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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-14

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.8/04 14.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Sources close to Erdogan said to SABAH that Turkey wants the application of the Swedish model for internal affairs and the Belgium model for external affairs in Cyprus.
  • [02] The list of the pseudocabinet of the occupation regime was approved by the Turkish Cypriot leader. Statements by Talat.
  • [03] Statements by Talat to CNN Turk after announcing the occupation regime┤s cabinet.
  • [04] Weston pays surprise visit to Brussels before Prodi's visit to Ankara.
  • [05] Bahceli stated that the Cyprus problem must be discussed in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and be put to a referendum.
  • [06] Human Rights violations up in Southeast Turkey for 2003.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Ten different plans on Cyprus to be discussed at the 23 January NSC meeting.
  • [08] Mehmet Ali Birand: The atmosphere in Brussels shows that the Greek Cypriots will be put under significant pressure.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Sources close to Erdogan said to SABAH that Turkey wants the application of the Swedish model for internal affairs and the Belgium model for external affairs in Cyprus

    Mainland SABAH newspaper (14.01.04), invoking sources closed to the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Tayyip Erdogan, writes that the "solution strategy" of the Turkish government regarding the Cyprus problem was clarified and adds that Turkey wants the application of the Swedish model for the internal affairs and the Belgium model for the external affairs in the island. The paper writes the following:

    "The solution strategy of the government has been clarified. Firstly a date for negotiation and then referendum^┼Sources close to Erdogan said the following to SABAH regarding the main lines of this strategy:

    Turkey, which wants to achieve a solution of the Cyprus problem by the 1st of May, is ready to agree within the framework of the Anan Plan. The first principle is the definite bi-zonality in Cyprus. Turkey, which thinks about the application of the Swedish model for the internal affairs and the Belgium model for the external affairs, will follow the approach of not leaving from the table until the end. It will be shown that the Turkish side is not responsible for a deadlock.

    Subtitle: Powel the mediator

    Turkey also plans changing the provision of submitting the Anan Plan to referendum in the Turkish and Greek side within 40 days after it is accepted, and the referendum to be left for 2005. Erdogan, during his trip to the USA, will ask Bush for a mediator for the talks. In the backstages the name of the US Secretary of State Colin Powel is mentioned as the mediator".

    [02] The list of the pseudocabinet of the occupation regime was approved by the Turkish Cypriot leader. Statements by Talat

    KIBRIS newspaper (14.01.04) publishes the following list of the so-called council of ministers of the pseudogovernment of the occupation regime:

    "Prime minister": Mehmet Ali Talat

    "Deputy prime minister and foreign minister": Serdar Denktas

    "Finance minister": Ahmet Uzun

    "Interior minister": Ozkan Murat

    "National education and culture minister": Erbil Akbil

    "Agriculture and forestry minister": Rasit Pertev

    "Minister of public works and transportation": Omer Kalyoncu

    "Minister of labor and social security": Erkan Emekci

    "Minister of health and social services": Huseyin Celal

    "Economy and tourism minister": Ayse Donmezer

    "Youth and sports minister": Ozkan Yorgancioglu.

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.01.04) broadcast live statements made by Mr Mehmet Ali Talat following his announcement of the new "council of ministers", in occupied Nicosia.

    Question: Mr Talat, after the formation of the "government", will the Turkish Cypriot side take part in the negotiations on the Cyprus problem?

    Answer: Actually, we declared this many times. As I always underlined, we are going to cooperate with Turkey in the "government", together with our partners, form a policy, and proceed to resolve the problem of course. That is our main target. We will do our best to reach a solution.

    Question: On the basis of the Annan plan?

    Answer: As we reiterate in the protocol also, the Annan plan will be the basis, the starting point of the negotiations, yes.

    Question: It is being said that the Democratic Party made certain proposals in connection with the Annan plan and that the Republican Turkish Party accepted these proposals. What do you mean by a solution based on the Annan plan?

    Answer: As we say in our protocol, we want the negotiations to begin on the basis of the Annan plan, but we stress that we are going to cooperate with Turkey -- which is one of the most important factors of this process -- during these negotiations. As you know, Turkey was waiting for the establishment of the "government" here. We went there and we saw that Turkey was waiting for that. The "government" has been established now. We will now make our assessments within our "government", we will contact Turkey, we will formulate a common policy as soon as possible, and we will take steps so that the UN Secretary-General can resume the negotiations. That is our policy at the moment.

    Question: Is it too early now?

    Answer: Of course, it is too early.

    Question: Did you send the "council of ministers" list to Ankara?

    Answer: No.

    [03] Statements by Talat to CNN Turk after announcing the occupation regime┤s cabinet

    Istanbul CNN TURK Television (13.01.04) broadcast live an interview with Turkish Cypriot "Prime Minister-designate" Mehmet Ali Talat in occupied Nicosia, by Mehmet Ali Birand.

    The interview takes places less than an hour after Rauf Denktas, approves Talat's "council of ministers" list.

    After congratulating Talat, Birand asks him whether the "government" or a negotiator will conduct the talks with the Greek Cypriots.

    Talat replies that the answer is clear in the "government" protocol. He says: "The negotiations will be conducted by the president and the government together. They will conduct them in harmony and cooperation. There is no other way."

    Birand points out that the "president" and the "government" may have different opinions. Who will have the last word? he asks.

    Talat says that this is like asking who decides in Ankara, the president or the prime minister. He goes on to say that according to the occupation regime┤s Constitution, the "government", in fact, "the parliament", must have the last word. Nevertheless, he says, harmony is essential.

    Birand's next question is: Can you say that you are in full agreement with Serdar Denktas, or do you need more time?

    Talat replies that the second option is more correct, and adds: "We realize that this will greatly depend on Turkey's stand." Prompted by Birand, he explains as follows: "Turkey is working on the Cyprus issue. Our government will contribute to this work. Ultimately, we will be defending the new stand which is being formulated by our government together with Turkey. We must work on that together. Since the aim is to have a solution by May 2004, and since the stand must be based on the Annan plan, we will work on that. We will then pursue the policy which we will formulate together with Turkey. Of course it is impossible for Mr Serdar Denktas' policies and the policies of the Republican Turkish Party -- which have differed for a long time -- to become identical regarding the Cyprus issue. Nevertheless, Turkey is participating in this process as a factor, it is showing strong interest in this issue. This is maybe the first time that a Turkish Government is after formulating a Cyprus policy that will fall in line with the international current and approach. This is a new element, and this new element may eliminate our differences."

    Birand points out that the new Turkish Cypriot coalition "government" looks like a forced marriage, a marriage forced by conditions and by Ankara's strong persuasive powers. Talat agrees that it was not easy to set up the government, and cites the split vote that emerged in the elections and Ankara's "insistence" and "encouragement" as factors that played a role in the establishment of his government.

    In response to a question, Talat stresses that his coalition agrees on the essence and framework of the Annan plan and on a referendum, just like Ankara does. He says: "The first clause of our coalition protocol, the clause on our aim, says that the Cyprus problem will be solved through negotiations based on the Annan plan, and that the two sides will hold a referendum on a date they will agree on."

    Birand asks how this will work since Rauf Denktas says completely the opposite. Talat admits that it is indeed a difficult situation, and adds: "In recent days, the president seems to have ameliorated his very strong opposition to the Annan plan. I think that he is waiting to see Ankara's stand; he is waiting to see the results of the National Security Council meeting and the extent to which we can influence Ankara's stand." Later, Talat says: "I believe that we need to wait and see, because I think that the policy to be formulated by Turkey will bring the honourable president to the point of reaching a decision. He will either act in line with this policy, or I don't know what he will do."

    Asked if he thinks Denktas intends to go on being the negotiator, Talat says he believes Denktas will wait and see.

    Birand's next question is as follows: "How do you think Rauf Denktas' vast knowledge will affect the Cyprus negotiations in terms of credibility?" Talat replies: "To be frank, I think that this would weaken our credibility. I am not proposing that the honorable president conduct these negotiations. Unfortunately, we were unable to turn our views -- which we declared during our election campaign -- into a government policy, as a result of parliamentary arithmetics."

    Asked who he thinks should be the negotiator, Talat replies: "I believe that it should be the government, because it is ultimately accountable to the Assembly." He then adds: "Nevertheless, given the international conditions and the law, and the fact that the international community sees the Cyprus negotiations as being conducted between the two communities, I believe that it should be the leaders of these two communities that should conduct the negotiations. This means the presidents of the two communities. In other words, it is complicated. Nevertheless, if there is cooperation, the policy will be more important and not the negotiator."

    Birand asks Talat what he would say to possible four-party negotiations with the participation of Turkey and Greece. Talat says he would support that as a means of getting results quickly.

    [04] Weston pays surprise visit to Brussels before Prodi's visit to Ankara

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (14.01.04) publishes the following Cihan News Agency report from Brussels:

    "US State Department Special Envoy for Cyprus Thomas Weston has paid a surprise visit to the capital of the European Union, Brussels, just before the historic visit of the European Union Commission President Romano Prodi to Turkey.

    The U.S. administration is likely to exert pressure on the parties to speed up a Cyprus solution after the formation of the new government in the `TRNC┤.

    The President of the EU Commission Romano Prodi is set to visit Turkey on January 15 as the guest of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The EU representative for enlargement, Gunter Verheugen is expected to accompany Prodi during his visit.

    According to reports, U.S. Coordinator Thomas Weston on Wednesday is expected to meet Gunter Verheugen, the President of the European Parliament Pat Cox, representatives of EU term president Ireland, and the foreign affairs representative of the EU commission, Chris Patten.

    U.S. diplomats in Brussels declined to comment on the agenda of Weston's visit. Weston is reported to be seeking the support of Brussels to resume the stalled talks on Cyprus.

    Weston had paid a visit to Brussels in November 2003. He had remarked that the Cyprus conflict is a serious obstacle to Turkey's EU aspirations.

    The Cyprus issue is expected to be among the main subjects of discussion during Erdogan's visit to the United States on January 28."

    [05] Bahceli stated that the Cyprus problem must be discussed in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and be put to a referendum

    Mainland HURRIYET newspaper (14.01.04) reports that Mr Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party (NAP), stated that the Cyprus problem must be discussed in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA).

    Stressing that Turkey^Ďs "red lines" regarding the Cyprus problem are for years now clear, Mr Bahceli said that all the decisions taken at the TGNA in 1997, 1999 and 2003 are the texts revealing the state policy of Turkey and they are almost alike. Mr Bahceli stated that the Cyprus problem must be discussed at the TGNA and to be put to a vote. Subsequently, the decision adopted by the Turkish Parliament should be put to a referendum. "If the people decide, there will be nothing to be said by anyone. However the previous decisions that were taken by the parliament cannot be ignored", he said.

    [06] Human Rights violations up in Southeast Turkey for 2003

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (14.01.04) reports that the Human Rights Association (IHD) has claimed that human rights violations increased in southeastern and eastern Anatolia in 2003.

    The IHD's Diyarbakir branch on Monday released the "Human Rights Report 2003" covering southeastern and eastern Anatolia. According to the report, 6,472 human rights violations were reported in Turkey's East and Southeast in 2003. The report disclosed that 104 people lost their lives in armed clashes, while 31 were wounded. The report also claimed that 80 people were victims of unsolved murders, while 22 were wounded in attacks by unknown parties.

    The report noted that 2,797 persons were taken into custody in 2003 and that 489 of them were victims of torture carried out by gendarmes, security forces and village guards.

    "A total of 159 persons were investigated and punished because of their thoughts. A nongovernmental organization called the Elazig Basic Rights and Freedoms Association was shut down, and 18 newspapers and books were banned," said the report.

    The report also underlined the threat posed by land mines in the region, saying that 19 people had been killed and 37 injured by land mines.

    IHD's Diyarbakir branch chairman Selahattin Demirtas highlighted the reasons for the increase in the number of human rights violations in the area and said: "The administrative and military bureaucracy is consciously insisting on not implementing EU harmonization laws; however, our citizens have a similar consciousness in insisting on their rights. And thanks to this awareness of the need to protect their rights, these people have applied to our association much more frequently than in the past when their rights were violated."

    Complaining about the attitudes of authorities towards human rights associations, Demirtas also alleged, "Most violations in the region stem from the Kurdish issue."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Ten different plans on Cyprus to be discussed at the 23 January NSC meeting

    Ankara NTV-MSNBC (13.01.04) publishes the following commentary by NTV-CNBC Ankara News Chief Umit Sezgin under the title: "From ten reports, in ten days, one solution!..":

    "The Foreign Ministry, the General Staff, the four force commanders, and both Denktas Senior and Denktas Junior Serdar as well as Talat all have separate Cyprus plans. If you add Sezer, this makes ten separate efforts.

    A single settlement plan is to be produced out of these ten efforts in the 23 January NSC [National Security Council] meeting. Thereafter, first [UN Secretary-General Kofi] Annan and then the Greek Cypriots are to be persuaded to accept this solution... You may either say "Amen", or "Good grief!"

    The fact that a government aimed at a settlement has been formed in Cyprus is a good sign. We can take hope...

    [Rauf] Denktas, upon being asked "Is the Annan Plan still on the table?", has said "One might say it is." He did not say "No", and for this we can be grateful as well.

    That is all... Looking at the other developments, a settlement on Cyprus still seems very far away...

    Do not let the statements, the declarations of resolve, and the messages from the press conferences deceive you... The proponents of a settlement, led by the government, have no more strength to resist, while the obstinacy of those who say "no" to a settlement, particularly [Rauf] Denktas, has not yet been broken. We are merely fooling each other, and ourselves...

    Subtitle: Everyone singing a different tune

    It has been understood very rapidly that the words "There is full agreement" did not go beyond a mere wish, and that the statement "We are [together] like flesh and bone" was one-sided. The scene is not as hunky-dory as it is being portrayed.

    The fundamental problem is the fact that a different tune is coming out of everyone, and a different proposed settlement from every quarter.

    There will be virtually ten separate settlement proposals put on the table at the NSC meeting on 23 January.

    In front of the Prime Minister will be the plan that the Foreign Minister has been drawing up for months now. Sitting just opposite him, [General Staff Chief Hilmi] Ozkok will have the plan prepared by the General Staff Headquarters in front of him. And in front of the four force commanders sitting next to General Ozkok will be the plans drawn up in their own respective headquarters.

    It is not clear whether or not there will be any written document in front of President Sezer, but when one takes note of his initiatives at the last summit meeting, such as Morphou is of historical significances; let's not give it up", it becomes clear that he has a plan as well, at least in his head...

    This makes seven separate plans in Ankara.

    Is it any different at the Nicosia end of things?..

    It is obvious that, in `President┤ Denktas's head, there is a plan that objects to practically every single line of the Annan Plan, which he cannot bring himself to say it is still "on the table".

    And one must also not forget the plan of Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat, which would make even the Annan Plan look good, and which could be entitled "We'll give the Greek Cypriots whatever they ask for".

    It is a mystery what sort of a plan Serdar Denktas, now settling comfortably into the "Foreign Ministry" position that he won in the lottery [i.e., the election] but squeezed as he is between his father and his coalition partner, is going to come up with...

    With 7 from Ankara and 3 from Nicosia, that makes 10 separate settlement plans. How is anyone to make any sense of them all?..

    Subtitle: NSC meeting will be difficult Well, then, will a single proposal emerge out of this NSC meeting?

    One in fact might, as far as that goes, but there are conditions for this:

    First, Prime Minister Erdogan has to take a strong and resolute stance. He must not forget, and must not allow others to forget, that the authority and the responsibility lies with the government.

    In situations in which full agreement cannot be reached, he has to be able to take on all the political risks and say "This is what the government wants."

    Should President Sezer, in an environment with so many different views, insist on "full agreement, and unanimity", then there will be no chance for a solution. Sezer has to be able to say "yes" with a majority, that is, on points with which a substantial portion of those in attendance are agreed.

    This great responsibility also falls upon General Ozkok. If the General Staff Chief, prior to the NSC meeting, should be able to bring about the reduction of the plans prepared separately in the various force commands to one single plan, it would aid the process of getting results. It would ensure that the military speaks with a single voice, and would also make the proposed solution more functional.

    Subtitle: Difficult to be optimistic With your permission, I would like to say that, in contrast to my general tendency, I am pessimistic.

    For two reasons...

    One, I think that the conditions I cited above will not be able to be realized, and that for this reason a meaningful solution plan will not come out of the NSC meeting.

    Two, I think that a plan emerging out of the NSC which largely rejects the Annan Plan would first not be accepted by the UN Secretary-General, and that even if this were possible, the Greek Cypriots would in no way come close to signing it.

    And thus for these reasons I have no hope of a solution for Cyprus before May of 2004. The fact that the Greek Cypriots have guaranteed unilateral [EU] membership in May only reinforces my lack of hope.

    If we should be able to convince the EU that a lack of a solution on Cyprus is not the desire of the Turkish side, it may be possible to prevent Turkey's obtaining a [membership negotiations] date from being blocked.

    And for this reason, the Turkish side's plan that will come out of the NSC has to be persuasive.

    In other words, we have to lay out a plan that "explicitly aims at a solution", rather than, as [Rauf] Denktas has done to date, one that "covertly aims at no solution".

    On which I have no hope...

    And then, remember, the NSC was supposed to have become a merely advisory body..."

    [08] Mehmet Ali Birand: The atmosphere in Brussels shows that the Greek Cypriots will be put under significant pressure

    Under the title "Cyprus efforts surprised the EU", Turkish Daily News (14.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "The European Union Commission is debating two issues concerning Turkey. They say that they are surprised by the developments in Cyprus, adding that Turkey's chances have improved. The other issue is that EU Commission President Romano Prodi and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen intended to attend the Democracy Party (DP) trial during their trips to Turkey. Commission officials vehemently deny these rumors and say the trips could be canceled if necessary.

    European Commission officials, like many people in Turkey, are very surprised. No one can believe what's happening. Many expected either `TRNC President┤ Rauf Denktas to do what he could to prevent the formation of a government, or the Turkish military to apply pressure in order to prevent any reference to the Annan plan.

    I was in Brussels to interview Prodi, who is scheduled to make an official visit to Turkey on Thursday. It was obvious how surprised the commission president was when he sat across from me and Zeynel Lule.

    He began by saying, "Turkey is constantly surprising us." He said the latest developments in Cyprus would clear the way for Turkey and would make it much easier for them.

    Other top officials of the EU Commission echoed the words of Prodi. "Turkey, at last, has started to take the lead, and the environment has improved," one official said. When I asked how he would describe the situation, his reply was interesting.

    "The way I would describe it before seeing Ankara's proposal is as 'a very important step.' If the proposal does not include exaggerated claims, then I would describe it as a 'quake in Cyprus'."

    The commission seems to have an added dynamism. I repeatedly heard the words, "Turkey is bold; no one can stop them now." However, they are still waiting for the last step, and that's a solution by May 1. 'Absence of a solution should worry Turkey more than us'.

    We can confidently say that the latest developments on Cyprus have improved Turkey's chances for getting a date to start the negotiations at the EU summit in December. There is also the May 1 deadline. Everything depends on what happens before and after that date.

    The reason is very simple. A top official of the commission openly said this to me: "We would welcome a solution on the island before May 1; however, the absence of a solution does not bother the EU too much. If there is no solution, southern Cyprus will be admitted to the EU on May 1, and the north will be left out. Then it will be up to Turkey to solve the problem. The north of the island would be depopulated, and Turkey would face more pressure. In summary, we would not be bothered."

    There is another reason why finding a solution by May 1 is important for Turkey. If an agreement is signed before May 1, the Annan plan will become a part of the process of Cyprus's admission to the EU. In other words, the Greek Cypriots won't be able to withdraw from their commitments. Their hands will be tied, and the implementation of the plan would become the responsibility of the EU.

    What will happen if the agreement is left until after May 1?

    The Greek Cypriots will have all the cards. They will be able to do whatever they want, because they'll have veto power. Even a single veto by a member country would be enough to prevent the Annan plan from becoming a part of Cyprus's accession treaty. In summary, we will be needlessly giving the Greek Cypriots more power.

    I can almost hear the questions you are now asking. I'm sure you are asking, "Why should the Greek Cypriots agree to any plan now? They can delay the process as long as they want and try to pass the May 1 deadline."

    Would you act differently, if you were a Greek Cypriot? However, the situation is not that simple.

    If the Turkish side plays its cards right, in other words, does not ask for exaggerated concessions, the atmosphere in Brussels shows that the Greek Cypriots will be put under significant pressure. The EU is beginning to act. It will attend the negotiations with a very different mindset. It does not want to leave the Greek Cypriots free to do whatever they want.

    Their biggest fear is Denktas being the negotiator. Everyone is waiting to see whether he will follow Ankara's line or will continue to push his own policies. The news of the firing of Mumtaz Soysal as his advisor was received with interest in Brussels. "Mumtaz Soysal is a very professional man but is not living in this day and age," said a top official, stressing that the EU Commission would attach special importance to the attitude and the statements of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in this process.

    Subtitle: Who is supporting the DP trial?

    I heard a rumor in Brussels.

    The main reason why Prodi was taking Commissioner Verheugen and top officials to Turkey with him during his visit was that he wanted to attend the DP trial on January 16 and support former parliamentary deputy Leyla Zana. I asked his top advisors about this allegation.

    They laughed.

    "The same rumors were going around two months ago. We called on Ankara and told them that we were ready to change the date of our visit. Turkish officials insisted that no change be made. The trial is supposed to take place in Ankara. We will be in Istanbul. It's not hard to guess who is behind this rumour," an official said, remarking in particular on some Kurdish sources and anti-EU groups in Ankara."

    /SK


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