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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-06-13
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.110/05 11-12-13.06.05
[A] NEW ITEMS
[B] COMMENTRIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS[1.Statements by the Turkish Prime Minister and the UN Secretary-General after meeting in New York
Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.06.05) reported from New York that the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Thursday. Erdogan and Annan spoke to reporters following their meeting in Annan's Office at the UN Building.
On his part the UN Secretary-General said: ''We have discussed the UN reform and the importance we attach to this reform. We discussed Cyprus. As you know, I have sent Sir Kieran Prendergast, the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Political Affairs, to the region, where he visited Cyprus - both the Greek Cypriot side and also the North, Turkish Cypriot side. Then he went on to Turkey and to Greece, and we were able to discuss the prospects for future peace in the region.
At the same time we discussed the important question of Iraq as a very important issue, and the need for the international community to work together to stabilize Iraq, and the need for the process going on in Iraq to be as inclusive as possible to embrace all elements in Iraq. And of course, Turkey as a neighbor, along with the other neighbors, has an important role to play.''
In his statement Mr Erdogan said: ''As you know, there is a process that we had initiated together with the Secretary-General in Davos. With regard to the settlement of the Cyprus issue at the time, we had said that we would always be one step ahead of the Greek Cypriots, and we have fulfilled that promise. Mr. Annan prepared his plan and the Turks said 'yes' to the plan. But the Greek Cypriots said 'no'. But despite this 'no' vote, the Greek Cypriots were accepted as an EU member. But the isolation on the other hand for the Turkish Cypriots is still ongoing.
''Mr Annan prepared the report on May 28th last year, and that report is still pending before the UN Security Council. We are indeed disappointed that the United Nations Security Council has not yet endorsed this report. We believe that a decision has to be reached, an endorsement has to happen, and we are looking for a positive outcome in this respect. Our expectation in Cyprus is to have a comprehensive, long-lasting and just peace and settlement.''
Asked whether or not he would have an initiative on the report after Prendergast's meetings with the parties in the region, Mr Kofi Annan said: ''He has just come back and submitted his report to me, which I am going to study very carefully to decide what the next steps should be. With regard to the report that we submitted last year, you heard the Prime Minister express his disappointment. This is an issue I will take up with the Council again when I brief them on the status of my good offices, and hope that they will take action on it.''
Replying to a question, ''regarding easing the isolation on Turkish Cypriots, what kind of concrete possibilities did you discuss with Prime Minister Erdogan? What kind of steps do you think can be approved by the United Nations?'' Mr Kofi Annan said: ''I think there were proposals in the plan I put forward about easing the isolation. And also in fact, the European Union and others indicated that they will want to give assistance and support to Northern Cyprus, and I hope they will find a way of doing that. And other Governments were thinking of certain initiatives. But I think that the first hurdle will be to work with the Council on that report, and get their endorsement of the report.''
Asked, ''anything has changed since last year in Cyprus? You tell us that you're going to discuss the issue with the Security Council. But your assessment is that, is there any change that will make you de-freeze your good offices mission?'' Mr Kofi Annan said: ''My good offices have always been available. It was a question of the environment, the appropriateness and the readiness of the parties to engage, and engage meaningfully, so that we can make progress. As far as what has happened last year - since last year, of course, the Greek Cypriots are now in the European Union. I have sent Mr Prendergast to the region, as I said, to make an assessment and come back and report to me, and I will decide what the next steps should be.
And I couldn't rush ahead last year, at the end of the referendum, when the Turkish Cypriots voted for it, and the Greek Cypriots voted 'no'. We needed to have a pause, and get people to reflect, and let the situation calm down and make an assessment, and this is what we have done.''
Holding a news conference after his meeting with the UN Secretary-General in New York with the issues of Iraq, the Middle East, the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative and UN reform efforts on their agenda, Prime Minister Erdogan said: ''Mr Annan and I had the chance of evaluating the recent developments in Cyprus and recent visit of UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (occupied areas of Cyprus).
The UN Secretary-General expressed his appreciation about the Turkish Cypriots' 'yes' vote to his plan in the referendum of April 24th, 2004, and our support to the process in the island.''
''A new process started after the Greek Cypriot side joined the EU on May 1st. Mr Annan prepared a report on May 28th including his recommendations about elimination of political and economic restrictions and barriers on the `TRNC´, and his call to the EU-member states to extend support to the `TRNC´. However, the 15-nation Security Council has failed to act on the report. We are deeply distressed that the Security Council has yet to endorse this report. This inability to reach a decision raises question marks about the credibility of the Security Council. It is finally time for them to make a decision.''
Describing the recent direct visit of U.S. congressmen to the occupied areas as a politically positive step, Prime Minister Erdogan recalled that British businessmen had also paid a constructive visit to the TRNC.
''We believe that beginning of direct flights to the `TRNC´ will be quite meaningful in this period. Direct flights will also have a quality of warning against the Greek Cypriot side,'' he said.
Erdogan stressed that Ankara expected a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in the island.
Mr Erdogan alleged that Mr Annan approached positively the elimination of the isolations on the occupied by Turkish trops part of Cyprus.
When a reporter said, ''what did UN Secretary-General Annan say with regard to the Cyprus issue? Did Annan and you discuss U.S. planes' flights to Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport? Could you tell us about the response to Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul's letter on Turkey's proposals for Cyprus?'' Erdogan said: ''The letter was given before... There are positive approaches. The International aviation organization will make a decision on the issue. Talks are continuing. We are explaining the sufferings to several countries and ask their support. If such a support takes place, we believe that there will be positive results.''
When asked whether Kofi Annan would launch a new initiative, Erdogan noted that the report dated May 28th, 2004 was a positive report by Annan recommending the elimination of political and economic restrictions and barriers on the occupied areas of Cyprus.
Quoting Annan as saying that he would launch an initiative with regard to this report, Erdogan indicated: ''I think that he will have talks with members of the (UN) Security Council and work for the decision to be announced as soon as possible.''
When a reporter stated, ''U.S. Department of State spokesman said that U.S. soldiers will fly to Iraq through Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport,'' Erdogan noted that he did not have any information on this issue.
Replying to a question, Erdogan said that Sir Kieran Prendergast, had positive impressions.
Asked whether Annan expected Turkey to take more steps, Erdogan stated: ''Turkey took the necessary steps. The Turkish Cypriots also took the necessary steps by approving the plan.''
When a reporter said that during his meeting with Annan, President Tassos Papadopoulos demanded that the Turkish occupation troops should withdraw from the Republic of Cyprus, Erdogan said that they did not receive any proposal on this issue.
When recalled of German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel's statement on a link between Turkey's EU membership and the steps that Turkey should take on the Cyprus issue, Erdogan underlined: ''All criteria were determined at the December 17th summit. Merkel is not our interlocutor. Our interlocutor is the EU Commission. We are continuing our works with the Commission.''
 Statements by Erdogan after returning from his visit to the USAAnkara Anatolia news agency (11.06.05) reported from Ankara that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan completed his visit to the United States and returned to Turkey on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga airport, Erdogan said that his meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was very important, noting that Annan and he discussed Cyprus, Iraq and other international issues.
"We emphasized once again our intention and willingness for a lasting solution on Cyprus. We saw that he (Annan) also had positive approach toward the question," Erdogan stated.
Erdogan went on to say: "We are emphasizing that we want a fair, comprehensive and lasting solution in Cyprus. We wanted isolation imposed on `TRNC´ (occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus), lifted and we are working to achieve this goal. Mr Annan underlined all these matters on his report dated May 28th (2004). We continue to cooperate with the UN Secretary-General."
Recalling that the UN has been carrying out a reform study (of the organization) Erdogan noted: "We also conveyed our views on this matter as well."
Erdogan stressed that his visit to the United States was very fruitful with regard to developing relations between Turkey and the US.
 HURRIYET reports that the US issued orders for arrest of 150 PKK militantsIstanbul HURRIYET newspaper (11.06.05) publishes the following report under the title: "Order to capture 150 PKK members":
The United States has given its units in Iraq a capture and detain on sight order regarding 150 PKK [Workers' Party of Kurdistan] members, including Osman Ocalan. But there have as yet been no detentions in the framework of the order, which was handed down approximately two months ago.
A capture and detain on sight order has been given to US units in Iraq regarding the 150-person "red list", which includes Osman Ocalan, that Turkey provided to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari last month. With this order, the United States has for the first time taken a concrete step regarding the PKK, which since the Iraq war has been based in the north of the country and has begun to infiltrate into Turkey. But the fact that no one has been apprehended since the order was given has been seen as meaningful. It has been learned that the capture and detain order was issued shortly after Al-Ja'afari's visit to Ankara. Heading the list of 150 persons is Osman Ocalan, who broke away from the PKK and has been determined by Turkish intelligence units to be living in the vicinity of Mosul. Prominent on the list are:
Those who broke away from the PKK and founded the Patriotic Democratic Party [PWD]: Osman Ocalan, Faysal Dunlayici, Nizamettin Tas, Hidir Yalcin.
Those in the PKK and known to be on Qandil Mountain: Cemil Bayik, Murat Karayilan, Ali Haydar Kaytan, Isa Altinsoy, Mustafa Kargu.
One high-level official has stated that this list was provided to Turkey two months ago. The official, stating that the place the list had been provided was the US corps command headquarters in Baghdad, continued as follows:
"The publication of the list is important, but what really counts is performance, and for the United States to go into action to capture the terrorists. Otherwise, this is something that just stays on paper, as it has to date. So far, no concrete step has been taken in this regard. We will wait and see."
 The Deputy leader of RPP wants the US to do everything Turkey asks forIstanbul NTV television (11.06.05) broadcast that commenting on Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to the United States, RPP [Republican People's Party] deputy leader Onur Oymen has said: Turkey is not the strategic partner of the United States.
In a statement, Oymen argued that Turkey gained nothing from the prime minister's visit to the United States. Turkey expects the elimination of the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] from north Iraq, Oymen said, but there are no signs that the United States will take specific action regarding this issue.
Oymen also charged that Turkey was not able to fully convey its message in connection with Syria.
Stressing that Turkey is not the United States' strategic partner, the RPP deputy leader stated that Britain, Israel, and to a certain extent, Canada, are the United States' strategic partners. He added: Other than those countries, no other country in the world is the strategic partner of the United States. If you are strategic partners, you do not impose an arms embargo on each other. If you are strategic partners, you do not place sacks on the heads of your partner's soldiers. If you are strategic partners, then you support each other regarding national causes such as fighting terrorism or Cyprus.
 Serdar Denktas rejects the Greek Cypriot proposals and rules out developments soonIstanbul NTV television (11.06.05) broadcast that speaking to NTV from occupied Lefkosia, Mr Serdar Denktas, so-called foreign minister of Ankara´s regime in occupied Cyprus, has said that a concrete development is not expected in the short term.
He said: There is not going to be a concrete development in the short term. We should not have such expectations. We should not create false hopes. The disappointment will be worse if we do.
Denktas charged that due to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, no results were obtained from the meetings held by Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot teams in Brussels this week on the issue of the EU's financial and direct trade regulations.
Denktas also stressed that the Greek Cypriot proposals in connection with the Annan plan are unacceptable.
He added: The Greek Cypriot side is ashamed to say that it is not really interested in a solution. Instead, it lists such proposals. Our unequivocal response is this: There is not a single Turkish Cypriot who is ready to accept or even discuss these proposals.
 Ferdi Sabit Soyer construes Kofi Annan´s statements to mean acceptance of Turkey´s crimes against the Republic of CyprusAnkara Anatolia news agency (10.06.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the so-called Prime Minister of Ankara´s regime in occupied Cyprus Ferdi Sabit Soyer, on Friday, responding to questions of journalists, said that the continuation of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's insistence on the solution of Cyprus problem was important and his statements show that the views and demands of the Turkish Cypriots have been widely accepted by the intenrational community.
Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the US clearly showed that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side were willing about the settlement of the Cyprus question, and added:
Annan also stressed in the recent report which he submitted to the UN Security Council that the issue of property should be taken up within the scope of the Cyprus problem. This was an international reaction to the policy pursued by Papadopoulos administration which wanted to escalate tension on the island. This is another sign showing that our policy and attitude was so right and legitimate.
The policy of opening Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot ships, lifting the ban on Gazimagusa (occupied Famagusta) Port and opening it to trade is the common policy of both (Turkish and Turkish Cypriot) governments. We are very pleased as this was expressed by Mr Erdogan".
Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer alleged that the Greek Cypriot side tried to escalate tension and insists on an uncompromising policy as it couldn't digest partnership and sharing powers with the Turkish Cypriots.
 Turkey set on concentrating all the energy routes to the WestAnkara Anatolia news agency (12.06.05) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) has announced that it has begun preparations to include the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, a continuation of the Blue Stream Project, in its 2006 program.
The Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline will carry Russian oil to world markets.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a note to the Russian Federation about the oil pipeline and mentioned that the government of Turkey will support the realization of the pipeline project.
The proposed project is also known as part of the Joint Economic Committee protocol signed between Turkey and Russia.
With the completion of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Russian oil will be sold in world markets for the first time. Russian oil will be transported to third parties via Turkey, concludes Anatolia.
 More than twelve and a half thousand new work permits granted to illegal workers during the last yearTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (13.06.05) reports that 12.502 new work permits were granted to illegal workers during the last year, since the new foreigners and migration so-called law was applied in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
The paper notes that the total number of the applications for work permit during the above-mentioned period reached 15.309. The work permit of 2.807 persons was extended.
The so-called minister of labour and social insurances, Sonay Adem has stated that everybody who submits an application until 30 June 2005 will be granted work permit and that after the protocol signed between Turkey and the pseudostate is put into force the so-called Department of Labour will be giving work permits taking into consideration the needs of the country.
Mr Adem said that after the signing of the protocol with Turkey the number of the applications for work permit increased and it is firmly increasing.
 Turkish Cypriot newspaper accuses the RTP of continuing the policy of integration to Turkey and accession to the EU together with AnkaraTurkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (13.06.05) accuses the ruling Republican Turkish Party (RTP) of continuing the policy of the integration of the occupied areas of Cyprus to Turkey and the accession to the European Union together with Turkey.
Referring to the economic package signed recently between Turkey and the pseudostate the paper notes, inter alia, the following:
The expectation of the people from the RTP was the solution and joining the EU as a United Cyprus. The RTP, which is a partner of the party of Denktas, has chosen the policy of integration and entering into the EU together with Turkey.
The RTP, which was supported by the people because of the fact that it seemed to be against the packages that aimed at the integration and to be supporting the solution and the United Cyprus, is continuing today the same situation it took over from Denktas and the National Unity Party.
The package that the RTP is about to put into force, provides for the integration of northern Cyprus to Turkey and the preparation for joining the EU after 15-20 years together with Turkey, if it is possible.
 The director of the Bear Stearns Bank is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus searching for investment opportunitiesTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.06.05) reports that Mr Timothy Ash, the Director of the Development Markets of the Bear Stearns Bank visited the pseudostate. As the paper notes the Bear Stearns Bank is one of the most important development banks in the world.
Mr Ash will have various contacts and research during his visit in order to search for investment opportunities in occupied Cyprus. Mr Ash met on Saturday with the so-called prime minister of the occupation regime Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
 Akinci: Direct flights are more important than direct tradeTurkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (11.06.05) reports that Mr Mustafa Akinci, the chairman of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) stated that the issue if the direct flights is more important than the issue of direct trade.
Mr Akinci said that it is not the USA but Britain which is a basic country for the pseudo states tourism and that it will be more important for direct flights to be contacted between Britain and occupied Tymbou airport.
Mr Akinci also stated that the USA has not a state airline and the existing ones work aiming to gain profit; therefore any flight contacted in order to break the embargo will be a symbolic gesture. He also said that this is not an issue of one country but an issue that must be accepted both by countries and the International Aviaton Organization.
 Mr Salih Usar said that they have applications from private airlines for direct flights to the occupied area of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.06.05) published an interview with the so-called Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Salih Usar. Replying to a question whether there were applications at the so-called Civil Aviation department from countries or private airlines regarding direct flights, Mr Usar said: There are some applications from private airlines concerning the direct flights. It is also important to begin chartered or scheduled flights to Ercan airport (occupied airport of Tymbou) in order for the passengers to be served. The Turkish Cypriots should not be disappointed on the direct flights, because the launching of direct flights is also a matter which is connected to the developments of the Cyprus problem.
Mr Usar noted again that the visit of the U.S. Congressmen using the occupied airport of Tymbou is significant and gives the hope that there would be important developments in Cyprus.
[B] COMMENTRIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in MILLIYET describes Turkey-US relations as strategic confusionIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (11.06.05) publishes the following column by Melih Asik under the title: "Strategic confusion":
The United States threatens Iran with its guns, missiles and naval ships. Meanwhile, it provokes the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] against that country. However, the Iranian administration ignores the warnings. It bombs the PKK positions on the Qandil Mountain in northern Iraq and defies the United States.
While the Iranian mullahs protect their national dignity, Turkey remains inactive with its hands tied, regardless of the loss of many of its military personnel who are martyred by the PKK terrorists. It asks Washington to take action against the PKK and remains silent when its requests are turned down. It tries to console itself by claiming that it is a "strategic partner" of the United States.
The Iranian mullahs defend their country. However, our pro-US mullahs remain inactive against the attacks on Turkey for the sake of the support Washington might give to them to help them maintain their positions.
The United States plans to convert Turkey into an "Islamic state" and bring democracy to the Middle East through its Greater Middle East Plan. However, it refrains from making any statement related to secularism. How can democracy exist without secularism? Is the United States not aware of that? That is impossible. But, it is quite clear that the claims related to the establishment of democracy in the Middle East are merely words. Had Washington believed in democracy, would it have asked the Turkish Government to "Put pressure on the people, change its mentality, and end the anti-American trend in the country?"
 Anti-americanism used by Erodgan to impose the Turkish policy in CyprusIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (12.06.05) publishes the following column by Hasan Cemal under the title: "Hatred for America achieves nothing":
On his return trip from America Prime Minister Erdogan flew from Brussels to Ankara yesterday afternoon and talked about his meeting with Bush to a team of journalists including MILLIYET´s Ankara correspondent Hasan Cemal. Erdogan sent the following messages:
Hatred for the US: "What is hatred for the US going to bring to Turkey, what will it gain? What is important is improving relations, and developing solidarity based on common interests. It is this attitude that will benefit Turkey. Removing the TRNC (occupied areas of Cyprus] from isolation as well as every step taken by the United States over the PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] is going to reduce hatred for America. Turkey and America are already working together in the intelligence field against the PKK, with respect to northern Iraq. Of course, how things are put into practice is important. The publication of 150 PKK names by America is important, of course."
Aim Of Visit: "I am very pleased with the outcome of my visit. My aim when embarking on this trip was to put an end to negative speculation regarding Turkish-US relations. Remarks made the US President after the summit did put an end to these speculations. What is important is what the President said and not what some people may have leaked to the press. Common purpose. The declaration of common purpose is important. This was made after the summit at the White Hosue. I am surprised to still be reading certain negative things in the press. Why are the President's remarks important? There are for instance 387 US investors in Turkey today. This figure must increase. In this respect Bush's positive remarks about Turkish-US relations were important. The more foreign investment capital you can bring to Turkey the better. This is the topic we attach most importance to."
Pressure and Friendship: "Was it to put us under psychological pressure that certain speculation and news was peddled on the market prior to our visit? Every country has got its own unique strategies but it is not for us to pass comment on this. There may well be the psychological mood of expecting a yes in response to America's every request. But we look at the balance of what we can do and how. In addition, what is always important for us is winning friends. We are at that point. We will never make enemies."
America's Viewpoint: "Being a global power the United States cannot shunt Turkey off to one side. You cannot talk about global peace and at the same time ignore Turkey with its mainly Muslim population and democracy. America cannot do this. Turkey is a serious bridge with the Muslim world. America has to make best use of this. It cannot ignore the reality of Turkey."
EU and Turkey: "Just as with the United States the EU too cannot ignore Turkey. The EU is not something we cannot live without, but it has become a model for Turkey. We think it is necessary to make this model a reality. Turkey too has much to offer the EU. If the EU is not going to be a Christian club then it will be thanks to Turkey that it is not. This point of view is being accepted. We are working together with Spain in this regard."
Reply to Baykal: "So, Baykal wants an early election in 2006? He wants the new parliament to elect the new president, does he? We will look at this matter from the point of view of stability. What might it bring, what might be lost? The nation gave us five years. The government is powerful. We have no problems. Everything is running smoothly. Furthermore, this parliament has the authority to elect a new president. Why should we go for an early election? Baykal is wearing himself out for nothing. Investors want stability. A country that has elections every two years is not stable. It has been 59 years since we switched from single-party rule to a multiparty democracy, and we have had 59 governments in that time. Where is the stability in that, can you tell me? We want production and that requires stability."
Syria: "We were enemies for 40 years. But that is all behind us now. Syria now says there is no longer a problem with the Hatay border. If Syria is going to take democratic steps it will take them as part of the Greater Middle East Initiative. This means forming a free world together. During our summit at the White House the President did not say the Syrian regime cannot improve, or anything like that.
Horsefly: "Erdogan said that Baykal's comments about him in connection with being pro-American were, "Unseemly." Talking about True Path Party Chairman Agar's comments about the horsefly at the White House summit Erdogan quipped, "It is a good thing if the horsefly is the only thing he can remember about the summit."
 Columnist in MILLIYET argues that Turkey pins its hope on the US to legalise the faits accomplis in CyprusIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (10.06.05) publishes the following commentary by
Fikret Bila under the title: "Hopes pinned on the United States about Cyprus":
It appears that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with US President George W. Bush has produced the most satisfactory result about the Cyprus issue as far as Erdogan is concerned. The statements made after the meeting also supported this conclusion. A recent visit paid by a delegation from the US Congress to the `TRNC´ [occupied areas of Cyprus] by taking a direct flight to Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport had raised Ankara's morale and strengthened its hand. President Bush said that they were examining a proposal to start direct flights from Ercan Airport to the United States and Erdogan later disclosed that the President had instructed the US Secretary of State to look at the matter, which indicated that the meeting held in the White House had produced the most successful result about Cyprus.
Just like `TRNC President´ Mehmet Ali Talat, Ankara appears to be relying on support to be given by the United States and the United Kingdom rather than the EU for finding a solution to this problem. Ankara believes that both Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration could come under serious pressure if steps similar to the visit paid by the US Congressmen to the `TRNC´ are taken during the United Kingdom's presidency.
A joint proposal
Erdogan met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York, which was the next leg of his trip. Ankara's official proposal about Cyprus was highlighted before that visit. It was reported that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had sent a letter, which contained Turkey's proposal, to Annan and the members of the UN Security Council ahead of Erdogan's visit to the United States.
Briefly, the proposal states that Turkish ports could be opened to Greek Cypriot ships concurrently with the lifting of the existing international embargo on `TRNC´ ports and airports.
The proposal was refined in the `TRNC´. `TRNC Foreign Minister´ Serdar Denktas disclosed the plan to MILLIYET during an interview in Lefkosia ahead of the last elections in the `TRNC´. The proposal was later refined as a result of contributions made by `President Talat´ and `Prime Minister´ Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
In the final phase it was transformed into an official policy during a series of high-level meetings held in Ankara before Erdogan had left for Washington. Erdogan, Gul, Talat, Soyer, and Denktas endorsed the proposal as a result of their consultations.
Erdogan repeated the proposal, which had previously been brought to Annan's attention by a letter, during their meeting in New York.
The Greek Cypriot side
Turkey will soon sign the additional protocol, which will extend its customs union with the EU to include South Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus) among other countries. The date of signing the protocol is drawing closer. Erdogan and Gul have said on various occasions that it would eventually be signed. Ankara made this commitment in Brussels on 17 December 2004 when the EU set a date for the start of accession talks.
With Turkey poised to sign the additional protocol, there is a parallel proposal aimed at putting an end to the `TRNC's´ isolation.
The Greek Cypriot side is cool about the proposal and there was no encouraging comment from any EU official. Meanwhile, the informal talks held in Brussels did not produce a meaningful result.
Ankara is not hopeful that the `Greek Cypriot Administration´ will respond positively. The Papadopoulos Administration seems to be determined to make maximum use of its advantage arising from membership in the EU. It does not want to negotiate.
Since the EU has not kept the promises it had made before, the `TRNC Government´ has basically pinned its hopes on the steps to be taken by the United States.
Would the anticipated steps to be taken by the United States and the United Kingdom's EU presidency be sufficient to enable Turkey to put its idea into practice?
It is too early to say that they would.
Another question, which needs to be answered, is why the United States, which is not "pleased" with Turkey's policies regarding Iraq, Iran, and especially Syria gives support in Cyprus.
Ankara must concentrate on that "reason" in order to avoid a possible crisis similar to the one, which broke out due to the developments related to Iraq.