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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-11-09

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.214/04 09.11.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Rauf Denktas and Mehmet Ali Talat before Talat was designated to form the new so-called government.
  • [02] Reaction to President Papadopoulos´ proposal for a separate quay at Larnaca's port for the Turkish Cypriot businessmen.
  • [03] Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul: "Reports about testing missiles is not empty words".
  • [04] The pseudostate is participating in the ExCEL Tourist Fair in the UK aiming to attract 150 thousand British tourists to visit occupied Cyprus.
  • [05] The hotels in the occupied area are expected to be full for the Ramazan feast.
  • [06] Significant increase on the sales of cars in the occupied areas.
  • [07] Former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council was interviewed on Turkey´s relations with the United State.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Columnist in MILLI GAZETE comments on the statements by Graham Fuller on Turkey´s relations with the USA.
  • [09] Columnist in RADIKAL assesses the position of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus in view of the 17 December summit.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Rauf Denktas and Mehmet Ali Talat before Talat was designated to form the new so-called government

    Illegal Bayrak television (08.11.04) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas has designated Republican Turkish Party [RTP] leader Mehmet Ali Talat to establish the new "government". Speaking prior to designating Talat, Denktas recalled the continuing "government" crisis in the occupation regime and said that changing the system is the key to solve the crisis. He noted that holding early elections within a short period is the key to solve the problem. Stressing that he has tasked Talat to establish the new "government" in accordance with the so-called Constitution, Denktas said that they were studying the possibility of reducing the period required for early "elections".

    Mr Denktas also added: "The RTP, which is an influential party in the `TRNC´, has to fulfill this task within a specific period. They will make an effort to form the new government. They will return the task if they fail to do so. I am trying to establish the legal way of reducing the period required for holding early elections. I have discussed the matter with the chief justice. The matter is not clear. I believe we have to work on the matter. I believe that Mr Talat, and, in fact, Mr Dervis Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party, must also study the matter. They, too, must try to establish whether the period required for early elections can be reduced. We must all make an effort to contribute toward the establishment of a government. So, I now designate Mr Talat to establish the new administration. I hope his designation will be auspicious".

    On his part, the so-called Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said that he will try to fulfill a difficult task and noted that the occupation regime must not be left without a so-called government. Stressing that the occupation regime is confronted with very serious problems, he noted that early so-called elections have to be held. Talat said that the RTP organs will assess the situation.

    Mr Talat also noted: "As you have outlined, early elections have to be held if we fail to establish the new government. We will first assess the situation in our party organs to be able to draw up a course of action. However, I must note that we will continue to consider early elections as one of our alternatives. We will study the situation to find a way. We will try to establish how we can hold early elections without violating the `TRNC´ Constitution and `laws´. I thank you for designating me to form the government. I will quickly move to take action to realize my task with your support."

    [02] Reaction to President Papadopoulos´ proposal for a separate quay at Larnaca's port for the Turkish Cypriot businessmen

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (09.11.04), in its front page under the banner headline "President Papadopoulos proposed to the Turkish Cypriots a quay in Larnaca", reports the following:

    "President Papadopoulos, who said that it is Turkey that is responsible for the real 'isolation' of the Turkish Cypriot side, proposed a separate quay in the Larnaca port, operated by Turkish Cypriots under the supervision of the European Union."

    Commenting on the same issue, local KIBIRISLI newspaper reports that the Turkish Cypriot side should counter propose the joint operation of Larnaca's port and the occupied port of Famagusta under the supervision of the European Union.

    [03] Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul: "Reports about testing missiles is not empty words"

    Turkish mainland daily MILLIYET newspaper (09.11.04) reports under banner headlines that the Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, was asked by the Republican People's Party (RPP) Istanbul Deputy Onur Oymen during the budget debate at the Turkish Parliament's planning and Budgetary Committee the following question: "Why we do not have our own missile defense projects?"

    Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul replied: "On this issue we are doing all we could. On this issue, even our engineers do not say anything to each other about what they know. If you do allow me please keep this matter here as well. If you hear that at certain locations certain missiles were tested please know that it is true, it is not a myth".

    At the end of the debate the Committee has approved the Defense Ministry's new budget at ten billion 977.1 million new Turkish Lira (NTL)

    (Tr Note: One Cyprus Pound is approximately 3.2 NTL)

    [04] The pseudostate is participating in the ExCEL Tourist Fair in the UK aiming to attract 150 thousand British tourists to visit occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (09.11.04) reports about the pseudo state's participation in the ExCEL Tourist Fair, which is taking place in London, UK. In the Fair participating are 191 countries and it is expected that around 30,000 persons will visit this year's exhibition.

    The pseudostate´s target in the Fair is to attract 150 thousand British persons to visit occupied Cyprus for the coming year. Thirty tourist agents from the UK are preparing to bring tourists from the UK to the pseudostate in order to increase the number of British tourists to occupied Cyprus. In addition important London papers referred widely to occupied Cyprus under the slogan "The time now for Cyprus' other face".

    In the first nine months of the year 2004, 99.898 of the 129.979 tourists who visited the pseudostate were British. The corresponding number in the year 2000 was 85,241. The paper writes that 53% of the persons that stayed overnight in the pseudostate last year were British, a rate which is for the first time higher than the percentage of Turkish persons who visited occupied Cyprus in the same period.

    Around 60 hoteliers and agents went to London from the pseudostate for the Fair. In addition the so-called minister of tourism Dervis Deniz also went to London for the Tourist Fair. .

    [05] The hotels in the occupied area are expected to be full for the Ramazan feast

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.11.04) reports that the hotels in the occupied area of Cyprus are expected to be full during the three day feast after the end of the Ramazan (14-16 November, 2004).

    The paper writes also that many Turkish Cypriots will prefer to travel abroad to spend their holidays, because this year the feast will last for four days (Saturday 13 November will also be a holiday) and because some travel agents are giving the opportunity to the people to pay for their holidays in installments.

    According to KIBRIS, the average occupancy of the hotels in occupied Cyprus during the holidays is expected to be 93 %. Some big hotels like the Imperial Jasmine Court, the Merit Crystal Cove, the Grand Rocks, The Colony, the Dome, the Acapulco Resort, the Deniz Kizi, the Bilfer Palm Beach and Salamis Bay Conti will be fully occupied.

    The illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines will be conducting extra flights during the feast in order to meet the demand of the period.

    [06] Significant increase on the sales of cars in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.11.04) reports that the sales of cars in the occupied area of Cyprus have significantly increased during the first nine months of this year. The biggest increase has been observed on the sales of second hand Japanese cars, notes KIBRIS.

    According to the report, there are 160.000 vehicles registered in the occupied area. During the first nine months of 2004, 9.866 vehicles were sold, 3.575 of which were new.

    [07] Former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council was interviewed on Turkey´s relations with the United State

    Istanbul VATAN newspaper (01.11.04) publishes a two-part interview with Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA and a specialist on Islam, the Middle East, and Central Asia, by Devrim Question:.

    The interview under the title: "A historic confession" is as follows:

    Question: Could we say that Iraq has become the Middle East's Vietnam?

    Answer: It is true for the Islamic world. Vietnam was of significance, especially to the United States. Iraq, however, has become the Vietnam of a larger part of the world.

    Question: In that case, it represents an even more resounding defeat, does it not?

    Answer: This will be the most dangerous aspect of the matter. The Jihadists will see it as a victory. A civil war will probably break out in Iraq, and a leader totally opposed by the United States could eventually seize power.

    Question: Was it not the United States that created this troublesome group known as the jihadists? Were not you personally responsible for that process as the head of the CIA's Middle East Section?

    Answer: I think that we were not the first ones to create radical Islam and political Islam. We did not invent it. In addition, the whole world attempted to use radical Islam against the Soviets. Not only the United States, but the whole Arab world, the Europeans, and others helped them in order to ensure that the Soviets suffered a humiliating defeat. They helped them by giving arms, money, and by using other means.

    Question: Who actually conceived the idea of creating a Green Belt? Was it not the United States?

    Answer: It was designed to prevent the Soviets from extending their influence toward the south during the Cold War era. It was probably our idea. But all the Islamic countries realized during that period that Islam was a very effective barrier against communism.

    Question: In Turkey you are known as the staunchest advocate of that idea, are you not?

    Answer: It would have been a great honor if I were. But I cannot accept that. I cannot take all the credit. Saudi Arabia made a substantial contribution too. Perhaps, I was not its father. Who could know who it was?

    Question: You were the head of the CIA's Middle East Section. Did not you make the greatest contribution?

    Answer: Of course I did. I probably spoke about that concept more than any other person. It was a very justifiable and legitimate theory. Islam served as a real barrier against communism.

    Question: That is why you constantly promoted radical Islam in the region, was it not?

    Answer: Actually, we did not promote it. Saudi Arabia was more active than we were in doing that. The United States played a more active role in Afghanistan.

    Question: Why then did you include Turkey in that belt at a time when efforts were being made to ensure that a secular reform took root in Turkey ?

    Answer: The reason was that there was a very strong leftist camp in both Turkey and Iran in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The communist movement was very powerful, and Islam was not very effective against communism in Turkey . Islam was weak, but leftist views were very influential.

    Question: And the United States decided to reverse that trend, did it not?

    Answer: No, we have not caused any change in Turkey .

    Question: How could you say that? Have not you supported all the right-wing governments since the Menderes cabinet?

    Answer: Yes, it is true. But there was a very powerful left-wing movement in Turkey , and communism was regarded as a threat more dangerous than Islam as far as the Turks were concerned.

    Question: Nobody here decided to give up his or her leftwing views all of a sudden. Many leftists in this country were subjected to different forms of torture and several military coups took place. Did all those events not occur with the US backing?

    Answer: I think the United States was somewhat pursuing a two-pronged strategy. We wanted Turkish democracy to gain strength while trying to debilitate communism. I think that our attitudes during that period were paradoxical.

    Question: Are you happy with the results?

    Answer: I believe that Turkey is at a very good point now.

    Question: The per capita income is around $4,000. We are still trying to find solutions to some problems such as corruption, headscarf, and crime syndicates. Do you think that it is an encouraging outcome?

    Answer: Perhaps, your progress fell short of expectations. But this is not a situation peculiar to Turkey . This is the general trend throughout the world. We are facing some major problems, such as murders and social degeneration in our country. I, however, cannot understand where you are trying to lead me.

    Question: You are very important to those who live in this region. I am, therefore, only trying to gain some insight into your ideas. For example, why do you like the JDP [Justice and Development Party] so much?

    Answer: No, it is not because I like it very much. There is, however, a fierce struggle going on between the Islamic parties and dictatorships in the entire Muslim world, which is gradually destabilizing the whole region. When the JDP came into power, it signified a kind of solution to the problem of political Islam. In other words--they might misunderstand what I am now going to say, although the JDP is a party with Islamic roots--they have been integrated into the system as a very moderate Islamic party. Turkey is the only country where political Islam evolved into a mainstream political party.

    Question: Do you mean that the JDP could serve as a good model for the Islamic world?

    Answer: I do not like the word "model," and we should rather say that it could be an example. It would be great if they regarded Turkey as an example they could follow. I do not say that because I like Islamism very much. There is great anger in the Islamic world toward the United States and Israel due to the circumstances they have experienced. They are very radical. They need to be tamed. This could be regarded as a humiliating term although it is not my intention. They should, however, perceive realities and take part in the political life.

    Question: What should Turkey 's role be in that process?

    Answer: Turkey has gained wide experience. I think that the significance of its experience will be gradually understood in the Arab world. Turkey has said "no" to the United States, which is its ally, by rejecting a government motion [on Iraq], and accused Sharon of resorting to state-sponsored terrorism. Neither the United States nor Europe dare say that. Prime Minister Erdogan, however, had the right to say that. He has done a very good thing. Thus, Turkey has now started to demonstrate its independence of the United States clearly, something that had a profound effect on the Islamic world. Turkey could, therefore, make great achievements in the region. It could appease anger in the Islamic world by sharing its experiences, giving advice, and establishing good relations with the Arab countries.

    Question: Could not a liberal party accomplish that mission as effectively as the JDP?

    Answer: Unfortunately, there are not many liberal or social democratic parties in the Islamic world. There are some, but they are very marginal and weak. If the liberals come into power in Turkey , nobody in the Arab world would pay attention. They would assume that those liberals share the Western values and thus disregard them.

    Question: Do you mean that it would be in the best interests of the world if an Islamic party remains in power in Turkey for a long period?

    Answer: I am not saying that Turkey should make a great sacrifice. What I am saying is that Turkey was the first country in the Islamic world to solve that problem. This should certainly be of significance to other Muslim countries.

    Question: But you have just said that a political party such as the JDP should be preferred in order to appease radical Islamic movements.

    Answer: This fact has been perceived especially by Europe. Islam has become the second religion of Europe. There are some radical movements in Europe too, albeit they have a limited number of followers. They are concerned about it. They understood that Turkey could help. I do not suggest that Turkey should do that for the sake of pacifying the Islamic world. It should do it for itself. Actually, it did that and it could be said that it found a solution.

    Question: Do you not think that the Kemalists form the majority in Turkey ?

    Answer: I do not think so.

    Question: Do you mean that the model formulated by Mustafa Kemal has come to an end?

    Answer: I have great respect for Mustafa Kemal. It is obvious that he liberated Turkey from imperialism. He also carried out some crucial reforms. That compulsory Westernization process, however, also left some scars on the Turkish society. There were people who were loyal to the Ottoman history and Islamic traditions. When the Westernization drive turned into a campaign humiliating Islam, it caused displeasure. The pendulum has now swung back to the center more or less. The Anatolian Tigers have assumed a new role in the new Turkey . In other words, there is a compromise, which is a very healthy sign.

    Question: Do you know that you angered many people in Turkey when you said in one of your articles that Mustafa Kemal's ideology was no longer functional?

    Answer: I did not say such a thing. What I said was that it had reached the end of the road as a difficult process and that it was probably an encouraging thing that it did so. Turkey needs a new social harmony now.

    Question: In fact, everybody was happy until Mustafa Kemal's death. The citizens of the Republic were wearing hats and young girls wearing dresses with short sleeves were able to go to the movies, even in Diyarbakir. Were not those snapshots important as well?

    Answer: You are portraying the situation in that era from a slanted viewpoint. This is not the Turkish history I know. There is no doubt that people liked it in many respects. A large part of society, however, wanted to be proud of the Ottoman history and to see more respect for Islam.

    Question: Did the problem stem from the reasons that you have described or from a complete lack of industrialization?

    Answer: Actually, there was a competition between the social strata. The Kemalists represented the elite, and the lower class could not digest their reforms. In fact, revolutions leave big scars. This may occur everywhere. The revolution in Turkey left some scars too. They are, however, healing now. There is a process of reconciliation going on.

    Question: It is true that there are few people in the world who like Bush. But, as a former CIA officer, why do you dislike him?

    Answer: He has caused our economic situation to deteriorate considerably and cooperated with the most bigoted groups in politics. He has very close relations with the Zionists and rightists. He has totally eroded our international prestige and caused great harm to the international order. It is almost impossible now for us to closely cooperate with Germany and France. Europe has been trying to pursue a policy independent of the United States for some time. In other words, we no longer have allies in Europe or the Middle East. Nobody wants to work with us now.

    Question: Which countries would you count among those that still maintain good ties with the United States? The United Kingdom? Israel? Could Turkey rank third?

    Answer: No, I cannot say that it has close allies. There are a handful of small countries, like Costa Rica and Fiji, that have always supported the United States. Turkey does not come to my mind while counting those countries. With the exception of the United Kingdom, the United States did not have a staunch ally in Iraq. Turkey is a factor that can help us, but not as an ally.

    Question: Do you think that Turkey made a mistake by taking such a stand?

    Answer: On the contrary, it has been much better for both Turkey and the United States in the long run.

    Question: Those who opposed that government motion in Turkey were criticized for taking a romantic stance.

    Answer: In my view, the rejection of the motion was an extremely encouraging development and it had a very positive effect on Turkey's relations with the EU and the countries in the Middle East.

    Question: What was it good for? Did it put a brake on the United States' plans?

    Answer: It did not have much impact from the military viewpoint. But it had great moral and diplomatic significance. It damaged the United States' prestige and raised doubts about the planned military intervention in Iraq. It caused our other allies to think again.

    Question: What could have happened if it were passed?

    Answer: Firstly, it would have indicated that Turkey was totally within the United States' orbit. It would have also caused an armed conflict between the Turks and the Kurds in the region, which would have mutated into a major problem also from the standpoint of the United States over the long term. The rejection of the motion also made a great contribution to the process of Turkey 's accession to the EU. Had the National Assembly ratified the motion, Europe would have always viewed Turkey as the United States' Trojan horse.

    Question: Do you share the view that Turkey 's possible membership in the EU could eventually pose a threat to the United States?

    Answer: If it eventually becomes a part of the EU, Turkey would be expected to take Europe's strategic needs into consideration. Nonetheless, it does not mean that Turkey should totally side with Europe or the United States. In fact, Turkey should continue to have a place in both camps. It could even be to its advantage. In order to achieve that, however, you should prove that you are not the United States' Trojan horse.

    Question: What do you mean by Trojan horse? The situation that has been continuing since the 1950s, or a closer relationship?

    Answer: The EU was not an option for Turkey in the 1950s and thereafter. Everything was very clear about its ties with the United States. Acting as a Trojan horse is, however, a totally different thing. I am speaking about a mechanism that functions secretly. Turkey could be perceived as a Trojan horse entering the EU on behalf of the United States.

    Question: Bush or Kerry? How could the outcome of the presidential election affect Turkey ?

    Answer: It would be better not only for Turkey , but for the whole world if Kerry was elected. There is only one exception: Israel. It would be better for everybody apart from Israel.

    Question: According to a group in Turkey, the JDP [Justice and Development Party] could initially experience problems in its ties with the United States if Kerry is elected. Do you share that view?

    Answer: I do not see a close connection between them. In my view, there is not much difference between the two candidates from Turkey 's standpoint. Kerry's policies toward Turkey would, however, be softer.

    Question: Kerry places greater emphasis on secularism. Would the JDP rankle him?

    Answer: Unfortunately, Bush's pro-Likud advisers are more dangerous in that regard. The pro-Likud people in the United States, including those in the White House and the Pentagon, are more fanatic than Sharon. In fact, they have impaired the United States' Middle East policy substantially. Kerry's secularist views would only affect internal politics.

    Question: Which candidate could contribute more to Turkey 's accession to the EU?

    Answer: Kerry would lend his unqualified support if he is elected. Some figures within the Bush administration oppose Turkey 's membership in the EU.

    Question: Could you give us some names?

    Answer: Richard Perle has said that very clearly. In addition, Bernard Lewis, who is a renowned scholar, has said that Turkey 's Islamic identity would be treated with disdain if it entered the EU and, therefore, Turkey should side with the United States. Of course, there are some other pro-Likud figures as well.

    Question: If a Turk had the right to cast his vote on 2 November, should he vote for Kerry or Bush?

    Answer: Kerry would be a better option even for an ordinary Turkish citizen, because a Kerry administration would be less domineering. It would work with a greater sense of cooperation. It would not be as enthusiastic as the Bush administration to extend US hegemony. I think that he would have a much softer style. He would not dictate his terms like Bush does. At least, he would not slam the door on anybody's face.

    Question: Graham Fuller are you a patriot?

    Answer: Absolutely. I am not pleased with every action taken by every administration, but I am proud of the United States' values.

    Question: Does the patriotism of a Turk, a Nicaraguan, or an Iraqi start at the point where your patriotism ends?

    Answer: Narrow-minded nationalism is a very bad thing in every sense of the word. First of all, the United States' global influence is one thing, and its neo-imperialism is another, albeit there is a very slight difference between them. We should not force the whole world to pay a price for the sake of US interests and security. US interests and security should not take precedence over another nation or country. In fact, the United States would be isolated and no longer regarded as a moral leader if it could not earn other nations' respect.

    Question: My last question in that context: What was your role in Turkey and the intelligence organizations? What did you do during your years in Jusmatt?

    Answer: No comment. I will only not respond to that question. I have not been involved in intelligence activities since 1968, when I left Turkey , and I have no intention of getting involved again.

    Question: Why did you join the CIA?

    Answer: They found me. I studied history and linguistics in Harvard. I was learning Turkish, Russian, Persian, and Chinese. In fact, I was contemplating an academic career. They made a proposal when I was in the army. I received special training when I took up the offer.

    Question: What motivated you to learn Turkish?

    Answer: I had read about Jenghiz Khan and Tamerlane when I was 15. I was impressed deeply. I wanted to learn about the Turks by reading literature in their own language. As regards Arabic, I decided to learn it, as I was curious to know how words consisting of those signs could be read.

    Question: Despite your books, trips, and theories, you are still known as a former CIA agent. Does that not bother you?

    Answer: I find it useful sometimes. I can travel across the world independently and say and write anything I want. I can criticize any government, including that of the United States on condition that I do not speak about the CIA. I, therefore, like that expression.

    Question: Do you have any concerns about the missions you carried out in the past?

    Answer: As a government employee I did nothing of which I should be ashamed. If there were things that I am ashamed of, they were related to my private life. Working as an intelligence officer is not such a strange thing. There are intelligence officers in every country, including Turkey.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Columnist in MILLI GAZETE comments on the statements by Graham Fuller on Turkey´s relations with the USA

    Istanbul MILLI GAZETE newspaper (Internet Version 04.11.04) publishes the following commentary by Zeki Ceyhan under the title: "We supported them all except the Welfare Party":

    "The comment given in the title of this article was made by a CIA agent who spent years in Turkey and who knows our country as much as or even more than we do.

    In fact, most of us know his name and professional background. When we hear Graham Fuller's name, we immediately remember him and say: "Yes, I know him. He is that certain man who is the United States' number one expert on Turkey ."

    Daily VATAN carried an interview with that "esteemed gentleman." A part of that important interview, which shed light on our country's relations with the United States, particularly captured my attention. Commenting on the ties between the governments in Turkey and his country, namely, the United States, he was quoted as saying: "We supported them [the governments] all apart from the Welfare Party."

    It was a very vague comment that could be interpreted in different ways. We gathered from his comment that the ruling Justice and Development Party is also backed by the United States. Please do not respond immediately by saying that it is not something you did not know of.

    I also know that it is not something new. But I was excited when I read that a CIA agent had admitted that fact.

    What was the scope of the support that Fuller mentioned in the interview? It was probably not limited to moral support. There is no doubt that financial support was involved as well.

    Are the political parties, including those in power, allowed to receive financial support from other countries? If it is proven that a political party, or a government formed by political parties, have received funds from another country, what kind of action should public prosecutors take? Would they bring lawsuits against those parties for their permanent closure?

    The law says that any political party that has received financial assistance from another country should be closed down.

    Instead, the Welfare Party, which, as also confirmed by CIA agent Fuller, had not received such kind of support, was closed down by using a trivial reason as a pretext, while all the other political parties, which, as admitted by Fuller, had received foreign funds, continued to maintain their activities. The facts disclosed by Fuller have revealed a contradiction in our country. Those who should be punished according to the laws freely carry out their political activities, while a political party that was said not to have received financial support from another government was closed down and its leaders were banned from politics.

    Being presented with such a picture, I cannot help asking whether the CIA had played a role in the events witnessed in our past.

    I have said for years that the Welfare Party was different from the others. Its difference was proven by Fuller's admission, which showed that the government led by the Welfare Party was the only one that was not backed by the CIA. I am of the opinion that its difference should never be forgotten".

    [09] Columnist in RADIKAL assesses the position of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus in view of the 17 December summit

    Former Ambassador and regular columnist in RADIKAL and Turkish Daily News, Mr Gunduz Aktan, in his commentary of November 9 in RADIKAL newspaper in Turkish and in Turkish Daily News in English under the title: "Something is changing' or is it?", analyses what in his view Greece and the Republic of Cyprus want from Turkey in exchange for not exercising their veto right on 17 December.

    The commentary, in which Mr Aktan calls the occupied areas of Cyprus as Turkish Republic, is as follows:

    "Following the European Union's failure to lift the embargoes on the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) following the referendum in Cyprus our liberal Turkish friends, who were previously fervent supporters of EU membership, have begun to show their irritation. They also criticized former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies Leyla Zana and her friends' statements in support of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK/Kongra-Gel) after their release from prison. The separatism in the progress report released by the European Commission also annoyed many liberals. Some were even angry with the release of the "minority report" in the name of the Prime Ministry.

    The government did not shrink from criticizing the EU and the United States for the continuing isolation of the `TRNC´. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's criticism of French President Jacques Chirac's support of the referendum to French newspapers in the context of the progress report also created a stir. He also failed to endorse the minority report prepared on behalf of the Prime Ministry.

    After the European Court of Human Rights' decision on the headscarf issue and the debate on adultery, religious sections in society realized that it would not be getting what it expected from the EU on the matters of secularism and religious freedom and began to discuss EU membership's true pros and cons.

    At last, the power of those who demanded the protection of Turkey's fundamental rights and interests has visibly increased. This way, society gets the opportunity to begin a more active debate on the EU's membership negotiation process.

    The EU is putting pressure on Greek Cypriots -- who rejected the Annan plan -- not to prevent Turkey getting a date to begin negotiations on December 17. Despite this, the Greek Cypriot leadership that has increased the force of its threat to veto the negotiations if Turkey does not recognize them, goes too far and they may tie their own hands. However, they must know that if they use their veto on December 17, they will not only lose any chance in being recognized, but they will also destroy any possibility of a solution on the island.

    At this juncture, some, including a few Justice and Development Party (JDP) deputies, have started to argue that we can't progress in the negotiations without recognizing the EU-member Greek Cypriots, while stressing the need to accept this unfortunate fact of life.

    In foreign affairs, one needs to make a correct analysis of what the opposite side wants. `TRNC Prime Minister´ Mehmet Ali Talat says that the Greek Cypriot Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL), which was supposed to vote for the Annan plan, decided to vote against it 15 days before the referendum. Why did they change their position? I wonder.

    In the 1999 Helsinki summit statement, it was said that if the Aegean problems were not resolved by the end of 2004, the matter would be taken to the European Court of Justice in The Hague. However, it appears that Greece has no intention of going to The Hague. Why are they running away from justice?

    With the start of the accession negotiation, we will begin receiving economic aid from the EU and will implement a serious harmonization program. Soon after, our membership process will pass the point of no return. It appears the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks believe they will be able to get more from us during this process than they would with the Annan plan or from the European Court of Justice in The Hague.

    In foreign politics, we can't decide on what we are going to do without knowing what we want. At first glance, it may appear that the decision to recognize the Greek Cypriots as the "Republic of Cyprus" might be a spur of the moment judgment without any long-term consequences. However, the recognition will not end with this and will become a process lasting years. A portion of the media and the business world may not pass over this matter with a "Thank God we took care of that" campaign.

    Legally, we can't recognize both the Greek Cypriots and the `TRNC´. By recognizing the Greek Cypriots, we will be disassociating ourselves from the `TRNC´. As a result, we will be accepting the regime that violently overthrew the 1960 system in 1963 and abused the Turks until 1974 as legitimate. The state structure of the `TRNC´ will enter a process of disintegration and we will start withdrawing our military from the island, which will become an illegal occupation force. Together with the settlers the Turkish Cypriots, who will feel abandoned, will start migrating to Turkey. Greek Cypriots will begin to seize their properties in the north. A similar process will begin in the Aegean and we will be forced to yield to Greek demands there too.

    Can Turkey tolerate such a tragedy, with every day bringing another unfortunate development, for years? What will the consequences of such submissive behavior be in the Southeast or towards Armenian demands? Won't the seriousness of the domestic crisis we will face continue beyond the political future of the JDP?

    If we are not going to accept this, we need to make this absolutely clear, together with possible ways out. I believe we might be able to pull it off".

    /SK


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