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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-06-15

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.112/05 15.06.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Mr Talat stresses that Turkey will not open its ports and airports for the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [02] The Turkish Prime Minister will resort to delaying tactics regarding the Customs Union Protocol.
  • [03] The National Unity Party is looking for the proper time to call an extraordinary general assembly due to various internal problems it faces.
  • [04] Kutlay Erk reacted strongly to a UN document's reference that Lefkosia has been divided for 30 years.
  • [05] A Turkish journalist called on the occupation regime to protect the antiquities in the occupied area of Cyprus.
  • [06] General Ozkok is having contacts in Kazakhstan.
  • [07] New Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs says he will work towards achieving progress in Cyprus.
  • [08] The Turkish Foreign Ministry says that the Republic of Cyprus could not ask for opening an office in Ankara.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Erdogan's adviser stresses that the US extends the most support to Turkey on the Cyprus problem and that Erdogan met Kissinger during his latest visit to the US.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Mr Talat stresses that Turkey will not open its ports and airports for the Republic of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.06.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that Mr Mehmet Ali Talat so-called President of Ankara“s puppet regime in occupied Cyprus, responding to questions of journalists, said: "The additional protocol-- extending Turkey's customs deal to new EU members, including Greek Cypriot side-- is going to be signed, but this does not mean that the ports will be opened by Turkey. While the Greek Cypriot side boycotts the ports and airports of the "TRNC" (occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus), Turkey can't open its ports to Greek Cypriots."

    Regarding the Russian move to prevent Russian tourists from visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus, Mr Talat said that the so-called Foreign Ministry of the occupation regime undertook a "diplomatic initiative" against Russia about the issue.

    Referring to the refusal by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (who recently visited the Republic of Cyprus) to meet the illegal authorities, Talat said: "This attitude is not in line with the objective attitude of Russia, which is a member of UN Security Council... I don't think that Russia is an enemy of us, but we must explain our views better to Russia."

    Upon a question, Mr Talat said that the meetings between Turkish and Greek Cypriot delegations continued in Brussels.

    "The meetings are confidential. We will give information when they finish," said Talat.

    [02] The Turkish Prime Minister will resort to delaying tactics regarding the Customs Union Protocol

    Turkish Private TV channel, NTV aired last night (14.06.05) a live interview given by the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to journalist Murat Akyun. During the interview, Mr Erdogan answered questions about domestic issues, foreign policy issues, his recent visit to the White House and the meeting with US President Bush his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York and on the Cyprus problem.

    When asked to express his views on Greek Cypriot press reports that the Cyprus government will make efforts to open an embassy or a diplomatic mission in Turkey, the Turkish Prime Minister said: "Nothing of that sort has reached us as yet. However, it is not possible to achieve something by just saying `we want something of this sort“. Firstly one has to fulfil his responsibilities. Unless he fulfils his responsibilities, Turkey will not look into this issue favourably. Our attitude regarding this issue is clear. It is not possible for us to retract from this stance. What is this stance? All the embargoes imposed on the north Cyprus should be removed. They have to be removed, so that in turn we take these steps. Unless this is realized, we cannot take these steps".

    When asked about the signing of the additional Protocol of the Customs Union, which will extend the customs union agreement to the ten new EU states including Cyprus, and when the Turkish Parliament will approve it, Mr Erdogan said: "The text of the additional protocol is yet to come to us. You know, this should be translated into 20 languages. And then it is sent to the concerned countries. When it comes to us, we will study it. As a matter of fact we will sign the additional protocol, it is not a problem. In the mean time, our parliament will enter into the summer recess. Once the parliament enters into summer recess, there are special dimensions related to the parliament“s reconvening. And the process after reconvening... The Parliament will open on 1st October. After 1st October there are formalities to bring this text before the parliament. Only then could the approval process start".

    [03] The National Unity Party is looking for the proper time to call an extraordinary general assembly due to various internal problems it faces

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (15.06.05) reports that the National Unity Party (NUP) of Dervis Eroglu is searching for the right time to call an extraordinary general assembly.

    As the paper writes, the party was turned into a "boiling pot" after the recent resignations of the so-called Kyrenia deputy Mr Huseyin Kayim and the so-called Dikomo mayor Yasar Gucsav. Both have decided to join the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktas.

    In addition the internal opposition within the NUP warns that if an extraordinary general assembly is not going to be called soon, the resignations from the party will continue. The gathering of signatures which was started by the rank and file of the NUP some time aiming at calling an extraordinary congress and the changing of the leadership of the party is going on and the rush shown by the internal opposition towards this issue gains supports after the current resignations within the party.

    The paper also notes that it is expected that Mr Eroglu will not be a candidate for the position of the chairman of the NUP, however everyone is waiting to see the person Mr Eroglu will point out to be the candidate for his position. According to VATAN Mr Eroglu would prefer Mr Salih Miroglu, the current General Secretary of the NUP to take his place, however Mr Miroglu has not decided yet on the matter.

    [04] Kutlay Erk reacted strongly to a UN document's reference that Lefkosia has been divided for 30 years

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (15.06.05) reports that the International Consultation Panel about the Lefkosia Master Plan and the Future of Lefkosia's Walls has started at the Ledra Palace.

    During the panel, the so-called mayor of occupied Lefkosia Mr Kutlay Erk reacted strongly because in a document prepared by the United Nations it was written that Lefkosia has been divided for the last 30 years.

    As the paper writes, Mr Erk reacted strongly to a document of the UN in which Lefkosia was presented as "a town which is divided for 30 years". Mr Erk alleged that Lefkosia has been divided since 1963 and that since that date Cyprus is on the agenda of the United Nations. "I do not understand how such a mistake took place in a UN document", he said.

    He also reacted to the fact that in the UN document there was no reference to municipalities. "The Lefkosia Turkish Municipality is a reality and nobody can deny its existence", he alleged.

    In addition, the mayor of Lefkosia Mr Michalakis Zampelas, stated that what is needed for the town centre, "is a vision that will cover both communities". He also said that he agrees with Mr Erk that in the framework of the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus there are two Lefkosia municipalities. However, Mr Zampelas noted that Lefkosia belongs to Cypriots. "Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, are all Cypriots. Lefkosia is our town and we can continue to live in the town. For us and for the future generations", he said.

    [05] A Turkish journalist called on the occupation regime to protect the antiquities in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Two Turkish Cypriot daily newspapers HALKIN SESI and KIBRIS (15.06.05) report that a known journalist of the Turkish daily CUMHURIYET newspaper, Ozgen Acar, visited the occupied area of Cyprus as a guest of the Association of the Turkish Cypriot journalists and the illegal Kyrenia American University. During his visit, Mr Acar visited the orthodox churches of Ayios Themonianos and St. Barnabas in the occupied village of Lyssi, as well as the church of Panayia of Kanakaria in the occupied village of Lythrangomi.

    Mr Acar briefed the Turkish Cypriot journalists on the illicit trade in antiquities in the occupied area of Cyprus and on the cultural values, which have been vanished. He also noted that during the illicit trade of antiquities, icons of the 6th and 13th centuries, which were stolen from orthodox churches in the occupied area of Cyprus, were sold for billion dollars to foreign countries, adding that there were also Turkish Cypriots, who were involved in this illicit trade.

    Mr Acar said that their cultural wealth is exhibited now abroad due to the illicit trade, which took place with "operations" of Aydin Dikmen, the international known smuggler who lives now in Munich, and some local collaborators. He went on and gave a brief explanation how the icons and mosaics from Ayios Themonianos church in the occupied village of Lyssi were found at Houston, Texas, how the icons of St. Barnabas were sold abroad and how the mosaics of Panayia of Kanakaria were sold at Paul Getty museum in California.

    Commenting on the icon, which was stolen from a church in the occupied village of Lyssi and sold to the Greek Cypriots for £8000, Mr Acar said that it was sold very cheap and that UN soldiers were also involved in this matter.

    Mr Acar called on the occupation regime to protect the antiquities and added: "These antiquities even if they are excavated or come out from churches are the historical, sacred and cultural heritage of the country. It is the joint heritage of humanity. The 'municipalities' and the 'government' should be alert on matters like the protection of the antiquities."

    [06] General Ozkok is having contacts in Kazakhstan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.06.05) reported from Almaty that the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, who is visiting Kazakhstan, met Kazakh Minister of Defense Mukhtar Altynbayev on Tuesday.

    During this meeting, Ozkok said that cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, particularly in training, was improving each passing day, and added that Turkish Armed Forces would continue to extend assistance and support to Kazakh armed forces.

    On the other hand, Altynbayev said that they would discuss peace and security, and cooperation between the two countries during Ozkok's visit.

    Noting that Turkey had granted military vehicle and equipment to Kazakhstan, Altynbayev said that more than 300 Kazakh military students were trained in Turkey.

    Altynbayev stated that Turkey also helped and supported establishment of Caspian fleet of Kazakhstan, and added that the two countries will sign a five-year military cooperation agreement soon.

    [07] New Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs says he will work towards achieving progress in Cyprus

    Turkish NTV television (internet version, 15.06.05) reports that the newly appointed Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr Ibrahim Gamberi from Nigeria, has said that he would exert efforts towards achieving progress on the Cyprus problem.

    Sir Kieran Prendergast, who will hand over his duties to Mr Gamberi as of 1 July 2005, will stay in the UN until the end of the year.

    Mr Gamberi said that his priority would be the reforms in the UN. He added that he would exert efforts towards ensuring a ceasefire in the Middle East and Africa and to achieve progress in the solution process of the Cyprus problem.

    NTV reports that Sir Kieran Prendergast will continue working at the UN until the end of the year.

    [08] The Turkish Foreign Ministry says that the Republic of Cyprus could not ask for opening an office in Ankara

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (15.06.05, internet version) reports that the Spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Namik Tan, has said that demands such as opening an office in Ankara by the Republic of Cyprus, which Turkey does not recognize, are out of the question.

    Responding to questions during his regular weekly briefing with the Press, Mr Tan noted: "Turkey's stance on this issue is very clear. Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot Administration and it will continue not to recognize it. Therefore, the opening of an office or similar demands from an administration which Turkey does not recognize, are out of the question".

    Mr Tan said that they have been informed about the issue from the Press.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Erdogan“s adviser stresses that the US extends the most support to Turkey on the Cyprus problem and that Erdogan met Kissinger during his latest visit to the US

    Istanbul NTV (14.06.05) broadcast live an interview with Egemen Bagis, Justice and Development Party (JDP), deputy and foreign affairs advisor to Prime Minister Erdogan.

    Asked about Turkey“s strategic relation with the US and whether Erdogan“s trip was successful Mr Bagis replied: "I would like to first give a prompt reply to the claims of strategic relations. Turkey has assumed the command of ISAF for the second time in two years. We are the country that sustained the most casualties in Iraq after the United States. We have more casualties than the United Kingdom. It is true that we do not have soldiers there, but we are one of the countries, which contributed the most to the restructuring of Iraq and establishing democracy with our truck drivers, engineers, and our workers. The Iraqi prime minister conducted his first visit abroad to Turkey and accompanied by six ministers. I do not want to use the word model or exemplary country, but Turkey with its 200-year-old experience can make the most contribution to the Broader Middle East Project. Moreover, we are the co-sponsors of the Democracy Assistance Group together with Italy and Yemen. Turkey is the only country, which has good relations with all the actors in the Middle East peace process. The United States is one of the countries, which extends us the most support on the Cyprus issue. Taking all these into consideration, I would like to pose the following question to all those who claim that we do not have strategic relations [with the United States]: How do you describe strategic relations if these are not strategic relations?"

    In reply to another question on whether Turkey's position has changed vis-a-vis the United States after the 1 March decision on the use of Incirlik base, Bagis said: "I would like to say it very openly that this visit is a great success regardless of the efforts exerted by certain circles both in Turkey and the United States. We have to look at this visit from the following point of view: Turkey's prime minister goes to the United States on a working visit. All the ministers accompanying him during the visit hold meetings with their counterparts. The prime minister himself meets US President Bush, Vice President Cheney, World Bank, and participates at a reception on his honor at the House of Representatives, which is part of the US Congress. I would like to remind you that the US Congress is the institution with which Turkey has traditionally bad relations. Several US Congress members participate at this reception, where the Turkish Friendship Group administrators lauded Turkey in their addresses.

    "In addition, the Republicans and the Democrats host our prime minister together. All the chairmen of the high-level committees, notably Senator Lugar, are present at the meeting, in which our prime minister is hosted. All the chairpersons of important committees and leading senators were present at the reception. In the meantime, our prime minister met with the executive editors of the three main dailies of the US media. He attended the executive editors board meeting of the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He gave an interview to the CNN and to NPR, which is the most popular radio in the United States. The dailies I cited above published positive reports on the prime minister's visit. He held various meetings with policy makers and present and past think-tank executives, who determine the US agenda. He also held contacts with the Turkish community in the United States.

    I would also like to say that the last evening before we left New York, Mr. Ahmet Ertegun, whom we are very proud of and who owns a big music company, hosted a dinner in honor of our prime minister. I would say that the visit was worth it even if the only thing we did was to participate at this dinner. We met the mayor of New York; whom various Turkish politicians sought to meet but could not; former Secretary of State Kissinger; New York Senator Schumer; UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife; Kemal Dervis, the new head of the UN Development Program whom we are now proud of; leading Turkish surgeon Mehmet Oz; leading US television producers Charlie Rose and Ed Bradley. A dinner was hosted in honor of our prime minister with the participation of very important persons. A great number of leaders and politicians would be willing to go to the United States thirty times over just to participate at such a dinner. For this reason, this visit has been extremely successful from various points of views."

    In reply to a question on the role the US envisages for Turkey, Bagis said: "I do not think it is appropriate to indulge in forecasts. I prefer to base my comments and interpretations on scientific results. The US President, however, has a thesis, which he put forward after his election. The concept of spreading democracy. This goal was detailed in the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative Project. Turkey was given a very clear role in this project. Turkey has 200-year-old experience in democracy, whether we like it or not. Whether we like it or not I say, because we have made some mistakes during this period. During this 200-year period, however, we also accumulated some significant experience. The regional countries can learn very important lessons from this experience, like not making the same mistakes and achieve successes."

    Recounting that he reviewed the history of the Turkish-US relations for a speech he was asked to deliver, Bagis adds: "I came across a speech Ataturk delivered in 1930. He talked about democracy, which he said was the common link between Turkish and the American peoples. We are almost saying the same thing today. This is our common point with the United States. Moreover, we have to explain this distinctive feature to the region, in one way or another. One of the main reasons of the visits of our prime minister to Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Jordan is part of the goal to give them this message. In addition, Foreign Minister Gul's visits to the Gulf countries are to show that our model is viable. Turkey is the best example to the coexistence of the Islam and democratic cultures. I think that the greatest expectation of the Americans from us is to continue setting an example and to explain this in a friendly manner. It is one thing for the Americans to go to the region and say that you need democracy, and it is another thing for us to say to our Muslim brothers, with whom we share common interests, to explain the results of the system implemented in our country and tell them that they can take advantage of our experiences. I had already said this beforehand. Our soldiers succeeded where the Dutch, the US, and the German soldiers failed in Afghanistan."

    In reply to a question on the stage reached on the Cyprus issue, Bagis cited the efforts exerted to increase the members of the Turkey Friendship Group from 20 to 70 and added: "I explained to the Congress members that we know that the Turkish Cypriots are in favor of a solution and you also know, but the world does not know and we should explain it to the whole world." Noting that work was launched to this end, Bagis said that the idea to have the US Congressmen to land at the Ercan [occupiedTymbou] Airport slowly crystallized with the support of our prime minister and the foreign minister. In this way, the first signal that a hole was made in the 30-year-old embargo. I also accompanied them throughout their visit. They were very appreciative."

    On Turkey“s refusal to assist the United States, during the Iraq war and asked to what extent the United States understands the fight against PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] in Turkey, Bagis said: "I would like to comment on the 1 March issue first. The Americans understood the 1 March issue. The Americans had two reasons to go to Iraq: first, to bring democracy to Iraq; second, to fight the WMD. I will not go into the second reason. As to the first, they should respect the democracy in Turkey if their goal was to bring democracy to Iraq. The decision adopted by our Assembly, in turn, is a very democratic decision. We had to respect this democratic decision, whether we like it or not. I believe that our allies also do not attach too much important to the 1 March decision. They are aware that they should respect this decision.

    1 March does not disturb the Americans to that extent. They are more upset by the commentaries of certain politicians on the United States and the blame political parties put on the United States for their inner strife. As to the future, however, we have very important joint projects, visions, and interests with the United States." Noting that it will be "success story" for the Bush Administration if we can establish trade relations with Iraq and Afghanistan. On the EU issue, Bagis said: "We are already in the EU with four million of our citizens their. There are more than four million citizens of the Republic of Turkey in Europe." Noting that "whether the Europeans like it or not, the Turks are an integral part of Europe," Bagis said: "The name or issue of Turkey does not appear anywhere in the referendum." Explaining, "some 70 percent of the population supports Turkey's membership in the EU," Bagis added: "Turkey's relations with Europe is not an alternative to its relations with the United States. These are complementary relations. When the JDP says that it pursues a multifaceted foreign policy, it means that it attaches importance to its relations with the EU, United States, the Islam world, and the Asia. We are tiring ourselves and our prime minister by taking him on visits to various countries. We have started, however, to reap the benefits. Look, this is the first time that a Turk was appointed the OIC secretary general. It may very well be that the Broader Middle East Project was launched in Istanbul at the NATO Summit."

    In reply to another question on whether the issue of ASALA [Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia] terrorism was raised, Bagis said: "International terrorism is the most important item on world agenda. We are constantly placing our sufferings from not only the ASALA terrorism, but also the PKK terrorism. On numerous occasions, our prime minister stressed that the root of terrorism cannot be destroyed without setting up a joint platform against terrorism. One step that the United States will take on the PKK issue will change the stand of those who are against the United States in one day."

    In reply to a question on whether any promises were made, Bagis said: "Let us just say that there are positive signs and leave the details to the future."


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