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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-04-30

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.80/04 30.04.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat will be meeting with Collin Powell and Kofi Annan on Tuesday 4 May
  • [02] The US are preparing a package to help Turkey and the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [03] Turkey to use the occupation troops as bargaining chip.
  • [04] Interview by the Turkish Prime Minister on various issues concerning the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.
  • [05] The Azeri President denied that he promised to recognize the pseudostate.
  • [06] Turkish accession will paralyze EU, warns former French PM.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat will be meeting with Collin Powell and Kofi Annan on Tuesday 4 May

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS (30.04.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, will be meeting on Tuesday in Washington with the US Secretary of State, Mr Collin Powell and the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

    According to the paper, Mr Talat will meet with Mr Powell at 14.30 (local time). He is expected to discuss with him the recent developments on the Cyprus problem and exchange views on the policy of the United States after the 24 April referendum.

    Before his meeting with Mr Powell, Mr Talat will meet with the UN Secretary - General, Mr Kofi Annan and with officials of the World Bank.

    Mr Talat will be accompanied by Mr Rasit Pertev, the so-called Minister of Agriculture and Forests of the occupation regime. The Turkish Cypriot delegation is expected to depart from the occupied areas on Monday morning.

    [02] The US are preparing a package to help Turkey and the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.04.04) reports that a high-level official from the US Administration has asserted that Turkey has complied with the Copenhagen criteria and that it has recently exerted utmost efforts for Cyprus, adding that it is necessary to give Turkey a final date for the commencement of the negotiations as soon as possible in December. Stating that the efforts made by Turkey for a solution in Cyprus are evident, the US official stressed that Cyprus no longer constitutes an obstacle for Turkey en route to the EU. Noting that Turkey complied with the Copenhagen criteria with the reforms that it has realized, the official said: "I hope that the EU will give Turkey a final date for the commencement of the negotiations. Furthermore, this date should enable the commencement of the negotiations as soon as possible."

    The US official stated that they initially want to see the steps that will be taken by the EU. Asserting that the Annan plan was prepared as a result of very serious work, the official emphasized that it is impossible to say after the referendum that "as of now this plan is useless." Stressing that the plan constitutes "a new ground," the official said another plan that will be prepared for the solution of the Cyprus problem will also be based on the final version of the Annan plan.

    Meanwhile, the US Administration continues to work on a multiple-article package that that will alleviate northern Cyprus' problems. The United States, which began to prepare the package as a result of the polls that showed that the Greek Cypriot side would say "no" to the plan, stated that it is working on a series of measures such as opening a representation in the Turkish Cypriot side, opening the airport at the Turkish side to the use of US planes and the planes of other countries, providing financial support from international financial institution such as the IMF and the World Bank, and enabling the exports of Turkish Cypriot goods.

    Answering the questions of AA, an official from the US Department of State noted that they continue to work on a multi-article package that will alleviate the problems experienced by northern Cyprus. The official said, however: "We will initially observe the steps that will be taken by the EU. It is too early to say which steps will be taken."

    According to the information received, the units that are related to Turkey and Cyprus in the US Department of State held a meeting that even exceeded the normal working hours of the department in order to assess the recent developments in Cyprus and to determine the stand that will be adopted by the United States, concludes Anatolia.

    [03] Turkey to use the occupation troops as bargaining chip

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (29.04.04) publishes the following article by Ulku Cakirozer where it is reported that Turkey will use as a bargaining chip the issue of the occupation troops withdrawal.

    As the paper writes, Europe will be closely following the steps that Turkey is expected to take regarding her relations with the Cyprus Republic and the Turkish military presence in Cyprus. Government officials in Ankara are busy with debating the timing of the two crucial decisions. Meanwhile, European diplomats share Turkey's view that the Turkish Cypriots should not be punished after the recent referendum while sounding Turkish officials out on possible withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island in their contacts with Ankara. Noting that Greece and the Greek Cypriots are expected to set reduction of Turkish military presence in Cyprus as a precondition for taking a stance in favor of Turkey in December, a European diplomat said: "We know that the possibility of withdrawal of Turkish and Greek troops was also rejected in the referenda. You may, however, strengthen your hand if you announce that a certain number of troops will be pulled out within six months or one year even if only a small number of soldiers are withdrawn."

    Subtitle: "First a timetable, then troops"

    Ankara is weighing up the following options regarding the withdrawal of troops:

    1. We would receive international support by also taking advantage of the positive atmosphere created by the outcome of the referendum if we immediately announce that a small number of troops such as 5,000 will be withdrawn. Such a move would guarantee an EU decision to set a date for starting accession talks (this view is particularly voiced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's advisers and diplomats who predict that efforts aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus dispute will eventually resume).

    2. Withdrawal of troops should be considered not now, but during the period between October and December, which will be the last phase of the bargaining between the EU and Turkey (Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and diplomats in his ministry's departments responsible for relations with the EU share this opinion).

    3. Sending a signal that we could withdraw troops would indicate that we are ready to make more concessions although we have emerged as the undisputed winner of the referendum. If the EU eventually decides to open negotiations with Turkey, we could pull out troops as a positive response to its move (An opinion voiced by Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Ugur Ziyal and the ministry's departments dealing with the Cyprus question).

    If the EU puts mounting pressure on Turkey in a bid to persuade it to recognize the Greek Cypriots, Turkey will maintain its diplomatic relations with the Greek Cypriots in a manner similar to those with Armenia. In that case, Turkey will recognize the Republic of Cyprus, but will not allow it to open an embassy and representation offices in Turkey.

    [04] Interview by the Turkish Prime Minister on various issues concerning the latest developments on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Daily News (30.04.04) publishes an interview with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who went to Germany to attend the opening ceremony of the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce.

    Following is the text of the interview that refers to the Cyprus problem:

    Question: What steps are you are planning to take in Cyprus after the referendum?

    Answer: The referendum was held, and our brothers in the `TRNC´ demonstrated their political will. No matter what your opinion is, you have to respect their will. This is a clear and open democratic stance. Both native Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers accepted the plan in the referendum, with 66 percent voting in favor of it, despite the domestic campaign waged against it. Now this is past. Now we should find ways to unite this 66 percent with the other 34 percent for a common goal. Our support is psychological. We will continue to provide it. There should be no segregation or anger. We should get over this. That's what is most important.

    Question: However, there still are political arguments being waged on the island.

    Answer: The continued disagreement between the president and the prime minister is not right. The president was elected for a certain period. There will be a new election at the end of this term. I believe the relations between the government and the president should be based on mutual respect and affection during this term. The criticism they direct at each other should always be worded in a respectful way. This is true for both of them. This is important for long-term objectives and for Cyprus. These arguments have an effect on the people. You have to admit that both represent at least 25 percent of the people. We should not forget that.

    Question: In addition to these, what should Turkey do for the `TRNC's´ welfare? What are the government's expectations and opinions on this matter?

    Answer: Another issue we have been considering in this matter are projects on energy and water. We want to complete these projects as soon as possible in order to construct an efficient infrastructure in northern Cyprus. The introductory work on these projects has started. After we finish our work on these projects, we will initiate an investment campaign. What we expect is for all Turkish businessmen, especially the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges [TOBB] and the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association [TUSIAD], to initiate investment projects there because I believe if Turkish investment starts, investors from other countries will also be attracted to the `TRNC´. Investment could start in the tourism industry and in various industrial sectors, and it could become a center of international capital.

    Question: In order to eliminate all the international pressure on the `TRNC´, the Taiwan model was mentioned. The United States doesn't officially recognize the island of Taiwan but maintains strong trade links with it. Could such a model be implemented for the `TRNC´?

    Answer: If our objective had been realized, the island would have been united thorough a "yes-yes" vote. The island could even have become a free-trade zone, open to the world; however, now we have to consider what we can do in the current context. The Taiwan model is currently being considered by the international community. We need to be patient about this process. We need to see what road the world will follow. As Turkey, we first need to implement the steps I listed above. In time, we will see how ready the world is for such models.

    Question: What more do you expect the EU to do?

    Answer: What we really need to concentrate on are relations with EU countries because when I toured 14 EU member-countries as party leader, the first question they asked was always about Cyprus. However, Cyprus was not among the Copenhagen criteria. The issue was always put in front of us as a de facto precondition. They used to say, "This is a de facto situation, but what will you do about it?" We told them: "It is a de facto status, but we will show our good will. We are committed to solving the issue as long as the other side shows comparable goodwill." In the end, what we said happened. We initiated the process at Davos. The 76 percent "no" vote in Greek Cyprus clearly showed Turkey and the `TRNC's´ peaceful intentions and our commitment to EU values. On the other hand, Greek Cyprus has shown how much it believes in the EU's objectives. We need to utilize this opportunity. Granting 269 million euros to north Cyprus as financial assistance and lifting some of the economic sanctions are positive steps, but they are not enough.

    Question: I understand your expectations from the EU; however, you received significant support from the United States at the beginning of the process. What do you think the United States should do now?

    Answer: There are some reports coming to our foreign minister from the United States. They are positive. When I return to Turkey, I am thinking of calling U.S. President George W. Bush. I believe they will also take important steps. That's my expectation. Of course, you know in world politics, domestic politics is as important as foreign affairs. That's why politicians cannot make such foreign policy decisions without thinking about their domestic consequences. I can see the United States thinking about the domestic repercussions of its Cyprus policy. They are examining the implications of various policies. We cannot ignore that fact. However, what I believe was important was that the United States told our Foreign Ministry that it supported our stance in the referendum. For us the most important issue right now is the embargoes. In other words, we want the total removal of embargoes for the Turkish Cypriots to fully integrate into the world community. As soon as these are realized, I believe the Turkish Cypriots will get a significant boost to their self-confidence. It will be more at peace with the world.

    Question: Another point of contention is the attitude of the new EU members. Some commentators say the new members will oppose Turkey's membership in order to avoid having to share the economic resources of the Union. Additionally, some say the Greeks and Greek Cypriots will try to pressure Turkey on Cyprus and the Aegean Sea.

    Answer: We meet these countries at every EU summit we attend. Their perception is positive. Even in this last vote, we discussed the issue with every one of them. Both Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and former Foreign Minister George Papandreou said no matter how the Cyprus issue ended, relations between Greece and Turkey should not deteriorate. We need to continue on the road to peace. I met with Karamanlis at the recent Balkan countries summit in Bosnia, where Karamanlis told me: "No matter what happens on Saturday, we should broaden our cooperation. I expect you to come to Greece." I will be in Athens on May 7-8. I will most probably visit western Thrace. Karamanlis also told me that Greek Cyprus would not take a negative stance on Turkey's EU membership. I heard Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos say the same thing.

    Question: One of the most often-asked questions is whether Turkey will officially recognize the Republic of Cyprus after it becomes an EU member on May 1. What do you think about this?

    Answer: The matter of Ankara's attitude after the Cyprus Republic becomes an EU member and its official recognition were not discussed at the National Security Council [NSC]. You should first realize this. You have to foresee what will happen in the future. There is a country that is accepted as a full member of the EU. Didn't we have links with them even before they were accepted as a full member? We did. You don't achieve your objectives by not recognizing something. Consequently, I will most probably attend the accession ceremony of the 10 new members in Ireland on May 1. The issue that is really important is what happens afterwards. What will the EU do? Many things are being written in the newspapers, such as calling for its full membership to be postponed. That issue is already settled. The ceremony is on May 1. In other words, that process is finished. We hope Turkey will also get a date to start membership negotiations in December 2004. You know that such a date was granted to Croatia. The step taken for Croatia could be taken for Turkey at that summit, and as soon as that step is taken our membership negotiation process will start.

    Question: There are reports about Turkey withdrawing some troops as a goodwill gesture. It was even said that this issue was discussed at the most recent NSC meeting.

    Answer: Many things are being said, including such opinions. Of course these issues could be discussed with the relevant institutions in the `TRNC´ and Turkey. We may talk to our Office of the Chief of General Staff and to the `TRNC´ about the matter; however, the withdrawal of troops is not on our agenda."

    [05] The Azeri President denied that he promised to recognize the pseudostate

    Turkish mainland HURRIYET newspaper (30.04.04) reports that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rejected a report that was to provide representation to the deputies of the pseudostate, for the first time since 1964. Azeri deputies played a big role in the rejection, in spite of the promise made by Azeri President Aliyev to recognize the occupation regime if Greek Cypriots rejected a settlement, by saying "no" to the 24 April referendum.

    The motion launched by the deputies of the Cyprus Republic, to delete the paragraph providing representation to deputies of the pseudostate at the assembly, was adopted with a small margin, by the votes of the deputies of Armenia, Serbia and Russia. The deputies of the pseudostate will be able to attend the assembly sessions only, inside the delegation of the Cyprus Republic according to the amendment. Eight deputies from Azerbaijan did not attend the voting.

    The delegates of the Cyprus Republic succeeded in blocking the representation of the pseudostate deputies, saying that such a move would divide Cyprus further.

    Meanwhile, the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev denied that he had promised to recognize the occupation regime.

    [06] Turkish accession will paralyze EU, warns former French PM

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (30.04.04) publishes the following article:

    "Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, a prominent figure on the left, has warned that accession of Turkey and its large population might seriously harm the European Union's decision-making capacity, bringing the functioning of the Union to a stalemate.

    Socialist Fabius' remarks came as his centre-right rivals are opposing Turkey's membership as part of their campaign for upcoming elections to the European Parliament.

    On Thursday, President Jacques Chirac said Turkey's accession was "certainly not desirable" in the short term and added that membership talks, once they start, would take longer than a decade.

    In a Wednesday speech at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, Fabius opposed Turkish membership from a technical perspective. He said the functioning of the EU will be brought to a stalemate if Turkey, a country of almost 68 million inhabitants, is allowed to become a member, according to a report on EU Observer, a Brussels-based website.

    Referring to the proposals on qualified majority voting in the Draft European Constitution -- where size of population is a key factor -- Fabius said that Turkey could block an EU decision in 70 percent of the cases.

    The French socialist said that Turkey could only become an EU member in the future if the EU institutions were reformed first. He characterized the proposals for institutional reform in the Draft Constitution as "insufficient."

    Consequently, Fabius stated that after a possible adoption of the Constitution, a new round of institutional reforms was needed before the accession of Turkey was possible.

    But the Frenchman seemed to admit that this would take many years, as he also stressed that additional institutional changes would be extremely difficult. Once adopted, any change of the Constitution would again require the consent of all EU member states.

    Fabius concluded that "for the time being" Turkey should be placed in the category of states surrounding the enlarged European Union in the east and south, including Russia, Ukraine and Northern African countries.

    He characterized these EU neighbouring states as the "third circle" of Europe, while the "first circle" of Europe would be formed by the euro zone countries, and the "second circle" by the rest of the EU."

    /SK


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