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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-07-05

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.125/04 03-04-05.07.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat says they are preparing to open another two crossing points
  • [02] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister during a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Lebanon
  • [03] Papadopoulos calls on EU to take initiative on Cyprus solution
  • [04] Baykal received a vote of confidence and remains the leader of the Republican People's Party
  • [05] The number of foreign firms in occupied Cyprus increased
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] Broader Middle East and North Africa Project: Implications for Europe

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat says they are preparing to open another two crossing points

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.07.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, has said that the regime in the occupied part of Cyprus is preparing to open another two crossing points between the free and the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In statements in London, Mr Talat noted yesterday that the public opinion in occupied Cyprus know that the "government" of the regime is continuing the preparations for opening two more crossing points, one in Morfou area and the other in Nicosia.

    Mr Talat rejected once more the proposals of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, among which the opening of eleven more crossing points was provided. Mr Talat described this proposal as "groundless" and "not sincere", arguing that President Papadopoulos made this step aiming at changing the agenda. "The opening of new gates depends on the possibilities and the needs", he claimed.

    Meanwhile, KIBRIS (03.07.04) reports that the shop owners in the old town of the occupied part of Nicosia have organized a protest march asking the opening of the barricade at the divided Ledra Street in the shopping centre of the capital. Some of the slogans used by the protesters were: "We want gates, not barricades", "A state has no barricades, it has only gates" and "Government you should lift the embargo first".

    [02] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister during a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Lebanon

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.07.04) reported from Beirut that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul who is currently paying an official visit to Lebanese capital Beirut, met with Foreign Minister Jean Obeid of Lebanon.

    Holding a joint press conference following the meeting on Saturday, Mr Gul said: "The Greater Middle East Initiative was high on the agenda of our meeting. According to my point of view, domestic demands should be effective in reform process in the Middle Eastern countries instead of foreign proposals."

    Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Gul said: "We believe that Syria and Lebanon should also be included in the peace process. More active efforts should be exerted to accelerate the peace process. Therefore, implementation of relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the Road Map is of vital importance. Turkey is planning to undertake a more active role in the coming period."

    Asked about Israeli violation of Syrian and Lebanese air spaces, Gul told reporters: "We never advocate violation of air space of any country."

    Noting that the issue of Iraq was another item of their agenda, Gul said that both Turkey and Lebanon were in favour of protection of the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq. "During the meeting, we discussed the recent developments about the Cyprus issue. We told the Lebanese delegation that embargoes imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be lifted," he said.

    On his part, the Foreign Minister Jean Obeid of Lebanon said that they expected Turkey to undertake a more effective role both in Iraq and in the Middle East, and that they had agreed to encourage their private sectors to further develop economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Lebanon.

    Referring to the Greater Middle East Initiative, Obeid said that reforms should be made by nations of the regional countries in line with their own requirements and conditions. He stressed that the region could concentrate on reforms after the Israeli-Palestinian dispute was resolved. Obeid noted that they expected Turkey to undertake a more effective role both in Iraq and in the Middle East.

    When asked whether or not Lebanon would launch any initiative for lifting of the so-called embargoes on the occupied area of Cyprus, Mr Obeid said that they were opposed to embargoes, adding that building up new walls would not lead any solution in the globalizing world.

    Noting that they had signed the decisions made at the summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul about Cyprus without any hesitation, Obeid did not give any concrete message about Lebanon's possible initiatives for lifting of the so-called embargoes imposed on the areas of Cyprus under the control of the Turkish troops.

    [03] Papadopoulos calls on EU to take initiative on Cyprus solution

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (03.07.04) publishes the following report:

    "Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos said the European Union should take the initiative for a settlement to the Cyprus dispute.

    "The solution process of the Cyprus dispute should remain under the supervision of the United Nations and at the same time the EU should be involved in the process actively," Papadopoulos noted at a press conference.

    The Greek Cypriots strongly rejected a U.N.-backed reunification plan, defeating a solution to the dispute in an April referendum. The Turkish Cypriots had voted in favour of reunification.

    The Greek Cypriots joined the EU on May 1 alone, leaving the Turkish Cypriots outside. After the rejection of the plan, Turkish and some EU officials said the plan could not be brought to the table once again. However, the Greek Cypriots insist on initiating efforts for reunification once more, with now the advantage of being an EU member".

    [04] Baykal receives a vote of confidence and remains the leader of the Republican People's Party

    Turkish Daily News (05.07.04) reports that the Republican People's Party (RPP) leader Deniz Baykal said on Saturday, during the extraordinary party congress, that those who were not happy with his leadership could resign and join another party, instead of calling for his resignation.

    RPP leader Deniz Baykal received a vote of confidence from 781 out of the 1058 party delegates at the congress held on Saturday at Buyuk Anatolia Hotel, outside Ankara. Reports said that out of 1,293 party delegates, 1249 were legally allowed to attend the congress, but only 1058 showed up. 262 delegates who opposed Baykal's leadership left the hall before the start of voting. 14 delegates voted against Baykal, while one abstained.

    Among those who left the hall before the start of the vote were deputies Kemal Dervis, Fikret Unlu and Zulfu Livaneli. According to party regulations, the majority of the delegates have to show support in order for a party leader to receive a vote of confidence, which corresponds to 647 votes. Baykal had received 973 votes during the 30th Party Congress on October 23-24.

    Speaking after the vote, Baykal called for an end to the clashes within the party. Baykal said the congress was democratic, adding that all opinions were aired in a democratic and free environment.

    Baykal said: "The congress has showed the need to push forward. I believe, after this congress, the atmosphere within the party will become calmer."

    The congress was closed to the public with many party members and supporters who came to the hotel confronted by barricades around the hotel. The opposition movement within the party had called on its supporters to try to enter the congress hall.

    In his two-hour opening speech, Baykal described the opposition movement within the RPP as "street thugs." He said those who argued the party could not advance with Baykal would have to go, which many construed as the start of a process of resignation and dismissals in the party. He said: "Some are calling for my resignation. Why should I resign? I was appointed to this post with the support of the party delegates and they are the only ones who can replace me. I expect respect as party leader. The right to call for my resignation belongs to the party delegates, not to street thugs. Go wherever you are happy. If it is with the Democratic Left Party (DLP), so be it. Give me the authority to eradicate this disease."

    In criticism of Dervis, Baykal said he noted the European Court of Human Rights approving Turkey's decision to ban headscarves at universities, commenting, "Still, some have the temerity to call for the lifting of these bans."

    Baykal, due to criticism generated by his proposals on the sending of deputies and party members opposed to him to the disciplinary board, together with a support statement for himself, duly withdrew the proposals and the statement.

    A group of RPP supporters shouted: "Fascist Baykal," "Baykal resign," "We don't want any bribed delegates," during an altercation with the gendarmerie troops, who were instructed to prevent anyone from entering the hall.

    Delegates entering were booed by opposition supporters standing outside. Baykal was admitted through the back door. Former Party Deputy-Leader Dervis, who called on the delegates to boycott the vote, arrived at 2:00 p.m.

    A sticker, saying: "Yes to RPP, no to Baykal," was stuck on the back of Gaziantep Deputy Mustafa Yilmaz as he was entering the hall. Reports also said someone had stolen TL 250 million from his pocket as he was trying to enter.

    Party delegate Ali Cihat Isik held a press conference during the congress, saying that the people on the streets were against Baykal and if the RPP wanted to practice politics, it would have to address the concerns of those people. He said, "We can't import people from Holland, can we?"

    RPP Deputy from Izmir Hakki Akalin, addressing the delegates, said, "If you give a vote of confidence, it will be a vote for the end of your careers."

    Deputies from Izmir Muharrem Toprak and Vezir Akdemir got into a fist fight during the congress, and it was reported that Toprak received a head wound.

    Adnan Keskin, in reply to Baykal's description of the opposition as "street thugs," said: "You cannot dismiss us from this party. You're the one who should be dismissed."

    On Sunday, Baykal, together with the RPP branch presidents, visited and laid a wreath at Ataturk's Mausoleum.

    [05] The number of foreign firms in occupied Cyprus increased

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (05.07.04) reports that the number of foreign firms in occupied Cyprus has been increased during the last two years, when the efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem have 'gain speed'.

    According to the so-called pseudo state's records, twenty-eight new firms were registered in the last one and a half year. Among these twenty-eight firms, sixteen are from the construction industry. The paper writes that one hundred sixty eight firms were established in occupied Cyprus from 1974 until today. These firms are mostly active in the areas of construction, banking, insurances and tourism.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] Broader Middle East and North Africa Project: Implications for Europe

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (04.07.04) publishes the following article by Seyfi Tashan:

    "The grim situation that existed in the Arab world was the subject of the UNDP report as well as that of the Arab League call for reform and establishing priorities are stated to be the basic motive for the G8 to start this initiative. There is no doubt that different G8 members have different motives for participating in this initiative, but the result has been a multi-laddereffort to change the static but unwelcome situation in the Arab world but also reduce security threats originating in this part of the world.

    In fact the announcement of the G8 inaugurating the initiative for the Broader Middle East and North Africa Project by adopting a plan of support for reform, states the aim as to give support for democratic and economic reform emanating from that region, because they thought peace, political economic development, prosperity and stability of the countries in the region are challenges which concern the international community as a whole.

    It might be useful to remember some of the important principles G8 considered for establishing "a partnership for progress and a common future" for the region. First of all the partnership is to be based on genuine cooperation with governments as well as business and civil society to strengthen freedom, democracy and prosperity for all.

    The G8 countries agreed that change cannot be imposed from outside and must originate from within. Special reference is made to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including with respect Syria and Lebanon. What is promised for this conflict is a solution based on the Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and on the proposal of the quartet. We all know that so long as the government of Israel cannot be persuaded to refrain from its current policies the fulfilment of this principle is bound to remain on paper. Nevertheless joint action by G8 members might have some influence in alleviating the situation.

    Considering the present mood in many Arab countries who argue that reform depends on the solution of the conflict, G8 proposes that reforms may run parallel with the conflict.

    The plan of support for reform is based on the principles of democracy, gender equality and peace, and reform.

    G8 has launched several programs and institutions towards these objectives: G8 countries and the object countries have established a "Forum for the Future" to meet on a regular basis with a view to discussing reform implementations to be participated also by civil society members. A microfinance initiative pledging help to over two million entrepreneurs; impart skills to an additional twenty million people by 2015; a democracy dialogue, an IFC facility funded by G8 and other donors and other types of economic assistance, and support for reform to aid regional economic integration and other elements of proper liberal economy. The broader Middle East project excludes for the time being Libya, Syria and Iran.

    From explanations given to the press it is understood that G8 did not use the term Arab Middle East and chose a wider term because of the hope that as part of the region Iran will be able to participate in some of the initiatives, likewise Afghanistan. Syria together with Iran is still considered as a state supporting terrorism. However, the architecture of the initiative may at later stages also include these countries. G8 has been encouraged by the recent Arab League declaration in support of reform and fostering democratic practice.

    I tried to explain in the above an idea of the initiative which will have several negative and positive implications for Europe. Let me first begin with the negative implications.

    The EU has been by-passed as an organization in a scheme that very much resembles the EU's own EMP and will not be possible for the EU to contribute to the management of this initiative even though the EU's contributions will be expected. However, the role of the EU and its contributions may be a subject of discussion at the forthcoming Trans Atlantic dialogue.

    Although it is stated that the MEDA and Japan-Arab dialogue are indicated as examples of cooperative action, it may be assumed that many of the G8 supported programs may duplicate or replace those of MEDA. The new initiative may also reduce the effectiveness of many of the activities continuing as part of the other Mediterranean cooperation or dialogue processes of the EU, NATO, and OSCE. Although the performance of the MEDA initiative has been rather poor, nevertheless one cannot expect the EU to abandon this important project and relinquish its role to the G8 initiative.

    The Greater Middle East initiative includes the major European powers and creates a new framework of cooperation with the regional states; and the EU which has a Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Defence and Security Policy has been excluded. This runs contrary to the aims of the European Strategy paper recently adopted by the European Council which states that "Europe should be ready to share in the responsibility for global security and building a better world." Should we now assume that in this quest the EU will be represented by individual powers and not as an institution? Most probably the NATO summit in Istanbul will take decisions on the security aspects of the Greater Middle East Initiative and will most probably create a PfP type of military training for the armies of the region. NATO may now be more involved in peace keeping and peace making operations in the region as is the case for Afghanistan. A separate CSCE type system may also be envisaged.

    With such a wide ranging initiative G8 may be considered as taking an important step for tackling global issues of peace, security, democracy and reform. This institution composed of the world's richest and most powerful countries include the four major European powers. In other words the four powers have become representative of not only themselves but also of the entire Union. This development may lead one to ask if the global system is to be run by the rich and powerful, similar to the 19th century system of major powers.

    There are positive aspects which are equally important:

    A major step has been taken to reduce the transatlantic rift that arose after the U.S. occupation of Iraq. United States has accepted increasing the role of UN in Iraq even though not in the measure UN wanted. Furthermore this G8 initiative may be considered as an acceptance by the United States multilateralism as far as the Broader Middle East is concerned.

    The G8 support of reforms in the Arab world will only help the realization of reforms that Europe has been trying to achieve in the region, and will better safeguard Europe's security against terrorism and other risks emanating from this region.

    G8 has become an instrument for doing things that the EU is unable to achieve. The decision to set up a peace keeping force for Africa where Europe has historical relations and interests is a good example.

    There is also a positive effect regarding the New Neighbourhood Policy of the EU. It will now be possible for Europe to focus on this policy mainly towards Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus with lessened burden of EMP. The European countries on an individual basis will be able to take action within the G8 framework in some of the North African countries which were their former colonies such as France is providing support for elections in Yemen, Italy giving support for electoral process in Afghanistan and France supporting the development of women rights. The EU's effort in this category is mentioned for supporting the Palestinian Central Election Commission.

    On the whole one could argue that if successful this initiative will be a land mark in modern history and put an end to the "war of civilizations" theory. Yet, one must realize that this is the first step and an experiment. All the countries involved in the process are all composed of Muslim populations with states that define themselves as Islamic. Many people claim that Islam both being a religion and source of legislation it is not possible to adopt legislation that would be contrary to the universally accepted principles of Islam. In fact, the Provisional Administration Law recently adopted in Iraq, while speaking about gender equality and democracy also stresses that laws must be in conformity with the tenets of Islam which denies for example gender equality. Therefore, one may assume that the envisaged reform process may have serious limitations in a democratic order unless the principle of secularism is accepted as a state concept by the current regimes in Arab countries.

    Lastly, I want to say a few words on Turkey's participation in the initiative:

    In the beginning many people wondered why Turkey was invited to take part in this initiative, because Turkey was not a member of G8 and not one of the countries that needed to reform itself in the manner described for the object countries. Although, a great majority of Turks accept Islam as their religion, Turkey became secular, much earlier than it became a democratic state and was able to defeat challenges to its secular identity. Also Turkey has fulfilled the requirements of the Copenhagen criteria and is ready to start accession negotiations with the EU. It has an advanced market economy and active civil society.

    The real reason for Turkey's participation as a "democratic partner" is that Turkey can provide substantial assistance to many of the initiatives of the program as a successful example of transformation from an oriental religious system of government to a modern successful one. Already, Turkey carried the message of reform at the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Istanbul and hosted the NATO Summit where security issues in the region were addressed and accepted important declarations for the new global tasks of NATO, in particular for Iraq and the Broader Middle East. Furthermore, Turkey together with Italy and Yemen will organize the first "Forum for the Future" conference under the title of "Democracy Assistance Dialogue" later this year.

    As once Bernard Lewis the famous Ottoman Historian said, "Modern Turkey is the only European state in the Middle East." Its geography, historic and cultural links both with Europe and the Middle East may make contamination a very useful method for spreading reform in the Broader Middle East and beyond."


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