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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-08-16

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.156/06 15-16.08.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader Talat expresses his readiness to meet with President Papadopoulos.
  • [02] Erdogan: My Government made no concessions on the Cyprus problem.
  • [03] Electricity price in occupied Cyprus goes up.
  • [04] Uncertainty regarding planned Bush - Erdogan meeting on the 5th of October since Angela Merkel is visiting Turkey at that date.
  • [05] Turkey signs a military agreement with Bosnia.
  • [06] Turkish Foreign Minister is visiting Middle East today.
  • [07] Turkey to explore oil in Iran.
  • [08] Iraqi Kurds readying to establish army.
  • [09] U.S. calls for PKK to lay down arms and end attacks.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALD AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] From Ankara to Brussels, Transit via Nicosia.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader Talat expresses his readiness to meet with President Papadopoulos

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.08.06) reports from occupied Lefkosia:

    "The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat is ready to meet Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos under the auspices of the United Nations," said Hasan Ercakica, `TRNC Presidential Spokesman´, on Tuesday.

    Ercakica indicated that, in a possible Talat-Papadopoulos meeting, the Turkish side will bring forth topics that could be discussed under the umbrella of the UN.

    Ercakica added that the TRNC is always for a solution in the island.

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

    [02] Erdogan: My Government made no concessions on the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.08.06) broadcast that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his government has made no concessions on the Cyprus problem.

    In a statement evaluating the Justice and Development Partys (AKP) actions over the last 5 years, Mr Erdogan said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus had gained esteem and prestige due to the AKPs Cyprus Policy.

    Mr Erdogan said his AKP, as a result of its Cyprus policy had succeeded in restarting a dialogue aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Explaining that the TRNC economy had improved in all sectors, the Turkish Prime Minister said that the occupied areas of the island had become a center of attraction for investors, especially in the field of tourism and university education.

    Mr Erdogan also stated that recent claims that the AKP government had made concessions in Cyprus were false and misleading

    [03] Electricity price in occupied Cyprus goes up

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.08.06) broadcast the following:

    The price of electricity has gone up sharply by 14 to 65 percent.

    The `Council of Ministers´ decided on the price increase on the 9th of August and announcing the decision stated that the price rises will come into affect as of the 1st of September.

    The `Council´ decided to raise the price of electricity from 0.14 New Turkish Liras for the first 250 kilowatts to just over 0.16.

    The price of electricity for the second 250 kilowatts has been raised from 0.17 to 0.19 New Turkish Liras.

    The price of electricity for electricity consumption exceeding 500 kilowatts has gone up from 0.17 New Turkish Liras per unit to 0.28 New Turkish Liras per unit.

    The chairman of the `Electricity board´ Ahmet Hudaoglu said that the sharp increase in the price of electricity was directly related to the recent rise in petrol prices around the world.

    He added that the price increase was far from meeting the costs of running the power plant.

    [04] Uncertainty regarding planned Bush - Erdogan meeting on the 5th of October since Angela Merkel is visiting Turkey at that date

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (16.08.06) reports that the President of the United States of America Mr George Bush, has given a positive answer to the request of the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who has been awaiting for months now for a meeting with Mr Bush. The meeting will be held on the 5-6 of October.

    However, an uncertainty was created as regards this arrangement since the German Chancellor Mrs Angela Merkel is visiting Turkey, along with many German Businessmen, at the same dates. The Turkish government has been taking Berlins pulse regarding the changing of dates of Mrs Merkel visit to Turkey, but no positive answer has yet arrived from Berlin. The paper invokes diplomatic sources according to which Mrs Merkel has a very tight agenda and that is not clear how her visit to Turkey, which has been scheduled a long time ago, can be rescheduled. The Turkish government sources stated that the dates of both visits coincides and they continue their contacts as regards this issue.

    (C/S)

    [05] Turkey signs a military agreement with Bosnia

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (15.08.06) reports the following:

    Bosnia and Turkey signed a military cooperation accord on Monday that enables the former Yugoslav republic to use a NATO anti-terror training base, said the Defense Ministry.

    Under the agreement, the Bosnian army would benefit from free access to the NATO-run base, Turkish Col. Osman Aksakal, who signed the agreement, said in a ministry statement without providing further details.

    The two countries would also exchange personnel, equipment, and information on research and technology.

    Turkey is ... important to us as a NATO member that can advise Bosnia on how to gain faster admission to the Partnership for Peace program and NATO itself, said Bosnian Deputy Defense Minister Enes Becirbasic.

    The Partnership for Peace program is seen as the first step to becoming a full member of NATO.

    [06] Turkish Foreign Minister is visiting Middle East today

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.08.06) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, will travel to Lebanon on Wednesday and to Israel on Sunday after the cease-fire between these two countries.

    Mr Gul was initially scheduled to visit both countries on the same day but his program was changed and he will accordingly visit Beirut on Wednesday and Israel on Sunday.

    Mr Gul may also pay a visit to Syria.

    It is not certain yet if Mr Gul will meet any representatives from Hezbollah during his stay in Lebanon.

    [07] Turkey to explore oil in Iran

    Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (15.08.06) online version reports that with recent energy issues on Turkeys agenda, a new link is being forged in the Turkish-Iranian chain of energy cooperation.

    In a bid from Iran to bypass Russia and access the European natural gas market via Turkey, Iran appears ready to allow Turkey to explore oil in the country in return.

    Turkey is also operating oil fields in brother countries Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

    TPAO (Turkey's state-owned petroleum company) has the authorization to explore oil in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

    The issue will be addressed with Irans Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, who will arrive in Turkey today to meet with Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler.

    During yesterday´s talks, TPAO, which specializes in international oil exploration, will ask permission from Iran to rent potential oil fields and conduct feasibility studies.

    Authorities from TPAO communicated their intention to the Iranian delegation in Turkey.

    Iranian authorities will reportedly focus on strengthening their border pumping stations as well as the transfer of natural gas to Europe via Turkey.

    As tension between Russia and Ukraine continues, the Turkish Ministry of Energy intensified its contacts with alternative oil-supplier Iran to prevent future shortages.

    These issues will be discussed again in the Ankara meeting between the two energy ministers, who previously resorted to arbitration because of prices and supply cuts.

    In addition to the new agreements, Turkey wants to renew current mutual agreements in order to allow Iran to open to Europe via Turkey.

    Another important issue on Ankaras agenda is the Tehran administration committing to a price discount and guarantee of supply.

    Iranian natural gas supplied to Turkey fell by nearly one third in winter 2005.

    Issues that eventually resulted in arbitration were initially handled in the technical delegation talks.

    Both parties are working to reach a consensus on the issue and optimistically plan to announce the results at the conclusion of yesterdays meeting.

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.08.06) reports the following:

    Iranians have promised us that there will not be any cuts of natural gas supply procured from Iran," Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said today.

    Guler received Iranian Petroleum Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh and an accompanying delegation on Tuesday.

    "We had a very fruitful discussion with Hamaneh. We discussed energy matters between our two countries," noted Guler.

    Meanwhile, Hamaneh stressed that his delegation and he will submit a proposal to Turkey tonight on sending Iranian natural gas to Europe.

    "The Turkish side will reply to our proposal on Wednesday. We hope we will make an agreement," told Hamaneh.

    Hamaneh added that Iran has promised Turkey that there will not be any cuts of natural gas sent to Turkey from Iran.

    [08] Iraqi Kurds readying to establish army

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (15.08.06) reported that efforts are under way in northern Iraq to establish a regular army made up of peshmerga forces, reported CNN-Türk the day before yesterday.

    Officials from the Peshmerga Ministry and commanders from the Peshmerga Forces convened over the weekend in Salahaddin under the leadership of Massoud Barzani, head of the autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq -- often termed Kurdistan -- and accepted the idea of collecting peshmergas under the Kurdistan army, said CNN-Türk.

    Officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) attended Sunday's meeting. The regular Kurdistan army will reportedly not belong to any political party and will only work for "Kurdistan."

    [09] U.S. calls for PKK to lay down arms and end attacks

    Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (15.08.06) internet version reports that the U.S. administration has called on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to lay down its arms and end attacks on Turkey.

    "We (the U.S.) are calling on the PKK for a termination of its attacks and laying down arms on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of its attacks against our ally Turkey, U.S. Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack said on Monday in a written statement.

    The statement recalled that the PKK have claimed the lives of over 30,000 people in Turkey since August 15, 1984 - when it began operating.

    McCormack went on to say in the statement that although the violence declined a few years after the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of PKK, in 1999, it resumed again in 2004.

    Kurdish activities across Turkey experienced a resurgence following the ending of the unilateral cease-fire of the PKK two years ago.

    So far 218 Turkish security force personnel have now been killed in PKK attacks since June 2004.

    Moreover, Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (15.08.06) internet version reports that the US Consul to Adana, Eric F. Green, has said that the US would not look warmly on a Turkish over-the-border operation against PKK forces hiding in Northern Iraq. Answering questions from reporters while on a visit in Viransehir, Green noted that while the US didn't "look warmly" on a possible Turkish incursion into Northern Iraq in pursuit of the PKK, that US officials were currently "researching" the views of local citizens on the matter.

    Said Green, "We support the idea of the Iraqi government's finding a solution to the PKK presence in Northern Iraq. We are on the side of finding a peaceful agreement." Consul Green was reportedly on his first tour of the region.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALD AND ANALYSIS

    [10] From Ankara to Brussels, Transit via Nicosia

    Under the above title Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (14.08.06) publishes the following commentary by Michalis S. Michael:

    Turkey s most prominent poet Nâz1m Hikmet (Ran) likened Turkey to a horse with its head in Europe and its body in Asia galloping westwards. There is no doubt that Turkey is going through its most crucial historical phase since its establishment and central to this transformation is its placement in Europe. Turkeys relationship with Europe has always been problematic, fraught with cultural complexities, misunderstandings and security considerations, some of which date to the Ottoman period. In Europe, a certain ambivalence prevails towards Turkeys EU candidature, dividing its members between those who do not consider Turkey as a European country and those who value Turkey as a bridge towards the adjoining Central Asia/Caucasus and the Middle East regions.

    Until the Helsinki Summit of 1999, it could be said that the majority of EU states were content with, indeed relied upon, Greeces veto to block any progression of Turkeys accession towards Europe. However, the Earthquake diplomacy of 1999 and the subsequent warming of Greco-Turkish relations exposed and forced into the open a residual European bias towards Turkeys entire European orientation.

    A major obstacle that impedes Turkeys EU progress, and determines relations with neighbouring Greece, is undoubtedly the Cyprus problem. Until the election of the AKP government, Turkey failed to accurately assess the extent of the damage which the Cyprus problem had inflicted on its diplomacy, both with regard to its broader relationship with Greece and its policy on European integration. Ultimately Turkeys accession to the European Union depends on a whole series of factors some external and some internal converging over the short to middle term, that would transform the Turkish polity, economy and civil society. For this transition to take place, Turkey first needs to remove the Cyprus problem from the list of obstacles otherwise its European track will be derailed for as Costas Simitis bluntly put it in 2003: the Green Line in Nicosia separates Ankara from Brussels.

    To procure a deeper understanding of Greek-Turkish relations and the role of the EU, we first need to familiarise ourselves with the dynamics of the Cyprus conflict. In this respect three points are worth noting:

    1. We need to distinguish between the search for a political settlement and the broader milieu of the conflict itself. The relative failure of the intercommunal talks to resolve the Cyprus problem stems from their inability to address a number of political, organisational and social-psychological hurdles. Conflicts are rarely mono-causal, one-dimensional or static. As with most protracted conflicts, the Cyprus conflict requires innovative and multidimensional approaches towards a solution. The exclusive concentration on formal diplomacy, striving for a political settlement, whilst neglecting the need for a shift in the conflictive relationship on the ground, had been borne out once again with the Annan initiative.

    2. A summation of the intercommunal talks reveals that ever since the acceptance of a bi-communal/bi-zonal federation, negotiations have followed a cyclical pattern wherein disagreements on the substantial issues have seen both sides regularly return to their entrenched positions. As a result, the parties remained divided even though they had discussed all issues to the point of exhaustion. In conceptual terms, disagreement over reunification has fundamentally revolved around its structural form and, at least implicitly, the nature of power-sharing. As the Annan initiative demonstrated, underlying these differences has been a current of mistrust between the two sides and a deep sense of insecurity, which the peace talks have not been able to convincingly address. In order to negate/counter this milieu of mistrust and insecurity, common interests and mutual benefits that would result from a negotiated settlement (for all four parties), need to be emphasised and communicated, in practical terms, beyond the customary political elite.

    3. Most analysts have treated the Cyprus dispute as either a conflict between two ethnic groups aided by their neighbouring motherlands or as a manifestation of a broader Greco-Turkish rivalry. Invariably this has been explained as the double minority syndrome (i.e. the Turkish-Cypriot minority within the island and the Greek-Cypriot minority within the sub-regional Greece-Turkey-Cyprus triangle). However, contrary to this analysis, the Cyprus conflict has never been between the islands two ethno-communities or even between Greece and Turkey. Rather the Cyprus conflict has essentially pitted one brand of majoritarianism against another: that is the Greek Cypriot community against Turkey. Expressed a little differently, the main forces driving the Cyprus conflict have, in its post-colonial phase, been Greek Cypriot nationalism and Turkeys national strategic interests. Aggravated by the absence of direct communication between Turkey and the Greek Cypriots, this dichotomy has recently been accentuated, in more vivid terms, by Turkeys and the (Greek Cypriot controlled) Republic of Cypruss interaction in EU institutions and deliberations. By placing more emphasis on the relationship between the Greek Cypriot community and Turkey, this is an area where the EU can have a positive effect.

    A mapping of the Cyprus peace process generally and the Annan initiative in particular, suggests that even under the most favourable of conditions for inter-communal negotiations, first-track diplomacy and the UN, are unable to resolve the Cyprus conflict. There appears to be a missing link that prevents progress of a kind that would resonate simultaneously with the internal and external constituencies. To redress this balance, and to shift the situation in a more positive direction, a series of initiatives are necessary in order to build confidence and trust amongst the various parties.

    Much is to be gained from joint bicommunal partnerships, ventures, institutions, and projects that are diverse across business, environment, local and epistemic communities. These must be conducive to more transparent and participatory processes which are people-centred and democratic. The re-establishment of contacts between political parties could help to advance a process out of which might emerge common policies across a whole array of issues not usually associated with the hard-core of the Cyprus problem, such as: the distribution and depletion of resources, industrial relations and environmental protection.

    Another measure that would significantly aid the current climate is for the UN, the EU but also Greeks and Turks, to engage in a political dialogue with their detractors. By embarking on a consultation process with Greek, Turkish and Cypriot civil society and commerce, the UN and the EU will encounter the whole spectrum of views, not only on the details of the Annan plan, but more importantly on how they see the future of Cyprus. Such a Cyprus Future Project would allow the diversity of opinions from people and communities traditionally marginalised from the centre of power/decision-making to be taken into account.

    This leads us to another proposal. The presence of an inter-cultural, interfaith and inter-communal dialogue in Cyprus would greatly enhance reconciliation and rapprochement on the island. One approach in this direction is to establish a Centre for Dialogue. Funded by the EU and to a lesser extent by the UN the Centre would foster interaction and dialogue between organisations representing diverse religious traditions, as well as professional associations and non-governmental organisations more generally. This dialogue could expand to research institutions, think-tanks, and representatives of key constituencies, including government, industry and regional and international organisations (e.g. World Bank, WTO, UNDP, UNHCR other UN agencies, EU).

    Although the EU is not the panacea, in the final analysis, one thing is certain: that the entrance of the EU into the Cyprus triangle has become a permanent fixture of the Cyprus conflict and may prove to be the link that provides a commonality for all players. Finally, a caveat: the window of opportunity presented by the EU-isation of the Cyprus conflict is not open-ended. Fluctuations in the contextual parameters occur frequently. Lack of progress and tangible outcomes can quickly result in disappointment, despair and a reversion to adversarial nationalism and the familiar (in)security of the status quo.

    /SK


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