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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-08

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. 4/04 08.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ankara seeking Cyprus 'harmony'
  • [02] Akinci describes as contradictory the recent statements of Turkey's Council of Ministers
  • [03] The main opposition party leader's views on the new Cyprus policy under formation in Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [04] Turkey expects to obtain an important trump card relating to Cyprus after the talks between Erdogan and President Bush
  • [05] The chances for success of Erdogan's visit to Washington will increase if progress is made in the Cyprus problem
  • [06] Commentary in Sabah discloses the dialogue between Erdogan and Denktas while Erdogan was flying to the South East of Turkey

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ankara seeking Cyprus 'harmony'

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (08.01.04) covers the latest political developments in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side as follows:

    "Coalition talks in northern Cyprus hit a snag on Wednesday after Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktas apparently preferred to wait to see Turkey's position on a U.N. peace plan, while in Ankara it was announced that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer would convene a long-expected Cyprus "harmony" summit at the presidential palace today with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and top officials of the Foreign Ministry.

    The Cyprus summit at the presidential palace comes at a time when there are rampant "speculations" -- despite official denials -- of a "rift" between the strong military and the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government over a Foreign Ministry paper on changes Ankara wanted to see in the U.N. document for a comprehensive settlement to the almost four-decade-old Cyprus problem.

    The summit was reportedly first scheduled to be held some 10 days ago but could not take place until now as the government had failed to get the "blessing" of the strong military, or at least of some sectors of the military, to the so-called "Position of the Turkish Side" paper the Foreign Ministry prepared on changes to be demanded in the U.N. plan.

    Reports of the rift between the General Staff and the government over the Foreign Ministry paper have officially been denied twice over the past two weeks, most recently on Monday when daily Cumhuriyet banner-headline story reported that despite Prime Minister Erdogan's declaration of "harmony" between the government and the military, a "position paper" prepared by the General Staff contradicted almost each and every paragraph of the Foreign Ministry paper on Cyprus. The denials came from both the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff, but on Wednesday, hours before it was announced that there would be a Cyprus summit at the Cankaya palace today, Cumhuriyet again bannered, "Here are the documents" and published excerpts of a report it said was the Cyprus report written by the military disputing the Foreign Ministry paper.

    The Cankaya summit will convene ahead of a scheduled January 23 meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) at which the Cyprus problem is expected to dominate the agenda. According to reports, some of the commanders were demanding that the Cyprus issue be handled at the NSC rather than at a summit at the Cankaya presidential palace, claiming that results of a Cankaya summit would be "political" and thus "disputable" while a NSC decision would constitute the backbone of a "state policy," binding on the government and all organs of the state.

    There were also reports that some commanders have prepared their separate "Cyprus reports" and wanted to present them to the NSC before Turkey finalized its new Cyprus policy.

    The Cankaya Cyprus summit is expected to establish the "desired harmony" at the top echelons of the Turkish state regarding the U.N. Cyprus plan, which was first presented in November 2002 and has been revised twice since it collapsed last March.

    Turkey has been under intense pressure from Washington as well as the European Union -- in which it has been aspiring for a place for itself -- to work for a settlement on Cyprus before the scheduled unilateral EU accession of the Greek Cypriot side in May.

    American and European intermediaries have been preparing to unleash fresh pressures on Ankara, Athens and the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in anticipation of getting the wheels of Cyprus diplomacy rolling towards the target of a settlement by May. This month, in addition to a series of low-level technical visits between Turkey, the EU and the United States, there will be three important top-level meetings. The first will be a trip to Ankara on January 15 by Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission. Prodi's visit will be followed six days later on January 21 with a trip to Ankara by Joscha Fischer, the German foreign minister.

    The crowning visit of the month will be Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's trip to Washington, where he'll meet President George Bush on January 28. The Turkish prime minister has also requested an appointment with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for January 26. Diplomatic sources said Erdogan might be intending to secure Annan's support for the changes Ankara wants to see in the U.N. Cyprus plan before he proceeds to Washington for the meeting with Bush.

    It is anticipated that Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will become personally involved in Cyprus diplomacy this year, using their personal influence to push Ankara and Athens towards a Cyprus accord based on the Annan plan by May.

    The expectations of a Cyprus settlement by May, on the other hand, may go down the drain if efforts to form a coalition 'government' in northern Cyprus collapse and the Turkish Cypriot 'state' goes to fresh 'parliamentary elections'.

    Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (RTP-UF) leader 'Prime Minister' -designate Mehmet Ali Talat called off coalition talks with the conservative National Unity Party (NUP) of outgoing 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu last weekend and plunged into talks with Serdar Denktas, the leader of the six-seat Democratic Party.

    DP leader Serdar Denktas, the son of 'President' Rauf Denktas, was scheduled to give an answer to Talat's coalition offer by Wednesday morning but after it was announced that a Cyprus summit would be held today at the Cankaya palace, apparently preferred to adopt a wait-and-see attitude vis--vis Turkey's position on the U.N. plan. Denktas Jr. postponed his expected announcement on whether or not to form a coalition government with Talat's RTP-UF.

    At stake is the establishment of either a three-way coalition of the RTP-UF with the seven-seat DP and the six-seat Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) of Mustafa Akinci, or a two-way RTP-UF and DP 'government'. The DP previously declared that it would not enter into a 'government' with the PDM, a party it has been accusing of pursuing a "totally defeatist" policy regarding the U.N. plan.

    The delay fuelled doubts about whether Talat, head of the 19-seat pro-peace-plan Republican Turkish Party, will be able to form a coalition government before the deadline for his mandate expires on January. 12.

    A 26-seat majority is required in the 50-seat 'TRNC' 'Republican Assembly' to form a 'government'."

    Talat warned Wednesday that if the DP turns down his coalition offer, there would be no alternative other than calling fresh polls but warned that in such a situation "precious time will be lost and the May deadline for settlement will be missed."

    Political analysts in northern Cyprus, on the other hand, said if Ankara comes up with a paper proposing that changes be made in the Annan plan in line with the demands of Turkish Cypriot 'President' Rauf Denktas, it was almost certain that the DP would accept a two-way coalition with Talat's party.

    Talat, in a move of reconciliation with Denktas, on Tuesday evening brushed aside his party's campaign rhetoric that he would replace the veteran leader as negotiator and told a news conference after a call on the office of the Turkish Cypriot presidency: "Talks will be continued by the president in collaboration with the government. We said we would change the negotiator, but the people did not endorse our demand in the election."

    Since the "negotiator" problem -- the DP's prime condition in entering a coalition with Talat's party was reportedly that Denktas should remain negotiator -- has been solved, if Ankara comes up with a paper acceptable to Denktas, there should be no problem for a two-way government. "

    [02] Akinci describes as contradictory the recent statements of Turkey's Council of Ministers

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.01.04) reports that Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM), has described as contradictory the statement made by Turkey's Council of Ministers that Ankara wanted a solution on the basis of the Annan plan, but at the same time it wanted the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas to conduct the talks.

    In statements yesterday after a meeting with the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, Mr Akinci reminded that Mr Denktas has been saying for months that "the Annan Plan is dead and buried" and described it as "a suicide ^ document" and "an unethical proposal" for the Turkish Cypriots. Mr Akinci noted that it would not be natural if Denktas stated that he is ready to discuss such a proposal. Supporting that such a development was not possible, Mr Akinci stressed that if Turkey wanted a solution until May 2004 it should know that this is not possible to be realized having Mr Denktas at the post of the negotiator of the Turkish side.

    Mr Akinci expressed the opinion that the Cyprus problem could not be solved by the people who had created it. "Mr Denktas has proved this very clearly", he noted adding that Mr Denktas could not sign a solution.

    Mr Akinci supported that the reason for the delay of the answer of the Democratic Party to the RTP for an RTP-DP-PDM coalition is that Mr Serdar Denktas and his party are expecting to find out that content of the decision of the recent meeting of Turkey's Council of Minister on Cyprus.

    Mr Akinci said that the DP is not only Mr Serdar Denktas, but at the same time it is Mr Rauf Denktas, who wants the non-solution to continue after May 2004, as well.

    Mr Akinci said that most important for his party was reaching a solution until May 2004, showing the necessary political will for a solution as the UN expect and conducting a referendum before May.

    "I want to underline this. This is where we stand and I want it to be clear", noted Mr Akinci and added that which parties will be participating in the "government" is not an issue of priority for PDM.

    "Wanting a solution until May is one thing and appearing as if wanting a solution is another", he pointed out and concluded: "We need to be sure that there is the will for reaching a solution until May. We are in the progress of learning and trying to confirm this now. To appear as if one wants a solution is something that we do not like".

    [03] The main opposition party leader's views on the new Cyprus policy under formation in Turkey

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (07.01.04) broadcast that before the Cyprus summit to be held tomorrow, President Sezer received Deniz Baykal, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party [RPP]. Baykal conveyed the RPP's views on the Cyprus issue to the president.

    Speaking to the press following the meeting that lasted an hour, Baykal noted that the president felt the need to hear his views on the eve of the Cyprus summit. The RPP leader stressed that the Cyprus issue is at a critical stage:

    "A decision on this issue must be reached with wide participation from all over Turkey, with the cooperation and contributions of the entire public opinion. This decision should not be a closed circuit one. Until now, the Cyprus policy was formulated with the contributions of the National Security Council [NSC]. When formulating a new policy, there is no doubt that the NSC's views should also be heard and taken into consideration", he said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [04] Turkey expects to obtain an important trump card relating to Cyprus after the talks between Erdogan and President Bush

    Istanbul Vatan newspaper (07.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Rusen Cakir under the title: "We Will Obtain a Very Important Trump Card in the United States":

    "Amb Prof Ahmet Davutoglu, the Prime Ministry Chief Adviser of the JDP [Justice and Development Party] government, who is one of the important persons on vital subjects, such as Iraq, Cyprus and the EU, has finally broken his silence, which he kept for a long time. The statements of Prof Davutoglu at the dinner he had with a group of media members the night before last [Monday, 5 January] with the initiative of the TESEV [Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation], about the US visit that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make to the United States, created great interest:

    "The talks of our Prime Minister with the US President George Bush are very, very important. For this reason, we were prepared very well. A subject will be discussed during this visit, which is a subject that I cannot reveal. Thanks to this, we will obtain an important trump card related to Cyprus."

    Despite all of our insistence, Prof Davutoglu did not give information about the subject that will be discussed. In any case, throughout the dinner, he mentioned many events as "off the record", that is, "not to be written". Despite this, the reporters were pleased to finally come together with Prof Davutoglu, who isolated himself prior to the second draft permission voting on 1 March 2003.

    Subtitle: If the US soldiers had come to Turkey

    An important group of the reporters who attended the dinner had taken clear attitudes in favour of the second draft permission and had held Abdullah Gul, the Prime Minister at the time, and his adviser Prof Davutoglu, responsible for it not passing. With what Prof Davutoglu conveyed throughout the dinner, he had indirectly accepted that he did not want the draft permission to pass. Prof Davutoglu said: "The coming of 60-70 thousand foreign soldiers would have mortgaged domestic and foreign policy. If there were two armies in a country, then there would be all kinds of problems there." He continued as follows: "If the US soldiers had come to Turkey, then the risk of there being incidents in Turkey resembling the Al-Sulaymaniyah incident would have been high".

    Prof Davutoglu stated that Turkey would suffer losses whether or not the draft permission would pass and that they were prepared for both alternatives. He said that they developed multifaceted policies at that time and gave examples with the statement, "We informed the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin about every step we took and every important development".

    Subtitle: Why did Taha Yasin Ramadan come to Turkey?

    Prof Davutoglu said that the summit of the countries neighboring Iraq, which was organized at the Ciragan Hotel in Istanbul, was very important and in case Saddam Husayn had accepted the article in the declaration of this summit on the "political restructuring in Iraq", then he claimed that the war could not have erupted. Prof Davutoglu stated that the Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan had been secretly brought to Turkey with this objective and added that Mr Ramadan made the war unavoidable by not making a statement, like the one made by Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi today.

    Subtitle: The importance of 2004

    Prof Davutoglu said that 2003 was the year of "making up for a loss" in foreign policy and claimed that 2004 will be a year when Turkey will be brought onto the international agenda. Prof Davutoglu reminded that Turkey will host the meetings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in May, the NATO meeting in June and the OIC-EU joint meeting in October. We asked him, "What would happen if the terrorist actions continue?" We received the answer, "The police forces are taking all kinds of measures. I personally do not think that they will continue. I hope that they do not continue".

    [05] The chances for success of Erdogan's visit to Washington will increase if progress is made in the Cyprus problem

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (07.01.04) publishes the following report by Yasemin Congar under the title: "Three Messages from the United States":

    "While hoping that concrete progress would be made before the Bush-Erdogan meeting on 28 January on the Cyprus problem and the controversial US investments in Turkey, Washington conveyed the message to Ankara that the Kirkuk problem cannot be solved in the White House.

    The chances of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's success in his talks with US President George Bush in the White House on 28 January 2004 will clearly grow in the event that concrete progress is made on the Cyprus problem and that the controversial issue of US investments in Turkey is solved in the coming few weeks.

    The United States expects that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would bring about unanimity of views on the start of a new round of talks in Cyprus and that he would persuade Mr Rauf Denktas to accept this unanimity of views before visiting Washington. Moreover, the US officials conveyed the signals to Ankara that they want Turkey to solve before Erdogan's Washington visit the problems of at least one or two US firms whose investments in Turkey have reached a deadlock.

    The third message that Washington conveyed to Ankara within the framework of Erdogan's US visit pertains to Iraq. Stressing that Ankara's desire to reach a conclusion at the White House on its concerns on northern Iraq or its expectations on Kirkuk are not "realistic," the United States has drawn attention to the danger of the formation of "wrong expectations" on these issues among the Turkish people.

    Eric Edelman, the US Ambassador in Ankara, is now in Washington and is holding contacts to prepare for Erdogan's visit to Washington. According to information gleaned from US sources and Turkish diplomats that are aware of these contacts, the three prominent messages that Washington has conveyed to Ankara on the Bush-Erdogan meeting are as follows:

    1. Do Not Expect Results on Kirkuk: Both sides are aware of the fact tat Iraq will be the main issue on the agenda of the talks between Bush and Erdogan. US sources say the following about the issue: "Bush and Erdogan will definitely talk on Turkey's concerns toward northern Iraq. However, Turkey should not expect President Bush to make a statement that may eliminate Ankara's concerns on Kirkuk or any other issue or that this kind of a result will be achieved during the talks between the two leaders. Most that can be expected is that President Bush will state that this issue is very complicated. Iraq is the place where the problem may be solved."

    2. Talk With Annan First: Erdogan's expressing the desire to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York and to restart the Cyprus talks based on the Annan plan before his scheduled meeting with President Bush on 28 January will have a favourable impact on the Bush-Erdogan talks in the White House. While the United States is pressing for having concrete progress realized on the Cyprus problem, Erdogan, for his part, is conveying the message that he is warmly disposed toward the formula of meeting with Annan before Bush.

    3. The United States has clear expectations that one or two of the US firms encountering problems in Turkey will gain their rights before Erdogan's visit to Washington. A US source indicated that contacts are continuing with JDP [Justice and Development Party] on this issue and that the United States is waiting Ankara to make a swift decision on overcoming the problems obstructing Cargill, a firm that produces sugar derivatives in Bursa, from making new investments in Turkey.

    According to the same source, the JDP government is maintaining a favourable approach to the US expectations that the 10-percent quota set on the glucose and fructose production by Cargill will be removed and that the lawsuits filed against this firm will conclude in favour of the latter. The US official concluded by saying that settling the dues owed to the US firm Motorola would be another step of "great symbolic importance."

    [06] Commentary in Sabah discloses the dialogue between Erdogan and Denktas while Erdogan was flying to the South East of Turkey

    Turkish mainland daily SABAH newspaper (08/01/04) publishes the following commentary by columnist Yavuz Donat in his daily column "Front" (vitrin) under the title "Cyprus is not without solution". Mr Yavuz Donat describes his trip with the Turkish Prime Minister to South East Turkey on the PM's plane. Yavuz Donat writes:

    "We have asked Tayyip Bey about his trip to the USA. 'What do you have on your USA agenda?'

    The Prime Minister replied: 'At this moment it is not definite yet. However, I could tell you the main headings...Political contacts ...Military issues ...and economy...of course I will be having meetings with some Think tanks... I will give lectures at some universities'.

    Prime Minister:- 'Of course my meeting with the esteemed US President is very important...we shall have three meetings...bilateral...delegation level and luncheon'.

    Esteemed Prime Minister when one mentions political meetings the Cyprus problem comes to one's mind immediately...' Yes, we shall discuss the Cyprus problem...We shall discuss Iraq... We shall discuss the EU... we shall discuss the NAFTA'. What about the Cyprus issue? What is the situation at this moment? Tomorrow (today) there will be the Cyprus summit at the Cankaya Mansion under the Chairmanship of the President of the Republic...the Foreign Ministry and the Office of the Chief of the Staff together are carrying work for the last one month...It is finished, they have briefed us . The result of this work will be presented to the Cankaya summit today... It will be re-evaluated and certain steps shall be taken...tomorrow night esteemed Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar Denktas will come to Ankara as my guests. After the Summit I will talk with them.

    Then we discussed other issues .Meanwhile, our plane was approaching to Batman, South East Turkey. At that moment the plane's phone rung. It was Rauf Denktas, calling from Cyprus. Tayyip Bey took the phone and talked to Denktas. 'How are you esteemed President? Are you in good heath?' then for a while Rauf Bey talked. And when he stopped Tayyip Bey said: 'Esteemed president... We are holding a Cyprus summit at the Cankaya Mansion ...Following the summit I will have two guests from Cyprus and I shall talk to them...Then I will visit Germany... However, prior to my trip to Germany I shall be meeting with you... I will call you'.

    Then it was Denktas' turn to speak. While Denktas was speaking at a certain moment Tayyip Bey intervened and said...'No, no...no, we have no problem with the Army...there is no difference of views... Do not believe in the speculations... the Cyprus problem is a national issue ... It is a state policy... The Army as well favours a most suitable solution'.

    Then again Rauf Denktas started to talk. And Tayyip Bey listened. And then said the following; 'Esteemed President ...As this problem protracts it harms both the North Cyprus as well as Turkey ... Lack of solution creates credibility lost ... We have to reconcile in a solution...And as far as I see we are heading for a solution ... At the end of this month I will be leaving for USA... prior to my visit to America we have to cover a certain distance.'

    When with the landing gear the plane was touching on the tarmac of the Batman Airport the dialogue between Tayyip Erdogan and Rauf Denktas was going on. The dialogue went on for more than ten minutes. When we were disembarking the plane I asked esteemed Tayyip Bey, whether I could write the conversation he had with Denktas. He said: 'Yes, you can write...'The Cyprus problem is not without solution ...we will solve it together...Non-solution makes Turkey and north Cyprus lose strength, lose credibility and time'."


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