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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-02-27

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.39/04 27.02.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader at the end of the fourth day of talks.
  • [02] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat during a press conference in occupied Nicosia.
  • [03] AFRIKA discloses Denktas´ proposals in the talks.
  • [04] Reports that Kemal Dervis will form a party after the local elections or lead the RPP.
  • [05] Deniz Baykal: The fact that the Greek Cypriots are the majority should be taken into consideration.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] The Turkish press is confused whether the tension between Erdogan and Denktas is part of a strategy or a negotiating technique.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader at the end of the fourth day of talks

    Illegal Bayrak television (26.02.04) broadcast live the press conference by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas after the 26 February session of the Cyprus talks with President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    "During the talks today, we confirmed in writing that bizonality based on two separate and sovereign peoples is important, and that in certain situations, the interests of the two peoples may differ. We did that so that under the pretext of viability, Cyprus is not considered a unitary state. As you know, the senate will be divided equally into two. Under the plan, there will be 24 members from each constituent state. Nevertheless, since the Greek Cypriots will come and live among us, and since they are going to be given political rights under the plan -- even though all this is going to be discussed -- this means that 24 Greek Cypriots will come from the Greek Cypriot state, but in time we may have 18 Turkish Cypriots and six Greek Cypriots going from our state. This undermines the partnership based on two ethnic peoples. That is fundamental. This basic principle was part of the 1960 agreements and part of the Set of Ideas. It is impossible for us to accept the elimination of this principle for the sake of the equality between the two states. Nevertheless, Mr Papadopoulos claims that we want a major digression from the Annan plan, showing that the Greek Cypriot stand on this issue is quite rigid. At this point, we postponed the talks to tomorrow.

    What we are saying is this: We are not moving outside the plan. The plan talks about a Turkish Cypriot state and a Greek Cypriot state, two constituent states. After reading this plan seven or eight times, and after our eyes were opened, we said that Turkish Cypriot senators will come from the Turkish Cypriot state and Greek Cypriot senators from the Greek Cypriot state. There will be Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot judges in the courts, to represent the two sides. The Greek Cypriots do not accept that. They are saying that Greek Cypriots too may represent the Turkish Cypriot state. They say that if Greek Cypriots assume the citizenship of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state, then they, too, may represent the Turkish Cypriot state. They say that ethnic discrimination is unacceptable. This means that we will gradually disappear under a majority rule. That is why the separation of the two communities and of the two peoples -- what the Greek Cypriots call ethnic discrimination -- is elementary. We do not intend to change this under any pretext in the new partnership. We are going to resume the talks at 10 a.m. tomorrow [27 February].

    Question: According to a Reuters report, you proposed that the EU membership of the new Cyprus state be approved again by the parliaments of the member countries.

    Answer: We have not made this proposal. There are derogations we want and demand for our protection, for the protection of our national identity, and for the protection of our economy. They are special privileges. EU experts are telling us that for these to be valid, they must be approved by the parliaments of the 12 states, or whatever the number of states may be. Temporary formulas can be found for that, but it is fundamental. All jurists stress that this must be done. Unless this is done, we will be concluding this matter with fictitious rights, and who knows what can happen to us in the future.

    Question: Is that a conclusion you reached following research into the matter?

    Answer: It is an issue that emerged at the end research. We insist on that. Also, the EU is saying that it will help us in that. We must get results.

    Question: You said that Papadopoulos' stand is rigid. Will this not affect the talks?

    Answer: He is tough but so are we. If we can find the golden mean, we will try to find it and try not to harm anyone. I am telling you where things stand at the moment. The talks will go on tomorrow.

    [02] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat during a press conference in occupied Nicosia

    Local KIBRIS newspaper (27.02.04) reports that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, saying that the date for taking the Annan Plan to a referendum has not yet become clear, has stated that the newly begun negotiations are an irreversible process.

    He said that Mr Rauf Denktas has been providing him "information on the negotiations, which he combines with his own views, on a daily basis." Noting that this is a "process from which there can be no turning back", he also stated that, in this period in which they are working to defend the interests of the Turkish people of Cyprus, they will not neglect the need of the public to obtain information, but that this must not harm the process.

    Reminded of his words regarding the negotiations being an irreversible process and asked how he viewed the possibility of a "no" emerging from the referendum by one of the two sides, Talat noted that he considered this to be a very weak possibility. Talat also said that whichever side a "no" vote might emerge from, it would be to the detriment of that side.

    Pointing out the need to put "reasonable and logical" proposals before the Greek Cypriots, Talat asserted that this is a very difficult process, that efforts are being made to merge various points of view, and that for this reason it is only natural for there to be some difficulties. Talat said: "With the Annan Plan forming the basis, the negotiations are focusing on how this plan is to be modified."

    Mr Talat, stating that within the framework of the negotiations process the Turkish [Cypriot] side has presented the Greek Cypriot side with a document containing its views in a comprehensive way, noted that, in contrast, the Greek Cypriots have not provided such a comprehensive statement of position. Talat said that the Greek Cypriot delegation has only conveyed its views regarding the formation of the presidential council.

    Asked about his telephone conversation with [Turkish] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he noted that he and Erdogan had confirmed yet once again that their views were consistent with one another.

    Noting in addition the requirement, according to domestic law, to issue a referendum decree within the framework of the Annan Plan, Talat stated that they have not yet been able to issue this decree due to the date of the referendum's having not yet become firm.

    As regards the referendum Mr Talat stated that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had said that this might take place between 21 April and 1 May, and that for this reason the referendum might not be held on the date of 21 April which has been cited to date. He added that he has called for the date to be clarified, and that they would be able to issue the referendum decree after this.

    Finally Mr Talat announced that the donors´ conference to finance the solution will take place on 15 April.

    [03] AFRIKA discloses Denktas´ proposals in the talks

    Nicosia AFRIKA newspaper (26.02.04) publishes the following report under the title: "Here are [Denktas'] 10 thorny points":

    "We are revealing the latest 10-point document that Rauf Denktas has submitted to the Greek Cypriot side.

    Denktas wants to conclude a protocol for closing the door of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to the Cypriots after an agreement.

    Another proposal by Denktas calls for the abrogation of the accession treaty signed in Athens on 16 April 2003 between the Republic of Cyprus and the EU, and the drafting of a new one. He also demands that the new agreement to be prepared should be separately approved by the parliaments of the 24 EU member states.

    As for the property ownership issue, Denktas wants each state to have the right of final say. He proposes that the number of Greek Cypriots to move to the Turkish Cypriot area should be reduced from 21 to 12 percent.

    Subtitle: Other proposals

    The agreement to be reached should first be approved by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus parliaments, and subsequently signed by Rauf Denktas and Tassos Papadopoulos.

    In accordance with the agreement to be reached between the two sides, the public referendum should be carried out within the framework of the laws of each side.

    The 20 percent ratio stipulated in the Annan Plan regarding property ownership will be reduced to 10 percent, and the 10 percent ratio to 5 percent.

    The separate majority system will apply for decisions in the Senate and the House. The separate majority of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot representatives will be taken as a basis.

    The appointments and carrying out of business in all organs of the united Cyprus Republic will be on the basis of national origin. The Turkish troops will remain in Cyprus even after Turkey joins the EU."

    [04] Reports that Kemal Dervis will form a party after the local elections or lead the RPP

    Mainland AKSAM newspaper (26.02.04) publishes the following report by Rezzak Oral and Serife Ustuner under the title: "Dervis forming new party":

    "The fighting within the Republican People's Party [RPP] has led to new searches. The "unhappy minority" within both the RPP and the Justice and Development Party [JDP] are going to get together under Dervis' leadership.

    The tug of war between RPP General Secretary Onder Sav and Party Deputy Chairman Esref Erdem coupled to what went on when mayoral candidates were being identified during the local elections process all added impetus to schemes regarding 29 March within the main opposition party. The inner party opposition within the RPP is awaiting the outcome of the 28 March local elections. If the RPP fails to keep the votes it received during the 3 November general elections then Deniz Baykal's leadership will be called into question. Many RPP members are voicing their discomfort saying: "There is no common idea. This understanding of administration has now gotten bogged down. In the elections we do not want to go to our provinces and work."

    While the RPP leadership is trying to calm the storm within the party, the political wings in Ankara are resounding with a scenario in which RPP Deputy for Istanbul Kemal Dervis plays the leading role. According to this scenario, which will be screened on 29 March, the upheaval within the RPP, the Democrat Left Party leader Bulent Ecevit's post local election retirement and the internal opposition against the JDP's Cyprus policy will all result in a movement to form a new party. A structure similar to the "American left" will be formed and Dervis will assume leadership of the new movement.

    Kemal Dervis' liberal approach to the "Kurdish" and "headscarf" issues plus his understanding of 'constructive opposition" in contrast to what the RPP brass thinks will enable him to gain support from some party members. Dervis will leave the RPP with enough deputies (around 20) to form a group. Approximately 50 deputies from the JDP are going to join the new organization. Dervis emphasizes the positive work done by the JDP, and has impressed JDP deputies with his constructive and cautious criticisms. It is claimed that Kemal Dervis will press the start button after reading the picture that emerges after the 28 March local elections. This is being expressed as possibly either a new organization or leadership of the RPP.

    [05] Deniz Baykal: The fact that the Greek Cypriots are the majority should be taken into consideration

    According to Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (27.02.04) the leader of the Republican People's Party, the main opposition party in Turkey, Deniz Baykal, has declared that it is wrong to allow 80 thousand Greek Cypriots to return to their homes to the north. He said that it is out of the question for his party to exploit the Cyprus problem politically. However, he said, they are of the view that the Annan plan does not safeguard the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in a satisfactory manner,. "We have no doubts on this", Baykal claimed.

    Subtitle: "We could cede land"

    Baykal went on and said: "What makes us uneasy in the Annan plan is the return of 80 thousand people to the north.

    If we have to show flexibility on territory, we will. Let us talk, but one thing we should not change; here there should be a Turkish Community and there a Greek Cypriot Community. Let both of them create a political organization. In the organization, they should take into consideration the fact that the Greek Cypriots are the majority, I have no objection to this".

    Subtitle : "The plan is not fair"

    Baykal said: "I say that peace should be established without envisaging return of population to the north. Why is the plan prepared on the basis of return of population? Let us establish the peace and then the coming and going will be rearranged, but bringing people to settle here ' Here the issue is the understanding that the north should not be a Turkish homeland. That is, there are 200 thousand people and when 80 thousand people come and settle this makes 40 %. The message of this plan is; 'The south is a Greek Cypriot homeland. The north in future will stop being a Turkish homeland' we do not find this just".

    Baykal goes on and claims that in his view despite the fact that the majority of the Greek Cypriots today appear to oppose the plan when the present plan is put into practice in its present form the Greek Cypriots will accept it without giving a second thought . "I do not have any doubts about it", Baykal declared.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] The Turkish press is confused whether the tension between Erdogan and Denktas is part of a strategy or a negotiating technique

    Istanbul VATAN newspaper (26.02.04) publishes the following commentary by Bilal Cetin under the title: "Erdogan warns, but Denktas stands firm":

    "As the Cyprus negotiations are coming to a critical stage, the degree of tension between Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leader is rising as well. An air of veiled challenge can be perceived in Denktas, particularly in his statements of yesterday, against the guidance and suggestions of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prime Minister Erdogan held a breakfast meeting yesterday in the State Guesthouse with the general editors and Ankara representatives of various newspapers and television stations.

    In the discussion regarding Cyprus, Erdogan's "request" of the media was as follows: "There will be both positive and negative aspects to the negotiating process. When these are reported in writing, or when they are talked about in a way that is excessively provocative, we end up contributing from outside to a breakdown... But we do not want to have a breakdown... I think that our written and visual media ought to censor, within themselves, even various statements made in Northern Cyprus. This is a request that I make of you. I am not of the opinion that it is very useful to publicize everything within this process. When the matter has been completed, everything will come out very openly and clearly, and will be discussed. But writing about and talking about things while the negotiations are underway could cause things to break down at the midpoint..."

    Subtitle: Denktas is challenging

    The Prime Minister's request for more sensitivity on the part of the media is no doubt an understandable situation, and he himself relates at length the reasons for it, such as avoiding a negative impact on the negotiations process, not provoking the other side, etc... Yet even if he did not intend it in this way, his request to "censor yourselves" was an unfortunate expression...

    Erdogan, in addition to the media organizations in Turkey, was also sending a message to Cyprus, both to the Turkish side and to the Greek side: "Do not make detailed statements after the negotiations. If necessary short joint statements should be made."

    But while Erdogan is saying these things and issuing these warnings in Ankara, Denktas is getting up from the negotiating table in Nicosia and making detailed statements to journalists. At one point, Denktas gave a striking and essentially challenging answer when reminded of Erdogan's warning and request:

    "When I began the negotiations, I promised the people that I would explain everything on a day-by-day basis. And Ankara is aware of this."

    The Prime Minister recommends avoiding detailed statements regarding the negotiations, and proposes that the negotiating process be conducted based on the concept of "winning", rather than one of "me, me, me!" It is clear, however, that Denktas has no intention of adhering to these suggestions. Denktas's statements yesterday, in particular, already seem to be focused on the referendum.

    It is plain that, in the period just ahead of us, the tension in the relationship is inevitably going to rise. Erdogan is still maintaining his optimism on this point, and comments on Denktas's statements with good will by saying "They could be an integral part of his negotiating technique."

    For in the belief of the Prime Minister, there is no longer any turning back. If the leaders should be unable to reach an agreement by 22 March, Turkey and Greece will become involved. Should there still be no agreement, then the UN Secretary-General will fill in the remaining blank spots. And thereafter, a referendum will be held.

    In the view of the Prime Minister, a settlement would be in the interests of the Turkish side, since the Greek Cypriot side has nothing to lose but Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have a great deal to lose.

    Subtitle:Should conclude before 1 May

    The Prime Minister is saying "We want the matter to be concluded prior to 1 May. What will the Turkish Cypriots gain from this? What do Turkey's interests require?" He provides the following answer:

    "First of all, the `TRNC¨ is in the position of being a state recognized only by Turkey. But Southern Cyprus has no such problems. Whether we like it or not, it becomes a member of the EU on 1 May. If a settlement is reached prior to 1 May, then Northern Cyprus will attain the chance to join the EU as the United Republic of Cyprus, by integrating with Southern Cyprus. In other words, it will finally be a state within the international community. I go a little further. Southern Cyprus is currently accepted as a state within the international community. Consequently, Northern Cyprus as well will share, as a state, in that state's structure. Or else it will lose, and a new state will come into being. That is the situation. And above all, Turkish will come to the point of being used as an official language within the EU."

    In short, Prime Minister Erdogan is drawing attention to the positive developments that will be achieved within the framework of a settlement based on the Annan Plan. Denktas, for his part, is pointing to the negative aspects, and to the dangers. Is Denktas's negotiating tactic a product of the general strategy he is following in order to get his demands accepted, or is it the result of a strategy, under the name of keeping the people informed, aimed at a "no" coming out of the referendum? The developments from here on will make this clear... "

    /SK


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