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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-06-07

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.106/05 07.06.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Gul left for Washington. He elaborates on his and Erdogan´s statements on the Turkish occupation troops and Syria´s withdrawal of its troops from Syria.
  • [02] The Turkish Prime Minister will visit Washington three times in four months to persuade the Americans that they need Turkey.
  • [03] British Ambassador, Westmacott: Basic Priority is Turkey´s EU membership.
  • [04] Prendergast completed his contacts as regards the Cyprus problem with his visit to Ankara.
  • [05] Turkey is planning to work towards the recognition of the Turkish Republic it has set up in occupied Cyprus.
  • [06] Offensive for Cyprus from Erdogan.
  • [07] Erdogan is getting ready for tour to convince EU.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Columnist in HURRIYET assesses Erdogan´s and Gul statements that they abandoned the Turkish traditional policy to avoid being forced to withdraw the occupation troops from Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Gul left for Washington. He elaborates on his and Erdogan´s statements on the Turkish occupation troops and Syria´s withdrawal of its troops from Syria

    Istanbul NTV television (06.06.05) broadcast the following press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at Ankara Esenboga Airport before his departure for the United States:

    I am leaving for the United States, our friend and ally. As you know, our honorable prime minister will leave for the United States this evening to hold some talks. During our visit, I will attend the meetings our prime minister will hold with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I will also attend the meeting our prime minister will hold with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York. Furthermore, I will meet with Secretary of State Dr Rice and National Security Advisor Hadley. Also, I will accompany the prime minister during his talks in Washington and New York. There will be several talks with Congressmen and Senators.

    On 7 June, I will address a meeting organized by a think tank called Council on Foreign Relations. On the same day, I will address a luncheon to be hosted by the Turkish-American Council. After that, I will meet with our citizens, with representatives of the Turkish community in the United States, and with various media organs.

    As you know, a large number of high-level visits were paid by the United States to our country since the beginning of this year. You may remember that after she assumed the post of Secretary of State, Dr. Rice's first overseas tour included Turkey. Our Foreign Ministry undersecretary visited the United States in April, and the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly last week.

    We have close alliance ties with the United States, with which we share common values. Our two countries share the universal values of democracy, liberties, the supremacy of law, and liberal economy. The historical ties between our two countries were reinforced and gained new dimensions after the end of the cold war. In this context, in addition to our two countries' political, defense, and security ties, we attach great importance to the qualitative and quantitative development of their economic and commercial ties. In addition to our official contacts, we will hold talks with Turkish and US businessmen during which we will provide extensive information on the state of our economy and on investment possibilities in Turkey.

    With these thoughts, we believe that the visit we will pay to the United States will be important in confirming the desire and determination to expand the existing bilateral strategic partnership, solidarity, and cooperation within the framework of our bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments.

    Question: Mr Minister, this morning you met with UN Under-Secretary-General Prendergast. Did he share with you his impressions of the talks he held in Cyprus and Athens? What was the basic message you gave Mr Prendergast?

    Answer: Yes, the UN Under-Secretary-General has been holding talks in Cyprus, in Greece, and in Turkey. These are consultations. We will be meeting the UN Secretary-General this week. Mr Prendergast will give the Secretary-General a report on where things stand regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem, on what the concerned sides think, and on what can be done. I had a long meeting with him this morning in this context.

    Question: You will surely discuss Iraq during your visit. Will you talk about new cooperation possibilities? Yesterday, as you know, four of our soldiers were martyred by the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan]. Are you expecting the United States to take any steps in this regard?

    Answer: Undoubtedly, you cannot fight terrorism one-sidedly. The fight against terrorism can be successful only if it is conducted on a joint platform. There is no doubt that Turkey is capable of surmounting all kinds of trouble on its own, but naturally we expect our friends to cooperate when cooperation is called for. All this has been discussed before, of course. The United States considers the PKK a terrorist organization and it has helped us in this regard in the past. I am sure that our cooperation will go on regarding terrorist activities, especially in eradicating the terrorists that have settled in Iraq.

    Question: Recently, the prime minister compared the Cyprus question and the Syria-Lebanon issue. A columnist wrote this morning that you made similar remarks during a panel meeting a few months ago.

    Answer: That columnist does not know the atmosphere in which that panel meeting was held. The institution he works for had guaranteed that whatever was discussed there would remain there, and that everything could be discussed openly without fear of misinterpretation. When the relevant question was asked, I answered confidently and honestly. How could I have known that the newspaper was not going to keep its promise, or that my remarks would be misinterpreted or exaggerated?

    Question: Is there a link between Cyprus and Syria-Lebanon?

    Answer: Let me tell you. Turkey knows very well what it is doing. Our Cyprus policy is as it should be. As a result of that, both Turkey and the `TRNC´ have become very powerful regarding the Cyprus question. That is a fact. Had previous governments pursued the policy our government is pursuing, the `Greek Cypriot sector´ would not have become a full member of the EU today, and the Turkish Cypriots would have been in a far different situation. I would like everyone to realize this fact. I would like to reiterate: the meeting the columnist is talking about was held under the assurance that it was going to be a closed meeting, that whatever was said there was going to remain there, and that the remarks uttered there could not be misinterpreted. At that meeting, I explained my views in a very relaxed manner. Had it been a live television program, I would have explained the issue differently and in detail. I would have made the comparisons accordingly. Consequently, I will let you decide if taking things said at that meeting out of context and writing about them today is compatible with media ethics or with the principles of the institution that columnist works for.

    Question: Can you please elaborate on those remarks?

    Answer: When the time comes.

    Question: The United States has certain expectations regarding Syria; it wants the regime there to become more democratic. Will you make any suggestions to the US Administration in this regard? Another question is the piece of a Scud missile that fell into Turkey. Did you make any representations in connection with that?

    Answer: The next day, Syria officially apologized in written form. An announcement to that effect was made both here and in Syria. We want democracy to prevail in our region and everywhere. Democratic societies make their people happy and their administrations powerful. In democracies, conflicts are resolved through negotiations and there are fewer wars. Therefore, we want democracy to prevail throughout our region and we support that.

    [02] The Turkish Prime Minister will visit Washington three times in four months to persuade the Americans that they need Turkey

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian (06.06.05) publishes the following report by Zeynep Gurcanli under the title: "Turkish PM working hard to convince Washington of Turkey's importance: Erdogan to visit US three times in four months":

    In a determined bid to end the chill between Ankara and Washington, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the U.S. three times over the next four months for various reasons. He's expected to meet with Bush administration officials on each visit to discuss the current situation and possible progress in Turkish-U.S. relations.

    Erdogan's first visit is scheduled for the first half of June, when he will meet with both U.S. President George W. Bush and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    The White House announced on Tuesday that Erdogan will meet with President George W. Bush on June 8. "This meeting will provide the opportunity to invigorate U.S.-Turkish cooperation with respect to Turkey's European Union aspirations, and to strengthen our work together to advance freedom in Iraq and the broader Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

    The main issues to be discussed at the meeting between Bush and Erdogan are expected to be Turkey's EU membership bid, the Cyprus deadlock after last year's Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan plan, and the current situation in Iraq.

    The U.S. has consistently supported NATO ally Turkey's membership in the EU, even though some European leaders have said the issue is none of the U.S.' business. On Iraq, Turkey is concerned that continued fighting could spread and that the country could begin to fracture along ethnic lines. "Our aim is to contribute to regional peace and an environment of calm," Erdogan said last month.

    On Cyprus, the two leaders will discuss current efforts to jump-start UN-sponsored talks to reunify the island.

    Erdogan is also scheduled to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York on June 9 for lunch.

    The Turkish premier will be accompanied by a large delegation during the first visit, due to scheduled Turkish-U.S. Business Council meetings in Washington.

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug will also take part in the council meeting. Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, and Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick are expected to deliver speeches for the U.S.

    The second visit of Prime Minister Erdogan to the U.S. will be in July. Although the program has yet to be finalized, Erdogan is expected to participate in a conference at a university in Idaho.

    The third visit will be for the 60th UN General Assembly meeting in September. Erdogan will chair the Turkish delegation at the meeting.

    There was also a fourth U.S. visit planned for Erdogan, but he was spared the jet lag by his daughter. The Erdogan family had planned to attend their daughter's doctoral graduation ceremony but apparently that she won't graduate this semester. This permitted Erdogan to cancel his fourth scheduled visit to the U.S. in three months.

    [03] British Ambassador, Westmacott: Basic Priority is Turkey´s EU membership

    Turkish daily RADIKAL newspaper (06.06.05) internet version, reports that Britain, which will take over the term presidency of the EU on 1 July and continue until the end of the year, has sent a message to Ankara: Britain´s basic priority during her term presidency shall be to make Turkey´s EU membership success full. British Ambassador to Ankara, Peter Westmacott has said that they will give full support to Turkey on EU membership and Cyprus problem.

    Subtitle: Isolations should be removed

    We are for a lasting and comprehensive solution in Cyprus. We consider the UN initiative and its mission the best path for a settlement. We do believe that measures that will remove the isolations imposed on the north Cyprus should be taken within the EU.

    Subtitle: We will do our best

    During our term presidency we will do our best for financial help and re-arrangements for trade regarding north Cyprus. However, one has to understand well that during this process we have to take into consideration the EU principles and we have to be impartial as well. This means that it is difficult by a term presidency to exert excessive pressure on a member state.

    Subtitle: We support the direct flights

    We wish to settle the direct flights issue towards north Cyprus. This issue had an important place in the Cyprus report of the Foreign Relations´ Committee of the British Parliament. However, regarding international aviation there are a number of agreements and regulations that we too should abide by. Therefore, we have to take into account legal difficulties. We are assessing the issue in an extremely careful manner.

    Subtitle: Turkey is our basic priority

    During our term presidency Britains basic priority will be leading to success Turkeys application. It is a privilege for me to be ambassador in Turkey during this period. We shall do everything we can for guaranteeing the successful commencement of the accession talks with Turkey on 3 October.

    Subtitle: Enforcement is important

    The new Turkish Penal Code brings many developments in comparison to the old law. Seeing these developments especially on the issues of torture, the womens rights and the discrimination of language, religion and race, is satisfactory. Again, the law causes some criticism. The Parliament taking into consideration this criticism is positive, but we shall expect the results of the legal procedure.

    Subtitle: Complying with the ECHR

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has suggested some ways for the definition and the solution in the Ocalan case. The road to be followed on this issue is of course a matter of the Turkish authorities. It is, however, important for Turkey to comply with the decisions of the Court, just like the other countries do.

    [04] Prendergast completed his contacts as regards the Cyprus problem with his visit to Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (07.06.05) reports that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, met yesterday with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abdullah Gul. No statements were made after the meeting

    Prior to his meeting with Mr Gul, Sir Kieran also met with the permanent undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ali Tyugan and the deputy undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Ertugrul Apakan. Speaking at Esenboga airport before his departure from Ankara, Sir Kieran stated that he visited Ankara in order to take some soundings and to listen to Ankara's views.

    [05] Turkey is planning to work towards the recognition of the Turkish Republic it has set up in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title The last call for Cyprus, Turkish AKSAM newspaper (06.05.05) writes that the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will say to the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan that If the Greek Cypriots avoid again the solution of the Cyprus problem, the new policy of Turkey will be the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Mr Erdogan will have a meeting with the UN Secretary-General in the framework of his visit to the USA.

    The paper, which notes that the Cyprus problem will be the most critical issue on the agenda of the Turkish Prime Minister during his visit to the USA, writes that Mr Erdogan will meet with Mr Annan on the 9th of June for a working lunch, will bring to the UN Secretary-General a solution proposal consists of four articles.

    Erdogan will explain to Mr Annan Turkeys indispensable conditions. According to these, Turkey will not withdraw completely its troops from Cyprus unless a permanent solution is found and Turkish guarantorship is not under discussion. In addition, Erdogan will note that the Turkish side is ready for new negotiations and wants to call again the Greek Cypriot side to sit on the negotiation table. As the paper writes, the Turkish Prime Minister will also ask for pressure to be put on President Papadopoulos in order to sit at the negotiation table and will also remind that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has not been lifted. Moreover, Mr Erdogan will also say that in case the Greek Cypriot side will not go along with a solution, Turkey will work for the recognition of the TRNC in the place of the lifting of the isolation.

    [06] Offensive for Cyprus from Erdogan

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (07.06.05) reports that the Cyprus problem will be one of the main issues which the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be discussing during his five-day visit to the United Sates.

    According to the paper, Mr Erdogan will ask President Bush for the approval of the UN Secretary - Generals report on Cyprus by the Security Council, prepared soon after the Greek Cypriot side voted no in last year´s referendum.

    He will express his satisfaction to President Bush about the recent illegal visit of three American congressmen to the occupied areas of Cyprus from the occupied airport and discuss with him alternative ways towards lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Mr Erdogan is expected to suggest to Mr Bush the exchange of programs between the illegal universities of the occupied areas of Cyprus and American universities. (Tr. Note: Universities in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus were established under the laws of the Turkish Republic and operate after a decree signed by the Turkish President). The Turkish Premier will also propose for American former diplomats or professors to teach in the above-mentioned illegal universities.

    Mr Erdogan will finally demand the launching of direct flights between Washington and the illegal Tymbou airport.

    Invoking high ranking diplomatic sources the editor-in-chief of KIBRIS Basaran Duzgun writes that Ankara seems to be optimistic on the issue of the approval of the UN Secretary General´s report on Cyprus by the Security Council. The sources point out that Russia has softened its stance on the issue and the relations between Moscow and Ankara have improved. Another reason for Ankaras optimism is the important military cooperation of Turkey with China, which is one of the permanent members of the Security Council.

    [07] Erdogan is getting ready for tour to convince EU

    Turkish VATAN newspaper (07.06.05) reports that the rejection of the EU Constitution in France and the Netherlands spreads claims that Turkey´s membership has been endangered.

    Turkey´s membership is expected to be discussed in the European Council summit to be held on June 16th, and where the constitution crisis would be discussed.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is getting ready to go on an EU tour to break the negative atmosphere and for the Accession Partnership Accord to be issued in line with Turkey´s expectations.

    Erdogan, Chief negotiator Ali Babacan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul are expected to meet leaders of Britain, Germany, France and Austria.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Columnist in HURRIYET assesses Erdogan´s and Gul statements that they abandoned the Turkish traditional policy to avoid being forced to withdraw the occupation troops from Cyprus

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (06.06.05) publishes the following commentary by Tufan Turenc under the title: "The Colossal Blunder about Cyprus, which has played into the hands of the Greek Cypriots, and more...":

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had made a similar blunder in a recent meeting. Commenting on the Cyprus question, he said: "If we had not pursued those policies, they would have forced us to leave Cyprus just like they expelled Syrians from Lebanon."

    I was attending the meeting and Gul's approach had surprised me.

    I raised my hand and put him the following question: "You have likened Turkey's presence in Cyprus to Syria's position in Lebanon. In fact, Syria is an invader in Lebanon whereas Turkey's presence in Cyprus arises from her rights she has exercised as a guarantor under international agreements. Would not your remarks support the arguments voiced by the Greek Cypriots and Greeks, who go to great lengths to convince the international community that Turkey is an invader?"

    The Foreign Minister realized that he had made a gaffe and tried to correct it unsuccessfully.

    Strangely enough, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the same blunder two days ago. He said: "If we had followed the traditional policy, we would have become like Lebanon and Syria. Somebody would have told us to leave and we would obey it without raising any objection."

    The fact that the same gaffe was made by the Prime Minister two or three months later indicates that there is a serious lack of coordination within the government and that foreign policy issues are being handled clumsily.

    It seems that the Foreign Ministry is no longer consulted.

    This government does not closely follow domestic and international developments and it is not very familiar with the State's principles, rules and strategies.

    They have made blunders that could play into the hands of those, who are portraying Turkey as an invader in Cyprus. Meanwhile, Turkey is gradually losing its influence in the Middle East and it is making unnecessary gestures of goodwill towards Armenia. The government is inclined to view the EU as a guarantee of its legitimacy in Turkey and it is, therefore, unable to pursue a principled policy. There were also vacillations in our relations with the United States.

    As regards domestic policy, some of the laws recently enacted include provisions conflicting with preeminence of the rule of law. The State's traditions were disregarded in appointment of some high-level government officials. Meanwhile, no opportunity is missed to violate the principles and rules of the secular and democratic Republic in all fields.

    They are using tactics designed to deceive themselves and the public at large by painting a rosy picture in the economy. They are unable to perceive the fact that there is a continuing recession.

    The Justice and Development Party is getting bogged down in a quagmire of mistakes like almost all the previous governments as all those blunders continue to multiply.

    The press is, therefore, their biggest foe now.

    Rather than making angry comments, Erdogan and his ministers should carefully read the reasons cited by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer for vetoing some laws. It would help them see that they contain very important lessons about governing a country upholding preeminence of the rule of law.

    If they had used some common sense, they would have realized that Sezer was showing them the right way of doing things.

    The Prime Minister would do a much more beneficial thing from the standpoint of his government if he tries to assimilate the contents of the letter that Sezer has sent to him and to understand why Sezer needed to send him a written warning about the appointment of some government officials on a temporary basis, which conflicts with the State's provisions, rather than making statements in response to the letter.

    Letters sent by presidents to prime ministers play a major role in the State's traditions because such documents containing suggestions are put in the government's archives and become a part of the State's history.

    I am not sure whether or not the government will come to understand that we cannot catch up with the developed countries simply by talking.

    Some people are still optimistic, but I am not.

    /SK


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