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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-27
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.17/04 27.01.04
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 The Turkish Foreign Minister tries to hide Turkey´s intransigence since the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus behind rhetoricAnkara TRT 2 Television (26.01.04) broadcast live a press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Ankara:
Following are Mr Gul´s statement and his replies to questions: "Until today, Turkey was considered to be the intransigent side. The latest efforts we have been making have shown that this is not the case. Of course we are going to make great efforts to solve this issue before 1 May. Efforts will be made to solve this problem based on the realities of the island and by using the Annan plan as a reference. We hope that the Greek Cypriot side will give the same response. I have been saying from the beginning that there are two sides to every problem. It is not enough for only one of the sides to take steps, both sides must take steps. Therefore we are waiting to see the stand of the Greek Cypriot side now. Of course, to speed up this process, a very powerful and impartial personality must get involved. This is an issue to which Turkey attaches great importance.
Question: Who is that person?
Answer: Let me not say anything about that, but Turkey's preference would definitely be a powerful name who can make a contribution.
Question: Does Mr Rauf Denktas share your views too? There are reports that your views differ.
Answer: No, no. I saw some press reports today to the effect that there exist differences. That is absolutely not true. Mr Denktas, Mehmet Ali Talat, and Serdar Denktas are all supportive of this latest stand. The issue is being handled together. As you can see from our statements, the issue is being handled with consultations. At the moment there is a broad consensus in Turkey, including the `TRNC´. Question: The US call to the Greek Cypriots. '.
Answer: It is true, it is true. This call was made one day before the honorable prime minister flew to the United States, not while he was there or while he was on the plane. We appreciate that. As I have been saying, the Turkish side should not be expected to do everything. The Greek Cypriot side too has things to do. If the Greek Cypriot side does its share, then there will be hope for a solution."
 The Turkish Foreign Minister thinks the world is amazed because Turkey now is trying to show that it wants talks on the division of CyprusIstanbul NTV television (26.01.04) broadcast live a 45-minute interview with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Mithat Bereket and Murat Akgun.
Bereket starts the interview by approaching the Cyprus issue first and asks Gul to explain Turkey's aim in this regard. In reply, Gul says that the aim is "very clear. There is broad consensus in Turkey and the "TRNC" is part of this consensus." Explaining that "Turkey seeks to start the negotiations," Gul adds that "efforts are exerted to conclude this issue by 1 May." Noting that "the National Security Council [NSC] did not make a decision on Cyprus, but only held a discussion," Gul adds that the NSC issued a press release to this end.
In reply to a question on whether there is consensus among the Turkish Army, the president, and the government, Gul says: "I said at the beginning that there is a broad consensus. This was not achieved in one day. Careful work was conducted by the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff." Gul continues by explaining that, as a result, the impression that Turkey was the "intransigent" side was dispelled both outside and inside.
Recounting the statements issued by Erdogan aboard the plane to Washington, Akgun reiterates Erdogan's "narrowed down" suggestion for a Cyprus solution and Gul says:
"There is no new plan. The plan is out in the open. Moreover, there is no discussion in this regard in Ankara. We seek to start the negotiations with the Annan plan as a reference. This is quiet clear. It is meaningless to discuss the meaning of each and every word. Such things will serve nothing but to undermine Turkey's stand. Everything is very clear. We are exerting efforts to resolve this issue pragmatically. The other side should also display the same understanding, however, in order to obtain a solution. Now, we are waiting as Turkey fulfilled its obligations."
Gul pointed out that it would technically be difficult to hold a referendum on the whole of the Annan plan and said that several proposals are laid to facilitate the process and to show Turkey's goodwill. A referendum could be held on basic issues, Gul noted.
"The important point here," Gul continues, "is for the Secretary-General to talk to the Greek Cypriot side and tell them the following: This is what the Turks are saying. I would like to start the negotiations if you are also along the same lines."
In reply to a question on whether he is optimistic with regard to the EU and Mr Annan´s stand and whether they will put the pressure on the Greek Cypriot side and the Greeks, Gul says: "This is their business. We fulfilled our obligations. From now on, nobody has a right to ask us to try and resolve the Cyprus issue. Nobody has a right to say this anymore."
In reply to a question from a viewer on whether Gul believes that a solution will be achieved by 1 May and whether this is possible practically, Gul says: "No. The solution may not be ready, but nobody has a right to say something to us if a solution is not secured from reasons beyond our control after we fulfilled our responsibilities. This, in itself, is a great achievement. We are not in a position to agree to those things which we do not believe in the first place, just because we want a solution by 1 May. We pursue a reasonable and rational line. This, in turn, was met with great amazement by the whole world. It was a positive amazement, however."
Being asked on the issue of a mediator, Gul says: "We cannot call it a mediator really, it is more of a facilitator and an accelerator. More of an important impartial personality." In reply to a question on what will this "accelerator" accomplish that de Soto could not, Gul says that work is under way on some names, adding: "It will be a personality who is superior to him [de Soto]."
Assessing the role Greece assumes in the Cyprus issue, Gul says Turkey's "intention is to have this issue resolved in a satisfactory manner in mutual understanding" adding: "We hope that they [Greece] also behaves in the same manner."
Explaining that the "present situation" with regard to the EU is different, Gul adds that the difference lies in the "obvious political will" and "the apparent consensus." Noting that postponing this issue does not mean that the future will be better, Gul notes that, perhaps, there was more of a chance to get three years ago what is achieved now if more efforts were exerted then. "This is where today's government is different," Gul continues, "this government tackles difficult issues."
In reply to a question on the message that Gul would like to convey to the Greek public, Gul says: "It is very clear. We are exerting efforts to resolve this issue by adopting a compromising stand. You should also take similar steps. It should be known that Turkey will try to resolve the issues not by making concessions and agreeing to things that it does not believe in, but by settling issues between the two sides."
On whether the EU will give a date for accession talks to Turkey if the Cyprus issue is not resolved by the time the EU progress report is published, Gul says: "It will definitely give a date. I am, of course, optimistic. We still have some objective things to accomplish, however."
Explaining that there was an increasing support for Turkey's EU membership in the European public opinion, Gul adds that "public polls in Europe show 50 percent support for Turkey's EU membership."
In reply to a question on the concerns felt in Europe over Turkey's being a Muslim country, Gul says: "On the contrary, Turkey's being a Muslim country will only increase EU's strength." Noting that it is a big asset for Turkey's being a Muslim country, Gul adds that "everybody is aware that Turkey's membership is a great advantage for achieving world peace."
Being asked a question on whether the EU has goodwill, Gul explains that what is important are the values of democracy and human rights. Gul continues by explaining that there are those who want Turkey in the EU and those who do not, just like in Turkey.
In reply to a question on whether Turkey is satisfied with the situation in Iraq, Gul says: "It is in the interest of Turkey to have stability in Iraq." Noting that "there is a great transformation and change in Iraq," Gul adds that "change does not come without pain." Recounting that "everybody is against the formation a federation based on ethnic basis," Gul says that the "United States and the regional countries said so repeatedly." "There are some news movements in question," Gul continues, "but, we hope that everybody will adopt a realistic line."
In reply to a question on whether the United States gave a promise to Turkey, Gul says: "Yes. Of course. President Bush confirmed this in his conversations with our honorable president. President Bush also confirmed this at other platforms." "It is all very clear-cut. The neighboring countries have also confirmed that Iraq's territorial and political integrity will be protected and that the resources of Iraq will belong to all Iraqi people. Within this framework, of course, there will be some flexibility.
Asked what Turkey's reaction will be if there are efforts at forming a federation in northern Iraq, Gul says: "What kind of a federation? There are different styles of federations." Upon being recalled that there is a de facto situation and structure in northern Iraq, Gul says: "We do not say anything to the continuation [of the de facto situation] We must be realistic. Nobody can agree to a structure, which will cause a separation, however. Yes, there are structures already existing there. We must respect them and be realistic. Moreover, all of these have come true by the support of Turkey."
In reply to a question on the messages he will give to President Bush and Dick Cheney on the Kirkuk issue, Gul says: "We will talk about the whole of Iraq as we have a right of say on Iraq because it is our neighbour. Certainly, there are issues which we feel uneasiness." Gul continues by explaining that the injustice committed toward the Turkomans in Iraq and that this had to be rectified.
Upon being asked whether he is optimistic with regard to this visit to the United States Gul says: "I am, of course, optimistic. It is a very important visit. It is very important. Two political things happened after our government was established. There was the question of my official visit in summer. It was a more problematic period then. All these things were surmounted and everything was put back on the right track with regard to the Turkish-US relations. During the prime minister's visit, everything will be handled once again. The Turkish-US alliance is very old, it dates back 50 years."
Noting that the "difficult period with the United States because of the 1 March motion was overcome," Gul adds that "the Turkish-US relations are now laid on a healthy basis."
In reply to a question on whether the United States has goodwill on the PKK/KADEK [Workers Party of Kurdistan/Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan], Gul says: "Some steps have been taken a couple of days ago. Some new agreements were concluded. It goes without saying that the stage reached is not satisfactory, however, we do not think that the United States will show weakness on this issue. A country, which is leading the struggle against terrorism and suffered from terrorism, now understands better." Noting that "there is a weakness on this issue," Gul expresses belief that it will not continue in this way.
In reply to a question on whether the Untied States asked for a second air base, Gul says: "There is no such thing."
 Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader on developments in Turkey regarding the Cyprus problemIstanbul NTV television (26.01.04) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas replied to NTV's questions on the telephone on the meetings held on 25 January and his meeting with General Hilmi Ozkok, chief of the General Staff. Denktas said that he was pleased with his meetings, adding: "Turkey is conducting certain negotiations. It is impossible to disclose the details at this stage."
Mr Denktas stressed that agreement has been reached with Turkey over all the issues, he views the National Security Council decision positively and that there cannot be referendum if there is no agreement, adding: "If we reach an agreement, we must take it to the Assembly. We will ask the Assembly for a decision to hold a referendum."
Asked to comment on Prime Minister Erdogan's proposal for a new mediator, Denktas replied: "The Turkish Government wants the problem solved quickly. An influential mediator whom the Greek Cypriots can accept is being sought. I hope they will find one and that he will influence the Greek Cypriots."
Ankara TRT 2 Television (26.01.04) broadcast that Mr Denktas at Esenboga Airport prior to his departure for Cyprus, made the following statement:
"I saw press reports to the effect that I was in disagreement with the honorable Prime Minister [Erdogan] on this issue. The report gave the impression that there was a disagreement, a discord. This is totally concocted. It is totally erroneous. There was no such issue. The motherland is looking for a way to speedily resolve the issue. This is what we have observed. As for the issue of a mediator, this is mostly aimed at facilitating the issue, what they call a facilitator. It has been translated into Turkish as mediator, though I believe it differs from a mediator. An aide has been sought between the two sides, or the need was felt for an aide between Turkey and the United Nations. There is nothing we would like to say on this issue."
Ankara Anatolia (A.A) (26.01.04) reported from occupied Nicosia, that Mr Denktas, concluded the contacts he held with Turkish officials in Ankara and returned to the occupied areas.
A.A reports that acting in an unprecedented manner, Mr Denktas read his statement from a written text at occupied Lefkoniko Airport.
Noting that he held "comprehensive and beneficial talks" with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and General Hilmi Ozkok, the chief of the general staff, Denktas added: "I am returning to the island with the strength and morale I received from Ankara."
Noting that at this stage it is impossible for him to disclose the details of the meetings he held in Ankara, Denktas continued: "As can be appreciated, we have a negotiation process ahead of us. It would not be right to disclose our negotiating position at this stage. I, however, can state that we reached a unity of views on the points which are important for the Turkish Cypriots in all the issues we discussed."
Reiterating that they view the decision taken by the National Security Council as "a positive and appropriate one," Denktas said that they will undertake their mission with regard to the Cyprus problem within this framework and continued:
"What is important for us is to reach a just, lasting, and comprehensive solution that will guarantee the existence, security, sovereign equality, and bizonality of the Turkish Cypriot people. We are ready to actively work with our government toward this goal."
Pointing out that the Cyprus issue will have an important place in the contacts Erdogan will be holding in the United States, Denktas said that they "will give the final shape to their stand following a reassessment of the situation in the aftermath of Erdogan's contacts in the United States."
 Statements by Talat after meeting TUSIAD officialsAnkara Anatolia (A.A) (26.01.04) reported from Istanbul that the so-called Prime Minister, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, on Monday met with the executive board of Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) headed by Omer Sabanci.
Responding to questions of journalists following the meeting, Mr Talat said: "TUSIAD's approach for democratization and for the process of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue have always encouraged us. TUSIAD put forward the necessity of finding a solution to the Cyprus question. TUSIAD's approach has very positive impact on the Turkish Cypriots."
When asked what his sine qua nons were for the Annan plan, Talat said that his thought on this issue was not very important, and noted that the important thing was which point they would reach.
"Because this process has more than one players. We are also one of them. Discussing it in detail especially at bargaining level has many disadvantages. I cannot say what our sine qua nons are for the time being since we have to say them at the negotiation table," he noted.
Reminding that Prime Minister Erdogan had put forward the proposal for appointment of a mediator to resolve the Cyprus issue, Talat said: "He did not give information about role, mission and authorities of the mediator. Therefore, I do not want to make any comment for the time being."
When asked: "It was claimed that Prime Minister Erdogan would propose appointment of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as the mediator during his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush. Do you have any information?" Prime Minister Talat said: "I do not know anything about these claims."
When asked, "do you support the proposal about the narrowed document?" Mr Talat said: "The most important thing is to find a solution till May 1, 2004. The Greek Cypriot side will become a member of the EU on May 1. If we fail to find a solution till this date, Turkey will face serious obstacles such as Turkey's EU process, Turkey's recognizing the `TRNC´, visits of Greek Cypriot officials to Turkey as a EU-member country and impacts of the Greek Cypriot side's membership to the EU both on Turkey and the `TRNC´. When we take all these into consideration, we have to find a solution to the Cyprus issue till May."
 Ecevit stated that nobody knows what Erdogan means when he refers to the issue of mediator for CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily BIRLIK newspaper (27.01.04) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, met with the chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DLP) and Prime Minister during the Turkish invasion to Cyprus, Mr Bulent Ecevit. As the paper writes the meeting took place after a request addressed by Mr Denktas.
Speaking during the meeting with Mr Denktas, Mr Ecevit criticised the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as regards the statements the latter made considering the mediator in the Cyprus problem. "The esteemed Prime Minister refers to the mediator. What does he mean with this nobody, neither Mr Denktas knows", said Mr Ecevit.
The leader of DLP also said that Mr Denktas is a statesman with a great experience and added that Turkey must take into account his views, not only regarding Cyprus, but in other issues as well.
 Mustafa Akinci stated that we need Alvaro de Soto and that the non-solution of the Cyprus problem is not de Soto's faultTurkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (27.01.04) reports that the chairman of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) Mr Mustafa Akinci strongly criticised the later statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas regarding Mr Alvaro De Soto. Mr Akinci made these statements after a meeting he and the leader of Solution and EU Party, Mr Ali Erel, had at Cyprus Hilton yesterday with the Prime Minister of Luxemburg, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, who is visiting the Republic of Cyprus.
Akinci said that despite the fact that the Turkish Cypriot leader did not play a positive role during the Cyprus talks, Denktas accused Mr De Soto that he did not help towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. "The time we have ahead us is limited, so we believe that we need Mr De Soto and his team who know in details the Cyprus problem", said Mr Akinci.
In addition, Mr Akinci stated that while starting the Cyprus negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan, it is absolutely necessary to have the referenda results by April, and added that we will not be led anywhere with "open date" talks.
"The real goal is not to be seen that we want solution, we must truly want solution. Therefore, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan must not withdraw his condition for referendum and all sides must decide regarding this", said Mr Akinci.
 Talat describes as "very hard" the condition set by the UN Secretary – General to act as mediator in case of a disagreement on the Annan PlanTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.01.04) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) and so-called prime minister of the occupation regime, Mehmet Ali Talat has described as "very hard condition" the condition set by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan to act as mediator in case of a disagreement between the sides at the Cyprus talks.
In statements he made yesterday in Istanbul at a workshop on the Annan Plan organized by Turkey's Economic and Social Researches Foundation (TESEV), Mr Talat argued that among their main targets was meeting the referendum condition set by the UN Secretary – General and create the environment for the beginning of the talks towards reaching a solution in Cyprus.
"Therefore", he continued, "I think that the details of the plan are problems for later".
Referring to the condition set by the UN Secretary – General for referendum, M Talat noted: "Saying that 'I am permitting you to negotiate until a certain date, but afterwards I will fill up the gaps and we shall submit the text to a referendum' is a very hard condition".
Mr Talat refrained from making any specific comments on Prime Minister Erdogan's proposal on the issue of appointing a new mediator. Mr Talat noted that it would be better if the side, which had made this proposal, explained what it meant. Mr Talat said: "'They personalize this with the former special advisor of the UN Secretary- General, Mr Alvaro de Soto. They are putting De Soto in the place of the mediator. Therefore, I do not think that it is very appropriate for us to discuss this issue. I think that it would be much more appropriate if the person, the authority that prepared and proposed this explained what they mean. However, if you say 'why as the prime minister of the TRNC you are not interested in such issues, I would say that the important thing for us is that we are determined for a solution'".
Referring to the presence of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, at the negotiating table Mr Talat argued: "'A mediator has been proposed. A mediator has a role to play. What will be this role is a different issue. However, it is wrong to say that this job could not be done since there is a person in this dynamic process that has become the symbol of the non-solution. And we are dealing with the preparation of the ground at the moment. We have come a long distance in this direction. '".
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Turkish Cypriot daily says that the Turkish side did nothing substantial to show that its intransigent stance on the Cyprus issue has changedTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (27.01.04) strongly criticizes the Turkish side's proposal for changing the UN Secretary – General's special advisor for Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto and supports that the stance of Turkey does not prove it wants reaching a solution.
The paper writes, inter alia, the following in its daily "Letter from AFRIKA" column:
"Turkey has not accepted the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations, but only as reference. 'In the announcement of the National Security Council it is said 'taking as reference the Annan plan'. That is, actually what they want is not the Annan plan. The basis is something else. The Annan plan, however, could be taken into consideration together with this basis. This is what is understood for the NSC's announcement.
However, the Greek Cypriot side's approach to the Annan plan is more advanced. They accept the plan as a basis for negotiations, not as a reference. 'Turkey is not even saying this. It is still insisting on the reference, but it is acting as if it ensured superiority against the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of showing good will. 'Those who are ready to swallow this up are doing so. For example the USA declared how satisfied it is by this announcement, as if the NSC has made a serious step in Cyprus. Some important western media publish unbelievable things such as 'Turkey has opened the way for a solution in Cyprus'.
The situation is the same after the meeting between Annan and Erdogan' (The climate created) is as if Turkey said yes to everything the Greek Cypriots say no. 'What has happened? Has Erdogan said that we are ready to go to referendum if we agree with Papadopoulos? 'Has he not said to Annan what Papadopoulos is saying? Then, why a storm is created as if Turkey made steps forward?
Erdogan said he had made a proposal to Annan on the issue of the mediator. He does not like De Soto. Is he more advanced on this issue from the Greek Cypriots? I wonder, does wanting to inactivate De Soto, who is the main architect of the Annan plan, who is such a diplomat and specialist on the Cyprus problem, mean that you want more a solution? Since when is the side which does not object to De Soto, the side which supports the non-solution?
I wonder, will someone not come out and ask Erdogan: 'What have you done and you say that you support more the solution?'"
 Columnist in HURRIYET assesses the decision of the National Security Council on Cyprus. The Turkish Generals have reportedly been assured by PentagonIstanbul HURRIYET newspaper (25.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Ferai Tinc under the title: "Turning point at National Security Council meeting":
"The decision made by the National Security Council [NSC] on Cyprus reveals a very important development, mainly, that Turkey has overcome its mental deadlock.
Yes, despite the fact that nothing has changed since the Copenhagen summit last December, the participants in the NSC meeting will refer to the Annan plan--which was categorically rejected last year--in their decisions today.
Therefore, the latest NSC decision on Cyprus can be considered a first. The participants in last month's NSC meeting deemed it sufficient to only use the expression "support to the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General." The issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem was until yesterday a breaking point between the soldiers and the civilian administration.
As recently as a few days ago those who are in favor of maintaining the current status quo used to say that "the soldiers do not want a solution to the Cyprus problem" by relying on the contradiction between the views expressed by the soldiers and those expressed by the civilian administration. I wonder what these people will do now in the face of the NSC's new approach toward the Cyprus issue. Those who view Turkey from abroad also believe that Turkey's soldiers do not want a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Noting that Turkey is ready to accept a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the Annan plan, the Guardian said in its yesterday's issue: "The guarantees that Turkey's soldiers have received from the Pentagon lie behind the softening in these soldiers' stand." The Pentagon officials have reportedly reassured Turkey's generals that a united Cyprus would not call for any self-sacrifice from the military perspective.
I do not believe that the NSC based its decision on Cyprus on the Pentagon's guarantees. The Americans were engaged and are continuing to engage in lobbying activities as much as the Europeans do in order to have a solution accepted based on the Annan plan.
A message may have been conveyed to Turkey's soldiers within this context. However, do Turkey's soldiers need US guarantees in order to make this kind of a decision on Cyprus?
The endeavour of columnists to push the will of the soldiers to the forefront in their articles stems from the fact that their past habits have changed into prejudices or even expectations. These circles are being nurtured by the presence of generals who still bitterly criticize the politicians in this country, which has witnessed three military coups in 30 years. However, things have begun to return to normal in Turkey. The differences of views existing among the institutions or within the same institutions may be eliminated through negotiations. Well, the latest NSC decision on Cyprus is a historic decision because it can be considered evidence that these differences of views can be eliminated through negotiations.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will discuss the Cyprus issue with UN Commission President Romano Prodi in Brussels on Wednesday [28 January], because the Annan plan also needs the support of the EU. The EU Commission's guarantee is needed in order for the special conditions of an agreement to be lasting.
On the other hand, the introduction of amendments a year after Cyprus gains EU membership to certain regulations on the pretext that these regulations do not comply with the EU criteria may disrupt the balances.
Moreover, there is a direct relation between the Annan plan and Turkey's EU membership. In the event that the EU fails to make a serious and convincing initiative on the start of the EU accession talks this year, it would be impossible to implement this plan even if signatures are put to it.
Therefore, there is great benefit in following Annan's visit closely in order to see the steps that we would take ahead of us."