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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-19

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.11/04 17-18-19.01.04


  • [01] Statements by Turkish general and reactions by JDP and RPP.
  • [02] Statements by the JDP Deputy Chairman after a meeting under Erdogan.
  • [03] Crisis in the occupation regime over the establishment of a so-called government.
  • [04] Press conference by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff. Reference to Cyprus.
  • [05] A delegation of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is visiting occupied Cyprus for contacts regarding the Cyprus problem.
  • [06] Ecevit argues that the USA should discuss with the occupation regime if they wish to establish military bases in Cyprus.
  • [07] The founding committee of the newly established Revival Movement held its first meeting.
  • [08] An ancient tomb 2,800 years old was discovered near the occupied Rizokarpasso.

  • [09] Columnist supports that new voting may take place because of the so-called cabinet crisis.
  • [10] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses General Basbug´s statements.
  • [11] Murat Yetkin assesses General Basbug´s statements.
  • [12] Columnist in KIBRIS says that more than 800 cases have been opened against journalists at military courts in occupied Cyprus.
  • [13] Yasemin Congar: "Messages from Bush to Erdogan".
  • [14] The first application of Annan Plan !


    [01] Statements by Turkish general and reactions by JDP and RPP

    Istanbul CNN TURK Television (17.01.04) broadcast that during a speech he gave in a village in Izmir, Aegean Army Commander General Hursit Tolon gave some harsh messages on the issues of Iraq and Cyprus. Noting that the British and the West are behind the dream of an independent Kurdistan, Tolon accused of treason those who defend the policy of giving away and be done with it.

    He said: "The issue of interest to Turkey is the division of Iraq without safeguarding its territorial integrity. Let us say that a federation based on ethnic grounds is set up in the process of division and it is called a Kurdish federation. At the beginning it may be a federation, but in later years it can turn into an independent state. This goal exists since 1908 and Britain and the West are behind it. Now, tell me if this is a lie. Why should we not talk about it since we know this is true and it is written in books?

    We forgot very quickly our women, daughters, children, and babies who were killed and suffered cruelty in the villages before 1974, between 1960-1974. How quickly did we forget the women and children murdered in their baths? And, now there are those who propose to give away Cyprus and be done with it. Dear friends, at one time, this country raised beautiful people only. Lately, the country is raising traitors. Yes, there are traitors. We cannot deny this. If there are no traitors, who are those who say let us give Cyprus away and be done with it?"

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (18.01.04) broadcast that there has been swift reaction to the remarks by Aegean Army Commander Hursit Tolon on the Cyprus issue. Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party [JDP], denied that the government is pursuing a policy of giving Cyprus away in order to be done with it. On the other hand, Cevdet Selvi, deputy leader of the Republican People's Party [RPP], charged that for the sake of joining the EU, the government is trying to give up the policies that were defended in Cyprus for years. JDP's Firat was hosted on Baki Ozilhan's "Television Newspaper" program on TRT 2. Firat maintained that the circles who dragged the Cyprus problem to the present time, thinking that the lack of a solution is also a solution, caused Turkey and the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" to lose their trump cards, and that this means treason.

    He said: "We want a solution in Cyprus, but we do not say: let us give Cyprus away and be done with it. We negotiate. There is a plan today. It is the Annan plan. We have objections to the Annan plan. We have said that. It is not only we who have objections, however. The Greek Cypriot side has more objections than we do."

    RPP's Selvi charged that the government seems to think that a policy of surrender in the international sphere is a good thing.

    He said: "For the sake of joining the EU, the government is giving up the Cyprus policies we have been pursuing faithfully and justifiably for years".

    [02] Statements by the JDP Deputy Chairman after a meeting under Erdogan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.01.04) reported from Ankara that the JDP [Justice and Development Party] Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat has asserted that the government will display the final will and will make the final decision on Cyprus.

    Firat briefed the journalists after a meeting that was held under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister and JDP chairman, at the JDP General Headquarters and that lasted approximately four hours and 40 minutes.

    Noting that the Election Affairs Directorate made a presentation about the local elections during the meeting, Firat announced that so far 7,764 nominee candidates have submitted their candidacies for province, district, and township leaderships and mayoralties.

    Explaining that a committee that will consist of deputies will hold a tendency survey in 81 provinces on Sunday, Firat noted that after this stage, the "Candidate Determination Committee" that will consist of 11 deputy chairmen and the party secretary general will be formed during the MKYK [Central Decision making and Executive Council] meeting. Stating that this commission will reduce the number of the nominee candidates to three, Firat noted that later, another committee headed by the party chairman will determine the candidates.

    Firat also announced that 32 district organizations were dismissed due to lack of discipline during the meeting.

    Noting that that the party leader briefed the council members on his domestic and international tours during the meeting, Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat reported that Prime Minister Erdogan also provided information on the summit that was held on Cyprus at the Cankaya Presidential Mansion.

    In answer to a question on whether or not Istanbul Mayor Ali Mufit Gurtuna will submit his candidacy from the JDP, Firat said: "No, this issue was not discussed. A general tendency survey will be held on Sunday. Those who will participate in the survey will nominate three candidates. Those who participate in the survey will also have the right to nominate a fourth person who is not actually a candidate."

    In reply to a question on Cyprus, Firat said the following: "The Annan plan is on the table. It is the Annan plan that will be negotiated. We have certain reservations over the plan, however. It is impossible to think about accepting the Annan plan as it is. Furthermore, the Greek Cypriot sector has also many reservations over the plan. Contrary to the press reports that have been published on this issue, however, there are no disputes regarding this issue at the top of the state or among state institutions. We are talking about certain differences of opinion regarding the methods. Nonetheless, we believe that these issues will be discussed in detail during the NSC [National Security Council] meeting and that a full agreement will be reached by that date."

    In answer to a question on the differences of opinion regarding the methods, Firat said the following:

    "There may be some differences of opinion regarding the methods. There is no doubt that the various state institutions will express their views. The final will and the final decision belongs to the government -- to the political will. Our Foreign Ministry, our Office of the Chief of the General Staff, and the relevant units will naturally conduct a study by taking Turkey's interests into consideration. An agreement will be reached after this study."

    [03] Crisis in the occupation regime over the establishment of a so-called government

    Istanbul NTV television (16.01.04) broadcast that the Democratic Party Chairman and "Deputy Prime Minister" Serdar Denktas has said that they would apply to the "Constitutional Court" to seek a final ruling about the status of three controversial ministers in the cabinet. Denktas noted that they would not reshuffle the cabinet until the Court announced its verdict, adding that four incoming ministers from the DP [Democratic Party], including himself would take office today.

    Meanwhile, "Prime Minister" Mehmet Ali Talat said that the "Constitutional Court" rather than the "Chief Public Prosecutor" was vested with the power to decide whether or not the government's composition conflicted with the "Constitution". Therefore, he noted, they decided to seek the "Constitutional Court's" opinion. He added: "Debates about the legitimacy of the government are totally unnecessary."

    Talat emphasized that only the "President" was empowered to apply to the "Constitutional Court" in connection with the dispute over the DP's ministers, who are facing problems arising from their usual place of residence. Talat noted that they respected the decision made by the DP, their coalition partner, to apply to the "Constitutional Court" and not to replace the ministers in question.

    The "Chief Public Prosecutor's Office" yesterday announced that the three ministers should be replaced, because they had not resided in the "country" for at least three years and therefore were not qualified for parliamentary membership.

    Meanwhile, Dervis Eroglu, Chairman of the NUP, the main opposition party, has said that they had initiated a legal examination to determine whether the new government had been actually formed within 15 days after Talat was given the mandate as prescribed in the "Constitution".

    Eroglu said: "The government was approved by the `President´ only an hour before the end of the fifteenth day. It was later revealed that three ministers were not actually qualified for appointment to the cabinet. We have asked legal experts to examine whether the government was formed within the statutory period."

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA (17.01.04) under the headline "Tahsin Ertugruloglu does not recognise the 'government'! The 'government' is not legal", writes that the former so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs of the pseudostate, Mr Tahsin Ertugruloglu, refused to hand over his "office" to Mr Serdar Denktas, who is the "Minister" of Foreign Affairs of the new "government". The paper writes that Mr Ertugruloglu stated that the "coalition government" established by RTP and DP is not legal. "Serdar Denktas is not a legal 'Minister'. This government is not legal. The ministerial position of the Foreign Affairs is empty. I left that post. If the related person wants, he will go and occupy (the post). I cannot hand over the post to other than a legal person", said Mr Ertugruloglu.

    Moreover, as Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET Kuzey Kibris reports, Mr Denktas took over the "office" of the so-called Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the former deputy "minister" of Foreign Affairs.

    [04] Press conference by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff. Reference to Cyprus

    Istanbul NTV television (16.01.04) broadcast the press conference by General Ilker Basbug, Turkey´s deputy chief of the General Staff.

    Following are Mr Basbug´s statements and his replies to questions:

    "The first issue I would like to address is the 10th Tanker Base Command, Incirlik.

    As you know, the rotation of the US forces in Iraq, and the 10th Tanker Base Command have been in the forefront of Turkey's agenda during the past few days. The use of Incirlik is based on three principles, as you know. The first is related to the provisions in the agreement signed between Turkey and NATO. I can cite the following example: earlier, the operation in Afghanistan and the responsibility of that operation was transferred to NATO as of August 2003. Therefore, the use of Incirlik base for ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] operations fell within our obligations as cited in the NATO agreement.

    The second way in which Incirlik can be used is as follows: As you know, Turkey and the United States signed a defense and economic cooperation agreement [DECA]. The base has been used within the framework of this agreement for training purposes. You may remember, before the Iraq war, a maximum number of 48 US military planes were deployed here. At the moment, the United States has no such elements in Incirlik.

    Outside these two purposes, or outside these two main principles, Incirlik may be used only with Turkey's open permission. I believe that I have explained the general outline of this issue to you clearly.

    With a statement it issued on 28 November 2003, the US European Forces Command asked the General Staff to allow the rotation of the US personnel deployed in Iraq through Incirlik. This request involves the use of the said base by the United States as a transit center, I repeat, as a transit center, from 1 January 2004 until 30 April 2004. The said rotation is being used in one direction only, from Iraq, through Incirlik and Europe, to the United States. The personnel who comes to Incirlik -- and they are transit personnel -- remain in Incirlik 24 hours at the most. Under normal conditions, unless there are any obstacles in the plans or implementation, the transit takes place within two to three hours. The US servicemen who come to Incirlik do not go out of the base.

    This proposal or request which came from the United States was conveyed to the Prime Minister's Office and to the Foreign Ministry in December 2003. As announced by Cemil Cicek, government spokesman and justice minister, the Prime Minister's Office found this request appropriate and in line with Council of Ministers decision 5755 issued on 23 June 2003 which is based on UN Security Council Resolution 1483. With a statement it issued on 16 December 2003, the Prime Minister's Office declared that the rotation activities would be carried out within the framework of the principles and method to be determined by the GKB and under the coordination of the Foreign Ministry. As you all know, these rotation activities have started, and so far 1,512 US personnel arrived from Iraq to Incirlik aboard 12 planes, and they left Incirlik aboard 10 planes.

    Esteemed friends, let me discuss in short the second item on our agenda: the Cyprus issue. The TAF (Turkish Armed Forces) believes that a just and lasting solution should be found to the Cyprus problem though negotiations, as we have said before. In this context, the necessary meetings are being held with the Foreign Ministry within a process. Today too we are within this process. The process is not over yet. I think that it will not be easy to complete it in the near future.

    As in the case of many other issues, the opinion of the [GKB on the Cyprus issue -- which is a national cause -- is being formulated with the contributions of the force commanders. In this context, two meetings were held at the GKB Headquarters with the force commanders and the Gendarmerie commander on 19 December 2003 and 2 January 2004, and the view of the GKB was formulated.

    As you all know, the view of the GKB was presented at the summit chaired by President Sezer on 8 January 2004. It is very natural for this important issue to be discussed at the National Security Council meeting to be held on 23 January 2004. On this occasion, we would like to point out that we disagree with the different assessments being made in this regard.

    Let me now address some of the developments concerning Iraq. I will try to give you some information on the stability operation currently going on in Iraq, the developments concerning Iraq's political structuring, and the assessment of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff [GKB] on the issue.

    After the military operation ended in Iraq, a stability operation began, as you know. Close to 154,000 foreign soldiers from various countries are serving in Iraq at the moment, within the framework of the stability force. The transition schedule which will determine Iraq's future political structure is already being implemented. According to this schedule, the interim administration bill -- they recently changed the name, they were using the term "basic law" until now -- will be drawn up by the Iraqi Governing Council by the end of February, and it will be approved by the interim civil administration headed by Bremer. This law will draw the general framework of Iraq's political structure. One of the different political models being discussed in Iraq is a federative structure.

    Our general view on this issue is as follows: We believe that two points must be taken into consideration while shaping Iraq's political structure, and that unless this is done, serious and important problems may have to be faced. One of these points is the fact that the peoples of different ethnic background and sects live intermingled in Iraq. Take Baghdad for example. If you study the population there, you will see that almost all the ethnic groups of Iraq are represented there. Look at the other regions; it is very difficult to say that only one ethnic group is settled in any one region. Therefore this issue, the ethnic distribution of the population within Iraq, is of vital importance for the future solution.

    The second issue is that Iraq's subterranean and other riches belong to all the Iraqi people, and not to certain groups.

    Unless these facts are taken into consideration, whatever the political structure in Iraq, important problems will inevitably be faced.

    This process is being followed closely by Turkey. We are trying to convey our views and recommendations to our interlocutors at every opportunity in order to make sure that the developments concerning restructuring are assessed in line with our country's interests.

    I would like to stress one point here, if I may. Considering the importance of shaping a public opinion in line with our national interests, I would like to tell you that it would be very appropriate for you, the media members, to highlight these interests and to give more coverage and importance to this issue.

    Bilateral and military contacts have started between Turkey and the United States at the level of major generals in order to exchange views and formulate a common platform on the issue of Iraq, especially on the possible developments that may take place in north Iraq. We will continue to hold such contacts in the coming period.

    Furthermore, work is being done within NATO in order to contribute to stability in Iraq. Certain alternatives are being studied. This work has not matured yet, however. In a sense, this should be taken as a sign that NATO may assume responsibility or certain duties in the whole of Iraq or part of it. We support such movements because they will contribute to the speedy establishment of stability and security in Iraq.

    As you know, one of our most important security concerns in north Iraq is the existence of the terrorist PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan], or with its new name, KONGRA-GEL [People's Congress of Kurdistan]. We observe that by making use of the instability in Iraq, this terrorist organization is trying to expand its activities there under a political identity. We share our findings in this regard with the concerned authorities and with the US officials, and we tell them of this organization's possible effects on Iraq's restructuring process.

    It is obvious that military measures alone cannot be sufficient in fighting a terrorist organization that is becoming increasingly political. The Foreign Ministry and the GKB are conducting work with the United States regarding the joint fight that will be carried out against this terrorist organization which has been included in the US terror list with its new name as well. Nevertheless, it is difficult to say that this work is meeting our expectations. We do not expect the terrorists to leave north Iraq and go to Turkey or other countries. We expect the armed presence of the organization to be eliminated and for the political activities guided by the armed organization to be prevented.

    Finally, on another subject, I will try to brief you on certain developments in connection with Afghanistan. The International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] operation, which is operating in Afghanistan in line with UN Resolution 1386, has so far been executed in four phases. The fifth phase is slated to begin in February under Canadian leadership. As you are well aware, Turkey, which participated in all the phases of the ISAF operation, fulfilled the leadership of ISAF 2 and the operation of the Kabul airport for eight months between July 2002 and February 2003.

    On 11 August 2003, NATO took over the command of the ISAF operation. In other words, the operation in Afghanistan is taking place under the responsibility and command of NATO. Alongside this development, in accordance with a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, the area of jurisdiction of the ISAF operation, which was limited to Kabul and its surrounding area, was expanded to include Kunduz as well. Under this new approach, the ISAF elements under the leadership of NATO provide support to the Afghan administration not only in Kabul, but in the other areas as well.

    Furthermore, in this context, regional development teams were formed with the participation of expert civilian personnel as well with a view to providing support in largely civilian matters such as agriculture, health, and education. The question of additional contribution to the ISAF operation within the framework of NATO was raised, and with the approval of the government as well, a decision was made to send three general purpose helicopters to Kabul.

    In addition to Turkey, Netherlands pledged to contribute five additional helicopters and Germany three additional ones. The technical work on the subject is continuing in coordination with the relevant countries. When the technical work is concluded, these three general purpose helicopters will be sent to Afghanistan.

    As you know, Mr Hikmet Cetin has been appointed the senior officer representative in Afghanistan. I believe that Mr. Cetin will leave for Afghanistan in the next few days. His personal security guard will be supplied by the Office of the Chief of the General Staff [GKB].

    At present, Turkey contributes to the international force under ISAF in the form of one company and officers stationed in the various headquarters."

    In reply to a question regarding Incirlik, Mr Basbug said:

    "I tried to provide a general framework on this subject at the beginning of my presentation. The GKB finds it appropriate in terms of Turkey's national interests to allow the use of the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command for the rotation of the US personnel in Iraq. I repeat, we believe that the use of the Incirlik base for the rotation of the US forces in Iraq is appropriate in terms of our national interests.

    As I mentioned in my briefing, and as you all know, Council of Ministers decision 5755 is valid until 23 June 2004. The said decision was adopted for a duration of one year. If you read this decision carefully, you will see that the Council of Ministers allows the use of the Incirlik base for the rotation of US personnel.

    In conclusion, there are two points we have to say in this regard. To summarize, the use of the Incirlik base for the rotation of US forces is appropriate in terms of our national interests. Council of Ministers decision 5755 gives the necessary permission for this purpose."

    Replying to a question on Cyprus Mr Basbug said:

    "Your question was in connection with the Cyprus issue. As you will recall, we also issued a statement previously. From the onset, as has been the case in the past, the close work, the meetings, and the mutual exchange of views has been continuing between the GKB and the Foreign Ministry on this subject as well. We held a meeting on this matter yesterday as well, and if need be, we may have another meeting tomorrow.

    You will appreciate that we are in the middle of a process, and this process is continuing. Therefore, we believe that it is not appropriate at this stage to share with the media and with the public the details and the information pertaining to the GKB views on this issue, although we would like to share them with you. Consequently, if you will permit, at this point in time, I will refrain from announcing our views at this stage. You probably appreciate that it would not be appropriate to do so at this point. There is a process under way between the two institutions. If we do such a thing, we would at least be doing an injustice to our Foreign Ministry. Then, they would also do the same thing, and the work conducted by our state on the Cyprus issue could turn toward an unexpected direction."

    Question: Can we expect developments other than what is planned by the government? Is there a disagreement as indicated by the reports and commentaries, or are the differences continuing over the methodology, as termed by the prime minister?

    Answer: Thank you for your question, which may help to clarify the matter further. The Cyprus talks constitute a process, and when we say that this process will continue some time longer, we mean the process that will continue until the final settlement of the Cyprus issue. When we look at the solution of the Cyprus issue as a general process, we hope that a solution will be attained by May 2004. Therefore, the process in question refers to the solution process of the Cyprus problem. Naturally, there will be certain phases within this process, and the most important of these phases is the period from now until the beginning -- we hope -- of the negotiations. This period also has various interim stages, which we will all experience together in the coming days. The National Security Council [NSC] meeting is slated to convene on 23 January, and the developments will continue after that as well. This process will continue even after the negotiations begin. The relevant institutions and organizations will again meet whenever necessary. In other words, when I say we are facing a long process, I mean the lengthy -- we hope it will be short -- and difficult process stretching from this moment until a final settlement of the Cyprus problem. I did not mean the interim stages. The first step in this regard is the NSC meeting, and the events will unfold in line with the decision to be adopted at that meeting.

    Question: I would like to ask a follow-up question. You said something important. You expressed the hope that the Cyprus issue will be resolved by May 2004.

    Answer: This is a similar question to the previous one. Our work with the Foreign Ministry is continuing with regard to the solution of the Cyprus issue. Your question pertains to the same subject. If you will permit, let us not go into more details on this matter.

    To another question on Cyprus Mr Basbug said:

    "Actually, I tried to explain to you how the view of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff [GKB] or the Turkish Armed Forces [TAF] is formulated regarding the Cyprus question. I believe that what I told you in that regard during the briefing should answer your question. Nevertheless, since you ask, I will repeat: The TAF has a system of work. The view of the GKB on every necessary issue is formulated after hearing the views of the force commanders and the gendarmerie commander. The view of the GKB on Cyprus was formulated in this way. I gave you the dates too, 19 December and 2 January. Two meetings were held on those dates at the GKB. The honorable force commanders and the gendarmerie commander attended. The view of the GKB which was drawn up by the GKB Headquarters was posited at these meetings, it was discussed and debated, and that is how the GKB view was formulated. This view was posited as the GKB view at the summit in Cankaya last week.

    Consequently, the press allegations that there are different views among the military on the Cyprus issue do not reflect the truth. Nevertheless, different views may be voiced during the formulation of the GKB view. That is very natural. At the end, however, the GKB and the TAF adopt one view. The developments concerning the Cyprus issue took place exactly like that."

    In reply to a question on the Annan plan, Mr Basbug replied:

    "This is not an issue in our jurisdiction. I will try to answer it, though, since you ask. It is Turkey's aim, not only the GKB's or the TAF's aim, but the aim of our government and of all the institutions, that a solution is found to the Cyprus problem by l May 2004. We do not have a different view. We should not. That is the aim, the objective, maybe the wish, and the focus of the current work. If it is possible. How can you guarantee that it will happen by 100 percent? You cannot, because the issue does not depend on Turkey's decision only. There are other actors. Maybe it would have been easier if it were up to Turkey and the `TRNC¨ only. There are other factors too, however. The work being conducted in this regard aims at reaching a solution by May 2004. Surely, it would not be appropriate for us to say anything to the contrary.

    As for what will happen in December 2004: Our view of the Cyprus question is as follows, generally speaking: If you want to reach an objective, just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, you must look for a solution by keeping the problem in Cyprus. Otherwise, there may be some forced decisions, and you may move away from being objective. In other words, we believe that it would be more appropriate to solve the issue without linking it to the EU.

    What is important is this: if you reach a solution taking into consideration the last things that cannot be given up by the `TRNC´ and Turkey, then the name of the plan is not important. The important thing is for Turkey to objectively and correctly determine the main parameters, the parameters it cannot give up, while reaching a solution. The name of the plan will not be that important, then. That is what we think."

    [05] A delegation of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is visiting occupied Cyprus for contacts regarding the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (19.01.04) reports that Baki Ilkin, deputy permanent undersecretary at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ertugrul Apakan, Director of the Cyprus Department of the above-mentioned Ministry, arrived yesterday in occupied Cyprus in order to have contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leadership within the framework of the preparations of the Turkish side for a possible resumption of the Cyprus talks.

    According to the paper, right after their arrival the two Turkish officials visited the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas. No statement was made after this closed-door meeting, during which the press were not allowed to take pictures.

    The Turkish delegation is expected to meet today with the occupation regime's so-called prime minister, Mehmet Ali Talat and the "deputy prime minister", Serdar Denktas. The exchange of views with Mr Rauf Denktas is also expected to continue today.

    [06] Ecevit argues that the USA should discuss with the occupation regime if they wish to establish military bases in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (19.01.04) reports that Bulent Ecevit, leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DLP), issued a written statement evaluating the information regarding the US demand to deploy 60 thousand troops in Turkey.

    Mr Ecevit noted that for the moment he did not see any reason for letting such a big amount of soldiers passing through Turkey's territory, because there is a war going on between the USA and Iraq and because Iraq has de facto been occupied by the USA. Mr Ecevit argued that after Iraq the USA set their eyes on Iran and Syria and added that if Turkey accepted US troops in its territory this would inevitably mean that these troops would be used against its neigbouring countries.

    Mr Ecevit supported that if the USA wanted to establish a military base in Cyprus, it should discuss the issue with the authorities of the occupation regime. He added that there had been no such a discussion in the past because the USA does no recognize the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus.

    "However, if the USA expects a contribution from Turkey and the TRNC for the security of Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, it should clearly inform about this the authorities of the TRNC", he said.

    Mr Ecevit expressed also his satisfaction regarding the fact that the authorities of the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas were indisputably accepted after the so-called elections in occupied Cyprus.

    [07] The founding committee of the newly established Revival Movement held its first meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (19.01.04) reports that the founding committee of the newly established Revival Movement (RM) held its first meeting in occupied Famagusta yesterday.

    The RM was established during last week, from some persons who broke off from the Democratic Party, after the latter decided to form a coalition "government" with the Republican Turkish Party. During its first meeting the RM decided to start a campaign in order to get organised across the island. RM also decided to propose to some mayors and some former "deputies" of the Democratic Party and the National Unity Party, to joint the Movement. In addition, the RM decided that for the time being it is a civil organisation. In the new movement participate some persons who were involved in the past with the New Democracy Party.

    [08] An ancient tomb 2,800 years old was discovered near the occupied Rizokarpasso

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (18.01.04) reports that an ancient tomb 2,800 year old, dating back to the Geometric Period, was discovered in occupied Rizokarpasso village.

    As the paper writes the tomb was discovered in the pine forest which is two km away from the ruins of the Monastery of Eleousa, west of the Rizokarpasso village. Inside the tomb, among other, things were discovered: A rather deformed human skeleton, three amphora, three decorated bowls, three earth ware water jugs and one perfume bottle.


    [09] Columnist supports that new voting may take place because of the so-called cabinet crisis

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (16.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "The situation in Cyprus":

    "The Cyprus problem has a number of dimensions. The formation of the Turkish `TRNC´ government was one of the priority issues after the latest elections.

    The first step was taken for solving this priority issue by the formation of a RTP [Republican Turkish Party]-DP [Democratic Party] coalition government. A new government was formed under the leadership of RTP Chairman Mehmet Ali Talat. However, the problem was not fully overcome. It transpired that the three individuals who were appointed as Ministers in the DP wing of the government from outside the parliament did not have the right to be elected as deputies and that consequently, these individuals cannot be appointed as Ministers. The `TRNC´ Chief Prosecutor also made a decision to this end.

    NUP [National Unity Party] earlier objected to the appointment of Ministers from outside the parliament. The pertinent officials will now try to overcome this problem by changing the aforementioned three Ministers. However, will the government problem be solved by changing these three Ministers? Reports coming from `TRNC´ suggest that the problem will persist.

    Officials say that the chairman of NUP, the main opposition political party, may refer to the Constitutional Court with a claim that the new government is flawed and file a lawsuit with a demand that the task of forming the government be returned from Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat to the President. NUP Chairman Dervis Eroglu would reportedly argue in his lawsuit that Talat failed to form the government within the 15-day period recognized by the Constitution because of the appointment of three Ministers from outside the parliament and that for this reason, he should return the task of forming the government.

    A government crisis would once again emerge in `TRNC´ in the event that the Constitutional Court makes a decision in accordance with Eroglu's request. Under these circumstances, NUP may request the handing over of the task of forming the new government to Eroglu.

    Subtitle: Denktas and preliminary negotiations

    The holding of negotiations based on the Annan plan constitutes another dimension of the Cyprus problem. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will press the button on the start of these negotiations after meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US President George Bush... Both of these contacts can be regarded as a first step toward the start of the negotiations on Cyprus. The answers that Erdogan will receive from Annan and Bush will determine whether or not the negotiations will start.

    Rauf Denktas' stand on this issue is that a process of preliminary negotiations should start with the initiative of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan... Prime Minister Erdogan and `President´ Denktas reached unanimity of views during their recent Istanbul talks that an Article in the Annan plan envisaging the holding of an automatic referendum should be revised through preliminary negotiations and that a referendum should be held after the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides reach a settlement and agree on the Annan plan.

    Denktas' view on this issue goes as follows: "A referendum would automatically be held in the event that we sit at the table without [changing the Article in question in the Annan plan] irrespective of whether or not a consensus is reached between the two sides. This has never been seen in any part of the world. A referendum has never been held in any place without reaching a consensus between two sides in any conflict. A referendum should be held after the two sides reach a consensus. Moreover, the Annan plan does not specify the action that should be taken in the event that one of the two sides rejects the plan in the referendum. This point should be explained."

    Denktas' aforementioned approach is also included in Talat's government protocol. It is argued in this protocol that a referendum should be held only after consensus is reached between Turkey and Greece and the two sides in Cyprus.

    Under these circumstances, sitting at the table to discuss the Annan plan without reaching any consensus is tantamount to the automatic acceptance of holding a referendum. Therefore, both Ankara and `TRNC´ are arguing that a consensus should first be reached.

    The answers that Prime Minister Erdogan will receive from Kofi Annan will be of key importance... The expectations from the National Security Council [NSC] meeting scheduled for 23 January constitute another key element. The participants in this meeting are expected to take up the problems that I just summed up and the need to hold preliminary negotiations."

    [10] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses General Basbug´s statements

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (17.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title : "What is the general staff saying?":

    "The press statement given yesterday by General Staff Second in Command Gen Ilter Basbug put across the General Staff's point of view most clearly. One of the topics that Gen Basbug dwelt on the most was the political make up in Iraq. He stated that Turkey had told its interlocutors of its thoughts and proposals in this matter.

    Saying that an ethnically based federation in Iraq would see Iraq encounter great problems Gen Basbug stressed in very strong and confident terms: "If an ethnically based federation occurs in Iraq then Iraq's future will be very tough and very bloody."

    When Gen Basbug's comments are taken into account together with Prime Minister Erdogan's remark: "If Iraq breaks up then its neighbors will intervene" then one can interpret this as meaning Ankara will react strongly to moves towards an ethnic federation in Iraq.

    Making an assessment to the effect that a federation based on provinces rather than ethnicity would be both easier and more appropriate Gen Basbug echoed Ankara's preference.

    Stating also that work was going on within NATO for a duty in Iraq and that various options were being worked on Gen Basbug said, "Perhaps NATO will have a duty inside Iraq in the future." Basbug stressed that Turkey was supportive of NATO's work here.

    The other topic that the General Staff Second in Command dwelt on most was the Cyprus problem. Gen Basbug said that the General Staff's position on Cyprus had been formulated over the course of two meetings attended by the force commanders and was echoed at the Cankaya [Presidential Mansion] Summit.

    Expressing the wish that the Cyprus problem be solved by May 2004 Gen Basbug said, "The Turkish Armed Forces [TAF] believes in the need for an objective, just and lasting solution." Maintaining that a solution should be found by paying attention to Turkey's immutable parameters he also stressed that he did not believe the Cyprus process would end after a short period of time.

    Gen Basbug refrained from answering questions like: "Do you accept the Annan Plan as a basis [for talks]?" and "How do you see the Annan Plan?" However, when journalists persisted in their questioning he replied without mentioning either Annan or the Annan Plan by name: "If a just and lasting solution occurs by paying attention to our immutable parameters then it is not important what you call it." Gen Basbug stated they were working towards a solution by May 2004 and that this was their goal and wish. He also maintained that it would be wrong to connect Cyprus and the EU with one another and that it would be more realistic to solve the Cyprus problem within itself. Recalling that a solution required two sides Gen Basbug further underlined that the approach of the other sides in the problem was also important.

    Gen Basbug stated that the General Staff was continuing to work together with the Foreign Ministry on the Cyprus issue and noted that his statements reflected not only the General Staff's point of view but also that of the Foreign Ministry. However, he also pointed out that when the General Staff's position was being formulated all points of view were evaluated, that differing views were put on the agenda during this process but that in the end only one viewpoint was determined to be the General Staff's one. One attention-grabbing message from Gen Basbug was that the United States' attitude vis-ŕ-vis the Workers Party of Kurdistan [PKK] element in northern Iraq was not satisfying. Basbug said, "We expect the PKK's armed presence to end and for them either to surrender to Turkey or be forced to surrender." He added that they would not accept PKK elements being sent armed or not to other countries.

    The General Staff Second in Command also stated that it was in Turkey's national interest to give permission for the rotation of US servicemen through Incirlik. Gen Basbug said the rotation would be one-way only with US servicemen returning to the United States from Iraq and that no permission for a two-way rotation had been applied for.

    Gen Basbug's briefing was on Cyprus and Iraq and put across unequivocally the General Staff's position, which is shared by the Foreign Ministry:

    "Ankara is strongly opposed to an ethnically based federation in Iraq. It supports an objective, just and lasting solution on Cyprus that takes into account Turkey's immutable parameters."

    [11] Murat Yetkin assesses General Basbug´s statements

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (17.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Murat Yetkin under the title: "The Military calls for a solution in Cyprus, participation in Iraq":

    "Deputy Chief of the General Staff Gen Ilker Basbug's press conference yesterday was very useful in terms of clarifying numerous issues that confused minds recently. Chief among these is the position of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) on the Cyprus question.

    For example yesterday we heard for the first time that the military's work with the Foreign Ministry on determining a position on Cyprus was conducted with "the objective and hope that a fair and lasting solution can be found in Cyprus before May 2004." On the other hand, Basbug said that the General Staff "stands today where it stood one year ago" on the Cyprus issue and that "the Cyprus problem must be evaluated within its own framework." By that he expressed the desire that there be no linkage between Cyprus and Turkey's goal of obtaining a date for the start of accession talks with the EU. However the date "May 2004," by which Basbug said he hopes a solution can be found in Cyprus, is a criterion that is entirely linked to the EU timetable, specifically the finalization of the Greek Cypriots' full membership in the EU. This means that the work that the General Staff conducted with the Foreign Ministry fleshes out the five principal points that were shared with the public several months ago.

    In contrast to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul who said that this work will be concluded soon Basbug expressed doubt that the work can be finished in a short time. When we asked if there is a contradiction on this point, he said that he was referring to the resolution of the Cyprus problem after the said work is completed. Indeed, it was in response to this question that he expressed the hope that a solution can be found by May 2004.

    He pointed to the National Security Council (NSC) meeting to be held on January 23.

    Another capital city rumor that Gen Basbug brought to an end was that the General Staff was unhappy that the Foreign Ministry hid its work from it or did not consult with it. The Foreign Ministry's insistent assurances that "we have been working together from the outset" could not persuade circles that do not want a solution [in Cyprus]. Basbug disclosed that the General Staff and the Foreign Ministry have been formulating views together from the outset. At one point he even said: "What I have told you in this press conference is the view of not only the General Staff but also the Foreign Ministry. You can take what I said as the views of the Foreign Ministry also." However Basbug did not make any reference to the Annan plan by name despite persistent questioning. To paraphrase a popular saying, "he uttered Noah's name but not Annan's" [the original saying is an expression of obstinacy]. On the other hand he said: "Let us define the solution parameters. What we call the plan is not important at all."

    Subtitle: Iraq situation serious

    The views of the General Staff on Iraq can be summarized under two main headings:

    --Having a say in the new political structure of Iraq which will become final in February.

    --Maintaining cordial and close relations with the United States for this purpose.

    The first is a factor that Basbug described as "vital." His remarks to the effect that "the consequences of a federation built on ethnic foundations would be difficult and bloody for Iraq" describes this situation very well. On the other hand there is not much opposition to the idea of a non-ethnic federation built around 18 provinces. The general asked for public support pointing out that "the government, the Foreign Ministry, and the General Staff" are doing everything they can on this issue.

    Everything beyond this must be viewed under the second heading. For example the General Staff believes that the use of the Incirlik Air Base for transporting U.S. soldiers in Iraq back home "is consistent with Turkey's national interests" and constitutes a "positive factor in terms of increasing our influence over the reshaping of Iraq." Another positive factor is the support Turkey has expressed for the U.S. proposal to transfer security control in Iraq to NATO as was done in Afghanistan. It seems that the dispatch of Turkish soldiers to Iraq under the NATO flag will soon be on the agenda. In a similar vein, if the United States requests the use of the Konya Air Base for this purpose within the framework of the [Turkish-U.S.] Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement that was signed in 1980 the General Staff is likely to give the government a favorable opinion.

    Gen Basbug said in connection with the battle against the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] (recently renamed Kongra-Gel): "Our expectations have not been met on the issue of timing. However we agree on principles. We want to remain optimistic." Even this statement is a part of the policy of putting back on track relations with the United States that were strained after the March 1 vote on the authorization bill and thus not being pushed out of the Iraq picture.

    We are entering a very critical month not just for Cyprus but also for Iraq. Similar statements by the General Staff in the future will prevent confusing speculations from spreading."

    [12] Columnist in KIBRIS says that more than 800 cases have been opened against journalists at military courts in occupied Cyprus

    Basaran Duzgun, writing in his regular column in Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (19.01.04), praises the "decisive stance" of the so-called "RTP-DP government" on the issue of the three "ministers" who have allegedly "illegally" been appointed. Mr Duzgun wonders whether or not the "government" will show the same "decisiveness" on the issue of changing the No 2983 "Military Offenses and Punishments Law", according to which tens of journalists have been tried in the occupied areas and their imprisonment for hundreds of years has been asked.

    Noting that such a "law" could exist "only in antidemocratic countries", Mr Duzgun writes, inter alia, the following:

    "'No one knows their number but there should be tens of journalists, against whom hundreds of accusations have been filed according to this law. According to information acquired by officials, only the charges filed or are about to be filed against journalists exceeds eight hundred. Yes, you have not read it wrongly. The number of the charges against journalists exceeds eight hundred. The majority of these charges have been filed according to the No 2983 Military Offenses and Punishments Law. Could a system, where the prosecutor are the military authorities, the investigators are police officers bound to the army and the judges are military officials, be named democratic system? '".

    [13] Yasemin Congar: "Messages from Bush to Erdogan"

    Turkish mainland daily MILLIYET newspaper columnist Yasemin Congar, in her column today (19.01.04) under the above title, writes that the "meeting on 28 January 2004 in Washington at the White House between President Bush and the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will create the chance for discussing at the highest Turkish and the USA levels, issues that carry the importance of being major issues detrimental to our future".

    "Washington gives as much importance as Turkey to this visit because the Bush Administration as well is aware of the fact that 2004 is a critical year for Turkey in taking its palace in the World", Congar writes and lists the number of messages that President Bush and his team will try to convey to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

    Subtitle- Cyprus and the EU

    "The Bush Administration believes that the Erdogan Government is sincere in its demand for a 'Cyprus settlement' that if the sides sit around the negotiation table with a goodwill then it is possible to reach an agreement prior to Cyprus' EU membership before 1 May.

    A USA official said to me: 'The Turkish Foreign Ministry which is one of the most hawkish sections in Turkey as regards the Cyprus problem, under the government guidance, for the first time rolled up its sleeves for a solution.'

    On the other hand, Washington is aware of the fact that the military establishment in Turkey is keeping a distance for a 'Cyprus solution' and it is suggesting to the government 'not to hurry and press for a solution until the autumn of this year, because some developments might take place towards the end of the year'.

    The Bush administration sources note that they consider this approach 'wrong'. For them Turkey's strategic importance should not be exaggerated. And Turkey should not think of leaving the solution of the Cyprus problem after May. They are of the conviction that once the Greek Cypriot side acquires the right to veto Turkey's accession to the EU, Turkey and the TRNC will be in a disadvantageous position in the Cyprus bargain.

    In the light of these developments the Washington Administration is anxious to see the result of the National Security Council meeting of this week so that it will convey to the Prime Minister Erdogan the message: 'Take speedy and daring steps for Cyprus. We will support these steps at the highest level in your EU path'.

    USA's further involvement through diplomatic channels in the Cyprus problem is part of this effort. If Erdogan arrives at the White House with a clear decision and a timetable for the resumption of the negotiations in the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the Anna plan, then President Bush will start the concrete support efforts. According to diplomatic sources President Bush will personally call some EU leaders including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and will tell them that 'Turkey is paving the way in Cyprus and he will ask them to encourage Turkey on this road. In parallel to the solution process, without waiting the end of the year give a positive signal to Turkey and at the end of the year a date'.

    Subtitle: Halki

    For years, Ankara refuses to open the Seminary in Halki. It keeps in the air the opening demand of the successive US administrations. The demand is on the agenda again. It will not be a surprise if President Bush meets with the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Fener, during his visit to Istanbul in June for the NATO meetings, "until that date if Ankara opens the Theological School then it will boost its prestige and credibility as a country having religious tolerance" Congar concludes.

    [14] The first application of Annan Plan !

    Serpil Yilmaz in her regular column in the Turkish Mainland Daily MILLIYET newspaper (19.01.04) refers to the International Executive Committee meeting of the Lion's International on 17 October 2003 where the pseudo state has been registered as the 193rd member country.

    She writes that this became possible with the close cooperation between the Turkish Foreign Ministry diplomats and the Lions Clubs of the pseudo state and Turkey. She says that the Turkish Foreign Ministry diplomats advised the Turkish Lions to make use of the provisions of the Annan plan to further their cause. Based on this argument, says Serpil Yilmaz, the Turkish Lions sent their "Defense argument" to the International Director of the Lions, Eberhard J. Wirfs and after study by the International Executive Committee the pseudo state became as the 193rd member "country" of the Lions International.


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