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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-12-06

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.233/04 4-5-6.12.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] RADIKAL columnists interview the Turkish Prime Minister.
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot leaders held contacts in Ankara. More diplomatic traffic in Ankara in view of 17 December.
  • [03] Ankara keeps on manipulating the Turkish Cypriots and its presence in the occupied part of Cyprus for serving its own interests.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [04] "Russian-Turkish relations: a new stage" by Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] RADIKAL columnists interview the Turkish Prime Minister

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (04.12.04) publishes an interview with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by Ismet Berkan and Murat Yetkin:

    Following are Mr Erdogan´s replies to questions on Cyprus and Turkey´s relations with the EU:

    Question: What should the EU do for us to say, 'No, thank you?'

    Answer: Of course, in international politics, in diplomacy it would be wrong to play with open cards. It would be more correct to see this when the time comes and once again to discuss our thoughts there, which, in any case, we have kept in our own minds and to set forth our stance. Moreover, we have made a promise to many EU leaders, 'We will never make a statement through the media.' For this reason, I do not pay attention to the messages given through the media from time to time. The real final stance will become known on 17 December. We will make our real evaluations when we see it there and when the declaration is issued.

    Question: But theoretically, do we have the probability of saying, 'No, thank you?'

    Answer: Everything is possible.

    Question: The government of the period had suspended the talks when Turkey was not considered to be a candidate in Luxembourg in 1997. At the end of this, we saw that the process accelerated and returned in 1999. Could there be a similar thing?

    Answer: At present, no activity remains, which would be done related to this subject. At the moment, we are looking at the text of the 2002 Copenhagen summit. In this text, the expression, 'In case Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen Political Criteria by December 2004, then the negotiations will start without delay,' entered the records. This is a written, not a verbal expression. And also in the final 6 October report it was openly and clearly emphasized that Turkey has now fulfilled the Copenhagen Political Criteria, consequently, it is necessary to start the negotiations. Almost all of the political leaders we talked with told us the following: 'After seeing the 6 October report, we would set forth our stance very openly and clearly.' In the last Berlin meeting, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Jacques Chirac expressed this with very open and clear expressions in front of the world press. They said, 'A negotiation process, which would be concluded with full membership.' They used exactly this expression. These were said there in front of the media. To tell you the truth, after these were said, it would not be possible for me to expect anything else from Chancellor Schroeder. I would also ask the question, 'What justifications were created to expect this?' The entire world would also ask this. I believe that on 17 December, due to the fact that we have fulfilled the Copenhagen Political Criteria, we will get a result for Turkey's starting the negotiations in accordance with that expression, 'without delay'.

    Question: The Dutch Foreign Minister made some statements. He made statements related to new conditions coming onto the agenda, in addition to the text, which was leaked to the press. It is felt that there is an atmosphere of evasion in some countries. What do you think?

    Answer: These would tire us out in the short period remaining. In my opinion, there is no need for us to worry about these. I have a dinner meeting with Mr Balkenende on 9 December. We will evaluate this process together with him. After this, it is impossible for us to accept a new condition outside of the political criteria.

    Question: Open-ended negotiations are being mentioned.

    Answer: We are not placing much importance on those either. Frankly, what will happen and where in 10-15 years are unknown things. At the moment, we are first of all in favor of starting the negotiation process. Timing is very important. When we look back, 41 years have passed. What kind of Turkey and what kind of Europe?

    Question: You said that it is not that important for the negotiations to be open-ended, but in your previous sentence, you said that you do not accept anything other than the existing political criteria. What is it that you see there other than the political criteria?

    Answer: The things that are being talked about at the moment, things like the draft. In a way, these are rough drafts. Consequently, I cannot make an evaluation on rough drafts. It would be serious if we would see what comes in front of the Council, not the Commission, and make an evaluation of this.

    Question: Do you expect that they would say the negotiations would start during such and such month and on such and such day?

    Answer: In all of our talks, we asked them, 'Will we receive a date on 17 December,' and they said 'yes'. We are not playing tipcart. We will put its name and we will put its date and we will make our program accordingly. If it were in 2005, then in which month would it start? We should know these. We will program ourselves accordingly. We will accelerate our activities accordingly, because it will be a much more serious and perhaps a much more sensitive process. It is necessary for a very good team, with its chief negotiator and negotiators, to display a very high performance. It should be befitting to Turkey.

    Question: For the negotiation date to be too soon, for example, for it to start in February [2005] could create problems for Turkey on the subject of Cyprus. Are we planning an initiative related to Cyprus before sitting at the negotiation table?

    Answer: We have set forth attitudes related to this subject, but we have not seen positive attitudes from the opposite side. I said, 'We will always be one step ahead of the Greek Cypriots,' when I had a talk with Kofi Annan at Davos. I spoke to him with a very assertive expression. And he said, 'I do not want to make a mistake, to be unsuccessful a fourth time in this matter.' And we said, 'Do not worry at all. As Turkey we will give as much support as we can. The Turkish Cypriots in Northern Cyprus will also be ahead and you will see this.' We started the solution process. Everything related to the process went into the historical records. Our European friends had told us, 'You will see that the isolation policies applied against Northern Cyprus will change.' Nothing has changed from that day until today. They had said, 'If this matter is solved, then this [EU] course would be facilitated a lot.' All right, Northern Cyprus said 'Yes' to the Annan Plan in the direction you stated. The Greek Cypriots did the opposite. Their heads are bent down. Our heads are held high.

    We say, 'Fulfill the promises you made to us on this subject and let us see.' We are in favor of producing a solution, not producing problems. If we see that you are taking steps, then we would contribute to these steps. There would also be the share of our Turkish Cypriot brothers to this contribution.

    Question: But the Greek Cypriots are not giving the approval for the removal of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Answer: You know, they were not members of the Customs Union, but Turkey is a member. Consequently, we did not use a veto. We did not act negatively. We approved the membership of the Greek Cypriot Section in the Customs Union. These are the clear expression of how we approach this matter. It is also necessary for us to see something from the other side. And we should see this on 17 December. After that, we can sit down with all of our authorized institutions and talk with our Chief of General Staff and with our President and take our steps according to this.

    [02] Turkish Cypriot leaders held contacts in Ankara. More diplomatic traffic in Ankara in view of 17 December

    Turkish Daily News (04.12.04) publishes the following report:

    "Turkey received fresh calls from the European Union yesterday to extend recognition to the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot administration, just two weeks before a critical summit set to determine whether or not to open accession talks with the long-time aspirant.

    "In order to negotiate and hold talks with somebody one has to recognize that person ... therefore negotiating with the EU implies negotiating with Cyprus and recognizing Cyprus," Josep Borell, president of the European Parliament told a joint news conference with Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç.

    Earlier yesterday, visiting Belgium Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht also stressed that the Cyprus problem has to be solved.

    "The question of Cyprus is not a precondition to open talks for us, but it is evident that this problem has to be solved," De Gucht said.

    EU leaders are expected to set a date to start membership talks with Turkey during their December 17 summit, but Turkey faces increasing pressure to recognize the Greek Cypriot government because it will be part of any negotiations on Turkish membership.

    Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, arguing that it cannot claim to be the government of the whole island. Turkish leaders have made it clear that there would be no step towards recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration before December 17 and emphasized recognition was not part of the criteria for EU membership.

    Turkish Cypriot leaders, namely President Rauf Denktaş, Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and Foreign Minister Serdar Denktaş, held consultations with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül in Ankara on what strategy to pursue in the run-up to the December 17 summit.

    "Forcing Turkey to recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as the legitimate government is an unacceptable injustice," President Denktaş told reporters in Turkish Cyprus.

    Also yesterday, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said the demand to recognize Greek Cyprus was unjust since Turkey supported a vote on the divided island earlier this year, where Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of a U.N.-sponsored reunification plan that was rejected by the Greek Cypriots.

    A draft summit statement prepared by the Dutch presidency of the EU, circulated on Monday among member countries, said the start of negotiations would depend on Ankara's acceptance of a number of tough conditions, including de facto recognition of Greek Cyprus.

    Borell voiced support for Turkey's membership, saying the country's eventual accession would help bolster relations between Europe and the wider Muslim world.

    "This is a historic moment. The decision we take will change not only Turkey and the EU but the whole world," Borell, a Spanish socialist, said.

    Borell said the entry talks should begin in the first half of 2005, "without further conditions and without delay."

    But EU leaders are bitterly divided over the December 17 decision. On Thursday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a strong supporter of Turkey's membership bid, and French President Jacques Chirac had a tense discussion over whether the summit decision should mention an alternative to full membership.

    France's drive to mention an alternative has received backing from Austria and Denmark. The EU states still have two weeks to shape their position for the December 17 summit. EU ambassadors will meet next Wednesday for new discussions on the Dutch document, with foreign ministers to meet later.

    The European Commission's new enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, rejected any "plan B" for Turkey at the December summit. In an interview with the European Voice weekly, Rehn said that while accession was not a guaranteed outcome, the EU should not envisage alternatives short of full membership from the outset, as France, Austria and Denmark have demanded.

    "There is no self-evident conclusion once we start negotiations," he said. "But we have a clear objective of the accession of Turkey into the European Union.

    "Therefore there should be no Plan B, but a clear target of membership after profound and prudent negotiations."

    The debates among member states are a reflection of deep concerns in the European public over Turkey's membership.

    "There are certain moments in which history hesitates, doesn't know which way to take. This is one of those moments," Borell said, commenting on Turkey's candidacy".

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia (04.12.04) reported from Istanbul that addressing a conference on "Turkey-EU relations in the threshold of a critical decision" and referring to the Cyprus problem, the President of the European Parliament, Mr Borrell Fontelles said: "I want to say a few sensitive points regarding Cyprus. The constructive efforts of the Turkish government and Turkish Cypriot officials to find a solution is clearly seen. And, the stance of Turkish government is very obvious. The parliament approved a financial support package due to this stance of Turkish Cypriots. But, this is different from recognition. The report of the parliament doesn't impose additional conditions before negotiations. Our report points out that you can't negotiate with people whom you don't recognize. Starting full membership negotiations with 25-member European Union (EU) means recognizing these 25 members. But, it is not a thing that should be done before these negotiations are opened. But, this is implied. "Noting that the final decision would be made on December 14th, Borrell Fontelles said, "the parliament will make its own decision three days before the decision of heads of state and government. And, some steps to be taken by Turkey before this day will make great changes.

    [03] Ankara keeps on manipulating the Turkish Cypriots and its presence in the occupied part of Cyprus for serving its own interests

    Statements by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot politicians as well as evaluations published in the Press (05-06.12.04) show that Ankara keeps on manipulating the Turkish Cypriots and its presence in the occupied part of Cyprus for achieving its own goals.

    Turkish Cypriot AFRIKA newspaper (06.12.04) reports that Rasih Keskiner, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the New Cyprus Party (NCP) expressed the opinion that the so-called assembly of the occupation regime has unanimously taken a decision on the Cyprus problem only a day before the meeting between the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leadership in the Turkish capital, because Ankara gave instructions in this direction and it needed such a decision. This shows that all the parties in the "assembly" would do anything to remain there, notes Mr Keskiner in a written statement issued yesterday.

    "Participating in the events upon instructions and evaluating the event as national cause shows that the parties in the assembly, rightwing and leftwing parties are all the same", argues Mr Keskiner.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot VOLKAN newspaper (05.12.04) reports that addressing a meeting of the regional chairmen of his party, Mehmet Agar, leader of Turkey's True Path Party (TPP) has said that no one would force Turkey to become a country taking decisions upon pressures by other countries and alleged that absolutely nothing remained to Turkey from the gains on the Cyprus problem. Referring to the Turkish government, Mr Agar said that those who came into a difficult situation and have problems are again embracing the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas.

    Furthermore, referring to the meeting of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leadership in Ankara last Friday, Turkish Cypriot ORTAM newspaper (05.12.04) writes that "the final decision on the Cyprus issue has again been taken in Ankara and not in Lefkosia". The paper notes also that the partners in the "government" and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas said after their return from Ankara that they were satisfied from the result of their meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    Referring to the same meeting Turkish Cypriot KIBRISLI newspaper (05.12.04) wonders why the meeting was held and writes:

    ".What is the use of this summit from the point of view of the international policy? The official statements do not reflect the truth. The summit was held because they felt they need the Turkish Cypriot people which has consciously been inactivated and pacified after the 24th of April. However, the form of this support is important. We can reach nowhere with meetings behind the closed doors and with political statements. The Turkish Cypriot people must be active with their demand for a solution against the wish of the Greek Cypriots for recognition. Therefore, making massive activities in Cyprus and in Europe is a must!"

    Meanwhile, according to Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of daily KIBRIS newspaper (06.12.04), the ruling in Turkey Justice and Development Party (JDP) assigned a group of people the duty of making inquiries in the occupied part of Cyprus in order to find out who will be the next "president" of the occupation regime in case Rauf Denktas is not a "candidate" in the so-called elections planned for April 2005 and who will become "prime minister" after the early "elections" expected to take place next February.

    Mr Duzgun writes, inter alia the following: ".Those who made various delicate interferences during the last elections and were successful, have now as well initiated the effort of spreading the idea that 'a balanced structure is a condition' and of applying various action plans on their own. .".


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [04] "Russian-Turkish relations: a new stage" by Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation

    Turkish Daily News (Sunday Edition 05.12.04) publishes the following article:

    "Against the backdrop of the positive, large-scale changes that have been taking place in the world since the end of the Cold War, relations between Russia and Turkey are acquiring a new, progressive dynamic. They have become an important factor in regional and international stability and have contributed to the growth of the national economies of both countries and to the well being of our peoples. But what is more important is that they are firmly based on positive and constructive principles and are characterized by a warm and benevolent atmosphere. It is no mere coincidence that Turkey has become a favourite destination for millions of Russian holidaymakers. Indeed, people tend to go where they feel happy and comfortable.

    The history of our relations has been traced to the times of Ivan III and Beyazit II, that is, as far back as five centuries ago. Of course, their rich chronicles contain pages overshadowed by rivalry and war, but still, they have been dominated by a positive and constructive approach. In the 1920s, Russia provided considerable assistance and, more importantly, political support to the national liberation movement headed by Mustafa Kemal in Anatolia. In 1920, Russia was one of the first to establish diplomatic relations with the government of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara.

    In 1921, it concluded the Treaty on Friendship and Fraternity, which is still in force, with that government. The economic and technical cooperation between our countries dates back to 1930, when Russia provided financial and technical assistance to Turkey in the construction of textile plants, the largest at that time. The cooperation continued in the 1970s and 1980s. More than a dozen industrial enterprises, including integrated iron and steel works, aluminium works and an oil refinery, were built in Turkey during that period. Deep historical roots, good traditions and the potential for cooperation developed over the decades continue to contribute to the implementation of many useful and mutually beneficial projects, bringing our countries and peoples closer to each other.

    The Russian-Turkish interaction is very dynamic and effective. It has been facilitated by the renewal of its legal basis, particularly by the concluding in 1992 of the Treaty on Basic Principles of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey.

    We view Turkey as our priority partner and value the consonance of our positions on a broad range of pressing international and regional issues. The latter has been manifested in our approaches to the strengthening of multilateral mechanisms to address modern challenges and threats, with the central role of the United Nations and subject to the precedence of international law, as well as to the Middle East and Iraqi settlement. We intend to broaden our interaction with Turkey in fighting terrorism, separatism, national and religious extremism and organized crime. One of the areas of such cooperation is the elimination of channels of logistic and financial support for terrorist organizations and gangs.

    It takes the collective efforts of all countries to effectively combat terrorism. This is not only because terror is a threat to everyone. As a matter of fact, terrorists endanger the very basics of human civilization. That is why the solidarity expressed by the Turkish government during the tragic days in Beslan was invaluable to us.

    With growing manifestations of intolerance in the world and attempts to contrapose various peoples and confessions and to provoke an intercivilizational division, it is of particular importance to find points of agreement and to establish a constructive and respectful dialogue. It this regard, we highly appreciate Turkey's support for our intention to join in the activities of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Common to our countries is their Eurasian character. That is why we are well placed to act as a bridge between civilizations and to actively promote forward-looking relations between Europe and Asia, between the West and the East. In November 2001, the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey signed the Plan of Action aimed at developing cooperation in Eurasia. The plan provides additional opportunities for productive interaction in that area.

    Our countries are actively involved in the discussion of issues of security and cooperation in Europe and are jointly working towards making the Black Sea region a zone of peace and stability. We are cooperating in the framework of regional initiatives, such as the BLACKSEAFOR, and are members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation with its headquarters in Istanbul.

    The organization has considerable potential, and it is in our interests to use it fully.

    An important element of Russian-Turkish relations is the dynamically developing trade and economic cooperation. This year, the volume of trade between our countries can exceed, according to preliminary estimates, $7 billion. That means that Russia is becoming Turkey's second-largest trading partner. Russian companies are participating in tenders for the construction hydro and thermoelectric power plants and power transmission lines in Turkey and have shown interest in the local oil and gas market. Turkish companies, for their part, are very active in the Russian construction market. Over the last 10 to 15 years, they have been awarded contracts in Russia for about $12 billion and have already executed more than half of them. Turkish construction companies are active in Moscow and the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the Sverdlovsk, Vladimir, Rostov and Krasnodar regions. The Blue Stream trans-Black Sea gas pipeline, a unique project successfully implemented by the two parties, has clearly demonstrated that through joint efforts we can carry out the most challenging tasks.

    At the same time, there are still considerable untapped reserves. For example, there is a potential for closer economic interaction in Eurasia, for joint implementation of major projects in the energy sector and for the upgrading of industrial facilities built in Turkey with Russia's economic support. We place great hope in the participation of Russian companies in the construction of the Torul and Deriner power stations and a portion of an express tramway in Istanbul, and in upgrading the Iskenderun steel plant as well as the export to Turkey of Russian Lada-Niva cars.

    There are favourable conditions for further expansion of trade and investment. It is up to the business community to make use of them. The Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Russian-Turkish Business Council as well as various business associations in both countries have shown interest in the promotion of interregional cooperation and in the implementation of initiatives aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. For our part, we intend to continue the policy of attracting Turkish capital to Russia on a mutually beneficial basis.

    Cultural exchanges are another important factor contributing to mutual trust and sympathy. The Russian public welcomed concerts given by popular Turkish singer Tarkan and Anatolia's fire dance group during the Turkish Culture Festival in Russia. I am sure the Russian Culture Festival to be held in Turkey in 2005 will be of similar interest to the Turkish public.

    Russia will continue to build its relations with Turkey on the principles of mutual respect, mutual understanding and pragmatism. That approach fully corresponds to the long-term interests of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey and contributes to the stability and security in the region and in the world as a whole.

    The forthcoming official visit to Turkey of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will become yet another important step in the development of Russian-Turkish relations. In the course of this visit the parties intend to sign a Declaration on the Promotion of Friendship and Multifaceted Partnership as well as a number of other bilateral documents. That will give a significant impetus to our cooperation, bringing it to a qualitatively new level corresponding to present-day requirements".

    /SK


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