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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-06-20
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.116/06 20.06.06
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Statements by Erdogan after meeting Italy´s BoninoAnkara Anatolia news agency (19.06.06) reported the following from Ankara:
''Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities so far, and now it is EU's turn. EU should not bring the Cyprus issue as an obstacle before Turkey in each step,'' said Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his meeting with Italian Minister of European Union Affairs Emma Bonino in Ankara on Monday.
Sources said that Erdogan and Bonino discussed economic relations between Turkey and Italy as well as Turkey's EU process.
They also agreed to encourage businessmen of the two countries (for investments), and took up an issue of cooperation between Turkey, Italy and Russia in the energy area.
Italian Minister Bonino said that they were aware of the opportunities which Turkey would bring through EU membership, and she expressed support to
Turkey's full membership to the EU.
Noting that the Cyprus issue should not stop Turkey's EU process, Bonino said that sometimes officials act inconsistently about the Cyprus issue. She added that those who want to use Cyprus as pretext to deteriorate Turkey-EU relations should not be allowed to act like this.
On the same day Ankara Anatolia reported that Bonino and an accompanying delegation met Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), and executive board members in Ankara on Monday.
Stating that the Italian government attached significant importance to enhancement of commercial relations, Bonino noted that exports from Italy to Turkey rose by 20 percent to 5.6 billion USD. Bonino said that exports from Turkey to her country also rose and this showed that the two countries were important for each other.
Stressing that Turkey and Italy should boost cooperation in several areas, Bonino indicated that the two countries should also focus on technological investments.
Bonino stated that also Italy would attend the inauguration ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to be held on July 13th.
Referring to Turkey's EU membership, Bonino said that both former and current Italian governments supported Turkey's EU bid.
Upon a question about the Republic of Cyprus and the issue of ports, Bonino stressed that everyone should be determined to resolve the issue.
Noting that Turkey's accession into the EU was a very important project, Bonino said that all relevant sides should exert more efforts, and the parties should not hamper each other.
Meanwhile, TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said in his part: ''2006 is the 150th anniversary of beginning of the relations between Turkey and Italy. We attach great importance to our economic and commercial relations with Italy. Italy is ranked the seventh in the list of highest amount of foreign capital in Turkey. Also, Italy is the third biggest commercial partner of Turkey with a trade volume of more than 13 billion USD.''
''Direct foreign capital in Turkey broke a record and reached 9 billion USD in 2005. TOBB will provide all kinds of support to Italian businessmen to resolve their problems in Turkey,'' he said.
Stressing that TOBB extended full support to Turkey's EU membership bid, Hisarciklioglu added: ''We believe that the new Italian government will continue supporting Turkey's EU bid. Turkey's membership will increase the importance of the Mediterranean for the EU.''
 Turkey seems to have forgotten that 40,000 Turkish troops trample upon the human rights of EU citizens. Statements by CicekAnkara Anatolia news agency (19.06.06) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Justice Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek made statements after today's Council of Ministers meeting in Ankara.
Cicek recalled the developments about EU process as follows: ''Last week, negotiations on the 'science and research' chapter heading were opened and completed, and 34 chapters remained. Also introductory screening on 25 chapters and detailed screening on 19 chapters were completed.''
''Some Turkish non-governmental organizations as well as EU officials claim that the reform process in Turkey slowed down. These assessments are baseless,'' said Cicek.
Regarding the Cyprus problem, Cicek said that Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities from the beginning about this issue. ''However, EU countries and officials should keep their promises as well. Isolations over `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) are not lifted yet. Commitments which were promised to `TRNC´ are not met yet,'' added Cicek.
Cicek stressed: ''The EU, by accepting a country -which cannot solve its border disputes- as a member, is the source of the problem to a certain extent.''
Upon a question Cicek said, ''Anti-terrorism draft law can be on agenda of Justice Commission this week. I think we adopt the law before Turkish Parliament recesses.''
(Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the illegal regime set up by the Turkish Republic through force of 40,000 Turkish troops in the occupied northern part of Cyprus).
 The Turkish Foreign Minister addressed the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) MeetingAnkara TRT 2 Television (19.06.06) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that reformation in the Islamic world is an essential process, not a preference. Gul called on the OIC members to make a more effective effort for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the lifting of the measures that keep the Turkish Cypriots in isolation.
Addressing the OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in Baku, Gul said that the Islamic countries need to make a comprehensive effort to realize reforms. He noted: It is now the time to take realistic steps to move ahead in the realization of reforms.
Abdullah Gul asserted that the OIC should focus more carefully on the problem in Nagorno Karabakh and the situation of 1 million Azerbaijani people, who have been forced to leave their lands. Gul said: Other international organizations might ignore this negative state of affairs. However, the OIC must be able to look 10 years ahead. It must not fail to do so.
Referring to the situation in Cyprus, Gul asserted that the Greek Cypriot side not only rejected the Annan Plan but also made a significant effort to weaken the UN parameters on it.
Moreover, Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (20.06.06) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, addressing the opening of the 33rd Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Foreign Ministers Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, called on the Islamic World to introduce reforms. He said: Reforms are no more a choice but a necessity.
In his address he also referred to the Cyprus and Western Thrace and he said: While on the one hand the world speaks about globalization, on the other the Turkish Cypriots are forced to live under embargoes. The OIC should be more effective in order for the Turkish Cypriots to get rid of the embargoes. In the Western Thrace the ethnic roots of the 150 thousand Muslim Turks are rejected. They are unable to elect their own mufti.
The paper further reports that the self- styled TRNC in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus is attending the OIC meeting as an observer under the name of the Cyprus Turkish State. The self-styled Minister of Finance and Tourism, Dervis Kemal Deniz has represented the occupation regime.
 Gul to visit Russia and the USAAnkara Anatolia news agency (19.06.06) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul will visit Russia and the United States.
Sources said that Gul who was expected to attend the "Paris Pact Initiative Ministerial Meeting" in Russia between June 26th and 28th would accompany Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer during his visit to Moscow between June 28th and 30th.
On the other hand, Gul will travel to the United States at the beginning of July. FM Gul earlier said that he would hold talks in Washington D.C. on July 5th and the Strategic Vision Document would be made public during his stay in this country.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed El Baradei are also expected to visit Ankara in July.
El Baradei is expected to hold talks in Turkey between July 6th and 9th.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus will also pay a visit to Turkey between June 20th and 21st at the invitation of President Sezer.
 Ankara and Soyer on the proposal of the Greek Foreign MinisterIstanbul NTV television (19.06.06) broadcast that Ankara has suspicions regarding the seriousness of the new proposal for a solution that Greece is drawing up in terms of Cyprus. Meanwhile, new paths are being sought so that the ports issue does not lead to a crisis with the European Union.
The announcement by Greek Foreign Minister Bakoyianni that [Greece] is preparing a new proposal for a solution of the Cyprus issue was a surprise to Ankara. Foreign Ministry officials who assessed the elements of the proposal that have emerged in the press comment that "We are suspicious in terms of its seriousness."
Meanwhile, Ankara is continuing its efforts to seek a solution so that no crisis takes place with the European Union on the issue of ports. In early July, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari is going to visit Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus.
Ankara, however, is not hopeful that it will be possible to find a solution to the Cyprus dispute by the end of the year on the basis of the United Nations, because the term of the UN Secretary General [Kofi Annan] is about to end.
Turkey, which is insistent on its proposal that the restrictions on the island be lifted in a reciprocal manner, considers that certain steps aimed at the opening of a port in Northern Cyprus could come from the European Commission.
It is being stated that, in line with the international community's openings to Northern Cyprus, Turkey's opening of only its seaports or its airports to the Greek Cypriots could come onto the agenda.
One alternative also being assessed in Ankara is the establishment of an Arbitration Board, or else going to the World Trade Organization.
Meanwhile, with regard to the cases brought by Greek Cypriots regarding properties, the compensation commission established in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is to begin issuing its rulings starting on Thursday. Foreign Ministry officials pointed out that the payments will not be made by Turkey.
On the same issue illegal Bayrak television (19.06.06) broadcast that self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has stated that the proposals being brought by Greece on the Cyprus issue is nothing but a tactical move designed to help Greece whose policies on Cyprus have failed.
Commenting on the issue, the Prime Minister drew the attention to the troubled Greek and Greek Cypriot duo which is experiencing hardships in their foreign policies as a result of the Turkish sides peaceful strategy.
He said that as a result of this, the two countries are seen responsible for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem by the European Union and the international community.
He also accused Greece and the Republic of Cyprus of being responsible for the problems Turkey has been experiencing with the European Union.
Also commenting on the issue, Turkish Foreign ministry sources in Ankara said the statement by the Greek Foreign Minister Mrs Bakoyanni, lacks any seriousness, concluded illegal Bayrak.
 The Deputy Prime Minister of Holland stated that the relations between Turkey and Cyprus are the relations between the elephant and the mouseUnder the title The elephant and the mouse, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (20.06.06) reports that Mr Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, the Minister of Economy and Deputy Prime Minister of Holland, used this phrase in order to describe the relations between Turkey and Cyprus. As he said, Turkey is the elephant and Cyprus is the mouse.
Mr Brinkhorst made these statements in a speech he addressed at the Bahcesehir University in Turkey, under the title Turkey-EU relations: Towards the full membership.
Mr Brinkhorst said that the EU follows the policy the big fish eats the small one as regards the relations between Turkey and Cyprus.
Turkey is a big country. Cyprus is a small island. There is always a quarrel between the elephant and the mouse. Of course the decision taken by the elephant will always be important, he stated. Mr Brinkhorst also said that he finds positive the stance of Turkey on many issues as regards the Cyprus problem and added that a nationalist (word as used by the paper) Turkey will help further the EU.
Asked about the comments made by the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey will not open its ports to the ships of the Republic of Cyprus, even if this means that the negotiations with the EU will stop, Mr Brinkhorst said that he will meet tomorrow with Mr Erdogan and he will ask him what he means with this statement. I do not want to say anything now, he stated.
AFRIKA notes that while Mr Brinkhorst praised Turkeys stance towards the Cyprus problem, he said that the reforms made by Turkey as regards the EU procedure are not enough. As he said the attitude towards women and towards the persons who have different views must be changed and steps must be taken on these issues.
Mr Brinkhorst also stated that during the last 40 years there are difficulties between Turkey and the EU. This must be ended. Turkey will definitely become member of the EU. This will safeguard the continuation of stability for the EU as well, he said.
 The Property Commission will announce its decisions on ThursdayTurkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (20.06.06), in its front page under the title All eyes are turned to the Compensation Commission, reported that the deadline that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has set for the creation of an effective local legal remedy to enable Greek Cypriots to either get back their immovable properties in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus or be compensated for them, will soon expire.
According to the paper, it is expected that the Immovable Property Compensation Commission, which is currently processing tens of files, will begin to announce on Thursday its decisions regarding the immovable properties of the Greek Cypriots which are being exploited by the Turkish Cypriots since the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Turkey must within a week inform the ECHR in detail regarding the stage at which Greek Cypriot applications to the Immovable Property Compensation Commission are currently.
Also anticipated is the ECHRs decision on the Xenides-Arestis case and how the court ruling will affect the more than 1,400 Greek Cypriot property-related applications still pending before the court. The ruling will also determine whether the Immovable Property Compensation Commission will be judged as an effective local remedy.
The paper goes on:
In the light of the information the Turkish government will convey to the ECHR, the ECHR will announce in the coming months one more decision on the Xenides-Arestis case. ECHR sources, which have spoken to NTV television, mentioned that the Strasburg Court has two scenarios. According to the first scenario, the data that Turkey will provide would be considered satisfactory and it would be decided that that (the Commission) is effective local remedy for the Greek Cypriot applications. In this case, it is said that the ECHR will divert both the Xenides-Arestis case and the applications of the Greek Cypriots to the Immovable Property Compensation Commission. But the Compensation Commission does not mean that the door of the ECHR would be closed to the Greek Cypriots. It is also mentioned that it would be possible to apply any time to the ECHR for the Greek Cypriots who are not satisfied with the decision of the Commission.
The second possibility is that the Compensation Commission would not be able to operate. In this case, it is mentioned that the ECHR would be able to announce its decision for compensation regarding the Xenides-Arestis case by the end of this year on the basis of the Article 41 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Xenides-Aresti will demand from Ankara 2 million euro for compensation including the Court expenses.
According to CNN TURK news, Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry officials said Turkey would then pay to Greek Cypriots 40 billion dollars in compensation, the paper reported.
 Hasan Ercakica: Property commission fully independentIllegal Bayrak television (19.06.06) broadcast the following:
The `Presidential Palace´ has made it clear that the Immovable Property Commission set up to deal with Greek Cypriot property claims in the `TRNC´ is a fully independently functioning body.
Reacting to earlier comments on the issue by the Greek Cypriot spokesman, the `TRNC Presidential´ spokesman Hasan Ercakica said the spokesmans remarks have effectively helped clarify the Greek Cypriot Sides position with regard to the property issue within the greater Cyprus problem.
Hasan Ercakica, in a written statement today, accused the Greek Cypriot Side of exploiting the property issue in order to push forward a pro-Greek Cypriot solution to the Cyprus problem.
He said the property issue was brought to the European Court of Human Rights because of the failure to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that the Commission was set up with the aim of compensating the losses of the displaced people.
Mr Ercakica said the Greek Cypriot Sides approach towards the issue made it clear once again that it doesnt want to help solve the property issue.
This is also a clear indication of the Greek Cypriot sides wish to exploit the property issue - so as - to push forward a solution of its own, to the Cyprus problem.
 OIC Foreign Ministers met in BakuIllegal Bayrak television (19.06.06) broadcast the following:
Foreign Ministers from the Organization of the Islamic Conference have met in Azerbaijans capital, Baku.
Calls for an end to the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People were made in the speeches delivered during the first day of the meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers.
The Minister of Economy and Tourism Dervis Kemal Deniz is representing the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ at the meeting under observer status with the name of Cyprus Turkish State.
Addressing the meeting in Baku, the OIC General Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has announced that the Organizations Secretariat General is working on an Action Plan aimed at ending the difficulties faced by the Turkish Cypriot people because of its continued international isolation.
He called for measures to help end the sufferings of the Turkish Cypriot people.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, also addressing the conference, pointed to the growing support for the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ within the Organization, and reiterated the `TRNCs´ and Turkeys support for a solution to the Cyprus problem within the United Nations Secretary-Generals good offices mission.
Complaining that the Greek Cypriot Side has been rejecting all attempts by the Turkish Cypriot Side aimed at bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem, he said this is being realized by the world together with the fact that the Turkish Cypriot Peoples legitimate rights are being violated and trampled-upon with its unjustified international isolation.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Economy and Tourism Dervis Kemal Deniz met his Qatari counterpart Ahmed Abdullah Al Mahmud on the sidelines of the OIC Foreign Ministers meeting in Baku.
The Qatari Foreign Minister is reported to have expressed willingness to improve his countrys relations with the Turkish Cypriot people.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper KIBRIS (20.06.06) reports that Mr Kemal Deniz met with Azeri businessmen to whom he gave information about business opportunities in the occupied areas. Replying to a question on the countries supporting the Turkish Cypriot state Mr Deniz said:
We have been promoted to the status of state. This is a very important stage for us because we are no longer a community, but a state. Although we have an observer status this is an important state for us. The OIC final communiqués now speak about the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and all the states endorse them.
 Australia´s special envoy for Cyprus in Ankara. Gambari to visit AnkaraAnkara Anatolia news agency (19.06.06) reported the following from Ankara:
Australian Special Envoy to Cyprus Jim Short extended support to efforts of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue within the framework of the United Nations.
Short, who is currently in Ankara, met Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
Speaking at the meeting, Hisarciklioglu said, ''integration of the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) with the world is of great importance. Turkish Cypriot people have fulfilled their responsibilities under the plan of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Now, we expect the international community to pave the way for commercial integration of the `TRNC´ with the world and to lift economic isolation of Turkish Cypriot people.''
Meanwhile, Short said that Turkey was the first leg of his tour of Greece, Cyprus, Belgium and Britain.
He noted that his visit aimed to make a contribution to efforts of finding a solution to the Cyprus issue.
Short said that they wanted to see united Cyprus to take its place in the world.
Meanwhile, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari is expected to come to Turkey in the coming days.
Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul met Gambari during the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Kazakhstan last weekend.
 Turkish Cypriot organizations prevent the exports of potatoes produced in the occupied part of Cyprus from the port of LimassolTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.06.06) reports that the chairmen and members of the Turkish Cypriot Port Workers Company, the Turkish Cypriot Ship Agents Union, the International Transporters Union and the Truck Drivers Union prevented yesterday the transportation to the free areas of Cyprus and the export of two thousand tons of potatoes produced in the occupied areas of the Island from the port of Limassol. The potatoes were sold by the Turkish Cypriot Agricultural Products Foundation (TUK) to a Greek Cypriot company through the mediation of a Turkish Cypriot named Mesut Cansev, within the framework of the Green Line Regulation.
The above-mentioned organizations protested about the fact that no permission is given for the potatoes being transported to the free areas by Turkish Cypriot truck drivers. No export can be done by changing trucks at the borders of the state like the smugglers, they said and asked from the EU to fulfill its promises regarding the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Port Workers Company, Altunay Fahri stated that in case the exports are conducted in such a way, the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots will not be lifted and added: According to the Green Line Regulation, the Chamber of Commerce gave the EU health certificate. Since the EU wants to help us, let them help us and let us conduct the exports from the port of Famagusta. He noted that their struggle was not about the personal material gain and he wondered why the Turkish TIR could not go to the port of Limassol.
 Extracts from an interview by the outgoing EU Commission representative in AnkaraThe New Anatolian newspaper (20.06.06) publishes an interview with Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the European Commission Representation in Ankara, who has completed his term in Turkey and is due to leave in October.
Following are some of the replies by Mr Kretschmer to the questions by TNA:
QUESTION: Do you still have concerns on the military-civil relationship in Turkey?
ANSWER: I said this very often in the past, this is also an issue related with democracy. In democracy the people elect a Parliament; the Parliament gives its confidence to a government. No other institution in the country is really legitimate. The army isn't elected. Therefore there should be civilian control of the armed forces. Elected governments are the highest authorities in democratic countries, so anything else would not be in line with the principles of democracy.
QUESTION: What about the reforms about religious affairs, which many times you've expressed your disappointment over. Do you still think this way?
ANSWER: This is a very critical area; freedom of religion is perhaps (the issue) least done in the entire reform process. Certainly Turkey has to do much more, especially with the foundations of minorities.
QUESTION: Do you mean the Heybeliada Orthodox Seminary remaining closed?
ANSWER: Heybeliada is a very symbolic issue, but even if it were opened the problems wouldn't be solved in this country. Sometimes we're accused of discriminating because we talk only about the problems of non-Muslim minorities. For example Alevis have many problems too, for instance they have difficulties in constructing and operating their Cemevis, they believe they aren't respected by the governmental institutions properly and they're also asking for improvements in their problems.
QUESTION: A regional political initiative must be also encouraged to deal with the issue, but the 10 percent election threshold is also very high, don't you think?
ANSWER: We have expressed our concern that this threshold does not permit certain parties to be adequately represented in the Parliament, but there are two sides of the coin, one side is for lowering the threshold to allow the parties which claim to present the people living in those areas, but also on the other hand political stability is also needed.
QUESTION: So what about a train crash happening in Turkish-EU relations this year? Is the EU still waiting for Turkey to take steps towards Greek Cyprus in accordance with its responsibilities under the additional protocol?
ANSWER: The EU expects Turkey to fulfill all its obligations. The signature of the additional protocol was one of the preconditions for opening the negotiations. Now the protocol was signed but no subsequent follow-up could be realized yet. We're still waiting for the ratification (by Parliament) too. We're confident that the necessary steps will be taken by the Turkish government. A signature is not sufficient. We're waiting for the realization of the next steps.
QUESTION: If this isn't done before October, what would the consequences be?
ANSWER: I can't speculate, this is up to the 25 member states.
QUESTION: The Greek Cypriots seem to be creating dozens of hurdles, and the situation is being described as a train crash in the making. Is this fair?
ANSWER: As long as this issue isn't solved there will be continuous difficulty in the process. There's not only Greek Cyprus there, but the general opinion of all member states is the additional protocol has to be implemented.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in Turkish Daily News sees seismic strategic changes in the Black Sea with Turkey coming out as the leaderUnder the title: Struggling was the Black Sea.. Turkish Daily News (16.06.06) publishes the following commentary by Suat Kiniklioglu:
"Struggling was the Black Sea" wrote the romantic Azerbaijani poet Ahmet Cevat in 1914 in Ganja. He was inspired by the withdrawal of the last Ottoman Turkish troops from the Caucasus. In the following decades his poem would offer the words to one of the most prominent Turkish nationalist folk songs.
These days the Black Sea is struggling again, though not because Ottoman forces are withdrawing from the Caucasus but because of seismic strategic changes in the region. These are days when the future of the Black Sea region is being intensely discussed in the region as well as Europe and the United States. For a number of years now, particularly after the attacks of Sept. 11, the United States and regional countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia have been expressing their desire to formulate a new regional framework for the region. The launch of the Black Sea Forum in Bucharest on June 5 was just one more attempt to create a new platform to discuss Black Sea matters. The Community of Democratic Choices (CDC), the Vilnius Summit and other initiatives point to an increasing traffic of ideas, strategies and future scenarios for the region. As I write this, the Turkish General Staff is holding an all-day workshop on the Black Sea with analysts and think-tankers in Ankara. Until recently, Turkey was strongly opposed, along with the Russian Federation, to extra-regional actors penetrating the region. Turkey traditionally views the region as an inner lake, or a sea that is controlled by the two main littoral states: Turkey and Russia.
All or a combination of these concerns have brought about a willingness to reinvigorate the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which was founded in 1992 under Turkish leadership. This is to no surprise as the BSEC has been neglected and dilapidated over the years. Turkey and Russia also stress the importance of BLACKSEAFOR, a multinational naval task force that they argue makes a NATO presence in the Black Sea unnecessary. Turkish diplomats underline the cooperative and transparent operation of BLACKSEAFOR. According to a senior Turkish diplomat, BLACKSEAFOR communicates its findings regularly to NATO's Operation Active Endeavor HQ in the Mediterranean. In the same vein Turkey's chief of general staff referred to Turkey's BLACKSEA Harmony operation as complementing NATO's Active Endeavor operation. Interestingly, Turkish officials note that they found relatively minimal threats during their maritime missions and frequently stress that they cannot understand why NATO wants to penetrate the region.
Until recently, Ankara has been acting in concert with Moscow on a number of occasions, including its low-level participation in CDC meetings or the Vilnius Summit. That said, when Ankara decided to participate on a ministerial-level at the Black Sea Forum in Bucharest, some analysts argued that Ankara's policy has shifted. If indeed that is the case, then what has precipitated this change? What of the gloomy, and in my opinion, unjustified headlines that Ankara was not in favor of democratization in the region after the Vilnius Summit? What occurred in recent months that may have changed how Ankara has been approaching these new initiatives?
It appears that an understanding reached between the United States and Turkey on the region has brought about Turkish participation at the ministerial level in the Black Sea Forum summit in Bucharest. In contrast, Moscow decided to maintain its low-level participation in such events -- this time with observer status.
Although not much has been public, the understanding appears to involve a mutual agreement that U.S.-supported initiatives should not be a challenge the Montreaux Convention. Also, the understanding appears to entail a willingness by Washington not to push the expansion of NATO operations into the Black Sea. However, does this mean that the United States has given up on its strategic outlook for the region? Does this understanding mean that the United States has shifted its policy vis-à-vis the frozen conflicts in the Black Sea region? That is doubtful. The primary difference between the U.S. and Turkish approach stems from the fact that Ankara views the Black Sea from a maritime-dominated perspective. While the maritime aspect surely carries significance, it is not the main driver behind strategic contemplation in Washington. That said, bridging these different perspectives may not be as difficult as some may think. First of all, it requires better channels of communication that would prevent misunderstandings from occurring. Secondly, it requires a better understanding by the United States about some legitimate Turkish sensitivities and interests.
Surely, the aforementioned understanding is being examined in Bucharest, Sofia and many other capitals. What this will mean for the future of the region remains to be seen. Also, the establishment of a Black Sea Trust in Bucharest signals more attention to democratization and cross-border cooperation in the region. Already, there is increasing interest from Azerbaijan and Armenia in projects that would involve broader cooperation and a more regional outlook.
All in all, Turkey is the most significant Black Sea country. It has both the economic, military and intellectual might to be the natural leader of the region. For this to happen Ankara needs to rethink its traditional outlook towards the region. Ankara also needs to invest more human and financial resources into the region and view it as an integral part of a reshaping Europe. A Europe that Turkey wants to be part of
 The internal crisis came to an end. The Turkish press deals with a variety of issuesUnder the banner headline "Cyprus Bluff to Europe: They are Free To Suspend Negotiations," ZAMAN (17.06.06) carries a front-page report, which highlights Prime Minister Erdogan's statement that they would not take any step to meet the Cypriot government's demands unless the current embargoes on occupied Cyprus are lifted.
In an article in ZAMAN (17.06.06) entitled "The Anatomy of an Anti-democracy Campaign" Prof. Mustafa Erdogan of the Hacettepe University focuses on what he describes as an anti-democracy campaign, which, he notes, is supported by some groups within the government and some media establishments and has intensified over the past couple of months. Erdogan concludes that the campaign is underpinned by a deep-seated ideology aimed at dictating modernization and nationalism to people
In a article in BUGUN (17.06.06) entitled "The Half-full Part of the Glass in the EU Process," columnist Cengiz Candar analyzes the compromise reached between Turkey and the EU to start negotiations on different chapters on 12 June after the completion of the screening phase and urges the government to revive its reform process in order to marginalize the Greek Cypriots within the EU and to disarm anti-Turkish groups within the Union.
Fikret Bila, in his commentary entitled "Has the Essence of the Cyprus Issue Changed" MILLIYET (17.06.06) writes that "Cyprus emerged as the 'key' issue once again in the relations with the EU." Stressing the importance of the "essence of the issue" with regard to Cyprus, Bila says: "The essence of the Cyprus issue is the same for the Turkish side. This essence says two communities, two equal sovereignty, two states, and two democracies in Cyprus." Noting that the recent EU demands are those posited by the Greek Cypriot side, Bila adds: "This process, for this reason, aims at changing the essence of the Cyprus issue." Explaining that "for this reason, lifting the sanctions imposed on the `KKTC´ and opening it to international trade even if it is not recognized is not a solution," Bila says: "Accepting this position is tantamount to accepting that there is and will not be any solution to the essence."
ZAMAN (18.06.06) publishes a commentary entitled "EU Invites Crisis" by Can Baydarol, a board member of the Turkey-EU Foundation, who asks whether EU Commissioner Olli Rehn was aware what an "irresponsible" statement he made in saying that while Turkey made a "legal" commitment to open its airports and maritime ports to the Greek Cypriots, the European Union only made a "political" promise to end the isolation of occupied Cyprus. Baydarol asserts that 12 June will go down in history as the day when Turkey largely lost its trust in Brussels rather than as a "victory" day marking the start of actual negotiations with the European Union. He also warns that without steps by Brussels to regain Turkey's confidence, no Turkish governments will ever find the "courage" to open Turkish airports and seaports to the Greek Cypriots.
In an article entitled "Why can the Seminary not be opened?" ZAMAN columnist Etyen Mahcupyan argues that Turkey is violating the Lausanne Treaty, "the only legal basis of its own legitimacy," in denying the Greek Patriarch's request that the seminary on the Island of Halki be reopened. He finds it "ridiculous" that the seminary, which was open at the time of the Lausanne Treaty, should have been closed on the basis of a law passed in 1971 and claims that since Turkey recognizes the superiority of international agreements, no bills that Ankara may pass can ever take precedence over the Lausanne Treaty.
In a commentary in HURRIYET (18.06.06), columnist Oktay Eksi expresses concern over Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "remarks that give an ultimatum to EU officials and draw new red lines," in the light of past practices. Recalling that in December Turkey agreed to apply the 1963 Ankara Agreement to the Republic of Cyprus as well, Eksi says that the EU now wants Turkey to fulfill its commitment. It may be argued that Erdogan's logic that the EU should first fulfill its own commitment to lift the embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots if it wants Turkey to open its ports to the Greek Cypriots is justified, Eksi remarks, but "what concerns us more is where this matter will lead, rather than whether Erdogan is justified in his position." Eksi points out that Erdogan resorts to drawing red lines whenever he faces a difficult situation, adding that all the red lines drawn in the past seem to have disappeared into thin air.
Also writing in HURRIYET (18.06.06), Cuneyt Ulsever criticizes Erdogan for his recent declaration that Turkey will not open its ports for Greek Cypriot use unless the isolation imposed on occupied Cyprus is lifted. In his column, Ulsever argues that the prime minister is defying the EU for the sake of winning the hearts of his grass roots and attracting more votes. With these remarks, Ulsever explains, Erdogan is denying the Additional Protocol it signed in July 2005, forgetting the Customs Union Agreement Turkey signed with the EU, and overlooking the fact that a UN Security Council resolution is needed to lift the embargoes. Ulsever recalls that when the government approved the Additional Protocol concerning the use of the Turkish ports by the Greek Cypriots, he congratulated it for its "courage and self-sacrifice." Ulsever also recounts how he supported Erdogan as a "liberal-democrat" and for his stance against the status quo, "but in the past year the AKP [Justice and Development Party] has been overtaken by the whirlwind of the status quo." Ulsever declares that "I broke off from the AKP because it has renounced liberal policies."