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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-30

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.20/04 30.01.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The US Secretary of State says we are near a solution but Gul insists that the UN plan should serve as a reference.
  • [02] Press reports that the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem will resume on Monday February 9 in Geneva.
  • [03] Turkey sets up Committee to solve the water and electricity needs of the occupied areas.
  • [04] The "council of ministers" of the occupation regime decided to fire 1.660 employees.
  • [05] Left-wing Turkish parties join forces for the upcoming local elections.
  • [06] Greek from Istanbul says that reopening the Theology Scholl of Halki will be very useful for Turkey.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Former Turkish Foreign Minister accuses Mr Erdogan of coming fully in line with intransigent Denktas and causing confusion.
  • [08] Columnist in MILLIYET supports that Erdogan´s visit to the US will strengthen his hand on issues like Cyprus, which Turkey keeps under military occupation since 1974.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The US Secretary of State says we are near a solution but Gul insists that the UN plan should serve as a reference

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.01.04) reported from Washington that the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, said on Thursday that they were very close to a solution to the Cyprus problem. Mr Powell and the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, replied to questions of reporters after meeting in Washington.

    Powell said that he thanked Gul for the recent efforts Turkey has made to align itself with the Annan Plan, adding that there was still much more work to be done, but there was an opportunity that they hoped to seize, hold referenda, resolve outstanding issues and hopefully get it all done by May 1.

    Powell said that he promised that the United States was ready to make every type of contribution to find a solution to the Cyprus issue and told Gul that he would get personally involved as necessary to work with the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the parties to try to find a solution for this long-standing and most difficult problem.

    When asked what his role would be in the Cyprus issue and whether he would be a mediator, Powell said that he would not and added that Mr Annan put forth a plan, he considered Annan's plan as a good plan and both sides were responding to the demands of Annan at the moment. He said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made important statements in the weekend and the United States were supporting both sides, adding that they were not the mediator and interlocutor in this issue. Powell said that Gul preferred to consider him as facilitator.

    When a reporter asked Gul whether he accepted the Annan Plan, Gul replied: "We will consider this plan as a reference and we can work on it and we will. Negotiations will start and the Annan Plan will be a reference."

    Replying to questions about the autonomy demands of Iraqi Kurds, Powell said that they had a common understanding on Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity and added that Iraq's natural resources would belong to the whole of the Iraqi people and those were main issues they agreed on.

    Noting that serious talks were carried on in the region now, Powell said that the United States' top administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer was in contact both with the Iraqi Governing Council and Turkish officials.

    Powell said that he told Gul that the U.S. policy was Iraq's remaining as a single country and existence, and its resources belonging to the whole Iraqi people and that its administration should belong to a central government.

    Powell said that they would launch "appropriate activities" regarding the terrorist organization PKK and added that they shared the uneasiness of Turkey about the activities of PKK. He said that they discussed Syria and Iran issues as well.

    Upon a question of a reporter, Gul expressed the desire for Syria making peace with Israel.

    Gul said that Syria wanted the peace process to be more comprehensive and the process to include Lebanon as well.

    Noting that Syria had to take some steps, Powell said that he did not see that Syria took sufficient steps.

    Mr Powell finally said that Syria should avoid keeping mass destruction weapons and transferring weapons to Palestinians. He added that Syria could not be serious about good relations as long as it transferred weapons that were killing innocent people in Jerusalem.

    [02] Press reports that the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem will resume on Monday February 9 in Geneva

    Under the title "The most critical 50 days for Cyprus", MILLIYET newspaper (30.01.04) publishes a report in its back page by Mrs Yasemin Congar, Washington correspondent of MILLIYET.

    In her report Mrs Congar says that the US Secretary of State, Mr Colin Powell, called the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and asked him to resume the Cyprus negotiations. Congar then quotes an unnamed US official to have said: "There are fifty critical days between 9 February and 31 March. If this period is properly assessed, the agreement could be reached. Then it could be possible to hold referendum prior to 1 May´."

    Congar notes that Mr Colin Powell after meeting his Turkish counterpart Gul told the press that: "We are close to a solution in Cyprus".

    On the same issue local KIBRISLI newspaper (30.01.04) reports, under banner headlines "9 February" in its front page, that according to reliable sources close to the White House, the resumption of talks is planned to take place on February 9 in Geneva.

    In the same report the paper writes that a new formula has been devised to put Mr Rauf Denktas aside, from the talks.

    [03] Turkey sets up Committee to solve the water and electricity needs of the occupied areas

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.01.04) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Hilmi Guler, said on Thursday that Turkey formed a committee to solve the electricity and water needs of the occupied by Turkish troops part of Cyprus. The so-called Agriculture, Forestry and Energy Minister of the occupation regime, Mr Rasit Pertev visited Guler.

    Following the meeting, Guler told A.A correspondent that the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Salih Pasaoglu was appointed as the head of the committee.

    Mr Guler said that the committee would inspect the transformers, the communication lines and the production facilities in the occupied areas and work to overcome problems.

    Noting that water was an urgent problem for Cyprus, Guler said that Turkey would try to solve the water problem in the coming months.

    Stating that there were alternative water projects, Guler said that the committee would examine those projects, make a decision and then Turkey would put into practice the projects.

    On his part Mr Pertev said that he and Guler decided to further improve cooperation between Turkey and the occupied areas.

    [04] The "council of ministers" of the occupation regime decided to fire 1.660 employees

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.01.04) reports that during its meeting yesterday the "council of ministers" of the occupation regime decided to fire 1.660 persons who had been "illegally" employed and without being needed to the various "state departments" before the 14 December "elections".

    The decision will affect those who had been hired within the period 1 August 2003 – 13 January 2004. According to the decision an investigation will be conducted against those who hired these people.

    The decision will be applied after the Muslim Festival of Sacrifices.

    [05] Left-wing Turkish parties join forces for the upcoming local elections

    Turkish Daily News (30.01.04) reports that according to Cihan News Agency the Socialist People´s Party (SPP) Chairman Murat Karayalcin told a press conference on Thursday that members of the left-wing parties including the Democratic People's Party (DPP), Labour Party (LP), SPP, Freedom and Democracy Party (FDP), Socialist Democracy Party (DP) and Free Turkey Party (FTP) have decided to form an alliance for the upcoming local elections in Turkey.

    The local elections are scheduled to take place on March 28, 2004.

    Karayalcin said that the left-wing parties had reached an alliance deal by preserving their identities as well as their differences.

    Democratic People's Party (DPP) chairman Tuncay Bakirhan, LP leader Levent Tuzel, SPP leader Murat Karayalcin, DP Chairman Hayri Kozanoglu, SDP Chairman Akin Birdal and FTP Chairman Ahmet Turhan Demir, held a joint press conference in Ankara to declare their intent to join forces to contest the local elections.

    Karayalcin, noting that the left-wing parties had failed to unite in the past, told reporters that they had finally reached an alliance by brushing aside old disputes.

    Stating that they were forming an organized alliance, Karayalcin said, "For the first time, we do not care under which party umbrella we gather or who the chairman of the united left-wing parties will be. We are ready to embrace every party no matter what they may have stated in the past."

    [06] Greek from Istanbul says that reopening the Theology Scholl of Halki will be very useful for Turkey

    Turkish Daily News (30.01.04) publishes the following report on Dimitri Frangopoulo, a Greek born in Istanbul who continues to live there:

    "Dimitri Frangopoulo, is a strong person despite the burden of his age. Dimitri Frangopoulo, still delicate despite all the pressures of life, is a person who has always been happy living in Turkey. Born in 1928, Frangopoulo is the eyewitness of the problems of minorities living in Turkey. Saying that he wished they hadn't experienced such days, Frangopoulo explains the reason why minority populations, who are the real owners of Istanbul, decreased:

    "First the Wealth Tax was put into force. Then the September 6-7 [1955] events took place. Later people holding Greek citizenship were deported. I was a witness of this. I was studying in school at that time. My close friends, guardians, the parents of my school friends were deported under bad conditions. I am greatly saddened when I think of it. Their leaving on one hand, the situation of the families who stayed here, and students' leaving the school on the other, these are upsetting. Of course the families who went to Greece from Turkey, and the ones who stayed here, communicated with each other via phone or letter. The economic situation of Greece was very good then. They asked their friends, who were getting poorer here, to come to Greece. So emigration started. One hundred twenty thousand people including those of Greek origin gradually decreased. At present the population is about 2,000."

    After studying in primary school on Istanbul's Buyukada, Dimitri Frangopoulo graduated from the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee [Private Fener Greek Boys' High School]. Later he studied at the University of Athens' Faculty of Philosophy. He graduated in 1954 and returned to Turkey. He worked as a teacher in the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee from which he had graduated. He experienced the September 6-7 events in Izmir. After completing his military service, he was appointed to Zografyan High School. He worked as a teacher for four to five years and as a director for 35 years at the Zografyan High School between 1958-1993.

    Subtitle: Values gained through education

    Dimitri Frangopoulo, who says that he will attend the 550th anniversary celebrations at the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee, expresses his respect for his school, saying, "I always feel proud of being a student of an historic school which educated important scientists. The things that I learned there oriented my life. I want to express my gratitude to my teachers. Most of them are still my friends. This is very important for me."

    We don't need to think of a reason why Dimitri Frangopoulo has a positive personality. When you enter the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee, silence draws your attention. There is neither the crowdedness of the city nor the problems of daily life here. Its silence reminds us of a temple, gives peace. The major factor creating this environment is human. The modesty of teachers is seen in their graduate students.

    When we ask whether or not there are important people among the graduates of the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee, where Frangopoulo worked as a teacher for some time, his answer shows the importance that he attaches to humans:

    "There are many important people who graduated from the Ozel Fener Rum Erkek Lycee and have been working in various countries of the world. If I forget one of them, they may be hurt. Therefore I'll give the names of my two students who are professors at Bosphorus University: Prof. Dr. Yorgo Istefanopoulos and Prof. Dr. Yani Sharlatos."

    He explains his relations with his students, "Whenever I go to Athens or another European country, my students never leave me alone. All of them are sedate and sincere people. I thank them for their love and respect for me."

    Dimitri Frangopoulo explains how the decrease in the population of non-Muslims living in Turkey affected the number of students in the minority schools. "Generally, this year's situation is the following: There are seven primary schools. It was 45-46 in 1950s. The number of secondary school students is 65, primary school students is 109. As a result, the number of students in our community is 209. Additionally, we have two nursery schools, there are 14 students here."

    Subtitle: Influence of Papandreou for Turkish-Greek friendship

    Dimitri Frangopoulo evaluates Turkish-Greek relations as follows: "After [Yorgo] Papandreou started working, Turkish-Greek relations improved. I believe that a good statesman can solve the problems. Papandreou is a very good statesman and I trust in him very much. I believe that there will be positive developments in Turkish-Greek relations, friendship will be stronger. Papandreou has been making positive efforts for Turkey's European Union membership. What I desire is Turkey's EU membership, this will be good both for the country and the community. Turkish economy will improve and we will feel better. From the point of our own community, emigrations to Greece or other countries because of economic problems will disappear. Turkey will finally have access to the EU."

    Frangopoulo, who believes that re-opening the Theology School on Halki island will be very useful for Turkey, explains, "The people who will graduate from the Theology School in Halki will go to different countries of the world as priests. This is a very nice opportunity for Turkey's promotion. You can promote a country as well as the people living there. Therefore I find the initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew positive and believe that he will be successful in the opening of the school.""


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Former Turkish Foreign Minister accuses Mr Erdogan of coming fully in line with intransigent Denktas and causing confusion

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET newspaper (28.01.04) publishes the following column by former Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Sukru Sina Gurel under the title: "While seeking an 'intermediary'...":

    "When [Prime Minister Recep] Tayyip Erdogan set off on his trip to the United States, he made statements both on the ground and in the air during his journey. The lines of the state policy announced after the National Security Council [NSC] meeting in which he as well had taken part were rather clear. But the things the Prime Minister told journalists have caused considerable confusion. Let us first of all try to clarify these.

    Tayyip Erdogan said that they want to entrust the [Cyprus] issue to a mediator, and that they consider that this individual should be a respected and experienced statesman who is not from a country that is a party to the dispute. He added as well that the task of naming this mediator falls upon [UN Secretary-General Kofi] Annan. The task of correcting this statement, which was incorrect in every aspect, has fallen upon others. Indeed, for Annan, who is himself not a "mediator", to appoint a mediator for himself, and to do so without feeling any need for an arrangement with the two sides to determine this individual's authority, was simply not in the cards. In the end, it has been understood that Tayyip Erdogan's intent was for a new "Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General" to replace Alvaro de Soto.

    Second was Tayyip Erdogan's proposal for negotiations to be held over a "shortened, narrowed text". This, in fact, was a statement that should have been understood as the expression, in a soft form, of a desire to escape from the Annan bind by saying "Let us keep the Annan plan at our sides, but let us reformulate the real framework for the negotiations". But there were some "Annan supporters" in the press who wanted to interpret this as "Let us simplify the Annan Plan."

    Third was Tayyip's commitment of "If there is an agreement, then we will take it to a referendum." Moreover, this was not just a statement made to the press, but the announcement of a promise that had been made by Tayyip Erdogan to Annan himself. The "Annan crowd" wanted to interpret this, as well as his having added "We will always be out in front of the Greek Cypriot side", in terms of "See, Erdogan has accepted the precondition of a referendum; bravo!" Naturally, however, the really important thing is what Tayyip Erdogan said to Annan, and what Annan understood from what he was told.

    We have no idea what the Prime Minister said to Annan, or how Annan understood this, but we should know, from looking at the decisions that came out of the NSC meeting in which Erdogan had also taken part, what he should have said. We can conclude that the Prime Minister would not act contrary to decisions that had been reached with his own participation, and that he would not be able to make promises outside of the state policy that was laid out. In fact, we can even consider what messages he should be conveying to the US President.

    The things that we do know at this point are as follows:

    1. Turkey's stance vis-ŕ-vis Cyprus was determined at the NSC meeting.

    2. This stance is oriented toward reducing the pressures on Turkey and, if possible, reaching a settlement that will protect the rights and interests of the [Cypriot] Turks.

    3. Just as the Annan Plan is not the main basis for negotiations to be carried out for a settlement, it is not at all the only basis.

    4. It is considered that, by taking the realities on the island (and in particular the sovereign equality of the `TRNC´ as a point of reference, and by taking the Annan Plan as one point of reference, talks can be held.

    5. There can be no question of our yielding to the impositions that Annan has placed before us with his plan.

    Consequently, Turkey has now forthrightly rejected the imposition that came when he put the plan before the various parties in November of 2002. What were these impositions and preconditions? Some 14 months ago, Annan spoke to the parties in question as follows: "Look at my plan, and either accept it or reject it within a week; you cannot fill in the empty spaces in the plan; I will fill them in. Even if you should reject it, you will hold a referendum prior to the Copenhagen EU summit meeting in December of 2002." This insistence did not end in December of 2002, but a deadline always remained on the agenda, with the conditions being changed.

    Now the government of Tayyip Erdogan has come around to the stance of those who, like myself and Denktas, had opposed the imposition approximately 14 months ago by saying "The Annan Plan cannot be accepted as a basis for negotiations, and in fact it makes no sense whatsoever to hold a referendum on a document on which no agreement has been reached, and which even has empty spaces on it." Following a lengthy process... and after deep divisions have been created in the `TRNC´, after the "occupation press" in Turkey has gone crazy, and when the time is almost up in terms of our relations with the EU...

    If only Tayyip Erdogan had had his current understanding back then, and had not, when setting out on his visit to Europe at the beginning of November 2002, said that "We are prepared to settle the Cyprus issue on the basis of the Annan Plan and as a package, in conjunction with getting a [membership] negotiations date from the EU." If only he had not targeted Denktas from then until just recently, and instead had listened to what he was saying... Oh well, we should be thankful for this at least [i.e., that Erdogan has finally "come around"]...

    But there are things that have to be paid attention to now... First, in the 20-minute "one-on-one" stroll on the White House lawn that Tayyip Erdogan is going to take with George W. Bush, there absolutely has to be someone at their side who knows good English and Turkish. In this way, his [or "their"] "skills" at misunderstanding and misstatement can be limited. Second, in the press conference at the exit from the White House, a Turkish-to-Turkish [as published] interpreter should be present. We must not allow misunderstandings.

    Take note: When Israeli Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon heard that Tayyip Erdogan, at Davos, had said "Israel has also advised that it has accepted our proposal to intermediate between Israel and Syria", he reportedly fell out of his chair in surprise and immediately launched an investigation in the Foreign Ministry by saying "Who gave this impression to Turkey?"

    Let us not, while seeking mediators, and while seeking to be mediators, ruin our own relationships just when we are being singled out for reward!"

    [08] Columnist in MILLIYET supports that Erdogan´s visit to the US will strengthen his hand on issues like Cyprus, which Turkey keeps under military occupation since 1974

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (29.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Sami Kohen under the title: "Strategic toning with the United States":

    "Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's US visit has two dimensions. The first dimension consists of the talks held between US President George Bush and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the issues that are currently on the agenda such as the Cyprus and Iraqi issues. The second is the impact of this visit on the Turkish-US relations...

    There is no doubt that the Bush-Erdogan meeting is at the forefront of the people's interest. The results of these talks will be discussed extensively in the coming days. However, the direction that Prime Minister Erdogan's visit will give to the Turkish-US relations occupies an important place in the wide framework of the picture...

    Let me recall the wound that the failure of the bill [on foreign troop deployment to pass from the parliament] in March 2003 inflicted to these relations; a formidable number of individuals believed in those days that the "strategic partnership" between Turkey and the United States came to an end. This atmosphere changed at the end of 2003 and both sides felt the need to revive the mutual relations.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the United States came at a time when the relations between the two countries were normalizing. This visit also coincided with a time when Erdogan's "hand was strengthened" on issues such as the Cyprus and Iraqi problems, the struggle against terrorism, the changes taking place in Islam, and Turkey's regional role.

    The assessments made in Washington and Ankara following last year's unfavorable developments revealed the need to place the US-Turkish relations once again on their right track. Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the United States has retained its priority importance in Turkey's foreign politics. The political and military presence of the United States in Iraq is strengthening this importance.

    Turkey cannot solve the problems it is encountering concerning Iraq (such as the initiatives that the Kurds make in northern Iraq and the activities that PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] carry out in the region) without the presence of a good dialogue with the United States... The Turkish diplomacy needs the support of the United States on a number of issues ranging from the solution of the Cyprus problem to obtaining a date for the start of the EU accession negotiations... As a matter of fact, Turkey's interests and vision coincide with those of the United States on a number of issues. It is true that Turkey and the United States display differences of views on a number of issues such as the northern Iraqi issue. However, keeping the partnership spirit alive is the only way to eliminate these differences of views and to move into action in a united manner...

    The policy that the Turkish government is presently pursuing aims at realizing a strategic toning with the United States and at broadening the fields of cooperation with this country. This policy also coincides with the aims of the United States. Washington has also perceived the fact that it needs Turkey. Consequently, it is giving an important place to Turkey in its foreign relations.

    Meanwhile, the speculations made after the Iraqi war to the effect that Turkey's geo-strategic importance diminished in the eyes of the United States did not prove to be true. The incidents taking place in Iraq after the war is keeping Turkey's importance (for example, the importance of the Incirlik base) alive for the United States even from the military perspective.

    The "change in the Islamic world" thesis that the JDP [Justice and Development Party] supports and the importance of the "model" that Turkey represents are some of the main reasons why the Bush administration gives importance to Turkey from the perspective of its regional and global policies.

    The aforementioned qualities presently carry as much importance for Turkey as its geo-strategic importance. However, eliminating a number of obstacles completely ahead of the Turkish-US relations will not be an easy task. The problems regarding Iraq, in particular, may constitute serious obstacles ahead of these relations.

    Yet, placing the Turkish-US partnership on its right track is possible with the help of this new "strategic toning."

    /SK


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