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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-02-17

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.32/04 17.02.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader upon his return to the occupied areas from New York.
  • [02] Talat hopes for international support to limit further the rights of the Greek Cypriots.
  • [03] Talat speaks on the prospects after the New York agreement.
  • [04] Turkey supports that the method adopted in New York is what Erdogan suggested to Simitis in Belgrade.
  • [05] NTV broadcast that the leaders of Germany, Britain and France will discuss Cyprus tomorrow.
  • [06] The Turkish side speculates on the result of the referendum and supports that the Greek Cypriots will be in a difficult situation in case they say "no" to the solution.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in RADIKAL: The Turkish Cypriots will own half of the state and 28% of the land with 20% population.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader upon his return to the occupied areas from New York

    Istanbul NTV television (16.02.04) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, in a statement at occupied Lefkoniko Airport upon his return to the island, said that this is not the time to celebrate on account of a victory, and added: "A very big problem is now on the table to be settled in a very short time and under very difficult conditions."

    Pointing out that there was no question of not going to New York once Turkey accepted the Annan plan as a negotiable document, Denktas explained that he participated in the New York talks after receiving assurances from Ankara with regard to his sine qua nons.

    Denktas said: "During our talks with Ankara, we received guarantees that Turkey will support us to the end with regard to our sine qua nons. I am underlining this fact. Everyone knows what these sine qua nons are. In other words, the Cyprus issue is not going to be settled in a way that will be managed by the Greek Cypriots. It will be something that will take the existence of two equal peoples as the basis, that will not overly dilute the principle of bizonality, and that will include Turkey's guarantee. We went to New York after we received Turkey's concrete guarantees on these aspects."

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriots want to live in Cyprus in agreement and conciliation and as two equal partners, Denktas said we will see if this will be secured in the upcoming negotiations. Denktas pledged to work to this end. Denktas stressed that finally the decision will be made by the people.

    Denktas stated: " Now, the Cyprus issue has turned into an issue that will be conducted with the participation of Turkey as well at the negotiating table. We want the assurances given to us, the assurances given to us with regard to the sine qua nons, to be defended until the end, and a solid agreement to emerge from the negotiations. We will see what will happen all together, and the final word will be said by the people."

    Denktas remarked that it is not important if he is pleased with the current process, adding that the negotiation door was opened after Turkey deemed the Annan plan negotiable because of its EU process, and Turkey is pleased with this.

    [02] Talat hopes for international support to limit further the rights of the Greek Cypriots

    Istanbul NTV television (16.02.04) broadcast that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called prime minister of the occupation regime made a statement to NTV on the "Close Range" program. He said the following on the process to be pursued from now on:

    "In reality, there are many issues that are under discussions. We have made an assessment. We really have certain vital issues. As you can appreciate, it is not possible to discuss these issues here. The following, however, should be known. The solution with a referendum that is expected to resolve the Cyprus issue is most vital for us. If a solution is not reached by May, then the course of the Greek Cypriots is set. They will be acceding to the EU. Reaching a solution is extremely important for us. Naturally, it is also most important that this solution will be reached through a referendum. We are getting prepared in that direction. We do not see failure as an option. We should definitely succeed. We should attain a result. This result will, naturally, be attained while safeguarding our rights. You might say that the date of the referendum is set and that the person who will fill in the gaps is determined. In other words, ultimately the Annan plan will be submitted to a referendum with slight changes. You might say that if this road map is determined, then how come you are still talking about changing this plan. Yes, I can talk about it, because I believe that our just demands will receive international support. It will be supported by the EU, the United Nations, and the United States. Through this support, we will find the opportunity to change in our favor the issues that we consider to be vital. I believe that to achieve this will be our major goal in the days ahead of us."

    [03] Talat speaks on the prospects after the New York agreement

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (16.02.04) publishes the following interview with Mehmet Ali Talat by Erdal Guven under the title: "Talat: Denktas made a revolution":

    Question: You were worried when going to New York, whereas, now you are rather at ease.

    Answer: There was a conflicting situation when coming here. On the one hand, there were the promises that the Cyprus problem would be solved, that the Turkish side would be one step ahead, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made to President Bush and to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On the other hand, there was the continuing attitude of Rauf Denktas, who had been rather distant from a solution related to the Cyprus problem with his statements and performance up until the present-day. And finally, there was the moderate and pro-solution line of my "government" partner, "Deputy Prime Minister" Serdar Denktas and myself. It was a sign for the "President" to be able to tolerate this approach of the government, but it was not a guarantee that he would act in the direction of a solution. Consequently, there were many question marks in my mind.

    Question: You made a trip with Denktas for over 10 hours. What did you talk about?

    Answer: We continuously talked about these subjects. He was worried and concerned. He had reservations and objections related to the Annan Plan, but he was also seeing the course and the changes, both in Turkey and in the world. I continuously made suggestions to him for a solution. I tried to influence him.

    Question: All right, let us come to the first day in New York.

    Answer: The first day was Sunday. We could not do much. In any case, the delegation from Turkey had not arrived. We started to work the second day, that is, on Monday. I continued to state my views focused on a solution. In the evening, the Turkish Foreign Ministry delegation also joined in the activities. I observed in these talks that Ankara's determination for a solution was continuing. Question: In other words, the 'road map' Prime Minister Erdogan mentioned was at the table.

    Answer: Yes. Of course, this is an approach, it is not a document, etc. We have not come here with a document.

    Question: All right, what was this famous letter brought by the Turkish Cypriot side?

    Answer: That was a text written by Mr Denktas to Mr Annan.

    Question: What was written in the letter?

    Answer: Mr Denktas had written that he was supporting Mr Annan's good offices mission. He was stating that we have come here with good intentions and that we want a solution by 1 May [2004]. That was the famous letter.

    Question: In other words, a solution on the basis of the Annan Plan?

    Answer: Naturally, it was not expressed in this manner, because this was a very sensitive subject. We have not emphasized and we are not emphasizing very much that this was a subject, which disturbed Mr Denktas very much, who had violently opposed and attributed this plan to the devil. But what happened is known.

    Question: What was discussed within the Turkish delegation on Monday?

    Answer: Many things were discussed. The worries were expressed. But there was the following fact: The course was known. There was no other course besides a solution. For that reason, how we would cope with this? That was the subject.

    Question: Let us turn to the first talks.

    Answer: First of all, Mr Annan talked separately with the Greek Cypriot side for 15 minutes and then with us separately for 15 minutes. Then the ternary talks commenced. Both sides expressed their general views and objections related to the plan, the method and the timetable, and especially to the arbitrator position of Mr Annan.

    In response to this, Mr Annan asked, 'All right, what will happen if you cannot reach an agreement among yourselves?' He said, 'A mechanism is absolutely necessary for you to overcome the impasse. Otherwise, it could be impossible to find a solution. Think about this and let us talk again tomorrow'.

    Question: In other words, Mr Annan made a sort of challenge to you by saying that if you do not accept my timetable and position as arbitrator, then this will not work.

    Answer: He did not say that exactly, but he meant to say that and we started to think. We discussed it at length and in the end, we prepared our proposal.

    Question: How did this proposal emerge?

    Answer: In the end, in any case, it was necessary to authorize Mr Annan. We reached the conclusion that we would be able to give this authority to Mr Annan after an activity that would be made with the participation of Turkey and Greece as the guarantor powers. Turkey and Greece could be the safety valve for the sides. Furthermore, the worries of these two countries would also be eliminated. The involvement of Turkey and Greece would also be very effective from the aspect of influencing the communities. In any case, Turkey and Greece have always been within the Annan Plan. Upon this, we prepared a paper in this direction.

    Question: In other words, this proposal was prepared in New York?

    Answer: Yes, but naturally in consultation with Ankara.

    Question: All right, what was the reaction of the Greek Cypriot side when you put this proposal on the table?

    Answer: They were shocked. They could not say anything. They were really not expecting such a thing. Immediately they asked for a recess. They examined the proposal, but could not give an answer. They said, 'It is nighttime in Greece at the moment. Let us talk with Greece in the morning and then give our answer'. Actually, they must have talked with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Evidently he said, 'At the moment, there is no one from the government here and the parliament is not in session. How can we made such a decision?'

    Question: All right, what was Mr Annan's reaction?

    Answer: He found it to be positive and evaluated it as an extremely constructive proposal.

    Question: Later, you started to wait for the response of the Greek Cypriot side.

    Answer: Yes. The answer would be given the following day. It was expected that the talks would last for a total of 40 minutes. When we went for these talks, Mr Annan requested two persons each from the two delegations. First he talked with the Greek Cypriot side. Then Mr Denktas and I went to talk with Mr Annan. Mr Annan told us that the Greek Cypriots also wanted to add the EU to our proposal. We said that we could not accept this. Then the ternary talks started. The Greek Cypriots explained at length why they wanted the EU. Once again, we opposed this.

    Upon this, Mr Annan said, 'We are unable to reach an agreement like this. A shuttle diplomacy should be made. Furthermore, the delegations of Turkey and Greece should also come'. Upon this, the delegations also came and Mr Alvaro de Soto started to go back and forth among the four rooms. More correctly, he never came to us, because we had presented our proposal and we were at ease. Probably, he went to the Turkish delegation one time. Mostly, he struggled with the delegations from Greece and the Greek Cypriot side.

    In the meantime, Mr Annan conveyed to the sides the statement he would make related to the conclusion of the summit. He had added only our proposal to his proposals. The Greek Cypriots became alarmed and started to insist even more on the inclusion of the EU. We definitely opposed the inclusion of the EU in the negotiation process. We also stated that we did not consider it to be correct for the EU to be included at another stage and throughout the night I explained to the UN officials that the EU should not be involved in the matter.

    Question: Why should the EU not be included in the negotiations according to the Turkish Cypriot side?

    Answer: First of all, Greece is an EU member and Turkey is not. The Greek Cypriot side is within the EU with all of its institutions. It is very close to becoming an EU member. We are not in that situation. Furthermore, there is not a single view of the EU. There are many countries within it. Would it be the EU or the EU Commission that would join the negotiations? This was an impossible matter. Furthermore, this was a UN process. The EU should remain outside of this.

    Later, Mr Annan said, 'I will fax you the final form of the statement I will make tomorrow related to the conclusion of this summit. I will expect your "Yes" or "No" answer within two hours'.

    Question: Why did the Greek Cypriots resist against the proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side?

    Answer: First of all, because they have always been opposed to the four-party framework, because they do not accept us as an official counterpart. Secondly, they were also opposed to having Mr Annan fill in the voids. Consequently, they thought, 'At least, let us involve the EU in the matter and let us be more at ease in front of the public'.

    Question: Let us turn to Mr Annan's text.

    Answer: This text was the text in Mr Annan's invitation letter with our proposal added. There was no other change.

    It was even better than I expected, because it was emphasizing once again that an agreement to be reached on the basis of the Annan Plan would be made to conform to the EU legislation and that it would be a part of the EU laws. Mr Annan had put this into the text without our asking for it. This was also something defended by the Turkish Cypriot side. This is very important from the aspect of the viability of the plan.

    The text reached us in the morning. We gave our response of 'approval' without waiting for the deadline.

    Question: And you met for the final talks.

    Answer: Yes. The Greek Cypriots also said 'Yes'. Upon this, Mr Annan thanked the leaders. We also expressed the wish by saying, 'We hope that this time we will reach a solution'.

    Question: Did the talks ever come to a point of breaking off?

    Answer: It did not come to a breaking off point, but it did come to the following point. At the end of that long night, we said to Mr Annan, 'We do not want the EU. Give us your view in this direction'. But we did not say, 'Otherwise, we will leave the table'. We left that vague.

    Naturally, other actors also played a role. The United States was continuously involved. In any case, the US State Department's Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston was here. The US Secretary of State Colin Powell also made telephone diplomacy. The phone connections among Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Mr Powell and Mr Annan worked continuously. The United States was on our side on the subject of not involving the EU in the matter. In any case, the EU also did not want such a role.

    Question: Not only a successful diplomatic move was made on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side in New York, at the same time, a very serious opportunity appeared for a solution. How was this point reached?

    Answer: There is the influence of the 14 December [2003] elections. There is the influence of the fact that it is observed that the situation would be much worse after 1 May [2004]. But most important of all, has been the change in attitude of the Turkish government and Foreign Ministry.

    Naturally, at this point it is necessary to avoid statements and actions, which would make Mr Denktas and his circles uneasy and offended. They accomplished a very important phase. They almost experienced a revolution within themselves. They made a revolution in their own worlds. It is necessary to show respect for this.

    The same observation is also valid for the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

    Now, I think that an approach, which would upset them, would not gain us anything in the upcoming period. The point we have reached is very important and there is a very great share of the revolution I mentioned in being able to come to this point. If the persons and institutions, which we have strongly criticized up until today, have played a role in our coming to this point, then we should give them the value they deserve.

    Question: All right, in your opinion, is there any obstacle in front of the solution process up until the referendum?

    Answer: Naturally, some things could make the solution difficult or prevent it. But this probability is gradually decreasing, because from now on, the sides are focusing on the solution. Naturally, it is not easy to stop this course, to turn it into a different direction after this point. The process has started. But nothing is 100 percent certain. Moreover, we should also see its implementation to believe that the solution has been realized. There could also be accidents. For example, there is the subject of the withdrawal of the Turkish army.

    Let us assume that something abnormal happened. For example, a clash emerged and the Turkish army stopped its withdrawal. Then the Plan could not be implemented.

    In short, there is still a lot of work to do. There is a very painful and very difficult negotiation process. To tell you the truth, the unnecessary obstinacy shown by the Greek Cypriots during these past two to three days, worries me related to the upcoming period.

    [04] Turkey supports that the method adopted in New York is what Erdogan suggested to Simitis in Belgrade

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (17.02.04) the Turkish Justice Minister and Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek said yesterday that the Turkish government welcomed the starting of negotiation process in Cyprus and added, ''what is decided here as a method is the issue which our Prime Minister has suggested to Simitis in Belgrade a while ago.''

    Cicek told reporters after the Council of Ministers meeting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul informed ministers about the developments in foreign policy which happened since the previous Council of Ministers meeting until today. He added that the process in New York was followed together with the press.

    Noting that Turkey and pseudostate had a constructive manner for the solution of Cyprus issue and the decision of the Turkish side has become very determining on starting of this process, Cicek thanked those who had contribution to the process and especially to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas and all members of the delegation.

    Cicek said that the Turkish government welcomed the starting of negotiation process in Cyprus. He added: ''What is determined as negotiation method today is the method which our Prime Minister has suggested to Simitis in Belgrade a while ago. We hope we will reach a happy end and peace and tranquility will be brought to the island with the process that will start on Thursday in Cyprus. We hope events which were experienced in Cyprus before 1974 are not experienced again and a just and permanent peace will be restored. We, as Turkey, are exerting every effort.''

    ''The process which will start as of Thursday is a difficult process. It is a process which we have to work hard. We should exert every effort for the success of the Turkish side in this process. We know what Cyprus means for Turkey and `TRNC'. We know the pains which were suffered in the past. Thus, we will exert all effort to reach a result during the period until May 1,'' noted Cicek.

    He added that as the Cyprus issue was a national cause, it should not be used as a tool in domestic politics, adding that everybody had to be in solidarity regarding Cyprus.

    Mr Cicek further said that Cyprus policy pursued by the government was formed in cooperation with the President, all state units, as well as Denktas.

    ''There is a state policy. Our Foreign Ministry Undersecretary gave information to Republican People's Party (RPP) and True Path Party (TPP) about the outlines and essence of the issue prior to the negotiations in New York. A written reply was also given to the Nationalist Action Party (NAP) upon its request. Information will be given to parliament tomorrow and this process will also continue later. We believe that we will overcome this difficult test together during the process which will start as of Thursday,'' Cicek concluded.

    [05] NTV broadcast that the leaders of Germany, Britain and France will discuss Cyprus tomorrow

    Turkish daily KIBRIS newspaper (17.02.04) reports that the leaders of Germany, France and Britain will meet tomorrow Wednesday to discuss the Cyprus problem and the relations between Turkey and the EU.

    Invoking sources which talked to Turkish NTV television, KIBRIS writes that there was no problem for Turkey being granted a date for launching its accession talks with the EU, but it is a precondition that the EU must rearrange first its institutions.

    [06] The Turkish side speculates on the result of the referendum and supports that the Greek Cypriots will be in a difficult situation in case they say "no" to the solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (17.02.04) reports that in statements to Turkish NTV television Serdar Denktas, so-called deputy prime minister and "minister of foreign affairs, said yesterday that in case the Turkish side says "no" at the referendum which is planned to take place after the conclusion of the Cyprus talks next April, then a better plan than the Annan Plan should be submitted to the Turkish side. In case the Greek Cypriots say "no", added Mr Serdar Denktas, the "embargoes" imposed on the Turkish side could be lifted. In case both sides say "yes", he concluded, a solution will be reached.

    Mr Denktas reiterated that the Turkish side had some indispensable conditions, which are "the acceptance of the equal sovereignty of the two peoples in the island", "strengthening the bi-zonality" and the continuation of the guarantees of Turkey even after Turkey joins the EU.

    In statements to the same TV station, Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called prime minister, said the Greek Cypriots "will not be able to prevent the just demands of the Turkish side in spite of their joining the EU". "If the Greek Cypriots are intransigent, their life will not be easy, the arena is not empty. They will be forced to give the Turkish Cypriots their rights", argued Mr Talat.

    Mr Talat supported that the Greek Cypriot side would get the result it wished in case the Turkish side is intransigent and claimed that if the Turkish side shows a constructive and flexible attitude, like in New York, the Greek Cypriots will not be at ease even if they join the EU.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in RADIKAL: The Turkish Cypriots will own half of the state and 28% of the land with 20% population

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (16.02.04) publishes the following commentary by Ismet Berkan under the title: "The point reached in the EU target":

    "Turkey has passed through another very important threshold, but this does not have the meaning that everything has been completed. There are still many things to be done on Cyprus and there are months, during which we should always be on the alert.

    This threshold, that is, the threshold of accepting the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's conditions for being able to start the negotiations on Cyprus, was just like the threshold, which was the cause of many disputes prior to the acceptance of the EU conformance package in the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] in August 2002, but after which Turkey did not collapse.

    Remember, at that time there were those who said and wrote that abolishing the death penalty, permitting publications and courses in the mother tongue, strengthening the fight against torture and expanding personal rights and freedoms would drag Turkey into chaos and division.

    Which of these happened?

    Did the world collapse on our heads? Did terrorism increase? Did the police become unable to fight against criminals? No, on the contrary, just as a leaf did not stir in Turkey, internal peace was strengthened even more.

    The fact that a course for an agreement on Cyprus has been entered will also create the same effect. No one wants to accept that the essence of this agreement is in favor of the Turkish Cypriot community on the island and Turkey. Those who believed that this is so have not yet been able to clearly state these views up until the present-day in order not to adversely influence the negotiation position of the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Whereas, the Turkish Cypriots constitute 20 percent of the population on the island. The Turkish Cypriots will own half of the state and 28 percent of the lands with this 20 percent population. This time, the probability of not experiencing the ethnic cleansing incidents experienced between 1964 and 1974 on the island is greater than the probability of experiencing them. We will all see together that not as many Greek Cypriots would settle in the north, as some persons attempt to frighten people today, and that basically, those who return would concentrate around the Rizokarpasso region with the influence of the church.

    The Cyprus problem was one of the exaggerations aimed at frightening, just as it has always been done by the anti-EU front in Turkey. We will see that those who wrote incessantly for months about Cyprus and mentioned traitors, the armistice press, etc. will suddenly start not to talk about and not to write about Cyprus.

    The anti-EU persons in Turkey will want to play their final trump cards by the end of this year. And we all know what that trump card is: It is to pull the military into politics in order to topple the JDP [Justice and Development Party] government with a coup d'etat.

    I am expecting that in the upcoming days these writers and speechmakers would make provocations to an unbelievable degree on the subject of secularism.

    Even though the JDP government tries not to give opportunities to these types of provocateurs, the form of existence of this party has the attribute of providing material to these types of persons.

    Especially, when we see that Turkey is left without an opposition in the local elections, I am estimating that the anti-EU front would become even more ill tempered and the statements inviting the military into politics could perhaps even be made under the roof of the TGNA.

    The fact that the RPP [Republican People's Party], the main opposition party, entered into an attitude close to the "Red Apple Coalition", which is being attempted to be established on the active political stage by the NAP [Nationalist Action Party] these days, and the fact that one of the deputy chairmen of the RPP said, "Our views are similar to those of the NAP", is not at all a good omen."

    /SK


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