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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-03-28

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.58/05 25-28.03.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Reports from Ankara that the EU Commission and the Turkish government agreed on the signing of the of the Customs Union Protocol
  • [02] Talat appears ready to speak on behalf of Turkey as well
  • [03] Talat: "We have to corner the Greek Cypriots"
  • [04] Another JDP deputy resigned
  • [05] British land developer expands his business to the occupied areas
  • [06] Turkey claims to be the closest ally of the US but it turned the use of Incirlik into a serial worse that the 1st March motion
  • [07] The problem of Alevis were discussed in a conference in Ankara
  • [08] Economic growth of 9.7 percent in 2004 in Turkey
  • [09] Turkish diplomats meet high - ranking Kyrgyz Officials in Bishkek
  • [10] Five members of the Human Rights Advisory Board resign
  • [11] "CYPRUS TIMES", a new English language newspaper
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Columnist in Radikal argues that the Erdogan government appears to be rendering invalid everything it said on human rights before getting a date for accession negotiations
  • [13] Columnist in Milliyet on the use Incirlik by the U.S.
  • [14] Columnist in Milliyet argues that the Turkish Foreign Ministry supports bloodless revolutions in the former Soviet Republics
  • [15] Cyprus protocol and the importance of the detail

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Reports from Ankara that the EU Commission and the Turkish government

    agreed on the signing of the of the Customs Union Protocol On Thursday 24 March 2004 TR1 television broadcast that the exchange of letters between Turkey and the EU which will replace the initialing of the adaptation protocol will take place next week. This will be the first step in the process of approving the adaptation protocol, a precondition for the start of Turkey´s accession talks. The two sides have already agreed on the basic provisions of the document. By exchanging letters next week, they will start the timetable for signing and approving the adaptation document.

    On the same issue Turkish Hurriyet newspaper (24/03/05) reported that next week Turkey will send a letter of intent in order to inform the EU that it is ready to sign the adaptation protocol. This letter will be undersigned by Ambassador Oguz Demiralp, Turkey´s permanent representative in the EU.

    According to the information received from diplomatic sources, the remaining technical problems in the adaptation protocol are about to be resolved. After Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul are briefed on the adaptation protocol and after the approval process within the EU is completed, Gul is expected to sign the protocol in question. When signing the adaptation protocol, Turkey will also issue a separate declaration, announcing that this protocol is signed for trade purposes only and that singing this protocol does not mean that Turkey will officially recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member which gave its consent for Turkey´s for a date of negotiations to commence.

    Despite the fact that a preliminary agreement has been reached between Turkey and the EU, there are still differences of opinion with regard to the issue between the sides. The EU wants the adaptation protocol to be implemented immediately after Gul´s signature. Ankara on the other hand, has informed the EU time and time again that an international agreement will be in effect only if the TGNA (Turkish Grand National Assembly) approves it. A high level official claimed that despite the fact that on 17 December Turkey promised to sign the adaptation protocol by 3 October, it did not make any promises regarding the approval of the TGNA. It is noted, however, that the EU does not share Turkey´s opinion in this regard.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (25/03/05) quoted sources from Ankara to have said: "Ankara and Brussels have agreed on the content of the additional protocol which will extend Turkey´s customs union to 10 new EU members including the Republic of Cyprus Ankara expects the EU to send the letter soon which will start the process".

    If the agreed protocol text is submitted without a change to Turkey, Ankara will express its confirmation with a letter to be sent to Brussels.

    Meanwhile, upon initiatives of Ankara the expressions in the text about usage of ports and airports as well as instant implementation of the protocol are changed.

    On the other hand sources said that it is wrong to say that Turkey lost its motivation on its way to the EU, and the preparations are well underway.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (28/03/05) reported that the letter requesting from Turkey to sign the Additional Protocol to include the Republic of Cyprus has already arrived in Ankara and it was handed over to the Turkish government through the EU Commission delegation in the Turkish capital.

    [02] Talat appears ready to speak on behalf of Turkey as well

    Istanbul NTV television (26/03/05) broadcast that in a special statement to NTV, Mehmet Ali Talat, so-called Prime Minister of Ankara´s regime in occupied Cyprus commented on Greek Foreign Minister Molyviatis' reported proposal for a solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of certain changes to be made in the Annan plan.

    Talat said: "This development may be the beginning of the international diplomatic pressure to persuade the Greek Cypriots to the come to the negotiating table. We must thank him. If he was aware of what he was saying, then that is why he said it, of course. That is a positive development. The Greek Cypriot and Greek diplomats are losing the world's sympathy. In fact, they are extremely uncomfortable in diplomatic circles. That is what Mr. Molyviatis' speech clearly shows, in fact."

    Talat pointed out that because he considers himself to be on an equal footing with Turkey, Papadopoulos wants to have Prime Minister Erdogan as his interlocutor. That is impossible, Talat said and added: "The Cyprus problem cannot be resolved through negotiations between Papadopoulos and Erdogan at any of its stages."

    Mr Talat affirmed that the passport problem -- which recently surfaced with the acquisition of a Republic of Cyprus passport by Rauf Denktas' grandson -- has dangerous other aspects.

    He said: "It is true that the failure to reach a solution following the referendum encouraged the acquisition of Greek Cypriot passports. It would be dangerous for Turkish Cypriots to establish links, one by one, with the Greek Cypriot Administration. That would be bad. Unfortunately, though, it is happening and it is growing. We must stop that. It cannot be done through bans, however. It must be done by working for a solution sincerely, and by reaching a solution.

    Moreover Ankara Anatolia (26/03/05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that responding to questions of journalists before the cabinet meeting on Saturday about Turkey's signing of the Ankara Protocol, Talat said that Turkey's negotiations continued. ''That was expected, as it was Turkey's commitment on December 17th, 2004. We should certainly evaluate the impact of that development on us,'' Talat said.

    Replying another question about the entrance of Republic of Cyprus flagged ships to Turkish ports, Talat said that this had to be evaluated with the issue of direct trade. Talat said that the visit of Greek Cypriot ships to Turkish ports would mean direct trade between Turkey and only the free areas of Cyprus, adding: ''This can't be accepted, if there is no direct trade of the world with north Cyprus. Besides the visit of Greek Cypriot ships to Turkish ports is not within the context of customs union as it is transport business. Transport business should be considered within the context of service sector and the latter is not included in the context of customs union. So I think as long as there is no direct trade with the north of Cyprus, Turkey will not approve the issue of Greek Cypriot flagged ships' visit to Turkish ports.''

    [03] Talat: "We have to corner the Greek Cypriots"

    Turkish Cypriot daily CYPRUS TIMES newspaper (26.03.05) reports that the so-called prime minister of the pseudostate Mehmet Ali Talat stated that the Greek Cypriots must be cornered. Mr Talat made these statements last Friday, in a conference on "EU Process and Cyprus" at the Bahcesehir University in Istanbul.

    "The Greek Cypriot administration cannot act freely in the world anymore as it used to act. It is now facing a big difficulty and isolation. We have to corner it. This can be provided by the lifting of the isolation", he stated. He also alleged that today's policies of the pseudostate and Turkey are approved, adopted and appreciated by the world and that the Greek Cypriot side is now facing attitudes which the Turkish Cypriots experienced in the past.

    Talat said that they want the "isolation" to be lifted, because this will increase the life standards of the Turkish Cypriots and will bring the Republic of Cyprus to the table again.

    "Turkey and the TRNC should pursue their thesis which envisages resolution. We have to corner the Greek Cypriot administration by laying the factors like intransigence and intolerance on Greek Cypriot side", he said.

    Stressing that the resolution of the Cyprus problem will be more difficult after the 3rd of October, Mr Talat stated that if the Cyprus problem is not solved by then, Turkey will face this issue in each step during talks. He also said that they want important developments to occur in the Cyprus problem until Turkey will start EU accession negotiations. "From now on, we do not have any other alternatives than pursuing new policies which are in harmony with world facts in stability", he alleged.

    [04] Another JDP deputy resigned

    NTV television (28/03/05) broadcast that both the Justice and the Development Party (JDP) and the opposition Republican's People Party (RPP) have been hit by a wave of resignations in the past few weeks.

    Yet another parliamentary deputy of Turkey's ruling JDP has announced his resignation, the fifth in the past month.

    Mirac Akdogan, a member of parliament representing the south eastern province of Malatya, announced his resignation from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's JDP Monday morning. He is scheduled to make public his reasons for his quitting the party later in the day. With Akdogan's resignation the JDKP has 360 deputies in the 550 seat Grand National Assembly, the RPP 168, the True Path Party six, and the High Ascendance's Party one. There are nine deputies sitting as independents and one seat is vacant.

    [05] British land developer expands his business to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.03.05) reports that the interest of foreigners, "who believe in the power of the law", to buy and sell property in the occupied part of Cyprus continues, "in spite of the efforts of the Greek Cypriots to discourage them".

    The paper writes that the occupied part of Cyprus has been included in the field of interest of the British businessman, Andrew Reeves, who is member of Britain's National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

    According to the paper, the above-mentioned businessman markets more than 200 thousand real estate properties per year. This year he began making business in Spain as well. In the occupied part of Cyprus he is cooperating with the young Turkish Cypriot businessman, Dimag Caginer.

    [06] Turkey claims to be the closest ally of the US but it turned the use of Incirlik into a serial worse that the 1st March motion before the war against Sadam Husseyin.

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (26/3/05) publishes the following report under the title: "Incirlik will become logistics Center":

    "The government is preparing to give a reply to the United States request to use Incirlik Airbase as a Logistics Supply and Transfer (Forward Operations Base). Prime Minister Erdogan refrained from commenting on Justice and Development Party [JDP] Assistant Party Chairman Murat Mercan's announcement that the reply would be a favourable one.

    The United States made known to Ankara its request to use Incirlik to meet its logistics demands on 18 March 2004. The government is going to determine to what degree of answer will be given to the requests of the United States, which plans to transfer to Afghanistan and Iraq equipment brought in by huge cargo aircraft or by sea through ports close to Incirlik. The Cabinet Decree that was issued in line with the UN resolution allowing Incirlik to be used for logistical and humanitarian purposes will lose validity in June 2005. Therefore, the government is expected to announce its decision before June.

    Subtitle: Negotiations could be opened

    The United States also wants the Base Command authorities, commanded by a Turkish general, to have limited powers, for take-offs and landings to be made without notification, and for cargo not to be inspected. After the announcement of the government's decision it was noted that talks could be initiated between Turkish and US authorities to determine the principles of use. It was stated that the critical matter of "non-notified landings and take-offs" in the decision was being looked into.

    General Staff Second in Command Gen Ilker Basbug made the following evaluation of the United States requests at a monthly press conference he arranged on 26 January:

    "The Americans have proposed that Incirlik be used as a logistics transfer centre in support of the ongoing operations in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in particular. This proposal is being evaluated as it is by the government now."

    When Mercan went to Washington a few days ago there was criticism that the United States requests for Incirlik Airbase had gone unanswered, to which he replied: "A decision in this matter will be made soon". Erdogan for his part said: "When Mr Mercan returns he will give me the necessary information."

    [07] The problem of Alevis were discussed in a conference in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28/03/05) reported the following from Ankara: "The "1st Alevi Conference" has convened with the sponsorship of the Alevi Bektasi Federation and the Confederation of Alevi Associations in Europe.

    The conference at the General Headquarters of the Haci Bektas Veli Anatolian Cultural Foundation discussed the problems of Alevis and the Alevi movement.

    Alevi Bektasi Federation President Ali Dogan said that the meeting was organized to discuss Alevi issues with the aim of gaining recognition for the Alevi identity and the development of citizenship law and to identify departure points for the future.

    Turgut Oker, President of the Confederation of Alevi Associations in Europe, said that this meeting is very important because it is the first of its kind. He said: "However it is disconcerting that it has taken 80 years for a community that is a principal constituent of the country to hold a conference."

    Oker explained that Alevis have been organized in Europe for the last 17 to 18 years but that their existence is not recognized in Turkey in a legal sense. Noting that Alevis can express themselves freely in Europe, Oker said that, nevertheless, there are not enough studies about the Alevis.

    Oker said that courses on Alevism have been offered in schools in Berlin and Hamburg in recent years and that these courses will be offered across Germany beginning with the next academic year. Stating that these elective courses will be taught by teachers and in accordance with a syllabus to be identified by his organization, Oker said: "We see this as a historic achievement. This will constitute a model for other European countries. This will also allow the opening of Alevi studies chairs in universities."

    Oker said that the support his organization has received in its struggle for the recognition and acceptance of the Alevi identity is driven entirely by humanitarian concerns but that certain circles misinterpret it. He continued: "We won our rights with the support provided by circles that support freedom of faith. Our achievements in Europe are reported to the Turkish public in a twisted manner."

    Oker said that certain legal steps have also been taken in Turkey but that the Alevi existence is not yet set in a legal framework.

    Atilla Erden, Secretary General of the Alevi Bektasi Federation, said that some circles have thus far portrayed the Alevis in the context of a religious or sectarian conflict and that the Alevis want to preserve their identity within the framework of a struggle for democracy and secularism. He said: "We will defend the secular democratic state even as we stand up straight and defend our identity."

    DISK [Confederation of Revolutionary Labor Unions] General Chairman Suleyman Celebi said that the Alevis are the community that paid the highest price in Kahramanmaras [in 1977] and Sivas [in 1993].

    Noting that the Alevis have been the vanguards of secularism, democracy, and human rights, Celebi said that his organization shares the same principles with the Alevis. He continued: "We are prepared for cooperation in human rights, democracy, secularism, and the creation of an organized society. Such organized structures need to join hands to participate in politics, and we must spoil these ploys".

    Prof Ibrahim Kaboglu, former Chairman of the [Prime Minister's] Advisory Board on Human Rights, said that it is hard to disregard the rise of religious sentiments in Europe. He continued: "Nevertheless Anatolia is richer than Europe in terms of religion. How this is preserved and perceived is important. We can teach Europe lessons in religious pluralism if we can describe ourselves properly."

    Stating that mandatory religion classes constitute a hurdle to this, Kaboglu said that this problem can be overcome by invoking European human rights mechanisms.

    Noting that Article 24 of the constitution establishes freedom of religion, Kaboglu said that religion classes must be elective. He added that if this is done the teachers will be more careful and tolerant.

    Kaboglu said that, beyond Article 24, Article 10, which articulates the principle of equality, and Article 13, which guarantees rights and freedoms, may also be invoked to make religion classes non-mandatory. He added that Article 13 stipulates a democratic social order, proportionality, the inviolability of the essence of rights, openness, and a secular republican system. Kaboglu said: "Mandatory religion classes are not compatible with these. We can win condemnation for mandatory religion classes on the path to Europe."

    Noting that the Religious Affairs Directorate is another very controversial issue, Kaboglu said: "A reorganization of this institution may be considered if the aim is to make it more powerful and impartial. However if it will be abolished, the drawbacks of such a move must be taken into consideration."

    KESK [Confederation of Public Sector Worker Unions] President Sami Evren said that the diversity of cultures in Turkey has thus far not been seen as a source of wealth. Stating that the Alevis have been reduced to the status of one of the most ostracized and marginal communities, Evren said that this was a systematic, conscious, and calculated step.

    Evren said that the Alevis must express their preferences vociferously.

    Egitim-Sen [Education Workers Union] General Chairman Alaaddin Dincer said that his organization is willing to support a campaign aimed at stopping religion classes from being mandatory. Dincer said: "However the constitution needs to be reviewed within a completely liberal framework."

    [08] Economic growth of 9.7 percent in 2004 in Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25/03/05) reports from Ankara that Turkey is the country which experienced in 2004 the highest growth among EU-member states or those waiting to join the Union, as its economy expanded by 9.7%, as revealed by the State Planning Organization.

    Turkey was followed by Latvia with an economic growth of 7.5%, Romania with 7.2% and Lithuania with 7.1%.

    But on the other side Turkey also recorded the second highest inflation rate with 9.32% after Romania with 12% and an unemployment rate of 10%. (ANSAmed)

    [09] Turkish diplomats meet high - ranking Kyrgyz Officials in Bishkek

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27/03/2005) reported the following:

    "Turkish diplomats, who are currently visiting Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, met on Saturday representatives of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and some high-level Kyrgyz officials, including Roza Otunbayeva, the foreign minister of the new administration of Kyrgyzstan.

    Diplomatic sources said that the new Kyrgyz administration gave priority to assuring security.

    Feliks Kulov, who is responsible for the general security of the country, has not only formed new units to assure security but also charged police and militia forces to end looting in Bishkek especially at nights.

    Turkey's Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Serpil Alpman said that public order was being restored in the country each passing day.

    On the other hand, Kyrgyz officials have welcomed the visit of Turkish diplomats. Education Minister Isengul Bolcurova said that it was pleasing that the first foreign delegation to visit their country was from Turkey.

    Turkish diplomats are expected to meet new foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva of Kyrgyzstan and Turkish businessmen on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's ambassador Alpman attended a program broadcast on state television KTR and called on Turkish citizens living in this country to be calm and cautious".

    [10] Five members of the Human Rights Advisory Board resign

    Ozgur Politika news (25/03/05) reported that five members of the Turkish Prime Ministry Human Rights Advisory Board [BIHDK] have resigned. The resigning BIHDK members announced their reasons at a joint press conference held at the Turkish Human Rights Foundation [TIHV] headquarters. TIHV Chairman Yavuz Onen, holding the joint press conference, said that the government had not consulted once with the board despite making many legal changes to the four adaptation packages issued so as to ensure conformity wit the EU's political and economic criteria. Pointing out that the board's work had been aimed at specific "centres" within the public and had ruffled feathers within the government; Onen said that this situation had surprised them. He went on: "We condemn the government's insincere attitude towards human rights as well as the fact that it is acting entirely in contrast with its rhetoric of being faithful to the principles of the democratic lawful state with respect for human rights that it repeated so often within the context of the EU. We have evaluated the situation and are resigning."

    Together with Onen the following persons also resigned: Board member of the Association of Forensic Scientists Kadir Ozag, Chairman of the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association Kazim Genc, Vice Chairman of the Association of Turkish Physicians Metin Bakkalci, Chairman of the Turkish Foundation for the Institution of Human Rights Nevzat Helvaci and the representative of the Turkish Middle East Public Administration Institution Yasemin Ozdek.

    [11] "CYPRUS TIMES", a new English language newspaper has started to be published in occupied Cyprus

    A new daily English-language newspaper has started to be published on the 25th of March 2005 in occupied Cyprus under the name "CYPRUS TIMES".

    The chairman of the new paper is Dr Dogan Harman and the paper's editor in chief is Mrs Angelina Di Fazio.

    In its first issue editorial note (25.03.05) the paper writes that it is a sister newspaper with the Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper and it is published by Morye Gazetecilik Ltd.

    The editorial note goes on as follows regarding the reason that led to the publication of the new paper:

    "Why is a daily English-language newspaper necessary? North Cyprus is changing politically and economically, increasing the need for non-Turkish language speakers to become better informed about issues shaping our future. As the local economy expands to meet the needs of increasing numbers of foreign visitors and residents, a 'one-stop' newspaper is needed. The launch of this daily newspaper will meet that need by keeping you well-informed about matters that concern you, including local news with commentary from North and South with political columnist covering issues you care about. Subjects that affect our community such us further unification developments, aspects of property ownership, environmental impacts and changes in government will be covered in depth".


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Columnist in Radikal argues that the Erdogan government appears to be rendering invalid everything it said on human rights before getting a date for accession negotiations

    Istanbul Radikal newspaper (24/03/05) publishes the following column by Murat Yetkin under the title: "As the Government increases battlefronts and closes ranks".

    "Six members of the Prime Ministry Human Rights Advisory Board [BIHDK] will today announce that they have withdrawn their membership of the board. We are going to learn via their detailed statements just why it is that the Turkish Physicians Union, the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, the Foundation for the Institution of Human Rights, the representative of the Turkish Middle East Public Administration Institution, the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association and the Association of Forensic Scientists no longer want to be a part of the Human Rights Advisory Board.

    However, it is not difficult to guess their reasons. Ever since the EU Summit of 17 December the government has been displaying an appearance that renders invalid everything it did and said before the summit with respect to human rights violations. It is hard today to find anyone who believes that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's watchword of "Zero tolerance for torture", which received much support both at home and abroad and which led to much hope, is in fact government policy.

    Of course there are going to be those who say, "Let them resign if they want to" but there are those who appreciate the value of these institutions that will announce their withdrawal from the BIHDK today. Their optimism, especially that of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (together with the Human Rights Association), had contributed much to the JDP government's rising profile in the eyes of the United States and the EU. The BIHDK's credibility had already been eroded with the minorities report of last year; another such shadow could fall on the board this time as well.

    This withdrawal is just the latest example of the Erdogan government's series of efforts at breaking up the coalition that had formed unbelievably around it having the absolute minimum in common, of closing ranks and of virtually increasing the number of fronts it is fighting on. But it does not look like being the last.

    For example, when Erdogan was speaking yesterday to the board of the TOBB [Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodities Exchanges] there are the words he spoke regarding the TUSIAD [Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen] Chairman Omer Sabanci's criticism of the events of 6 March. The prime minister reportedly complained about the TUSIAD chairman to the TOBB board saying: "Let us work hard to bring his uncle's [Ozdemir Sabanci] killer [Fehriye Erdal] over from Belgium, and he can criticize our police, and practically criticize us on behalf of the EU." Nobody on the TOBB board could find a thing to say and there was a short period of silence in the room. The extradition of Ozdemir Sabanci's killer to Turkey is not a personal favour to TUSAID Chairman Omer Sabanci, in any case. It is government business. So, when the prime minister's relations with capital are strained does he lean for support on the workers? It would be hard to give an affirmative answer to this question, especially after the SEKA [State Paper Concern] experience. We can count another group that Erdogan, if we have to restate his name, has virtually gone out of his way to alienate since the EU Summit of 17 December in addition to capital groups, the labour groups, the NGO´ s and the media: the JDP deputies. Within the JDP parliamentary group, where tensions are already high after the police investigations of the Energy Ministry and the headscarf at university arguments, the speech given by Erdogan at Karahmanmaras this weekend is being debated. Some deputies are uncomfortable at what they see as the prime minister complaining about them to the voters and doing this on television. Furthermore, the National View's natural leader Necmettin Erbakan plus the True Path Party, the Nationalist Action Party and the Motherland Party, now that they have a parliamentary deputy with Erkan Mumcu's participation, are all competing to gain political capital out of this disquiet.

    One does not have to use many words to describe the situation abroad. Even efforts by Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to convince the general public that "there is no delay or lassitude over the EU" are indicative of the headache being experienced when it comes to reform implementation in particular. It appears that the United States is about to lose all hope in the JDP. Signs from Washington are that the US administration is debating whether or not the rising anti-American sentiment seen under the JDP administration will be lasting or not, and whether or not it may stay on after the JDP. The government's proximity to Russia almost fell victim to the killing of Chechen leader Arslan Maskhadov. Strong statements by some JDP deputies were able to be stopped at the last minute, but the problem is not over yet.

    It is not too late for Erdogan to get to grips with the problems he is facing both at home and abroad. There is one way to motivate a parliamentary group of this size in a country with this many problems, and to rally the various elements of society around minimum common points again: To redefine these minimum common points and act in accordance with them".

    [13] Columnist in Milliyet on the use Incirlik by the U.S.

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (26/03/2005) publishes the following commentary by Melih Asik under the title: "Incirlik haggling":

    "The United States wants to use Incirlik Airbase as a "more comprehensive logistics centre" for Iraq and Afghanistan. The talks are continuing.

    The United States in the meantime is threatening Turkey with passing the Armenian genocide bill through Congress. It is being said that Ankara is going to accept this request for logistic support in order to deal with this threat (just look at the excuse and justification).

    Some writers offer genius comments such as: "Whatever has happened to us has happened because of the Troops Motion" and conduct propaganda saying: "Let us say Yes without condition to any future American demands."

    Assistant Party Chairman of the Republican People's Party [CHP] Onur Oymen asked the Foreign Minister: "Is sharing responsibility for the bad things going on in Iraq by virtue of providing logistic support actually in keeping with our country's basic foreign policy? While we have been unable to get a positive reply to our demands for the Workers Party of Kurdistan [PKK] terrorists to be captured is it appropriate for us to give unilateral concessions to the United States for Iraq?

    A handful of louts dragged our flag across the ground and this drew a disproportionate reaction. National anger is soaring. Be that as it may no reaction is being observed at home to the United States moves to make Turkey a partner to the Iraq massacre.

    Ugur Mumcu's call to the flag that he made once comes to our minds: Are you able to hoist your flag above Incirlik Airbase? This is the point in question here. Can we say No to the Neo-Con's moves to see Turkey as a satellite and make it an accessory to massacres? This is the point in question".

    [14] Columnist in Milliyet argues that the Turkish Foreign Ministry supports bloodless revolutions in the former Soviet Republics

    Istanbul Milliyet newspaper (27/03/2005) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "Foreign Ministry's Analysis of Kyrgyzstan":

    "What significance does the overthrow of the [Askar] Akayev government in Kyrgyzstan, and the opposition's takeover of power, have from Ankara's standpoint?

    Ankara, which always behaves very carefully and with sensitivity regarding the Turkic republics of Central Asia, considers that the process toward democracy and greater freedoms, achieved without weapons or bloodshed, should be supported.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' analysis in terms of Kyrgyzstan is as follows:

    "Turkey supports freedom-oriented movements that aim at the strengthening of democracy and that have the support of the people. What Ankara is watching for is for these developments not to lead to anarchy or chaos, but to be without bloodshed or weapons, and to be based on the will of the people. If these conditions apply, then Ankara supports processes of this type. What is being supported is not revolt, rebellion, disorder, or anarchy, but rather the expansion of freedoms via democratic methods."

    I can say that this analysis by the Foreign Ministry is also shared and supported by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. What drew Gul's attention was that the developments favoured freedoms and participatory democracy. The Foreign Minister assesses these developments, which are based on the will of the people, as a "transformation", and points out that it should be noted that they have been bloodless.

    Yet another point stressed by the Foreign Ministry is the process that will take place henceforth in Kyrgyzstan. On this topic, Ankara summarizes its criteria as follows:

    "It is important that the incidents of looting and vandalism be taken under control as soon as possible. Public order has to be re-established quickly. It is important that the process proceed in accord with OSCE [Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe] rules. This means that those who emerge by saying that they are acting in the name of freedom and democracy should represent legitimacy, and should not move toward new formations that threaten democracy. This means that the opposition that has seized power in Kyrgyzstan move toward elections in short order, the establishment of a new parliament via democratic elections, and the government operating via democratic rules and institutions."

    This is Ankara's view of the events in Kyrgyzstan.

    The priority expectation is for public order to be restored as soon as possible, and for movement toward democratic elections. An administration that is formed after the will of the people is determined by democratic methods will get Ankara's support.

    The Foreign Ministry is of the view that the Central Asian republics, which possess rich natural resources and well-educated peoples, if they can also succeed in instituting democracy, will not have difficulties in entering, in a short time period, into the circle of the world's leading and respected countries..."

    [15] Cyprus protocol and the importance of the detail

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (28/03/05) in a commentary today analyses the Customs Union Protocol that Turkey must sigh prior to 3rd October 2005, the date when Turkey-EU accession negotiations will start.

    Hurriyet columnist Ferai Tinc in her column "Dipnot" (Footnote) writes under the title, "Cyprus protocol and the importance of the details", and says:

    "Those who were pressing Turkey on 17 December to sign the protocol, now they are in pain. What does this mean? This means the following:

    Brussels, which wanted signing of the Customs Union agreement that will extend to ten new members, including Greek Cypriot Administration, is face to face with a signature crisis.

    However, this possible crisis does not originate from us, because, Turkey, following joint work carried out by the EU officials responsible for enlargement, has agreed on the text that would be signed. As a matter of fact, on Friday this text, together with a letter has been sent to Ankara so that the understanding may gain officialdom. The letter is few lines, and annexed to it is the joint text agreed in Brussels.

    In a few days, after being examined, Ankara will give its approval to this text which will legitimize the new members of the Customs Union Agreement. However, the work will not end here. In order for the protocol to be legalized, Turkey and the EU should at the same time sign it.

    The signing process that EU officials want to realize as soon as possible, is complex and difficult from their own procedure point of view. In order to sign the text, the EU Council should authorize the term presidency. The term president will sign the agreement for Europe. However, identity of views is yet to be reached in Brussels as regards when the text would be submitted to the EU Parliament, before or after the approval of the Council.

    On top of it, prior to coming to this point, there are other stages to be overcome, such as debating of the text at the meetings of EU Commission Delegates and the Foreign Ministers. In this process who could guarantee that the Greek Cypriots would not veto the text?

    It seems that the policy of those who want to corner Turkey through the pressure of signing the protocol has backfired. It appears that signing of the protocol became a problem to Brussels as well."

    Ferai Tinc then refers to Mehmet Ali Talat's visit last week to Turkey and his complain about President Tassos Papadopoulos that he does not take into consideration the Turkish Cypriots and that his interlocutor is Turkey, thus trying to impose his own solution.

    "For this reason Papadopoulos is insisting that with the Customs Union agreement Turkey should open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships. But during the negotiations with Brussels this issue as well had been shelved.

    Our diplomats, who took part in these negotiations, have turned down this demand by saying: 'We have signed the Customs Union Agreement with the EU, however, yet there is to be given freedom of movement to your businessmen, who will sell our products!

    Now, I think the reason, why Ankara, during bargaining on the evening of 16 December that lasted until morning, wanted to put the reservation, in the Council decisions that it will sign the protocol after 'debating it with EU Commission'. We have to give credit to the government of Justice and Development Party for this success.

    Another issue that confuses our minds is the recognition issue. Turkey will not be able to insert the reservation in the protocol that it does not recognize the Greek Cypriots as Cyprus' representative. The reason is that in order for this to be legally valid the other side as well should accept it. What should be done then? There will be a statement saying that the Greek Cypriot side could not be said representing the whole of the island, that this is a dispute accepted by the UN, and that because of this Turkey is supporting a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem and this statement will be noted.

    For a long time now, Ankara is consulting well known lawyers in Europe and getting their opinions. The view that recognising a country is a subject to political will and that one could not speak about forced recognition gains weight. However, Papadopoulos is not telling the realities to his people. It is worth to assess the details in order not to be driven away with his political polemics."


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