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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-08-01

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.144/05 30-31.07-01.08.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey signed the Additional Protocol.
  • [02] Turkish foreign Ministry: Turkey reaffirms that its existing relationship with the TRNC remains unchanged by becoming a party to the protocol.
  • [03] Erdogan, Gul and Ali Babacan explain how they understand the signing of the protocol.
  • [04] Turkish Foreign Ministry sources explain that the embargo on the Republic of Cyprus imposed by 40,000 Turkish troops will continue.
  • [05] Turkish Opposition Parties say signing of the EU Protocol means recognizing the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot politicians comment on the signing of the protocol.
  • [07] Statements by Talat in view of his visit to Turkey.
  • [08] Occupation regime: Kyprianou did not attempt to cross into the TRNC.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [09] Columnist warns the Turkish government that Cyprus has veto right over Turkeys accession talks.
  • [10] Columnist in YENI SAFAK argues that Ankara might be forced to make a choice between EU and the puppet regime it has set up in occupied Cyprus.
  • [11] Fikret Bila of MILLIYET argues that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will try to persuade the EU to hold talks with the Turkish Cypriot administration in a separate process.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey signed the Additional Protocol

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.07.05) reported the following from Ankara: Turkey signed the additional protocol extending its European Union (EU) customs agreement to cover all 25 EU states including the Greek Cypriot administration on Friday.

    Turkish Ambassador to the EU Oguz Demiralp signed the text.

    The signing process between Turkey and Britain, holding the rotating EU presidency, was completed after Turkey sent the text and a declaration making clear that the signing does not mean recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration, back to Britain.

    Earlier in the day, British Ambassador to the EU John Grant signed the text on behalf of the 25-nation bloc and sent it to Demiralp.

    Turkey was waiting for letter of Britain to sign the protocol. Turkish parliament's approval is required to put the protocol into force.

    [02] Turkish foreign Ministry: Turkey reaffirms that its existing relationship with the TRNC remains unchanged by becoming a party to the protocol

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.07.05) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey said in a declaration, which was issued together with the Customs Union text, "Turkey reaffirms that its existing relationship with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) remains unchanged by becoming a party to the protocol."

    The declaration titled "Declaration by Turkey on Cyprus" said, "Turkey remains committed to finding a political settlement of the Cyprus issue."

    The full text of the declaration is as follows:

    "1. Turkey remains committed to finding a political settlement of the Cyprus issue and has clearly demonstrated its resolve in this regard. Accordingly, Turkey will continue to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General towards achieving a comprehensive settlement which will lead to the establishment of a new bi-zonal partnership State. A just and lasting settlement would greatly contribute to peace, stability and harmonious relations in the region.

    "2. The Republic of Cyprus referred to in the protocol is not the original partnership State established in 1960.

    "3. Turkey will thus continue to regard the Greek Cypriot authorities as exercising authority, control and jurisdiction only in the territory south of the buffer zone, as is currently the case, and as not representing the Turkish Cypriot people and will treat the acts performed by them accordingly.

    "4. Turkey declares that signature, ratification and implementation of this protocol neither amount to any form of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus referred to in the protocol; nor prejudice Turkey's rights and obligations emanating from the Treaty of Guarantee, the Treaty of Alliance, and the Treaty of Establishment of 1960.

    "5. Turkey reaffirms that its existing relationship with the TRNC remains unchanged by becoming a party to the protocol.

    "6. Pending a comprehensive settlement, the position of Turkey on Cyprus will remain unchanged. Turkey expresses its readiness to establish relations with the new partnership State which will emerge following a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus."

    Later the same day Ankara Anatolia news agency reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey signed the additional protocol extending its European Union (EU) customs agreement to cover all 25 EU states including the Greek Cypriot administration on Friday.

    Releasing a statement, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that the additional protocol was signed between Turkey and the EU Presidency and Commission through exchange of letters.

    The statement said: "it will be recalled that Turkey declared in the EU Summit in Brussels on December 16th-17th, 2004, to sign the Additional Protocol to extend the Ankara Agreement to all EU members before October 3rd, 2005, following required negotiations. The additional protocol has been signed today between Turkey and the EU Presidency and Commission through exchange of letters. Together with this signature an official declaration was made by Turkey which legally constitutes an integral part of our signature and letter, and transmitted to the EU. The Permanent Representative of Turkey to the EU signed the Protocol and the declaration on behalf of the Turkish side."

    "In our declaration, it is reiterated that: The Republic of Cyprus referred to in the Protocol is not the original partnership State established in 1960. Turkey will continue to regard the Greek Cypriot authorities as exercising authority, control and jurisdiction only in the territory south of the buffer zone, and do not represent the Turkish Cypriot people and will treat the acts performed by them accordingly. The signature, ratification and implementation of this Protocol neither amount to any form of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus referred to in the Protocol; nor prejudice Turkey's rights and obligations emanating from the Treaty of Guarantee, the Treaty of Alliance, and the Treaty of Establishment of 1960. Turkey's existing relationship with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will remain unchanged," it said.

    The statement noted: "Turkey's commitment to finding a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue and its support for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to reach a comprehensive settlement that aims to the establishment of a new bi-zonal partnership State is also put on record in our declaration."

    "Turkey is convinced that a just and lasting settlement will bring peace and stability to our region and expects the other related parties to take concrete steps to this end. Within this framework, it is declared that Turkey's policy on Cyprus has not changed and that Turkey is ready to establish relations with the new partnership State which would emerge following a comprehensive settlement to be reached in Cyprus," it said.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry added in its statement: "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already put on record in his address to the European Council held on 17 December 2004 that the signing of the Additional Protocol would not amount to any form of recognition of the 'Republic of Cyprus'. The declaration made today together with the signature puts this fact once again into records. The exchange of letters has been completed in accordance with international law and our declaration constitutes an integral part of our letter. The Protocol signed through this exchange of letters, together with the related documents, will be submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly for ratification. Turkey has thus fulfilled all its responsibilities for launching the accession negotiations with the EU."

    [03] Erdogan, Gul and Ali Babacan explain how they understand the signing of the protocol

    Ankara TRT 1 Television (30.07.05) broadcast that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the following statement while addressing the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) meeting:

    I wish the additional protocol, and the declaration--the cover page--to be auspicious for our country, the EU, and the whole humanity. It goes without saying that stories will be made up for this as well. We are used to this as we encountered the same thing before 17 December. Very grave accusations were made. We experienced this as well. We are sincere and our intentions are sincere as well. There will be various groups, which will concoct various stories. In this country, we are more patriotic than those who declare themselves patriots. Moreover, each step we take is in line with this realization and belief. We, who make up the foundation and infrastructure of this country, declare that it is open and not closed to the world. The path to the EU, in turn, is the address to this end and a step toward it.

    Istanbul NTV television (30.07.05) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Gul, stated that the EU had had two demands of Turkey on 17 December and that these demands have been met with the passage of five laws in the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] and the signing of the supplementary protocol. Pointing out that the Customs Union agreement had already in fact been operative in practice, Foreign Minister Gul said that this situation became official with the signing of the protocol.

    Mr Gul said that it was stated openly in a declaration that the Republic of Cyprus is not being recognized, and that the declaration cannot be taken [merely] as a statement that Turkey made and Turkey paid attention to. Noting that in technical terms the declaration amounts to a clarification, Gul asserted that the declaration is a part of the supplementary protocol. Foreign Minister Gul said that they are going to present the supplementary protocol to the TGNA as a three-part package, consisting of a covering memorandum, the protocol itself, and the declaration.

    Gul, declaring that they will also benefit by the views of the opposition during the discussions in the Assembly, said "We are going to explain what it is. I think that, after reviewing it, the opposition will also adopt a new position."

    Mr Gul also denied allegations to the effect that the statements in the declaration had been softened upon advice from Prime Minister [Tony] Blair of Great Britain, which holds the current Term Presidency. Stressing that the countries belonging to the EU have already decided upon initiating negotiations with Turkey on 3 October, Gul said that the Republic of Cyprus will adhere to the decision taken, even if its own views should be different.

    Gul, noting that the countries belonging to the EU have a democratic structure, declared that changes of government in Europe will not impact Turkish-EU relations. Gul said that "Changes in government will not change the reality of adhering to the decisions made earlier."

    On the same issue Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (31.07.05) publishes the following report by Ayten Serin under the title: "Europe will not be held to ransom by 600,000 Greek Cypriots":

    "We wrote in the clearest terms our thoughts on Cyprus when we signed the declaration. We were prepared for every eventuality. That is why we responded quickly. We passed laws. We signed the protocol. There is no reason why accession talks cannot begin."

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said: "We passed laws. We signed the protocol. There is no reason why accession talks cannot begin." Stating also that the "de facto" situation was in effect Gul said, "Europe is too big to be held to ransom by 600,000 Greek Cypriots."

    In accordance with the ruling made on 17 December we needed to pass certain laws and sign the supplementary protocol by 3 October. We have passed the laws and signed the protocol. There is no reason why the accession talks cannot begin. We put a lot of care and attention into both content and style so as to leave no room for misunderstandings. There were three pieces of paper: the cover, the protocol, and the declaration. On the cover we wrote: "We are sending the attached protocol; our thoughts on the matter are contained within the declaration." Thus all this became a single unit. We said that the Greek Cypriot side of the island only represents the Greek Cypriots, that Turkey's Guarantor Rights and its relationship with the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] remain unchanged, but that we would work hard for a settlement. All of this became an EU document. The United Kingdom also voiced its positive thoughts in a statement of its own.

    There is no question of EU Term President the United Kingdom's approach being unique to the United Kingdom. We announced one month ago that we would sign the protocol. Greece and the Greek Cypriot side said that Turkey's declaration was "a political oddity". The real oddity is theirs. They are the ones who rejected the plan that the rest of the world wanted. On 30 May Turkey made a proposal that would see a mutual lifting of all economic restrictions on the island. They rejected this also. If there is any contradiction here it is in their attitude.

    The supplementary protocol was approved just three-and-a-half hours after it was handed to Turkey because we were ready for anything. All our scenarios were clear. We could have taken a month to sign it but they wanted just such timing. Besides, Brussels was about to take it summer recess. It was all done before we took our recess. Our colleagues in Brussels told us that the scenarios we had envisaged were panning out step by step. We in turn issued them the necessary political instructions. We experienced a crisis on 17 but we immediately rallied as you know. What sparked that crisis was the EU saying, "Turkey has to sign the protocol without adding any reservations." We then rejected the protocol and stated that we would not recognize the Greek Cypriots until such time as a lasting settlement was reached. That argument occurred then and an agreement was also reached then. As a result that agreement is still in effect. We do not expect any of the member countries to object to the declaration from this point onwards. Even if some do object; everybody is entitled to their opinion. The "de facto" situation that exists in Cyprus is still in effect. Neither they have gotten us to accept anything, nor we them. Neither Europe nor Turkey is being held to ransom by the Greek Cypriots. Europe is too big to be held to ransom by 600,000 Greek Cypriots. Europe has its interests and its balances. Furthermore, they are at fault. They rejected the economic plan that Europe was insisting on.

    We cannot decide who is going to come to power in the German elections. However, there is a principle in Europe: previously made decisions are stuck to; decisions that have been made do stay in effect. Both Markel and Sarkozy have said this. If only the previous governments here had made these latest political reforms and all this business was long finished. If only things had not fallen foul of this difficult time in Europe.

    We took note of the warnings issued by the opposition before the protocol was signed. They told us not to do what previous governments had done. The core Customs Union Agreement had not been taken to Parliament in 1995. We are even going to take the current one to Parliament because some minor changes have been made. We will submit it for ratification together with the over note, the protocol and the appended declaration at the same time. We are doing everything openly, transparently and carefully. We could have signed the protocol in Brussels and published it in Ankara, but this way allows all three to be signed.

    Finally Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.07.05) reported from Istanbul that speaking at the general assembly meeting of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) on Saturday, Turkish State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan said: "Customs Union additional protocol was signed on Friday and Turkey completed its responsibility by signing it."

    "Now the only thing we are waiting before October 3rd is approval of frame document by 25 EU countries. After it is approved, there will be no obstacles before the start of the negotiations," he added.

    Speaking at the general assembly meeting of Economic Development Foundation (IKV) on Saturday, Babacan also said: "Negotiation process will not be very easy, however, we don't expect big difficulties."

    "Turkey's standards will be increased under 35 different chapters during negotiations. This change process will be different when compared with 10 new EU members. Turkey slowly prepared itself for the EU especially after Customs Union agreement signed in 1996. Private sector is ready for competition with the EU in many areas," he added.

    Babacan said: "10 years is mentioned (for EU membership). However, we believe that we can handle many of the 35 chapters earlier than in 10 years."

    [04] Turkish Foreign Ministry sources explain that the embargo on the Republic of Cyprus imposed by 40,000 Turkish troops will continue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.07.05) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Ministry sources said that Turkey which signed Customs Union additional protocol is not under a responsibility toward Greek Cypriots regarding ports and airports.

    Speaking to the A.A correspondent on Saturday, the sources said: "According to our legal view, ports and airports are not within the scope of Customs Union agreement. This issue stemmed from the Cyprus question. It is related to a comprehensive solution and its real reason is embargo and limitations by Greek Cypriot administration for Turkish Cypriots."

    "On May 30th, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul suggested lifting of all limitations regarding Cyprus by all related parties at the same time. Turkey considers ports and airports issue within the scope of this suggestion, not under Customs Union agreement," noted the sources.

    The sources further said: "Customs Union will be applied in areas where EU acquis is valid. `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) is not included in EU acquis. It emerged as a separate existence."

    "There is Green Line arrangement in the island. There is no opportunity to transport all properties from north to south, thus, the approach that Turkish Cypriot economy will migrate to south is not possible. Green Line arrangement is a structure which prevents this," noted sources.

    Analysing the declaration the sources said: "Turkey obviously stated with the declaration that it did not change its Cyprus policy. Turkey also stressed that its signing the protocol does not mean direct or indirect recognition of Greek Cypriot administration."

    "Turkey placed on record that its rights and responsibilities which it gained and undertook under the 1960 Guarantee, Alliance and Foundation Agreements will not be harmed. Turkey also stressed that signing the protocol will not affect its relations with `TRNC´. Turkey assured that the protocol will not be against `TRNC´ in political, economic, social and other aspects," noted sources.

    Sources said that "Cyprus republic" which was referred in the protocol is not the real partnership state which was established in 1960.

    [05] Turkish Opposition Parties say signing of the EU Protocol means recognizing the Republic of Cyprus

    Istanbul NTV television (30.07.05) broadcast the following:

    The opposition is maintaining that by signing the additional EU protocol which extends the Customs Union to the 10 new EU members, including the Greek Cypriot sector, Turkey has recognized the Greek Cypriot sector.

    Nuzhet Kandemir, the deputy leader of the True Path Party [TPP], said that Turkey now recognizes the Greek Cypriot Administration de jure or de facto, while Onur Oymen, deputy leader of the Republican People's Party [RPP] stressed that the protocol is not valid unless approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly [TGNA].

    Mr Kandemir said: Willingly or unwillingly, when it signs this protocol, the Turkish Republic recognizes the Greek Cypriot Administration de jure or de facto. The situation now is that the Turkish Republic recognizes the Greek Cypriot Administration as if it represents the whole island. That is what the signing of the protocol means. I believe that it is really impossible for the Turkish nation to accept that. And with this belief I say that those who are doing this are assuming a very heavy responsibility.

    On his part Mr Oymen said: Under international law, when you sign an agreement or a protocol with a country that you do not recognize, you recognize that country de facto. In history, I have never heard that countries that do not recognize each other sign customs union agreements. The only positive aspect to this issue is that the protocol has no legal validity unless it is recognized by the TGNA.

    [06] Turkish Cypriot politicians comment on the signing of the protocol

    Illegal BAYRAK television (30.07.05) broadcast the reactions of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat; Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer; and Serdar Denktas, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, to the signing of the Additional Protocol by Turkey, in this way extending the Association Agreement to all new EU member states, in particular those pertaining to the EU-Turkey customs union.

    In his assessment of the signing of the Additional Protocol by Turkey, Talat says: "The important thing is what comes after." Explaining that several problems, difficulties, and crises may be expected during the negotiation process, Talat adds: "Precautions should be taken in order to surmount all these. Policies should be formulated. Joint policies should be formulated." In reply to an unidentified correspondent's question with regard to the issue of recognizing the Republic of Cyprus Talat says: "There should be no doubt whatsoever that the declaration said that recognition is out of the question." Stressing the importance of the "content" of Turkey's declaration with regard to the Additional Protocol, Talat reiterates: "The important thing is the content. As much as possible, the content had to be flexible and in a language understandable to the whole world. For this reason, I anyway did not find it right to use harsh and stern terminology in the declaration from the beginning. The important thing is the content." Stating that everybody was aware that this declaration was going to be signed since 17 December, Talat adds: "Nobody should interpret this situation as though it is new." Referring to the negotiation process in the future, Talat says that Turkey will find itself under pressure and, therefore, it has to work in a coordinated manner. Talat adds: "This stage was inevitable. Everybody knew for months that this inevitable stage would be reached.

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, in turn, says: "I would like to issue a call to the Turkish Cypriot people, the Turkish public, and the Greek Cypriot side. The main issue to be focused upon in the declaration by both Turkey and Cyprus after this stage is not the issue of recognition. The important thing is for the Turkish and Cypriot public to carry to the future the political concentration and the factors cited in this declaration. The factors cited in this declaration are saying in a very clear manner that the solution process with regard to the Cyprus issue should be carried to the future. At the same, that a solution befitting the spirit of the 1960 agreements should be achieved. It is becoming evident, consequently, that the main point is that we have to use our common energy both in Turkey and Cyprus toward a solution." Soyer concludes by saying that the EU, in turn, should "take speedy steps" to stop taking unjust positions with regard to the existence of the Turkish Cypriot side and issues a call to the "Greek Cypriot people and the political leadership." In this call, Soyer advises the Greek Cypriot people and the political leadership to stop futile efforts to have Turkey recognize the Republic of Cyprus and instead devote themselves to a lasting solution within the UN framework.

    Issuing a written message on the signing of the protocol, Serdar Denktas stressed the importance of noting in the declaration that the Republic of Cyprus is not recognized. Issuing a call to Turkey not to open its ports to the Greek Cypriots until the Cyprus issue is resolved, Serdar Denktas said that all the ports in Cyprus should be opened simultaneously. Denktas further said: The declaration issued by Turkey meets the expectations of the Turkish Cypriot people to the full.

    Turkish Cypriot CYPRUS TIMES newspaper (01.08.05) quoted Turkish Cypriot officials to have said: It is one thing to sign a piece of paper, but quite another to implement the protocol.

    [07] Statements by Talat in view of his visit to Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.07.05) reported from occupied Lefkosia that replying to questions of the A.A correspondent on Sunday, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat said that his visit to Turkey will start tomorrow and he will exchange views with officials. He added that he will meet Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok.

    When asked whether he expected that the Cyprus problem would be solved in the near future, Talat said: "If only we had the right to speak for solution of this problem, it would have been solved already. Unfortunately, we confront Greek Cypriot administration which does not have any approach to solve the problem."

    Talat said: "I will write a letter to the European Commission regarding the appointment of Greek Cypriot Themis Themistocleous as EU 'Cyprus' representative. Themistocleous has never visited `TRNC´ and he is one of the strongest supporters of insolubility campaign of Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulous."

    "European Commission knows about the extraordinary conditions and insolubility in Cyprus. It prepared regulations for this. However, it appointed a Greek Cypriot although it is aware of this condition," he added.

    When recalled of news of several Turkish Cypriot press claiming that property deeds which were given after 1974 would be cancelled, Talat said: "Doing such a thing will not be a normal political step. Cancellation of deeds is out of question."

    [08] Occupation regime: Kyprianou did not attempt to cross into the TRNC

    Local Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.07.05) reports that the so-called Information Office of the occupation regime had claimed that the EU Commissioner Responsible for Health and Consumer Protection Mr Marcos Kyprianou, did not attempt to enter into the occupied areas as a diplomat without presenting his Identity Card.

    The so-called Director of the Information Office, Huseyin Ozel had said that: Mr Kyprianou, in a statement to the Ajans France Press, (AFP) had stated that his entry into the TRNC as a diplomatic person without presenting an Identity Card, had been precluded. Upon this statement an investigation had been carried out by the Information Office at the TRNC police, and it was determined that no such attempt had been carried out.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [09] Columnist warns the Turkish government that Cyprus has veto right over Turkeys accession talks

    English language The New Anatolian newspaper (30.07.05) publishes the following column by Ilnur Cevik under the title: "Pretending not to recognize Greek Cypriots is not a practical solution":

    We'll approve the protocol with the European Union, but we won't recognize Greek Cyprus which is actually a full member of the Union. Is this practical? Can it be done?

    Providing a realistic answer to this question is the real problem facing the Erdogan government today. It's hard pressed between pretending not to recognize the Greek Cypriots while we actually deal with these people in the EU who we don't recognize

    "We won't deal with them, we won't allow them to use our airspace or our ports" is a statement that could well appease the Turkish public but is it practical and can it really hold water is really a tricky question, especially if you're a candidate country and your adversaries are full members of the club.

    Last week a Turkish first division team had to travel to Nicosia to play in the qualification round of the UEFA Champions League against a Greek Cypriot side. Our players could not pretend they were playing against a team that didn't exist. The team was there, the Greek Cypriot fans were there, and so was the country that hosted the game. So who are we kidding?

    Is the government aware that the Greek Cypriots have the veto power to block the start of our accession talks in October? The Greek Cypriots are well established now in the EU as a physical obstruction whether we pretend they exist or not.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair made an unusual concession and gesture to Erdogan during their recent meeting in London. He told the press that Turkey's signing the Ankara protocol does not amount to recognizing the Greek Cypriots. So Erdogan should have left the issue at that. But it seems the Turkish government is preparing a statement that will put Blair on the dock with strong statements against the Greek Cypriots.

    Erdogan has gotten himself into a mess. He recognized the Greek Cypriots long ago and pretends he didn't. But now we see he's getting Blair into a mess and that's a big mistake. Britain is the only power that wholeheartedly backs Turkish accession and we need all the help we can get from this country in view of German and French sentiments towards denying full membership to Turkey.

    Turkey should face the facts and act accordingly. You can't sit at the same table as someone and pretend they don't exist.

    [10] Columnist in YENI SAFAK argues that Ankara might be forced to make a choice between EU and the puppet regime it has set up in occupied Cyprus

    Istanbul YENI SAFAK newspaper (28.07.05) publishes the following commentary by Ahmet Tasgetiren, under the title "A Cyprus showdown?":

    Turkey-EU relations are fast heading for a Cyprus showdown. It appears that things will eventually come to the point of a choice of "either the EU or the `TRNC´ [`Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´]" for Turkey and of "either Turkey or the Greek Cypriots" for the EU. I have written here in this column before that the EU is putting undue pressure on Turkey and that, although it is not my style at all to say such things, it is playing a sort of dirty trick. The EU knew that Turkey is involved in a dispute with Cyprus and that it does not recognize the Greek Cypriot section. In spite of this, it admitted the Greek Cypriots to full membership as representative of the Republic of Cyprus and brought it face to face with Turkey. Ankara could have asked the EU back then to opt for "either Turkey or full membership for the Greek Cypriots" and faced it with a choice. Instead of severing relations, the issue was left in abeyance probably because of concern that the EU might sacrifice Turkey. It was considered that a favorable solution could be found in time.

    The process is continuing. Turkey-EU negotiations will start on 3 October. However, Turkey is now being asked to sign an additional protocol approving the inclusion of 10 new members in the Customs Union. It means that Turkey will include the Greek Cypriot administration in the protocol. The vital question here is this: "Does this also entail recognizing the Greek Cypriot administration?" This question is vital because recognizing the Greek Cypriot administration would mean giving up all your claims to Cyprus, crossing off the `TRNC´, causing the Turks to be reduced to the position of a minority, enabling Cyprus to become a Greek island, that is getting Enosis [annexation of Cyprus to Greece] to become a reality, etc.

    Turkey will sign the additional protocol because this has become a prerequisite for the start of the negotiations on 3 October. In other words, the EU has in one sense provided Turkey with "a choice between the EU and ..."

    Turkey will sign the adaptation protocol but it will add a provision stating that "this signature does not mean recognizing the Greek Cypriots." Thereafter, the EU's attitude will be important. How will the EU react to the proviso that signing the protocol does not mean recognition?

    The EU has an ambivalent attitude here. On the one hand, it sees that it is natural for Turkey not to recognize the Greek Cypriots because there is a long-standing and unsolved dispute in Cyprus, that the UN-brokered solution initiative was obstructed by the Greek Cypriots, that the isolation of the `TRNC´ is unjust and that it means rewarding the Greek Cypriots despite the way in which they are avoiding a settlement, that an unjust situation has already emerged owing to the full membership status given to the Greek Cypriots, that putting more pressure on Turkey will cause an anti-EU backlash in this country, that Turkey, which is so important for Europe's security, might break away from the West, that this would have a significant impact on the Islamic world, that this would be contrary to the EU's strategic perspective, and that an EU without Turkey could not have global goals. (Term President Britain's attitude is close to this.)

    On the other hand, there is a deep, pro-Greek Cypriot tendency in the EU to put pressure on Turkey. Turkey has not been given a guarantee of full membership. What is in question in Turkey's case is an open-ended negotiation process. Some of Europe's powerful states are making the unreliable proposal of a privileged partnership to Turkey rather than of full membership. Under the circumstances, it is thought that putting pressure on Turkey to recognize the Greek Cypriots and excluding it from the EU in the long term would be a victory for the Christian world.

    Both tendencies are present in the EU. It is even thought that the second tendency will prevail in time. What will Turkey do, then? Turkey attaches importance to EU membership, too. Yet what if things come to the point where it is asked to "forgo either the EU or your gains in Cyprus?" Things will perhaps not come to that point at first. Yet it is a serious possibility that this point will eventually arrive. In other words, it is not a far-fetched possibility that the EU will adopt the approach of "stalling Turkey with the promise of membership, letting those who should be admitted to membership join, and kicking [Turkey] out then."

    The European Union has done nothing in Cyprus in favor of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. It is always the Greek Cypriots who are winning and making progress.

    Under the circumstances, what should be done before things come to the "either ... or" point but when there are serious doubts that that point is near?

    Should we say, "We cannot do without the EU" and seek consolation in the thought that "We have done as far as is possible for Cyprus. Everything will be set to rights if Turkey becomes a full member in the EU" or should we decide against losing what we have, saying, "If Europe is so easily ignoring our arguments today, it might refrain from admitting Turkey to membership tomorrow?"

    For one thing, it is clear that an approach of "we could sacrifice everything for the EU" is to risk losses in advance from the diplomatic viewpoint. To appear to be ready to give is to risk taking nothing. Turkey has not preferred this course of action so far.

    The Prime Minister's attitude toward Western leaders at the Brussels summit was to start preparations to return to Turkey, saying, "If you can do without a 70 million-strong Turkey for the sake of a country with a population of 600,000, there is nothing left to say."

    This amounted to a declaration that Turkey would never opt for the EU at whatever the cost. It is seen in the messages issued during Erdogan's visit to Britain that there has been no change in the Government's attitude.

    Final note: I find two attitudes in Turkey very wrong:

    Let the Government make mistakes in Cyprus so we could benefit from this politically.

    Let relations with the EU deteriorate so that the democratization efforts linked to that process could come to naught.

    [11] Fikret Bila of MILLIYET argues that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will try to persuade the EU to hold talks with the Turkish Cypriot administration in a separate process

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (30.07.05) publishes the following commentary in the "Direction" column by Fikret Bila under the title: "Line of policy on Cyprus":

    The Turkish Cypriot side pinned its hopes on Britain's EU term presidency for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Turkey and the `TRNC´ [`Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´] believed that Britain, as a side to the Cyprus problem and as a country that worked on the Annan Plan, would make initiatives for a solution during its term presidency. However, Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' hard-line policy weakened the hopes of Ankara and Nicosia. Failing to see any willingness in the Greek Cypriot administration to adopt a flexible approach, Britain might not make an initiative for the solution of the problem during its term of office. Ankara and London have established that a basis for such an initiative does not exist on the Greek Cypriot side.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry has assessed the point that has been reached by saying, "The positions have changed." Stressing that the positions of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in the world changed after the `TRNC´ cast a yes vote and the Greek Cypriot side cast a no vote for the Annan Plan, the Foreign Ministry experts noted that the entire world has now realized that the Greek Cypriot side is not willing to agree to the solution of the problem. According to the Foreign Ministry sources, Papadopoulos' hard-line approach is gradually isolating him in the Western world. They believe that the Turkish Cypriot side should take that state of affairs as a basis for its stand.

    Considering the conditions that exist at the present time, the new Turkish Cypriot line of policy can be summed up as follows: Turkey and the `TRNC´ will focus only on the solution of the problem in the future. They will fully support the initiatives to be made for that purpose particularly by the United Nations. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side will intensify their initiatives that will be aimed at removing the isolation of the `TRNC´ and helping north Cyprus to integrate with the world if such a basis is not established, the Greek Cypriot side, which rejects the concessions the Turkish Cypriot side wants it to make, fails to move toward a final solution, and a durable solution is not seen at the end of the tunnel. A diplomatic initiative will be made to persuade the foreign countries to take steps similar to those Azerbaijan has recently taken. Meanwhile, pressure will be put on the EU to fulfill the promises it made to the Turkish Cypriot side. This line of policy will not be abandoned.

    While waiting for initiatives aimed at finding a durable solution to the problem, the Turkish Cypriot side will make an effort to achieve the economic and social integration of the `TRNC´ with the world, as formulated by `TRNC Prime Minister´ and `Foreign Minister´ Serdar Denktas. He will intensify his contacts with the countries that are sympathetic to the Turkish Cypriot side for that purpose.

    The `TRNC´ administration said several times in the past that the Turkish Cypriot side will not wait for the Greek Cypriot side indefinitely if it continues to avoid the solution of the problem. In view of that, it will try to persuade the EU to hold talks with the Turkish Cypriot administration in a separate process for its integration with the organization.

    In order to be able to initiate this process, Turkey and the `TRNC´ will work together to persuade the leaders in Europe to hold talks with `President´ Mehmet Ali Talat. They will make initiatives to persuade the EU administration and the EU countries to establish the necessary basis through their talks with Talat. The Turkish Foreign Ministry experts said that Prime Minister Erdogan will include the matter on the agenda of his bilateral talks with the European leaders.

    Turkey and the `TRNC´ have agreed to work in that direction. In fact, the declaration Turkey has drawn up [in connection with the signing of the EU supplementary protocol on customs union] is in accordance with that line of policy.

    /SK


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