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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-12-02

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.231/04 02.12.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan interviewed on NTV.
  • [02] Statements by the Turkish foreign Minister in Slovenia on the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [03] Turkey submitted its Pre-Accession Economic Program to the EU.
  • [04] The new so-called Ambassador of Turkey to the areas of the Republic of Cyprus under the control of Turkish troops presented his "credentials" to Denktas.
  • [05] Turkish diplomats talk about de facto recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and accepting a formula like the relations between Turkey and Armenia.
  • [06]Angolemli states that Turkey will have to recognise the Republic of Cyprus eventually as its EU procedure continues.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist argues that the domination of Turkish politics by the military was transferred to the SMC from NSC.
  • [08] Pure Turkishness...

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan interviewed on NTV

    Istanbul NTV television (01.12.04) broadcast live an Interview with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Replying to the first question on how he would respond if the EU final communiqué calls for the de facto recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, Erdogan says the EU cannot impose this new condition on Turkey, adding that "we can sit and discuss this issue within the course of the [membership] negotiations once we obtain our expectations on 17 December."

    Asked to comment on the offer of a "special status" from some EU countries, Erdogan says it will not be serious for the EU to come up with a new condition and offer a "special status" to Turkey, declaring that "it is out of question for us to accept such a thing." Erdogan also says that Turkey prefers the commencement of the membership negotiations within the next six months, but will definitely oppose to their postponement to 2006.

    Responding to a question on Republican People´s Party (RPP) leader Deniz Baykal's argument that the parliament should convene to discuss the lack of a formal policy on the EU on the part of the government, Erdogan says this is an "ugly" allegation by the RPP, saying that the people know full well the government's policy on the EU, adding that they will not avoid the discussion of this subject at the parliament, despite heavy parliamentary schedule.

    Invited to comment on reported American uneasiness over the statements issued on the Iraqi developments by Justice and Development Party (JDP) officials, asked to say if indeed a tension exists between the United States and Turkey, and also called upon to comment on the Prime Ministry's directive asking the state officials not to attend the US Embassy reception because of the use of the term ecumenical for the Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Erdogan says on the first issue: "I have been informed of no such tension," and goes on to deny press reports that his recent phone conversation with Dick Cheney was tense. Erdogan explains that he conveyed his views on Iraq in a "mature" manner, telling the Americans that the US actions in Al-Fallujah are not correct and that the killing of unarmed Moslems in mosques are "unacceptable."

    As regards the Greek Orthodox Patriarch's status, Erdogan says: "As to the ecumenical issue, we really do not consider this to be right. We find it wrong for outsiders to issue an invitation by bestowing such a title upon a person who is our citizen and lacks such a status. And to demonstrate that we consider this to be wrong, we simply issued a directive to all our public officials. Each country has its own sensitivities. We all must protect these sensitivities. Besides the fact that this is a status defined in Lausanne. We have to abide by this status defined in Lausanne. As such, the opposite side too has to abide by that. If not, they will be violating a treaty. Those who raise a debate on this issue in my country are acting not sincerely but with ulterior motives. Those who expect different things from the Turkish administration, should first of all correct the mistake they have fallen into. Let no one try to disrupt the peace of our country. Our country has a settled system. If some changes are needed within this system, then we are a constitutional state, we have a constitution, and laws, and whatever our laws require we do with the help of the legislative, executive, and judicial organs. We will treat this affair according to the requirements of a democratic, secular, and law-based state. But if other things are expected of us outside this framework, then that will be overstepping the boundaries. That will be wrong. It will disrupt peace. Both their peace and our people's peace. There is no need for this. I wish they had not resorted to this path."

    To a question on the United States' promise to fight the Workers Party of Kurdistan, (PKK), in northern Iraq, Erdogan says Turkey is keeping this issue on the agenda continuously. He says just before the NTV interview, he spoke with the Iraqi deputy president and reminded him that Turkey does not consider as "correct" the position assumed by the United States towards the PKK. Also referring to the killing of the Turkish drivers, Erdogan says it is not correct for the Americans to act with the mentality of "any snake that does not bite me may it live long." Erdogan adds: "From the very first day that we assumed office, we placed one single issue on the agenda: We called for the formation of a platform for joint struggle against terrorism. But the expected steps in that direction have, unfortunately, not been taken to date."

    Asked to comment on press reports that the National Security Council's, (NSC), functions have actually been transferred to the Supreme Military Council, (SMC), Erdogan says he finds such a question "ugly," arguing that all these institutions work under the status determined by the constitution.

    Asked to comment on the killing of a Kurdish child and his father by the security forces in the Kiziltepe district of Mardin, Erdogan says it is "ugly" and "inhuman" to brand the 12-yer-old child as terrorist, adding that the Interior Ministry is investigating the issue, and that they will take the necessary measures once they obtain the final report on the incident.

    Asked to comment on soccer hooliganism, Erdogan says the media should not excite the issue and give the impression that hooliganism is happening everywhere, adding that the big clubs should clean their fans of criminal elements and that the press should help the state bodies in combating hooliganism.

    Erdogan also rules out cabinet reshuffle after 17 December and early elections, saying that the government, with 65 percent majority in the parliament, is elected for five years. He says it is a bad habit to hold elections every other two or three years, adding that those wishing early elections have no appreciation of the stability created by his government.

    [02] Statements by the Turkish foreign Minister in Slovenia on the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.02.04) reported from Ljubljana that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on Wednesday that Turkey could not recognize the Republic of Cyprus before the Cyprus problem was solved.

    Gul, who met his Slovenian counterpart Ivo Vajgl, told a joint press conference that Turkey's policy on Cyprus was crystal clear.

    Mr Gul said: ''Our view about this matter is obvious. There is no solution in sight yet, and there won't be any recognition before a solution.''

    [03] Turkey submitted its Pre-Accession Economic Program to the EU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.12.04) reported from Ankara that the Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener on Wednesday held a joint press conference together with State Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan on the Pre-Accession Economic Program.

    Speaking during the conference Mr Sener said: ''The Pre-Accession Economic Program is a document consisting of economic policy and structural reforms to be pursued by the candidate states to fulfil the Copenhagen economic criteria. The candidate states are under the obligation of preparing annual Pre-Accession Economic Programs according to pre-accession financial monitoring process.

    In addition to the current year, this document was prepared with a perspective of the next three years. It will be updated in the coming years. Turkey prepared its first Pre-Accession Economic Program in 2001. The program was updated in the ensuing years. This is our fourth Pre-Accession Economic Program we submitted to the European Commission.

    The Pre-Accession Economic Program for 2004 is also a document of reference for the medium-term program between Turkey and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).''

    As regards the figures in the program employment will increase around 2.5 percent annually in the 2005-2007 period according to the Pre-Accession Economic Program which Turkey presented to European Commission on Tuesday.

    Gross Domestic Product growth rate, which had been 5.8 percent in 2003, and which is expected to be 9.8 percent this year, is envisaged to be 4.8 percent in 2005 and 5.1 percent in 2006 and 2007.

    In the period of the program, the influence of the private section's consumption expenses will decrease.

    According to the program, Turkey's imports will be above 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2006 for the first time, and will be around 107 billion U.S. dollars.

    Current account will give a deficit of 11.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, 10.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2006 and 10.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

    Direct foreign investment amount, which is expected to be 2 billion U.S. dollars will increase to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

    Total foreign debt which was foreseen to be around 154.8 billion U.S. dollars will rise to 173 billion U.S. dollars and public foreign debt stock, which was 68.5 billion U.S. dollars will drop to 66 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

    It was reported that the cost of the program, which was prepared to re-structure the banking sector, reached 47 billion U.S. dollars.

    The Program said a totally 12.8 billion U.S. dollars income was obtained from the privatization in 1985-2004 period.

    It said the number of banks, which was 54 in 2002, was reduced to 49 as of June 2004, noting that the banking sector made a profit of 4 billion U.S. dollars in 2003 particularly because of the regression in the rate of interests and 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months of 2004.

    The program also said Ankara aimed to privatize Halk Bank and Ziraat Bank through public offerings as it seeks to push ahead with a privatization program which has been repeatedly frustrated by legal challenges and poor market conditions.

    [04] The new so-called Ambassador of Turkey to the areas of the Republic of Cyprus under the control of Turkish troops presented his "credentials" to Denktas

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.12.04) broadcast that Mr Aydan Karahan, who has been appointed Turkey's so-called ambassador to occupied Lefkosia took office by presenting his credentials to the occupation regime´s so-called President Rauf Denktas today.

    Denktas said during the ceremony that the recognition of only one of the two equal partners in Cyprus as the government does not befit the European civilization.

    A number of officials from the "Turkish Embassy" in occupied Lefkosia were with Karahan at the ceremony.

    Noting that Karahan has arrived on the island at a very critical period, Denktas hoped Karahan will have a successful service period.

    "Ambassador" Karahan said, in turn, that the Turkish Republic will, as always, exert every effort for the welfare of the Turkish Cypriots.

    [05] Turkish diplomats talk about de facto recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and accepting a formula like the relations between Turkey and Armenia

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBLISLI newspaper (02.12.04) reports that referring to the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, Inal Batu, former diplomat and currently member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), has said that after 17 December Ankara accepting a formula similar to the relations it has with Armenia is very possible.

    In statements yesterday to NTV television, Mr Batu, who is an MP with the opposition Republican People's Party (RPP), noted that there would not be diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus, but the recognition would be only de facto. Mr Batu argued that Turkey would continue supporting the pseudostate and alleged that in return of the de facto recognition the EU should "give something" to the Turkish Cypriots.

    Meanwhile, Turkish MILLIYET (02.12.04) reports that referring to the same issue Yasar Yakis, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Justice and Development Party's government and currently chairman of the TGNA's Harmonization Committee with the EU, has said that Turkey would de facto recognize Cyprus.

    In statements yesterday in Brussels after having contacts in the European parliament, Mr Yakis noted: "There will be de facto recognition, but we are expecting the EU to keep its promises".

    Referring to the issue of the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus, Mr Yakis said that this could come onto the agenda and added: "This was also included in the Annan Plan. If the Annan Plan comes again onto the agenda, all the elements of this plan should be implemented".

    [06] Angolemli states that Turkey will have to recognise the Republic of Cyprus eventually as its EU procedure continues

    Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (02.12.04) reports that Mr Huseyin Angolemli, the chairman of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) stated yesterday that Turkey will have to recognise the Republic of Cyprus eventually, as it is moving forward to its EU road. Mr Angolemli made these statements yesterday, during a meeting he had with the USA ambassador to Lefkosia Mr Michael Klosson at the headquarters of the CLP in occupied Cyprus. The two men exchanged views during the meeting as regards the developments of the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Angolemli said that the Turkish Cypriots must be informed that Turkey will eventually recognise the Republic of Cyprus. "This is a reality, nobody has the right to hide this from the 'people'", he said. He added however that Turkey will not recognise the Republic of Cyprus for the time being. He also said that Turkey must not recognise the Republic of Cyprus in its current status but to recognise the Republic of Cyprus which was established in 1960 with Turkish agreement and in which the Turkish Cypriots were the partner.

    Mr Angolemli, who also said that measures must be taken for the possible developments after the 17th of December, stated that in order for the Turkish Cypriot community's interests to be protected the "Turkish Cypriot State" must be proclaimed and that two "parliamentarians" must be elected in order to represent the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament. He said that in this way it will be possible for the communal concerns to be gone and the solution of the Cyprus problem will be speeded up.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist argues that the domination of Turkish politics by the military was transferred to the SMC from NSC

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (01.12.04) publishes the following commentary by Sedat Ergin under the title: "As the SMC takes over the NSC's functions":

    "The "aide memoire," which was issued after the Supreme Military Council's (SMC) meeting held yesterday, had an unusual style and content. Before explaining the reasons for my judgment, we should first take a look at the SMC' composition:

    The SMC is chaired by the Prime Minister. Two members of the cabinet, including the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister, represent the civilian wing of the government. There are, however, a total of 14 commanders, including generals and admirals attending SMC meetings. In short, SMC meetings are held at the headquarters of the General Staff in a psychological atmosphere clearly dominated by the military wing in terms of their number.

    In the past, autumn meetings of the SMC had a much lower profile than that of its meetings in August, which usually focus on promotions and transfer of military personnel. The statement issued after yesterday's meeting, however, covered a wide range of issues ranging from major internal threats, such as fundamentalism and separatist movements, to defense spending and modernization requirements of the TAF [Turkish Armed Forces] and caused the SMC to acquire a high profile.

    In order to show the difference, it would be enough to point out that the statement issued after the Supreme Military Council meeting held on 4 December 2004 only consisted of the following two sentences: "The meeting assessed the status of internal security operations and the TAF's preparedness for war as well as internal and external threats to Turkey. In addition, it was decided to discharge two TAF personnel due to their undisciplined behaviour."

    The "aide memoire" issued after yesterday's meeting was, however, a detailed statement conveying a series of messages to the Turkish public regarding the TAF's concerns, which could be read between the lines.

    Yesterday's SMC meeting was held amid debates among government organs over the National Security Policy Document (MSGB), which contains an assessment of major internal and external threats perceived by Turkey. The former MSGB described separatist movements and fundamentalism as internal threats with equal importance. They were also attached equal importance in yesterday's statement, implying that there had been no change in the TAF's perspective.

    Interestingly, Ambassador Yigit Alpogan, the first civilian Secretary General of the NSC [National Security Council], did not respond to questions as to whether or not fundamentalism was being regarded as a threat in his first press briefing yesterday. The SMC statement, however, strongly emphasized that fundamentalism was being viewed as a serious threat. It can be said that difference between the two statements denote discrepancies between the threat perceptions of the civilian and military wings of the government.

    The dismissal of eight military personnel from the army this year as against two discharged in the SMC meeting held in last autumn demonstrated the TAF's determination to purge the Armed Forces of personnel with fundamentalist tendencies once again.

    Yesterday's statement, however, had a meaning extending far beyond those explanations. The SMC statement had a content and tone reminiscent of NSC statements made during a certain period. Given that the recent NSC statements did not capture much attention after implementation of a series of political reforms, the SMC statement has filled that gap as far as the army is concerned.

    In other words, the military, whose role in Turkey's decision-making mechanism has weakened in terms of their number and influence, are now making their sway felt through the SMC".

    [08] Pure Turkishness...

    Under the above title Burak Bekdil analyses the differing views on ethnic matters between Turkey and Europe. The commentary published in Turkish Daily News (02.12.04) is as follows:

    "When French President Jacques Chirac said that both Turks and Europeans were the "children of Byzantium," he probably did not know his words would anger a Turkish Cabinet minister. "We are the children of the Ottomans," said Kursat Tuzmen, the foreign trade minister. "I don't know whose sons the Europeans are."

    The not-so-veiled insult in the rather embarrassing statement reflects the divergence of opinion on ethnic matters between multicultural Europe and the former Islamists who are, ironically, pushing Turkey towards this same multicultural Europe.

    No doubt multiculturalism is still an explosive concept in Turkey. For example, an unwritten rule, the product of a paranoia based on a remote history of ethnic strife, prohibits Turkey's 130,000 non-Muslim minorities -- Greeks, Armenians, Christian and Jews -- from joining government service, most notably the police force, state schools, the foreign ministry and military officers' corps. There are also other snags, such as property rights.

    "I don't see why I should not join the government service when, at the same time, as a Turkish citizen, I pay my taxes in full," inquires an Istanbul Greek. Similarly, Hrant Dink, an Armenian Christian who edits an Armenian-language daily in Istanbul, says he, as a child, dreamed of becoming a homicide detective but he was barred from joining the police force because, he says, "in this country I am seen as a security concern."

    In its annual progress report on Turkey on October 6 the European Commission urged Ankara to grant more rights to ethnic Kurds and recognize Alawites, a religious sect rooted in Islam, as a minority. But Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said last week that Turkey had no intention of devising a new definition of minority other than that recognized by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne -- which defines Turkey's minorities as non-Muslims only.

    There are other signs that the issue of minorities will come to new blows especially if/when the European Union opens accession talks with Turkey. Recently, the chairman of a semi-official (now a non-governmental organization) human rights committee announced at a news conference that the findings of quite a liberal report suggested Turkey must expand its minority rights. The man did not know that one member of the committee would jump onto the stage, grab the sheets of paper from his hands and rip them up because "the report aimed at dividing Turkey." Other -- and more civilized -- critics of the report filed treason charges against the committee's chairman.

    There is "establishment" resistance too. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer says the debate over minority rights is "destructive." The military spelled out its distaste for the idea of broader minority rights in a statement read to a news conference by Gen. Ilker Basbug: "The nation is as one. It cannot be seen as made up of pieces. Otherwise, this would pave the way to the break up of the state."

    The paranoia is both unjustified and justified: It is unjustified because of demographic reasons. Few Turks who consider themselves as "majority Turks" -- pure, Sunni Muslim Turks -- are probably what they believe they are. Intercultural marriages both during the Ottoman and Republican times, plus the fact that Anatolia has always been a mosaic of scores of ethnicities suggest that it is silly to talk of "pure Turks" and "pure non-Turks."

    For example, in present day Turkey, there are, in addition to non-Muslims, Kurds, Bosnians, Circassians, Chechens, Uighurs, the Abkhaz, the Turkmen, Arabs, Montenegrins, the Gagauz (Christian Turks), Gypsies, Albanians, Bulgarian Turks, Macedonian Turks, Georgians, the Azeri, Mongolians, Central Asian Turks and several other ethnic groups.

    Also, the Ottomans not only formed their best armies from Christian converts, but also appointed Christians from various ethnic backgrounds to top state positions. All Ottoman vezirs (prime ministers), with the exception of a few, were non-Muslims.

    The sultans themselves were a mixed blood. Here is a list: Sultan Orhan married Horofira, Asporce and Theodora; Sultan Murad I, born of Horofira; Sultan Beyazid, born of Marya; Sultan Murad II, born of Veronica; Sultan Fatih (the Conqueror), born of Mara Despina; Sultan Beyazid II, born of Cornelia; Sultan Suleiman, born of Helga; Sultan Selim II, born of Roxalan; Sultan Murad II, born of Rachel; Sultan Mehmet II, born of Baffo; Sultan Ahmed I, born of Helen; Sultan Mustafa I, born of Cinderella Violeta; Sultan Murad IV, born of Anastasia; Sultan Mehmet IV, born of Nadia; Sultan Suleiman II, born from Katrin; Sultan Ahmed II, born of Eva; Sultan Mustafa II, born of Evemina; Sultan Mahmud I, born of Alexandra; Sultan Mustafa II, born of Janet; Sultan Mustafa IV, born from Sonia; Sultan Mahmud II, born of Aimee. The list goes on and on'

    The paranoia is at the same time justified because of various ethnic/sectarian clashes. The Kurds rose up twice; once in the 1930s and again in the violent 1984-1999 war which left 35,000 dead. Sectarian violence broke out between Alawites and the Sunni Muslim majority in the late 1970s and again in the 1990s.

    There is every indication that the definition of "Turkishness" will be a volatile challenge to both Turkey's national-self and its aspirations to join the EU".

    /SK


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