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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-23

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.15/04 23.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Details on Weston´s visit to Ankara leaked to NTV. He is quoted to have said that referenda can be held after May.
  • [02] Mr Gul briefed the EU ambassadors to Ankara on Turkey´s efforts to achieve domestic accord on Cyprus.
  • [03] After Gul Mr Erdogan stresses that Turkey is against an ethnic-based formation in Iraq.
  • [04] Erel: No solution could be reached with Denktas being the negotiator.
  • [05] Turkish Education Commission Chairman against reopening the Theological School of Halki.
  • [06] The Patriotic Unity Movement called on the new pseudogovernment to materialise some demands of the Turkish Cypriots in order to prove that its is a "solution 'government'" as it claims.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Details on Weston´s visit to Ankara leaked to NTV. He is quoted to have said that referenda can be held after May

    Istanbul NTV television (22.01.04) broadcast the following report by Murat Akgun, NTV Ankara representative:

    "Thomas Weston, the US special coordinator for Cyprus, paid a surprise visit to Ankara yesterday [21 January], and held talks at the Foreign Ministry.

    Murat Akgun, the NTV representative in Ankara, will report on what happened behind the scenes:

    Akgun: The visit was paid at the request of the US diplomat. The reason is that Cyprus is undoubtedly one of the most important items Prime Minister Erdogan will discuss during his visit to the United States next week.

    Let us start with what Weston told the Turkish side. He stressed President Bush's determination to have the Cyprus problem solved. He then said: When he comes to Turkey for the NATO summit in June, President Bush wants to give out the message that the Cyprus problem has been solved, or at least that very big steps have been taken for its solution.

    Other than that, Weston indicated that the United States exerts serious pressure on the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece behind closed doors for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Referring to the letters sent by President Bush to the leaders of Turkey, of the Greek Cypriot Administration, and of Greece, the US diplomat said: The toughest letter was the one sent to Greek Prime Minister Simitis.

    Weston went on: The negotiations should begin. If a solution can be reached by 1 May and an agreement is signed, the referendum in the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides can be held at a later date.

    The US diplomat linked his remarks to Turkey's expectations regarding the EU, adding: If the Cyprus problem is solved and the reforms go on in Turkey, the EU will not be able to say no to Turkey. He also said that the steps to be taken by Turkey will find their echo in the EU.

    What did the Turkish side say? As I said, the real reason for these talks was to formulate the way in which the Cyprus problem will be discussed by President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan. During the talks, the Turkish side informed the US diplomat on those issues in the Annan plan it objects to, and what it wants negotiated and changed.

    The Turkish side also said that it accepts the resumption of the talks without preconditions with an agenda to be determined by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and that the referendum on the two sides of the island should be held simultaneously.

    The Turkish side listed, once again, what it views as sine qua non issues, namely Turkey's guarantorship, retaining the Turkish presence on the island, border changes, and so on.

    Last but not least, the Turkish side said it objects to the freezing of the Cyprus issue until after the Greek elections slated for 7 March. Reports from Athens said earlier that Greece may freeze the Cyprus question for a while during its election process. The Turkish side said: If nothing is done by 7 March, a very short time remains from 7 March to the end of April. Therefore, this process should be speeded up.

    The Turkish side also expressed the wish that the Cyprus issue not be turned into a domestic political tool in the Greek elections.

    In short, those were the messages exchanged by the two sides."

    Meanwhile on the same issue Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.01.04) reported from Ankara that sources said that Weston stressed the need to find a solution to Cyprus issue as soon as possible and pointed to the importance of efforts serving that goal.

    Ankara expressed its determination to settle the issue in the meeting while underlining the need that efforts which would help the process should not only be expected from the occupation regime.

    The sources said that Ankara did not inform Weston about the ongoing preparations for solution of the Cyprus issue.

    The meeting was held as part of the process to solve the Cyprus issue, the sources noted.

    The sources added that the meeting between Ziyal and Weston was not a preparation for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with U.S. President George Bush which would take place in the following week.

    [02] Mr Gul briefed the EU ambassadors to Ankara on Turkey´s efforts to achieve domestic accord on Cyprus

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (22.01.04) broadcast that Mr Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, today met with the ambassadors to Ankara of EU member and candidate countries. Gul told the ambassadors: "The EU should make a decision on Turkey's membership this year. This cannot be delayed any longer. We hope that the EU will make the right assessment with regard to its interests in Turkey before it reaches its final decision in December."

    Gul hosted a luncheon for the ambassadors of the EU member and candidate countries on the occasion of the term presidency being transferred from Italy to Ireland. In a statement prior to the luncheon, Gul explained the reforms made in Turkey within the EU membership process and their implementation. Stressing once again that 2004 will be the year in which the reforms are implemented, Gul said: 2004 will be a year of decision both for Turkey and the EU. Our determined steps toward completing the political criteria will continue. We are aware of the EU's priorities. Noting that Turkey expects a decision from the EU in December, Gul stressed that this cannot be delayed any longer. He said: "The EU should make a decision this year. This decision should be based on the Copenhagen criteria as is the case of all the other candidates."

    On the same issue Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.01.04) reported from Ankara that information has been received that during the luncheon Abdullah Gul hosted for the EU ambassadors, the ambassadors asked Gul questions on issues such as Cyprus, the public reforms bill, the judicial reforms, education in one's mother tongue, torture, and the developments in Iraq.

    According to information received, at the luncheon the ambassadors asked Gul to talk about the "road map" on the Cyprus issue. In response, Gul said that work on the issue is continuing.

    Gul said: "You are aware of our activities. You also know that we are ready to resume the talks by taking the Annan plan as a point of reference. We are trying to establish a position. We desire a solution, and we are doing all we can in that direction."

    Noting that a unilateral conciliation cannot be reached on the issue and that the other side should also exert the same effort exerted by Turkey and show the same understanding shown by Turkey, Gul said that only then can a solution be achieved.

    One of the questions put to Gul during the luncheon came from Hansjorg Kretschmer, the EU Commission's representative in Ankara. He asked "what would happen in the event the EU's reply to Turkey in December turned out to be negative?"

    In reply to this question, Gul said that they do not expect a negative reply from the EU, adding: "We cannot explain such a decision, a negative decision, to our people. We cannot explain it to anyone."

    The EU ambassadors asked Gul the urgency the judicial reforms have for the Turkish Government. In reply, Gul said that this issue is also one of the priorities of the government.

    Gul said that the judiciary is the most "conservative" institution, but that in time the reforms in this field will also be realized.

    Responding to questions on the issue of torture, Gul said that the government is very sensitive with regard to this issue and that no tolerance will be allowed.

    In reply to a question on whether courses in the mother tongue will be opened only in specific regions, Gul said that these courses will be opened everywhere.

    The issue of when the public reform bill will be ratified and when the reforms will be implemented, as well as the situation of the status and the properties of the vakif [religious and charitable trusts] were among the questions asked at the luncheon. It is reported that the issue of Leyla Zana was not raised.

    During the luncheon, Gul was also questioned about the developments in Iraq.

    Anne Dismorr, the Swedish ambassador to Ankara, asked Gul: "Is the government against an ethnic federation in Iraq because of the Kurds in Turkey?" In response, Gul said: "We have no problem with the Kurds in our country. Our concerns are based on the political developments in the region."

    Gul continued: "We are determined to solve our problems within the framework of democracy. We have confidence in our own citizens, our own people." Pointing out that an ethnic federation to be established in Iraq will cause very serious problems, Gul warned that the region cannot tolerate a problem of that dimension once again. Gul concluded by saying that not only Turkey but everyone has begun to realize this.

    [03] After Gul Mr Erdogan stresses that Turkey is against an ethnic-based formation in Iraq

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.01.04) reported from Ankara that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey did not favour an ethnic-based formation in Iraq.

    Erdogan met with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer before he departed from Ankara.

    Prime Minister Erdogan said that Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity should be preserved, Iraq's natural resources should be used by Iraqi people and that Turkey did not favour an ethnic-based formation in Iraq.

    Erdogan said that all the above mentioned issues were necessary to establish a democratic Iraq. Turkey's approach to the issue was also shared by Iran and Syria, Erdogan added.

    Erdogan and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer discussed Cyprus, Turkey´s EU process and Iraq issues in their meeting.

    Sources quoted Erdogan as saying that Turkey has exhibited its good intention on the solution to the Cyprus issue from the very beginning and noted that it took positive steps for a lasting and fair solution.

    Stressing that there were three basic factors concerning the issue, Erdogan listed ''bizonality, principle of equality and preservation of the guarantor state status of Turkey and Greece'' as those factors.

    Erdogan said that nongovernmental organizations and people fully supported the government and stated that Turkey showed that it would make contributions to the Union, not bring any burden.

    Underlining the importance of European Commission's 2004 Progress Report, Erdogan said that the demographical size and the geographical location of Turkey which were brought onto the agenda from time to time could be overcome.

    Fischer said that the Cyprus issue should be solved till May 1, 2004, he stressed the importance of starting Cyprus talks on the basis of Annan plan and holding a referendum before May 1.

    Fischer added that Germany, France and Britain would do their best to help a solution.

    Meanwhile, as Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (23.01.04) reports, Mr Fischer conveyed to Ankara two important messages from the UN Secretary-General, regarding the solution to the Cyprus problem. According to these messages, in order for the negotiation to start again Mr Annan does not want any essential and basic changes to be made in the UN Plan and he expects the two sides in Cyprus to exhibit will for solution.

    [04] Erel: No solution could be reached with Denktas being the negotiator

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (23.01.04) reports that Mr Ali Erel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) and leader of the Solution and EU Party (SEUP), reiterated the opinion that reaching a solution on the basis of the Annan Plan until May 2004 with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas being the negotiator of the Turkish side is not possible.

    In a written statement issued yesterday Mr Erel argues that the period until May 2004 is of vital importance for the Turkish Cypriots and expresses the support of the TCCC to the target of reaching a solution until the above-mentioned date, because with the solution and the accession of the Turkish Cypriots to the EU all the problems they are facing today will be solved.

    Mr Erel said: "'The external and internal dynamics for an agreement which will be meeting our worries regarding having a Turkish state with equal rights with the rights of the Greek Cypriot state, with our flag, with our national anthem, with our right to govern ourselves under the active guarantees of Turkey and having political equality in the central state, will be existing only until May2004. This opportunity should not be missed. 'The Cyprus problem should be solved in order for the report to be prepared (by the EU about Turkey) in September is positive. Therefore, if the Cyprus problem is not solved until May the report of the Commission will not be positive. Keeping Cyprus as a trump-card until December would both burn Turkey's hands and plug its accession course'".

    Noting that Mr Denktas said many times that he is against the basic philosophy of the Annan Plan and that he would not sign an agreement on the basis of this plan even if the Turkish Cypriots want this, Mr Erel added: "'The officials in Turkey must be convinced that reaching an agreement on the basis of the Annan Plan with Rauf Denktas being the negotiator is not possible'".

    [05] Turkish Education Commission Chairman against reopening the Theological School of Halki

    Turkish Daily News (23.01.04) reports that the Education Ministry Teaching and Education Commission Chairman Zekai Baloglu said on Wednesday that the reopening of the Greek Orthodox clerical school of Halki would be a very large concession to outside powers, adding that the granting of this concession would be tantamount to treason.

    Speaking on "The demands for the reopening of the High Priests School and the Patriarchy in Turkey" conference hosted by nongovernmental organizations in Izmir, Baloglu briefed the conference about a report he prepared using the Foreign and Education Ministry and the Patriarchy archives, noting that be had presented the report to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other ministers.

    Aegean Army Commander General Hursit Tolon, NATO Southeast European Forces Commander General Orhan Yuney, several generals, Izmir Mayor Ahmet Pristina, several municipality majors and university rectors attended the conference.

    Baloglu said that the demands for the reopening of the religious school should be seen in the context of the relations between the Patriarchy and Greece and the Greek Megalo Idea.

    He said it was his duty to inform the top officials of the state on the school, claiming that the minute the school was reopened, they would ask for the reopening of Hagia Sofia and other churches in Anatolia.

    Baloglu said that this issue of High Priests School could be solved by the education being given at universities.

    [06] The Patriotic Unity Movement called on the new pseudogovernment to materialise some demands of the Turkish Cypriots in order to prove that its is a "solution 'government'" as it claims

    Turkish Cypriot weekly YENI CAG newspaper (23.01.04) under the headline "Do it and we will see", writes that the Patriotic Unity Movement (PUM) made an announcement in which it called "the new local administration which has been established by the Turkish Military-Civilian administration", to materialize without delay some demands of the Turkish Cypriots.

    According to the PUM announcement, if the new "government" has true and sincere intentions towards the solution of Cyprus, it should, at least, do the following in order to prove that it is a "solution 'government'" as it claims:

    1) To clean immediately the mines that are located in the buffer zone

    2) To co-operate with all the parties involved so that the fate of the missing persons is determined

    3) To provide that the crossing over of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots will become easier by i) allowing for more crossing points to exist in every area, ii) lifting the obligation that the Greek Cypriots have to show their passports, iii) safeguarding that all the Cypriots spend the night in the places they want, i.e to lift the Cinderella time

    4) To provide that persons who carry passports of the Cyprus Republic, to be able to travel from the airports of Lefkoniko and Tympou.

    5) To lift the restrictions applied in Turkey to the Turkish Cypriots who carry passports of the Cyprus Republic

    6) The ports in the south to be left free (for use by the Turkish Cypriots)

    7) To provide the opportunity to those who want to participate in the EU elections.

    /SK


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