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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-05-12

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.88/04 12.05.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish and Turkish Cypriot newspapers report that the EU is exerting pressure on Turkey to make some steps in Cyprus until October 2004.
  • [02] The British High Commissioner to Nicosia meets Talat at his so-called Prime Minister's office and promises to work for "the end of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots".
  • [03] Denktas says the visits of foreign diplomats in the "Prime Minister's office" are "steps forward".
  • [04] Talat informs Denktas about his meetings abroad; Denktas says that "things continue to go normal".
  • [05] The Foreign Minister of Belgium threatens to bring to their knees the Greek Cypriots who are under the yoke of 40,000 Turkish troops for 30 years.
  • [06] YENI DUZEN writes about the possible political alliances between the Turkish Cypriot political parties in order to form a new coalition "government".
  • [07] Turkish domestic policy evolves around the new Higher Education Board amended draft law.
  • [08] The Commander of the Turkish Land Forces is visiting the occupied by Turkish troops part of the Republic of Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish and Turkish Cypriot newspapers report that the EU is exerting pressure on Turkey to make some steps in Cyprus until October 2004

    Turkish mainland CUMHURIYET newspaper (12.05.04) reports that the European Union is exerting pressure on Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and is expecting some formulas on the issue. On the other hand, continues CUMHURIYET, Ankara states that the issue is not on the agenda at the moment.

    The paper reports that Mr HansJorg Kretschmer, representative of the EU Commission in Turkey, said yesterday that among the problems which Turkey will face until the end of the year on its way towards the EU, is the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the presence of the Turkish occupation troops on the island.

    Mr Kretschmer noted that legally Turkey could not begin accession negotiations with the EU and at the same time not recognize one of its members.

    Meanwhile, Ankara notes that "the issue of recognizing the Greek Cypriot side is not on the agenda at the moment". Turkish diplomats, reports the paper, are expecting at this stage the EU to satisfy the demands of Turkey on the Cyprus problem and are not in favour of Turkey satisfying the EU demands.

    While European diplomats are pointing out that the withdrawal of some Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus would be a useful symbolic step, writes CUMHURIYET, Turkish diplomatic sources refuse this demand alleging that such a development would mean "rewarding the circles in the Greek Cypriot side which said no to the Annan Plan".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (12.05.04) reports that the EU demands from Ankara to reduce its occupation troops in Cyprus and to open the occupied area of Varosha by October 2004. The paper supports that it seems that Turkey will definitely make some steps until next autumn. According to the paper, Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gul will give "tangible examples" regarding these steps on 18 May, during his meeting with the Troika of the EU.

    [02] The British High Commissioner to Nicosia meets Talat at his so-called Prime Minister's office and promises to work for "the end of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots"

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (12.05.04) reports that yesterday the British High Commissioner, Mr Lyn Parker, visited for the first time the so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, Mehmet Ali Talat at his "Prime Minister's office" in the occupied part of Nicosia.

    KIBRIS writes that Mr Parker, who does not usually make statements after such meetings, read a written statement, praising Mr Talat as "a man who has shown real vision and leadership in his community".

    He said that the British Government shared the disappointment of many Turkish Cypriots that a united Cyprus did not accede to the European Union on the 1st of May, but, he nevertheless stressed that Britain respected the outcome of both referenda.

    Stating that the result showed what a fundamental change of attitude had taken place within the Turkish Cypriot community in recent years, Mr Parker said a reunified Cyprus in the EU remained the United Kingdom's goal and that it would continue to work for that as the ultimate objective.

    "In the meantime we are strongly committed, like the rest of our European Union partners, to working with Turkish Cypriots to put an end to their isolation, to promote their economic development and to bring them closer to the European Union", he added.

    On his part, Mr Talat said that the Turkish Cypriots appreciated the efforts of Britain to help them in their goal of putting an end to their "isolation". Mr Talat said the Turkish Cypriots expected the support of Britain for their unification with the world and their economic development. "The Turkish Cypriots will never lose their vision for a solution," he argued.

    [03] Denktas says the visits of foreign diplomats in the "Prime Minister's office" are "steps forward"

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (12.05.04) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas said yesterday that the visits of foreign diplomats in the "Prime Minister's office" were "steps forward", but called on the Turkish Cypriots "not to be fooled from such things" and abandon their basic rights.

    In statements on a program of the illegal Bayrak radio, Mr Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriots would not be affected in case Turkey recognized the Republic of Cyprus.

    He also noted that he was informed about the international diplomatic attack launched by the so-called "government" of the illegal regime and that he had a meeting with Mr Talat on the issue. Mr Denktas said: "There was a contact. At the same time we were receiving the notes of his meetings the very day. Therefore, we are informed about the developments. Yesterday we had lunch together. We know. We shall conduct more meetings".

    Mr Denktas described the meetings of Mr Talat abroad as "a step forward" and alleged that the international community stopped describing the Turkish Cypriot representatives a "leaders" and begun using their "titles", when he sent Mr Talat and Mr Serdar Denktas to the Cyprus talks in Switzerland, giving them full authority.

    Referring to the visits of the "officials" of the occupation regime abroad, Mr Denktas argued: "'They must go to the world and say: 'I am coming as a `prime minister´, as a minister of foreign affairs. I want to be treated as such. I must be treated as such. Until now no one was coming to the office of the `prime minister´. De Soto broke this door and went. Now more diplomats will go to this (Talat's) office and he will see it. These are steps forward, but we must not be fooled and abandon our basic rights".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (12.05.04) reports that Mr Denktas changed his opinion and said that the EU will give Turkey a date for starting the accession negotiations. He also alleged that a second referendum would divide the Turkish Cypriots into four camps and that there would be no negotiations on the Cyprus problem until December.

    Mr Denktas said he had not made a speech at the opening ceremony of the illegal Tymbou airport, as he did not want to say something and "spoil the climate".

    [04] Talat informs Denktas about his meetings abroad; Denktas says that "things continue to go normal"

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (12.05.04) reports that the so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, Mehmet Ali Talat informed yesterday the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas about his meetings abroad.

    Mr Denktas said that he read the notes of the meetings and that things in the occupied areas "continue to go normal".

    He said: "We know what happened and what they discussed. We have also been given the notes of the meetings. 'The government continues to function normally. ' the government takes care of the issues within its authorities and we take care the issues within our authority. Things continue to go normal".

    Asked whether or not there was a "government" crisis in the occupied areas, Mr Denktas said he did not know this, but he reiterated his wish for the establishment of a "government with wider base".

    [05] The Foreign Minister of Belgium threatens to bring to their knees the Greek Cypriots who are under the yoke of 40,000 Turkish troops for 30 years

    According to Turkish mainland daily SABAH newspaper (12.05.04), the Foreign Minister of Belgium Mr Louis Michel, speaking at a dinner organized by the "Turkish Private Sector for Friendship (TOSED)" referred to the Cyprus problem, which was created by an unprovoked illegal invasion by Turkey in 1974, and the recent referenda results and said: " The stance exhibited by Turkey as regards Cyprus gave it the chance to acquire new friends in the EU". He went on and criticized the Greek Cypriot community which, exercising its democratic right, cast a 'no' vote in the 24 April referendum and said: "The Greek Cypriots wanted a united Cyprus to enter into the EU. However, they have exhibited just the opposite stance. As a result Cyprus was unable to enter into the EU as a united country. In order to review their stance we have trump cards in our hands. I can not disclose these trump cards here which will bring the Greek Cypriot side to its knees. We will use them when the time comes".

    Mr Louis Michel went on and claimed that Cyprus was isolated within the EU and that the Greek Cypriots have to review their stance as soon as possible and take steps towards a solution.

    [06] YENI DUZEN writes about the possible political alliances between the Turkish Cypriot political parties in order to form a new coalition "government"

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (12.05.04) under the title "Scenarios", writes about the possible political alliances that can be made in the pseudostate in order for a new so-called coalition government to be formed. These scenarios are discussed now in occupied Cyprus because of the state of minority in which the so-called government of the occupation regime felt into, after the resignation of two "deputies" from the Democratic Party (DP), which is the junior - partner of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) in the "coalition government".

    The paper, which reports that it discussed these scenarios with some of the so-called deputies of the pseudoparliament and asked for their evaluation, writes that until now only the two resigned "deputies" of the DP, Mr Ahmet Kasif and Mr Unal Ustel asked for the pseudo government's resignation. The scenarios of the paper are the following:

    * The RTP - DP "coalition government" continues. In this case the majority in the Parliamentary Committees is ensured with only another "deputy". However, there is no "majority" in the pseudo assembly. For the time being there is not a proposal for a vote of confidence. However, there is the need of two "deputies" from other parties for the majority in the so-called Parliamentary Committees for legal affairs and the "assembly". This is risky, but the "coalition" may continue, since there are no intentions for a crisis.

    * Strengthening of the "government" by adding to the "coalition" the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM). In this case the pseudogovernment will have 28 "deputies". The RTP sees this option positively. However, the PDM is against a "Denktas government". The DP has not commented on this issue yet. The paper writes that this alliance is the most possible to take place.

    * Adding to the "coalition" the "deputy" of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) Huseyin Angolemli and the "deputy" of the United Cyprus Party (UCP), Izzet Izcan. This will give to the "coalition government" the two deputies that it needs. But this may not be very stable; therefore the RTP and the DP do not pay attention to this case. In addition, Huseyin Angolemli does not see this formula to be reliable.

    * A "coalition" with the RTP, the DP, the "deputy" of the UCP Izzet Izcan and the two "deputies" of the DP who resigned recently. This is the least possible alliance to take place.

    * Adding to the "government coalition" the National Unity Party. This alliance will give an arithmetic superiority to the "government", since it will number 42 "deputies". However, this option is seen warmly only by Rauf Denktas.

    [07] Turkish domestic policy evolves around the new Higher Education Board amended draft law

    Under the title "Higher Education Board and the Justice and Development Party never got along", Turkish Daily News (12.05.04) publishes the following article:

    "Relations between the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), which comes from an Islamist political background, and the Higher Education Board (HEB) have always been tense, due to the focus of JDP grassroots on imam-hatip high schools.

    Many ministers and deputies, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are imam-hatip graduates. Ever since coming to power, the JDP government has tried to find the proper time to push through an amendment to the imam-hatip regulations. One of the JDP´s main objectives was to remove the legal limitations imposed on imam-hatips in 1999. The JDP´s predecessor, the Welfare Party (WP), which was closed by the Constitutional Court for participating in acts that were against secularism, was forced out of government in 1997 because it resisted a proposal to abandon the first three years of imam-hatip schools and make imam-hatip graduates eligible only to enter theological colleges at universities.

    After the limitation was imposed on imam-hatip graduates, the number of students studying at these schools constantly decreased, dropping from 190,000 in the 1998-1999 school year to 65,000 in 2002-2003. After the JDP government announced its intention to amend the university entrance law, the number of student at imam-hatips increased to 80,000.

    In the beginning, the JDP, which formed the government after the November 2002 national elections, never talked about the issue. The JDP made an effort to pass an imam-hatip bill in October 2003 but had to withdraw it due to public reaction. When the JDP increased its support from 34 percent in November 2002 to 41.6 in the March 28, 2004 local elections, it felt itself strong enough to make another effort, which has brought the country to the controversial bill being debated today.

    Tension with HEB

    All ties between the government and HEB had been severed during the term of previous HEB Chairman Kemal Gurbuz. In the beginning, the new HEB chairman, Erdogan Tezic, was looking for a compromise; however, the JDP´s insistence on pushing through a bill that would favor imam-hatip graduates in university examinations and put HEB under the total domination of the government resulted in the relations once again deteriorating.

    Consequently, the government tried to reach an agreement with the Inter-Universities Council (UAK) and some university rectors in order to sideline HEB, attempting to create a division within the bloc. Still, the government was unable to reach a compromise with the UAK or the rectors and was left alone to defend its arguments.

    The next move by the government validated those who argued that the government was not trying to reform the education system. Education Minister Huseyin Celik prepared a nine-article bill that would favor only imam-hatip graduates and would remove the current HEB structure.

    Despite the opposition of HEB and the universities, the bill was approved by the parliamentary Education Commission, with the total support of JDP deputies. When a proposal by the opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) to withdraw the bill was rejected, opposition deputies left the meeting. A few hours after the bill was approved by the commission, the Office of the Chief of General Staff issued a statement, in reaction to the bill.

    The Office of the Chief of General Staff said the bill would damage secular education and noted that there was no deviation in the military's commitment to the Republic's democratic and secular principles.

    The government wanted to pass the law before the university exams in June.

    What does the bill bring?

    The nine-article bill was prepared by the JDP government in order to allow imam-hatip graduates to enter any faculty they wanted in university exams. The changes made in 1999 penalized imam-hatip graduates who wanted to enter faculties other than the faculty of theology.

    With the bill the Education Ministry is authorized to select which faculties imam-hatip graduates are allowed to enter. According to the bill, the ministry will divide all high schools into literature-major, science-major or equal-weight schools, while HEB will decide in which category each university department belongs.

    If imam-hatips are designated literature-major schools, the high school coefficient for its graduates who want to enter an related university department will become 0.8. If the graduates want to enter an equal-weight department, the coefficient drops to 0.6, and for science-major departments the coefficient drops to 0.45. This change would pave the way for imam-hatip graduates to enter faculties of law, political science or sociology in addition to theology.

    Additionally, the bill stipulates that the entire HEB board be replaced. This way, the JDP will be rid of an institution that opposed it. HEB's Higher Education Department will have only a governing council instead of the current council plus the central executive board.

    The bill decreases the number of HEB members from 22 to 16. The president, the Inter-Universities Council and the government will select five members each, with the last member to be chosen by the Office of the Chief of General Staff. The board chairman will be selected by the board itself. Currently, it is the president who selects the chairman. With the constitutional amendment, the right of the Office of the Chief of General Staff to select one member will be annulled and the number of board members will drop to 15. The bill also includes limitations imposed on the powers of HEB."

    [08] The Commander of the Turkish Land Forces is visiting the occupied by Turkish troops part of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (12.05.04) reports that the Commander of the Turkish Land Forces, General Aytac Yalman will visit occupied Cyprus today, where he will have various contacts.

    The paper writes that General Aytac Yalman will be the first Turkish official to use the illegal Tymbou airport which was opened yesterday after it was renovated.

    /SK


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