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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-15

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.9/04 15.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish army briefed the Turkish Prime Minister on internal and external issues.
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader insists that the properties of the Greek Cypriots seized through the force of arms by the Turkish army will be left to the Turkish Cypriots and the illegal settlers.
  • [03] Agar stated that the new pseudogovernment in occupied Cyprus must continue in the same political line in coordination with Turkey.
  • [04] Replies by top EU Commission officials to questions regarding Turkey and Cyprus.
  • [05] Erdogan: Kurds are playing with fire.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] Senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official is quoted by VATAN columnist to have said that the Turkish government has no strong will to solve the Cyprus problem.
  • [07] Columnist in RADIKAL supports that the Cyprus problem is used and will continue to be used in the power struggle in Turkey.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish army briefed the Turkish Prime Minister on internal and external issues

    Istanbul NTV television (14.01.04) broadcast the following from Ankara:

    "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a briefing at the General Staff headquarters. The briefing, in which Erdogan met with the national defense minister and force commanders, lasted for four hours. The briefing was given in two separate sections comprising of internal and external security issues.

    In the part concerning the developments in external security, Cyprus, EU, and Iraq were discussed. In particular, the efforts of Kurdish groups to set up an ethnic federation and claims of having rights over Kirkuk were assessed. Erdogan was also briefed on the terrorist organization's presence in northern Iraq.

    In the part concerning Cyprus, the General Staff's views on the work under way to determine the stand of the Turkish Cypriot side in the negotiations were explained. A call was issued to be careful so that the steps, which will be taken on the EU full membership process, will not pave the path to results that will disrupt the unitary structure of Turkey.

    In the part concerning internal security issues, the assessments that revealed the connection of global terrorism with radical elements in Turkey in the wake of the Istanbul attacks were presented.

    Pointing out that reactionism still poses a threat, the briefing stressed that every person and institution should be sensitive to statements, actions, and procedures that may encourage reactionist elements. The General Staff also requested that, as in the past, sensitivity should be displayed to efforts of reactionary elements to fill up the cadres in the state."

    Reporting on the meeting, MILLIYET newspaper (15.01.04) writes that Erdogan was told about the steps necessary to be taken so that the Annan plan may become negotiable.

    According to the paper the Annan plan was on the agenda of the meeting and the provisions needing change were put in the following sequence:

    ^’ The provision in the Annan plan regarding the voting rights of the Greek Cypriots who will return to their homes in the occupied areas must be re-written.

    ^’ The provision in the Annan plan regarding the percentage and the timetable of the Greek Cypriots who will return to their villages or towns must be re-written.

    ^’ The number of Turks who will move from the properties of Greek Cypriots must be kept to a minimum and regarding the land to be returned, the natural resources, the wealth and the land efficiency must be taken into consideration and the border line must be as straight as possible.

    ^’ The representation to the EU paragraph in the Annan plan needs changes.

    ^’ The provision in the Annan plan that in the two parliaments simple majority is needed must be changed.

    ^’ Unless there is an agreement to the contrary the presence of the Turkish army in Cyprus will continue even after Turekyīs candidacy to the EU.

    On its part, CUMHURIYET (15.01.04) covers the meeting in its front page leader under the title: "A briefing was given to the Prime Minister at the General Staff^Ň The sine qua non on Cyprus were explained. Do not hurry".

    The paper reports the Turkish Armed Forces told the Prime Minister at the General Staff headquarters that before negotiating the Annan plan it will be necessary to carry out preparatory negotiations and that he should not hurry. They also analyzed to Erdogan the Turkish Armed Forcesī "musts" from the point of view of Turkeyīs security and Tuirekyīs presence in Cyprus.

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader insists that the properties of the Greek Cypriots seized through the force of arms by the Turkish army will be left to the Turkish Cypriots and the illegal settlers

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.01.04) reported from occupied Nicosia that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas made a speech during the ceremony held for giving to a company the ISO 9001-2000 document.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem Mr Denktas said that any agreement that will be reached in Cyprus should be reached without making concessions on sovereignty, equality, and Turkey's guarantorship, and underlined that work should be and will be conducted on this issue.

    He went on: "As the president of the state, it is my duty to ensure that the state is not put up for auction and that the state is not eliminated. It is my duty to defend the state together with those who protect the state and to ensure that the existence of the state is accepted in the negotiations that will be held.

    We will walk on this road together. We will walk in cooperation. Together with our motherland, we will walk in cooperation and in unity of hearts toward the real target -- in other words, toward a permanent peace, a peace agreement that will prevent the repetition of the past, and a peace that is based on our sovereignty and on our state."

    Asserting that "it is necessary to stand firm and to stop those who are trying to tear away the motherland from Cyprus," Mr Denktas stressed that no one will be able to sell or to eliminate this "country".

    Referring to the homes and properties of the Greek Cypriots under the occupation of the Turkish army since 1974, Mr Denktas said: "Everyone should protect his home and his property. The deeds issued by the "TRNC" are valid and they will continue to be valid. If there are any disputes in this regard, the "TRNC" is strong enough to confront these disputes in the negotiations."

    Alleging that in the voting the people said: "We want an agreement and the EU, but, when becoming EU members, we want our rights and the gains that we have achieved at the cost of our lives and our properties to be protected," Denktas stressed that "the world should see that there are two existing states and that these two states have the right to self-determination".

    [03] Agar stated that the new pseudogovernment in occupied Cyprus must continue in the same political line in coordination with Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.01.04) reports that Mr Mehmet Agar, the leader of the True Path Party (TPP) stated that the new "government" that has been established in the occupied areas must continue in the same political line with the coordination of Turkey.

    Mr Agar, who made these statements yesterday, added that Turkey has "indispensable conditions" in the pseudostate adding that the most important among them are the existence of two communities, the political equality and the bi-zonality in the island. He also said that there are also the issues of the continuations of Turkey^“s guarantorship rights in Cyprus and the issue of the accession of the whole of Cyprus in the EU at the same time with Turkey. "The new ^—government^“ must take under consideration these issues", said Mr Agar.

    [04] Replies by top EU Commission officials to questions regarding Turkey and Cyprus

    Turkish Daily News (15.01.04) publishes the replies of top EU Commisison officials to questions put by journalist Mr Mehmet Ali Birand during his recent visit to Brussels. The questions were sent to Mr Birand by his readers through e-mail.

    Following are the questions and answers:

    Question: What is the EU's general attitude toward Turkey? Is there a general consensus on giving Turkey a date to start membership negotiations?

    Answer: No, there is no firm decision yet. All 15 member countries and the Commission in Brussels are watching the developments in Turkey with great interest. They take notes, but no one has made up their minds yet. More people each day support giving Turkey a date. We can sense this. In other words, more people think that it is getting harder to say no to Turkey every day. Nowadays, capitals of the EU countries are working overtime. They are calling us to hold bilateral discussions. However, these discussions are at a relatively low level. Leaders are not yet to meet. We are expecting this to happen in June, after the European Parliament elections.

    Question: How do they rate Turkey's efforts? Do we still have deficiencies?

    Answer: The Turkish government's efforts have both surprised and cheered many people. No one expected such a speedy passing of laws. Ankara showed its commitment. That's why most European capitals think they cannot say no to Turkey, after it has done so much. Now, besides constitutional amendments, only the implementation process remains. They will examine how the passed reforms are being implemented.

    Question: If the situation is as you describe it, is it possible to say that Turkey will definitely receive a date to start negotiations in December?

    Answer: No. The EU Commission will prepare its last report in October, which will describe the latest state of affairs. The Commission cannot paint a black and white picture. The report will be gray. In other words, it leaves some political room to maneuver for member countries. Right now, the Commission's attitude towards Turkey is positive, but still the final decision will be made by the capitals. Additionally, no one should forget that the decision on giving Turkey a date will be made after the EU expands. The decision will be taken at a 25-member EU summit.

    Subtitle: Can Cyprus veto Turkey?

    Question: Can Greece or Cyprus prevent Turkey receiving a date with their veto right?

    Answer: Technically, yes, but if Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen Criteria and if it continues to take steps in Cyprus to find a solution, large countries won't let them use their veto power. In summary, the ball is in Turkey's court. The EU won't play games with Turkey. Turkey has to pass the laws and show that they are being implemented. Major steps taken in resolving the Cyprus problem will also be good.

    Question: What should Turkey do in order to avoid this trap?

    Answer: Find a solution on Cyprus before May 1 or at least prove to the world that you are committed to finding a solution. Show that you have done everything you can. If you can do that, all the pressure applied will disappear. Cyprus will not be an obstacle to Turkey receiving a date. If you want to increase your credibility, replace Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas with a new negotiator.

    Question: You have always accused the Turkish side of not wanting to resolve the Cyprus issue. Will you do the same thing to Greek Cypriots? Resolution does not depend only on Turkish willingness. Will you put pressure on the Greek side?

    Answer: Yes. We will take a more active part in the negotiations as a Commission and will put the necessary pressure on the Greek side. However, the problem will result not from our interference, but from the inactivity of member countries. I don't know how much they will exert pressure. The Cyprus issue has finished for most people, including Mr. Prodi. There is no risk of involving the EU. Turkey is the party that should seek a solution.

    Question: What should Turkey do until December?

    Answer:

    1. Pass the constitutional amendments. Implement the decisions concerning religious minorities and advertise this fact to both Europe and the world.

    2. Whatever you do in Cyprus, show that you are sincerely committed to finding a solution.

    3. Turkey is being discussed in the Parliaments of EU members. Start an information campaign targeting national and European Parliament.

    4. Give special attention to countries like France and Holland, which are yet to make up their minds concerning Turkey's membership. Make statements which alleviate the fears of these country's leaders.

    5. Ask your military to refrain from making political statements. Every statement they make creates a reaction in European capitals.

    [05] Erdogan: Kurds are playing with fire

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (15.01.04) publishes the following news report:

    "Turkey issued a stern warning on Wednesday against Iraqi Kurds that their moves for broad autonomy in northern Iraq could prompt intervention from the country's neighbors.

    "Kurds are playing with fire. This should be stopped," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have told Adel Asia al-Hakim, an Iraqi Shiite leader and member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

    Turkey is concerned about a move by two Iraqi Kurdish groups running northern Iraq for a federal regime that would grant them broad autonomy in their region. Talks with al-Hakim are largely viewed in this context and seen as part of Ankara's efforts to rally support from Iraqi groups for its opposition against Kurdish plans.

    Al-Hakim, however, said that his position on the future of Iraq was very close to that of Turkey but avoided voicing support for Ankara having denounced Iraqi Kurdish groups' efforts for a federal Iraq in which they could enjoy wide autonomy in the north of the country.

    "Our views are very close. We believe democracy is the best option for Iraq, and Turkey shares this view," al-Hakim told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Erdogan, when asked to comment on the Iraqi Kurdish groups' plans for federalism.

    Ankara has recently found common ground with two of Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran, in denouncing the Kurdish moves.

    Al-Hakim, accompanied by a high-powered Shiite delegation, held talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday and conferred with Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday.

    In remarks to the press over the last couple of days, al-Hakim said Iraqi Shiites had agreed on a federation model, without giving details, and added that the issue would be tackled in the near future, when efforts to draft a constitution for Iraq sped up.

    "It seems Shiites want to keep their options open instead of coming up with a clear position of black or white," said one source familiar with al-Hakim's talks.

    "Reading between the lines, it is understood that they do not want a federation based on ethnic or religious divisions," the same source added.

    Al-Hakim's talks are to be followed by a visit of an Iraqi Kurdish official, Berham Saleh of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Saleh is expected to arrive in Ankara today for talks with Turkish officials.

    At the Foreign Ministry, spokesman Huseyin Dirioz criticized Saleh for remarks on the status of the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

    "Kirkuk's status is clear, and it is clear from the reaction displayed by all Iraqi groups against attempts to seize the city," Dirioz told reporters while commenting on Saleh's televised remarks that Kirkuk belonged to the Kurdish groups."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] Senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official is quoted by VATAN columnist to have said that the Turkish government has no strong will to solve the Cyprus problem

    Istanbul VATAN newspaper (07.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Metin Munir under the title: "News to those expecting a solution in Cyprus":

    "They do not admire Rauf Denktas, who will be 80 on January 27, or his negotiation skills. On the contrary [Turkish] cabinet members are extremely upset that Denktas sent propaganda material to JDP [Justice and Development Party] deputies to try to turn them against their own government.

    In the words of a source close to the cabinet, the government decided to retain Denktas at the helm of the intercommunal talks [in Cyprus] "because it was afraid of the opposition of a Denktas who would not be the negotiator." The consideration of "not having Denktas's opposition on the top of everything else" played a major role in the decision.

    This is another name for admission of stalemate in Cyprus.

    In the words of Professor Bakir Caglar, a specialist in this subject, Denktas represents "the status quo, stalemate, Ankara's traditional policies, and his personal power."

    Consequently it is unlikely that he will reach a compromise with the Greek Cypriots in peace negotiations that are expected to resume soon.

    Denktas's continuing status as negotiator is not the only factor that reduces the chances of a near-term solution in Cyprus.

    The [Turkish] government does not have the will to settle the Cyprus problem despite its efforts to create the opposite impression in public. A senior Foreign Ministry official described this situation as follows: "We do not sense a strong will in the government on the issue of solving the Cyprus problem."

    The majority of the cabinet members and JDP deputies in the National Assembly sympathize with Denktas's position on Cyprus.

    The prevailing opinion in this group is that failure to solve the problem by May, when Cyprus will join the EU as a full member, "will not be the end of the world" and that "the EU cannot give up on Turkey so easily."

    In the meantime Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is not prepared to take any risks on Cyprus out of concern that his popularity may be hurt.

    Another factor driving the JDP to be timid is that a strong majority of the people is not in favor of a solution in Cyprus. In the words of one cabinet member, "the people believe that the Annan plan is a trap designed to deceive Turkey and that the EU is on the side of Greece and the Greek Cypriots on this issue."

    A source close to the JDP said that if the issue is submitted to the approval of the Assembly there is a strong chance that the government will not be able to win a majority of votes just as it could not on the Iraq authorization bill last year.

    However, the real nightmare scenario for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is solving the Cyprus problem but not being able to obtain a date for starting accession talks with the EU. A solution in Cyprus will require major concessions from the status quo. The Prime Minister cannot take such a risk. I have heard that he has told certain journalists in his circle that if he cannot obtain a date from the EU after he makes such concessions "they would not allow me to sit in this room."

    On the top of all these there are the "red lines" of the army.

    In sum, major intellectual leaps are required to solve the Cyprus problem, but the people running Turkey are not in a position to do that."

    [07] Columnist in RADIKAL supports that the Cyprus problem is used and will continue to be used in the power struggle in Turkey

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (14.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Murat Yetkin under the title: "Ten hot days in Ankara":

    "Ten days from now, on 24 January, we will be confronted with one of two alternatives.

    In the first alternative, Prime Minister [Recep] Tayyip Erdogan will present a file to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with whom he will meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos [Switzerland]. In this file will be set forth in writing the changes toward which Turkey will work in terms of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue by 1 May 2004, and which it foresees [as being necessary] in the plan that bears Annan's name in order for a solution to be reached.

    In the second alternative, Prime Minister Erdogan will be unable to present a file to UN Secretary-General Annan. Instead, he will say words similar to those he uttered in yesterday's meeting of the JDP [ruling Justice and Development Party] Parliamentary Group, along the lines of "Our government is in favor of a just and lasting solution on Cyprus. Our efforts continue for an acceleration of the negotiations process."

    These words had a significance yesterday. And they do today as well. And they will also have a significance when they are said to European Commission Chairman Romano Prodi in their one-on-one meeting on 15 January.

    But there will be no significance in Erdogan's saying these words to Annan on 24 January.

    Or, more accurately, they will have a significance different from what Erdogan intends. These words, from that date onward, will be interpreted in terms of Turkey's having failed to generate a solution for the Cyprus problem, and thus that, just as has already been the case for years now, it deserves to be made the scapegoat.

    In the words of the British Minister for Europe, Dennis MacShane, with whom I spoke yesterday, it [the Cyprus issue] will continue to be "the stone in Turkey's shoe on its way to EU membership".

    From Prodi to MacShane and Annan, and from Bush to [EU Commission Member responsible for Expansion Guenther] Verheugen and Rauf Denktas, everyone involved in the issue is waiting on edge to see what Turkey is going to say regarding Cyprus.

    MacShane was evidently impressed by Rauf Denktas's statement the day before yesterday, while giving the RTP-DP [Republican Turkish Party -- Democratic Party] coalition the authority to form a government, that "The Annan Plan is on the table, but work is underway in terms of what changes will be made in order for it to be accepted." He [MacShane] says "This is very positive", but cannot help saying as well "Let us see how this will work out in practice". The reason for this is clear: Denktas's having said, on the same day, "We will understand what sort of a scene has emerged following the [23 January meeting of the] National Security Council", explains a great deal.

    One of the topics being discussed yesterday in the corridors of Ankara was that of just what message, and to whom, was being conveyed by these words from Denktas, who is expecting a great deal from the NSC meeting that will take place on 23 January, just before Erdogan's meeting with Kofi Annan.

    According to one interpretation, Denktas was giving the following message to certain NSC members considered to be opposed to the Erdogan government's policy that leans toward a solution: "We have come to this point together. Whatever you are going to do, do it today; do it in the NSC. If you cannot thwart it [the government policy] there, there is nothing more that I can do, and whatever voice comes out of Ankara, I will listen to."

    And so, due to this and similar interpretations, all eyes have been turned toward the NSC meeting on 23 January, and toward who will say what there.

    For Erdogan, as the country's elected Prime Minister, and with the approach that private matters should remain private, not to want to admit to the entire world the weakness in the decision-making process, is an understandable position. Yet this position still does not eliminate the differences of view and the decision-making weakness. And it was just this that Denktas sought to express.

    It is clear from what portion of the NSC Denktas expects the support that would delay a solution. It is indeed unfortunate that who within the Turkish decision-making apparatus opposes the policies of the government, and on what grounds, is made a matter of discussion, with names being cited, in foreign embassies. It is being discussed why it was not possible to get results from the 8 January summit meeting in which General Staff Chief Hilmi Ozkok participated, but why results (or else an impasse) are expected out of the NSC, in which the force commanders will participate as well.

    If Ankara were really, as Erdogan stated yesterday in the JDP Parliamentary Group meeting, in complete agreement on the issue of Cyprus, then what reason would there be for this position not to be announced prior to the NSC meeting? On the contrary, it could be said that, if such a consensus could be obtained and support were to come out of the NSC for a resumption of negotiations, then objections that came up later would not have very much weight.

    The words of Denktas can thus, from this standpoint, be considered as a "final warning" to certain circles in Turkey, and for this reason, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will have a major role in ensuring that the discussions at the 23 January NSC meeting do not result in an impasse.

    On his part Mr Serdar Denktas has pointed out that Cyprus is being used in the power struggle in Turkey.

    We could see new stages in this struggle in the course of the coming ten days."

    /SK


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