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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-03-15

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.50/04 13-14-15.03.04


  • [01] Statements by Denktas after the 13th day of talks for a solution to the problems created by the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
  • [02] Consistent with the Turkish mentality of negotiating the Turkish Prime Minister wants to see the Greek Cypriot proposal on the territorial issue and then propose a map. More Turkish pre-conditions to Bush and Annan.
  • [03] The Turkish government avoids to comment on the Turkish military´s secret operation of "listing people".

  • [04] Ilter Turkmen assesses the current stage of the talks for a solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion of 1974.
  • [05] Columnist in SABAH criticizes Turkey for wanting to enter Europe with "military democracy".
  • [06] Turkish experts and politicians expect a "no" from the Greek Cypriots in the referendum hoping that thus they will enjoy freely the spoils of the occupation of Cyprus.


    [01] Statements by Denktas after the 13th day of talks for a solution to the problems created by the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974

    Illegal Bayrak television (12.03.04) broadcast live the press conference by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas after the 12 March Cyprus talks in Nicosia.

    Following are Mr Denktas´ statements and his replies to questions:

    "They [the Greek Cypriot side] made an initiative, saying that there is no impediment anymore to friendly coexistence and for that reason the people should be given the right to resettle in their homes.

    We replied to this initiative today by saying that the reason why no incident has taken place so far is due to the existence of our state, security measures, the awareness of the visiting Greek Cypriots that they are crossing from one administration into another, and the protection of our border. We know the manner in which the Greek Cypriots would return if these measures are lifted and the Greek Cypriots are recognized the right of resettling in their homes. No one can shoulder the responsibility for the consequences of such a move. As such, we argued that meeting each other and coming together is different from crossing over and settling here and telling people who have invested their everything in these lands over the last 30 years to move out and become refugees once again.

    As you know, the [Annan] plan has a section that seemingly provides for people aged above 65 the unlimited right of return to four villages in Rizokarpasso. The Greek Cypriots construe it as right for unlimited return. They argued that anyone above 65 has the right of return, and that this right cannot be restricted. The UN experts tried to explain that this is not entirely so, and that this repatriation should be in such a way as not to affect the overall repatriation percentage. A difference of opinion between the UN experts and the Greek Cypriots were observed.

    On the issue of economy, we again argued that we would need a long transition period. It seems, during the deliberations on the economy, some of our colleagues have missed this point and assumed the approach that the Cyprus Pound, the new or the old one, would go into circulation as of a certain date. We argued that this is unacceptable and that we want a transitional period during which the Turkish Lira would remain the legal tender on this side. This is because we would continue doing big projects with Turkey. Also, if the Cyprus Pound is forced upon us, then the tourists and university students from Turkey will, naturally, find it difficult to cope with it. This would deal a major blow to our economy and social life. That is why this issue is of importance for us. We are maintaining our position on this.

    Mr Papadopoulos provided short retorts to our arguments and put forward his own views. It thus transpired that there was no consensus on these matters to, upon which, Mr de Soto said: `It has now transpired that we would not be able to go into a give-and-take process, for the differences are great and many´.

    Therefore, he suggested what we had suggested from the very outset: Give us a list showing page by page which points in the Annan plan you want to change, so that we [the UN] could, probably, meet you separately and determine if a give-and-take process is possible or not.

    In reply to our document on judiciary and foreign debt, the Greek Cypriot side submitted its own documents. We will reply to them yet again.

    Question: Do the separate meetings mean the start of indirect talks as of next week?

    Answer: A final decision on this has not yet been made. He [de Soto] will decide after seeing our list. But this is not a question of moving into indirect talks. It would be something like meeting us separately and bringing us together the next day. It should not be interpreted as the annulment of the face-to-face talks and the start of indirect talks.

    Question: That is, will he initiate a give-and-take through separate meetings?

    Answer: Yes, he will try to initiate that.

    Question: Will there be a meeting on Monday?

    Answer: Yes, there will be one.

    Question: What about the constitutions of the constituent states?

    Answer: We have legal difficulties on the issue of constitution. We will see how we can overcome those difficulties. We are working on it. A constitution has been drafted. I thank my colleagues who worked on it. They have prepared a comprehensive draft. It is clear that they have worked day and night. However, a constitution to be submitted by me without the knowledge of the people would still be binding on us in the future once it passes the referendum. As in the case of all constitutions, this one too should be debated in depth and subjected to thorough criticism at the Republican Assembly. This is a major responsibility. As you know, legal drawbacks have arisen, objections have been raised, concerning the issue of whether I have the authority to submit such a constitution [to the UN at the talks]. We are in contact with our jurists and the Attorney General as regards this problem. We will continue assessing the matter.

    Question: Did the Greek Cypriot side submit its constitution?

    Answer: No. They said they are waiting for us and that they would submit theirs once we submit ours. And, naturally, we were waiting for them to submit theirs first so as to see what they were going to submit. So, there is some sort of a puss in the corner game going on here.

    Question: Will there be a change in the timetable of the talks?

    Answer: Such a thing has not been discussed so far. As you can see, everyone is working to adhere to this timetable. But because of the initial delays, this timetable has become a merciless one. That is, they want us to close our eyes to many things and accept in haste whatever they want. This is not a correct approach.

    Question: Will you consult Turkey in view of this situation?

    Answer: I have been telling you all along: Turkey is already here and we are in constant contact with Turkey. As you can see, the `Prime Minister´ and his `deputy´ have been going to Ankara whenever the need arises. As such, we are already working with Turkey.

    Question: Was the issue of Turkish settlers raised at the talks?

    Answer: Yes, it was discussed. The Greek Cypriot position on this issue has not changed. We are trying, through a new approach, to dwell on a formula that would protect all our brethren."

    Subsequently Denktas continues by addressing a group of illegal Turkish settlers who approach escorted by so-called police: Yes, come forward, what is that you want?

    A man heading a group of illegal settlers occupying Greek Cypriot properties presents a large handmade map of Cyprus divided by the Turkish occupation addresses Denktas: "Esteemed President, please accept our regards. We are from the `TRNC´ Refugee Association, we crafted a map of Cyprus with sacred soil brought from various corners of our homeland and from stones gathered from the martyrs' graves. Our aim in doing this is to show that we are standing up for our state and land and ask you in return to defend and protect us at the table. We have always trusted you and will continue trusting you. Do not forget that the sublime Turkish nation stands behind you, you obtained the support of the grand Turkish people. We, therefore, thank you and convey our regards to you and to all the members of your negotiating team."

    In reply the Turkish Cypriot leader said: "I thank you. But, you should know that trusting me alone is not enough. We, in turn, have placed our trust in you, in our people, for it would be you who at the end of the day would say either yes or no. That is why you should act in full awareness of everything. As you can see, on my part I have been briefing the people on the daily developments from this podium every day at two o'clock. I have been informing them of both the good and the bad developments. It is up to you to assess all these and act accordingly. Open your eyes and act accordingly.

    Thank you, this is a beautiful memento, I will keep it in a beautiful place.

    Illegal settler: We want the eternal existence of the `TRNC´, we want our flags to fly high. Please accept our regards.

    Denktas: Thank you, live long! Besides, you should stop saying you are refugees.

    Illegal settler: We already have, sir.

    Denktas: We do not recognize such a thing as refugee.

    Illegal settler: Thank you, sir.

    Denktas: I thank you all, you have gone into great lengths [to construct the map].

    Question from journalist: Did the territorial issue come up on the agenda?

    Denktas: No, it did not.

    Question: We understand that you will continue making such statements even during the give-and-take process. Is that so?

    Denktas: Probably.

    Question: Statements were issued by Talat and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that observing a blackout would be beneficial during this process.

    Denktas: I think those statements were made on the assumption that de Soto was going to make important disclosures today. De Soto himself requested that we should not inform the people about the disclosures he intended to make. So, this [blackout] concerns the remarks he was going to make. Otherwise, we will naturally continue informing our people about our contacts. Thank you."

    [02] Consistent with the Turkish mentality of negotiating the Turkish Prime Minister wants to see the Greek Cypriot proposal on the territorial issue and then propose a map. More Turkish pre-conditions to Bush and Annan

    Istanbul YENI SAFAK newspaper (14.03.04) publishes an interview with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

    On the Cyprus problem Mr Erdogan replied to the following questions:

    Question: Are we really close to a solution to the Cyprus issue?

    Answer: Negotiations between the sides will continue until 22 March, followed by [a process] in which the two capitals [Ankara and Athens] will participate, and if the dispute still remains unsolved, the UN Secretary-General will come forward with a plan concerning the referendum. We will do what is needed if our sensibilities are not taken into account. We hope that they will be. I told this to Mr Annan in Davos and to Mr Bush in the United States - the continuation of bizonality, the strengthening of Turkey's guarantees, and the drawing of a straighter borderline. If we cannot accept the United Nation's map, we cannot possibly say yes [to the plan]. We cannot disclose our own map before seeing the other side's map. Our map will be the last map to be disclosed and announced.

    Also important is the issue of primary and secondary law, that is the issue of derogations. Mr Annan will seek the EU's help and the agreement will be adopted as primary law. No steps can be taken before this has been settled.

    Question: Are we ready to go all the way in the process of give and take?

    Answer: I am calling it "win-win" rather than give and take. Look, some 36 percent of Cyprus is Turkish Cypriot territory. The rest is Greek Cypriot and to a certain extent British territory. Both sides will ask for certain things and reach a point at the end of the negotiations. Yet we will not disclose our map before either the UN or the Greek Cypriots have disclosed theirs.

    [03] The Turkish government avoids to comment on the Turkish military´s secret operation of "listing people"

    Turkish Daily News (14.03.04) publishes the following report in its Sunday Turkish Prope edition under the title: "Military intelligence operation causes surprise":

    "The Turkish military's secret operation of "listing certain people" who carry out "divisive and destructive activities" in Turkey has with no doubt been the event of the week.

    At a time when Turkey is pushing hard to join the EU and is in efforts to fully implement the democratic reforms its parliament has passed, the appearance of such news reports in papers shocked many circles in Turkey.

    Many people didn't believe what they read in the article which was saying that the Turkish Land Forces Command (KKK) sent a letter to military centers and local governors in January asking them to collect information on certain minorities and groups.

    These groups included high society groups, groups linked to artists, children of well-to-do families, individuals known to support the U.S. and the EU, religious orders, Satanists, Ku Klux Klan, Mason Lodges, internet groups, sex, drugs and meditation groups, etc.

    Then the General Staff confirmed the article, admitting that they have committed some mistakes in the plan. The General Staff added there will be some amendments to the plan. But it also noted that it is in the interest of the national security of Turkey to have a plan of action to prevent any incidents that may arise within the Turkish society.

    Many people said the program reminded them of practices of the military coup of 1980 and the "postmodern coup" of 1997 and it had the traces of military-dominated mentality which Turkey is struggling to reduce to reasonable limits.

    Many human rights organizations reacted harshly against the practice, main opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) brought the issue onto the agenda of the Parliament and legal experts said the program was against the law and citizens have the right to apply to the courts on the program.

    While many circles displayed harsh reaction against the military's operation, the government leaders preferred to remain silent on the issue. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't reply to questions on the issue, whereas Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said: "I don't want to talk much on this issue," and also Defense Minister remained silent when asked about the program.

    Recently, secret regulations by the General Secretariat of National Security Council (NSC) had been disclosed in the Turkish media and the government leaders had declined to comment on the issue at that time, too.

    The Justice and Development Party (JDP) government avoids getting into controversies with the secular establishment which has serious concerns over the Islamic roots of the party. Analysts cite this as the reason of the government's remaining silent on the issue.

    The secular establishment, which the JDP is trying to convince that it has no secret agenda to change Turkey's regime, also has a critical stance on the recent EU-inspired democratic reforms undertaken by the JDP government. These democratic reforms include some curbs on political power of the military in Turkey, as well."


    [04] Ilter Turkmen assesses the current stage of the talks for a solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion of 1974

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (13.03.04) publishes the following commentary by former Foreign Minister Ilter Turkmen under the title:: "The last act on Cyprus":

    "An incredible drama is taking place in Northern Cyprus. Mr Rauf Denktas is on the one hand, under pressure from the Turkish government, continuing the negotiations with the Greek Cypriots, and on the other hand is seeking any way possible to get out of the New York agreement.

    His first goal is, if possible, to somehow get himself and Turkey out of their commitment to present the plan, which will get its final form from the UN Secretary- General, to a referendum. And if the referendum should come to be unavoidable, to get the Turkish Cypriots to vote "no".

    And if he should be unable to succeed in this, [he hopes] as the last resort to try to thwart the will of the people. Indeed, in a proposed amendment to the plan, he called, in the event of the plan's being approved by referenda, for these approvals to then be ratified as well by the parliaments of the two sides, and to be signed by the two leaders thereafter.

    Denktas, while continuing his struggle, in which he believes sincerely, in both North Cyprus and Turkey, is utilizing every bit of his charisma and all his skills at politics and persuasion. In Turkey, in particular, he finds crowds who prefer slogans to ideas and realities, and he captivates them. After listening to him, they no longer feel the need to think.

    The government in Turkey is aware that it has to keep the promise that it gave to the UN Secretary-General. It is feeling the gradually tightening squeeze of the EU timetable. It cannot be unaware that, if the Cyprus issue should not be resolved, or if the side that rejects the Annan Plan should be the Turkish Cypriots, its EU policy will collapse completely, and it will encounter a very serious political and economic crisis at the end of 2004.

    Behind closed doors, it is giving every sort of assurances to its EU interlocutors and the representatives of the UN. But because it has not been able to benefit very much from institutional support, it has been unable to take a clear stance in the things it says. Perhaps it will act more decisively following the 28 March [local] elections.

    According to the most recent public opinion surveys in the south of Cyprus, the great majority of the population there show the tendency to vote "no" in the referendum. As for Papadopoulos, he is under pressure from the EU, the United States, and Greece. Certainly Southern Cyprus will take its place as a full member in the EU on 1 May, no matter what the results of the referendum may be, but Papadopoulos's problems will not end then.

    Pressures within the EU will continue, calls to repeat the referendum will be made, and alternatives for a settlement could come onto the agenda. In this dilemma, Papadopoulos's biggest ally, in a sense, is Denktas. If he [Denktas] were to take on all the responsibility for a failure to reach a settlement, he would end up doing Papadopoulos the greatest favor possible. And it would be the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, that would end up paying the price of this favour.

    It is essential not to circle around the issue. We know very well that, in the end, very great changes are not going to be made in the Annan Plan. Some of the proposals that the Turkish side has put forth for the strengthening of bi-zonality, which are largely reasonable, will be accepted.

    Some adjustments will also be made in line with the Greek Cypriots' desires. But the general lines of the Plan will not change very much. The solution that the Plan foresees is no doubt not ideal. Moreover, it entails a convoluted structure and system. Implementation will be difficult.

    But no other sort of solution could have been found for a complex issue like the Cyprus dispute. The settlement proposed is in any event much preferable to a lack of a solution, or to the 1960 agreements. And no matter what anyone might say, the best aspect of the plan is that it puts the settlement into the EU framework.

    The best option for the Turks of Cyprus, and for Turkey, would be for both sides to say "yes" to the solution in the referendum. For the Turks to say "yes" and the Greek Cypriots to say "no" would still be advantageous to Turkey, even if not for the Turkish Cypriots.

    The Cyprus dispute would cease to be an obstacle in the EU accession process. The British Foreign Secretary recently said that, if the Greek Cypriots should vote "no", Southern Cyprus would not be able to represent Cyprus as a whole.

    It is certain that that is the way it would be in actuality. From the political standpoint, however, the situation is a bit more complicated. The EU could not be expected to adopt this view immediately. Indeed, at the Copenhagen summit in December of 2002, the EU, while noting that it would not be possible for the acquis commaunitaire [the collected body of EU laws and regulations] to be implemented in Northern Cyprus in the event of a failure to reach a settlement, had accepted a resolution that would mean that the government of Southern Cyprus would represent the entire island.

    But in time, relations between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots could develop in an arrangement that does not require recognition, and in the end there could come the realization that there is no alternative other than accepting the existence of two separate states. Particularly if Turkey should be able to generate creative policies that would facilitate this evolution in people's minds."

    [05] Columnist in SABAH criticizes Turkey for wanting to enter Europe with "military democracy"

    Istanbul SABAH newspaper (12.03.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Barlas under the title: "It is easy to come to power, but hard to rule!":

    "This must be the new model ministry.

    During his visit to Artvin, journalists asked National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul: "What do you think about the directive that the Ground Forces Command sent the district supervisors to open files [on various categories of individuals suspected of being possible security threats]?"

    National Defense Minister Gonul gave this response: "Why are you asking me about it? Ask the Ground Forces!"

    This Ministry of National Defense must be something like the administration of a cooperative with limited responsibility...

    The Office of the Prime Minister is also evidently something of the same sort.

    Tayyip Erdogan storms and blusters in the public squares in the local elections campaign. He has all sorts of things to say about [opposition Republican People's Party -- RPP -- Chairman] Deniz Baykal, and [disgraced financier] Cem Uzan.

    But when it comes around to the dualism in the state administration, the Prime Minister is completely tongue-tied. But we are all, in fact, aware of this reality.

    The worst part about it is that Europe and America are also aware of it.

    Those elected in Turkey can become the party in power. But they cannot rule. Is it not for just this reason that people constantly say "You cannot join the European Union with a military democracy".

    Are secret documents that are continually being leaked to the press documents that should be taken so lightly as to say "Ask the Ground Forces about that"?

    During the 28 February process [the period following the 28 February 1997 National Security Council meeting], secret memoranda were written about [journalists] Mehmet Ali Birand and Cengiz Candar. Now an effort is underway for such memoranda to be written about the entire society.

    Pro-EU people... pro-US people... spiritualists... philosophers... writers... Ku Klux Klan members... high society... children of the rich... Satanists... internet groups... Circassians... Roma [i.e., Gypsies]... Albanians... Bosniaks... Masons... people who practice meditation...

    Fine... It is indeed possible not to take such confusion seriously.

    But this is being done by people who get salaries from the state budget, and on the grounds of national security.

    The Minister of National Defense says "Don't ask me; ask the Ground Forces."

    In my view, it is time for Prime Minister Erdogan to stop his storming and blustering on the hustings.

    Let him tell the truth:

    "We the elected ones are a sort of political sub-contractor. When we come to power, we busy ourselves with reducing inflation, building roads, working out agreements with the IMF, and setting dates for elections. Apart from these things, on education, security, and similar topics, we have no authority. We cannot make the decisions on things like foreign policy. The units of the state that are subject to us keep files on us. We merely watch in silence."

    Is this not the truth? And there is yet another aspect of it all. In accord once with the changing times, the possessors of various political viewpoints constantly criticize the press.

    It is time for these people to remain silent.

    If not for the press, no one would have any knowledge of anything. You see it now. In times when those in power become totally tongue-tied, only the press speaks up. It was the same in terms of the Cyprus settlement, and on the issue of efforts to harmonize with the European Union.

    Those who get into their official cars with red license plates and arrive with motorcades at VIP areas fall totally silent when developments contrary to the realities of the country and the world take place.

    The real toadies, who dare to sling mud this way and that at people they disparage as the "toady media", are probably looking at the KKK [Ground Forces Command] directives with Schadenfreude [over the embarrassment of the military]".

    [06] Turkish experts and politicians expect a "no" from the Greek Cypriots in the referendum hoping that thus they will enjoy freely the spoils of the occupation of Cyprus

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (13.03.04) publishes the following commentary by Fatih Altayli under the title: "According to Soysal Denktas will step down":

    "When my cell phone rang early in the morning I picked it up and answered it by "good morning Hasan" because only Hasan Cemal calls at that hour. He is an early riser. He inquired: "My friend, the elections are approaching. For whom are we going to vote?"

    Do not misunderstand. He was talking about the elections for the Galatasaray Athletic Club. For a while we discussed how we should vote. We are mostly in agreement.

    Then I asked: "Where are you?"

    He is in Cyprus. He is there to take the public pulse.

    I asked: "How is Denktas doing?"

    "He is doing his job well," he said. "It seems that there will not be any problems until the referendum."

    I asked: "How does the referendum look, in your opinion?"

    He expressed his opinion as: "The referendum is unlikely to produce a 'no.' In particular if any steps are taken to allay the property concerns of settlers from Turkey, there is a 90 percent probability that a 'yes' will come out of the referendum."

    Two days ago we were having dinner with a diplomat who works at one of the most important missions of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. I asked him about how the preliminary [Cyprus] talks went in New York.

    He replied: "The Turkish side was very constructive. Now the start has been given. It is unlikely that there will be any problems until the referendum."

    I asked: "Do you have a sense that a problem may arise in Northern Cyprus in the referendum?"

    He replied: "I do not think that the Turkish Cypriot side will cause any problems, but I do not think that there is any possibility that the Greek Cypriot side will vote 'yes.'"

    I asked: "How so?"

    He said: "The Greek Cypriot side will definitely vote 'no' in the referendum. That is the forecast. I think that this became even more certain after the elections in Greece."

    This is an advantageous situation for the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. According to numerous "experts" and politicians, a 'no' from the Greek Cypriot side may mean the lifting of the embargo against the Turkish Cypriots and the start of a slow process of granting recognition to "North Cyprus".

    However Denktas and his "loyal" adviser Mumtaz Soysal are playing a different tune.

    I do not like writing about gossip, but let me pass on a piece of information I heard from a reliable source. Then you can understand better what I mean.

    On Thursday night Mumtaz Soysal was having dinner with a group of his friends at a seafood restaurant between Kyrenia and Nicosia. Ertugrul Kumcuoglu, a former Turkish ambassador in Nicosia and a former Democratic Left Party and Nationalist Action Party deputy, was also at the table. The topic of discussion was the ongoing talks in Cyprus. Professor Soysal spoke about what may happen in the near future. According to Soysal Denktas will step down as negotiator. Soysal did not give a definite date for this but his remarks suggested that it will definitely happen before April.

    Denktas will step down as negotiator and start a campaign against the Annan plan.

    This is the information Mr Denktas´ adviser passed on to his friends at the table. Everyone at the table was pleased with this position. They finished their dinner and left feeling smug.

    The restaurant where this conversation transpired is called "Lemon Tree."

    The people who sat at nearby tables and overheard these conversations lost their appetite."


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