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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-02-21

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.35/05 19-20-21.02.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The results of the so-called elections and how the Press sees them.
  • [02] Statements by Talat after the preliminary results of the so-called elections were announced.
  • [03] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar Denktas the day after the so-called elections.
  • [04] Statement by Serdar Denktas on the so-called election outcome.
  • [05] Statements by Eroglu after the preliminary results of the so-called elections.
  • [06] Statements by Akinci after the preliminary results of the so-called elections.
  • [07] The Turkish Foreign Minister congratulated the Turkish Cypriots.
  • [08] Letter by Serdar Denktas to the UN Secretary-General.
  • [09] Erdogan and Gul pleased with the visit of representatives of US firms through the occupied airport of Tymbou to the areas of Cyprus under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops.
  • [10] Mumcu: Government getting ready for early elections.
  • [11] Talat wants a united Cyprus with greater powers for the "TRNC".
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Columnist in SABAH assesses the article in "Wall Streek Journal" under the title "Sick Man of Europe".

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The results of the so-called elections and how the Press sees them

    Under the front page banner title "The victory belongs to RTP", Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (21.02.05) reports the following final but not official results of the so-called elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus after all the votes in 575 ballot boxes were counted:
    Republican Turkish Party (RTP):    44.45 percent 25 seats
    National Unity Party (NUP):        31.71 percent 18 seats
    Democratic Party (DP):             13.49 percent  6 seats
    Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM): 5.81 percent  1 seat
    Communal Liberation Party (CLP):    2.41 percent  -
    New Party (NP):                     1.60 percent  -
    Nationalist Justice Party (NJP):    0.52 percent  -
    

    The paper writes that RTP increased its votes by about 10 % since the last "parliamentary elections" that took place in December 2003, while NUP has lost around 2 % of its power. The other partner of the "coalition government", the DP has increased its percentage from 12.92 % to 13.49 %, but the number of its "MPs" decreased from 7 to 6. The PDM of Mustafa Akinci has lost a great part of its power, since its percentages decreased from 13.20 % to 5.81 % and it succeeded to elect only one "MP" instead of six that it had after the 14 December 2004 "elections". The paper notes also that this was the first time after 26 years that the left-wing CLP did not manage to get into the "parliament".

    Commenting on the results, the editor-in-chief of KIBRIS, Basaran Duzgun argues that "a new period without Denktas and Eroglu began" in the occupied areas of Cyprus and that the most powerful message of the results was the determination of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution and a United Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, under the front page title "There is no change", Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (21.02.05) reports that the "parliament" has been handed over to the RTP and two parties that support the status quo. The paper writes that the participation percentage was 80.76 %, which is higher than expected. The parties have elected the following number of "MPs" according to the districts:

    Nicosia:   RTP 8, NUP 5. DP 2, PDM 1
    Famagusta: RTP 6, NUP 5, DP 2
    Kyrenia:   RTP 5, NUP 3, DP 1
    Morfou:    RTP 4, NUP 3
    Trikomo:   RTP 2, NUP 2, DP 1
    

    Commenting on the results, the editor-in-chief of AFRIKA, Sener Levent expresses the opinion that "Turkey won again" and that those who will come "into power" in the occupied areas of Cyprus will do whatever Turkey tells them.

    YENIDUZEN (21.02.05) mouthpiece of the RTP publishes the results under the front page banner title "The word of the people".

    KIBRISLI newspaper (21.02.05) writes that "The people won" and argues that now the Turkish Cypriots have the opportunity of establishing a strong "government" that will ensure stability and will increase their prestige and the appreciation of the international community towards them.

    The paper publishes also a written statement issued by the Commission of the EU that expresses its satisfaction regarding the results noting that they show that the Turkish Cypriots wished the continuation of their preparation for full unification with the EU and that they have expressed their commitment to the reunification of Cyprus. The Commission has reportedly expressed its determination to approve as soon as possible the Direct Trade and the Financial Aid regulations.

    VOLKAN newspaper (21.02.05) writes that using all the possibilities that the "power" gave to it, the "state" organizations, the "state" banks and the illegal Bayrak television and radio and having the support of Turkey's JDP government, the EU and the United States, "the RTP swallowed PDM and CLP"!

    ORTAM newspaper (21.02.05) reports that yesterday the so-called Supreme Election Board confiscated and withdrew from circulation seven newspapers because they published articles and advertisements which were violating the so-called election law.

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (21.02.05) argues that "these elections will define the successor of Denktas".

    Finally, Ankara Anatolia news agency (21/02/05) reports that there was a change in the results of the early so-called elections held in the occupied areas of Cyprus yesterday.

    According to the unofficial final results received from the "Supreme Election Board" (SEB), the number of Republican Turkish Party (RTP) seats, which had been reported as 25 dropped to 24, and the number of National Unity Party (NUP) seats rose from 18 to 19.

    This was caused by the change in the results in occupied Kyrenia. The RTP, which was reported to have received five seats in occupied Kyrenia really received four, while the number of NUP seats in the same precinct rose from three to four. This was established after the occupied Kyrenia ballot boxes were brought to the SEB and the votes were counted once again. There were no changes in the number of the votes received by the Democratic Party, six, or the Peace and Democracy Movement, one.

    [02] Statements by Talat after the preliminary results of the so-called elections were announced

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.02.05) broadest live a press conference by Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Following are Mr Talat´s statements first in Turkish and then in English and his replies to questions:

    "We went through a difficult period. We went through a little wavy, difficult, and complex period. Our government, which became a minority after a referendum, called for early elections as the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces [RTP-UF] which is the main partner in the government. We hoped, after the early elections, to set up a sound and stable government and proceed on our path. Unfortunately, we failed. Eventually, we were slowly swept into elections. The results of the elections held today are not final yet, but, show that the RTP-UF have increased their votes significantly. The RTP-UF have increased their votes by 10 percent -- 10 points -- compared to the last elections. We have approximately 25 deputies. This is an important victory. It is the victory of the Turkish Cypriot people, who want a solution and peace. It is the victory of all the Turkish Cypriots, who want a Cyprus solution and the island to be united once again. Regardless of the party voted for, we embrace all our colleagues, citizens, and brothers who worked with us in this struggle. Regardless of the party voted for, we believe that we are able to surmount the coming difficult period with all those who support us and who seek a solution that safeguards the interests of the Turkish Cypriots within the framework of justice and equality.

    This is the time for unity and togetherness. Just because the RTP-UF has now 25 deputies and even if it would have had more than 25 deputies, the RTP-UF will never upset those who did not vote for it and refrain from taking advantage of their potential. We embrace all our citizens, all the Turkish Cypriots. Regardless of who voted for whom, we will be the government of everybody. We seek to form a government, which will best realize a social consensus. We will begin work for a government as of tomorrow. As you know, the Assembly will convene 10 days after the official results are announced and an oath-taking ceremony is organized. Only after the oath-taking ceremony work to set up a government is launched. If possible, however, we will start with this work as soon as possible in order to gain time. As you know, the election period for presidential elections starts immediately after. I would like to stress once again that this big victory will not prompt us to exaggerate our force and limits. We will, most certainly, try to deserve the consideration shown by the Turkish Cypriot people. All the citizens are our citizens and kinsmen. We will work together with everybody in order to achieve social peace in our country."

    Short statement by Talat in English: "Today, we ended the election period. The result is not yet very clear, but it seems that the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces has gained around 25 MPs. This might change, one up or one down, it does not matter. The result shows that the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces has increased its votes, its support by 10 points, around 10 points. This shows the appreciation of the Turkish Cypriots is going up. So, we will try to give the value to this appreciation and we will try and we will work with our best to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem. And, we know that this is the actual and most important demand of the Turkish Cypriots. This support to my party is because of this very reason. So, we will try to do our best to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem on our behalf, of course. I want to call the Greek Cypriot side, the Greek Cypriot leadership to catch our hand, which we are extending in peace and for peace to them. We will continue to put our best efforts for reconciliation and a solution to the Cyprus problem. From tomorrow onwards, we will initiate our new efforts for the formation of a government. Of course, we have some until the inauguration of the parliament. The first meeting of the parliament will take place around after 10 days. But, we will start immediately to prepare the necessary grounds for a new government. Our government will continue to support the peace in the community and also peace in Cyprus".

    Question: National Unity Party [NUP] leader Eroglu said that he will not run in the next elections as leader of NUP. How do you assess this?

    Answer: This is his decision. I do not have anything to say on this issue. He had already said previously that this was his last elections as NUP leader. This is his decision altogether. I do not have the authority to say anything on this issue.

    Question: You said that you will be a candidate for the presidency? [Question indistinct]

    Answer: I did not make any statement to the effect that I will run for presidency. This will be decided by my party. Eventually, it will be the party authoritative bodies, which will convene to make this decision. I, therefore, do not need to reply to the remaining question.

    Question: Will you set up the government on your own? Answer: It is impossible to set up a government on our own with only 25 deputies. A minimum of 26 deputies is needed. We will search for alternatives to have 26 or more deputies. It is impossible to say more on this issue since the results are not final yet.

    Question: Do you intend to set up a conciliation government?

    Answer: No. It is obvious that the Turkish Cypriots have to decide on a very complex, delicate, and detailed policy and pursue this policy. It has to be a very detailed, delicate, and determined policy. Such policies are not compatible with the government model you are talking about. Unfortunately, the basis necessary to set up a national consensus government is not existent as of yet. Other formulas can be tried out, however. In other words, other steps can be undertaken in order to secure a social unity instead of a national consensus government. For this reason, we are not thinking about initiating any steps toward a national consensus. I would like to repeat, however, that our party as the RTP-UF is the party, whose decision-making process is based on the most number of bodies. All I am saying, including what I am saying now, is valid only after the approval of the party organs. It is always possible for the party organs to make a different decision than mine.

    Question: The Cyprus process will embark on a significant period. There is also President Papadopoulos' remark that he does not consider the Turkish Cypriot of Northern Cyprus as his counterpart. Now that you will be heading a stronger government, will your hand be more forceful and what will be your arguments in response to Papadopoulos?

    Answer: Look, there is absolutely no need to come out with a counter argument. All the UN and UN Security Council resolutions until now and all the international decisions say that the Cyprus issue should be resolved on the basis of the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. The same decisions call on both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to fulfill their responsibilities to this end and Turkey and Greece, as the guarantor countries, to contribute in this regard. The Cyprus problem, consequently, will be resolved by us and the Greek Cypriot side. Turkey, Greece, and Britain are guarantor countries. Turkey and Greece have important roles to fulfil. The solution, however, lies with the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. As you said, Papadopoulos has been working to this end. He is trying to have this issue become the problem between Turkey and the Cyprus Republic. He does not stand a chance, however, because this is not the essence of the issue. The essence of the issue, even though is an international issue, is the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. It is futile to drag the issue into another area.

    Question: [indistinct question in English]

    Answer: What do you mean by changing my attitude for Mr Papadopoulos. I made a call, as you remember, just now to Mr Papadopoulos and to the Greek Cypriot side. When I said Greek Cypriot side, of course, I meant Mr Papadopoulos to come to the negotiating table. We Turkish Cypriots, many times, reiterated our response as we are ready to solve the Cyprus problem and we call on Mr Papadopoulos to give us a peaceful hand to us. So, I mean, our position is unchanged. We are for solution and ending the Cyprus problem.

    Question: Did you have any calls from President Sezer or Prime Minister Erdogan?

    Answer: What do you mean? You mean for upper congratulation. No. Not yet, because, maybe we were very busy and, actually, I got a call from one of his deputies, but not yet from Mr Erdogan.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: Oh, no. We are at the verge of another coalition. I do not know who will be my partner. That is dependent on the results first of all and then the possibility of coming to a common understanding. Question: Will you be going for a coalition if you have 26 seats?

    Answer: Actually, this is a critical question. I do not want to answer to this question because it is so at a critical point that we have to discuss and decide with my friends. We did not discuss this yet. Of course, that is always possible. But it depends on the organs of my party. We did not yet discuss that matter.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: The most important factor is to do what we said and to have our anticipations come true. We told our people the truths. We told all that was going to happen step by step. If you look to the past of the RTP-UF you will realize the importance of what I said even more so. Even before the RTP-UF was established; that is, before 2003, we were telling people that these days will become true. The fact that what we said became true caused our people to have confidence in us. In the 2003 December elections, the Turkish Cypriot people was still a little undecided because they did not know the performance of the RTP-UF within the government. Everybody knows that the RTP-UF was accused of various things. The government did all the opposite during its term in office. The RTP-UF was successful on all areas, from the Cyprus issue, to economy, and social issues. The fact that the RTP-UF achieved some successful performance in the north of Cyprus caused the Turkish Cypriot people to increase its support. The most important thing is the significant role the RTP-UF assumed in the talks on the Annan plan before the 24 April referendum. In addition, the referendum results, which showed that 65 percent of the votes extended support to the Annan plan, was the beginning of the result we achieved today.

    In the same way that we told the Turkish Cypriot people during our election campaign that we will keep our word, these elections will show to the whole world that the Turkish Cypriot people reconfirmed its support in what we have to say. I believe that foreign countries will attach more importance to what we say in face of the determination displayed by the Turkish Cypriot people. We should not forget, however, that we are advancing toward a serious, big, and deep-rooted change in government. The presidential elections are following these elections. In other words, we are advancing toward an overall and deep-rooted change in government in the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´. The first step to this end was taken now and others will follow. In this way, we will be telling the whole world once again that the Turkish Cypriots' view and vision displayed on 24 April are still valid. In this way, we will be telling the whole world once again that the Turkish Cypriots are not separatists and that they seek a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Question: There is a very short period ahead. When do you think will you be able to sit at the negotiation table?

    Answer: This is not in our hands. We have already announced that we are ready to sit at the negotiation table at every moment, even during elections. We have already said that what is important for us is the Cyprus issue. For this reason, there is no development that warrants a backward step. I, however, cannot know when we can sit at the negotiation table. The most important development, which will make it possible for us to sit at the negotiation table, is to have UN Secretary-General Annan's conditions to be met. In other words, you already know of UN Secretary- General's conditions. I, most certainly, seek a solution. I had said that I will not embark on this process if I have doubts. Therefore, the UN Secretary-General should be satisfied first before negotiations can start. Papadopoulos' assurance is necessary for the UN Secretary-General to be satisfied. In my opinion, the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot should end so that Papadopoulos can give his assurance. Once the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots ends, Papadopoulos will be obliged to sit at the negotiation table because it will become clear that what he is saying is not true and the policies he is pursuing are dangerous. It is impossible, however, for me to say when this will happen.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: Actually, you see, the international community promised us that the isolation will be ended. So, this is the promise of the international community including the EU and the United Nations. And the UN Secretary-General, as you know, called for it. So, it is not up to me, it is up to the international community to help us to end the isolation.

    Question: Now that you will have more power, will you be pressuring for this?

    Answer: Definitely, definitely. We will, of course, use our pressure more decisively and more, maybe extensively.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: Of course, no. This is not something, which can be achieved by ultimatums. I mean, we will work, will try our best. Do not forget that the Turkish Cypriots have proved that they are Europeans. The government of the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ acted as a European government. They acted in a very flexible way. They are ready to compromise. They are ready to form a dialogue and to have contacts with the Greek Cypriot side. But, we are always refused by the Greek Cypriot side. Just remember the last murder case. We did our best to cooperate with the Greek Cypriot side. But, because of their obsession of recognition, etc. they declined to do. So, I mean, we are a European community and a European government. So, we will always work with the EU and the international community to end the isolation and we will always be constructive.

    Question: What will happen if no solution is reached until 3 October?

    Answer: It goes without saying that there is the probability of reaching a solution until 3 October. As I said before, however, the UN Secretary-General has certain conditions for resuming the negotiation process. These conditions are actually an assurance that the talks will not collapse once again. It is the Greek Cypriot side, which has to give this assurance, not us. For this reason, there will be a solution if the negotiations resume because this will mean that the assurances have already been given. We will do everything within our power to this end. It is impossible to do this on our own, however.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: If we can pursue the stable politics, which the Turkish Cypriot people confirmed with the election results, what I said previously will happen. Eventually, the work to be carried out by the Turkish Cypriot people and government as an European mechanism will enable the world to undertake more determined steps with regard to ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. Pursuing these policies until 3 October, unless a solution is reached on the negotiation table, will prevent a weakened position for the Turkish Cypriots after 3 October.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: You see, you are very right in asking this question. But, do not forget we have presidential election also. As you know, the president is the leader of the community and hence, he or she is the negotiator. Since we have an early near elections. We will, most probably, wait until that election. Until that time, of course, I will shoulder that responsibility.

    [Indistinct question by correspondent]

    Answer: Let me immediately reply to this question. Van der Meer has no right to say anything about which airport to be used for what purpose. Van der Meer is the head of the delegation here. It will be states and countries that will decide on the usage of airports. The decision will not be made by the Commission or the EU. Mr Barroso clearly said so during my visit. Consequently, I do not know under what conditions Mr Van der Meer said these things. I do not know whether it could be a distortion or a translation mistake. In my opinion, however, if he said this, it is an unfortunate statement.

    Question: Are you satisfied with the election results? Could they have been better?

    Answer: Of course, there is always a best. To be honest, I was expecting better results. This is not a bad result. It is satisfactory. It shows that the Turkish Cypriot people are supporting these ideas for a solution -- the unification of the island and entry to the EU as a unified island. So, I think that this is the lesson that we should get from these results.

    Question: Will these results be enough to support your reunification aspirations?

    Answer: I think so. And of course, this is not the end of the adventure. As you know, we have another election upcoming. And, that will indicate a total change in the power structure within the Turkish Cypriot side. I think that will be more intensively, and you can say, more assertively will show the real inclinations within the Turkish Cypriot community."

    [03] Statements by Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar Denktas the day after the so-called elections

    Istanbul NTV (21.02.05) broadcast that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, chairman of the victorious Republican Turkish Party [RTP], and Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party [DP] which will probably become a coalition partner, spoke to NTV about the work of the government and the Cyprus policy to be pursued from now on.

    Talat said he plans to pressure the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Papadopoulos, while Serdar Denktas said: "The Turkish Cypriots do not have patience to wait for Papadopoulos".

    The RTP raised its vote by 10 percent in these elections, but could not get the majority necessary to set up a government on its own. In a statement to NTV, RTP leader Talat said he would immediately start to work on a government. He also gave us some clues on the Cyprus policy he will pursue: "While conducting a more determined struggle to ensure that our isolation is ended, we will also convince the world that this is necessary, absolutely necessary. Either the Greek Cypriot side and Papadopoulos will be convinced or he will not. If he is not, we shall expect the world to simply disregard him and take certain steps. In this way, as in the call of the UN Secretary-General, Papadopoulos will have to list his objections and complaints and start the negotiation process. In this way, he will be placed under great pressure, and finally the negotiations will begin".

    After increasing its vote slightly, the DP emerged as the third party from these elections, and is considered to be the possible coalition partner of the government to be established. DP leader Serdar Denktas told NTV that the DP is a key party for the coalition.

    "Actually, we are the only key party for a strong, stable, and harmonious government".

    Serdar Denktas commented on the Cyprus question as well: "What we need to do in the short run is to lead this process to a solution, If the Greek Cypriot side accepts, two political equals will mutually agree on a united Cyprus. I think that if the Greek Cypriot side maintains its present stand, nobody has the right to keep us waiting under the current conditions".

    Dervis Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party which came second in the elections, expressed the hope that the outcome will be auspicious. Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement which came in fourth, said he respects the election results.

    [04] Statement by Serdar Denktas on the so-called election outcome

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.02.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Serdar Denktas leader of the Democratic Party [DP], has said that with their vote in the early general "elections" today, the Turkish Cypriots showed that they approve of the "government's" policies.

    Accompanied by his wife Muge, Serdar Denktas arrived at the press center set up at Saray Hotel and spoke to reporters. He asserted that the election results show that the people approve of the government, noting that the major coalition party, the Republican Turkish Party [RTP], received even greater approval.

    Serdar Denktas said: "We are happy that our performance of the past year was not rejected." He said he was pleased that the DP increased its vote even if by a small margin. Nevertheless, he added, we regret that we lost a deputy in Morphou and one in Famagusta with a very small difference in the number of votes.

    Serdar Denktas said that regardless of whether they backed the DP, he congratulates all citizens for the maturity they displayed during the "elections". He concluded by saying: "The elections did not make us very happy, but nor did they make us sad."

    [05] Statements by Eroglu after the preliminary results of the so-called elections

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.02.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Dervis Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party [NUP] which came out second in the so-called elections, has expressed the hope that the results will prove to be auspicious for the pseudostate. Eroglu denied the rumors that he was going to resign.

    Replying to questions, Eroglu pointed out that the rate of participation in the elections was high, and he thanked the Turkish Cypriots for their democratic stand and calmness.

    Asked if he was going to resign, he recalled that in an earlier statement he had said "he would be heading his party for the last time in general elections." He added: I had said that I would serve my party as a regular soldier in subsequent elections. "I have not heard of the resignation rumors and I have not considered resigning."

    In reply to a question on the so-called presidential elections to be held in April, Eroglu stressed that the results of today's elections are not an indication of what will happen at the presidential elections. He went on: "Despite the intervention of countries that consider themselves to be the disciples of democracy, the people of the `TRNC´ passed a good democracy test." Eroglu recalled that the United States and the EU had made it clear their preference in these elections was Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Eroglu congratulated Talat for increasing the number of his party's votes.

    [06] Statements by Akinci after the preliminary results of the so-called elections

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.02.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement [PDM], who managed to get one of the 50 seats at the "Republican Assembly" during the elections held in the "TRNC" today, has said that he respects the decision of the people of the "TRNC".

    In a statement at the press center set up at Saray Hotel, Akinci expressed the hope that the election results will be auspicious. He said: "The fact that we received few votes does not mean that the PDM's views are wrong." We did not receive a sufficient number of seats, but as a new party, we were not sufficiently organized for these elections.

    Asked which party got the votes the PDM lost, Akinci replied: "Most probably, they went to the Republican Turkish Party [RTP]."

    Akinci called Mehmet Ali Talat and congratulated him on his party's victory.

    [07] The Turkish Foreign Minister congratulated the Turkish Cypriots

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.02.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, telephoned the leaders of the four parties who, according to the unofficial election results, gained the right to be represented at the Turkish Cypriot Republican Assembly.

    Gul called the following leaders on the telephone and congratulated them: Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, National Unity Party leader Dervis Eroglu, Democratic Party leader Serdar Denktas, and Peace and Democracy Movement leader Mustafa Akinci.

    Gul expressed his pleasure at the fact that the "elections" were held in such a peaceful atmosphere, and hoped for the leaders' success in their endeavors.

    [08] Letter by Serdar Denktas to the UN Secretary-General

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.02.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Mr Serdar Denktas, so-called Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of the occupation regime sent a letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday.

    In his letter, Denktas said: ''I have the honor to refer to your recent statements regarding the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, and, in particular, to your call upon the Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos, to clarify in writing their rejection of your Comprehensive Settlement Plan on Cyprus. In this connection, I wish to convey our appreciation of your approach.''

    ''At the outset, I would like to reiterate the readiness of the Turkish Cypriot side to resume negotiations under your auspices and our determination to work in goodwill towards the final settlement of the Cyprus question. On the other hand, we share your assessment that the professed willingness of the Greek Cypriot side towards this end needs to be demonstrated not just in words but in action. As you have repeatedly pointed out, the Turkish Cypriot people voted in favor of your comprehensive settlement plan and accepted a solution on the basis of its provisions. It is now for the Greek Cypriot side to convince the world, in general, and the Turkish Cypriot side, in particular, that their overwhelming rejection was not a demonstration of their total refusal of a settlement based on power sharing and equality,'' he said.

    Stressing that the Greek Cypriot side should put its final comments in writing and clarify its objections to the plan in order to provide for a solid assessment of the way forward, Denktas said: "This would be an important step in the right direction if the Greek Cypriot leadership is truly sincere in resuming negotiations with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.''

    ''As I have already stated, your unequivocal efforts aimed at resuming the negotiations on a genuine basis as well as ensuring that the Greek Cypriot side shall display the necessary political will towards a successful outcome, are most welcome. As the Turkish Cypriot side, we firmly believe that your call on the Greek Cypriot side deserves the support of all those who sincerely desire a speedy political settlement in Cyprus. It is in this spirit that I have personally started meeting the resident Ambassadors of the Security Council member states in Cyprus and conveying our foregoing views in support of your position. My initiatives towards urging the Security Council members to extend their active backing to your efforts shall continue,'' he said.

    Denktas added: ''I only hope that the Greek Cypriot leadership realizes before long that the only way to solve the Cyprus question is to compromise under UN auspices for a mutually beneficial settlement and starts cooperation towards that end. As the Turkish Cypriot people and leadership, our proven conviction in this regard continues and we stand ready to extend the necessary contribution to a mutually acceptable agreement based on the principles of bi-zonality, political equality and power sharing. It would simply be unfair, however, to expect the Turkish Cypriot people to indefinitely await a resolution and be committed to an uncertain future under the all-out reactions that have been weighing so heavily on their political, economic and social life until the Greek Cypriot side deems the time ripe for dictating its terms for the settlement of the Cyprus issue.''

    [09] Erdogan and Gul pleased with the visit of representatives of US firms through the occupied airport of Tymbou to the areas of Cyprus under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops

    Istanbul NTV television (18.02.05) broadcast that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the US businessmen delegation's visit to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus is very positive.

    Erdogan declared that he is expecting Europe to take the same step.

    Erdogan, who concluded his two-day visit to Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, commented on his contacts upon his arrival at Ankara's Esenboga Airport. In reply to reporters' questions, Erdogan assessed the US businessmen delegation's contacts in the areas of Cyprus under Turkish military control. He said that the steps that are being taken now are within his expectations. The prime minister noted: "These are positive developments. We hope that this will not remain a step undertaken by the United States alone. Our European friends should also undertake similar steps, because they promised us."

    Asked when a new minister will be appointed to the Culture and Tourism Ministry following the resignation of Erkan Mumcu, Erdogan replied: "We will consult with our colleagues, and then appoint a new minister."

    Ankara Anatolia (18.02.05) reported from Kayseri that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said on Friday that his visit to Lebanon was not an urgent or secret visit.

    Replying to questions of journalists, Gul said: ''I wish I could attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon. However, it was not a state funeral. As a result of our consultations, we decided that it would be more appropriate to pay a visit of condolence to Hariri's family after the funeral. Hariri was one of the leading figures in the Middle East. He had personal and friendly relations with both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and me. It was not an urgent or secret visit at all.''

    When recalled that a U.S. newspaper [The Wall Street Journal] described Turkey as ''sick man'', Gul said: ''There is democracy and press freedom both in the United States and Turkey. Under the freedom of press, journalists can express their views freely. Neither us, nor the U.S. administration are not interested in them. The most important thing is the historical relations between Turkey and the United States. Turkey and the United States have been allies for 60 years. This relation continued under the most difficult conditions.''

    Recalling that the United States had pledged to put an end to the so-called blockade of Turkish Cypriots, Gul told reporters: ''As you know, representatives of several U.S. companies paid a visit to the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) yesterday. We appreciated this initiative. We hope that their efforts will yield positive results.''

    [10] Mumcu: Government getting ready for early elections

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Ruling Justice and Developments Party (JDP) Isparta Deputy and the Minister of Culture Erkan Mumcu, who resigned from his Ministerial post and from the party last week, has claimed that JDP Government is getting prepared for early elections.

    Mumcu in a statement to Turkish daily VATAN newspaper (20.02.05) said that the JDP will leave the important structural reforms demanded by the EU after the early elections. Mumcu answered questions put to him by the paper's correspondent.

    Question: Do you expect more resignations from the JDP?

    Mumcu: For me the issue is to put forward a vision for Turkey. If we do this then the resignations will follow.

    Question: How could you describe your differences of view with the JDP? Mumcu: There is major difference in thinking between me and the JDP. This is a ideological difference. It is not as claimed, a difference that concerns only the way of life. I do defend liberal democracy. The JDP is a conservative democratic party. In Liberal Democracy the individual is the focal point. Individual rights could be in conflict with conservative values. Conservative democracy promotes conservative values and not individual values.

    Question: What you say is the Motherland Party (MP) philosophy, is that true?

    Mumcu: Yes, it is true, I am the heir to Ozal's MP, I am the continuation of Ozal's mission.

    Question: Is there slowing down in JDP's government relations with the EU?

    Mumcu: Yes, there is, and the reason is that the JDP is planning to leave the difficult structural reforms for EU harmonization after an election, because, they think that at this moment they are unable to carry on this process. So, they want to decelerate the EU process. Among them they talk about the early elections, they will take difficult steps regarding the EU after an election.

    Subtitle: First sign

    The JDP Malatya deputy Suleyman Saribas said: I will act together with Mumcu. The JDP does not believe in involvement of the individuals in the democratic process".

    [11] Talat wants a united Cyprus with greater powers for the "TRNC"

    Istanbul Hurriyet newspaper (21/02/05) publishes the following interview with Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) under the title: "Talat: 'I may not run for Presidency'"

    Question: Are you going to announce your candidacy for presidency?

    Answer: The presidency effectively became a symbolic post after the referendum on the Annan plan held on 24 April. Since, however, the "TRNC" has not been recognized internationally, its president is rather treated as a community leader. My party will decide whether or not I should announce my candidacy for presidency. Please do not create an impression right after the election that I will announce my candidacy. I would like to caution you that there could be totally unexpected developments and I may not run for presidency.

    Question: Do you plan to form a coalition government with the DP [Democratic Party] in order to strengthen your position in the National Assembly and to build a national consensus?

    Answer: We do not have an eternal bond with Serdar Denktas and the DP. If I am able to form a government independently, why should I seek support from others? Actually, we have the majority to form a government. But, there is also an idea of forming a coalition government with another party in order to consolidate our control over the National Assembly and to ensure that a stronger government is formed. Everything will become clear in the coming days.

    Question: Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos wants to meet with Erdogan, who invited him over for a coffee. How do you feel about that?

    Answer: A direct meeting between Erdogan and Papadopoulos or between the Greek Cypriots and Turkey to discuss the Cyprus question will never take place. If Turkey agrees to have talks with Papadopoulos, it would be tantamount to admitting that it maintains its presence on this island as an invader. Besides, we would never accept that. Erdogan's statement that they could resolve the Cyprus dispute over coffee with Papadopoulos had a figurative meaning. Erdogan is the leader of Turkey, which is a major country, and he probably made those comments to show that he was not taking the efforts being made by Papadopoulos, the leader of the Greek Cypriots, who have a very small population, seriously.

    Question: Has your approach to Turkey changed?

    Answer: Turkey is the sole ally of the "TRNC", which means that it is the only country acting as our ally irrespective of whether or not it serves her national interests. Although we sometimes make insulting remarks, Turkey is the only country with which we have cordial ties. Turkey sent its soldiers to the island to guarantee security of the Turkish Cypriots and it is now making efforts to ensure a settlement that would never create conditions prompting it to intervene again.

    Question: Has Turkey interfered in the election? Did the representatives of some American companies visit the island ahead of the election in order to support your campaign?

    Answer: Turkey did not interfere in the last election at all. The previous Turkish governments, however, used to interfere. I have nothing to do with the arrangement of the American businessmen's tour. They did not even visit me.

    Question: You were accused of failing to make efforts in order to ensure survival of the state during your tenure as prime minister.

    Answer: Of course I am the "Prime Minister" of the "TRNC". I am and will be the person who best serves the "TRNC's" interests. A united Republic of Cyprus will be founded when a solution is found. This, however, would not conflict with the "TRNC's" existence. The "TRNC" will be a part of the united Cyprus and it will even have greater powers.

    Question: Are you ready for a new round of negotiations?

    Answer: We are ready to start immediately. No specific date has, however, been fixed yet. Papadopoulos is a Greek Cypriot nationalist and no peaceful settlement could be negotiated with him. In other words, he would never sit at the negotiating table. Turkey could not feel at ease as long as the Cyprus question remains unsolved. The Greek Cypriots must be persuaded to sit at the negotiating table and the only way to achieve that is to lift the embargoes imposed on the "TRNC". The Greek Cypriots would agree to negotiate if flights start between Tymbou Airport and New York and London.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Columnist in SABAH assesses the article in "Wall Streek Journal" under the title "Sick Man of Europe"

    Istanbul SABAH newspaper (17.02.05) publishes the following commentary by Asli Aydintasbas under the title: "Who lost Turkey?":

    With its daily circulation of two million, the Wall Street Journal is one of the most influential newspapers in the world.

    As for its institutional line, the editors of this newspaper have been extending support to Turkey since Turgut Ozal. As a matter of fact, when the EU leveled criticism against Turkey, the newspaper defended Ankara, firmly criticizing Europe for adopting an anti-Muslim stand and for supporting PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] terrorism. Every time we met in New York, Bob Bartley, the newspaper's legendary editor who died last year (he was one of the most influential names among the classical conservatives in the United States), talked about his friendship with Ozal or about the support that Turkey extended to the Western Bloc in the Cold War. Given that the newspaper pursued such a policy, no one was surprised when it published articles that ended with sentences such as "Kirkuk is not a Kurdish city" or "Turkey is too important to be left to Europe" and that were entitled "Turkey Should Be Enabled To Join NAFTA."

    Given these facts, how should we interpret the article in the Wall Street Journal that accused Turkey of being "The Sick Man of Europe"? The article that was written by Robert Pollock, one of the chief editors of the newspaper after a visit to Turkey, constitutes of the firmest criticism that has been levelled against Ankara and the JDP [Justice and Development Party] government during the past several years. In fact, if I am not wrong, this is the first criticism against Ankara and the JDP government. Describing the anti-American sentiments in Turkey as "loony," Pollock notes that "the combination of old leftism and new Islamism," Tayyip Erdogan, the JDP administrators, and the media are responsible for these sentiments. There is no doubt that the picture that emerges when he lists one after the other issues such as the debate on ecumenism, "the discussions on the eighth planet" that were very popular last year, the RPP [Republican People's Party] leader's allegations to the effect that "the CIA wants to destroy him," and the anti-Semitic expressions that have recently appeared in the media, point to a thought structure that American readers will not be able to understand.

    The atmosphere that is described as "poisonous" by the writer as well as "the collapse in the relations" do not only endanger the 50-year Turkish-US alliance, "Ataturk's legacy," and the "Ottoman grandeur," but they also carry the risk of turning Turkey into "another second-rate country that is small-minded, paranoid, marginal, and friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe."

    When reading this article, you will get angry from time to time, you will laugh from time to time, and you will feel shame from time to time. Nevertheless, we do not want to analyze whether or not the Wall Street Journal is right. We aim to point to this sudden turn in the US media. State ministers or foreign ministers who have visited the United States during the past several years have never failed to visit the Wall Street Journal which was located at the ground floor of the World Trade Center which was destroyed on 11 September. This is because the Wall Street Journal, which has never published a single word against Turkey during the past 20 years, is not an ordinary newspaper. It is "decisive" in the White House as well as in economic and conservative circles. Our leaders should therefore pay attention to this article. It is necessary to be coolheaded. From Turkey's standpoint, the American public constitutes a center that should not be lost. It was not easy to establish the current "pro-Turkey" atmosphere. This is the result of the bills that have been paid to lobbying companies for years, the weight of our 50-year friendship, the efforts made by the Jewish lobby in the US Congress, and the efforts of hundreds of anonymous diplomats who have taken their lives into their hands to promote Turkey. The warning shot that was fired by the US media is also the result of the fact that Ankara is not able to "appropriately read" the international community. When I sit with European diplomats lately I feel a lack of enthusiasm regarding Turkey, a feeling I can describe as the "post-17 December syndrome." The discussions held by German and French press organs are not very hopeful.

    On the other hand, the fact that the Western public has put the blame for the attack in Lebanon on Syria and the fact that it has decided to act together with the United States where Iran is concerned show that Ankara should review its policy that aims "to protect/to support" these two countries. At a time when we focus on our domestic conflicts, dazzling developments are occurring around us. The Middle East is being reshaped. The possibility of hot clashes and operations is increasing in our region. And finally, the distance between the United States and Europe is decreasing.

    Under these circumstances, where is our place?"

    /SK


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