responsibly from now on.''

    Referring to the statement of the General Staff about the Cyprus issue, Cicek said: ''Everything can be clearly seen in the statements made today.''

    Mr. Cicek also stated that they were aware of how important time was and underlined that the process should be evaluated calmly when setting a new Cyprus policy.

    ''Turkey wishes that a new talks process on the basis of the Annan plan will start and the issue will be solved. If the Cyprus issue is not solved till a certain date, we will not be responsible for anything. Turkey is determined that talks should be continued by Denktas. The Foreign Ministry made such a statement. We want to start a talks process by well-evaluating the current situation and the future and without ignoring the former troubles and pains,'' Cicek concluded.

    When a journalist said there were news reports that efforts to form a so-called government continued in occupied Cyprus and there were statements that relations were interrupted following a meeting between RTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat and NUP leader Dervis Eroglu, and asked whether or not Ankara would give a sign, Cicek said: ''We have not yet discussed the issue. But if you ask my personal view, a democratic process continues in Cyprus. A democratic and honest election took place. Oath taking ceremony took place and designation was made. Talks continue. From the beginning, we wish democratic process to function. There is no reason to feel uneasy over this. Of course, those who have responsibility in the 'TRNC' should act in unity and integrity and refrain from attitudes and statements that would prevent this. Our kinsmen there clearly revealed their own will. This should be comprehended well. We know very well that views favoring toughness would not bring benefit to anybody.''

    Replying to another question on how Turkish-EU relations would be affected in case the Cyprus problem could not be solved till May 1, Cicek said: "The condition pertaining to Turkey's accession to the EU is related to political criteria. This is openly stated in decisions taken in Copenhagen. Cyprus is not included in this. We are not in an effort that, 'let us solve the Cyprus question soon and enter the EU'. The Cyprus issue has nothing to do with the EU. We also favor solution to the Cyprus question. If a solution is to be found in Cyprus, this can not be solved with the will of one side and with the decision of one side. The other side should also contribute to the solution. The world and the EU should see if the other side would not contribute to this.''

    A journalist said: "You said you are in an effort to determine a new initiative in Cyprus. What is the fundamental basis of this? Is there a change in the policy that has been carried out for years?''

    Cicek in reply said: ''In fact talks pertaining to Cyprus have been cut for some time. What we mean with the new initiative is that an election was held in Cyprus. There is a new parliament there. The Greek Cypriot administration will enter the EU representing the whole island on May 1. There are guarantee rights of Turkey stemming from the previous agreements. We thought it would be beneficial to start a new initiative by taking all those into consideration. We accept the Annan Plan as basis of negotiation. This does not mean that it will be accepted as it is. We try to say that there are elements that can be negotiated there.

    What is essential here and what should not be disregarded is that Turkey exerts efforts more than the past to reach a solution. If a solution can not be found till May 2004, nobody should say to Turkey that: you did not exert efforts. You did not put forth an approach. A solution could not be found because of this.''

    Upon a question asking when Mr Rauf Denktas and leaders of political parties would be invited to Turkey within the scope of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, Cicek recalled that Foreign Ministry bureaucrats informed President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and members of Council of Ministers about the activities on this issue today.

    Noting that evaluations with other institutions were continuing, Cicek said that Denktas and then leaders of political parties could be invited soon, and added:

    "We should firstly complete the negotiation process among ourselves. We have to reach an understanding with all dimensions and then we can continue this negotiation more clearly and openly.''

    When asked whether a summit would be held on this issue, Cicek said that the summit could be held when it was necessary.

    [06] Turkey in action over forming a so-called government in the occupied areas

    Istanbul CNN TURK Television (06/01/04) broadcast the following report:

    "Closely following the efforts to establish a government in the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', Ankara finally decided to take a step. Turkey advised Serdar Denktas -- the leader of the Democratic Party which has become a key party for a possible coalition -- to join the coalition government.

    Turkey is disturbed by the failure of the efforts to establish a government in the 'TRNC'. Ankara contacted Serdar Denktas and recommended to him to join the coalition. Ankara wants an accord reached in Cyprus by May 2004 so that it can get a date from the EU for accession talks. Therefore Ankara's priority at the moment is the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations as soon possible. And this can happen if a government is established in the 'TRNC' as soon as possible.

    Ankara is losing patience. The failure of the efforts to establish a 'government' finally caused Turkey to become actively involved. When talks broke down between prime minister-designate Mehmet Ali Talat's Republican Turkish Party and the National Unity Party which emerged second from the elections, Serdar Denktas' DP became a key party. Ankara contacted Serdar Denktas' advisers and recommended to them that the DP should join the coalition 'government'".

    [07] Reference to Cyprus by Erdogan during an address to his party Central Executive Committee

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06/01/04) reported from Ankara that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that negotiations should start for a solution to the Cyprus question as soon as possible, adding that the Turkish side wouldn't leave the negotiation table. During the Justice and Development Party Central Executive Committee meeting held on Monday, the Cyprus issue also came to agenda.

    Erdogan said in the meeting that information was also given to the General Staff about the Cyprus study undertaken by the Foreign Ministry, stressing that there was no difference of opinion between the government and the General Staff. Erdogan stressed that the statements issued by the concerned sides following the news published in the press also confirmed that.

    Erdogan noted that negotiations on the Cyprus issue had to start as soon as possible.

    Recalling that the efforts of forming a "government" in Cyprus continued, Erdogan said that he favored the formation of a coalition "government" among four parties.

    Mr. Erdogan also said that the leaders of the four parties which entered the pseudoassembly asked him for appointment, adding that he could meet with the leaders and Mr Rauf Denktas.

    [08] CUMHURIYET: "Here are the Documents"

    Under the above title Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (07/01/04), deals with the "Position on the Cyprus problem" prepared by the Turkish government. Commenting on press reports, that the articles published in the paper on 29 December and on 5 January regarding the Turkish Foreign Ministry Document on the Cyprus Problem and the Army's objection's to it, were rejected and branded by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Office the Chief of the Staff as "unrealistic" and medias' calling it a "denial" of the Cumhuriyet reports, the paper says says that since such statements were made, it has no other choice but to share the documents that are in its possession with its readers . It says that the paper's articles were based on documents and, without giving the name of its source, CUMHURIYET reproduces the original documents on which it based its repots of 29 December and 5 January.

    The paper insists that both reports are based on authentic documents and as such if need be they will continue to reproduce the rest of the documents. It produces the documents in its original form.

    [09] Members of the JDP want Mr Baykal to participate in Turkish Summit on Cyprus

    Istanbul NTV television (05/01/04) broadcast that the JDP [Justice and Development Party] whips have proposed to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that RPP [Republican People's Party] Chairman Deniz Baykal be invited as well to the Cyprus summit to be held at the Cankaya Mansion. The prime minister has not yet replied to this proposal.

    Foreign Ministry bureaucrats briefed Erdogan in detail on the Annan Plan last week. At the briefing held last week, the solution plan jointly prepared by the Foreign Ministry and the Office of the Chief of the General Staff was discussed. At this meeting, JDP whips made the following proposal to Erdogan: The JDP whips noted that the Cyprus issue is a national cause and that, therefore, it would be right for Baykal to participate in the summit to be held on the issue at the Cankaya Mansion in the coming days. It is reported that Erdogan has not yet replied to this proposal.

    [10] Deal on water signed between Ankara and Israel

    Turkish Daily News (06.01.04) reports that Israel has approved a landmark agreement to purchase fresh water from Turkey's Manavgat River, Israeli officials announced on Monday.

    "With the signing of this agreement, a new era will begin in the Middle East, with Turkey and Israel presenting a creative solution to the regional water problem," a statement from the Israeli Embassy in Ankara said.

    The Israeli government's approval on Sunday came after several years of thorny negotiations between officials of the two countries on the terms of the agreement to sell water from the Manavgat, a Turkish river flowing into the Mediterranean.

    The statement said the signing of the agreement by both countries was expected in the near future, when Energy Minister Hilmi Guler visits Israel.

    Joseph Paritzky, Israel's infrastructure minister, said Monday that water imports from Turkey were expected to start in 2006.

    "We are buying water from Turkey for two reasons: One, we need water; and two, to strengthen our ties with one of the most important countries in the world for us," Paritzky said in an interview with Reuters.

    Paritzky said Israel would buy 50 million cubic meters of water a year from Turkey for 20 years. That accounts for only about 3 percent of Israel's annual fresh water consumption of 1.5 billion cubic meters, which is rising because of the growing population, he said.

    Subtitle: Pros and cons

    Turkey will ship the water to Israel in specially built tankers. Paritzky said the contract starts in 2006 because it will take until then to order and build the tankers. When realized, this transfer of water from Turkey to Israel will be the first such undertaking in the world.

    The purchase of water from Turkey has been a controversial matter in Israel for the last decade, with critics arguing that water to be obtained through desalinization would be cheaper than Turkish water. But Turkish authorities are confident that the water quality of the Manavgat River is far superior to desalinated water and highlight that the desalination process is not environmentally friendly.

    "We felt that for 20 years, the amount spent on building the tankers seemed economically worthwhile," Paritzky said.

    Subtitle: Manavgat water project

    Turkey has initiated the so-called Manavgat Water Supply Project to supply fresh water to the region's arid countries. Installation of on-shore components for the treatment and storage of water and off-shore components for loading water onto tankers was completed in 1997 at a cost of $147 million.

    A water treatment plant in Manavgat could provide up to 250,000 cubic meters of purified and 250,000 cubic meters of unpurified water daily. Turkey seeks to sell water from the Manavgat River not only to Israel but also to Jordan. Turkish officials have said the Manavgat River's water resources are sufficient to meet possible requests from Libya, Malta, Cyprus and Crete as well.

    Turkey's other fresh-water project, dubbed "Peace Water," also envisages supplying water to the Middle East from two southern rivers, the Seyhan and the Ceyhan.

    Turkey has long been planning to supply fresh water to dry Middle Eastern countries in a move to boost relations with Israel and Muslim nations in the region, saying water can be a means to an Arab-Israeli rapprochement.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Columnist in Milliyet assesses the change in the Turkish government policy to support Denktas as negotiator.

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (06.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "Denktas is the negotiator":

    "Ankara has begun to put its weight down in favor of 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' [TRNC] 'President' Rauf Denktas even before the effort made to establish a new 'government' in north Cyprus has yielded a result. First, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that Denktas should maintain his task as the Turkish side's negotiator. Minister of Justice and Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek said later that Turkey wants the talks on Cyprus to be maintained on the basis of the Annan plan and that Denktas acting as the negotiator in the process will be useful.

    The two ministers emphasized the following: The Cyprus problem is a national cause and Denktas is a national leader.

    The decision Ankara made after the elections in the 'TRNC' is important. Ankara adopted a stand that opposed Denktas prior to the elections. However, the decision it made to change its approach and support Denktas can be seen as a new development. The Turkish Government's new approach is compatible with the outcome of the elections in the 'TRNC' and the Turkish people's inclination.

    The circles close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and some of the leading Justice and Development Party [JDP] members have said: Turkey and the 'TRNC' must establish the proposals they would make when the talks are resumed. They must draw up a common approach. Undoubtedly, Denktas is the most capable person to hold talks on it at the negotiation table. He is a national leader. In view of that, the Turkish public will support him. Furthermore, his qualities will be an important factor in the effort that will be made to persuade the Greek Cypriot side to reach an agreement.

    Yes, that is the new JDP approach toward Denktas. Undoubtedly, the views of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the military forces contributed to the present situation.

    Ankara and the 'TRNC' must draw up a plan based on goodwill. Whether it would be seen as a document aimed at amending the Annan plan or whether it would be viewed as a new plan would not make any difference. Its essence would not change. The Turkish side would not be accused of maintaining an irreconcilable policy if it sits at the negotiation table with such a common approach. Turkey and the 'TRNC' agreeing on a common policy will encourage the Greek Cypriot side to realize its responsibilities. Furthermore, it will have a bearing on the international public opinion.

    The Greek Cypriot side and the EU have to take seriously the proposals the Turkish side would make during the talks if they sincerely want the Cyprus problem to be solved. Harmony between Ankara and the 'TRNC' will force the Greek Cypriot side to take the new proposals seriously. Lack of harmony between them will contribute to the Greek Cypriot side's stand."


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