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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-03-29

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.59/04 27-28-29.03.04


  • [01] Details of the Fourth Annan plan leaked by Turkish NTV channel.
  • [02] The illegal settlers brought by the occupiers in the houses of evicted Greek Cypriots tried to obstruct bicommunal activity for peace.
  • [03] Turkish Prime Minister: The secondary cause of terrorism is people who lost their lands and are trying to recapture them.
  • [04] The ruling Justice and Development Party produces Mayors from 56 Cities in yesterday's local elections in Turkey.

  • [05] Impossible for the Turkish Parliament to ratify Cyprus Agreement prior to referendum.
  • [06] Efforts to project Turkey as a model for neighboring countries but Turks fail to agree whether they are islamist or secular.
  • [07] MILLIYET newspaper discloses what Annan will say to the sides in the last three days in Switzerland.


    [01] Details of the Fourth Annan plan leaked by Turkish NTV channel

    Istanbul NTV Online (28.03.04) reports that the fourth Annan plan, over which NTV has received information, is composed of 9,000 pages including its addenda. The plan, which will officially be submitted to the sides tomorrow [29 March], aims at establishing a fine balance between the vital criteria the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides have submitted at the Cyprus negotiations known as the "sine qua non" issues.

    On the issue of "political equality" over which the Turkish Cypriot side is sensitive, the plan is based on the logic of granting equal political rights to the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. The pertinent section of the plan notes that the founding Turkish state will have a separate government, a separate parliament, and separate courts. With the aim of safeguarding the principle of equality, the Annan plan takes certain measures with regard to the rights to elect and be elected of Greek Cypriots who will come to the north as citizens of the Turkish component state.

    On the issues of guarantees and security over which Ankara insists, the plan envisages the continuation of Turkey's effective and de facto guarantees on the island.

    As for the ownership issue which constitutes the basis of the Cyprus problem, arrangements are being made for Turkish Cypriots who have property in the south to have property in the north. While the plan maintains the property ratio of the previous plans, it stresses that new settlement opportunities will be provided for Turkish Cypriots in the north who are to be displaced. Moreover, on the issue of ownership, the plan seeks derogations, in other words special implementations, from the EU.

    The new plan proposes two alternatives with regard to the territory to be left to the Turkish Cypriot side. The first alternative, envisages decreasing the 36 percent territory of the Turkish Cypriot side to 29 percent. Within this framework, Greek Cypriots will settle in Rizokarpasso and Kokkina. The second alternative envisages leaving the Turkish Cypriots 24 percent of the island's territory and, in exchange, reducing the number of Greek Cypriots who will return to the north.

    The Annan plan, which is extremely detailed, grants unlimited authorities to the central president with regard to the economic policies of the United Cyprus Republic. The plan also envisages leaving the flag and national anthem of the United Cyprus Republic as agreed upon at the pertinent committees.

    Alvaro de Soto, the UN special Cyprus envoy, has asked the sides to study the 9,000-page plan -- which includes the addenda, the agreements, the laws, and the constitutions of the founding states -- and to submit their views and objections to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan by tomorrow.

    [02] The illegal settlers brought by the occupiers in the houses of evicted Greek Cypriots tried to obstruct bicommunal activity for peace

    Illegal Bayrak television (27.03.04) broadcast the following:

    "Today is the World Theater Day. It is the day of the actors, who explain the human and world affairs on stage either through laughter or sadness, but always in a thought-provoking manner.

    The residents of Nicosia are watching today's thought-provoking scenes like a film. The reason is the incidents that erupted during the Yes To Peace in Cyprus carnival.

    Everything started off beautifully. The participants in the carnival began to march to the Ledra Palace in their colorful dresses. Then things happened. Unpleasant incidents took place when the path of the parades was blocked by a group.

    The Yes To Peace in Cyprus carnival was expected to set off from the Ataturk Culture Center, pass through the Sarayonu Square, cross the Ledra Palace checkpoint, and end at the Eleftheria Square in South Cyprus. However, before it could reach Sarayonu, a group calling itself the National Forces gathered illegally at the Kyrenia Gate and tried to obstruct the parade, which was sanctioned by the Interior Ministry, Police Department, and the District Office.

    The police established a security cordon around the two groups. The group, which was holding the unsanctioned demonstration, chanted slogans, declaring that they would not allow the Greek Cypriots to parade in the `TRNC´. The parades said that they will not fall for this provocation and wanted to hold their march in an atmosphere of tolerance.

    The security forces, which arrived at the spot some 45 minutes after the start of the incidents, did not disperse the group holding unsanctioned demonstration, instead asked the paraders to change their route. When the paraders insisted that they would keep to their original route, the security forces warned them that if they do so they would be dispersed. In the meantime, the paraders were chanting Peace in Cyprus Cannot Be Obstructed, whereas the group trying to obstruct the parade shouted Cyprus Is Turkish and It Will Remain Turkish. At around 1200 [1000 GMT], the carnival group changed its route, and moved towards the Ledra Palace after passing by the Presidential Office. Presently, the group is continuing its carnival at the Eleftheria Square in South Cyprus.

    Whereas, the group holding unsanctioned demonstration marched to the Presidential Office by chanting slogans and then dispersed."

    [03] Turkish Prime Minister: The secondary cause of terrorism is people who lost their lands and are trying to recapture them

    The Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Recept Tayyip Erdogan, supported that the primary cause of terrorism is poverty and the secondary is when people lose their homes and try to get them back.

    In spite of this, Mr Erodgan continues the policy followed by successive Turkish governments to bring settlers from Turkey into the properties of the Greek Cypriots who were either murdered or forced at gun point to abandon their homes and properties during the military invasion against a small defenseless peace-loving island-state member of the UN.

    The statements by Mr Erodgan were made to TERCUMAN newspaper of Istanbul on 28.03.04 in the following interview given during his election campaign tour to Rize and Trabzon:

    Question: Is there a probability that a disagreement could emerge on the Cyprus problem?

    Answer: It is the hope of everyone that there would be an agreement. Up until now, some problems have been experienced, both on the Island and in Switzerland. The negotiations among Turkey, Greece, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides will continue until Monday. I hope that there will be little work left for the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and for me and that significant progress will be made before we come together. I place great importance on our talks with Prime Minister Karamanlis.

    Question: But in the end, is this not a process, which is tied to an automatic pilot? Mr Annan will fill in the voids and referendums will be held.

    Answer: This is something related to the text of the referendum. I wonder if an agreement could be obtained in the negotiations prior to the referendums.

    Question: What would happen if an agreement could not be reached?

    Answer: We will find an opportunity to see this in a clearer manner in the talks we will hold under the chairmanship of Mr Annan.

    Question: Was it not accepted in New York that Mr Annan would fill the voids?

    Answer: This was accepted in New York, but the developments on Cyprus were different. For example, at the moment, the Greek Cypriot side went to Switzerland with a 47-page text of objections. As for the "TRNC" has objections that are only 2.5 pages long. We should see in an open and clear manner to what extent an agreement would be obtained and what the agreement would be.

    Question: Do you have a 'B' plan?

    Answer: A successful politician is a politician who plans the next move, as in a chess game. Certainly, there are preliminary studies we made according to every development.

    Question: Mr Rauf Denktas is talking about resigning.

    Answer: I did not hear this from Mr Denktas. The developments in the "TRNC" are first of all of interest to the Turks in Northern Cyprus. But no doubt, the negativities would also sadden us. We would not want such a development and we also do not expect this from Rauf Denktas. Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas went to Switzerland by getting the authorization from Rauf Denktas. The steps taken are the continuation of a legal process. They have in their hands a written authorization obtained from Mr Denktas.

    Question: [Former President] Suleyman Demirel, in a statement he made to the CUMHURIYET newspaper said, 'The government is trying to make the impossible possible. The red lines were caused to be worn out. The position of the "TRNC" has been weakened'. How do you view this evaluation?

    Answer: The Cyprus problem has not been solved for 30 years. Even the recognition of the "TRNC" could not be obtained. Mr Demirel was within this period as the Prime Minister and the President. It was also not solved during his period. It is such that the "TRNC" cannot bring its national team to Turkey. Turkey cannot have a national competition in the "TRNC". But it is obliged to hold a national competition in Southern Cyprus. As for Southern Cyprus, it can realize all kinds of national games in Turkey. Even this has not been solved; we cannot solve it. Northern Cyprus is not included in the economic relations with the world. If we want to enlighten the future of the new generations in Northern Cyprus, and if we want to prevent them from looking for a place to live other than Northern Cyprus, their own homeland, then we should solve the problem. It is the duty of a politician to make the impossible possible. A politician does not create problems; he solves the problems. We are trying to solve the problem in the four-party negotiations in Switzerland. If we can succeed, then we will succeed. But if the opposite side would not show goodwill, then we would not have the interests of either the "TRNC" or of Turkey crushed. Excuse me for saying this, but we are as nationalistic as all of the politicians are. We are as patriotic as they are.

    Question: The Istanbul University President Kemal Alemdaroglu has made a call to you. In a speech he made recently he said, 'We had 35 thousand of our people martyred in Southeastern Turkey. If necessary, we can also take Greece by martyring another 135 thousand of our people'. He also made a threat by saying that if you would give away a piece of Cyprus, then we would subject you to a political bastinado.

    Answer: I do not want to address that person. Only I want his statements to be evaluated within the framework of the sentence used by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, 'Peace in Nation, Peace in the World'.

    Question: A solidarity in opposition emerged within the framework of Cyprus. The Maoists, conservatives, nationalists, militarists and secularists are all together.

    Answer: You cannot set off on a journey with those who come together artificially. They would be smashed to bits by the smallest obstacle. We are together in order to protect our national sensitivities. As for their getting together, it is for a moment and could not continue.

    Question: Who is the orchestra conductor?

    Answer: I am not in a position to search for the orchestra conductor. I only care for the interests of my country. I care for the interests of the "TRNC". We know those who want to make politics over Cyprus. We know those who were lost from the agenda and are once again trying to come onto the agenda over Cyprus. Some people, who used to consider the Turkish Armed Forces in the "TRNC" as an occupying force and who wrote books on this subject, are now entering into the same picture. We have the tallies of all of these.

    Question: I wonder if they are trying to prevent Turkey from obtaining a negotiation timetable from the EU by delaying a solution on Cyprus?

    Answer: The EU members consider our attitude on Cyprus to be with good intentions and positive. Everyone is aware that we are expending sincere efforts. In any case, the timetable is related to the starting of the negotiation process.

    Question: Are you sure that negotiations would start with the EU?

    Answer: We would like to be sure.

    Question: You said that you talked about terrorism with Javier Solana, the Secretary General of the EU Council. What did you tell him?

    Answer: Terrorist actions in the world have increased in recent months. The attacks realized in Istanbul, the incidents in Madrid, the assassination of Sheikh Ahmet Yasin, the HAMAS Leader, by Israel came onto the agenda of the EU as hot developments. Up until today, terrorism was being approached in the form of catching the terrorists, concentrating soldiers in the region and increasing security measures. I said that we do not consider these to be sufficient and that it is necessary to remove the causes of terrorism. Did not terrorism strike the Pentagon, where the protective measures are the most intensive?

    Question: Did you also qualify the assassination of Ahmet Yasin as a terrorist incident?

    Answer: Yes, it is a terrorist incident. It is such a terrorist act that the government made a decision for an assassination. Whereas, a state cannot hold grudges. A state cannot suspend law. Here there is a terrorism escalating from the individuals towards a state. This is very dangerous. Ever since 11 September I have been saying that it is necessary to establish a joint international platform and a joint intelligence against terrorism.

    Question: You mentioned the causes of terrorism. What are the causes? Answer: The primary cause is poverty. The secondary cause is people who lost their lands and who are trying to recapture their lands; these people, who lost their hopes, and if they are somewhat ignorant as well, then they are made to believe in dying [for their cause]. If you would kill defenseless people, little children by attacking with helicopters from above, and if you would engage in mass murders, then there is nothing left to be done by those people living there.

    Question: All right, in your opinion, are not the suicide attacks terrorism as well?

    Answer: But their sources are the events I mentioned a while ago. What is being done for preventing terrorism is encouraging new terrorist actions. Certainly, the people being killed while shopping in a supermarket in Israel would also sadden us. This is also a terrorist act. But killing little children, women and innocent people by bombing them is also terrorism.

    Question: The United States objected to the condemnation of Israel in the UN Security Council and you are criticizing Israel with a strong language. In this situation, how would you work together with the United States in the Greater Middle East Project [GMEP]?

    Answer: The GMEP is an abstract concept. There is nothing concrete yet. I have been saying from the very beginning that we would never be a 'walk-on' artist within such a project. We would be within such a project only if democratic initiatives would be realized in the region, if respect for human rights and supremacy of law would be provided and if a new standard of life, which would also include Caucasia and the Turkish Republics, would be attained.

    Question: They show Turkey as a moderate Islamic model within this project.

    Answer: I do not accept something called moderate Islam, because it would imply that there should be a concept called radical Islam, and this is incorrect. There is one type of Muslim and a Muslim would fulfill all of his obligations. This definition is very wrong.

    [04] The ruling Justice and Development Party produces Mayors from 56 Cities in yesterday's local elections in Turkey

    HURRIYET newspaper, internet version (29.03.04) reports that the Justice and Development Party (JDP) got the mayoral seats of 56 provinces, out of a total of 81, the Republican People's Party (RPP) 9 provinces, Democratic Union of Powers 5 provinces and Nationalist Action Party (NAP) 4 provinces, Felicity and True Path Party each of one province, in Sunday's local polls, according to the returns of 54 % of ballot boxes counted.

    The total vote percentage of JDP rose from 34.43 % in 2003, to 42.3 % now. The success of JDP is comparable with the land sliding victory of Motherland Party in the 1984 local elections.

    Besides getting the mayoral posts of 57 provinces, JDP got 42.8 % of the votes in the Provincial General Assemblies (Which is an indicator that is comparable with the general elections results). JDP was followed by RPP with 17.8 % of votes, Nationalist Action Party (NAP) with 10.8 %, True Path Party (TPP) with 10.2 %, Social Democrat Populist Party (Democratic Union of Powers) (DUP) with 4.3 % Young Party with 2.8 %, Motherland Party With 2.5 %, Democratic Left Party DLP with 2.1 % and Great Unity Party (GUP) with 1.2 %.

    Returns so far received, showed that, if this were general elections, besides JDP and RTP which got 34.43 % and 19.41 %of the votes respectively in the November 2003 elections, this time True Path Party (Which had 9.54 % of votes in Nov.2003) and Nationalist Action Party NAP (Which got 8.35 % in Nov.2003) would also be able to enter Parliament, passing the 10 % threshold. In that case JDP would produce 342 deputies (365 at present), RPP 100 deputies (177 at present), TPP 52 deputies and NAP 56 deputies.

    Of 43,1 million voters, 10.215.228 persons cast valid votes in Sunday's elections. Independent candidate Mikail Kayaturk was named the Mayor of Ardahan, North-East Anatolia.

    Istanbul's Mayor became JDP's Kadir Topbas, Ankara's Mayor, JDP's Melih Gokcek and Izmir's Mayor, RPP's Ahmet Piristina. In Ankara, Melih Gokcek of JDP was named Mayor for a third time, setting a record. His vote percentage on Sunday was 57.1 %, with a margin of 39 % over his closest rival Murat Karayalcin of DUP. JDP got all seven townships in Ankara but could not achieve in Cankaya. RPP's Mustafa Sarigul won once more in Sisli.

    This was the first local elections which JDP competed, 17 months after coming to power and its votes were again very high over its rivals, with a big margin.

    Opposition Party RPP remained below the votes it received in the November 2003 elections. Its leader Deniz Baykal did not visit his party's headquarters all day and night and remained at home.

    Besides losing votes (from 19.41 % to 17.8) , RPP also lost its strongholds Antalya, Gaziantep, Hatay and Kocaeli which it maintained for long years.

    The only surprise of the elections was that, the votes of JDP remained below 50 %. In spite of many forecasts, JDP won the mayoral positions in Istanbul, Ankara, Gaziantep and other cities, but failed in Southeastern city Diyarbakir which was won by Social Democrat Populist Party SDPP; which led the Union of Democratic Powers.

    Another big surprise for RPP has been the defeat of Mayor Celal Dogan in Gaziantep. The Democratic Union of Powers led by DUP also failed in the elections.

    Ethnic DEHAP won in Diyarbakir but in lesser votes than the previous elections. Its predecessor HADEP had won 62 % of the vote in 2003 elections and now, its candidate won 58 % of votes.


    [05] Impossible for the Turkish Parliament to ratify Cyprus Agreement prior to referendum

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (27.03.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "Approval before the referendum":

    "It came out in the contacts in Buergenstock and Brussels that the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan wants "approval" from the parties prior to the referendums. This request was conveyed to the Turkish and Greek officials by Alvaro de Soto.

    Turkey, Greece and England, as the guarantor states, would give their "commitment for approval" prior to the referendums. When the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides also join this, then a "five-party agreement" will emerge. This agreement will be passed in the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] and the parliaments of the other countries prior to the referendums. Thus, the guarantor states would have given a "yes" message to the people of the `TRNC´ and to the people of Southern Cyprus in the referendums.

    With this method, it will be attempted to take under guarantee to a great extent the passage of the fourth version of the Annan Plan in the referendums. This mechanism, which Mr Annan is trying to get approved in Switzerland, was also understood in the invitation letter he had sent to the leaders. The critical question in this method is as follows:

    After the commitments to be given in Switzerland and before the referendums, would the agreement and its appendices also be passed in the TGNA? Could it be passed? If it passes, then what would be the meaning of this?

    In the timetable made by Mr Annan, it was envisaged to have the agreement text passed in the parliaments of Turkey and Greece on 9 April. But Turkey objected to this with the justification that it does not conform to the Turkish Constitution and it announced that its objection had been accepted. In response to this, since we are talking about the pre-approval stage in Switzerland and subsequently the approval stage in the TGNA, the government should clarify what sort of a course it would follow. The news is also coming in the direction that the UN officials are thinking of postponing the referendum date until after 20 April and before 1 May in order to provide for the approval of the TGNA.

    According to the Constitution, it is impossible for the TGNA to ratify an international agreement, which has not passed in the referendum and consequently, has not become finalized. Is it possible to pass the agreement text, which will emerge, not as a new international agreement, but to present it as the appendix of some agreements, which have been previously approved, with a government decree without bringing it to the TGNA? Is it possible to try resorting to such a method or get approval from the TGNA with an interpretation with a different attribute by bypassing the Constitution? If this method were tried, then would it not create new legal and political disputes?

    Besides all these, it is also necessary for the indispensable conditions of the Turkish side to enter into the text and to get a response to the question of what is a satisfactory level on the subject of including them in the primary law of the EU. For example, according to the information reflected from Switzerland, the formula is being dwelled upon for being content with an EU Council of Ministers' decision with the objective of partially being able to satisfy the Turkish side, instead of taking the derogations under guarantee in the EU parliaments. Can this be considered to be a sufficient guarantee and unchangeable law?

    Before all of these problems and questions are clarified and the fate of the indispensable conditions of the Turkish side are completely understood, to make an approval commitment in Switzerland and have the text agreement passed from the TGNA prior to the referendum or pass it through the Turkish government by obtaining authorization from the TGNA, would lead to disputes.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul should not make a commitment in a manner that would also bind the TGNA before clarifying all of these aspects.

    The approval of a text, which would be filled in by Mr Annan, on which the sides have not been able to agree and in which the indispensable conditions have not been reflected, prior to the referendum, would have the meaning of "acceptance in advance".

    [06] Efforts to project Turkey as a model for neighbouring countries but Turks fail to agree whether they are islamist or secular

    Under the title: "US Greater Middle East Initiative sparks 'moderate Islam' controversy in Turkey", Turkish Daily News (28.03.04) publishes the following article by Fatma Demirelli:

    "Turkish leaders and media found themselves last week in a controversy on "moderate Islam," a term floated in Washington presumably to denote Turkey's role in the Greater Middle East Initiative, a much-debated project aimed at encouraging democratization in the Islamic geography.

    The U.S. initiative still awaits clear definition, and two important gatherings in the coming months -- that of the G-8 countries and NATO -- are expected to give a clearer description of the scope and content of the project. According to initial assessments made in Ankara on the initiative, Washington sees a "pivotal role" in it for Turkey, a unique case where "democracy and Islam coexist" even when an "Islamic party" is in government.

    Therefore, with its "moderate Islamic" structure, goes the argument, Turkey can present a model to the rest of the Islamic world in their U.S.-backed bid to create democratic regimes. Leaving aside the question of to what extent that assessment reflects what the U.S. administration has in mind for Turkey, which is in and of itself a matter for separate discussion, this argument has nonetheless once again evoked a highly sensitive issue that has made deep and very visible traces in Turkish politics since the time the country was established: the secular nature of the state.

    And the first reaction against the argument came from Gen. Ilker Basbug, the deputy chief of the powerful general staff who recently had talks in Washington. His criticism as a member of the staunchly secular military against the "moderate Islam" model were not surprising but were somehow unexpected for many, since it also questioned the "model" role that Washington foresees for Turkey.

    But what is more revealing than this in showing that Turkey does not like a "moderate Islamic tag" is the backing that Basbug's criticism received from the "conservative" Justice and Development Party (JDP), which is now in power.

    'Turkey is secular, not Islamic'

    "Turkey is a secular, democratic state," Basbug said, stating in clear terms that Turkey has no intention of being a model as foreseen in the argument sketched above, in the Greater Middle East Initiative. "The Turkish Republic has been a secular, democratic state since it was founded in 1923. Secularism and moderate Islam cannot coexist. There is either one or the other," he said.

    Erdogan: Moderate, immoderate Islam!

    Whether Turkey can and should become a model for the countries targeted by the project is a question that JDP executives would answer in the affirmative, taking into consideration both the party's powerful inclination to keep the alliance with the United States alive and its manifested support for democratization and liberalization in the Islamic world, main themes promoted by the Greater Middle East Initiative.

    A historic speech by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in a meeting last year of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Tehran should be recalled here, said Fikret Ertan, a columnist for ZAMAN daily. In that speech Gul called for effort from within the Islamic world for democratic reforms, blaming lack of democratic and liberal traditions in the Islamic world for its current state of backwardness. "Gul's calls there completely overlap with the themes of the Greater Middle East Initiative," Ertan said. But as to the question of whether or not the JDP wants to see its government held up as a model country in the initiative with its "moderate Islamic" lineage, the answer appears to be different.

    "It is in the Constitution. Our state is a secular, social state respecting the supremacy of law. Islam is a different thing," said Erdogan, when asked to comment on Basbug's remarks. "First of all, what does moderate Islam mean? If you talk about moderate Islam, you somehow mean that there is an immoderate Islam as well," he said and added: "Our state is secular, not Islamic. There can be no Islamic state in the secular state."

    Search for new concepts?

    Discussions in the upper echelons of the state that have received high visibility and conflicting coverage in the media, have revealed that "Turkey does not want a labeling as such," according to Ertan. Reasoning from this point would suggest that the U.S. administration had better look for new concepts that would be better descriptive of and more acceptable to the Turkish military and civilian leadership if it retains the will to keep Turkey as a "pivotal country" in its promotion of the Greater Middle East Initiative.

    But looking at it from a different perspective, some in the Turkish press have suggested that "moderate Islam" is not what the United States had in mind for Turkey. "It's true that U.S. officials have mentioned Turkey as a model case in their speeches calling for a strengthening of moderate voices in Muslim countries," said MILLIYET columnist Yasemin Congar: "But never as a moderate Islamic country, that is, as a country outside the principle of secularism, to the contrary, as a secular and democratic country."

    "The United States is in a conceptual perplexity," said Ertan, referring to the uncertainty that still surrounds the Greater Middle East Initiative and the role that United States foresees in it for Turkey. "The search for new concepts is still on."

    [07] MILLIYET newspaper discloses what Annan will say to the sides in the last three days in Switzerland

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (28.03.04) reports the following by Hasan Cemal in Buergenstock, Switzerland under the title: "Three critical days":

    "Yes, our topic is Cyprus once again on a Sunday, even on a holiday when local elections are being held. Do not say we are overdoing it. This is a very important issue because Cyprus is not just about Cyprus. It does not concern just the destinies of Turkish and Greek Cypriots. It is a crucial matter that can have a direct influence on the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean, peace in the Aegean, the friendship between Turkey and Greece, Turkey's accession to the EU--in sum Turkey's bread and butter problems.

    There is a timetable that is ticking forward. We are about to step into three extremely critical days. These may be the last three days of this problem. More correctly we are entering a short slice of time when colors will turn into black or white and when "yes" and "no" decisions will be taken.

    Underline the following three days: March 29, March 30, March 31. These three critical days will begin when UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers Erdogan and Karamanlis take the center stage. According to information I obtained from reliable sources close to the UN Secretariat General the script prepared for Annan is as follows:

    Critical Day 1, March 29: Annan convenes a meeting that brings together all four sides at 09:30. He will probably say: "My assistant Alvaro de Soto briefed me on his work thus far and its outcome. I noted down what he said. I revised my plan based on these notes. Now I am submitting to you the 'fourth version' of the plan that has my name on it. Please review it and discuss and debate it among yourselves. The plan is open to 'give and take' or any changes that are acceptable to all of you. My assistant De Soto will also be here. I will now go to the Arab League meeting in Tunis. I will return tomorrow and we will get together again."

    This is how the first critical day opens. The sides first review the plan quickly. De Soto conducts shuttle diplomacy. As he begins to shuttle between the sides a commotion gets under way behind closed doors in Buergenstock.

    Critical Day 2, March 30: Annan returns from the Arab League meeting in Tunis to Switzerland. Once again he convenes the four sides this time together with the Turkish and Greek prime ministers and foreign ministers. He asks them to tell him what they did. He underlines the vital issues over which no agreement has been reached.

    In the meantime Washington steps in. U.S. Secretary of State Powell, perhaps President Bush, and prominent leaders of the EU, such as Chirac, Schroeder, and Blair, start conducting phone diplomacy.

    The negotiating sides begin to come under intense internal and external pressure. All the means and arm-twisting tactics of diplomacy are applied. This keeps the sides awake past midnight on the second critical day. The third and last critical day begins as the sun rises over Lake Lucerne in the Swiss Alps.

    Critical Day 3, March 31: Annan again convenes the four sides. He evaluates the situation and notes down what is said. It is hard to say how long this meeting would last. However Annan breaks the meeting for half an hour in the later hours of the day. He retreats to his room together with De Soto.

    Then he comes out and says: "As far as I can see you cannot agree on a solution document which you can all accept. This is the fourth and final version of the peace plan that has my name on it. It contains some touchups and minor modifications in the light of the negotiations of the last three days. Since you cannot agree among yourselves, please submit this plan to referenda on April 20."

    After making this statement Annan leaves Buergenstock on the evening of March 31, ending the summit. Then the pandemonium breaks out. This is the outline of the three critical days.

    This is just a framework. Not everything may proceed according to this framework. However it seems that the ball is now in Annan's court. Even if all the sides waste time by passing the ball to each other it is the Secretary-General who will ultimately shoot the ball into the goal. On Friday night I asked Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul: "Do you think that the result that comes out of this summit will be such that you can say 'it could not be any better than this'?" He said that this possibility exists. Gul does not seem pessimistic. We hope that this will happen and Prime Minister Erdogan will make a historic statement here in Buergenstock."


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