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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-12-16

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.241/04 16.12.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Prime Minister arrived in Brussels.
  • [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister left for Brussels.
  • [03] The European Parliament calls for accession talks with Turkey.
  • [04] HURRIYET highlights the European Parliament decision on Turkey.
  • [05] Former Turkish Ambassador and CNN-TURK commentator Yalim Eralp: "It is possible to establish a provisional solution government".
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot newspaper speaks of a possible Cyprus summit in Brussels in view of Annan´s presence.
  • [07] Mr Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas will start contacts with the political party leaders for the "election" date.
  • [08] An opinion poll conducted in the occupied areas shows the Republican Turkish Party in the lead with 31%.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Columnist in STAR newspaper argues that Turkey intends to exploit possible resumption of Cyprus talks to avoid signing the protocol it will commit itself to sign during the EU Summit.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Prime Minister arrived in Brussels

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.12.04) reported that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Brussels on Wednesday. He will hold meetings in Brussels prior to EU Summit on December 17th.

    Turkish State Minister Besir Atalay, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, several bureaucrats and deputies are accompanying Erdogan.

    ''We are hopeful,'' Erdogan said upon arrival regarding the decision of EU leaders whether to open entry talks with Turkey at their summit on Friday.

    Upon questions of reporters, Erdogan said: "We are pleased with the recommendatory decision of the European Parliament today. I am interested in the result not the content. The decision of the European Parliament is very meaningful.''

    When asked what his expectation from French President Jacques Chirac was, Erdogan said: 'W will discuss it.''

    [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister left for Brussels

    Istanbul NTV television (15.12.04) broadcast that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul made a statement at Ankara's Esenboga Airport before leaving for Brussels to attend the EU summit. He reiterated that Turkey expects the 17 December summit to reach a decision to start full membership negotiations. Expressing the belief that Turkey fulfilled its task in this regard, Gul said that Ankara hopes that the EU leaders, in turn, will remain loyal to the documents they have already signed and reach a decision to start the accession negotiations during the course of 2005.

    Gul said that the mutual demands and adjustments will continue until the last minute during the summit. Asked about the conditions that would compel Turkey to abandon the discussions, Gul said: The full membership goal should be open and clear, and a date that will not require another meeting should emerge from the summit.

    There are certain matters that run counter to the EU acquis, and these are not legitimate, Gul noted, and pointed to the permanent derogations in this context. Gul concluded by expressing the hope that a final compromise will be reached at the summit.

    [03] The European Parliament calls for accession talks with Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.12.04) reported from Strasbourg that the European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for the start of Turkey´s accession talks ''without undue delay''.

    The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, France, voted by 407 in favour to 262, against with 29 abstentions to pass the resolution.

    This resolution is nonbinding, but important as it reflected the view of the European Parliament prior to the EU-Brussels summit, which is of historic importance for Turkey.

    Socialist, Liberal, Green parliamentarians and British, Spanish and Italian parliamentarians of the Christian Democrat group voted in favour of Turkey.

    The report, prepared by Dutch Parliamentarian Camiel Eurlings and a recommendatory decision, urged for ''giving priority to the implementation of the political criteria at the beginning of negotiations.''

    The recommendatory decision called on the Turkish parliament to approve six legal amendments, which the European Commission stated in the progress report, and proposed ''putting into force the political dialogue mechanism about the close monitoring process and envisaging suspension of negotiations by the European Commission when necessary.''

    [04] HURRIYET highlights the European Parliament decision on Turkey

    Istanbul HURRIYET (Internet version, 15.12.04) publishes the following report from Strasbourg under the title: "EP rejects giving privileged partnership to Turkey":

    "The European Parliament [EP] has rejected motions for Turkey to be given a special status, for its membership to be rejected, and for the recognition of Turkey's "Armenian Genocide". The EP did adopt a motion for full membership negotiations to be taken up with Turkey without delay.

    The EP passed the resolution recommending the initiation of full membership negotiations with Turkey by a vote of 407 in favour and 262 opposed.

    The reforms that have been carried out in Turkey were praised in the advisory resolution, and it was stated that "The negotiations are the starting point of a lengthy process, which by its nature is open-ended and does not necessarily entail the result of full membership."

    "Full membership dependent on mutual efforts"

    In the resolution, which noted that full membership depends on the mutual efforts of both Turkey and the EU, attention was drawn to the importance of the Turkish and EU publics being provided with information in an effective manner during the process of Ankara's integration.

    "Free movement must not disadvantage Turkey"

    The resolution, which pointed out that the negotiations process will be lengthy, called for restrictions on free circulation and agriculture not to have a negative impact on Turkey's efforts for membership.

    It was implied in the resolution that it will not be possible for the full membership negotiations with Turkey to be completed prior to the goals foreseen in the EU's budget for the year 2014.

    "Restrictions on Greek Cypriot-flagged ships must be lifted"

    The resolution, which included a call for Turkey to resolve its problems with its neighbours in a manner consistent with the UN Charter, called for the elimination of restrictions on Greek Cypriot-flagged ships.

    "Heybeli Island Theological Seminary must be opened"

    The resolution stated that there must be no restrictions on the activities of minorities in Turkey, and called in this context for the opening of the [Greek Orthodox] theological seminary on Heybeli Island.

    "Alevi faith must be recognized"

    The EP's resolution included calls for Alevism to be recognized and protected, including for 'cemevleri' [houses of assembly] to be recognized as religious centers, for religious education to be voluntary, for effective measures to be taken in combating torture, and for the Village Guards system in the Southeast to be done away with.

    "Armenian border must be opened"

    The advisory resolution, which called for Turkey to open its border with Armenia, stated that it is necessary that the Turkish and Armenian governments provide support to a mutual peace process, and that the bitter experiences of the past be overcome through the support of independent experts.

    "Armenian genocide" motion rejected

    In a vote conducted in the General Assembly, an amendment motion calling for acknowledgement of the so-called Armenian Genocide to be made a precondition for initiating negotiations was rejected.

    Despite this, an amendment motion that made reference to an earlier advisory resolution of the European Parliament (EP) regarding recognition of the alleged genocide and another amendment motion calling for the EU Commission and Council to call upon Turkey to recognize the alleged genocide were accepted.

    "Rejection of privileged partnership proposal"

    The EP also rejected an amendment proposal that provided for "privileged partnership" for Turkey instead of full membership. The EU resolutions, which are not binding, will be cited in the final communiqué that will be published at the conclusion of the EU summit.

    "Voting in favour of Turkey"

    It was observed that, in the vote conducted in the General Assembly, the Socialist, Liberal, and Green parliamentarians, as well as the British, Spanish, and Italian members of the Christian Democratic group, voted in favor of Turkey.

    The report drafted by Dutch Christian [Democratic] parliamentarian Camiel Eurlings, and the advisory resolution based on it, called for "priority to be given, at the beginning of the negotiations, to the political criteria being put into implementation."

    The advisory resolution, which called upon the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] to approve the six legal changes contained in the EU Commission's Progress Report, proposed the "utilization by the EU Commission of an effective political dialogue, involving a close monitoring process and providing for a suspension of negotiations if necessary."

    The deputies who cast their votes in favor of Turkey raised placards reading 'evet' ['yes'] in Turkish.

    "Demonstrations for and against Turkey"

    Following the EP's passage of the advisory resolution which recommended that the EU initiate full membership negotiations with Turkey, the city of Strasbourg was the stage of demonstrations both in favor of and opposing Turkish EU membership.

    Supporters of the extreme-right National Front Party in France staged a demonstration in the center of the city in order to oppose Turkey's membership in the EU.

    In response to the extreme rightists' demonstration, a march in favor of Turkey's EU membership was staged through the initiative of the French organization "Justice and Liberty".

    Turkish immigrants in Strasbourg also showed great interest in the march.

    "Eurlings: We want to give Turkey a fair chance"

    EP Turkey Rapporteur Camiel Eurlings said that the EU has to give Turkey a fair chance. Following the voting on the advisory resolution that the EU take up full membership negotiations with Turkey, Eurlings and EP Speaker Josep Borrel held a joint press conference.

    In the press conference, Eurlings, stating that he was very pleased with the acceptance of the report and the advisory resolution that he had drafted, said that priority must be given to the implementation of the political criteria following the initiation of negotiations.

    "Torture and religious minorities"

    Eurlings, asserting that "Torture incidents, in particular, must be prevented", also stated that "There must be no restrictions on the worship of religious minorities."

    Eurlings said that "Just as people can easily build mosques in Europe, it has to be possible for churches to be built in Turkey." Noting that the debate on Turkey's EU membership by both the European public and the EP has been extremely beneficial, Eurlings said "Not to discuss this topic in an open way would not be good for Turkey or for the EU."

    "Borrel: Prejudices regarding Turkey must be abandoned"

    As for EP Speaker Josep Borrel, he stated in his remarks that European public opinion fears Turkey's membership because it is not well acquainted with Turkey.

    Borrel, stating that there are also prejudices that derive from history, said that the EP also has responsibilities for making Turkey known to European public opinion.

    Borrel, in response to a question, said that he had decided, in accordance with the EP by-laws, for the vote to be a secret ballot on the grounds that requests for this had come from a sufficient number of parliamentarians.

    Representatives of the Socialist, Liberal, and Green groups, who spoke prior to the vote held in the EP today, had opposed the secret ballot on grounds of the principle of transparency.

    Borrel, noting that Turkey has carried out important reforms, said: "In my view, Turkey has won the right to begin negotiations with the EU on full membership."

    "Turkey must recognize the Republic of Cyprus"

    Borrel, stating that with the advisory resolution that the EP passed today, he "reminded Turkey of the reality that the negotiations will be conducted with the 25 countries of the EU", said that Turkey also has to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, because it will be sitting down to the table with it as well".

    [05] Former Turkish Ambassador and CNN-TURK commentator Yalim Eralp: "It is possible to establish a provisional solution government"

    YENIDUZEN correspondent Sami Ozuslu who went to Brussels to cover the EU Summit, had a short interview with former Turkish ambassador and CNN-TURK commentator, Mr Yalim Eralp. Following is the text of the interview:

    Question: Prior to the Brussels Summit if Turkey gets a date what kind of change could be in Turkey´s Cyprus policy, do you expect any forward move?

    Eralp: I think now others as well will make a forward move. May be Mr Denktas could propose to Papadopoulos to establish a provisional solution government.

    Question: What would be the system of the provisional government? Eralp: Of course, the Provisional Government could be a federative government within the framework of the Annan Plan.

    However, searching for the settlement could be envisaged within this government between Denktas and Papadopoulos.

    Question: What do you think about the medium and long-term? Eralp:This depends on the developments. If Turkey cannot enter into the EU, then I see a Cyprus settlement very far away.

    Question: That is, you do not see any steps to be taken in Cyprus until Turkey´s accession?

    Eralp: I do expect. But if the negotiations are open-ended, then the settlement in Cyprus should be open ended. It should be bit by bit. Question: thus, this means putting the Turkish Cypriots and North Cyprus into the freezer?

    Eralp: NO, not to put into the freezer. Slowly, slowly, it should be integrated, but if Turkey will not be EU member why should it settle the Cyprus problem then? If it solves, it will be considered stupid. Aren´t they saying `the Cyprus problem is an obstacle to our EU membership?" In that case let us turn it upside down and say `why should I settle the Cyprus problem since I am not a member of EU?"

    Question: What do you expect Turkey will get from Brussels? Eralp: I think Turkey will get a date, however, what is important is the true nature of the obstacles. That is, your say full membership and you put such obstacles (Eralp uses the word thorns) that it turns into a privileged status. One has to pay attention to this".

    [06] Turkish Cypriot newspaper speaks of a possible Cyprus summit in Brussels in view of Annan´s presence

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (16.12.04) reports under banner headlines "One should not be surprised if a Cyprus summit is held in Brussels" and says that Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association, TUSIAD´s permanent representative at the EU, Bahadir Kaleagasi has said that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan´s arrival to Brussels makes possible the holding of a "Cyprus Summit" there.

    In a statement to YENIDUZEN, Kaleagasi said that it is also possible that immediately after the EU summit, President Papadopoulos, Prime Minister Erdogan and Kofi Annan could meet in Brussels. He went on and said that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat as well could be invited to Brussels.

    Kaleagasi added that Turkey is yet to pen its cards, and that Turkey, which supported the Annan Plan, will not recognize the Republic of Cyprus in its present form.

    "It is possible that a Cyprus summit could be held with the arrival of the UN Secretary-General", he said.

    "The whole intention of Papadopoulos is to realize the recognition and burry the Annan Plan in the annals of history. In order to preclude this, Turkey should stand firm. We have lost in Helsinki and Papadopoulos got strong. Now Turkey came face to face with the Papapdopoulos reality", Kaleagasi concluded.

    [07] Mr Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas will start contacts with the political party leaders for the "election" date

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (16/12/04) reports that the so-called Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat, prior to a meeting yesterday with the so-called Council of Ministers, announced that they will discuss issues that are in the weekly agenda, adding that there is nothing extraordinary.

    Mr Talat also noted that most probably the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktas will start meetings with party leaders on Monday for the "elections" date.

    Commenting on the resolution on Turkey's progress towards European Union accession, which was adopted by the European Parliament yesterday, Mr Talat said that it is an important development.

    [08] An opinion poll conducted in the occupied areas shows the Republican Turkish Party in the lead with 31%

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (16.12.04) publishes an opinion poll regarding the support that the Turkish Cypriot political parties receive in occupied Cyprus. The opinion poll was conducted by the Prologue Consulting Ltd.

    According to the poll, the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (RTP-UF) of Mehmet Ali Talat comes first with 31%, the National Unity Party (NUP) of Dervis Eroglu comes second with 15%, the Democratic Party (DP) of Serdar Denktas comes third with 6%, the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) of Mustafa Akinci comes fourth with 3% and the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) of Huseyin Angolemli comes fifth with 2%. In addition, 26% are undecided, 9% will vote to none and 8% is mixed.

    Commenting on the results of the opinion poll, KIBRISLI writes inter alia that the 6% that the DP receives is evaluated in various ways by the political observers. According to the paper a big percentage of the undecided persons comes from the NUP and supports that these persons may vote for the DP in the "elections". It also writes that the 17 December Summit's result will affect the decision of the undecided persons.

    KIBRISLI also writes that someone who evaluates the results must bare in mind that the Turkish Cypriot parties have not yet decided about their "candidates" and have neither started they are "election" campaign nor declared their political position.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Columnist in STAR newspaper argues that Turkey intends to exploit possible resumption of Cyprus talks to avoid signing the protocol it will commit itself to sign during the EU Summit

    Istanbul STAR newspaper (15.12.04) publishes the following commentary by Zeynep Gurcanli under the title: "The Cyprus chess game in Brussels":

    "The paragraph on Turkey, other than the date the negotiations would start, has become finalized prior to the 17 December summit. Only one major problem remains between Ankara and the European capital cities: Cyprus.

    Two days before the summit a diplomatic chess game in its full sense is being played between Turkey and the EU.

    In response to the "requests of solidarity" of the Greek Cypriots, who put their EU membership in their "pockets", the EU has brought the subject of Cyprus to a "condition, which is not a condition" in order to start the negotiations with Turkey.

    Within this framework, the Netherlands, which is carrying out the EU Term Presidency, worked out a formula.

    The formula found is Turkey's acceptance of a decree similar to the one that previously included the Greek Cypriots in the Customs Union, but with a somewhat more extensive scope.

    It was established on Turkey's signing a protocol expanding the Ankara Agreement in a manner that would also include the countries, which are new EU members.

    The Netherlands did not only constitute this formula. It also made a "sounding out" in order to be able to understand whether or not Ankara would consider this favourably.

    It put a sentence, which contained the message, "The EU would meet with pleasure Turkey's acceptance of signing the protocol, which would expand the Ankara Agreement in a manner that would also include the new members of the EU." Furthermore, this sentence was put in the Turkey part in the declaration and the subject of Cyprus completely became a "condition, which is not a condition," for the negotiations.

    Ankara's reaction against this came from Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Minister Gul, in a letter he sent to all of the EU countries, listed one by one all of the elements that Turkey could not accept in the first draft prepared by the Netherlands. Within these elements, he also included putting the Cyprus subject into the Turkey paragraph. And he made the criticism, "Putting the Cyprus subject directly into the Turkey paragraph gives the impression that this problem has been transformed into a condition for starting the negotiations."

    But Minister Gul did not show any reaction to the part in the draft text related to the signing of the protocol. And the Netherlands, in the drafts it prepared later, removed the Cyprus paragraph from the Turkey section in accordance with the criticisms of Minister Gul and placed it in the appendix section. But still, it did not change the expression related to the signing of the protocol.

    What is interesting is that Ankara did not direct a criticism to these expressions in the drafts, which were prepared later. This silence of Ankara was interpreted in the EU capital cities that Turkey would accept to sign this protocol before the negotiations start.

    Subtitle: Resuming the Cyprus talks

    Putting the expressions related to the signing of the protocol in the declaration was the move of the EU side in the diplomatic chess game. Ankara's first move in response to this was "to remain silent." That is, Ankara neither committed itself nor rejected the signing of the protocol. Actually, the calculations of the next move in the chess game lie behind this silence.

    All of the signs in Brussels prior to the 17 December summit show that immediately after giving a negotiation date to Turkey, the peace talks on Cyprus would be resumed.

    Ankara, just as it did in the previous talks, aims to continue its "encouraging" role in the new round of talks as well.

    Starting the Cyprus negotiations would have the meaning of preventing the Greek Cypriots, who corner Ankara at every opportunity, by using their title of "full EU member" as they want.

    If the Cyprus talks conclude positively, then in any case, the problem would be solved. But if the talks are prolonged or do not produce a result, then Turkey, "which encouraged peace," would gain time. And it would be saved from signing the Cyprus protocol, which became a de facto "condition" for the starting the negotiations with the final move of the Netherlands or it would be able to postpone the signing of it. The majority of the people in Brussels do not expect a "last minute bad surprise" just before the summit on 17 December.

    Even the statements of the French Foreign Minister Barnier, "We will bring the Armenian tragedy to the negotiations," is considered as a domestic political move, which aims to silence the French socialists in the opposition and not much importance is attached to it.

    These days, both the EU and Ankara are considering 17 December "to be finished" and are making the moves for the diplomatic struggle, which will be experienced after this and which will be "real" and "tougher." "

    /SK


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