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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-10-06

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.191/05 06.10.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan says the so-called isolation on the TRNC should be lifted before Turkey opens its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus
  • [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister addressed the Grand National Assembly on the Accession Negotiations Framework
  • [03] Turkish Minister of National Education: We can open the Theological School in Heybeliada (Halki) in 24 hours`
  • [04] The President of the European Parliament held contacts in the areas of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops
  • [05] The Turkish Foreign Ministry thanks the U.S. for its support on EU matters
  • [06] Turkey well prepared for the Screening process. December 5 screening on agriculture and rural affairs
  • [07] The British Ambassador to Ankara on the declaration regarding article 7 of the negotiation framework document
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Columnist in Vatan assesses the American role in Turkeys commencement of accession negotiations with the EU

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan says the so-called isolation on the TRNC should be lifted before Turkey opens its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus

    NTV (NTVMSNBC, internet version, 06.10.05) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the so-called isolation on the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus (TRNC) should be lifted before Turkey opens its ports and airports to Cyprus.

    Responding to NTV questions, Mr Erdogan alleged that the TRNC is punished even though it did whatever the EU wanted. If they lift the isolations regarding Northern Cyprus, we shall open our ports and airports to Southern Cyprus, he added.

    Asked on when the Supplementary Protocol to Ankara Agreement will be brought before the Turkish Grand national Assembly (TGNA), Mr Erdogan noted: The time is not definite. There are different views on this issue. Some say it should not be brought, some others say that it should be brought. Anyhow, there is no hurry. There is no need as well. We are evaluating it.

    Mr Erdogan noted that Turkey still preserves its right of veto at NATO and other international organizations and that on this issue they have taken the opinion of officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the army.

    Mr Erdogan gave information regarding his telephone conversations on 3 October and especially regarding his conversation with the US Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. He said: During our half hour conversation, I explained to Rice the point we were and said that if our wishes for changes are not realized, this job will not be done. I conveyed our objections to the articles 2 and 7. I explained what we did on the Cyprus issue and that no one kept his promises in response of what we did. I told her that we wanted a written text, and not words. In parallel to Rice we talked with Prime Ministers as well. The last conversation was with Tony Blair and we got a written assurance. We decided to go to Luxenbourg and afterwards we informed the President of the Republic and Mr Baykal.

    Referring to the issue of early elections in Turkey, Mr Erdogan noted that this was not on their agenda and pointed out the following: We cannot betray our people. The success belongs to the people and not to Tayyip Erdogan. Our nation gave us a duty for five years. We will not go to elections before 2007. The foreign investors want political stability.

    I/Ts.

    [02] The Turkish Foreign Minister addressed the Grand National Assembly on the Accession Negotiations Framework

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (5.10.05) reported from Ankara on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's address at the Parliamentary General Assembly on the latest developments on EU.

    In his speech Mr. Gul said: A new era has begun in our 42-year relations with the EU. The negotiating process between Turkey and the EU has started on October 3rd. The EU made the decision on opening of the negotiating process with Turkey on December 17th, 2004. Several conditions were put forward for beginning of the entry talks. Turkey fulfilled those conditions by amending six laws and signing the additional protocol to extend its Customs Union with the EU to cover the new member-states. The negotiating framework is a binding position for the EU. It is the road map of the EU. On the other hand, Turkey will have a position. It will be our road map. Our performance will determine the duration of the negotiating process. At the end of the process, an accession partnership accord will be prepared. It will be a legal document binding both parties.

    The situation which emerged on October 3rd is a historical event. It is not about only Turkey and the EU but also the whole world. After September 11th, for the first time, countries from different religions and cultures took step for each other. EU, UN, U.S. and Arab League have contributed to this step. It is a historical day for Europe as well. Europe has seen that it can absorb being together with Turkey. Europe will have a more strategic and stronger position with Turkey. Turkey's young population will make Europe more dynamic. Also, this situation will bring stability around Turkey. In fact, Turkey has been in Europe for a thousand years, and its institutions are in Europe for 200 years. Turkey's relations with the EU have been continuing nearly for a half century."

    [03] Turkish Minister of National Education: We can open the Theological School in Heybeliada (Halki) in 24 hours

    Subtitle: Minister of National Education Huseyin Celik: The Theological School should be opened and in 24 hours I can open it.

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (06/10/05) reports under the above banner headlines in its front page and says that when the Turkish Minister of National Education Huseyin Celik was asked to comment on whether opening of the Theological School in Heybeliada (Halki) will be on the agenda under the article 4 of the Negotiation Framework Document which refers to the minority rights and freedom of belief?, Celik said: Fatih Sultan Mehmet had invited the Armenian Patriarch and had ordered him to establish the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul. The status and the rights of the minorities were decided in Lausanne.

    I can open the school in 24 hours. Its closure until today is not right. In Europe there are 500 mosques and in Rotterdam there is a university where the rector is a Turk. There are 500 students studying Islamic Theology. I think this way, not because the EU wants it, without it as well, I will think this way. I am not Orthodox (Christian) I am a Muslim. This is what my religion orders and my culture demands. Members of other religions have the right to express themselves. The government knows what it is doing.

    [04] The President of the European Parliament held contacts in the areas of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (AA) (05.10.05) carries extensive reports on the President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell's visit to the territories of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops since 1974 violating all the human rights of the Cypriots.

    On the meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Borrell AA reports: EP President Josep Borrell called President Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos to resume talks in the highest level on the basis of the Annan Plan with the aim of finding a solution soon. Talat and Borrell held a joint press conference following their meeting. Borrell emphasized that the decision of the European Parliament to set up a contact group with the Turkish Cypriots aimed at forming stronger relations between the European Union and the Turkish Cypriots. Borrell said the EP continued to advocate the Annan Plan, and noted that they were disappointed when Greek Cypriot party rejected the plan. Borrell remarked that they still thought that Annan Plan represented the best basis for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Talat in his part hailed the decision of the EP on the establishment of a contact group to improve relations with the Turkish Cypriots, and added that, 'creation of contact group is a requirement of democracy. It is a requirement for the Turkish Cypriots to make their voice heard in the EP.' Talat underlined that the TRNC (occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus) was committed to the promises made for solution of Cyprus question and expressed readiness of the TRNC for resumption of talks on the basis of Annan Plan and for reunification of the island. Talat indicated that all the impediments in front of Turkey's membership process will be removed after resolution of the Cyprus question."

    On the meeting between Borrell and self-styled Prime Minister Soyer AA reports: "Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer received EP President Joseph Borrell. Following the meeting, Soyer told reporters: We discussed EP's decision on lifting of isolations, resumption of talks on the basis of the Annan Plan as well as creation of a contact group regarding relations with Turkish Cypriots.' Borrell, on the other hand, said that they are working with EU for implementation of commercial and assistance proposals, stressing that talks should resume for resolution of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the Annan Plan. Borrell said that the momentum which emerged with start of entry talks with Turkey can be used for resolution in Cyprus. Upon a question, Borrell said that they fully support direct trade and financial assistance regulations, adding that they want EU president Britain to take initiative for approval of these regulations."

    Ankara Anatolia also reported the following: Borrell met with Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Serdar Denktas. Following the meeting, Denktas told reporters that they had held a quite fruitful meeting. 'I explained problems of the Turkish Cypriot people. I hope that they will pay careful attention to listening to both parties equally, and find a solution to the Cyprus issue without unjustly treating one of the parties,' he said. Meanwhile, Borrell Fontelles said that the meeting focused on financial aid and direct trade regulations. Noting that the financial aid regulation should be put into force separately, Borrell Fontelles said that some difficulties in practice should be removed in order to reduce negative impacts of economic isolation of Turkish Cypriot people. Borrell Fontelles added that there was a new opportunity for resolution of the Cyprus issue. Later, Borrell Fontelles attended a round-table meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations in the TRNC. Borrell Fontelles said he believed that opening of the negotiation process between Turkey and the EU, and TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat's successful activities would play a catalytic role in efforts for integration of Turkish Cypriot people with the EU by unifying Cyprus. He added that resolution of the Cyprus issue would encourage economic development in the whole island."

    [05] The Turkish Foreign Ministry thanks the U.S. for its support on EU matters

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.10.05) reported on statements made by the spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Mr. Namik Tan, during his weekly briefing.

    In his opening statement Mr. Tan said: "The support of the United States to start of entry talks between Turkey and the EU is clear, natural and right, and we are pleased with it." Asked on what scale the support of the United States is important regarding EU process of Turkey, Tan said: The United States is super power which has global responsibilities. Within that scope, it supports initiatives which will have contribution to harmony and stability in the world.' Noting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held meetings with U.S. officials, Tan said: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also called U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and conveyed Turkey's pleasure as well as thanked for the contributions of Rice and the U.S. government. Rice, in return, said that relations will be further developed and they were pleased to contribute to the process."

    Regarding the screening process Mr. Tan said: The screening process will start on October 20th. We expect the EU to open the negotiations over some chapter headlines while the screening process is continuing. Upon a question about 'absorption capacity' mentioned in the Negotiating Framework, Tan said, 'The EU used the expression for the first time in the final statement of 1993's Copenhagen Summit. It is not a new matter.' When recalled of some views and criticisms that decisions made by the European Parliament were parts of the EU acquis, Tan told reporters, 'there are some assessments but I cannot say whether they are correct or not since those decisions do not constitute part of the acquis. Decisions, which are parts of the acquis, should be made by the EU decision-making organs. Turkey does have its own absorption capacity, too.

    On paragraph 7 of the negotiations framework Mr. Tan said: We are not against cooperating with the EU in international organizations. Upon a question, Tan said: Upon initiatives of the Greek Cypriot administration, the expression of Turkey should assume an attitude to support EU countries' membership to international organizations until it becomes full member of the EU had been added to the negotiating framework document. Turkey found this expression uncertain and general, and asked it to be clarified. Thus, a busy diplomacy traffic has been pursued about this issue in the last two weeks. During meetings on this issue, Turkey conveyed the messages that it is not against cooperating with the EU in international organizations, its position in international organizations can be revised after resolution of the Cyprus issue, and as a principle, it wants to preserve its rights and autonomy regarding international organizations especially regarding security and defense. Regarding article 7 of the framework document, the European Council clearly declared its approval. This declaration was added to documents of the meeting as an indivisible part. EU is comprised of 25 members, and decisions are taken unanimously. It is necessary to be reasonable, reconciliatory and constructive. Each member can have different expectations and reservations. Reconciliation is one of the basic elements of EU culture."

    [06] Turkey well prepared for the Screening process. December 5 screening on agriculture and rural affairs

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.10.05) reported the following from Ankara: The screening process in areas of agriculture and rural affairs will be launched on December 5th, sources said on Wednesday.

    Sources told the A.A correspondent that Turkish Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry set up a team comprising five people to carry out negotiations with the EU in the area of agriculture. Nebi Celik, undersecretary of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry, will lead this team.

    Topics to be negotiated are agriculture and rural development, veterinary medicine, vegetable health and food, fisheries, and free movement of goods.

    According to the same sources, the EU expects Turkey to brief the Union on its agricultural regulations in the first week of December. Screening of regulations will start as of the beginning of 2006.

    The same sources said that statistics regarding agriculture are of vital importance for robust negotiations. The Common Agriculture Policy of the EU envisions registering statistics about production fields, producers, enterprises, products and animals. Therefore, Turkey has to establish a robust statistical system on the road to EU membership.

    However, statistics about vegetable production and animal breeding are based on predictions, not registration. Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry has been applying a farmer registration system for the last three years in order to keep agricultural enterprises under registration. Also, a system is under implementation in Turkey to count the exact number of cattle. But, this project cannot be fully accomplished due to animal breeders who don't want to be under registration.

    On the other hand, Turkey has to eradicate animal diseases like rabies, foot-and-mouth disease to be a part of free movement of animal products among the EU member states.

    In the meantime, Turkey will start to implement the Agricultural Strategy Document as of 2006. This document lists agricultural priorities and lays the groundwork for agricultural policies to be implemented till 2010.

    According to the same sources, the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry will be re-structured under the title of "Agriculture & Rural Development Ministry". Under the draft law regarding this change, the ministry will become "a market regulatory institution, and an institution planning the future of Turkish agriculture."

    An advisory unit named "Strategy Development Directorate" will be set up to serve the minister, ministry, and related institutions.

    As a part of adjustment to agricultural organs in the EU, the state will not make direct purchase of agricultural products. Some new institutions will be formed, and they will intervene in prices. Within this framework, the Soil Products Office (TMO) is expected to be turned into an agricultural intervention and incentive organ.

    Currently, the Turkish Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ministry is carrying out joint project with the EU in areas such as food safety, veterinary medicine, vegetable health, aquaproducts, integrated control system, rural development, and organic agriculture. Some 100 million Euros fund has been allocated for these projects. Also, a "Directorate General of Aquaproducts" will be established on the road to EU membership.

    According to the sources, Turkey has to adopt 17 laws, 211 regulations and circulars to adjust its agricultural system with that of the EU. Seven laws and 34 regulations have been adopted so far. Ten laws and 58 regulations are being currently drafted.

    [07] The British Ambassador to Ankara on the declaration regarding article 7 of the negotiation framework document

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.10.05) reported the following from Ankara: Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the EU Commission Delegation to Turkey, has said that they have reached a turning point in Turkey-EU relations with the formal beginning of full membership negotiations.

    Holding a news conference together with British Ambassador to Turkey Peter Westmacott in Ankara on Tuesday, Kretschmer said that in 2002 it had been generally stated that EU would not set a negotiation date for Turkey, but last night Turkey had started negotiations for full membership officially, adding that the Turkish government deserved an appreciation for its successes in the last three years.

    Noting that Turkey had a long and difficult path from now on, Kretschmer said that accession to the EU was not an automatic or a guaranteed result but it could be assured that it would be a fair one.

    He said that the EU would apply the criteria to Turkey which were applied to all EU candidates, noting that EU and Turkey had to learn more things about each other. Kretschmer touched on 'non-governmental dialogue' which was initiated within that scope.

    He said that media had a big responsibility both in EU and Turkey, noting that Turkey should please the EU people because the EU people would decide the accession of Turkey.

    Kretschmer said that the more progress Turkey recorded in reform process, the more positive views of people would increase about Turkey.

    Meanwhile, Westmacott said that Turkey's starting entry talks was a success of the EU president Britain.

    Noting that in coming years Turkey's adjusting its laws to EU acquis as well as pleasing EU people would be very important, Westmacott said that Britain would provide every type of support to Turkey which had started a serious and difficult process.

    Westmacott said that nobody should have doubts about the validity of the declaration which was prepared by Britain and submitted to approval of the European Council regarding the 7th article of the negotiating framework document.

    When a reporter asked, "is declaration on 7th article (5th article in the previous version which gives the message that Turkey will not use its right to veto when an EU country demands membership to any international organization) of negotiating framework document a part of the EU acquis?" Westmacott said that the declaration is not a part of the EU acquis which Turkey has to adopt. He added that the declaration was prepared by approval of the Council and adopted by 25 the EU members so nobody should doubt about validity of the declaration.

    Meanwhile, upon a question about the chapters which will be opened during the negotiation process, Kretschmer said that there will be a screening period before the start of talks about chapters.

    He added that after the screening process, if the Commission decides that Turkey is sufficient in a specific area, then it will prepare a report, and if the report is approved by EU member countries, talks about that chapter will start.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Columnist in Vatan assesses the American role in Turkeys commencement of accession negotiations with the EU

    Istanbul Vatan newspaper (05.10.05) publishes the following commentary by Rusen Cakir under the title: Why did the US Kiss us?.

    What is the United States role in getting accession talks started at the end of a tough struggle? Before we seek the answer to that question let us underline two important points:

    1. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday that he had spoken with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and she gave him guarantees of continued support for Turkey's EU bid.

    2. US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack that same day confirmed that Rice had called Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and he said, "At such a moment as this we needed to underline our support for Turkey's EU bid."

    In other words, rather than concealing their bilateral talks at this most critical juncture both Ankara and Washington exploited them to send a message to third parties, in particular the EU, and as propaganda material. We can interpret this intervention by the Bush administration as part of its long-running effort to combat American hatred in Turkey, and in fact throughout the Muslim world.

    Subtitle: Changed in three years

    At the Copenhagen Summit in 2002 France's President Jacques Chirac in particular telephoned US President George Bush and told him in no uncertain terms how uncomfortable he was with Bush doing favors on Turkey's behalf. However, in the intervening three years US-EU relations have undergone radical changes, and continue to do so. The Copenhagen Summit was overshadowed by the impending Iraq War. Now, though, serious steps are being taken jointly in the war on terrorism. The American administration is now able to act together with Berlin and even Paris in delicate matter like Iran and Syria.

    Besides, troublemaking countries like Austria and Southern Cyprus really have no chance of going head to head with the United States (at the press conference an Austrian journalist doggedly asked McCormack, "Is Washington considering punishing Vienna?") Up and coming European leaders like Angela Markel and Nicholas Sarkozy are known for being as much pro-US as that are anti-Turkey.

    Subtitle: Whose was the success?

    In short, it was clear that any intervention by Washington would definitely serve Ankara's interests. Indeed, following the far from brilliant 17 December 2004 Summit the Justice and Development Party [AKP] government has enacted a strategy of reintroducing the American factor, which had long been neglected.

    In fact, Washington had been supportive of Turkey's EU adventure since way back, but with the invasion of Iraq bilateral relations sustained a lot of damage. The Bush administration believed that the AKP in one form or another, or at least the press and personalities identified with it, were behind the rising America- and Jew-hatred in Turkey.

    The speeches, actions and trips (including Israel) made by Erdogan, Gul, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc and other AKP dignitaries turned Turkey's course back towards the United States. They openly voiced their approval and support for the political process in Iraq and the Greater Middle East and North Africa Initiative, which they had up until then regarded with scepticism.

    Rice's intervention in Turkey's favor can be seen as a product of all these efforts. Washington extended the hand of help just when it was most needed; that is true. But this should not be seen as "a kiss of life", nor should America's contribution be blown out of proportion. In the end, the real fight was put up in Europe by Turkish politicians, diplomats, NGOs, intellectuals and regular citizens. Those we should look to and thank first for their outside help are Europe's left-wing and green parties more than bush and his team.

    X.Chr.


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