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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-12-03

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.232/04 03.12.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Minutes of the meetings between Turkish and US officials following the Iraq war were leaked to CUMHURIYET
  • [02] Gul: "We are following our strategy on Cyprus meticulously".
  • [03] Denktas pleased by the Turkish government's statements for the non-recognition of EU member Cyprus.
  • [04] Talat admits that the demand for the lifting of the so-called isolations of the Turkish Cypriots is a part of the Turkish general policy on Cyprus.
  • [05] The eight conditions of Ankara to the EU.
  • [06] The so-called parliament of the occupation regime voted unanimously against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in MILLIYET reminds the Turkish government that its rejection of the Annan plan at the Copenhagen Summit lead to today's situation.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Minutes of the meetings between Turkish and US officials following the Iraq war were leaked to CUMHURIYET

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET newspaper (02.12.04) publishes the following report by Mustafa Balbay under the title: "The United States is putting on the pressure":

    "The United States is giving signals that could give rise to ups and downs in its relations with Turkey. It has been learned that the United States wants Turkey to be a model for the Islamic countries, and to pass a new "rehabilitation law" for the PKK [Workers' Party of Kurdistan]. In addition, the United States has repeated that it wants to use Turkey's resources in regional operations.

    CUMHURIYET has obtained certain minutes of discussions conducted with the United States following the occupation of Iraq. In the minutes, which contained the requests and proposals from both sides in discussions held between high-level officials of the two countries, it is seen that Turkey's concerns regarding security were not taken into sufficient account by the US side. The minutes also include the results and evaluations of talks that Turkish delegations held with US Presidential National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who is being appointed as Secretary of State, US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. According to the minutes, the United States presented Turkey with a three-part assessment regarding the struggle against the PKK terrorist organization. These three parts were as follows:

    - an assessment of the situation

    - conducting strategic planning

    - a draft operations plan

    US officials, in intelligence briefings provided for the situation assessment, used the abbreviation "KGK" for the Kongra-Gel [People's Congress of Kurdistan] when referring to the terrorist organization. This appellation, and the assessments that followed, showed that the US approach entails the view that there is no longer any such terrorist organization as the PKK, and that a political organization was formed in its place. Thereupon, Turkey, in meetings with the US on the struggle against terrorism, provided documents showing that the terrorist organization has in its essence not changed. The United States conveyed, in outline form, the following views regarding the terrorist group:

    * The organization has not been conducting any actions against the US and coalition forces. The same thing holds true regarding the local forces as well [i.e., the PKK has not attacked local Iraqi groups].

    * The organization does not at this stage constitute any threat from the standpoint of the United States' goals in the region.

    * The PKK has been placed by the United States on its list of terrorist organizations. The goal is to eliminate it entirely. For this purpose, planning should be conducted, and it should be determined what the political solutions will be.

    When Turkey asked in the talks what was meant by the concept of "political solution", the explanation "everything other than killing them" was provided. The United States also detailed the "strategic plan" drawn up for the dissolution of the group as follows:

    * For the EU as well to include the PKK on its list of terrorist organizations.

    * For financial support, particularly that coming from Europe, to be cut off.

    * For contact to be established with adherents of the organization and for them to be informed and persuaded regarding the United States' goals in the struggle against terrorism.

    * For Turkey to pass a new "rehabilitation law", and for the results of the previous such efforts to be evaluated and taken into account.

    * For the members of the terrorist organization at the Mahmur Camp to be arrested if they should insist on remaining in the same position.

    * For a final process of persuasion to be initiated in order for the members of the PKK to be reintegrated into society.

    * For the organization, after these phases, to be eliminated. For a military plan to be drawn up for this purpose.

    Turkey, while stressing that these proposals, far from being satisfactory, had in fact created disappointment, expressed the following positions:

    * We have been patient enough. The United States finally has to come up with a satisfactory operational plan. The proposals you have brought appear to be steps aimed at gaining time.

    * We see that it is difficult to take forward steps as long as security has not fully been established in Iraq. We understand this, but not even one of the air operations conducted against various regions of Iraq has been conducted against Qandil Mountain [where PKK forces are concentrated]. Could this not have been done? If this were done, the organization at least would not be as comfortable as it is today.

    * In 1991, the organization had entered into a process of disintegration. But they seized great quantities of weapons and equipment following the Gulf War. The violence increased thereafter. We were able to establish domination over the situation only in late 1994.

    Turkey's model

    Particularly in the period since the Greater Middle East Project (GMEP) began to be discussed, the United States has been stressing that Turkey has attained sufficient political experience as to be able to furnish a model for the Islamic countries. In discussions conducted at various levels between the two countries, the United States has described Turkey as follows: "A country with the characteristics to play a role in transforming the Islamic countries"

    The political delegations that the United States has included in the GMEP meetings stated in various forums that they look warmly on this approach. As things went on, Turkey was represented at the highest level at the GMEP meetings. But in the meetings in which the security dimension of the relations was discussed, it was stressed that while the system in Turkey could indeed be taken as an example by countries that wanted to do so, Turkey had no interest in being a model.

    In meetings of military delegations, Turkey's stance was expressed with the following sentences: "For Turkey to be pointed to as an example within the framework of the Greater Middle East Project pleases us. But we do not want to be a model for these countries in the sense intended. The Republic of Turkey, since it was established in 1923, has been a secular, democratic, and social state based on law. Let them take us as a model in this form. But Turkey cannot be a model of "moderate Islam". The democratization of the region would naturally please us. We have respect for the thinking behind this initiative. It could dry up the sources of terrorism."

    It was noted that, following this assessment, the US delegations were more careful in choosing their words.

    New demands on the agenda

    According to the minutes of discussions between delegations of the two countries, the United States listed a number of regional goals, which involve Turkey as well, as follows:

    * Stability and security in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    * Eliminating the leadership cadres of terrorists and resistance fighters.

    * Assisting countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to straighten out their regimes.

    * Eliminating all extremists.

    * Establishing stability in the Horn of Africa region.

    * Preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

    When the United States brought up various concepts for achieving these goals beyond the known operations such as direct intervention, special reconnaissance operations, and non-military operations, it also made it known that there could be new requests made of Turkey. The status of Incirlik, in particular, was an ongoing point of discussion in the talks. The US officials stated that Incirlik is the most versatile multi-purpose base in the region, and that in addition to this, a large portion of their plans from before the Iraq war have been updated.

    The United States repeat at every opportunity that it wants to use all of Turkey's transport facilities, including air, sea, and land, for urgent operations. In response, Turkey stresses that utilization without notification will not be on the agenda, and that the issue must be shaped in conjunction with the political authorities".

    [02] Gul: "We are following our strategy on Cyprus meticulously"

    Istanbul NTV television (02.12.04) broadcast the following: "Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul declared that talks will be held with Rauf Denktas, `president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ [`TRNC´], and `TRNC Prime Minister´ Mehmet Ali Talat on the eve of the summit meeting on the EU to be held at the Presidential Cankaya Mansion on 7 December.

    Gul, who returned to Turkey after visiting the Netherlands and Slovenia, commented on the ongoing discussions concerning the recognition of the Greek Cypriot sector. Gul said: We are following our strategy on Cyprus meticulously, and we know what to do in any `eventuality´. Gul remarked that Turkey has always maintained a vision for a lasting solution. The foreign minister stated that Turkey is waiting for the UN Security Council to first assess the outcome of the Cyprus referenda. Gul also mentioned that it will be beneficial to evaluate the situation with Rauf Denktas and Talat before the 7 December summit meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

    Recalling that Dutch Foreign Minister Bot conveyed to him the draft document concerning the 17 December EU summit, Gul said that Turkey's initial reaction was transmitted to the Netherlands. Declaring that Turkey is expecting a firm date that does not incorporate any conditions for starting accession negotiations, Gul stressed that the full membership perspective should be clearly outlined".

    [03] Denktas pleased by the Turkish government´s statements for the non-recognition of EU member Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.12.04) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas stated that he was pleased with the statements made yesterday [Wednesday, 1 December] by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that Ankara would not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Denktas said: "We hope that the Greek Cypriot side would understand the seriousness of these messages."

    Today, Mr Denktas mentioned the latest developments on the subject of Cyprus during our meeting with him and made a referral to the statements of Prime Minister Erdogan and Minister Gul.

    Mr Denktas said: "There are declarations in the form, 'We will not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as the Republic of Cyprus,' from Turkey, from the Prime Minister and from the Foreign Minister. Naturally, this pleased us."

    Mr Denktas continued as follows: "We hope that the Greek Cypriot side would understand the seriousness of these messages and that it would give up the claim that it is also our government in order to open the course to reconciliation with the Turkish Cypriot people, that is, with its equal partners, who are one of the two peoples, which was removed from the partnership by force in 1963. In this manner, the course of reconciliation would be opened."

    Upon the question, "The EU wants Turkey to recognize the 'Republic of Cyprus'. How do you evaluate this insistent demand?" "President" Denktas pointed out, "This insistent demand is an insistent demand coming from within the European Parliament," and said, "I do not think that the real decision makers would approve of this."

    "President" Denktas said: "If the real decision making authorities would not approve this and I do not think that that they would approve it. I hope that they would not approve it. This should be evaluated as a heartfelt wish coming out of the parliament. We think that it would not affect the course of things very much."

    Mr Denktas added: "But it shows a tendency. It points to what kinds of difficulties they would bring up for Turkey in the future, because, in the end, Turkey's membership would pass separately from all of the parliaments. This is something that would happen 10-15 years later. Probably many issues would have been solved by that time. If the EU would take the realities of Cyprus into account, if it would return from a 40-year old mistake and if it would give up from the mistake and from the injustice of assuming one of the two peoples, which has the right of self-determination, to be the government of the other one... Because if they do not give up these... The Greek Cypriots had destroyed the partnership so that they could be the government of all of Cyprus. Since the EU has said to the Greek Cypriots, 'You are the government of all of Cyprus,' this problem has not been solved for 40 years. Consequently, this is the reason for not having solved the problem. It is up to the EU countries to remove this reason. And for this, they should make an objective evaluation on the subject, 'What is the Cyprus problem?' That is, they should make a diagnosis of the problem.

    "If they close their eyes and continue to say, 'In the past such decisions were made. We had said that," then they cannot solve the problem. They would lead the problem to a quarrel, not to peace," concluded Mr Rauf Denktas.

    [04] Talat admits that the demand for the lifting of the so-called isolations of the Turkish Cypriots is a part of the Turkish general policy on Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.12.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, has admitted that the Turkish demand regarding the lifting of the "isolations" of the Turkish Cypriots is a part of their general policy on Cyprus and that they do not want the lifting of the "isolations" in order to "breathe a little".

    Talking yesterday in occupied Morfou during a meeting with representatives of organizations of the above-mentioned area, Mr Talat said on the issue:

    "Lifting the isolations was not consisting only of being able to sell citrus fruits and the direct flights. Lifting the isolations was at the same time as important as achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem and cause activity in that direction. Therefore, we did not see it as 'let us breathe a little'. We saw it as very important, a part of our general policy on the Cyprus issue and we tried to lead it in that manner. However, when the legal situation and the moral superiority which we acquired come to conflict with each other, the winner is not always the moral superiority. The legal situation is most of the times the winner. Therefore, we have faced very serious difficulties. We continue our struggle in this direction".

    [05] The eight conditions of Ankara to the EU

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (03.12.04) reports that Turkey conveyed officially its views to EU Acting President the Netherlands on the draft text.

    Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Gul, in a statement made at Ankara's Esenboga Airport on his return from Slovenia, confirmed that he conveyed officially in a letter to the Netherlands the views and the reactions of Turkey on the draft text. In the letter, the views of Ankara regarding the political recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the restrictions to the free movement are also included.

    The paper reports that Mr Gul conveyed an official letter to his Dutch counterpart Bernard Bot, at the EUROMED meeting in the Hague, with the eight conditions that Ankara put before the December 17th summit.

    The eight demands of Ankara are the following:

    1. The aim of the negotiations must be definitely for full membership.

    2. Cyprus cannot be put as a condition for Turkey. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have done whatever they should for a solution.

    3. It must be clear and open when the negotiations will start with Turkey.

    4. They must not feel the need for a second meeting for negotiations with Turkey.

    5. Special status should not be applied for Turkey.

    6. In the final text, there must not be expressions that will be against the EU law.

    7. The negotiation process must be continuous.

    8. The beginning of the negotiations with Turkey should not be connected with any condition, because Turkey carried out the Copenhagen Criteria that was asked to do and this also appeared in the EU Commission report.

    6. The so-called parliament of the occupation regime voted unanimously against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey

    All the Turkish Cypriot newspapers report today (03.12.04), that the so-called parliament of the occupation regime, voted unanimously against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.

    KIBRIS under the headline "A common structure and not the Republic of Cyprus must be recognised" writes that the so-called parliament pointed out, as regards its decision against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, that the condition for the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus which is put as a lean against Turkish's EU procedure by the government of Cyprus will be an obstacle to a solution of the Cyprus problem, in the framework of the UN, which it will be based on bi-zonality, it will be bi-communal and based on political equality. It also called for initiatives as regards the Cyprus problem to be undertaken in order for a solution of the Cyprus problem to be reached the sooner. As the paper writes, the so-called parliament also stated in its decision that the Turkish Cypriots showed to the world with the 24 April referendum results that they are ready for a solution while the Greek Cypriots said a heavy "no".

    The so-called parliament which assembled yesterday in order to discuss Turkey´s EU procedure and the latest developments as regards the Cyprus problem, established an eight-person AD HOC Committee in order to evaluate these issues.

    AFRIKA under the title "The 'parliament as one body", writes that the so-called assembly in a surprise decision voted yesterday against the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.

    CUMHURIYET reports about the issue under the title "Unanimously" and writes that this is the first time after the proclamation of the "TRNC" that the so-called assembly took unanimously a decision.

    ORTAM, under the title "Recognise the United Cyprus" writes that the so-called parliament called on Turkey to recognise a common structure where the Turkish Cypriots will be equal political partners.

    VOLKAN under the title "Historic Decision" published all the text of the decision taken by the so-called assembly and called it "a national agreement".

    In addition, HALKIN SESI newspaper under the title "The demand for recognition is an obstacle for the solution", writes that the so-called parliament evaluated yesterday the latest developments and came to this conclusion as regards the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Under the title "the Turkish Cypriots do not recognise", YENI DUZEN writes that the so-called parliament took unanimously the decision as regards this issue.

    KIBRISLI under the title "For the first time in history" writes that the "assembly" accepted unanimously the draft on the Cyprus problem.

    VATAN writes about the issue in its inside pages and reports that the "parliament" evaluated the situation as regards the recognition the Republic of Cyprus.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in MILLIYET reminds the Turkish government that its rejection of the Annan plan at the Copenhagen Summit lead to today´s situation

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (02.12.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Yilmaz under the title: "The lesser of two evils":

    "The draft resolution for 17 December 2004 that foresees the European Union starting talks with Turkey has such an appearance that it has created disappointment in many circles.

    Elements such as the recognition, albeit in a roundabout way, of the Greek Cypriot administered Republic of Cyprus, the introduction of permanent restrictions to the movement of labour, and the "privileged membership status" hidden behind the expression "open-ended deliberations" all show that the next two weeks are going to be tough.

    There are several facts that the sudden disclosure of the text drafted by the Netherlands shows.

    Let us firstly recall how the process will work.

    This text is called a "draft". The EU members´ permanent representatives in Brussels will make this draft presentable by 8 December and then submit it to the EU foreign ministers. The ministers will on 13 December work on this draft and turn it into the text to be presented to the EU leaders over 16-17 December.

    Aim is to measure reaction

    This text, whose paragraphs titled "talks decision, talks start date and procedures, and membership aim and outcome" will be empty, will be discussed by the EU leaders. The leaders will fill in the empty spaces.

    As can be seen the "draft" prepared by the Netherlands is a crude text that is far cry from being even a draft. There is only one reason for this draft being disclosed at this time: to measure Turkey's reaction and if possible present Turkey with two evils to choose from.

    It is true that several European Union members do not welcome the prospect of Turkey's full membership. It is also true that even if some governments do welcome Turkey's membership their people are a long way from accepting this notion.

    One fact is the existence of Turkey's rights arising from the agreements made since 1960. Probably the best thing as far as those who do not want Turkey's membership are concerned will be for Turkey to dislike the decision and quit the table.

    As well as considering that things will not get to this point it should not be forgotten that this eventuality could lead to destructive consequences for both Turkey and the EU.

    Therefore, although I think that there will be tough arguments ahead I do not imagine things will get this far.

    The three main issues

    It appears that there are three main problems for Turkey: One concerns the recognition, albeit indirectly, of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Turkey lost the ability to prevent the Republic of Cyprus from becoming an EU member when it rejected the Annan Plan at the Copenhagen Summit. Consequently, we are faced with a reality that we do not have the power to change. Indeed, the reply given by Parliamentary EU Adaptation Commission Chairman Yasar Yakis to a question yesterday amounts to acceptance of this fact: "There will be de facto recognition but we are waiting for the EU to keep its promises."

    Secondly, there is the request to restrict permanently the free movement of Turkish labour. First and foremost these kinds of "permanent derogations" go against the spirit and philosophy of the EU. I think Turkey will have no problem in overcoming this.

    Thirdly and most painful is the inclusion in the final text of an expression that could result in "privileged membership status" being imposed on Turkey.

    This is as far as Turkey is concerned a "red line". The EU leaders are probably smart enough to know that this will be unacceptable".


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