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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-10-26

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.205/04 26.10.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Letter from Gul asks for clarifications on the EU Progress Report for Turkey.
  • [02] The National Security Council of Turkey to meet on EU report.
  • [03] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to visit Damascus.
  • [04] National Unity Party starts its efforts to form a new "government".
  • [05] The New Turkish Lira was presented to the media in Ankara.
  • [06] The US ambassador to Nicosia Michael Klosson visited occupied Famagusta and paid a visit to the so-called mayor of the occupied town.
  • [07] More Turkish and Israeli investments in the tourism sector in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Turkish columnist calls on the Turkish Foreign Minister to comment on the contents of the EU Progress Report for Turkey and not on the way it was reported.
  • [09] Ankara barking up the wrong tree.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Letter from Gul asks for clarifications on the EU Progress Report for Turkey

    Istanbul NTV television (25.10.04) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, has sent a letter both to Mr Guenther Verheugen, EU Commissioner in charge of expansion, and Bernard Bot, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands which is currently EU term president regarding the points that raise concern in the EU's Progress report and EU Commission's recommendation.

    In his letter, Gul stressed that the scanning process and the suspension conditions envisaged during the negotiation process are not clear.

    Ankara wants to eliminate some of the concerns regarding certain issues mentioned in the Progress Report and the EU Commission's recommendations before 17 December, when the critical decision regarding the negotiations will be reached.

    To this end, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul sent a letter both to Verheugen, EU Commissioner in charge of expansion, and Bernard Bot, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands which is currently EU term president. In his letter, Gul listed the points that raise question marks in the EU Commission's recommendations.

    Subtitle: The letter was not sent to all EU countries

    Given the fact that European capitals called on Turkey "to avoid mentioning the concerns regarding the messages that will be issued to the Turkish public or the distress felt as a result of the issues included in the report and to make efforts to receive a negotiation date," it was decided to avoid sending the letters to the foreign ministers of all the EU countries.

    Subtitle: It is not clear

    The letter that was sent to Verheugen and Bot emphasizes that it is not clear how the criteria that will be brought before each new negotiation phase begins will affect the process.

    Referring to an additional point in his letter, Gul explains that the report has not clarified the nature of the serious human rights and democracy violations that may lead to the suspension of the negotiations.

    The letter also refers to the fact that when announcing its recommendation, the EU Commission asserted that the negotiation process is an open-end process. Gul underlines that the fact that the report leaves the door open for the possibility that the negotiations may not result in full membership raises concern.

    It was noted that, Gul, who will go to the Netherlands for a working visit of three to four hours on Monday, will raise the issues that were mentioned in his letter during his meeting with Bot.

    [02] The National Security Council of Turkey to meet on EU report

    Turkish Daily News (26.10.04) reports that the National Security Council (NSC) of Turkey will meet tomorrow to study the European Union Commission's progress report with its first civilian Secretary-General Yigit Alpogan.

    Reports say the report will dominate much of the NSC´s agenda and the council will compare the report with the previous decisions made by the EU.

    Iran and Iraq will be another topic that will be discussed during the meeting and the council will concentrate on security matters in Iraq. Relations with Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, Kurdish policy in Kirkuk and efforts against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK/Kongra-Gel) are expected to be among the topics discussed.

    As the paper writes, "some reports suggest that despite promises, the failure of the United States and the EU to implement policies in favor of the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'" and the alleged 'Greek Cypriots' anti-Turkish efforts will also be discussed during the meeting.

    [03] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to visit Damascus

    Turkish Daily News (26.10.04) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Syria in December to improve the recently warmed relations between Ankara and Damascus.

    Years of tension in Turkish-Syrian relations particularly due to the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Syrian land cooled off in the wake of signing the Adana Protocol in 1998. Ankara welcomed Syrian President Basher Assad's visit in January with the highest level of hospitality.

    Assad is known to attach importance to developing relations with Turkey in every field, as well as furthering cooperation on bilateral and regional issues. Ankara and Damascus admitted they shared a common view over the crucial importance of the territorial integrity of Iraq.

    Turkey and Syria are expected to sign a Free Trade Agreement during Erdogan's visit, said the agency. Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun and Syrian Industry Minister Ghassan Tayyara initiated a Good Will Protocol yesterday in Ankara.

    A Turkey-Syria Joint Economic Cooperation meeting was held for the first time during the first Syrian Prime Ministerial visit to Ankara in 2003. Three agreements on "Cooperation on Health," "Cooperation on Natural Gas and Petroleum" and "Cooperation on Customs Matters" were signed then.

    [04] National Unity Party starts its efforts to form a new "government"

    The front pages of today's Turkish Cypriot press (26.10.04) focus on the efforts of the leader of the National Unity Party (NUP), Mr Dervis Eroglu, to form a "government".

    Local KIBRIS newspaper reports that after intensive evaluations and discussions over the weekend within itself, the NUP's assembly convened yesterday to consider the prospects of forming a new "coalition government" with other parties.

    The NUP Party Assembly authorized the party's leader Dervis Eroglu to start talks with other parties to try to form a new "coalition government" after the collapse of the RTP-DP so-called coalition government.

    The paper also reports that because the Democratic Party (DP) does not favour a multiparty coalition nor a "government" with the marginal majority of the 26 seats, forced the NUP to start looking for ways to increase its seats in the so-called "Assembly".

    The NUP has already started to "transfer" deputies in its party. The DP "deputy" Ahmet Kasif has joined the NUP by saying: "DP has no mission!". A statement is expected today by Unal Ustel, a "deputy" of DP, to join also the NUP.

    Meanwhile, the leader of the Free Thought Party, Mr Salih Cosar, said that he received an invitation from the NUP fifteen days ago to join them and he will make a statement today regarding his decision.

    The front page of AFRIKA, under the banner headline "NUP starts with 20 'MPs'", reports that Dervis Eroglu will first sound out the Republican Turkish Party.

    [05] The New Turkish Lira was presented to the media in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (26.10.04) reports in its fist page that the New Turkish Lira (NTL) was presented to the media in a news conference held in Ankara yesterday.

    The new Turkish currency will be consisting of six different banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Turkish Lira denominations. The smallest banknote will be the one of the 1 NTL. There will also be six different coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Kurus (cent) denominations along with a coin of 1 Turkish lira denomination.

    Six zero were erased from the old banknotes which will be put into circulation on the 1st of January 2005, along with the old denominations which will continue to circulate for one year. After this the old banknotes will be withdrawn.

    The face of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is pictured in all the new banknotes and the new coins of the NTL, as in the old ones.

    [06] The US ambassador to Nicosia Michael Klosson visited occupied

    Famagusta and paid a visit to the so-called mayor of the occupied town Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (26.10.04) reports that the Ambassador of the United States of America to Nicosia, Mr Michael Klosson, heading a delegation, visited yesterday the so-called mayor of occupied Famagusta Oktay Kayalp.

    The members of the delegation that accompanied Mr Klosson were the Ambassador's assistant, Ned Nolan, the Finance and Trade attaché Michael Dixon and Mark Libby.

    As the paper writes, various issues relating to the occupied town's development, and the post-referendum period, were taken up during the meeting. After the meeting Mr Klosson took a small tour around the occupied town and visited the ongoing projects in-and-around the town which are being funded by the European Union.

    [07] More Turkish and Israeli investments in the tourism sector in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (26.10.04) reports that the NET Holding is increasing its investments in the tourism sector in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The Chairman of the NET Holding, Mr Besim Tibuk, said that the island has much potential in the tourism sector and they will make new investments. He also added that they are trying to materialize a major hotel project with the Israelis.

    Tibuk complained that a return airline ticket from the occupied airport of Tympou to Istanbul, is more expensive than a return airline ticket to London.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Turkish columnist calls on the Turkish Foreign Minister to comment on the contents of the EU Progress Report for Turkey and not on the way it was reported

    Turkish Daily News (26.10.04) publishes the following article by Cuneyt Ulsever as regards the Turkish Govenrment´s reactions to the EU Progress Report for Turkey:

    "What does the government think about the contents of the minority report?

    I wrote last week of the so-called minority report prepared by the the "Minorities' Rights and Cultural Rights Working Group" -- a sub-committee of the Human Rights Committee that works under the Prime Ministry -- that denied all the old and cliched definitions on minorities in Turkey.

    According to the Lausanne Agreement of the 1920's, the minorities in the newly established Turkish Republic were defined as only "religious minorities." The Lausanne Agreement was a peace agreement among Western invaders of Turkey and the newly established Republic built following the war of independence.

    Westerners were after saving some rights for their religious affiliates in a Muslim country. Thus, at the given time, minorities were taken as religious minorities whose rights should be protected. The new Republic liked this minority definition as the agreement ignored the rights of other minorities such as Kurds and Alawites. Ever since, we could either ignore the existence or the rights of "other minorities."

    For the first time in the Republic era, the outlook towards minorities is to be changed at an official report level. The report says: "Turkey should re-study its understanding of 'citizenship.' Instead of emphasizing the one-cultured nation-state that largely denies human rights; a multi-cultured, freedom-loving plural society that accepts multiple-identities should be accepted."

    It also says: "Minorities are those people who feel different somehow and who also feel that this difference cannot be separated from their whole identity. They either exist or not. It is their concept. The state cannot define minorities but can only decide whether it will accept the rights of those people or not."

    Ever sine the report was published, all pro-status quo components in the country started creating hell. They said many things about the views reflected in the report, but what they wanted to say can be summarized in one sentence: "Those who signed this report are traitors who are stabbing the country in the back!

    I understand their reaction because they are aware the power they hold is becoming lost. Thus, it is only natural for them to get tougher and tougher towards neo-fascism. However, I cannot understand the reaction of Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul.

    The report is in line with the Copenhagen criteria and Mr Gul is struggling to tailor the legal and social fabric of Turkey to the report thus enabling Turkey to get a date to start negotiations on December 17 for EU membership.

    Having received harsh critiques, Mr Gul seems to be in a position of not knowing how to react to the report. He said it has nothing to do with the Prime Ministry, but it is a fact that the Human Rights Committee, established by law, reports directly to him. Apparently, he never followed the meetings. He said the report should have been given to him before going to the press. But he ignores the fact that the report is not something he has to approve or not as the case may be. The committee, by law, is an advisory unit and has the right to publish such reports without his consent.

    So far, Mr Gul has said nothing about the contents of the report. He has the right either to agree or disagree with the report, either in total or partially. We want to hear his reaction to the ideas in the report, not his reaction to the way the report was reported."

    [09] Ankara barking up the wrong tree

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (26.10.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand who analyses the issues the Turkish government wants to change in EU Turkey Report:

    "A strange wind is blowing in Ankara. I don't know what or who is the source behind it, but efforts are directed at changing the European Union Commission's recommendations made in relation to the decision on negotiations that will be taken on December 17. However, the Dutch term-presidency intends to keep the commission report as it is and give a date early in 2005 to begin the negotiations.

    Term-presidencies have significant clout. If it holds such an opinion, other member countries will find it very hard to change it. But still, that's exactly what Turkey is trying to do.

    It is either not apparent that getting a date is more important than anything else or some bureaucrats are endangering the December 17 summit on mistaken assumptions.

    These are the issues that the government wants to change in the Commission report:

    -Open-ended negotiations

    Ankara is very uncomfortable with the sentence in the report that says "the negotiations are open-ended." Some are ignoring the fact that such a sentence was included in the report to appease those who were opposed to Turkey's membership. The founding agreement of the EU and its constitution are very clear on the issue. Article 49 of the agreement and Article 1.57 of the new constitution says: "The only objective of the negotiations is full membership." In other words, it is certain that Turkey will become a full member at the end of the negotiations. Strangely, some in Ankara are misinterpreting this fact.

    -Negotiation method

    The changes made in the negotiation process for Turkey are due to Turkey's special status, its hugeness and distance from EU norms in some respects, together with the problems encountered in the previous negotiations. The purpose is to push Turkey and the EU closer together in some respects before the start of negotiations and to ensure the implementation of reforms. This method will be beneficial to Turkey by boosting foreign investment and at the end of negotiations no member country will have the grounds to oppose our membership.

    -Suspension

    The suspension of negotiations under exceptional circumstances is nothing new. The negotiations with Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania were suspended.

    - Free movement

    Until now, Turkey aired its view on this issue many times and announced that it was willing to adhere to a long period of adjustment. This matter was included in the report just to dispel fears about our membership. Moreover, this matter is open to negotiation. All research studies say that by 2030, the Europe will be begging us to send workers, so this matter is mute.

    - Not 2014, but 2012

    Another misperception is that some believe the negotiations will last until 2014, because the EU budget says so. However, in order for Turkey to be included in the 2014 budget, the negotiations need to end in 2012.

    Subtitle: Our misperceptions will come to haunt us

    As I mentioned before, the biggest error in calling for changes to the Commission report is that it may open Pandora's Box and the inclusion of many other preconditions that we never knew about.

    There is only one thing Turkey needs to hear from the December 17 summit and that is the start of the negotiations sometime in 2005. As Ankara wastes time calling for useless changes, it faces the possibility of missing out on the bigger picture.

    Either some people are confusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul or advisors who know what they are talking about are ignored in favor of those who are trying to force the issue to a standoff. We are at the end of a very critical process. Let's not make any mistakes here. No one can stop a Turkey that has started the negotiations and those issues we seem to be sensitive about will soon become meaningless details."

    /SK


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