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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-12-20

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.243/04 18-19-20.12.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Prime Minister assesses the outcome of the December 17 EU Summit.
  • [02] Gul stresses that Turkey received an accession date without recognizing one of the EU members.
  • [03] Anatolia news agency outlines the Chapters and the negotiation process.
  • [04] EU Enlargement Commissioner hopes financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots will be speeded up.
  • [05] Rauf Denktas and Talat congratulate Turkey for its stand during the EU Summit.
  • [06] Early so-called elections on 20 February 2005.
  • [07] How the EU was blackmailed by Erdogan to change its summit decisions.
  • [08] Turkish State Minister signed the letter extending the Ankara Agreement to cover the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [09] The boom in the construction sector lead a fall in the quality of buildings in the occupied areas.
  • [10] The expenses of twenty journalists of the huge Erdogan delegation were covered by American Marlboro Tobacco Company.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] A columnist outlines the problems on the road to Turkey's EU accession.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Prime Minister assesses the outcome of the December 17 EU Summit

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (17.12.04) broadcast live a press conference by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the end of the EU Summit in Brussels. Following are Mr Erdogan´s statement and his replies to questions:

    "At the end of the 41-year-old journey of Turkey to the EU, today we came to a very critical junction. As all of you know very well, as far as Turkey is concerned, we worked very hard in this long and tiresome journey, especially during the past two years, as the parliament, as the government, as the political parties, the state, and nongovernmental organizations; but most importantly, as the nation, we worked extraordinarily hard and with goodwill. Furthermore, we saw the EU as the address of peace and cooperation among civilizations. We really thought that the EU could contribute to world peace and become a global power in order to contribute to that world peace. We wanted the EU to give the following message to the whole world: Democracy and human rights are the mutual dream and goal of all humanity, and that goal can only be reached with a civilization project as deep as this.

    In line with these principles, we worked day and night, without getting tired, very hard, for the last two years. The promise that was given to us in the 2002 Copenhagen summit, the promise which we believed in, which we trust, which we based ourselves on, helped us make very deep-rooted and societal changes, that many other countries could not achieve in 10 or 20 years. We achieved them since the Copenhagen summit of 2002. Some of our friends called it the silent revolution, and we achieved this extraordinary transformation as a nation. And we did all that because as the country and as the nation, we believed that it was fit for us to assume these contemporary values and that to put them into reality was in our benefit, and that it was fit for us. Our European colleagues, in every summit they saw us in, and on every opportunity, emphasized that they followed the performance of our nation throughout this process with admiration, support, and appreciation. And three months ago, just before the issuance of the 6 October report, our European colleagues announced, in this very hotel in Brussels, that Turkey had fulfilled all of the necessary criteria with great success, and they stated that there was nothing else left on the table, and they announced that to the rest of the world.

    In the 2002 Copenhagen summit, what was promised to us was that if Turkey fulfilled all these criteria, the negotiations would start without delay. We trusted that promise and throughout this process, in every organ of the EU, at every meeting we had with the leaders and heads of government of the EU, in all the platforms we could voice Turkey's opinion, we showed our determination to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria and the whole world is a witness to that.

    Despite all that, before the summit when the date of the start of negotiations was to be announced, we were faced with some criteria that had nothing to do with the Copenhagen criteria and some of them were even against the very EU acquis. These criteria which were new and which, in practice, had no functionality, were presented to us. In the meetings that we had for the last two days, in the very busy meetings, with the belief that European culture is, in essence, a culture of compromise, we tried to at least change these criteria with formulas that would put them in accordance with European law. In this context, we said that the adaptation of the Ankara agreement to 25 member countries of the EU is an extension, which is a technical procedure.

    As a requirement of this procedure, the adaptation protocol's extension is in no way a recognition, and I put this on record in the recent statement I made at the European Council. I believe this sensitivity has also been shared and stated by the EU Presidency and also by the leaders and heads of government of many of the member countries during their press conferences. And Mr. Balkanende, as the term president of the Council, made this very clear to us and also to the public during his press conference. In this framework, all our efforts and approach toward full membership in the EU began when we began this date and the calendar. Our goal is full membership, and this has been confirmed without leaving any room for dispute. This calendar will not only be a period when we integrate with the EU acquis and institutions and deepen our process, but also a time period when we will be able to change the nature of many of the disputes we had to deal with until today, in a different way. It will give us a platform to create solutions to many of these issues.

    Similarly, the date to start accession talks has also been announced. As you know, it is 3 October 2005. And that decision has become a very clear one, without having the need to have a second meeting to decide when to start the accession talks.

    Right now, we stand at a point where we have received the reward of the 41 years we have left behind and all the work. Where we stand is also the beginning of the new distance that we will go through together. Every step that we will take from now on is going to bring us closer to our main goal and also is going to bring us closer to our priorities. I would like to reiterate once again that the process from now on will be even more difficult and have even more obstacles. I strongly believe that Turkey, with its interactive human potential, will be able to achieve this.

    Turkey, as we have stated all along, feels that our relations with the EU constitute a project of civilizations, a project of peace and cooperation, and that the EU is not a union of economics, not a Christian club, but a union of values.

    Turkey is a great country, with its history, geography, culture, economy, a dynamic and young population, with its contemporary and democratic experience, and a country that can put all these values into action. A country that can easily overcome the difficulties that it faces, and bring a geostrategic and geocultural depth to the EU.

    I believe that the EU will appreciate Turkey's contributions during this negotiation process a lot more, and will be able to make sure that the relationship and this process will be formulated with this understanding, and understanding of Turkey's contributions to this process. This historical step and all the structural transformations are going to be rooted in our mental world and also in the societal fabric of our nation. With this step, our project to harmonize civilizations becomes established on strong foundations. With this historic step, the Turkish nation has made a historic move to take its rightful place among the nations of the world.

    I really want this historic step to be of benefit to our country, to our nation, to the EU, and to the people of the EU."

    Question: You said you hoped that this step would be beneficial for Turkey and the EU. You forgot the people of the Middle East.

    Answer: We hope this is going to be beneficial for the whole humanity.

    Question: Did you have any upsets with any of the leaders during these two days?

    Answer: When you have international conventions of this sort, of course you have difficulties. Maybe one day if we write the novel of what we went through, we might write them, but today is not the time or the place to share those. Now, we will activate the process and show that through the Turkish people's determination we will be able to overcome most of the difficulties.

    Question: What about the permanent derogations and the open-endedness of the negotiations?

    Answer: The wording has been changed. The derogations will be placed if necessary based on mutual acceptance. In regards to the open-endedness of the negotiations, while negotiations by their very nature are open-ended, the goal of the accession talks has been very clearly written, that is for full accession.

    Question: You have vested a lot of political capital on this goal, and at the end you got what you wanted. How are you going to use this political credit?

    Answer: Well, we have covered important distance, but we have not received the payment yet. We have not collected any payment yet. This is a new process with all of the members of our team, with nongovernmental organizations of Turkey, with members of the media, with academicians, with all sectors of society in Turkey, and also with friends of Turkey. We will start a negotiation process. It is going to be a difficult one, but we have to work hand-in-hand, together, and we cannot achieve this with a routine state mentality. This has to be a collective effort, and we would like to see more and more participation of all in this process. We hope to be able to collect at the end of the accession talks.

    Question: You had a long day and a very long night, and you achieved a result. Does that satisfy you?

    Answer: Well, it depends on how you look at it, but as we have said on the issue of Cyprus during our administration, we are basing our approaches on a win-win approach. If I were to tell you that we are 100 percent satisfied, that would be an exaggeration, and it would be wrong to say that we are 100 percent satisfied, but I can tell you very proudly that the nature of the talks is not based on Turkey alone, it is going to continue with EU standards.

    Question: You said you wanted to receive the date before making any preparations for the process ahead. Now you have the date. How are you going to prepare?

    Answer: We will establish the groups of advisers and experts on each of the chapters. We will have to name our chief negotiator, and then establish our team. We will prepare our own road map according to the developments, and we will work hard to achieve important results.

    Question: Is there a line between Brussels, Ankara, and Diyarbakir, and how are you going to treat your Kurdish citizens?

    Answer: We only have one line that is between Turkey and Brussels. We have 72 million citizens of the Republic of Turkey. They are all very dear to us, they are all very close to us, and we feel very close in heart to all of them. They are all full-fledged citizens without any discrimination whatsoever.

    Question: Will the European Union do anything to push the Greek Cypriots to a solution on the island, because we know that the paragraph regarding Cyprus was amended today?

    Answer: You will see paragraph 19 of the conclusions of the summit when it is published. We worked hard and brought the matter to good place. There were some changes made, and Secretary-General Annan wants to start another effort for peace on the island. We will continue to contribute to those efforts within the context of the United Nations. We do not like to leave that issue without a solution, and we believe it is going to comfort not only us, but also the Greek Cypriots if we reach a solution during the EU process as well. We will continue to be of cooperative essence and spirit, as we were regarding the referenda that took place on 24 April on the island.

    Question: First of all, prime minister, congratulations on your dates. Are you going to have a blind date? What are you going to tell the girl when you see her next to you and you find out that her name is Cyprus?

    Answer: We have known each other for a while, and our relations are pretty good. [laughter] Our relations will get even better from now on.

    Question: You said you are not 100 percent satisfied, but you are satisfied. Are you standing on your feet, or are you flying with joy?

    Answer: As I have always said, I am against flying of any type. Of course, we are standing firmly on the ground. From the beginning, we said that there will not be a rain of funds into Turkey on 18 December, but you asked if there was a thunder. Well, you can hear the thunder from the stock market of Istanbul. Although the declaration of the conclusions of the summit came at the closing hours of the stock exchange, I think it has already made a peak, but our stability will continue. We recently signed a three-year agreement for our economic plan, and we did not have the EU in mind, but we had our own plans, our own stability, and our own performance. I believe that stability will continue, and there are signals of that already.

    Question: How do you believe, Mr. Prime Minister, this evolution today here will affect your relations, Turkey's relations, with Greece, with Athens?

    Answer: You know we are going through a very positive process with our relations with Greece. We are increasing our relations with Greece every day. We are in an effort to increase them, and we will continue to be in an effort to further solidify our relations. My dear friend Costas Karamanlis has also been very sincere in trying to increase the relationship, and we are very sincere about our intentions. So, I believe from now on, our economic relations and political relations will be further enhanced, and we will try to achieve more successes politically in achieving peace and stability for the whole region."

    [02] Gul stresses that Turkey received an accession date without recognizing one of the EU members

    Istanbul NTV television (19.12.04) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, reiterated that his government is acting with caution to even avoid a situation in which Turkey indirectly recognizes the Republic of Cyprus.

    He said: "Various circles that want to cast a shadow over this great achievement are commenting on this incessantly. They are talking as though all this was done in exchange for Cyprus. This is definitely not the case. First of all, I want to explain the matter to you in more detail. Turkey will not get together with Cyprus, that is with the Greek Cypriot administration of south Cyprus, and sign an agreement or a protocol with it. In other words, there is no question of Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration of south Cyprus sitting at either end of a table and something transpiring between them. Therefore, let no one cast a shadow over this great event."

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.12.04) reported from Ankara that speaking at the festival that the office of the Ankara Greater City Mayor organized at the Kizilay Square, Gul said Turkey was very different today, and added: "Turkey occupies a very different position in the world. There will be no interim periods and interruptions in Turkey from now on. Stability will make everything possible for Turkey."

    Referring also to the Cyprus issue, Gul said: "Speculation is being heard, to the effect that 'Cyprus has been given away' and 'Cyprus has been sold out.' None of these is correct. Every one of us was born with Cyprus and grew up with Cyprus. We all stand in defence of this case. We do not have the right to darken the future of our children."

    Foreign Minister Gul pointed out that 25 member countries, including Cyprus, participated in the EU Summit in Brussels. Giving information about the developments on Cyprus, he said: "We shall all do our utmost until the Cyprus issue reaches a lasting solution. Turkey will be different and the citizens of Cyprus will be different from now on."

    [03] Anatolia news agency outlines the Chapters and the negotiation process

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.04) reported from Brussels that Turkey will now focus on the negotiation process after EU leaders have decided to start entry talks on October 3rd, 2005.

    Negotiation process means adjustment to EU legal system and policies, and it is generally considered as ''adjustment to European Regulations.'' The negotiated issue is by which methods and how long the candidate country will adjust it to this system, not the entire rules of EU.

    Negotiations between the EU and candidate countries are pursued in two levels.

    During intergovernmental meetings, ministers of EU member and candidate countries take up basic positions and strategies besides political issues. EU Permanent Representatives of member countries and chief negotiator of candidate country hold meetings during essential negotiations which are pursued at technical level.

    After negotiations on all topics are completed, the Commission prepares draft Accession Agreement. Final shape to the agreement is given at Intergovernmental Conference.

    The agreement is signed by the EU member countries and the related candidate country after it is approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. Membership comes into effect after the Accession Agreement is approved by all parties.

    Topics which EU pursues with candidate countries:

         Chapter 1: Free Movement of Goods
         Chapter 2: Freedom of Movement for Persons
         Chapter 3: Freedom to Provide Services
         Chapter 4: Free Movement of Capital
         Chapter 5: Company Law
         Chapter 6: Competition Policy
         Chapter 7: Agriculture
         Chapter 8: Fisheries
         Chapter 9: Transport Policy
         Chapter 10: Taxation
         Chapter 11: Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
         Chapter 12: Statistics
         Chapter 13: Employment and Social Policy
         Chapter 14: Energy
         Chapter 15: Industrial Policy
         Chapter 16: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
         Chapter 17: Science and Research
         Chapter 18: Education and Training
         Chapter 19: Telecom, IT and Postal Services
         Chapter 20: Culture and Audiovisual Policy
         Chapter 21: Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments
         Chapter 22: Environment
         Chapter 23: Consumer Protection
         Chapter 24: Justice and Home Affairs
         Chapter 25: Customs Union
         Chapter 26: External Relations
         Chapter 27: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
         Chapter 28: Financial Control
         Chapter 29: Finance and Budgetary Provisions
         Chapter 30: Institutions
         Chapter 31: Others.
    

    [04] EU Enlargement Commissioner hopes financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots will be speeded up

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.04) reported from Brussels that EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said, ''I hope the decision of the EU leaders will speed up the approval of financial assistance package for Turkish Cypriots.''

    Speaking to the A.A correspondent after the EU Summit, Rehn said that EU envisaged a financial assistance worth of 259 million Euros to the occupied areas of Cyprus and exports of some agricultural products by Turkish Cypriots if this package was approved.

    Rehn said: ''Following the decision of the summit, the EU plans to start the screening process for Turkey in spring. ''The Commission is authorized about this issue. There is no need for a new decision.''

    Rehn concluded: ''Following the decision of the European Council, the European Commission will rapidly start preparations for the framework for negotiations with Turkey.''

    [05] Rauf Denktas and Talat congratulate Turkey for its stand during the EU Summit

    Istanbul NTV television (19.12.04) broadcast that commenting on the Brussels summit, Rauf Denktas, leader of the Turkish Cypriots said that a negotiation date was granted to Turkey at the end of a long bargaining process. Denktas stated: "It is clear that the negotiations will be very tough for Turkey. These negotiations will continue for 10-15 years". Pointing out that Turkey will be presented with demands at every point throughout the negotiations with the EU, Denktas added: "Turkey will accommodate some of these demands, while there will be others it will not be able to grant".

    Noting that he followed the negotiations conducted with the EU closely, Denktas said: "We saw that all the efforts of the Greek Cypriots and the EU concentrated on getting Turkey to consent to recognizing south Cyprus in advance. They tried to make Turkey to accept this in writing. Turkey resisted, and continued to negotiate. It did not fall for this game".

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul telephoned Denktas and Mehmet Ali Talat upon his return from the historic summit in Brussels. It was learned that Denktas told Gul: "Thank you for standing firm during the summit".

    Furthermore Ankara Anatolia (17.12.04) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the so-called Prime Minister of Ankara´s regime in occupied Cyprus, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat assessed as follows the EU summit results:

    ''Extension of the Ankara Agreement without solving the Cyprus problem does not mean a recognition of the Cyprus Republic. The real recognition can happen after resolution of the Cyprus problem.''

    Holding a news conference, Talat said: ''The decision on Turkey at the EU Summit is a historical development. Turkey has been very successful. I congratulate the Turkish government and those who have contributed.''

    Referring to the Cyprus problem Mr Talat said: ''Turkey did its best to solve the Cyprus problem. An important step was taken for Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. We will walk on this path together.

    'We are ready to solve the Cyprus problem within solidarity with Turkey, Papadopoulos should show what they want, but he does not seem to be ready for solution.''

    Mr Talat added: 'It is a fact that the Ankara Agreement will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem. We prefer the solution of Cyprus problem. If the Cyprus problem is solved, the Ankara Agreement extends without any difficulties.''

    [06] Early so-called elections on 20 February 2005

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.04) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the so-called President of the Turkish Republic in occupied Cyprus, Mr Rauf Denktas, met on Friday with the so-called Parliament Speaker Fatma Ekenoglu and leaders of political parties having seats at the "Parliament".

    During the meeting, it was decided to hold "early elections" on February 20th, 2005.

    [07] How the EU was blackmailed by Erdogan to change its summit decisions

    Ankara TRT internet version (18.12.04) publishes the following unattributed report under the title: "What took place at the EU-Turkey Summit":

    "The summit at which the European Union made the decision to begin full membership negotiations with Turkey was marked by extremely hard bargaining.

    Following this bargaining, the final communiqué of the summit was softened in Turkey's favour. As the details of the bargaining process became clear, the things that had taken place during those tense hours began to become known to the public.

    The development that led to the talks being stalled took place on Thursday. A text on which the European Union had reached agreement appeared.

    This text called for the initialing of a protocol applying the Ankara Agreement to the ten new members [including the Republic of Cyprus] prior to the end of the summit.

    Talks with the top-level cadre of the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding changes that might be made in this continued until 4:00 a.m. on Friday. In the end, it was decided that this provision could not be accepted.

    These results were conveyed to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. With this development, an intense spate of discussions among the leaders began.

    When the statement in the text regarding Cyprus was not changed, the negotiations came to the breaking point.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan said to Dutch Prime Minister [Jan Peter] Balkenende, the current [EU] Term President, that "You have preferred a country of 600 thousand over Turkey, with its population of 70 million. I cannot explain that to my people."

    According to information circulating in the corridors, Erdogan stood up during the talks and said to the delegation accompanying him "All right, then, we're leaving."

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul then intervened and calmed Erdogan down.

    Thereafter, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi joined Erdogan and their Dutch counterpart for a five-way summit.

    It has been learned that, when the European Union side did not step back regarding the text, Erdogan said in this session that "In that case, I am going to tell the world at a press conference that this affair is over."

    The European Union side then took a step backwards when faced with the prospect of the summit ending in a fiasco.

    The provision in the draft Presidential statement that the protocol on Southern Cyprus be initialed within one day was thus removed.

    Thereupon, Turkey, whose expectations had in large measure been met under the given conditions, gave its assurances. When Erdogan gave the green light, the text was taken to the European Union's leaders, and thus a serious crisis between Turkey and the Union was avoided."

    [08] Turkish State Minister signed the letter extending the Ankara Agreement to cover the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.04) reported from Brussels that the deadlock regarding the Cyprus issue during negotiations at the EU Summit in Brussels was overcome by a written statement of the Turkish government.

    Turkish State Minister Besir Atalay signed the statement which was conveyed to EU officials as a letter.

    Diplomatic sources told the A.A correspondent: ''The letter was not signed by Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul because he does not have an interlocutor at the Council as he is deputy prime minister as well.''

    Stressing that the final target of the accession negotiations which will start on October 3rd, 2005 is full membership, diplomatic sources said: ''Negotiation process will only be halted if an adjustment cannot be achieved to the Copenhagen criteria in political, economic and other aspects.''

    Diplomats said in the final statement of the summit that the obstacle regarding Cyprus was overcome with a statement of the Turkish government. They added: ''Turkish government's adapting Ankara Agreement to 10 new members of the EU will be completed until the starting date of negotiations.''

    Sources said: ''This statement will never mean the recognition of Greek Cypriot administration. This issue was stressed by the Netherlands which holds the rotating EU presidency, and Britain.''

    The expression regarding permanent derogations was also changed in the final statement.

    [09] The boom in the construction sector lead a fall in the quality of buildings in the occupied areas

    According to YENIDUZEN newspaper (20.12.04) there is a boom in the construction sector in the occupied area. The President of the Chamber of Civil Engineers, Salim Piyale said that the centre for the boom is the occupied Kyrenia area.

    He noted that in 2002 the total area used for building was 365,761 square meters, in 2003, 485,955 square meters and in 2004 this figure jumped to 2.2 million square meters.

    Mr Piyale said that the construction sector is the main sector and that it plays a form push to the sector in the occupied area´s economy which revitalized 200 related sectors.

    Mr Piyale however, said that with the boom the quality of the buildings was dropped.

    Furthermore, YENIDUZEN in another article says that in the January/September, 2004 period imports increased by 76.2% and exports 27.2%. The increase in imported goods, was in motor vehicles, where the increase reached 130% followed by iron bars used in the construction sector and cement.

    [10] The expenses of twenty journalists of the huge Erdogan delegation were covered by American Marlboro Tobacco Company

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (18.12.04) publishes the following column by Melih Asik under the title: "The Marlboro invitation...":

    "The American cigarette giant Marlboro reportedly took 20 Turkish journalists to the Brussels summit and put them up in the same hotel as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the report on the "Sansursuz.com" internet site, Marlboro paid all of their expenses.

    Just at this time, I have been reading the book "Babiali Tanrilari - Simavi Ailesi" ["The Gods of Babiali [press district of Istanbul] - The Simavi Family"]... The alphabet revolution had taken place. The government was providing financial assistance to newspapers. One newspaper owner who rejected this help attracted Ankara's attention. This person was Sedat Simavi, who would later establish Hurriyet newspaper. Was Sedat Simavi so rich at that time that he didn't need money, one wonders? Hardly... On the contrary, he had put up the flag of bankruptcy, and to support his family he began to work alongside Swiss hazelnut growers in Samsun...

    Does the sensitivity demonstrated at that time mean anything to my colleagues of today, I wonder?

    How much money does it cost to go to Brussels and follow the summit? Do these journalists not know that they are going to obliged to [i.e., be beholden] to Marlboro and have to repay the costs of this three-day trip?".


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] A columnist outlines the problems on the road to Turkey's EU accession

    Istanbul daily HURRIYET newspaper (19.12.04) published in the column "From Ankara" the following commentary by Sedat Ergin under the title: "Thought provoking elements in the EU's decision".

    "The fact that a definite date for starting the negotiations was given is of historical importance from the aspect of opening Turkey's path for its full membership perspective.

    Still, this pleasing development does not prevent us from seeing some thought provoking results for Turkey created by the decisions accepted at the summit. We can analyze these thorny problems as follows:

    No progress in the issue of the negotiations being open-ended

    The most disturbing part of the recommendation document dated 6 October of the European Commission, which turned on the green light for starting negotiations, was the emphasis placed on the statement that "the negotiations, as a requirement of its nature, are open-ended" and "the results of the negotiations could not be guaranteed in advance." The document was also emphasizing that even if Turkey cannot become a full member in the future, it was still necessary "to provide for Turkey's being connected to the European structures with the strongest ties."

    These expressions created considerable uneasiness in Ankara. Because, when starting the negotiations with the other candidates for full membership, the EU had not stated that the negotiation process "would be open-ended." In this manner, the EU was deviating from the commitment it made at the Helsinki Summit in 1999: "The objective criteria applied to all the other candidates for full EU membership will also be applied in exactly the same way to Turkey."

    Furthermore, even at the beginning of the course, the conclusion of the negotiations has been made unclear.

    With the concept of "remaining outside of full membership, but being connected to the EU with strong ties", the "special status" was being put into the records in a covert manner.

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in a letter he sent to the Netherlands, the EU period chairman last October, as well as in the bilateral talks he held with other EU officials, said that the EU became distant from the objective criteria it applied to the other candidates and requested that this situation be corrected at the Brussels summit. (On this subject, various statements of the members of the government can also be recalled.)

    When the decision text, which was announced the day before yesterday [Friday, 17 December] is examined, it is possible to say that these objections of Turkey were not taken into account. Despite making the addition in one place, "the joint target of the negotiations is full membership," it is seen that the discriminatory expressions included in the 6 October recommendation decision are almost the same, or were even preserved in somewhat greater detail.

    The permanent restrictions are being preserved

    A similar situation also confronts us on the subject of free circulation. In the recommendation decision dated 6 October it was said, "The EU could take protective measures for long-term transition periods and have a permanent attribute with the objective of protecting the labour market." Turkey has opposed this approach during the past two months. The fact that the subject expression showed up once again in an even worse manner in the decision the day before yesterday shows that this protest also remained without being met.

    Furthermore, this time the expressions of "derogations" and "special regulations" were also added and by going one step further, the door was opened for the member countries to have the authority "to play the maximum role" in free circulation. The fact that every country can request a separate regulation for itself already indicated that Turkey would experience serious difficulties in being able to be included in the Schengen system.

    It is a natural practice to impose temporary restrictions on free circulation, as was done for the last 10 new members. But if permanent restrictions become final, then it would create a second-class full membership status for Turkey.

    The starting of the negotiations is left until April 2006

    The process of "screening" the national legislation of Turkey in light of the EU acquis will start after the convening of the Intergovernmental Conference on 3 October [2005]. It is expected that the process of screening would be spread over a period of approximately six months. Whereas, Ankara's expectation was that the screening would be started immediately at the beginning of 2005 and be completed prior to the conference. In other words, it was expecting not to lose time with the screening process after the negotiations were officially started.

    Thus, the expectations related to screening have remained unmet. This means that the negotiations will be officially started on 3 October [2005] and then first of all the completion of the screening would be waited for in order to proceed to the negotiation headings. In this situation, it would be April 2006 with the most optimistic probability for being able to start on the headings. With this approach, the EU has postponed the real negotiations on the headings for at least six months.

    The Greek Cypriots could block the negotiations

    These estimates are only valid if the negotiations start on 3 October as planned. The starting of the negotiations is connected to being able to overcome the Cyprus problem up until this date. Within this period, Turkey would negotiate with the EU Commission on the supplementary protocol to the 1963 Ankara Agreement by including the 10 new EU members and would sign it with the EU period chairmanship prior to 3 October. This signature would bring the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus in an indirect manner. When signing this protocol, Turkey will put a reservation, saying that the signature does not have the meaning of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus.

    At that point, perhaps the following problem would be experienced: Even if the majority of the EU members would consider the Turkish thesis favourably, the Republic of Cyprus which would sit opposite Turkey at the table together with the other 24 EU members at the Intergovernmental Conference on 3 October, could upset this plan. The Republic of Cyprus could make the condition of being officially recognized by Turkey in order to be able to start the negotiations, based on its veto authority. Moreover, we can consider this as a definite probability.

    The real settling of accounts will be in October

    There is another subject, which is a candidate for giving a headache: When signing the protocol, Turkey will also be obliged to extend to the Republic of Cyprus the regulations in the field of transportation in the Ankara Agreement. Among these are included steps, such as opening the Turkish ports to the ships having the Cypriot flags, and also opening the airports and air spaces to the Cypriot aircraft. As it can be seen, Turkey is obliged to overcome in some manner the problems related to the Cyprus issue in order to be able to start the negotiations on 3 October.

    In light of this situation, we can say that Turkey has gained a period of 9 months by "freezing the problem" in Brussels and that the real major settling of accounts will be experienced next autumn".

    /SK


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