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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-06-08

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 <>



  • [01] Talat and Erdogan determined the steps to be taken after the Annan report in the step by step policy of legalizing the faits accomplish.
  • [02] Gul visited Egypt. Confusing statements on Turkey´s role regarding the Greater Middle East Project.
  • [03] Gul on Customs Union difficulties with Cyprus. He explains how the faits accomplis will be legalized step by step with the help of "friends".
  • [04] Talat, Denktas and the Turkish "ambassador" discussed the "government" crisis and the Cyprus problem.
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot Islamic party to enhance the occupied areas´ relations with the Islamic countries.
  • [06] "The TRNC police do not regard the Greek identity 'European'!".
  • [07] Erdogan told the ambassadors of the EU member countries to Ankara that Turkey has fulfill its obligations towards the EU.

  • [08] Degrading statements by the Ambassador of Sweden to Turkey for the Cypriots and their President who are under the yoke of the brutal Turkish occupation for 30-years. Reference to Russia and the Arab countries
  • [09] Turkey expects the Americans to purge the PKK fighters from Northern Iraq.
  • [10] Column in RADIKAL assesses the UN Secretary-General´s report on Cyprus. It stresses that the Turkish side was late in showing good will.


    [01] Talat and Erdogan determined the steps to be taken after the Annan report in the step by step policy of legalizing the faits accomplis

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.06.04) broadcast that the so-called Prime Minister of Ankara´s regime in occupied Cyprus, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, said that a decision was made at the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] in Jeddah for the Turkish Cypriots to be represented not as a community, but to participate in the conference in the capacity of an observer as the Turkish Cypriot state, as noted in the Annan plan. Talat said that in a statement he issued on 4 June, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan pointed this out. Talat returned to occupied Cyprus last night after his surprise meeting with Erdogan in Istanbul.

    In a statement to illegal TAK [Turkish Cypriot News Agency] at occupied Tymbou Airport, Talat said that he is continuously in contact with Turkish Government officials at every level.

    In reply to a question on increased public calls to implement the constitution approved in the referendum and to change the name of the "TRNC" to Turkish Cypriot state, Talat remarked that the constitution and the name Turkish Cypriot state are part of the Annan solution plan. Recalling that this was not put into force following the rejection of the plan by the Greek Cypriots against the 65 percent approval rate of the Turkish Cypriots, Talat said that from his standpoint this can be assessed as a beneficial step, but he cannot make a legal assessment. Talat added that before doing this, one should carefully assess the advantages and disadvantages of such a step from a legal and scientific aspect."

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.06.04) reported from Adapazari that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he met with Mehmet Ali Talat in Istanbul and they discussed several issues, on Sunday.

    He explained that he and Talat determined the steps to be taken from now on.

    Erdogan stressed that guarantor power Turkey would continue to be sensitive about the Cyprus issue and take steps for positive developments in Cyprus.

    [02] Gul visited Egypt. Confusing statements on Turkey´s role regarding the Greater Middle East Project

    Istanbul NTV television (07.06.04) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Gul, who went to Egypt prior to the OIC [Organization of Islamic Conference] foreign ministers´ meeting to be held in Istanbul, has said that he has received the open support of Egypt on the issue of Cyprus.

    Gul met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In statements after the meeting, Gul said that he conveyed to Mubarak a written message from President Sezer. Noting that the message included issues concerning Cyprus, Gul said that he explained to Mubarak the recent developments in Cyprus and requested Egypt's support on the issue. Gul added that he also requested Egypt's support regarding Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish candidate for the position of OIC Secretary General. Noting that he was received most warmly by Mubarak, Gul said: "I clearly observed Egypt's support on all these issues." He concluded by saying that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was also discussed at the meeting.

    Gul also met with the Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa.

    Later on Ankara Anatolia (07.06.04) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, speaking about the Greater Middle East Project, stated that, ''Turkey will not be involved in such a project if it is against Islam countries.''

    Gul, who returned to Turkey after completing his visit to Egypt, replied to questions of reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport.

    Gul said the Greater Middle East Project was discussed during his meetings in Egypt, and added: ''There is a different perception there on this issue. They think the project would not be beneficial to the Middle East and they approach the issue suspiciously.'' Gul said Egyptian press asked him whether or not Turkey was a part of this project, noting that he explained to them the issue in details and conveyed that Turkey had nothing to do with this project.

    ''Nevertheless'' Gul noted, "Turkey thought that Islam world needed to fulfill the reforms with its own dynamics and that politicians and intellectuals from Islam countries should discuss the problems."

    Gul said this would be imposed from outside if Islam countries fail to fulfill this by themselves. Gul said he reminded them that Turkey has been fulfilling several reforms for its own people.

    [03] Gul on Customs Union difficulties with Cyprus. He explains how the faits accomplis will be legalized step by step with the help of "friends"

    According to Turkish mainland daily RADIKAL newspaper (08.06.04), Ankara is looking for ways to overcome the difficulties that were created by not including Cyprus in the Customs Union agreement.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul answered questions put to him by RADIKAL correspondent Murat Yetkin who accompanied him on his trip to Egypt. When asked to comment on the difficulties created by not including the Republic of Cyprus in the Customs Union agreement, with the ten new EU members, Gul has said that the search to overcome the difficulties is going on. He said: "The search is going on. Soon the hitches which were created would be solved".

    He went on and said: "We will not give the opportunity to the Greek Cypriots. We are looking for a formula so that we take the right step. It would be known in these days".

    When asked whether he has discussed this issue on the phone with the enlargement commissioner Gunter Verheugen the other day, Gul said: "Several dimensions of Turkey- EU relations were taken up".

    Murat Yetkin further writes that "Cyprus was the main issue in Gul's contacts in Cairo. During his meetings both with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and the Arab League's Secretary General Amr Musa, Gul has asked for their support in removing the economic and political embargo on the TRNC".

    Gul further said. "At this moment we are not working for the TRNC's recognition. We are acting within the framework of the Annan Plan. The more reasonable we act the more we win. One has to be realistic. In order to be result-oriented, we have to study the report. If we come up with demands that are not possible to realize then we could put our friends who want to help us into a difficult position. At this stage demanding recognition is not result-oriented".

    Gul went on and said: "We have demonstrated our political will from the beginning. We have said the same thing both at home and abroad. We have declared that we will not be the side that does not want to reconcile and that we will be a step ahead of the Greek Cypriots. At the end it was the Greek Cypriot side and not the Turkish side that proved to be the side not wanting a settlement in Cyprus. From now on the time will show what will happen. May be the Greek side the more it integrates in the EU system the more it will give up the idea of uniting with the north. May be at that time they will agree to stay separate. May be they will demand to unite. In both cases the rights of the Turkish Cypriots should be defended. We are working for this".

    [04] Talat, Denktas and the Turkish "ambassador" discussed the "government" crisis and the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.06.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime met yesterday at a working lunch with the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, the "ambassador" of Turkey to occupied Nicosia Hayati Guven and the so-called deputy Prime Minister Serdar Denktas.

    During the lunch they discussed the "government" crisis in the occupied areas and the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, Mr Talat informed them about his recent meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan.

    Mr Rauf Denktas said earlier that Mr Talat should have consulted with him before going to Istanbul and meet Mr Erdogan. "It seemed strange to me", noted Mr Denktas who said:

    ´"The Prime Minister goes and discusses with Turkey what will be done on the issue of the properties. This is his right as the head of the government, but he should have consulted here with me and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before he went. If he takes proposals on the basic issues, he should even discuss them at the assembly. I do not know what he discussed. You see that Turkey is all of a sudden convinced and something is accepted because the Prime Minister wanted it. After that we here shall start quarrelling with each other. This is not right. It seemed a little bit strange to me".

    [05] Turkish Cypriot Islamic party to enhance the occupied areas´ relations with the Islamic countries

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (08.06.04) reports that Okyay Sadikoglu, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot "Our Party" (OP), met yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas and told him that if he gave him the duty and the authority he could "launch an extremely serious work with the Islamic countries and we could get results from this".

    Mr Sadikoglu noted that last week upon an initiative of his party the former president of Sudan visited the occupied areas of Cyprus and assured them that he would support the "just cause of the Turkish Cypriots". At the moment a prince from an Islamic country is on vacation with his family in the occupied areas of Cyprus, said Mr Sadik and added that his party had close contacts with countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Brunei, Singapore and Bangladesh.

    Mr Sadikoglu said also that on 20 July, the day on which Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and since then occupies the northern part of the island, they might organize in the occupied areas the general Assembly of the Youth of the Islamic Countries.

    In his statements, Mr Denktas noted that the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with the Islamic countries are not at the desired level and pointed out that they should be more active and undertake more initiatives regarding their relations with the Islamic countries.

    [06] "The TRNC police do not regard the Greek identity 'European'!"

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (08.06.04) reports that the "police" of the occupation regime has not allowed the Greek journalist Ralli Papageorgiou to enter the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper writs the following:

    "The TRNC police do not regard the identity of Greece as 'European' during the procedure at the barricades. In spite of the decision taken by the RTP-UF/DP government according to which people from the EU - member countries could cross over to northern Cyprus by showing only their identity card, the police do not apply this at the barricades for the citizens of Greece and demand 'passport' from them. Journalist Ralli Papageorgiou who talked to our paper on the issue said the following:

    'I have crossed over to the north at least 15 times. Last Saturday night around 20.00 hours I showed my identity card while trying to cross over from the Ledra palace barricade. The policeman on duty said: 'Greece? You cannot pass'. Even if I told him that I was European, this was of no use. I showed to the police, together with my identity card, my driving license and my press card. On both of them there is the numbers of both my passport and identity card. However, the police did not want to even look at them. If the problem is the language and that the identity is Greek, then why do they accept the identity of the Germans? Is the German language not different than the English? If you do not show respect to the language of the others, then how do you expect them to respect your language? I am European and the Greek language is one of the official languages of the European Union. I would complain in writing on this issue to the ambassador of the European Union'"

    [07] Erdogan told the ambassadors of the EU member countries to Ankara that Turkey has fulfil its obligations towards the EU

    NTV television (08.06.04) broadcast that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited the ambassadors of the European Union member countries to Ankara for a dinner yesterday.

    Speaking to the ambassadors, the Turkish Prime Minister said that Turkey has for the time being fulfilled its obligations in order to get a date for accession to the EU and stated that Ankara expects from the EU to show the same behaviour in December 2004. "Turkey has never feared its responsibilities. We expect the same from the EU in December", he said.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Erdogan said that there is a need for lifting the isolation towards occupied Cyprus. He reminded Turkey's efforts towards the solution of the Cyprus problem and alleged that the Cyprus Republic, "which is a member of the EU", did not show the same will as regards the solution of the problem. He also stated that the Cyprus problem is not among the conditions of the Copenhagen criteria and that, from this point, Turkey is focused on getting a date on December 2004. He also stated that the Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report was objective.

    Asked by the British ambassador, if Ankara plans to take any steps in order to persuade the countries which are against Turkey´s EU accession, Mr Erdogan stated that Turkey feels sorry because there are people who still think this way, and said that Turkey started to make all the changes required to become member of the EU. "Now is your turn", he said.


    [08] Degrading statements by the Ambassador of Sweden to Turkey for the Cypriots and their President who are under the yoke of the brutal Turkish occupation for 30-years. Reference to Russia and the Arab countries

    Turkish Daily News (08.06.04) publishes an article, which according to the editor´s note, is a contribution to the paper by the Ambassador of Sweden, Mr Henrik Liljegren.

    The article, under the title "Waiting for the NATO summit" is insulting for the President and the people of Cyprus who were forced by the Turkish troops to abandon their homes and properties and are deprived of all their fundamental human rights by 40,000 heavily equipped Turkish troops which keep northern Cyprus under their control.

    The article, is as follows:

    "President George W. Bush looked noticeably relieved the other day as he commented on the establishment of an interim government in Iraq at a press conference. Here was a man who seemed to say to himself, " OK, we created a big mess in Iraq, but, by God, now we are getting out of it and others will have to deal with it."

    "A free Iraq will be a game changer, an agent of change," said Bush. These words revealed what the administration probably considered to be the most important motive for attacking Iraq. The neo-conservative hawks, who dominated the foreign policy agenda in Washington after 9/11, believed that a successful war against Iraq would create a "shock and awe" effect in the whole region. It would make the rogue states stop supporting terrorists and prepare the ground for the democratization of the authoritarian Arab regimes. "It would change the game," as the president said.

    Instead, the war and occupation has led to intensified terrorism both inside and outside of Iraq. In addition, relations between the United States and its allies have been severely strained and anti-Americanism has risen to previously unimaginable heights all over the world. The credibility of U.S. intelligence services has been badly damaged; with the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians becoming more violent than ever.

    This is the bad news; but the good news is that there are signs that many people in the greater Middle East have recently seen the need for democratic reform. Moreover, it seems that some regimes have concluded that it is dangerous to tolerate or aid terrorists or to attempt to build or sell nuclear weapons. More importantly, Iraq could, in spite of everything, eventually turn out to be a more stable place once the transition to a sovereign Iraqi government has been completed. At least one should not totally exclude such a scenario in the long-term; the game may change and developments become more benign than anybody can foresee today.

    Right now the best news is that the Bush administration is adjusting to the realities on the ground in a pragmatic spirit. As Winston Churchill once said, "The Americans always do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

    The Clinton administration learned the lesson in the Balkans that it had to be prepared to back up diplomacy with military action. The Bush administration has learnt the lesson in Iraq that military action must be backed up by diplomacy. It is now trying to repair relations with its allies and to involve the United Nations in the future of Iraq. I think we can safely assume that the United States will not start a preventive war against another country in the near future. Last but not least, it seems that the U.S. intelligence community will undergo a much-needed overhaul.

    How the readjusted foreign policy of the Bush administration will play out in the context of NATO will be interesting to observe at the NATO summit in Istanbul on June 28-29. Turkey not only has to take the responsibility for the nightmarish organizational and security problems of the summit, it must also act diplomatically in advance of the summit in the hope that NATO comes up with policies for the region that are beneficial, rather than detrimental, to the security of Turkey.

    In connection with a conference arranged by the Istanbul Policy Center in the summer of 2002, we were told by a participant, a short time after 9/11, that planning had begun to move about a third of U.S. forces in Europe to the Black Sea region and beyond, and that the Pentagon regarded this area as the "new central front" in the fight against terrorism. The planning included establishing "forward operating sites" in what were termed "vulnerable battle ground states" in Central Asia. It also foresaw helping these states strengthen their own security against terrorists.

    While the United States recently began to consult with its NATO allies about this plan, the plan was gradually revealed to the public. Michael R. Gordon, in The New York Times on June 4, wrote of "the most significant rearrangement of American military around the world since the beginning of the cold war." The same article says that Secretary of State Colin Powell thought it "unlikely that the Turks would agree to allow the United States to operate freely from Turkish bases."

    My guess is that Turkey is already discreetly taking creative diplomatic action in the relevant capitals. The role and intentions of Russia might be a matter of concern to some at the summit. President Vladimir Putin, in his recent state of the nation speech, talked of Russia's "vital interests." His new and smooth foreign minister, Lavrov, in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal explained that for Russia "the territory of the former USSR is a sphere of vital interests, prompted by its entire history." Lavrov added, "By vital interests we do not mean some kind of right to bring pressure on our neighbors."

    But if history is any guide, that is exactly what it does mean. As for the Russian military, it still thinks in terms of the Cold War, regrets the expansion of NATO and would like to resurrect Russia as a superpower as soon as possible. When speaking to his domestic audience, Putin has to take the attitude of the nationalistic forces within the military and the Duma into account.

    One thing is clear: Just like in the good old days of the Cold War, the United States and Russia are competing for geopolitical influence, this time in countries in the neighborhood of Russia and, in some cases, Turkey. Nowadays this competition is tempered by the fact that the United States and Russia have an overriding common interest in cooperating with each other in the fight against terrorism.

    Since the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Istanbul, both NATO and the OSCE have expressed concern that Russia has failed to fulfill its 1999 commitments to withdraw forces from Georgia and Moldova. Russian diplomacy would now like NATO to ratify the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty without demands to fulfill its Istanbul commitments.

    By saying that he will not attend the NATO summit, Putin presumably wants to put pressure on the West to accept Russia's demands. Turkey has tried to contribute to stability to the west and south of its borders, and by its diplomacy regarding Cyprus, and has consequently received many favorable comments in the international media.

    The same cannot be said for the Greek Cypriots. In one of his weekly electronic letters, Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden, writes that Greek nationalistic forces carry the main responsibility for the failure to solve the issue. Bildt talks of "the almost hateful rhetoric of the Greek-Orthodox Church and the blatantly cynical way that the Greek Cypriot president Papadopoulos played on prejudice and fear in order to stop the peace plan. Bildt continues: "That he belonged to the Greek support troops for Milosevic is hardly surprising. The methods of agitation are recognizable." I really hope that the other leaders of the European Union will distance themselves from Papadopoulos and treat him with the icy coldness that he deserves." Bildt predicts that various measures will be taken to "ease the restrictions against the Turkish Cypriot part of the island."

    To the extent that Bildt's views are representative of views within the EU, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots should in principle benefit from the general goodwill that their support for the Annan plan has generated. Eventually it might lead to some level of recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state. Outside the EU the only important state that supports the Greek Cypriots seems to be Russia.

    Since the EU does not wish to import border disputes when admitting new members, it has also encouraged Turkish diplomatic activity regarding Turkish relations with Armenia. In this context the 2003 Regular Report of the EU Commission mentions grassroots civil society initiatives with a view to promoting closer cooperation between Turkey and Armenia.

    The other day I was invited to attend a meeting of a select group of prominent Turkish and Armenian media representatives. Under the chairmanship of the managing editor of the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli, the group discussed how the media in their respective countries could deal with the sensitive subjects that prevent reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, and did so in a dispassionate and objective manner.

    "We are not out to solve any of the outstanding issues, but to prepare the ground for the dealing of them by politicians, if and when they choose to do so. We are simply trying to 'clarify' the respective terminologies and help create a better understanding," said Mr Kanli, who also explained that the meeting was a follow-up to a series of meetings sponsored by the American University in Washington since May 2001.

    Such initiatives are important as confidence-building measures could inspire the Turkish and Armenian governments to make progress in their diplomatic relations. However, they also require tact and discretion since Russia casts a long shadow over Armenia, and, it is not obvious that Russia finds friendship between Armenia and Turkey desirable. The group that Mr Kanli has brought together is making a laudable effort in a way that is in the best interests of their respective nations. Who knows, maybe the NATO summit can bring new momentum to these efforts by meetings at both the levels of government and civil society.

    The NATO summit will, in fact, bring more clarity to many important issues of global security that are now shrouded in uncertainty. Hopefully the run-up to the summit will be an occasion for exceptionally creative diplomacy. It is sorely needed."

    [09] Turkey expects the Americans to purge the PKK fighters from Northern Iraq

    In view of President Bush´s visit to Istanbul for the NATO summit, MILLIYET´s correspondent in Washington, Mrs Yasemin Congar, analyses what Turkey expects from the visit quoting statements by a US official.

    From the commentary, published on 7 June 2004, it can be deducted that Turkey succeeded in getting promises from the US regarding the Cyprus and Kurdish problems when the war against the dictator of Iraq was not proceeding as planned by the Americans.

    The full text of the commentary is as follows:

    "I will move from one issue to another in this column rather than dwelling on one topic. But, all of the different issues I will touch on have one thing in common: "The agenda of change" that Turkey has taken charge of in many fields recently.

    Let us begin with Cyprus: Kofi Annan's report, disclosed last week, marked a turning point not only for the history of Cyprus but also from the point of view of the reaction that Turkey's official Cyprus policy received from the international community.

    In brief, the report was a document recording that it was the Greek Cypriot side that was responsible for the failure for a settlement to be achieved on Cyprus. Not using a reserved style Annan stressed that in the 24 April 2004 referenda the Greek Cypriots rejected not only the agreement document but settlement itself.

    In contrast to this, Annan praised the "pro-settlement" attitude adopted by the Turkish side prior to the referenda but felt the need to point out that this constructive attitude was late in coming.

    Even if Ankara sees the EU at fault for removing any motivation for settlement by "guaranteeing membership with or without a settlement" to the Greek Cypriot Administration, Annan's words in effect say that Turkey was late in understanding and using the persuasive atmosphere created both for Cyprus and Turkey by EU accession.

    While announcing that he was suspending his mission of good offices at this stage the UN Secretary-General did give the expected message for what would happen from now on and announced that there was no longer any reason why the Turkish Cypriots, who had voted Yes to a settlement in the referenda should continue being isolated. However, while requesting that the UN Security Council stick within the confines drawn by its former resolutions Annan warned that any policy of opening up to the Turkish Cypriots must not contain any encouragement of privileges that could lead to recognition of the `TRNC´ or make the division on the island a permanent one.

    So, what now?

    Washington greeted the report "positively" and is contemplating forming at an international level a "powerful basis" to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. It would like to announce some of the steps in this regard before President George W. Bush's official visit to Turkey on 26 June. While explaining that these steps would include flights to northern Cyprus one US official said: "It will take time for any airline to start scheduled flights to northern Cyprus because of the need for a commercial decision. It would be easier at first for charter flights. In fact, there are on the agenda steps more efficient than international airline routes for bringing definite benefits to the Turkish Cypriot people. We are aware of the great psychological importance that flights to the north of the island constitute and we do not want to create a disappointment."

    Halki Island! Immediately!

    President Bush plans to get together with the leaders of different religious groups in Turkey in Istanbul before the NATO Summit. There is not even any need for Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos to mention the problem caused by the complete failure of the Clerical School on Halki Island to open because this is one of the issues in the dossier prepared for Bush. It will not be a surprise if the President raises the issue during his address at the Esma Sultan Residence.

    One US diplomat when talking about the "you were late" stone thrown by the Annan Report to the Turkish side immediately changed the topic of conversation to Halki Island:

    "Turkey has always paid the price for being late. For instance, it is difficult to understand the delay in a step that is on the Justice and Development Party [JDP] leader's mind such as the opening of the Clerical School. An explanation here made ahead of the NATO Summit would have extraordinary repercussions. Bush may use this: Congress may be impressed. More importantly, it would send a message to the world at a time when Turkey is in the shop window. It would have a great effect on the EU process."

    One other official said: "If Ankara had not delayed certain reforms that it was going to complete in the end it would have more than seen the positive effects these would have had both at home and abroad."

    The Clerical School on Halki Island might not open within the next few weeks but the political will could be voiced immediately by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and in such a way as to leave no room for doubt. That is what Washington expects.

    One American, who had listened to the speech given by the prime minister at Oxford a while ago said: "If each and every one of those words were put into practice then Turkey would be a completely different place." Erdogan's speech at Oxford calls for the Halki Island Clerical School to be opened.

    The PKK Threat

    The Workers Party of Kurdistan's [PKK] call to war was greeted as "old news" in Washington because US officials know that the organization never actually took on an unarmed political identity completely distancing itself from armed action. This is why the PKK, and all the other names it calls itself, has never been off the United States list of terrorist organizations. All the same, the latest PKK threat could have critical consequences both for Turkey's EU agenda and its relations with the United States.

    It is doubtful whether the United States would embark on a military operation to purge the PKK presence from northern Iraq prior to President Bush's trip to Turkey. Failure to carry out such an initiative amounts to Bush being unable or unwilling to keep his promise to Erdogan made in January. For a PKK that has made the decision to resume armed action to have close to 5,000 armed men on Mt Kandil, particularly at a time when the Turkoman representation within the new Iraq administration fails to satisfy Ankara, could worsen the Iraq difficulties on the Turkish-American agenda.

    Officials in Washington maintain the need for any military action against the PKK to preserve the element of surprise, and they refuse to reply to any question about timing. In fact, the source whom I reminded that the United States had been saying for some time now, "It is not possible to mount an operation against the PKK before June" sufficed by saying: "At this point in time it might or might not happen. But nobody is saying, it cannot happen after the new administration in Iraq has taken over political sovereignty'."

    Furthermore, it is being firmly stressed in Washington that "it is not possible" for the PKK to turn northern Iraq into a base of operations and that neither the US military presence in the region nor the Kurdish parties in partnership with the new Iraqi administration would allow it.

    As for the EU agenda:

    The question on the minds of US officials is whether or not the PKK wants to trip Turkey up in its efforts to start accession talks and is using the blowing of the war trumpets as an excuse. According to the United States, the way to prevent the PKK from creating a counter effect in Turkish-EU relations is to press on with efforts to eliminate shortcomings in applying the Copenhagen Criteria. Seeing democratization as the lasting solution to the Kurdish issue, Washington warns against the mistake of taking any steps backwards now that Turkish Radio and Television has at last started broadcasting in other languages and dialects spoken in Turkey.

    Meanwhile, one US official recalled how important the messages to come from the imprisoned Democracy Party deputies would be. Every expression rejecting terrorism 100 percent would be an indicator that the dynamics of change in Turkey have not taken hold and would force the end of the extended prison sentences."

    [10] Column in RADIKAL assesses the UN Secretary-General´s report on Cyprus. It stresses that the Turkish side was late in showing good will

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (06.06.04) publishes the following commentary by Erdal Guven under the title: "What does Annan say?":

    "UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's new Cyprus report, which evaluates the developments that occurred between April 2003 and May 2004,deserves a reading from end to end because it is dramatically different (in letter and spirit) from the Secretary's previous reports which reviewed developments between late 1999 and March 2003. In a sentence the following can be said: Annan, who had earlier blamed the `TRNC´ leadership and Ankara for the failure of the process that ended with The Hague summit on 10 and 11 March 2003,this time blames the Greek Cypriot leadership for the failure of the process that ended with the referenda of 24 April 2004. It is not clear whether Annan called [Cyprus President Tassos] Papadopoulos a "liar," "hypocrite," or "censorious" as HURRIYET has claimed, but it is true that the Secretary-General levels precisely these accusations--naturally in diplomatic language--against the Greek Cypriot leader in his new Cyprus report.

    Thus the UN Secretary-General has reaffirmed the international opinion that this time it was the Greek Cypriot administration that bore the responsibility for the failure to reach a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan and missing yet another chance for the reunification of Cyprus. From this perspective the following remark by Annan is noteworthy: "Greek Cypriot voters rejected not just a document but the solution itself."

    In contrast [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, [Foreign Minister Abdullah] Gul, and ["TRNC Prime Minister" Mehmet Ali] Talat stand out as the "stars" of the new report. Annan praises the posture of the Turkish side in the said process, especially Talat's well-intentioned negotiating efforts to find a solution, and the political will the Justice and Development Party government has demonstrated in this regard. Annan expresses his appreciation for Talat's stand during the negotiations as well as the referendum campaign and says that Erdogan stuck to his pledge of "staying one step ahead."

    However Annan cannot keep making the following observation: "The process of Cyprus' accession to the EU and the initiation of the same process with Turkey constituted a balanced incentive environment. The Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish government missed this chance. By the time the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish government had gathered the will and the strength to negotiate a compromise solution there was not much incentive left for the Greek Cypriot side; the Greek Cypriot leadership had adopted a less flexible posture and time was running out." In other words he means to tell the Turkish side: "Were you not a little too late? Where were you for all that time?"

    These are the main outlines of Annan's appraisal of the current situation. As for what will happen next, Annan says: "The plan remains the only basis for the Cypriots to find a solution. The progress that has been achieved thus far must be preserved and enhanced, but none of this can replace a solution." For this reason Annan calls upon the Greek Cypriots to clarify and finalize their concerns about the security and implementation aspects of the plan but also, if they genuinely desire a solution, to be prepared for political equality and power sharing with the Turkish Cypriots. Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, Annan urges them not to turn their backs on the reunification of the island despite the "no" of the Greek Cypriots but, on the contrary to redouble their efforts in this direction. He adds: "Turkish Cypriots and Turkey must not miss any opportunity to extend their hand to the Greek Cypriots and must do everything they can for an agreement."

    Nevertheless Annan describes the current situation as an impasse: "Papadopoulos has said that he will not submit the plan to a second referendum without certain changes whose details we do not know. Other Greek Cypriot leaders are willing to go to a second referendum but want additional security and implementation guarantees whose details we do not know. In the meantime, the Turkish side that has approved the plan is opposed to reopening negotiations on the plan. I do not see any reason to resume by good will efforts as long as this impasse is not overcome."

    Annan makes two proposals to the international community within the framework

    of the UN Security Council. First, he recommends a comprehensive review of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus. As far as one can gather from the vague expressions Annan uses the complete withdrawal of the force is out of the question, but there may be changes in the number of troops and the definition of their mission. No doubt this is a development that is likely to alarm the Greek Cypriot side. (Indeed Papadopoulos said that the security situation on the island has not changed, that the presence of Turkish soldiers continues, and that, consequently, the structure of the UN peacekeeping force must not change.)

    Annan's second proposal is more important: He recommends that the unnecessary restrictions and hurdles imposed on Turkish Cypriots be removed: "In view of the Turkish Cypriot vote on the referendum, no reason remains to pressure and isolate them."

    However there is a fine point here: Annan underscores that any moves in this direction must not reach the point of granting official recognition to the Turkish Cypriot administration or supporting separatism. Annan does not want these initiatives to overstep the bounds of [Security Council] Resolution 541 of 1983 (prohibiting the recognition of the "TRNC") and Resolution 550 of 1984 (banning all forms of assistance to the separatist Turkish Cypriot administration).

    Annan's concluding remarks: "I am certain that Cypriots who favor a solution will--more correctly have to--continue their efforts. More than anyone else they hold the keys to the reunification of their country."


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