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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-02-16

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.32/05 16.02.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan´s Tourism Minister resigns.
  • [02] New distribution of seats in the TGNA after Mumcu´s resignation.
  • [03] The Council of Europe calls on Turkey to remove the reference to religion on identity cards.
  • [04] Statements by Talat after returning to the occupied areas from Brussels.
  • [05] Serdar Denktas has begun his initiative to "stop Mr Papadopoulos' policies on the Cyprus problem".
  • [06] Baykal stated that Turkey has started to take serious steps regarding the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist in CUMHURIYET argues that the Turkish Government is no longer one step ahead on the Cyprus issue.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan´s Tourism Minister resigns

    Istanbul NTV television (15.02.05) broadcast that Erkan Mumcu, Culture and Tourism Minister resigned from his post and his party the Justice and Development Party.

    On the same issue Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.02.05) reported the following from Ankara: ''We have had differences of opinion at the Council of Ministers for a long time,'' said Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu who resigned from his post and the Justice and Development Party on Tuesday. Mumcu held a news conference at Parliament after his resignation.

    Mumcu said: ''I have seen that no chances remained for my contribution to JDP and the government. I have decided to resign. My personal and political ethics do not let me to stay at the ministry seat which I cannot contribute.''

    When asked whether he resigned due to debates in yesterday's Council of Ministers meeting on pardoning of students expelled from universities, Mumcu said: 'There have been various disagreements in yesterday's and previous meetings. This is quite normal. However, I don't want to sign underneath solutions with which I don't agree.''

    When asked whether he met some members of the Republican People's Party (RPP) and they had an initiative to form a new party, Mumcu said that he did not have such a meeting, adding that these claims were baseless.

    Mumcu said that he did not have the chance to convey his resignation to Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ''Although I have been in an effort to talk these issues privately with Erdogan, I did not have the chance. But if we had talked, nothing would change,'' he added.

    The main reason for his resignation was the need to create choices in Turkish politics, Mumcu noted. ''Turkish politics cannot survive long in this environment that lacks alternatives.''

    Mumcu said that he supports the stability of Turkey and wished success to the government.

    Meanwhile, Turkish State Minister and Deputy Premier Mehmet Ali Sahin said regarding the resignation of Mumcu: ''There was no deep disagreement between Mumcu and the government.''

    Later on Ankara Anatolia (15.02.05) reported from Tirana that Prime Minister Erdogan did not reply to questions on Erkan Mumcu's resignation. In reply to insistent questions by correspondents on whether he is going to hold a news conference on Mumcu's resignation, Erdogan said: "I will not stage a news conference on this issue."

    AA also reported that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said: "This is his own decision. He has chosen his own path. There is nothing to say." In reply to questions of reporters Gul said: "As deputy premier, I accepted the resignation of Mumcu. I did not have any meeting with Mumcu.' When asked about interpretations claiming that the resignation is a beginning for cabinet reshuffle, Gul said: "It is not related with the cabinet. We have no such item on our agenda at the moment.'"

    [02] New distribution of seats in the TGNA after Mumcu´s resignation

    Ankara Anatolia (15.02.05) reported from Ankara that following the resignation of the Culture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu the distribution of seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly is as follows:
    Justice and Development Party  (JDP):    366
    Republican People´s Party      (RPP):    171
    True Path Party                (TPP):      5
    Vacant:                                    1
    Independent:                               7
    

    [03] The Council of Europe calls on Turkey to remove the reference to religion on identity cards

    Istanbul NTV television (14.02.05) reported the following by Kayhan Karaca from Strasbourg:

    "The Council of Europe has drawn up a report asking Turkey to remove the reference to religion on identity cards, to abolish compulsory religious education in schools, and to resolve legal problems encountered by minority religious groups.

    In its response to the report, which focuses on the Kurdish question under the title "vulnerable groups," the Turkish Government objected to the description of the struggle against the PKK's [Workers Party of Kurdistan] acts of terror as an "armed conflict" and to the conclusion that there was anti-Semitism in Turkey.

    The report about "racism and discrimination in Turkey," which has been drawn up by the ECRI [European Commission against Racism and Intolerance], the Council of Europe's organ responsible for fighting against racism and discrimination, says that despite the reforms carried out in the past couple of years, "there are still some gaps in the Constitution and in criminal, civil and administrative law as regards action against racism and racial discrimination."

    It emphasizes that there is discrimination in the field of religious freedoms; security forces maltreat members of minority groups; and that intolerant expressions and acts directed at minority groups by sections of the media and members of the public could not be prevented.

    Call for change in identity cards

    Noting that it is still compulsory to indicate a person's religion on his or her identity card, the report calls for introduction of a mechanism ensuring that a person's religion is no longer indicated on his or her identity card, while safeguarding the rights of persons belonging to the minority religious groups covered by the Lausanne Treaty.

    The ECRI points out that Turkey is the only European country maintaining reference to religion in identity cards, which, it notes, conflicts with the European Convention on Human Rights.

    "Courses on religion should no longer be compulsory"

    Referring to compulsory religious courses at school, the report notes: "If the course is essentially designed to teach the Muslim religion and it is a course on a specific religion, it should not be compulsory in order to preserve children's and their parents' religious freedom."

    "The minorities are looked on with contempt"

    The report notes that school textbooks contain derogatory and insulting references to religious minorities, especially about Armenians and Roma and recommends that Turkish authorities revise those textbooks in order to heighten pupils' awareness of the advantages of a multicultural society.

    The report argues that the existence of minority religious groups, which together account for nearly two per cent of the Turkish population, should be regarded as an aspect of pluralism that needs to be recognized and preserved as "an asset to Turkish society, rather than perceived as a threat to this society."

    Anti-Semitic movements

    The report also draws attention to anti-Semitism, noting that anti-Semitic incidents were recently witnessed in Turkey. It says that there were physical assaults on some individuals purely because they are Jewish while anti-Semitic propaganda continues to appear in certain sections of the media.

    It urges the Turkish Government to take all appropriate steps to protect members of the Jewish community against physical attacks and recommends that those responsible for anti-Semitic statements and acts be persistently prosecuted.

    The Kurdish question

    A section of the report focusing on the Kurdish question notes that according to estimates there are between twelve and fifteen million Kurds living mainly in the South-east, although many of them have left the region "as part of the drift to the towns and also because of the armed conflict that went on for several years between the authorities and the PKK."

    The report asserts that displaced Kurds encounter barriers when they attempt to return to their homes, noting that "they are allowed to return only if they agree to sign papers waiving their right to compensation on the ground that the PKK was to blame for their departure and not the authorities while armed militia guards, who were posted in the villages by the authorities, killed some villagers seeking to recover their property."

    The government criticized the report

    In a letter it sent to the ECRI, which contained its opinions about the report, the Turkish Government criticized it on the grounds that the PKK was not described as a terror organization and that the struggle against the PKK was characterized as an "armed conflict."

    The ECRI report also calls for initiating debate in Turkey regarding the struggle against racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. The ECRI, which is based in Strasbourg, functions as an organ of the Council of Europe, which consists of various European countries including Turkey, and its reports are used as reference documents by all the European governments.

    The European Commission and the European Parliament also incorporated the recommendations of all ECRI documents in their own reports over the past few years".

    [04] Statements by Talat after returning to the occupied areas from Brussels

    Illegal BRT-1 TV (15.02.05) broadcast the following:

    "Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat, who met with EU Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso in Brussels, returned to the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´.

    During the news conference he staged at Tymbou Airport, Talat said that work is under way by the European Commission to lift the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. Explaining his contacts, Talat said that he also held technical meetings in addition to his meetings with Barroso. Noting that the European Commission is standing by its commitments, Talat added that the European Commission openly said that they are looking for a method of conciliation.

    He said: "Mr Barroso said that they will continue their work in the coming days in a bid to lift the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. He also said that the aim is to pass the statutes depending they are approved by the Council. He said that it all depends on the approval of the Council. As you know, financial aid requires unanimous approval and the Greek Cypriots blocked this decision. The Greek Cypriot side said that it will approve [financial aid] if direct trade is left out. As you know, direct trade is extremely important for us. If there is no direct trade, one cannot really say that isolation has ended. For this reason, direct trade is extremely important. In addition, it is a priority for us. We have stressed this point once again and I have to underline that we met with understanding. We have agreed to continue with our contacts. We will engage in more cooperation with all the institutions of the EU in the coming terms as well. As you know, the harmonization and technical training work are under way under Barroso. Furthering this work and being able to use the envisaged aid package of 259 million Euro for technical preparations and take the necessary steps for infrastructure investments may be issues to be discussed in the coming days. We have to carry out these preparations as well. We have to adapt our work and mechanisms to this new situation. We are already carrying out our preparations. We will concentrate on this issue even more so after the elections".

    [05] Serdar Denktas has begun his initiative to "stop Mr Papadopoulos' policies on the Cyprus problem"

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (16.02.05) reports that the so-called deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Mr Serdar Denktas, has started an initiative to protect the prestige of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan and to tell the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, 'to stop'.

    In line with this initiative, Mr Denktas met yesterday with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy, Mr Ned Nolan and the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative to Cyprus, Mr Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

    Making statements to the illegal "TAK" news agency after the meeting, Mr Serdar Denktas criticized Mr Papadopoulos' "negative stance regarding the Cyprus issue".

    Accusing him of being intransigent and blocking the way of a possible solution on the island, the so-called Foreign Minister, Mr Serdar Denktas said that he should not be allowed to continue with his negative position.

    Referring to Mr Papadopoulos' rejection of Mr Annan's call as an unacceptable approach, Mr Denktash said he asked Mr Nolan and Mr Wlosowicz what the United States and the United Nations' stance would be regarding the issue. "The Turkish Cypriot side has the needed will towards achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem, but, a settlement cannot be found with only our will", he added.

    Noting that the status of the Turkish Cypriot "people", who proved its strong will for a settlement at the referendum, must be determined soon, Mr Serdar said that the United Nations and the United States can do more regarding the issue.

    According to a statement issued by the DP office, Mr Denktas said that he will start an initiative to solve the problems of the Turkish Cypriot "people", who are currently living in Limassol, in the government control areas of Cyprus. He also requested help from the United Nations to open a primary school for Turkish Cypriot children in Limassol.

    Meanwhile, "TAK" correspondent reported that the US embassy Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Mr Ned Nolan, reiterated the US's support for a settlement to the Cyprus problem and added that America will start a new initiative regarding the issue after the so-called parliamentary elections.

    [06] Baykal stated that Turkey has started to take serious steps regarding the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (16.02.05) reports that Mr Deniz Baykal, the leader of the Republican People's Party (RPP), the main opposition party in Turkey, stated that Turkey has started to take very serious steps as regards the issue of the recognition of the "Greek Cypriot administration", as he called the Republic of Cyprus.

    Speaking to a gathering of his Party, Mr Baykal criticised the visit of Mr Nicos Anastasiades, the leader of the main opposition party of Cyprus, the Democratic Rally Party (DYSI) to Turkey. Mr Baykal stated that despite the comments Mr Anastadiades made as regards the Turkish army, he was invited to Turkey by the Turkish Government and met with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, while no leader of an opposition party of the pseudostate has even been accepted by a western country. "With such an acceptance we put our case as regards the "Greek Cypriot administration" in an envelope and there is no seriousness left in our case", said Mr Baykal.

    He also added that Turkey, by saying that it will not recognise the "Greek Cypriot administration", but it will include it in the Ankara protocol, started to take serious steps as regards the recognition of the "Greek Cypriot administration". He also said that this is different political picture that it is made consciously or unconsciously and added that it is a transmitter of a sad view.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist in CUMHURIYET argues that the Turkish Government is no longer one step ahead on the Cyprus issue

    Istanbul CUMHURIYET newspaper publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Arcayurek under the title: "A game within a game":

    "The steps that this government is taking with regard to Cyprus actually show to which direction it wants to lead this issue.

    During these days the government is not saying -- it is not able to say -- that "it will be one step ahead [of the Greek Cypriots]" where political initiatives are concerned. Maybe the government believes that the time is not right for this. Nevertheless, if it had been encouraged by UN Secretary-General Annan, the government would have gone to New York and it would have requested the revival of the Annan plan. The government would also have announced that it is ready to hold talks on the basis of this plan.

    The Secretary-General who is quite busy with the disaster in south Asia was not able to come to Davos. As a result, the meeting that was planned by Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not held. It is possible that the UN Secretary-General does not look favorably at a demand that will be put forward by Turkey for the commencement of the talks at a time when south Cyprus is in the open. Therefore, the government is not able to once again approach Annan with this aim.

    Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos would have rejected the initiatives that would be made by Annan in order to establish new grounds for the negotiations or in order to ensure that the Greek Cypriots warm toward the negotiation table.

    Despite the fact that Turkey -- and, of course, Mr M. A. Talat who is one of the leading actors of the "let us give and get rid of policy" -- enthusiastically and meticulously want the resumption of the bilateral talks without any delay, it has become impossible to lay the foundations for these talks.

    They are waiting for the results of the elections that will be held in the `TRNC´ on 20 February in order to once again take action.

    There has always been a difference between the policies that have been announced by this government and those that have been implemented. This new example has once again enabled us to clearly see this difference.

    Almost all the circles throughout the world want us to recognize south Cyprus as the Republic of Cyprus.

    The Turkish Government, however, has been refusing to recognize south Cyprus since the 17 December summit. It has been constantly resisting those who underline that if the note that if the Customs Union protocol is expanded to include the 10 new EU members, Turkey will indirectly recognize south Cyprus.

    However, we are familiar with Erdogan and Gul: With their last step they have proven that their resistance is merely for show and that it is worthless.

    The JDP [Justice and Development Party] has officially invited Greek Cypriot main opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades to Turkey.

    This behaviour is a blow dealt by the government against the government (state) policy that openly refuses to recognize south Cyprus!

    Apparently the fact that DYSI [Democratic Rally Party] voted in favor of the Annan plan constitutes the basic reason behind the invitation.

    Nevertheless, they seem to have forgotten something. Regardless of whether or not it is in power or in the opposition, a Greek Cypriot party cannot move away from the fact that Cyprus is an island that is under the sovereignty of the Greek Cypriots.

    Anastasiades who, prior to coming to Turkey, issued statements to the effect that the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the island constitutes the preliminary condition for a lasting peace, asserted here that he did call for the withdrawal of the troops, but that "he merely expressed the emotions and the concerns of the Greek Cypriots."

    Anastasiades talked as if he can separate himself from the emotions and the concerns of the Greek Cypriots and as if he belongs to a different climate. And having been forced into a corner, he chose to lie.

    He chose to lie and our guys took these lies lying down.

    Despite the fact that it declares south Cyprus illegitimate, the government invited a party from there. By doing this, the government does not merely undersign an odd initiative, but it also moves the stones of certain basic factors.

    When inviting the Greek Cypriot party leader, the government said something at home and something else abroad. Furthermore, it said something entirely different to Denktas.

    Rauf Denktas was told that "Anastasiades would not be received at the 'highest level' in Ankara" and that he would not meet with Gul or Erdogan.

    As soon as he arrived in Ankara, however, the Greek Cypriot guy held his first meeting with the Foreign Minister.

    There is no reaction from the `TRNC´. It is impossible to expect Talat to react. As for Denktas' son Serdar -- he is also keeping silent.

    Given that Ankara has lied to him regarding Anastasiades, Rauf Denktas is quite sad. And: Almost as if to prove the Greek Cypriots' hypocritical nature, Anastasiades said to EU diplomats that they want Cyprus to be totally cleansed from soldiers.

    The Greek Cypriots played a hypocritical game to the government that is planning a game within a game! Well, it deserves this! ".

    /SK


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