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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-02-20

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.35/04 20.02.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefed the press on the first day of the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
  • [02] Talat wants legal adjustments to prevent the European courts from taking decisions against the violation of the human rights of the Cypriots.
  • [03] The political alliance between the Justice and Peace Party and the Nationalist Justice Party came to an end.
  • [04] Statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the second meeting under UN auspices for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Commenetary in Turkish Daily News supports that the Turks will be the real winners after New York.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader briefed the press on the first day of the talks for a solution to the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (19.02.04) broadcast statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas made in occupied Nicosia after the first meeting with President Papadopoulos under UN auspices for a solution to the Cyprus problem until May 1st.

    Following are his opening statement and his replies to questions: "The basic issue is the existence of two sovereign founding peoples and the birth of a common central government that will be deriving from these peoples.

    That state of affairs was also called for by the Ghali Set of Ideas. Why has that been changed now? We discussed that. But it remained pending. Derogations are very important for us. We must ask for derogations related to many of the EU norms in order to be able to secure bizonality and guarantee the rights of the two peoples. They will have to be included in the main EU laws, which are known as Primary Laws. We discussed that. What we were told can be summed up as follows: We cannot instruct the EU. We have not yet reached an agreement on the derogations.

    We said that Greece, as an EU member, should avoid asking for rights that will exceed those of Turkey until Turkey joins the EU. That is required for maintaining the balances between Turkey and Greece. We also said that obstacles must not be placed against Turkey to obstruct it from using its equal rights on Cyprus.

    Economic issues are another important matter. We need a transition period to be able to attain the Greek Cypriot side's economic level. Otherwise, the strong Greek Cypriot economy will wipe out our weak economy. So, we said that necessary measures should be taken to protect us during the transition period. Meanwhile, we said that our special relations with Turkey must be maintained and that EU membership must not impede them.

    The Greek Cypriot demands were not unexpected because the Greek Cypriot media organs clearly disclosed what we were told today.

    We have concluded the following from what we have been told: Cyprus is now an EU member. An agreement has been reached and the EU norms have been accepted. So, there is no need to play with them. All that there is to be done is to look into how you will be able to fit in.

    Naturally we have responded to all that.

    If you read the Greek Cypriot newspapers today, you will see that they have disclosed everything their leaders conveyed to us.

    We have been informed that the constitutions of the two constituent states should comply with the EU principles and international law.

    That is what they call for. However, we said that we have rights that are outside that framework. These are special rights and they must be protected by derogations.

    They [Greek Cypriots] discussed the question of settlers and immigrants, asking who should have the right to vote and stressing that settlers must not have the right to do so. Naturally, we reminded them that according to our `constitution´, we have citizens, not settlers. We said that arguing that some of our citizens can vote and others cannot do so is impossible. They said that we should find a solution. We informed them that the solution is to change the `constitution´ but we do not intend to do so. They insist that we should change our `constitution´. I believe that their intention is quite clear. Their approach is wrong. We have neither asked nor inquired about who the Greek Cypriots granted citizenship for many years in the past. They said that they are prepared to provide a list of names. The problem cannot be solved with such an approach. The people in north Cyprus are the citizens of the `Turkish Republic of North Cyprus´. Those who voted during the last `elections´ have the right to vote again. Those who attained the age that will allow them to vote since the last `elections´ will use their right to do so.

    We have hundreds of thousands Turkish Cypriots living abroad. They, too, have the right to vote. It is true that our `laws´ do not allow them to vote at the present time. However, the Greek Cypriots are well-aware of why our people left the island, beginning in 1955.

    They claimed that the transition period can be reduced because of the agreement reached with the EU. The transition period is very important for us. Reducing it is out of the question. The temporary measures we need must be maintained without being changed during this period.

    They said that the members of the Presidential Council be increased from six to nine and their term of office be extended. We have not discussed that in detail.

    They also said that they will be prepared to discuss matters related to property, immigrants, and territory if I bring up the subjects. As I said earlier, they mentioned all that.

    We made a decision to have the list of international agreements and basic laws finalized. The committees will continue to work on that.

    They outlined a paragraph related to the cost of the agreement, the viability of the state, and the establishment of committees. A special committee will work to establish the cost of the solution. We reiterated that the right of the Turkish Cypriots to receive compensation for what they suffered from 1963 to 1974 must not be forgotten because the agreement to be reached must be based on reciprocal trust and sincerity. So, our people, who have waited for an agreement to receive compensation for what they suffered from 1963 to 1974, must not be forced to wait again.

    What we discussed in addition to all that was related to technical issues.

    That is what went on today. We were asked to provide information tomorrow on where the temporary buildings that will house the central government will be located. We also were asked to establish where the permanent buildings to be used by the central government will be located. We will discuss that tomorrow.

    In short, what we concluded from our contacts today can be summed up as follows: The Greek Cypriot side, feeling comfortable as an EU member and believing that we, too, are a member, is prepared to receive us in its framework. I hope that they will gradually change their approach.

    Question: You said that they do not want the settlers to be able to vote. Do you mean that they do not want them to vote in the referendum?

    Answer: Yes, in the referendum.

    Question: Mr Denktas, you said that they do not want a bizonal structure. Do you mean to say that the UN objects to the structure?

    Answer: No, Tassos Papadopoulos objects to it. The United Nations has supposedly agreed to bizonality. However, it is common knowledge that the Organization linked bizonality to the re-settlement of 80,000 Greek Cypriots. So, an entirely Greek Cypriot administrative mechanism will be established in the Greek Cypriot side. However, the mechanism to be established in the Turkish Cypriot side will be mixed. We do not agree to that. We want the number of people to settle among us to be reduced. We also want measures that will facilitate the solution of the problem of property. We do not even want to think of what the Greek Cypriots might do to the Turkish Cypriots if they are allowed to settle among us before the problem of property is solved.

    Question: Have you proposed a figure?

    Answer: We did not propose a figure today. However, we will do so. Do not be hasty. We will inform you every day.

    Question: You said that leased property is included in the problem. Have you discussed that as well? Answer: Yes, that is right. However, we did not discuss the matter in detail. We had a general discussion on the problem.

    Question: Gunther Verheugen said when he emerged from the meeting that the agreement to be reached has to comply with the EU norms. You said a short while ago that he informed you that he is prepared to give you a verbal or written guarantee that would conflict with what he later said when he emerged from the meeting. Have we understood you correctly?

    Answer: Yes, you have. I am unable to understand the situation. On the one hand, he says that and, on the other, he argues that derogations were recognized to some of the European countries, for example derogations were recognized to Malta because it is a small country. We asked how they can be recognized. Are they recognized by the parliaments of each member country? That is what we are aware of. We believe that that is the right course. However, the process takes a long time. We asked whether a shortcut exists. He said yes and noted that the EU Commission has been empowered in that regard. Nevertheless, he argues that the agreement must comply with the EU norms.

    Question: Today's newspapers argued that the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey in connection with the referendum is 30-70 percent respectively. Can you explain?

    Answer:I have said that Turkey has informed the world that it can solve the Cyprus problem by 1 May. It has pledged to contribute towards the solution of the problem. It said that the Annan plan, which the majority of the people believe to be dangerous, can be discussed. Furthermore, it opened the door to the talks. It is true that Turkey has created a more flexible situation. Within that framework, we said in New York that Turkey should be involved as arbitrator. We secured that to a certain extent. So, we expect Turkey to support us on matters which we believe are dangerous.

    Question: Mr Denktas, the settlers'.. Answer: That is related to the essence of the problem. The Greek Cypriots call not only for the prevention of settlers from voting but also for their withdrawal from the island because they are foreigners, not Cypriots.

    Question: Mr Denktas, do you believe that an agreement can be reached at the end of the talks?

    Answer: Do not ask me such a question because you will report tomorrow that Denktas does not want an agreement. I know all of you quite well. I know the members of the press. So, do not ask me such a question. My duty is to inform you on the realities. I promised to do that. I will work together with my colleagues to solve the problem.

    Question: Mr Denktas, have you contacted the Turkish Government after your meeting today?

    Answer: A Turkish delegation will arrive today. We will hold talks with them.

    Question: Will you meet every day?

    Answer: Well, the UN officials said that we should meet every day. However, they will see how difficult that will be. I believe that we might eventually decide to meet once every two days or so many days every week.

    Question: Whose idea was it?

    Answer: It was Alvaro de Soto's idea. The two sides agreed because none of them wanted to create the impression that it is trying to avoid or prolong the process. Let us wait and see. We will meet every day if we are able to do so.

    Question: Are the weekends included?

    Answer: No, I insisted on not meeting at the weekends. They did not promise anything. They said they will consider it. I might fly to Turkey to attend a number of conferences at the weekends towards the end of March. I informed them on that. We will act accordingly.

    Question: Was the possibility of holding talks abroad discussed?

    Answer: No, the matter was not discussed. However, we talked about the possibility in New York. We might travel abroad to meet the UN Secretary-General when he is in Europe if necessary. Or, we might go to New York for that purpose. The matter might probably be considered at end of the current process.

    Question: it seems that the guarantors will not be systematically contacted.

    Answer: No. However, the EU officials said that they will continuously work with us to be able to establish whether the Turkish and Greek Cypriot laws comply with the EU norms. In other words, that will be outside the framework of the talks. So, we will try to find a formula for that.

    Question: Have you discussed the question of guarantors?

    Answer: No, we did not discuss that today. However, we said that from a psychological point of view we want the special derogations to be valid until Turkey joins the EU. We also said that Turkey's military presence on the island in accordance with the Treaty of Guarantees should be maintained on the island. Turkey might join the EU in 15 or 20 years. The matter can be decided in the future if everything goes well in Cyprus and if the people on the island and Turkey and Greece agree that they feel comfortable. To ease our people psychologically, we informed the EU officials that we have to tell our people that this guarantee will continue to exist even after Turkey joins the EU.

    Question: Mr Denktas, from an economic point of view'.. Has Verheugen mentioned anything about the EU''

    Answer: Verheugen said that they will provide economic aid. He proudly said that they will be able to provide in five years the amount of aid we receive from Turkey in one year. He said that a special package can be extended. However, we want to have a sound basis for the house we plan to build. The question of aid can be considered later.

    Question: We understand that we will meet here every day. Is that right?

    Answer: Yes, that seems to be the case.

    Question: At what time will the briefing take place?

    Answer: At about this time.

    Question: The main newscasts are at 1300 [local time].

    Answer: No, it cannot be at that time. We would be returning from the talks at about that time.

    Question: Did you discuss a news blackout?

    Answer: No, we did not discuss that today. I would have objected. A colleague criticized me for saying that we should maintain a transparent approach and inform the people every day. That has to be the way because we suffered from the news blackouts in the past. We remained silent. Our people were not informed. However, the Greek Cypriots were informed. We were told when we complained that information should not be leaked. So, instead of playing such a game, we should be open. And, as I mentioned earlier, the Greek Cypriot media organs published everything that was to be conveyed to us today. We read them in the Greek Cypriot press and then we were informed on everything we read when we attended the meeting. So, why should a news blackout be imposed to force me to keep my mouth shut? Thank you."

    [02] Talat wants legal adjustments to prevent the European courts from taking decisions against the violation of the human rights of the Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.02.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called prime minister of the occupation regime, said yesterday that the Greek Cypriots could not be prevented from appealing to EU courts and added that the issue is finding legal ways to prevent the courts to take decisions against the violation of the human rights in Cyprus.

    In statements after the meeting that the Turkish leadership had with Mr Gunter Verheugen, the European Commissioner responsible for the enlargement, Mr Talat said that in case the EU Commission decides so the agreement to be reached in Cyprus could be adapted to the constitution of the EU. Noting that with an official written statement the EU gave the Turkish side guarantees on this issue, Mr Talat said that Turkish experts should study this (statement).

    Asked whether or not guarantees have been given on the issue of the derogations in the solution from the acquis communautaire, Mr Talat said: "Of course. Since a long time the Greek Cypriot side is trying to question whether or not the Annan Plan is in harmony with the EU laws. They are claiming that the plan should be harmonized with the constitution of the EU. Verheugen has stated very clearly that during the preparation of the Annan Plan, negotiations were made with the EU and that the plan is not contrary to the EU laws. Therefore, I would like to say this: The Greek Cypriot side must not hide behind the constitution of the EU and try to abolish the privileges provided for the Turkish Cypriots (in the Annan Plan). Of course, we shall bring this issue onto the agenda within the process".

    Asked whether or not the Greek Cypriots could be prevented from appealing to the courts, Mr Talat argued that appealing to the court could not be prevented. The issue is using legal means to prevent the court from taking decision against us, he alleged.

    On the same issue Istanbul NTV television (20.02.04) broadcast that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, who held a working luncheon with Verheugen on 19 February, said that the Commissioner gave both oral and written guarantees with regard to the derogations.

    He said: "They gave written guarantees as well. They made a statement on the issue. It was given in written form as well. They also made an official statement. Naturally, these guarantees have to be studied by our experts."

    Referring to the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR] rulings, Talat said that the path of recourse to the court cannot be closed to anyone, adding that the solution should be to establish a legal basis that will enable one to struggle against unfavorable rulings.

    Dervis Eroglu, chairman of the main opposition party, who also met with Verheugen, charged that there are no guarantees.

    He said: "We asked Verheugen whether the ECHR would accept personal applications. He refrained from giving a clear reply. We got the impression that he tried to avoid the issue."

    [03] The political alliance between the Justice and Peace Party and the Nationalist Justice Party came to an end

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.02.04) reports that the executive committee of the Nationalist Peace Party stated that the alliance between the Justice and Peace Party and the Nationalist Justice Party came to an end. The two parties formed a political alliance for the so-called elections held in the pseudostate last December.

    [04] Statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the second meeting under UN auspices for a solution to the Cyprus problem

    According to CNN TURK TV Channel (20.02.04 11:00 hours) the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, at the end of today's second meeting made a statement to the press during which he disclosed what they discussed this morning.

    He said that today the issues of government buildings and choosing of the national anthem and flag were discussed and a committee made up of three persons from each side will be appointed to work on this issue. He went on and said that they did not discuss issues of substance. He also declared that because of the Greek religious holiday the talks will continue on Tuesday.

    To a question why today's meeting was short Denktas replied: "We too did not understand. I think that either the Greek Cypriot side or Alvaro de Soto are waiting for something so they did not discuss any other subject."

    When asked if there were any agreement on the government buildings issue, Denktas said: " Both sides will appoint a person who will look into the matter. At this stage they are considering the use of the buildings at the airport. They will see what kind of repairs these buildings need. The Greek Cypriot side will put forward its ideas after consulting the Land Registration Office. We think about the Ledra Palace. As for the judges, each side will submit three names together with three foreigners' names".

    When asked whether he was told about the "news black out" Denktas said that Alvaro de Soto reproached him but he did not pay any attention. He went on and said: "I promised to my people. If the people are not informed about a plan which will be put on a forced referendum in a short time then the people will make wrong decisions. I want the people to go to referendum knowing what they are voting for, so that later on they will not blame anybody.

    The same concern prevails on the Greek Cypriot side as well. The Greek Cypriot side is in great efforts in explaining to the people about the advantages and the disadvantages of the Annan plan, because it is not explained to the Greek Cypriot side as well.

    So, the referendum issue is our destiny, our future, it is an issue whether we will live in Cyprus or not. It is a serious issue and since they have, through imposition, made us to negotiate the Annan plan we are trying to change the parts of the Annan Plan that we want to be changed. If we succeed it's good, if not we will tell our people openly about the pros and cons of the plan. I hope at the end nobody will accuse me.

    When asked about the atmosphere of the talks Denktas stressed that it was very friendly and that they joked, "The atmosphere was very good", Denktas stressed. Denktas further said that soon people who are well versed in EU laws will join them in the coming days.

    When asked about maps, Denktas said that he did not see any maps.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Commenetary in Turkish Daily News supports that the Turks will be the real winners after New York

    In a series of two commentaries on the resumption of the talks for the solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, journalist Mehmet Ali Birand praises those who contributed to the success and assesses the gains and losses for the two sides.

    In yesterday´s (19.02.04) commentary, which starts with the phrase "a defeat is an orphan, but success has many parents", Mr. Birand cites Erdogan, Gul, General Ozkok and Ugur Ziyal as the main actors for the success on the part of Turkey. On Turkish Cypriot side Mr Birand praises Mr Talat, Serdar Denktas and Mr Rauf Denktas, who although against the Annan plan, took into consideration Turkey´s long-term interest and played a key role.

    In today´s article Mr Birand praises Simitis, Papandreou, Powell, Thomas Weston and Verhuegen. He also supports that the Turkish occupation army will be vindicated, the illegal settlers living in the houses and properties of the Greek Cypriots will become EU citizens, the Turks will share the wealth the Greeks have created under the heavy yoke of the Turkish army and Turkey got the signal that it will get a date for EU accession talks.

    The only "gain" for the Greek Cypriots is the advantage that in the long-run the permanent division of the island will be prevented.

    The second commentary under the title: "EU´s Cyprus surprise" is as follows:

    "In yesterday's article I wrote about the Turks who played an important role in the New York talks on Cyprus. Today I want to mention the foreigners who contributed to Turkey getting to such a point on the Cyprus issue.

    Subtitle: Simitis-Papandreou: Gave approval despite elections

    We cannot deny the roles of Costas Simitis and George Papandreou in reaching an agreement on Cyprus. Giving approval to such an agreement that could easily damage their prospects prior to the March 7 elections required courage and political vision.

    Papandreou could have proposed deciding on an agreement after the elections in Greece, and this argument would have been justified. But he didn't. He didn't subordinate the Cyprus issue to domestic policy affairs.

    Subtitle: Powell-Verheugen: They had the last word

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell together with U.S. Special Envoy to Cyprus Thomas Weston were very influential in persuading the Greeks and Greek Cypriots during the New York talks.

    And although they were not much in evidence, the British, Germans and even the French made important contributions.

    It was the EU Commission that sprung the biggest surprise. The Commission announced it would not attend the negotiations unless the Turkish side agreed to it, after the Greeks indicated they wanted the Commission to participate. This was one of the key developments that affected the result.

    EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen's attitude was welcomed by Turkish officials and was perceived as a positive signal for Turkey getting a date for accession talks.

    Subtitle: Turkish community will be the real winner

    Now we have entered a one-way street on Cyprus from which there is no turning back. A solution will be achieved on the island. The Turkish Cypriots will become European Union members in 70 days.

    Let's have a look at which side will make more gains in this process. Subtitle: Turkish side gains many advantages

    In a few years' time the Turkish community on Cyprus will become four to five times wealthier. The level of prosperity of the island's Turks, whose per capita income is around $2,500, will increase significantly with additional investment and a boost in the tourism sector.

    They will become EU citizens, and they will have the right to work anywhere they want in Europe.

    Subtitle: Greeks will have to share what they have

    EU membership will not much affect the prosperity of the Greek community, whose per capita income is $18,000. They are already enjoying many advantages of the EU without even being a member.

    Their disadvantage will be that they will have to share money coming from the EU with the Turkish community.

    Subtitle: Advantages for the Turkish side

    The Turkish community on the island, which no country except Turkey has recognized to date and which has remained stuck in the north of the island, will have legal sovereignty and equal status with the Greeks.

    In addition, the Turkish military -- which has been accused of constituting an invasion force on the island for years -- will be vindicated, and the majority of those who settled in northern Cyprus will become EU citizens.

    Subtitle: Greek Cypriots will gain advantages in the long term

    They will have prevented division of the island permanently".

    /SK


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