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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-04-28
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.78/04 28.04.04
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Turkey will ask the ICO to make the first steps towards lifting the "embargoes" on the pseudostateTurkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (28.04.04) reports that Mr Baki Ilkin, permanent undersecretary at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has told the ambassadors of the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) member-countries that the priority of Turkey was lifting the so-called embargoes allegedly imposed on the pseudostate and not the recognition of the illegal regime in Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.
Talking yesterday to the ambassadors of ICO member-states at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ilkin asked them to establish commercial relations with the Turkish Cypriots, to use the harbours and the airports of occupied Cyprus, to organize sport activities with the Turkish Cypriots and send tourists to northern Cyprus.
"We expect the first steps on these issues to be taken by our friends and brothers", said Mr Ilkin.
Meanwhile, the ambassador of an Arabic country who participated in the meeting, continues MILLIYET, said that they would discuss the "openings" towards the pseudostate during the first week of May at a preparatory meeting of the ICO which will be taking place in Istanbul.
According to the paper, the ambassadors of the following countries participated in the meeting: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Morocco, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Jordan and Yemen.
 Talat states that the lifting of the "embargo" on flights and the restrictions on exports are first in his prioritiesCNN TURK Television (27.04.04) broadcast that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) stated that the lifting of the "embargo" on direct flights and the restrictions on exports are first in his priorities. Mr Talat made these statements in Istanbul before leaving for Brussels where he will attend a meeting organizied by the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee on the results of the 24 April referenda.
"The first that must be lifted is the flight `embargo´. I should not be forced to come here in order to fly to Brussels", stated Mr Talat and said: "I must go through Istanbul and I must come back to Cyprus through Istanbul. You may ask what is wrong with that. There are many things wrong with that. First of all, it is very costly. That is very important in tourism. In 1994, the EU Court of Justice passed two consecutive resolutions. One of them concerns the need to get health certificates from the concerned authorities for the export of agricultural goods to the EU. Since the concerned authority in this case is in the Greek Cypriot side, this resolution prevented our agricultural exports de facto. The second resolution says that our other exports be subjected not to a preferential tariff but to the customs levied on exports coming from countries outside the EU. This resolution should also be revoked so that our small industry can gain some competitive power. These two factors have a great impact on our exports."
Asked by a journalist if these are the two factors he wants eliminate when he says that he wants the `embargo´ lifted, Mr Talat said: "These two factors concern the EU Court of Justice. In addition to that, we have a sport `embargo´. Furthermore, we are unable to get loans from international markets. They do not accept our bank guarantees. There is a sports `embargo´, there is a travel `embargo´. I cannot use my own `passport´ when I go to Brussels".
 Erdogan views EU Council decision on the occupation regime. He says more developments to follow this declarationNTV television station (27.04.04) broadcast that the Turkish Prime Minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan has commented on the decision of the EU General Affairs Council to end the economic isolation of occupied Cyprus. The Turkish Prime Minister also issued warm messages to Rauf Denktas.
While leaving the Justice and Development Party (JDP) Headquarters, Mr Erdogan replied to questions on the Cyprus developments. Commenting on the decision of the EU General Affairs Council to end the economic isolation of the pseudostate he said: "I believe that there will be more developments following this declaration that was issued today. It would not be right to speak too much at this stage. Time is needed. I believe that we will witness many more positive developments in time."
Expressing his conviction that the EU, the United States, and the United Nations will do their share in this regard, Erdogan predicted that positive developments will take place "with the lifting of the isolation on the pseudostate".
Asked if the relations with Mr Denktas will be different from now on, Mr Erdogan replied, giving warm messages to Denktas: "There was no fight between Mr Denktas and myself. It was a matter of political interpretation, preference, and approach. Mr Denktas' approach and interpretation was one way, ours was another. I always say that whatever happens is for the good. That is how I view this matter. My respect and love for Mr Denktas will continue as before."
Erdogan stressed that unity and solidarity should not be neglected in the pseudostate, and added "that Turkey and the `TRNC´ will continue to work in solidarity."
 Gul made contacts with Powel and EU official, in order to seek support for the pseudostate after the 24 April referenda resultsAnkara Anatolia news agency (26.04.04) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, replying to questions of reporters, on Monday said he had some meetings early the same day to have the regulations issued in favour of the Turkish side, and with this objective, he had telephoned several officials from Germany, Britain and the European Union (EU).
Gul said he had conveyed Turkey's expectations regarding financial aid to the Turkish Cypriot side, lifting of embargoes, start of flights and improvement in economic relations. "We expect changes in the regulations in favour of the Turkish Cypriot side," he added. When journalists reminded Gul of the arguments that Turkey should recognize the Republic of Cyprus after May 1, he said the attitude of the other side would be monitored first of all. Gul is expected to visit Dublin, Ireland between May 5 and 6 to attend the Euromed meeting.
Sources told the A.A correspondent on Monday that Gul had held telephone conversations with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Foreign Minister Brian Cowen of EU Term President Ireland, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. During the conversations, Gul said that the Turkish Cypriot side's requests should be taken into consideration in the regulations which were expected to be given their final shape on April 28.
Gul also held a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. During the conversation, Powell told Gul that the Turkish Cypriot side had taken giant steps in the Cyprus negotiation process, and the United States would maintain its support.
Highlighting the importance lifting the international isolation against the pseudostate, Gul asked the United States to support them in this regard.
Meanwhile, Ankara welcomed the statement approved by the EU General Affairs Council to assist the economic development of the occupied part of Cyprus. Diplomatic sources said that EU's expressing its regret over the results of the referendum in Cyprus, and the EU's shedding light to financial aid to the pseudostate were important developments.
 Turkish Minister says Cyprus no longer a problem for Turkey´s EU membershipAnkara Anatolia news agency (27.04.04) reports that the Turkish State Minister Mr Ali Babacan said on Tuesday that Cyprus was no more a problem in Turkey's European Union (EU) process following the results of the referenda held in Cyprus.
Babacan delivered a speech during a luncheon given in his honour by the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in New York.
Evaluating economic and political issues, Babacan said: "Cyprus had been a problem for 40 years and Turkey did its best for solution in Cyprus". He added that a rapid process has started after the meeting of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stating that Turkey has always said it wanted solution and supported Turkish Cypriots to vote ''yes'' in referendum, but unfortunately Turkey was disappointed with the votes of Greek Cypriot side against the plan, thus a solution could not be reached yet.
Recalling that the Cyprus problem had always been brought to table in all meetings with the EU, Babacan said: ''Cyprus has always been brought to the table as a problem, not a political criterion. However, after Turkey's efforts and the results of the referendum. The Cyprus will no more be a problem in our meetings with the EU. Cyprus issue is a problem between EU and the Greek Cypriot side from now on.''
Stressing that the "embargo" imposed on the pseudostate should be reviewed, Babacan said that the "embargo" and "sanctions" which were imposed on the occupation regime would not be accepted as just after this stage. He added that the EU gave positive signals about this issue.
 Turkey on EU offensiveUnder the above title Turkish Daily News (28.04.04) writes the following article:
"Turkey, whose European Union membership chances have seen a major boost due to a pro-settlement policy in Cyprus, sought on Tuesday to increase chances to get the green light for long-awaited accession talks with the Union and said its membership would cement the dialogue between Muslim and Christian civilizations.
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call for a positive response to Turkey's desire to start accession talks got a warm response from German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who assured that Turkey can "rely on Germany" to keep its word of support for Turkey.
"Integrating a country which has an overwhelmingly Muslim population into Europe would strengthen the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between Muslim and Christian worlds, which some want to push into a cold war," Erdogan told a business gathering in Cologne, Germany, attended by Chancellor Schroeder.
Turkey has received praise from the EU after actively pushing for a settlement on the divided island of Cyprus on the basis of a U.N. reunification plan. A Saturday referendum on the plan saw Turkish Cypriots casting a 65-percent vote in favor of the plan and Greek Cypriots voting overwhelmingly to reject it.
Cyprus has long been cited by EU officials as an obstacle that could hamper Turkey's aspirations to join and Turkish authorities feel relieved after the referendum. Willing to advance further the positive atmosphere, the government is drafting a constitutional amendment package that would improve Turkey's democratic standards through certain measures, including the abolishment of controversial State Security Courts, one of which ruled last week to keep four former deputies in jail rebuffing calls from the EU for their release.
In Germany, Chancellor Schroeder praised the Turkish government for its support of a Cyprus reunification plan and reassured Erdogan of Germany's support for the Turkish European Union membership bid.
Speaking alongside Erdogan as the two leaders opened a German-Turkish chamber of commerce in Cologne, Schroeder noted that Erdogan had strongly backed the plan. "The result is clear: The hoped-for unification of the country and the entry of a united Cyprus into the EU, with all the possibilities it would bring, failed not because of the Turkish Cypriots but because of the Greek Cypriots," Schroeder said. "That is something everyone must regret, but on the other side it means that we must compliment Turkish politicians," he added.
"I don't understand, against this background and in view of recent domestic events, how one can say that the decision in Cyprus casts a shadow on Turkey's hopes -- because if anyone tried to bring about a sensible decision, it was them."
Subtitle: Rely on Germany
Turkey is awaiting a decision from EU leaders in December on whether to approve its candidacy. Schroeder, a supporter of Turkish EU accession, said: "You can rely on Germany's readiness to keep its word."
Turkey has carried out sweeping reforms in the last two years to try to meet EU standards. It abolished the death penalty and has granted greater cultural rights to Kurds, who are not recognized as an official minority.
While Schroeder advocates Turkish EU membership, it is opposed by the German opposition, which argues that admitting Turkey would overstretch the EU in both cultural and financial terms. Schroeder praised Turkey's efforts. "It seems to me that little indicates that the criteria (for opening membership talks) will not be fulfilled on paper and above all in practice by the end of the year in such a way that a positive decision is possible," he said.
Erdogan, who did not mention Cyprus in his speech, laid out Turkey's EU membership credentials. He highlighted strong economic growth and said Turks are committed to "living in a democratic country in which human rights are respected." "Turkey will not be a burden, but rather provide a new stimulus for economic dynamism," he said.
He said Turkey was aware that membership was not near, meaning that accession talks would take time. "There is time for Turkey's accession," he said. "We know that saying 'yes' to Turkey to open talks would not bring membership right away." But he argued such a "yes" would confirm and strengthen Turkey's will to take steps towards the EU.
Subtitle: Gul: Turkey in most critical phase of EU bid
In Ankara, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Turkey has entered the most critical period in its European Union membership process.
Addressing the parliamentary group of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tuesday, Gul stressed that EU membership was the most important project in the history of the Turkish Republic.
He said there was a full consensus and alliance in Turkey on the country's EU membership. "We have entered the critical period in this issue. This period is the next 3-4 months," he said. Noting that the Cyprus issue, once a big obstacle for Turkey's EU bid, is no longer a problem on Turkey's way towards membership, Gul warned this was the time to tread carefully to achieve the EU accession goal: "There are only 3-4 months in front of us. We should consider what we have done and what we should do from now on"."