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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-02-24

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.36/04 21-22-23-24.02.04


  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before leaving for the third day of the talks on Cyprus.
  • [02] Statements on Cyprus by the Turkish Foreign Minister.
  • [03] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader to MILLIYET newspaper.
  • [04] Serdar Denktas wants the Turkish troops, which killed more than 1% of the population of Cyprus, to remain in the island for ever.
  • [05] Statements by Talat to HURRIYET newspaper.
  • [06] Statements by the Turkish judge member of the European Court of Human Rights.
  • [07] The Republic of Cyprus informs its Turkish Cypriot citizens about the EU Parliament elections.
  • [08] Eroglu rushes to sell property belonging to Greek Cypriots.

  • [09] Former Turkish Foreign Minister analyses his views on the process after the New York agreement.
  • [10] Former Turkish Ambassador supports that the Cyprus problem gained urgency not because of Turkey´s sudden good will but because Pentagon placed Cyprus in its new extended map of the Middle East.


    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader before leaving for the third day of the talks on Cyprus

    Illegal BRT-1 television (24.02.04) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktas, speaking before he left for the talks this morning said that the two sides will place their main demands on the negotiation table today. He also said that the point where they will start their talks was decided earlier.

    Following is his short statement and his replies to questions:

    "Yes, you [reporters] must come back at 1400. Meanwhile, we agreed that all of you should be here. So, do not force me to talk to you twice. I will make a statement if all of you are here at 1400."

    Question: You might return from the talks earlier.

    Answer: We might return earlier but we can meet here again at 1400.

    Question: What are you taking to the negotiation table?

    Answer: We will take our main demands to the negotiation table. We will see what they [Greek Cypriot side] will bring.

    Question: Have you discussed a map?

    Answer: No, we have not yet reached that stage.

    Question: Will it be the Turkish side to ask for talks on the main issues or will Alvaro de Soto propose an agenda?

    Answer: No, a decision has been made on where we should start our talks. The two sides are aware of that.

    Question: The Greek Cypriot Ministry of Interior made a call to the electorate in the media organs in connection with the election to the European Parliament. Will you discuss that at the negotiation table?

    Answer: You must ask that question to the head of the "Government". We can discuss the matter when we return.

    [02] Statements on Cyprus by the Turkish Foreign Minister

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (20.02.04) broadcast that Mr Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, reacted against the Greek Cypriot proposal in the Cyprus negotiations not to allow the illegal settlers from Turkey to vote in the referendum.

    Speaking to reporters upon emerging from the Foreign Ministry, Gul noted that one must be patient, determined, and well-intentioned in the current difficult process in Cyprus. Gul stressed that Rauf Denktas is demonstrating great patience and resolve. Gul expressed opposition to Greek Cypriot leader Papadopoulos' proposal not to allow the illegal settlers from Turkey to participate in a possible referendum to be conducted in connection with the Annan plan if a solution is reached. Calling on the Greek Cypriot side to display a constructive approach, Gul said: "One does not necessarily have to be born in Cyprus in order to become a citizen. There are many ways of becoming a citizen."

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (21.02.04) broadcast that replying to questions on the Cyprus issue in Kayseri, Gul alleged that from the beginning, together with the occupation regime, Turkey has been displaying a conciliatory attitude. He said: "At this stage, it is necessary to reduce the problems and eliminate them so that a lasting peace can be established on the island. In other words, when a united Cyprus is declared, when the two communities are brought to a position where they are ready to live separately, the problems must have been eliminated one by one by taking the realities of the island into consideration, and the two communities must be brought together with a minimum number of problems. That is what we will try to achieve." Gul pointed out that if the Cyprus talks yield no results, the two sides will have exercised their right to self-determination, and that the situation will be reassessed once again.

    TRT 2 Television (22.02.04) broadcast that in Kayseri, Gul was asked by reporters if the timetable the EU is expected to give Turkey at the end of 2004 could be brought forward if the Cyprus negotiations are concluded positively. He replied: "It depends on the negotiations. I cannot say anything definite. The two issues are not linked".

    [03] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader to MILLIYET newspaper

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (22.02.04) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, has spoken to MILLIYET about the negotiations on Cyprus.

    Emphasizing that they want to start substantive negotiations, Denktas said, "If we are busy trying to create the flag and national anthem and establish the courts of an organization without having secured an agreement on its political criteria, this makes us suspicious."

    Denktas pointed out that he thinks it strange that Turkey should maintain that "This issue should be solved by the Cypriots in Cyprus." He commented on many topics, from the European Union's promise to reports that the UN peace force [in Cyprus] will be beefed up and the question of what attitude the Greek Cypriots might adopt in case of a referendum.

    Subtitle: We have not been able to start discussing substantive issues

    We have not made any progress so far. I believe they [the Greek Cypriots] are in expectation of something. We are expecting the talks to gain new momentum on Tuesday. We want to start discussing substantive matters. Talking about the flag, national anthem and courts of a future organization without having come to an agreement on its political criteria is arousing our suspicions because it is quite possible that they could try to make short work of the talks, saying, 'Come on, you said yes to the flag, national anthem, and courts. Other institutions are in the offing. The rest is easy. It will be done before we know it, God willing." We believe we are face to face with a secret plan.

    Subtitle: It might not be before December

    Certain people are blindly clamoring for a speedy solution before 1 May. However, we need to remain calm. The date of 1 May is not the end of everything. As Turkey, too, said, "Everybody should work for a solution before 1 May." Otherwise, the efforts could continue until the end of the year, the day when we know whether Turkey has been given a date [for EU membership] negotiations or not. What is really important is to do a sound job. Haste makes waste. Some waste has been made already.

    Subtitle: EU has not provided any guarantees

    EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen has not provided the guarantee that we are seeking. In any case, our rights will become permanent and secure [only] if the agreement that the Greek Cypriots will sign with us is approved by the parliaments of all EU member-states. All that Verheugen can do is to make promises as a commissary. His assurances might not be recognized by EU courts and become invalid. In other words, the rights ceded to us could be invalidated as contrary to the EU norms. For this reason, do not let our people be misled into believing we have been given this or that in the Annan Plan.

    Subtitle: Greek Cypriots will say yes

    The Greek Cypriots will say "yes" when the last moment comes because they will be told, "Look, we have joined the EU yet we cannot take away the whole of Cyprus. If you say "no" in the referendum, the Turks will benefit from it because this will create the possibility of the Turks being recognized." They will make the Greek Cypriots say "yes" through promises and threats.

    Subtitle: We are telling the people

    If the plan is not changed, we will explain to the people why we wanted to get this and that and whether the Annan Plan would have become feasible if we had obtained what we wanted. We are also drawing attention to the risks that emerge when we fail to obtain what we want and the Annan Plan remains as it is. We are telling the people that the decision is theirs and that there is nothing else that can be done.

    Subtitle: The outlook should change

    If the Cyprus issue has not been solved for some 40 years, the responsibility for this falls primarily on those who recognized the guilty Greek Cypriot side as a legitimate government regardless of the principle of the supremacy of the law and the existence of a partnership formed on the basis of international agreements. I am afraid and sorry that the world will not change its outlook on Cyprus and continue to regard Cyprus as being made up of one people rather than two peoples. Naturally, the Greek Cypriots cannot be expected to change their direction and policies under the circumstances.

    Subtitle: There are difficulties of principle

    We have not maintained the affinity and cooperation with Greek Cypriot administration leader Tassos Papadopulos that we have with former Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides since 1968. We remember Papadopulos as a young lawyer. We are acquainted with him. He is not a stranger. We know that he too is trying to serve his national cause and people. Yet the goal of his efforts is to prevent the Turkish people from being recognized as an equal and component state. For this reason, there are difficulties of principle between us. Overcoming them depends on goodwill.

    Subtitle: I find the view that the Cyprus issue will be solved by

    Cypriots strange

    Pointing out that he finds it strange that Turkey should say that the Cyprus issue will be solved by the Cypriots in Cyprus, Denktas said, "The 200,000 people [in northern Cyprus] cannot deprive Turkey of its guarantor rights through a decision on an issue that Turkey too claims as its national cause. It is another matter if Turkey is saying, 'We are not interested in Cyprus. You can do whatever you want.' Yet nobody has said anything of the sort so far. What we will do when we sense such an approach is to talk and issue warnings to those who believe in us. The rest is for the Turkish nation to decide."

    [04] Serdar Denktas wants the Turkish troops, which killed more than 1% of the population of Cyprus, to remain in the island for ever

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (20.02.04) publishes the following article by Omer Bilge under the title: "Turkish soldiers must stay even if symbolically":

    Mr Serdar Denktas said that he would like the Turkish troops to remain on the island even if symbolically. Answering the questions of the HURRIYET team, Serdar Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriot side will demand the continuation of Turkey's status as a guarantor power during the marathon negotiations. He enumerated the conditions that will be put on the table as follows:

    Subtitle: US soldiers in Germany

    "Turkey's guarantor status must continue even after [Turkey's] entry into the EU. Turkish soldiers must remain even if only symbolically. Circles opposed to the plan must be appeased. The plan says that 'Turkish soldiers will be completely withdrawn from the island when Turkey joins the EU.' We, are saying: 'The leaders of this country should decide this issue when Turkey joins the EU as a full member, perhaps ten or 15 years later.' If both sides here decide that way, there is no reason why these soldiers should not be withdrawn. They are objecting that troops of a non-EU country would remain on EU territory. Are there not any U.S. soldiers on EU territories? It can be the same way."

    Subtitle: Limit must be cut to 10 percent

    Serdar Denktas is the leader of the DP which is the junior partner in the "TRNC coalition government." He said that the Annan plan limits the number of Greek Cypriots settling in "TRNC" territories to 21 percent and grants them voting rights. He continued: "The Greek Cypriots [living in the Turkish Cypriot sector] must not be allowed to vote in federal parliamentary elections. If the Greek Cypriots who live in the Turkish Cypriot sector are allowed to vote in the senate elections then the balances would be upset. Moreover this 21-percent limit on Greek Cypriot migration must be reduced to 10 percent."

    Subtitle: We would urge 'No'

    Serdar Denktas said that if the conditions his "government" wants are not included in the Annan plan he would call on the Turkish Cypriots to vote "no" on the plan. He said: "We will go before our people and ask them to vote "no". The people will have the last say. My vote would of course be "no"."

    [05] Statements by Talat to HURRIYET newspaper

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (20.02.04) publishes the following article by Omer Bilge under the title: "Talat: My vote would be uncertain if there are strange items":

    The HURRIYET team had a meeting with the leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Mr Ali Talat, during its visit to Northern Cyprus on the eve of the start of historic talks and the aftermath of the New York summit. Talat said: "Ultimately a referendum will be held, but if the UN Secretary-General inserts strange items in the plan then my personal vote would be uncertain." Talat also warned that the color of his vote would remain uncertain if the UN Secretary-General adds unacceptable articles to the plan in the final phase. Talat said: "I think that the sides will not be able to agree on many issues. Possibly Annan will have to fill in all of the current outstanding blanks himself. If he inserts strange items then my personal vote would become uncertain." Talat said that the Greek Cypriots will enter the EU even if they vote no in the referendum. He added: "However then they would enter it like sniveling children, and the issue of lifting the embargoes against us would become a possibility. No one should think that we could gain recognition. There will be no recognition. We could become like Taiwan."

    Subtitle: Would remove Denktas

    "If the opposition parties had won something like 70 percent of the vote [in the December 14 elections] and we had gained control of the overwhelming majority of the seats in parliament then I would definitely remove Rauf Denktas as our negotiator. However we did not have enough strength. The most dangerous situation would have been if we had won only a slight majority. Then the possibility of internal conflict would arise in the `TRNC´. There is also another aspect of this issue. Foreigners never visit the Prime Minister's Office because the `TRNC´ is not recognized. Everyone visits Denktas and treat him as their interlocutor. They see him not as president but as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. I informed the foreigners that I would remove Denktas as negotiator if I won the election and asked them if they would treat me as their interlocutor. They told me that they would. Then I felt more comfortable. However the people produced a result that was neither heads nor tails. The coin stood on its edge."

    Subtitle: Community basis

    Noting that with the start of the talks the sides have embarked on an irreversible course, Talat underscored the need for modifications [in the Annan plan] on many issues. He said: "In particular the question of the voting rights of the Greek Cypriots who will settle in the Turkish Cypriot sector is very important. To prevent Greek Cypriots from voting in the federal parliamentary elections from the Turkish Cypriot sector a community basis rather than a popular basis must be used. A statement to the effect that 'sovereignty shall be jointly exercised by the two communities' needs to be inserted [into the plan]."

    [06] Statements by the Turkish judge member of the European Court of Human Rights

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.02.04) reported from Istanbul that the Turkish judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Riza Turmen said on Monday that there were 38,500 cases pending before ECHR as of the end of 2003 and 18 percent of them (7,050) were applications made against Turkey.

    Addressing the conference on ''ECHR and Turkey'' held at Kadir Has University, Turmen explained the foundation, structure and operation of the ECHR.

    Noting that the European Convention on Human Rights became like a European Constitution and it created a common sphere of law, Turmen said that Turkey, as a country which signed the Convention, had to fulfill the requirements of that common sphere of law.

    Turmen stressed that the Convention would not replace the internal law and that the ECHR was not a ''court of appeal,'' adding that ''this is the misunderstanding in Turkey and it is one of the reasons of the high number of applications against Turkey. As Turkish citizens regard ECHR as a court of appeal, they apply to the ECHR after getting the verdict of the Supreme Court of Appeals.''

    Turmen stated that the character of the cases started to change, adding: ''The cases started to have a political character, but the Court is not ready for it. The only political case brought to the Court to date was the Loizidou case and the applications of the Greek Cypriots in south of Cyprus. The Court was not successful in that case because the aim of its foundation and its structure are not suitable for political cases. The ECHR can't see properly the political results to which it could lead. So a big problem will come out soon.''

    Noting that the Court also wanted to broaden its authorities, Turmen cited the decision of the Court about the retrial of persons who were tried and convicted by military judges in State Security Courts in Turkey as an example.

    Stressing that the most important problem of the Court was the number of applications pending before it, Turmen said that the cases could not be concluded before three years due to that reason.

    Turkey was ranked the first among countries against which the highest number of applications were made, Turmen said, adding that Russia followed Turkey with 14 percent and Poland followed Russia with 13 percent.

    Turmen remarked that after the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, very few human rights applications were made from southeast Turkey, adding:

    ''There is no decrease in the number of applications against Turkey, but there is a big change in respect of the character of the cases. The cases are more about technical issues like one's making defense before court, police custody and property rights. The problematic cases for Turkey today are allegations of torture and citizens' claims of not being able to return to their villages. If no solution is found to the latter, thousands of applications can be made against Turkey which can be in a position to pay huge amounts of compensation.'' Turmen said that cases related to freedom of expression also caused trouble for Turkey.

    Responding to questions of journalists, Turmen said that in case of an agreement as a result of the Cyprus talks, the applications regarding property rights in Cyprus would no longer be political cases. ''Those cases will take the new Cyprus state as the respondent. They won't pursue political goals and they will be cases related to individuals,'' said Turmen. Turmen noted that the Annan plan would cause certain problems for the ECHR.

    Pointing out that there were 100 applications against Turkey about wearing head scarf, Turmen said that the case filed by Leyla Sahin was chosen as a pilot case and according to the verdict of that case, the other cases would be concluded. Turmen stressed that the decision carried importance not only in respect of Turkey, but also in respect of France.

    [07] The Republic of Cyprus informs its Turkish Cypriot citizens about the EU Parliament elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA and ORTAM newspapers (24.02.04) publish today a paid advertisement by the Republic of Cyprus that informs its Turkish Cypriot citizens regarding the EU parliament elections.

    Meanwhile, YENI DUZEN (24.02.04) describes this move of the Republic of Cyprus as "lack of sincerity" because talks are going on for the establishment of a "United Republic of Cyprus". The paper writes that it will not publish the advertisement. KIBRSI newspaper has also not accepted the advertisement, continues YENI DUZEN.

    [08] Eroglu rushes to sell property belonging to Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (23.02.04) reports that Mr Dervis Eroglu, the leader of the National Unity Party and his wife Meral Eroglu decided along with the implementation of the timetable of the solution of the Cyprus problem, to sell a Greek Cypriot piece of land they "owned". The property is located in occupied Ayios Epiktitos village of Kyrenia District.

    According to the paper, the Eroglu couple put on sale a Greek Cypriot piece of land of 16.5 donum which is located in occupied Ayios Epiktitos village. The Greek Cypriot property was sold to the Altinoer Construction Co. Ltd for 200 billion Turkish lira. As the paper writes, the so-called Deed Office of the occupation regime estimated that the property is worth 279 billion Turkish lira.


    [09] Former Turkish Foreign Minister analyses his views on the process after the New York agreement

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (21.02.04) publishes the following commentary by former Ambassador and Foreign Minister, Mr Ilter Turkmen, under the title: "It is necessary to work very hard for a solution":

    "The roadmap drawn on the subject of Cyprus in the letter of the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan dated 4 February [2004] and in the agreement on 13 February in New York both take a comprehensive solution project as the basis and contain a method, which is both in stages and binding. The UN Secretary-General was also given arbitrator authorities, in case the sides could not reach an agreement. Those who are against the solution of the Cyprus problem are now trying to prove, with various and complicated arguments, that the method is not binding and Turkey will have freedom of action until the end.

    Those who claim that actually the UN Secretary-General was not given arbitrator authority are emphasizing that the guarantor states would be able to prevent the solution text, which would be finalized by Mr Annan by using his right to exercise judicial discretion, from being presented for a referendum and that the 13 February statement is suitable for this. Furthermore, they are claiming that there is a difference among the guarantor states and the sides on Cyprus; that it is not envisaged for the Turkish and Greek Cypriots to sign the text, which would be presented for a referendum and that this authority was only recognized to the guarantor states. All of these are nothing but a play on words. Their purpose is also known: To have Turkey prevent the referendum by bypassing the Turkish Cypriots. Whereas, in order for the "Founding Agreement" to be presented to a referendum, it is first of all necessary for the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to sign a commitment document. They will sign the document with the titles of the "elected leaders of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots" and as "political equals".

    There is no indication at all about this decree in the Annan Plan being changed with the letter of the Secretary-General or with the New York statement. In the New York statement, not only the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but also the guarantor states as well, confirmed their obligations on the subject of the process, which also includes the 4 February letter. The guarantor states, with a statement they will sign, will accept the presenting of the "Founding Agreement" to a referendum. In the same statement, in case the referendums on both sides of the island conclude positively, then they will enter into a commitment to sign an agreement including the security subjects with the new Republic of Cyprus. It will be necessary for the government in Turkey to receive in advance an approval in some manner from the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly]. In case the approval process would be left to a later date, then a situation, such as the Turkish Cypriots accepting it and Turkey rejecting it could occur.

    It would be useful to return to the essence of the matter by setting aside the legal acrobatics. From now on, it has been understood very well that the Greek Cypriots would do whatever they can to prevent a united Cyprus from entering into the EU on 1 May. There are those who also want to miss the 1 May deadline in the `TRNC´ and in Turkey, led by the RPP [Republican People's Party]. Consequently, if we want a solution prior to May, then it is necessary to carry out a very intensive activity, both in Nicosia and in Ankara. The problem is not limited to the changing of the "Founding Agreement". Thousands of pages containing a large number of new constitutional and federal laws and a great majority of the laws in force on both sides will be added to the Founding Agreement. The technical committees, which have been established for this purpose, should expend intensive efforts. Furthermore, there is a need for the rapid preparation of the constitution of the "Turkish Founding State". The delay in these activities would be to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots.

    An important characteristic of the "Founding Agreement" is its adoption of exceptions to the EU acquisitions. A majority of these exceptions are in favor of the Turkish Cypriots. If a solution could have been reached prior to April 2003, then the exceptions would have been added to Cyprus' EU accession agreement and would be considered to be a part of the EU acquisitions with the attribute of "primary law". The characteristic of primary laws is the fact that petitions cannot be made to the EU Court of Justice against them. Presently, it is not known what will be the status of the exceptions. If the exceptions have the attribute of derivative laws, not primary laws, then the course to the EU Court of Justice will remain open. But it is necessary not to forget that the course to apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is always open, whether the laws are primary or derivative. A great majority of the exceptions include subjects, which enter mainly into the jurisdiction of the ECHR.

    It can be said that what was committed in Turkey is, in the end, composed of a political commitment. It is correct. There may not be legal results of not abiding by these, but politically, a price would be paid, which is even greater than a legal sanction."

    [10] Former Turkish Ambassador supports that the Cyprus problem gained urgency not because of Turkey´s sudden good will but because Pentagon placed Cyprus in its new extended map of the Middle East

    Former Turkish Ambassador, Mr Yuksel Soylemez, has a regular column in the Turkish Probe, the Sunday edition of Turkish Daily News. His latest column is dedicated to the developments in the Cyprus problem.

    Following are some of his most interesting views as expressed in the Turkish Probe of 22.02.04 and Turkish Daily News of 23.02.04:

    Question: -Is this really the end of the game in Cyprus?

    Answer: My impression is "yes." Definitely an endgame. I lost a bet with the former German envoy to Ankara, Ambassador Schmidt, that the Cyprus question would be solved by the end of 2003. Better now, a little late, than never.

    Question: - Why has the Cyprus question now gained such urgency and momentum?

    Answer: - For a number of reasons, but above all else because the strategic island of Cyprus is part of the "grand new design" of the extended map of the Middle East. This map encompasses the sources of power and oil and natural gas in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Caucusus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhistan and Turkmenistan. In other words, the new extended map of the Middle East includes, in addition to the above, Iran, Afghanistan and some states bordering China and Russia, as drawn by the Pentagon cartographers of the United States. This map certainly includes the strategic "aircraft-carrier" island of Cyprus.

    Question: - There have been sovereign British bases on the island since 1960, haven't there?

    Answer: - Foreign bases in any country are not unusual, but the term "sovereign bases" is, I believe, a new concept of international law and probably unique to Cyprus. In this case a seemingly sovereign country, the Republic of Cyprus, has transferred the sovereignty of part of its territory to another country with an international agreement valid in perpetuity. I do not think there is any other parallel or example anywhere in international practice. This is sufficient to underline the perpetual strategic importance of the island to the British and, through the British, to the Western world and in particular NATO and the United States.

    Question: - There have been some press reports that the United States is interested in stationing forces on "American bases" on the island?

    Answer: - The information was probably correct. It must have been leaked with the purpose of testing the water and preparing international public opinion. Later the base requirement was denied, but not the stationing of U.S. forces on Cyprus. Obviously they could use the two British bases Akrotiri and Dhikelia even now. I would not be surprised if there is an announcement that U.S. Rapid Development Forces will be stationed in Cyprus once the island is reunited and there is a return to stability as required by the United States.

    Question: - Do you mean to say that the United States is involved in the solution of the Cyprus problem more than any other power? More than the EU, more than the parties directly concerned, including the guarantor countries, with Britain apparently taking less of an interest in this final stage?

    Answer: - Yes, guarantor Britain, one of the authors of the Annan plan, is now maintaining a low profile for a good reason of its own. It is the Bush administration that is determined to solve the Cyprus problem. This will facilitate putting together one part of the jigsaw puzzle of the grand design of the extended Middle East. Let me add that it is to the advantage of the "TRNC" and also to the benefit of Turkey that the question be solved now rather than later, to facilitate, even guarantee, the start of Turkey-EU negotiations. The reason for this, of course, is the EU deadline of May 1 for the membership of Greek Cyprus. This is why Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan was so astonishingly forthcoming in his new initiative, first in Davos and later at the White House. It was more than a popularity contest. He was in the White House with President George Bush to repair and reconstruct Turkish-American relations, which were badly damaged because of reneging on promises made about Iraq. It was also a display to the world of his government's sincerity in wishing to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Question: - By making the "volte face" of accepting the Annan plan as a reference point and thus taking a step beyond the Greek position, wasn't he taking the biggest gamble of his political life?

    Answer: - Yes, it was indeed a huge gamble. But remember the dictum, "no risk, no gain." He took a calculated risk, and he knew he had to take it to ensure Turkey's candidature for the EU. He realized that the Bush administration was as much behind the idea of the plan as its main author. It was an American plan as much as it was a British plan.

    Question: - So the Secretary-General's peace initiative was not entirely his own? He had the full support and force of the Bush Administration behind him?

    Answer: - Undoubtedly. The Secretary-General needs a success for the United Nations. He is staking his reputation on the success or the failure of the efforts. In other words, he too has taken a calculated gamble, but he must have been given assurances that this time was not like any other time. This is the endgame, even if it is a shotgun marriage of convenience. Success is almost at hand for the United Nations. The success of a solution, whatever form it may take, was virtually guaranteed from the time Bush told Erdogan in the Oval Office, "Solve the Cyprus problem," and Erdogan, as a Turkish samurai, immediately promised him he would do so.

    Question: - Are the modalities of the agreement important for the United States?

    Answer: - The details are certainly of no consequence, so long as the parties settle their differences within the parameters of the Annan plan. The United Stats is interested in the stability of the Middle East.

    Question: - How and when will the national parliaments of the guarantor powers adopt and ratify the final version of the agreed plan?

    Answer: - Originally it was proposed by Annan that the parliaments of Greece and Turkey should ratify an agreement before it was put to referenda of the citizens of the island, but following objections from both sides the procedure will now be reversed, with the mother parliaments and the parliaments of Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus ratifying the agreement after the referenda, which is logical.

    Question: - Who is going to pay the cost, tens and millions of dollars, of the repatriation and compensation required under the Annan plan?

    Answer: - Well, a new inclusion in the road map now mentions EU technical and financial assistance for the implementation of the plan. Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen is already on the island, and it has been announced that an initial contribution of 300 million euros will be made to the Turkish north, with a further 10 billion euro over the next few years. All this will doubtless serve as a carrot and encourage efforts to achieve a solution within the deadline. Indeed, Mr Talat has said not even a bomb exploding outside his house the night before the start of the negotiations is going to deter him.

    Question: - What about bizonality?

    Answer: - The Annan plan is remotely based on bizonality. The Turkish Cypriot side wants sovereignty as part and parcel of their territory. But the Annan plan envisages the use of their rights "sovereignly," which is legally less than the concept of sovereignty.

    Question: - Going back to the first question, why was there all the pressure for an urgent solution now?

    Answer: - Obviously the galvanizing date was Cyprus' accession to the EU on May 1, but equal impetus and pressure was provided by the Bush administration wanting stability and not friction in the enlarged geography of the Middle East. The United States want a free flow of oil at reasonable prices. They want to control the flow of oil from Baku to Ceyhan, which is next door to Cyprus.


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