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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-03-15

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.51/06 15.03.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] National Unity Party (UBP) suspended the decision to recourse to the self styled Constitutional Court as regards the compensation law under the Article 159
  • [02] Press reports about significant progress on the issue of the missing persons of the Cyprus tragedy.
  • [03] Turkish MP reacts against Easy Jet flights to Turkey.
  • [04] The Turkish Foreign Minister told members of his Islamic party that Turkey is no longer accused for the occupation of Cyprus.
  • [05] The reason behind AKP-Buyukanit crisis is the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.
  • [06] Dulger: We may extend goodwill gesture for Cyprus.
  • [07] President Sezer visited Georgia.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] The AK Party and two Cyprus scenarios.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] National Unity Party (UBP ) suspended the decision to recourse to the self styled Constitutional Court as regards the compensation law under the Article 159

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (15.03.06) reports that the main opposition party in the self-styled regime in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus, the National Unity Party, has decided to suspend the decision to recourse to the self-styled Constitutional Court as regards the abrogation of the compensation law under the Article 159 which stipulates the return of or compensation of or exchange of the property under the Article 159 of the Constitution.

    The paper reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu had played a major role in NUPs taking of the suspension decision during the recent party meeting.

    The paper reports that during the party meeting the NUP deputy Tahsin Ertugruloglu advocated that recourse to the Court at this stage for abrogation of the law will harm Turkey and put the Turkish Republic in a difficult situation. With this explanation in mind, the party Chairman Huseyin Ozgurgun and the senior party officials have decided in favor of suspending the recourse decision.

    Circles close to the NUP, said that a discussion is going around that the new law should be considered on the basis of maintaining good relations with Turkey and of the communal sensitivities, because it could be accepted by the European Court of Human Rights as domestic remedies regarding self styled Courts in the Occupied Areas of the Republic of Cyprus on the property issue which forces Turkey to pay very heavy fines as compensation.

    With this reason, writes the paper the main opposition party has decided to continue to follow up the issue but refrain to recourse to the Constitutional Court for its abrogation.

    (MHY)

    [02] Press reports about significant progress on the issue of the missing persons of the Cyprus tragedy

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.03.06) reports that the Missing Persons Committee, which has intensively been working for one and a half years, has made significant progress on the issue of building the necessary infrastructure for the opening of graves. On the one hand, the Committee came to the final stage of building an Anthropological Laboratory at the buffer zone and, on the other, the laboratory which will be conducting the DNA tests for the Turkish Cypriot missing persons is ready in the occupied part of Nicosia.

    Furthermore, illegal TAK news agency quoted Mrs Gulden Plumer Kucuk, the Turkish Cypriot member of the Missing Persons Committee, as having said that the laboratory in the occupied areas of the Island is now ready to serve in full compliance with international standards.

    Mrs Kucuk noted that a unit will be set up soon at the Genetics Hospital in the buffer zone with participation of equal numbers of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot experts to carry out further scientific studies.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (15.03.06) reports that the sides contributed seventy thousand Cyprus pounds each for the construction of the Anthropological Laboratory at the buffer zone. Furthermore, Germany has contributed a hundred thousand euros.

    The paper writes that about 150-200 graves will be opened, according to the agreement reached at the Committee and the works, which will be conducted under the supervision of foreign experts, are expected to last for approximately three years. The amount of ten million dollars is estimated to be needed for the operation, notes CUMHURIYET adding that international financing is still being searched for.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish MP reacts against Easy Jet flights to Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (15.03.06) reports that Mr Emin Sirin, an Istanbul Deputy of the Motherland Party (AP), addressed questions to the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Abdullah Gul as regards the Easy Jet Airlines. Mr Sirin raised his questions at the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    Mr Sirin asked Mr Gul if the latter knows that the owner of the Easy Jet Company is a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Sirin also asked Mr Gul if the Turkish government has a legal ground to prevent an official company of the Greek Cypriot section or a person who is a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus to buy the majority of the Turk Telekom shares from Oger Company.

    (C/S)

    [04] The Turkish Foreign Minister told members of his Islamic party that Turkey is no longer accused for the occupation of Cyprus

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (14.03.06) newspaper reports that briefing the deputies on "Turkey's EU process and Turkey's foreign policy" during the AKP [Justice and Development Party] meeting that was held at the Kizilcahamam Camp during the weekend, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul answered the questions on Iran's nuclear program, the Greater Middle East Project, and the Cyprus issue.

    In reply to a question on how the crisis between Iran and the United States will be resolved and how a possible war will affect Turkey, Gul emphasized that within the framework of the IAEA Charter that has also been signed by Tehran, Iran is banned from using nuclear energy as a weapon and that it is obliged to make use of nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.

    Underlining that despite this, Turkey should make the necessary preparations for a possible intervention, Gul said the following: "The world had adopted different tendencies with regard to the situation in Iraq. However, the world is not divided where the Iranian issue is concerned. A general stand has been adopted. We will act together with the United States within the framework of the Greater Middle East Project where Iran's nuclear program is concerned. Our initiatives will continue. Nonetheless, if a negative picture emerges, Turkey will be obliged to close its door to Iran. An intervention against Iran will cause us great damages. We have spoken on the phone with Iranian officials three or four times. Currently it will mostly serve our interests to resolve the problem without escalating it.

    Claiming that they support the Greater Middle East Project and that the project is in line with Turkey's foreign policy goals and principles, Minister Gul explained that they aim to ensure the development of democracy, human rights, and freedoms in Muslim countries and to spread these values throughout the entire Muslim world. Underlining the importance of the freedoms in the Muslim world, Gul said: "Had there not been freedom and democracy in Turkey, we would not have been in power now. Let us appreciate all this and let us act accordingly."

    Gul drew attention to the fact that Pakistan and Israel are not sides to the IAEA Charter and that they insist on rejecting it. Stating that Turkey is developing a deterrent policy against Iran by cooperating with the United Nations, Gul noted that Turkey and Russia have taken the necessary initiatives for a solution.

    Pointing out that Turkey is the closest country to Iran, Minister Gul said: "Each and every development in this country affects us and Turkey will be harmed by it. Currently I cannot predict whether or not an intervention will be carried out. In my opinion, neither the United States, nor the others may risk a war with Iran because this war will be different from the Iraqi war. After all, Iran does not resemble Iraq."

    Turkey's approach with regard to the Greater Middle East Project is positive in general. Turkey which extends support to the United States within the Greater Middle East Project has assumed the co-chairmanship of certain social projects together with Yemen and Italy. Turkey's primary suggestions about the project are as follows: "Reforms will not be imposed from the outside in any way whatsoever; the internal dynamics will not be ignored; attention will be paid to the differences between the countries; and Turkey will not be introduced as a model."

    In their statements regarding the Greater Middle East Project, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the Chief of Staff General Hilmi Ozkok had also told US officials on every occasion that "Turkey should not be introduced as a model or as an example in any way whatsoever."

    During the meeting in Kizilcahamam, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also assessed the Cyprus issue. Minister Gul stated that given that the government and the president that are in power in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have been elected by the people, they have to work in harmony with them. Stressing that Turkey is no longer sitting on the seat of the accused regarding the solution of the problem that has been going on between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot Administration for years, Gul said: "Turkey, with its head up, is a side to the solution."

    (Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the illegal occupation regime set up by the Turkish Republic in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops).

    Subtitle: What is the Greater Middle East Project?

    The Greater Middle East Project that the United States has been putting on the agenda from time to time since the 1960's has once again become functional in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks. Basically, the Greater Middle East Project which is currently known as the Expanded Middle East and North Africa Project is of strategic importance in terms of the United States and the West. This project is based on the fact that the presence of fundamentalist flows, terrorist organizations, weapons of mass destruction, and organized crime networks that deal in drug, weapon, and human trafficking in the Middle East, which holds 64% of the world's oil reserves, constitutes a threat to US and Western interests.

    According to the project, these factors have emerged due to the negative economic and social conditions in which the peoples of the region live and due to the antidemocratic regimes that prevail in the region. If the economic and social conditions are improved and if the region adopts democracy, the Middle Eastern people, who will have the opportunity to participate in the administration and whose prosperity level will improve, will avoid supporting actions that constitute a threat to the West. As a result, the fundamentalist flows in the region will gradually weaken, the terrorist organizations will collapse, and the stable transportation of cheap oil to Western markets will be secured.

    Despite the fact that there are no clear borders that have been announced as the action field of the Greater Middle East Project, according to US sources there are 27 countries that are primarily being assessed within the framework of the Greater Middle East Project. Afghanistan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Djibouti, Morocco, the Palestinian Autonomous Administration, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait, the Comoro Islands, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Pakistan, Somali, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunis, Turkey, Oman, Jordan, and Yemen are among these countries.

    [05] The reason behind AKP-Buyukanit crisis is the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus

    Turkish MILLI GAZETE newspaper (14.03.06) reports that its columnist Hasan Unal argues that the AKP's "polit bureau" does not want Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit to become Chief of Staff because Buyukanit objects to Turkey withdrawing its troops from Cyprus until a "just" and "permanent" solution to the Cyprus issue has been introduced and because he opposes a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Unal also cites the AKP leadership's "dirty relations" with the Jewish lobbies in the United States as evidence proving that rather than being the anti-thesis of the architects of the 28 February process, the AKP's "polit bureau" is actually following a policy aimed at turning Turkey into a US and Israeli "proxy," which was the "true purpose" of the 28 February process.

    [06] Dulger: We may extend goodwill gesture for Cyprus

    Under the above title, The New Anatolian newspaper (14.03.06) publishes an interview with the Turkish Grand National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee head Mehmet Dulger from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

    Following are Mr Dulger´s replies to questions on Cyprus:

    Question: Do you think the EU additional protocol extending the Customs Union to the EU's 10 new members - including Greek Cyprus - should be brought to Parliament for ratification?

    Answer: I think the additional protocol should be brought to Parliament and debated. Everybody should say what they have to say, should show what they have in their gut. I don't think that not bringing it to Parliament is a solution. What's more, nobody should have any doubt that the promises made through the additional protocol will be fulfilled. But using this opportunity, the unjust treatment imposed on Turkish Cypriots should be eliminated. If an umbrella state bringing the Turkish and Greek communities on Cyprus together were formed, the additional protocol stipulating Customs Union agreement with all 25 member states of the EU wouldn't be a problem.

    Question: But don't you think that there's a risk that Parliament will reject the additional protocol before the isolation of the Turkish side is ended?

    Answer: Yes, there certainly is a great risk. No government can make Parliament accept this. It's very hard to make them accept it politically. Since we've been at the negotiating table since last October, we're in a position to negotiate some contentious issues. We may say that let's eliminate some unjust treatments that the Greek side is subject to. But it's evident that we've been subject to a harsh embargo for the last 40 years that has no foundation. Let's eliminate them both. The biggest obstacle to that is (Greek Cypriot leader Tassos) Papadopoulos. Because Papadopoulos is a postcolonial leader. Among such leaders, we could cite Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein as other examples.

    Question: What do you mean by "postcolonial leader"?

    Answer: A postcolonial leader says whatever he thinks. You either accept it or not. If you don't accept it, a postcolonial leader doesn't negotiate with you in any way. So Papadopoulos is a politician of the 1950s. Today, there are no politicians of the 1950s either on Cyprus, or in Turkey and Greece. The body that we're in foresees that disputes can be resolved through negotiations. We can resolve the parts that we're able to resolve. The remainder will be resolved through negotiations at the table again. In his latest statement, Papadopoulos said that he may sit down at the table if his conditions are accepted. If those conditions are accepted, there wouldn't be any point in negotiating.

    Question: There is both the Papadopoulos factor and the ongoing isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. The EU doesn't fulfill any of its promises and at the same time imposes the ratification of the additional protocol on our Parliament. How can this problem be dealt with?

    Answer: We have to start a campaign with all EU member states' administrations to convince them. We have some problems about that. There are even some countries in the EU that think, "How can Turkey not recognize the 25th EU member although it recognizes the other 24?" They think that Turkey should recognize it so that the problem will be over. In fact, the matter isn't so simple. Turkey sacrificed a great deal to protect its kin in Cyprus that were subject to unjust treatment. It's not easy for Turkey to act like nothing happened.

    While the Greeks say that the Turkish troops should withdraw, nobody tells them that if they had accepted the Annan plan (in the April 2004 referendum) there would be only 600 Turkish soldiers there. Nobody knows that the Greek administration mobilized all the churches when the Annan plan was going to referendum.

    Question: What I'm hearing is that Turkey should pass the additional protocol in Parliament, and the EU should take some steps regarding Turkish Cypriots in the meantime and exert pressure against the Greek Cypriot leader. Is that what you're trying to say?

    Answer: Exactly. It's no success to suspend negotiations. We have to find a way towards a resolution. What I'm saying as a method is this: maybe opening all our ports and airports to the Greek administration is one huge step, but eliminating Turkish Cyprus' isolation is 10 huge steps for them. Instead of 10 big steps, we may take these steps one by one. It doesn't matter who takes the first step. What matters is the elimination of this insecure environment.

    The text of the (1960) agreement that established the Cyprus Republic was examined by all parties for days. The texts were sent back and forth between the two parties. (Greek Prime Minister) Costas Karamanlis and (Turkish Prime Minister) Adnan Menderes had to wait a long time for the final version of the texts. In the end, the final text, known as the London-Zurich agreements, came before the two prime ministers for signature. Menderes spoke Greek fluently. When the text came before them, Menderes told Karamanlis, "History brought us together here. Although we reached a consensus over a text here, we should know that this will be valid for only a time. Things may spiral out of control again in a couple of years. But let's use these years and give this opportunity to both communities, no matter how short that time is."

    Menderes signed the text without reading it and gave it to Karamanlis for signature. Karamanlis signed it too, without reading. So we may also make a goodwill gesture to eliminate this insecure environment. That may create an amazing result. If you stop the tape recorder I'll tell you some steps that may be taken, just for your information.

    Question: The EU issue seems to have gotten stuck on Cyprus. The developments in Iran and Iraq aren't getting as much attention as they need. What do you think is going on about these issues?

    Answer: On the EU issue, we can say that the most critical thresholds have been passed. We have a longer process before us now. What we've been neglecting in this process is that the decision-making political groups should be in close contact with the EU. Because the distance to be taken with civil groups has already been covered. The EU wants us to use our will and take decisions now. The EU wants to see the decision-making political groups that will fix the deficiencies more than businessmen, journalist, academics and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I think we need to form some groups and go to all member countries. For example, countries like Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are rightly offended. We always travel to Spain, Italy and Germany, but all countries have equal votes in the EU. So we need to realize that we need all countries' support. Furthermore, we need to attach a great importance to Brussels, not neglect it for any time and we should go there frequently with large political groups.

    [07] President Sezer visited Georgia

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.03.06) reported from Tbilisi that the Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Georgian President Michail Saakashvili held a joint press conference after their meeting in Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

    Sezer emphasized that Turkey is eager to see a peaceful, flourishing and developed Georgia.

    "Turkey, as it has up to now, will contribute in the future to Georgia's political and economic stability and its development," indicated Sezer.

    He stated that Turkey was supporting Georgia's bid to integrate with Euro-Atlantic organizations.

    Commenting on developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Sezer stressed that Turkey was backing Georgia's territorial integrity, and therefore wanted solution of these problems through constructive means. Sezer wished that these problems be solved as soon as possible, and Georgia channel its resources solely for economic development.

    "Economic relations could be boosted if the two countries cooperated in maritime and fishery as well as transportation and energy industries", said Sezer.

    According to Sezer, lifting visa requirements and joint use of International Batumi Airport are some of concrete steps taken to increase bilateral trade. Sezer invited Saakashvili to participate in the ceremony to be held in southern Turkish city of Ceyhan in the summer months to mark the loading of first oil carried through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

    On the other hand, Saakashvili declared his support to Turkey's EU membership bid, and pointed out that Georgia was receiving strong support from Turkey for its NATO membership bid.

    In the meantime, Turkey and Georgia signed an agreement envisaging joint use of the International Batumi Airport.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] The AK Party and two Cyprus scenarios

    Under the above title The New Anatolian newspaper (14.03.06) publishes the following commentary by Ayhan Simsek:

    Will Turkish-European Union relations suffer a major crisis because of Cyprus this year, or will both EU member states and Ankara prefer to meet on middle ground?

    Recent developments and discussions among EU member states seem to imply that the second scenario is the most likely. EU diplomats are already discussing a formula which would not totally suspend negotiations, but which would still comply with Greek Cypriot demands.

    Before discussing the details of such a compromise, let's look at recent developments and trends likely to influence the decision of EU member states at the end of this year when they make an assessment of Turkey's steps towards the normalization of relations with the Greek Cypriots.

    It seems unlikely that the Turkish government will move forward with the adoption of the Ankara Protocol and with the opening of its ports and harbors to Greek Cypriots, at least not before the EU takes a serious step towards fulfilling the wishes of the Turkish Cypriots.

    An important factor that will influence the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) decision will be the fact that Turkey has already entered into an atmosphere of early elections. This is evident from the change of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visitation schedule, with domestic visits now receiving a greater emphasis. Perhaps even more telling and important is his hard-line rhetoric on foreign policy issues, especially with regards to Cyprus.

    According to several senior AK Party deputies, there is no way the government would take steps concerning the opening of ports to Greek Cypriots in this period, as doing so could hand serious ammunition to the opposition. We may add to this the prime minister's fear of internal division of the AK Party on the adoption of the Ankara Protocol, with AK deputies from nationalist backgrounds voting against the protocol or possibly even splitting from the party.

    In short, there is not much to expect from the Turkish government concerning the steps towards solving the Cyprus issue within the EU context before the next elections. Ankara will try to get more support for its proposal to mutually suspend all restrictions on the island and will push to revive Cyprus peace talks.

    Looking at the Greek Cypriot side, the possible reaction to Turkey's refusing to open ports and harbors is still not very clear. It is likely that Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos will ask for a suspension of the entire negotiation process with Turkey, not because this is the desired outcome but rather to make a play for leverage. One thing, however, is clear: A serious crisis and suspension of the EU-Turkey negotiation process will damage no one but the Greek Cypriots.

    There is little doubt that Papadopoulos will manage to find several allies within the EU to agree to put heavier conditions on Turkey's negotiations process. For countries like Austria and France, the Cyprus problem continues to be the best excuse for saying no to Turkey's EU membership.

    For many of the other member states however, such as the United Kingdom, Turkey's negotiation process is of strategic interest. Therefore, the EU will probably end up with another compromise concerning Turkey and Cyprus by the end of this year.

    European diplomats have been discussing the possible suspension of negotiations in a few, but not all, of the negotiation chapters related to the Customs Union if Turkey does not open its ports and harbors to the Greek Cypriots this year.

    Do not expect the Turkish government to be frustrated with such a decision, especially before an election period. Prime Minister Erdogan would love to play the role of a strong leader who even defies the EU's unjust actions against Turkey. Looking at the falling support for the EU process and rising nationalism in Turkey, this may well help Erdogan to boost his number of supporters.

    Turkey has already finished the majority of the harmonization work related to the Customs Union chapter, and that will be enough for the AK Party, which has already lost its real enthusiasm for EU membership, to continue negotiations with the EU just enough to give confidence to the markets.

    What EU diplomats in Ankara believe is that Turkey may live with such a compromise.

    /SK


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