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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-05-17

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.91/04 15-17.05.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat demands Early "Elections". Refuses to Re-negotiate the Annan Plan
  • [02] Brussels to unveil mid-term report on Turkey
  • [03] Report in Kibris on the regulation governing the movement of EU citizens entering the Republic from the occupied by Turkish troops ports and airports
  • [04] Turkey cancels multibillion-dollar defence tenders
  • [05] Denktas stated that he will not participate in the next so-called presidential election of the occupation regime
  • [06] Gul stated that the efforts made on Turkey's behalf as regards the pseudostate will start to be seen soon
  • [07] Crisis over Turkish fishing boats which are fishing illegally in the occupied territorial waters of the Cyprus Republic
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Turkey at a crossroads: Tyranny of the status quo or democracy of change?

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat demands Early "Elections". Refuses to Re-negotiate the Annan Plan

    Local Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper(16/05/04) reports under banner headlines : "The right choice is early elections" and refers to the meeting held between Talat and the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOEOS) during which the trade union representatives demanded from Talat to call for early elections.

    Talat said that it will not be good for the prestige of the Turkish Cypriots world wide if they form a so-called government with the National Unity Party (NUP) which said 'no' in the referendum.

    In his turn the Chairman of the KTOEOS, Mr Eraslan said that as trade union they will not welcome a RTP-NUP "government". He too suggested holding early "elections".

    Moreover, according to Halkin Sesi newspaper (17/05/04) in a letter to the Chairman of the Federation of Turkish American Associations Dr. Ata Erin, Mr Talat said that he is not prepared to re-negotiate the Annan Plan because the plan was negotiated for 2-3 years and he is not prepared to lose another 2-3 years. Talat went on and said that applying the Annan plan unilaterally and returning the empty occupied city of Varosha is out of the question. He further repeated the allegation that the Cyprus Government does not represent the Turkish Cypriots.

    [02] Brussels to unveil mid-term report on Turkey

    Turkish Daily News (17/05/04) reports that the European Union has prepared a mid-term report on Turkey which is to be unveiled at the Turkey-EU Partnership Council meeting in Brussels. Turkey-EU relations and recent developments in Turkey's EU membership process are to be discussed, Turkish newspapers said on Sunday. The partnership council is the highest decision-making body on both sides and will accomplish its 43rd session under the leadership of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

    According to newspapers, the EU will emphasize during the meeting Turkey's deficiencies on the implementation of the democratic reforms its parliament has passed in recent months. The imminent report is the most important one before the Progress Report on Turkey, which is to be released by the European Commission in October, and which will have a strong bearing, as many EU leaders predict, on their decision regarding Turkey's accession credentials, according to reports.

    EU leaders are to decide at a December summit this year whether to open accession talks with Turkey to join the bloc. The main issues the report draws attention to are as follows:

    Praise for the final package of reforms

    The EU welcomes in this report the final package of constitutional amendments which were ratified by Parliament on May 7. The package includes abolition of State Security Courts (DGMs), democratic reforms on the structure of Turkey's Higher Education Board (YOK) and more gender equality. Amendments on the abolition of DGMs and the exclusion of military members from the YOK are praised in the report.

    The report draws attention to the deficiencies in the implementation of reform. Although the report notes the government has displayed determination in implementing the reforms, it says difficulties are being encountered in achieving those ends. Improving the independency and efficiency of the judiciary was also among the issues raised.

    Broadcasts in Kurdish still not implemented

    The report presses for more effective implementation of the law allowing Turkey's Kurdish citizens to study and broadcast in their own language. The report criticizes the fact that only three schools teaching Kurdish are operating, while broadcasting in Kurdish has yet to commence.

    Rights of non-Muslims

    The EU says in its report that Turkey has acted slowly on the issue of religious freedoms, adding that non-Muslim minorities were still facing difficulties. The EU urges laws to be passed that will overcome such problems.

    DEP verdict against reform process

    The report says there is still a lack of knowledge on the reforms concerning human rights. It welcomed the total exclusion of the death penalty from the Constitution. Praising positive steps in outlawing torture practices, the document says that instances of this nature still occur and that officials who perpetrate ill-treatment should be punished.

    The EU also criticizes the trial and verdict of four former Democratic Party (DEP) deputies among whom is the EU Sakharov Prize for Human Rights winner Leyla Zana. The DGM ordered last month that the four deputies must remain in jail and serve the remainder of their 15-year sentence, attracting a wave of criticism from the EU. The report says the verdict violates Turkey's reform process. The report also mentions honor killings and says it expects the new penal code to protect the rights of women regarding this issue.

    EU committed to end Turkish Cyprus isolation

    The document expressed determination to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots and pledges support for economic development of the northern part of the island. It also welcomes the recent improvement in the relationship between Turkey and Greece, which have been traditional rivals for decades.

    Financial, structural imbalances criticized

    Praising the improvement in the Turkish economy in 2003, the report says financial and structural imbalances are still among Turkey's most important problems.

    [03] Report in Kibris on the regulation governing the movement of EU citizens entering the Republic from the occupied by Turkish troops ports and airports

    According to local Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15/05/04) following the call made by the EU Commission, the representatives of the Cyprus government went to Brussels to negotiate the regulations governing the crossings between the occupied area and the free areas. The paper claims that Cypriot officials have agreed that the EU citizens irrespective of their port of entry shall not be precluded by the Cyprus Authorities.

    According to sources close to Commission, during their meeting with the EU representatives, Cyprus officials have assured the EU that those EU citizens who enter the island from the north will not meet any difficulty.

    KIBRIS goes on and reports that the Cyprus government's backing away on the crossings issue will ease the pressure on the tourism in the north thus helping to increase the tourism income in the occupied area.

    [04] Turkey cancels multibillion-dollar defense tenders

    According to the Turkish Daily newspaper (17/05/04) Turkey on Friday canceled three major joint defense projects for tanks, attack helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, dashing hopes of U.S., Israeli and other foreign firms that had hoped to win stakes in the multibillion-dollar tenders.

    The announcement -- after a meeting on defense procurement attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country's top general, Hilmi Ozkok -- came as Turkey seeks greater involvement by domestic firms in joint ventures with foreign defense companies.

    A statement issued after the talks said new tenders would be launched. But "it was decided to give local firms the opportunity to be more active in their partnership with foreign firms."

    The Anatolia news agency said the tenders were worth about $11 billion. Among these tenders, the government also cancelled a tender to purchase 145 strike helicopters in which U.S. defense firm Textron's Bell Helicopter unit and Russian aircraft maker Kamov were competing.

    A decision in the tender, which was opened in 1997, was repeatedly delayed. Talks with first-placed company Bell began in 2000 and with second-placed Kamov in 2002 for the deal, estimated to cost between $4-4.5 billion.

    Turkey had sought a role for domestic firms in the construction of the helicopters, but analysts have said this would have raised costs significantly. Also at stake was a tender for 1,000 tanks that Anatolia estimated to be worth some $5 billion. Top contenders were Israel's Merkava Mark III tanks and M1A2 tanks from the U.S. firm General Dynamics Land Systems. An unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) project was also canceled. Anatolia said the deal was worth around $1 billion.

    Turkey has decided to expand the capabilities of its armed forces and is planning to spend $150 billion over the next 20 years on new tanks, helicopters and aircraft in an aggressive modernization program. Turkish relations with neighboring Greece have improved in recent years, but Turkey -- which also borders Iran, Syria and Iraq -- is still concerned about security. The Turkish armed forces already use U.S.-made Cobra helicopters. They are a key weapon in the fight against Kurdish rebels, who waged a 15-year war for autonomy in the mountainous southeast. Sporadic clashes continue despite a 1999 unilateral rebel truce.

    [05] Denktas stated that he will not participate in the next so-called presidential election of the occupation regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.05.04) reports that Mr Rauf Denktas stated that he will not participate in the next so-called presidential election in the pseudostate.

    Mr Denktas said that age had caught up with him. "I will be 82 next year. If I have few or five more years to live I have the right to live it by myself. Neither I nor my family considered my standing", he said.

    However, Mr Denktas did not close all doors and added that if his 'people' were to beg for his comeback he might then contemplate being a candidate. When asked who might replace him he said that both the leader of the Republican Turkish party Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and his son, leader of the Democratic Party Mr Serdar Denktas, were well qualified.

    [06] Gul stated that the efforts made on Turkey's behalf as regards the pseudostate will start to be seen soon

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.05.04) reports that Mr Abdullah Gul, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, avoided to comment on the issue that the occupation regime will be recognized as "state of the Northern Cyprus" in the future meetings of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), saying that it is too early to make any comments as regards this development. However, he stated that the outcome of the intense efforts which were made by Turkey for the pseudostate in the EU, the Islamic Countries and the UN Security Council will be seen in the future period.

    The issue of the pseudostate's recognition by the OIC was discussed in Saudi Arabia where a high level meeting of bureaucrats was held, prior to the OIC meeting to be held in Istanbul next June.

    [07] Crisis over Turkish fishing boats which are fishing illegally in the occupied territorial waters of the Cyprus Republic

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (17.05.04) under banner headlines "Trawler crisis" writes that Turkish trawl fishing boats which are fishing illegally in the occupied territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus are turning a deaf ear to the protest raised by the so-called "TRNC government".

    The so-called Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mr Rasit Pertev complained that Turkish fishing boats do not heed the warnings and continue fishing illegally. He complained that certain circles in Turkey protect these fishermen. He argued that coast guard boats are following their duty.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Turkey at a crossroads: Tyranny of the status quo or democracy of change?

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (17/05/04) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Ulsever:

    "This paper attempts to analyze and speculate on the future of Turkey according to its reaction to the following three hot issues: The formation of a Kurdish federal state at its southern border; membership in the European Union; and the integration of Islam with democracy.

    Let us take two extreme scenarios for all cases.

    a) The formation of a Kurdish federal state at Turkey's southern border (a-i) Turkey finally accepts the reality of a federal Kurdish government in northern Iraq and establishes a friendly relationship with it.

    (a-ii) The federal government of Kurdistan in northern Iraq attempts to integrate so-called Turkish Kurdistan into an independent state of Kurdistan.

    b) Membership in the European Union

    (b-i) The EU gives Turkey a date for membership negotiations at the end of 2004.

    (b-ii) The EU does not give a date for membership negotiations at the end of 2004.

    c) The integration of Islam with democracy

    According to mutual developments in (a) and (b):

    (c-i) Assuming that both (a-ii) and (b-ii) work together, the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) divides into at least two factions and loses the government, and an interim government of bureaucrats is established:

    Tyranny of the status quo!

    (c-ii) Assuming that both (a-i) and (b-i) work together, the ruling JDP constitutes a one-party government for the coming eight to 10 years: Democracy of change!

    A) The formation of a Kurdish federal state at Turkey's southeastern border

    Assuming that the United States and its allies finally establish law and order in Iraq and that Iraq forms a federal state, then the first scenario may work:

    (a-i) Turkey finally accepts the reality of a federal Kurdish government in northern Iraq and establishes a friendly relationship with it.

    For a long period of time Turkey stated that it had red lines on its southeastern border and that it would not accept anybody or any country, i.e., meaning the Kurds, to overstep them. The red lines specifically meant the negation of any form of a Kurdish government, as Turkey believed it would in the end attempt to integrate Turkish Kurdistan within its borders. Thus, according to the official view, Kurdish rule of oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk was impossible to accept.

    The official view said that these cities are Turkoman-majority cities that should be ruled by them if need be. But let us look at the reality: The invasion of Iraq and the friendly attitude of the Kurds in northern Iraq towards the American saviors not only ignored the Turkish red lines but also established a loose federal Kurdish government that is expected to be formalized with the final agreements in Iraq. One would expect that Turkey would react to this very recent development, but it did not. Why?

    First of all, the heavily military-weighted establishment is no longer as active after having lost the U.S. card it previously had. The establishment lost the American favoritism that had been there for years. At the beginning of the Iraq war, the establishment implicitly approved the denial of the so-called March 1 resolution that would have allowed the invasion of Iraq by U.S. soldiers through Turkey. Thus, the long-standing "mutual trust" received a severe blow. Secondly, the fresh and inexperienced government then also felt very much embarrassed with the failed passage of the resolution in Parliament. Thus, the government also kept quiet in the face of the abrupt violation of the years-old policy of red lines. In any case, it had not established the lines itself. In my eyes Turkey now has two new red lines at its southeastern border:

    a) With oil revenue, the income per capita in northern Iraq may increase to $2,000, whereas income per capita on the Turkish side is at best $400.

    b) The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the real veins pumping "life" into the Middle East. Turkey's demands from the Tigris River amount to 6.8 billion cubic meters of water/year. Iraq uses 4.5 billion and Syria 2.6 billion cubic meters.

    The Tigris can supply only 48.7 billion cubic meters; yet, the total demand is 54.5 billion cubic meters. Thus, there is an 11 percent (5.8/54.5) shortage in the Tigris. Turkey needs 18 billion cubic meters of water/year from the Euphrates as well, with 23 billion cubic meters demanded by Iraq and 11 billion by Syria.

    The Euphrates' yearly capacity is 32-35 billion cubic meters, whereas total demand is 52 billion cubic meters. Therefore, total demand exceeds supply by a factor of 33 percent (17/52) in the Euphrates as well.

    So far, the waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates have been enjoyed by Turkey according to the doctrine that says water is primarily owned by the country from which it springs. But a new doctrine developed by the United States says water should be equitably shared by the countries through which it flows through until it reaches the sea.

    Turkey must digest the idea of a new neighbor and seek the only way of protecting the new red lines, through "cooperation" with the neighbor. That is, Turkey: a) should enter into full-scale economic relations with northern Iraq to balance the economic outcome on both sides. One side will have money but lacks know-how, while the other side has know-how; b) must share water as equally as possible with its neighbors, including the federal Kurdish government in northern Iraq.

    Assuming that the United States and its allies leave Iraq on their own -- without establishing law and order -- and chaos prevails, then the second scenario may work:

    (a-ii) The federal government of Kurdistan in northern Iraq attempts to integrate so-called Turkish Kurdistan into an independent Kurdistan.

    The second scenario is an extreme one but not totally unrealistic. It depends on the assumption that the United States finally decides that it can no longer face the chaos in Iraq and the country is broken into pieces. It either gives up and leaves or completely loses control although somehow remains there. The Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites will then attempt to build their own independent countries.

    Such an uncontrolled development could easily attract some Kurdish elements inside the Turkish border to act together with their brothers in northern Iraq towards the cause of a totally independent Kurdistan.

    That is simply a spilling over into Turkey of the fire that is already in Iraq.

    This awkward, undesirable and even impossible development according to some is not beyond the imagination of people who are closely following what goes on in Iraq and who also are observing Turkey's Southeast.

    If this scenario works, it will put the Turkish government into a very difficult situation, since after the March 1 "accident" in Parliament it has:

    i) backed the United States on every international issue;

    ii) later passed the motion through Parliament; and

    iii) pursued a very close policy with the United States in Cyprus, which is a very sentimental issue for Turkey.

    The JDP may not loose the government yet, but it may have to accept a return to the old days that we could label "governance under military surveillance." The military, despite the very democratic posture of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, would then certainly take a very active role in the name of rescuing the country from possible division and would encourage anti-American sentiments.

    The overall establishment would then openly declare how correct it was in its suspicions towards the United States in the Iraq war, blaming it for occasioning the possible split of Turkey, and would more openly condemn "U.S. collaborators" within the country that would obviously also include the government, if not directly, through clearly understandable implications.

    I myself cannot imagine the actual split of Turkey and the establishment of an independent Kurdistan regardless of what happens across the border. My imagination in the second scenario can only go as far as foreseeing the establishment of an independent Kurdistan within Iraq.

    But it is not impossible for me to foresee a Turkey that will once again fall into the hands of terror.

    In this new case it is also possible to see Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, i.e., various factions of al-Qaeda, fighting together with the old Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In the eyes of al-Qaeda Turkey is a traitor to the same extent as the ruling Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In this scenario Turkey will close its eyes to the Western world and will concentrate only on "how to save the country from Kurdish separatists and their terrorist Islamist allies."

    This scenario is more pessimistic than scenario (b-ii) but is still more optimistic than (c-i)."

    EG/


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