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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-02-03

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.22/04 03.02.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey´s leader of the main opposition criticizes the government over its policy over Cyprus.
  • [02] The Turkish Prime Minister explains the mentality with which his government approaches the solution to the Cyprus problem.
  • [03] State Minister Atalay says that Turkey's Cyprus policy is a state policy and takes into consideration all their traditional sensitivities.
  • [04] Ecevit criticizes Erdogan's Cyprus policy.
  • [05] Agar criticizes Erdogan's statement regarding territorial concessions.
  • [06] The Turkish Minister of Defence stated that there is no concession regarding Cyprus.
  • [07] The chairman of Nationalist Action Party, Devlet Bahceli, stated that Turkey is in a "position of a giver" as regards Cyprus.
  • [08] The leader of the Motherland Party stated that the undertaking of a mediator of the USA is a strategic mistake.
  • [09] The Kurds of Northern Iraq accuse Turkey of being behind the attacks against their party headquarters.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist in CUMHURIYET assesses the latest Turkish government stance regarding the Cyprus problem.
  • [11] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses the Turkish Cypriot leader´s expected reaction in view of Ankara´s move for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey´s leader of the main opposition criticizes the government over its policy over Cyprus

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (02.02.04) broadcast that the Republican People's Party Chairman, Mr Deniz Baykal, made the following statement on Cyprus during the ceremony to exchange holiday greetings with party members in Antalya:

    "The [negotiating] table has not been set yet. It is not clear whether someone will sit on the opposite side of the table. An agreement has not been reached yet. If you start saying what you may be forced to say as the last word before you even sit at the table, can you possibly serve Turkey's goals? We are starting by announcing in the media that we are ready to make territorial concessions in Cyprus. The negotiations have not even started yet. My dear friends, these matters are being conducted in the wrong way. This is my definite conviction. Turkish foreign policy is beginning to display a dangerous trend of disintegration."

    [02] The Turkish Prime Minister explains the mentality with which his government approaches the solution to the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that his government did not support the mentality of "give and get rid of it" for Cyprus.

    Mr Erdogan, who exchanged greetings with the Justice and Development Party (JDP) members and citizens at the party's Istanbul Province Headquarters, noted: "No one in the government approaches the Cyprus issue with the logic 'give and get rid of it'". Mr Erdogan criticized those who support this view and added that in Turkey there are still some circles, which want to preserve the status quo. "They want to force us to stay locked inside, but they will not succeed in this", he continued.

    Arguing that Turkey and the occupation regime in northern Cyprus have made the necessary steps, Mr Erdogan alleged that Turkey, as a guarantor power, is determined to make every step needed to solve the Cyprus problem.

    The Turkish Prime Minister said they appreciated the good offices mission of the UN Secretary – General and alleged that the Turkish side had made its steps by accepting the Annan plan as a point of reference for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Referring to those in Turkey who criticize his Cyprus policy, Mr Erdogan noted: "Along the lines of the sour grapes syndrome, some people invented the category of those who want to give and get rid of the problem. No citizen of the Turkish Republic who carries the notion of being a citizen in his soul and in his feelings would approach this issue on the basis of the mentality of give and get rid of it'".

    Commenting on the debate in Turkey on the issue of making concessions from the occupied territory of Cyprus, Mr Erdogan reminded that statements on this issue had also been made in the past. Furthermore, he criticized the Media for the way they covered the issue and said: "Be helpful on this issue, do not deceive our nation. We have decided not to make the Cyprus problem an issue of exploitation at the local elections".

    [03] State Minister Atalay says that Turkey's Cyprus policy is a state policy and takes into consideration all their traditional sensitivities

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Turkey's State Minister, Besir Atalay said yesterday that Ankara's Cyprus policy is a state policy and takes into consideration all the sensitivities of the Turkish side.

    In statements during meetings he had with delegations of some Turkish political parties, Mr Atalay noted that the Cyprus problem is openly discussed in Turkey and not behind closed doors.

    KIBRIS writes that the delegations expressed their concern about Prime Minister Erdogan's statement regarding making territorial concessions in Cyprus. Answering these concerns, Mr Atalay said, inter alia, the following: "'As Justice and Development Party and as government, we are holding Turkey's head high and we are protecting all our traditional sensitivities. 'The territorial issue is something to which Denktas referred and came onto the agenda during the talks. During the negotiations before the Annan plan these issues came onto the agenda from time to time. The state policy we are following at the moment are approaches which aim at taking into consideration all our sensitivities, protecting all the sensitivities of both our territories and the Turkish existence in Cyprus and considering the future of the Turks in Cyprus, their living better and more peacefully. '".

    Responding to accusations of Mr Sefaktli, deputy chairman of the Nationalist Action Party (NAP), that JDP's Cyprus policy is full of zigzags, Mr Atalay said: "We have no zigzags. We are heading towards the direction we have said. This is unfair. We do not want to discuss this on this beautiful festivity day".

    [04] Ecevit criticizes Erdogan's Cyprus policy

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Bulent Ecevit, leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DLP), has criticized the Cyprus policy of Prime Minister Erdogan.

    In statements during exchanging greetings with members of his party, Mr Ecevit said: "The esteemed Prime Minister promises by himself to make great concessions to the Greek Cypriots. He has no authority to do this. This issue could be decided only with Mr Denktas and his government'We think that the government is seriously dangerous not only for the regime but for our national unity'".

    Finally, Mr Ecevit described the statements of Mr Erdogan during his USA visit as "unacceptable and causing great concern".

    [05] Agar criticizes Erdogan's statement regarding territorial concessions

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Mehmet Agar, leader of Turkey's True Path Party (TPP) criticized yesterday Prime Minister Erdogan for his statements regarding the possibility of making territorial concessions in Cyprus.

    Mr Agar said: "I have something to remind to those in Turkey who are easily making statements on the issue of giving territories. Of course we support negotiations, agreement and solution. However, there is something that should be known. That lands are not plots of vacant land reserved for special use by the municipality. They are territories taken with blood".

    [06] The Turkish Minister of Defence stated that there is no concession regarding Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Mr Vecdi Gonul, the Minister of National Defense of Turkey, stated that there is no such thing as concessions being made on Cyprus and said that everything would be discussed during the negotiating period.

    Answering reporter's questions during a gathering at the Justice and Development Party's Headquarters for the Kurban Bayram celebration, Mr Gonul said that it would be wrong to look at the Cyprus issue as "making concessions", but every matter concerning Cyprus would be discussed at the negotiating table. "The subject of territorial concessions will also be taken up," he added.

    [07] The chairman of Nationalist Action Party, Devlet Bahceli, stated that Turkey is in a "position of a giver" as regards Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Mr Devlet Bahceli, the chairman of the Nationalist Action Party (NAP) stated that the Greek Cypriots are successful in every issue regarding the Annan Plan and added that Turkey is in "a position of a giver" regarding the Cyprus problem. Mr Bahceli made these statements during a celebration which took place in his party's headquarters for the Kurban Bayram.

    Mr Bahceli said that nobody must present this "state of a giver" as a success for Turkey and added that as regards the soil that was gained during the "1974 Peace Operation in Cyprus", as he said, it maintained the existence of the pseudostate. "Where and why will you give it?" he asked.

    In addition, the leader of NAP stated that any decision taken by the Turkish Government, which is outside of the national priorities of the state line and the National Security Council, must not be carried out.

    [08] The leader of the Motherland Party stated that the undertaking of a mediator of the USA is a strategic mistake

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.02.04) reports that Mrs Nesrin Nas, the chairman of the Motherland Party stated that the undertaking of the role of mediator on the part of the USA is a strategic mistake and said that this means that Turkey plays wrongly the cards in its hands.

    Mrs Nas said that the USA for the time being are in election period and therefore no politician in America would do anything to anger the Greek Cypriot and the Armenian lobbies which are related to each other, by taking a step or to support Turkey.

    [09] The Kurds of Northern Iraq accuse Turkey of being behind the attacks against their party headquarters

    The Turkish mainland daily HURRIYET newspaper (03.02.04) reports in its front page under the banner headlines about the suicide attacks in Erbil, North Iraq, on the party headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK )of Celal Talabani and the Kurdistan Democratic Party ( KDP) where at least seventy people died as a result of two attacks.

    The paper then refers to "pro-Israeli" website Debka in the Internet in which the Kurdish leader, Mr Talabani accused the Turkish intelligence of being behind the explosions and complained to the USA. Talabani told a group of US officials, among whom the Deputy Defense Minister, Mr Paul Wolfowitz, that "the attacks were organized by the Turkish intelligence, which wants to annihilate with a single action the Kurdish leadership. This is quite clear".

    On the other hand the PUK and the KDP officials told the Agency France Press that the organization "Ensar el Islam", which took the responsibility of the attacks, is being supported by neighbouring countries headed by Turkey and Iran.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist in CUMHURIYET assesses the latest Turkish government stance regarding the Cyprus problem

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET newspaper (01.02.04) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Arcayurek under the title: "Beating the vintager while eating grapes":

    "Some say that he is changing his position depending on prevailing conditions while some others claim that he is pursuing a hypocritical policy.

    According to some observers, he is formulating policies especially aimed at pleasing his master in the United States although those policies have nothing in common with the strategy formulated in Ankara and even turn it upside down and thus shift the course of the Cyprus question to another direction.

    In a sense, an argument frequently voiced by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is the main reason behind his attitudes which are perceived by international observers as a sign of his readiness to give Cyprus up and thus get rid of the problem.

    In response to various statements and reports emphasizing that the final decision about the Cyprus question would be made by the NSC [National Security Council], Gul said: "The NSC is an advisory organ and it rests with the government to make the final decision."

    The underlying logic in his words was reflected by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the speeches he delivered in Washington and Davos.

    Without even consulting with the NSC, Erdogan is pursuing a policy, which, he believes, is in line with his give-up-and-get-rid-of strategy and there are doubts whether that policy was actually debated and endorsed by the whole Cabinet.

    He has finally spilled the beans.

    In a statement he made in Washington to a group of columnists, whom he treats more favorably based on a three-tier classification of Turkish journalists he has made, Erdogan made the following comments about an allegation that had triggered a long debate about its veracity (in fact it was about the most important aspect of the Cyprus issue):

    "The UN Secretary-General has set four preconditions to resume the negotiations. He says that efforts should be made by both sides based on goodwill; a timetable should be set for the negotiations; he must be vested with the power to find a solution to issues that cannot be settled by the parties, and finally a referendum must be held on a possible agreement. We have told both the Secretary-General and the US government that we would accept those preconditions should they be also accepted by the Greek Cypriot side."

    Erdogan and Gul, who form a duo, are formulating a policy on their own. They disregard not only their own party and the rest of the cabinet, but also the President, the NSC and the military with whom they closely cooperate to formulate policies. They take steps concerning national issues without consulting others or getting their opinions before making a decision.

    If the Greek Cypriots eventually accept Annan's preconditions, Turkey will enter a road of no return.

    Erdogan reiterated on various occasions in the past that holding a referendum would make no sense unless a compromise was reached in the negotiations. He voiced and defended that view in the last NSC meeting. What about now? He is pursuing a totally contradicting policy after making a U-turn in Davos and Washington.

    As Republican People's Party Chairman Deniz Baykal has recently pointed out, Erdogan seems to have accepted the idea that any remaining disagreement should be settled by Annan and a referendum should be held on the final document even if the parties could not reach a full compromise.

    It is almost impossible to oppose the hardening conviction that what Erdogan tells to the public is totally different from what he says behind close doors and that his latest comments were tantamount to making a commitment although no consensus had been reached in Turkey about the matter.

    The acceptance of the precondition that a referendum should be held even if there is no compromise has a clear meaning: Turkey has endorsed the Annan plan without requesting any revision to the original text.

    Baykal was definitely right in saying that the steps taken by Erdogan, who is pursuing self-formulated policies, were in conflict with our national interests.

    I want to underline: "that those steps may eventually end up with handing over Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots".

    It is probably a foregone conclusion as we have an insensitive media, apathetic non-governmental organizations, businessmen advising the government to give up and thus get rid of Cyprus as well as a self-proclaimed "great statesman" and his supporters.

    In spite of that insensitivity and inertia, Denktas Snr., the `TRNC government´, or, to put it more correctly, the DP [Democratic Party], the junior partner of the coalition government, have yet to express their opinions about the idea of holding a referendum on a document which may not be fully agreed upon. Nobody can predict what they would do if such an unprecedented referendum is eventually held.

    Erdogan's initiative is actually designed to persuade the `TRNC´ to sign its own death warrant.

    Could one assume that the `TRNC government´, especially the DP will accept Erdogan's latest overture?

    We should not forget that the last tango is going on and there are some powerful establishments in the `TRNC´ which would never accept Annan's conditions and thus put themselves at the mercy of the Greek Cypriots in spite of Ankara's stance.

    Erdogan was quoted as saying in the United States that "their intention was to eat grapes, not to beat the vintager."

    In fact, the duo is beating the vintegar while eating the grapes grown by him as a result of painstaking efforts."

    [11] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses the Turkish Cypriot leader´s expected reaction in view of Ankara´s move for a solution to the Cyprus problem

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (02.02.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "What will Denktas do?":

    "Prime Minister Erdogan announced a clear policy on Cyprus:

    "We accept Annan's conditions. We are ready to negotiate."

    Thus, the prime minister has agreed to submit the provisions of the agreement, patched up by Annan, to a referendum even if a consensus is not reached with the Greek Cypriots.

    It is known that this policy is out of keeping with the National Security Council's decision. This incompatibility is not found important because the NSC "is an advisory body".

    However, the position of Mr Rauf Denktas, who is said in the NSC declaration to be the interlocutor for talks, is different.

    Will Denktas take to the policy announced by Prime Minister Erdogan? Will he negotiate in keeping with this policy? In fact, will he still consent to be the interlocutor?

    In view of the fact that he is not "an advisory body" Mr Denktas and the position he will adopt will influence developments. The strongest objection Denktas had about the Annan plan was that it carried with it the condition of an immediate referendum even without a consensus being reached. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued that he had to put up with these conditions. Denktas took every opportunity to say that putting the text to a referendum without an agreement first being reached with the Greek Cypriots was unacceptable. He even said this was why he did not sign at The Hague.

    Is Denktas aware of the policy that Prime Minister Erdogan announced? Are we talking about a policy they agreed upon earlier?

    As far as we know Denktas did not know that Erdogan was going to make such an announcement. He was only able to follow through the press Erdogan's meetings in the United States.

    Is Denktas going to conform with this line drawn by Erdogan?

    It is difficult for Denktas to sit down to negotiations under these conditions and accept an automatic referendum.

    It is highly likely that under these conditions Denktas will review his position as interlocutor and in connection with this, feel a great need to speak once again with Prime Minister Erdogan.

    Of course, this question is not one that fails to come to mind:

    Is this the aim of Erdogan and his government? Is the aim to use this method to remove Denktas, who could not be removed during the elections? Is it expected that Denktas, who it is known will reject these conditions, remove himself from the talks and even from the presidency?

    In reply to the question, "Would Denktas pose a problem?" Erdogan said: "I do not think so. Mehmet Ali Talat will be at his side." Does he even care whether Denktas is there or not? If Denktas is still seen as an obstacle -- and that is the case -- then his removal might even create some pleasure.

    An understanding in which Denktas is not trusted and that sees Talat as a kind of "gendarme" standing next to Denktas may persuade Denktas to leave the field and sit on the sidelines of his own accord.

    After Prime Minister Erdogan's announcement of "immediate acceptance" will the Turkish side have any bargaining power in talks with the Greek Cypriots? After the assurances announced to the world public by Erdogan can we expect the Greek Cypriots to give concessions to the Turkish side? In response to Ankara's new approach, which in one respect includes acceptance of the Annan Plan as it is, will the Greek Cypriots even need to exert any effort?

    One can find more questions to ask.

    If Prime Minister Erdogan acted on the assumption that the Greek Cypriots were not going to accept anyway, this means he is bluffing. However, if the Greek Cypriot side calls his bluff then he will not be able to make a second move.

    But if Erdogan's aim is to accept the Annan Plan conditions and all, and to make the Turkish Cypriots accept it, then there is going to be a serious political problem between Erdogan and Denktas after the Feast of Sacrifice.

    This problem could go as far as Denktas refusing to be interlocutor, and further down the line leaving the `presidency´.

    It is clear that Prime Minister Erdogan's announcement in the United States hit Denktas first."

    /SK


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