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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-03-15

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.52/07 15.03.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat refuses again to discuss the issue of the demilitarization of Lefkosia
  • [02] Mr Talat on the missing Turkish Cypriot Mesut Kafkas
  • [03] Soyer calls on Mr Talat and President Papadopoulos to start a Dialogue Process in Cyprus
  • [04] Turkeys Foreign Ministry spokesman supports the Turkish Cypriot refusal for not opening new crossing points
  • [05] The state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation to open oil exploration tenders in Mediterranean Sea
  • [06] Political Directors of the EU Troika meet with Turkish officials in Ankara
  • [07] The Turkish National Security Council to hold its next meeting early in April due to the Presidential elections
  • [08] More on Recep Tayyip Erdogans illness
  • [09] President Sezer vetoed the appointment of five Deputy Permanent Undersecretaries at the Foreign Ministry
  • [10] Erdogan´s tribal life reference with regard to Annan Plan draws Rauf Denktas´s reaction
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] Columnist in Zaman on the Presidential veto on Foreign Ministry appointments

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat refuses again to discuss the issue of the demilitarization of Lefkosia

    Illegal BAYRAK television (14.03.07) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia: President Mehmet Ali Talat has made it clear that he will not bargain the issue of the demilitarization of Lefkosia for the opening of a crossing point at Lokmaci (Ledra Street ceasefire line).

    Warning that the opening of more crossing points along the border carries the risk of cementing the division of the island, Mr Talat underlined the need for the two sides on the island to focus their attention on finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to the BRT in an exclusive interview, he reminded that the Turkish Cypriot Side has been trying to open a crossing point at Lokmaci for years with the aim of bringing back economic life to the old city as well as ending the division of the city.

    `Lefkosia has been divided since 1958 and the opening of a gate will realize the symbolic reunification of the city through a strait`, Mr Talat said.

    He stated that the Turkish Cypriot Side was ready to facilitate crossings at Lokmaci if the Greek Cypriot Administrations (Republic of Cyprus) real intention for demolishing the Ledra Wall was to open a crossing point in the area.

    Replying to a question as to what will be the new security arrangements at Lokmaci if-and-when a crossing point is opened, the President said that there will not be any soldiers at the gate where police will be on duty, with the TRNC Security Forces continuing to provide security for the remaining border dividing the city.

    `I will never accept to bargain the demilitarization of the city. Why should I`, he said, adding that demilitarization could only be realized when a comprehensive solution is found to the Cyprus Problem.

    Pointing out that soldiers at Lokmaci are from the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces, he said the Force would have been dissolved if the Annan Plan had been accepted.

    Referring to claims by the Greek Cypriot Side that the area around Lokmaci was not secure because of the presence of soldiers, he said such claims are just `ridiculous` as there are soldiers all around Cyprus and no incidents have been recorded until now during the visits of Greek Cypriots and foreigners to the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus).

    Mr Talat also noted that the Greek Cypriot Administration had not responded positively to the de-confrontation measures he proposed in July.

    He added that the opening of a crossing point at Lokmaci and the issue of de-confrontation were two separate issues which had to be taken up separately.

    Referring to work started by the Greek Cypriot Administration on its side for the opening of a gate in Yesilirmak (Limnitis), Mr Talat described it as a unilateral move and added that such a thing was not on the agenda of the Turkish Cypriot Side.

    [02] Mr Talat on the missing Turkish Cypriot Mesut Kafkas

    Illegal BAYRAK television (14.03.07) reports that Mr Talat has said it is saddening that no breakthrough has been achieved in the search for Ahmet Mesut Kafkas despite that the Turkish Cypriot, Greek Cypriot and British Sovereign Bases Area (SBA)Police had exchanged information with each other for several times.

    Mr Kafkas has been missing since the 22nd of February and all attempts in the north, the south and the UN controlled buffer zone have failed to bring any clues to light about the missing man.

    Speaking to the illegal BRT on the issue, Mr Talat expressed his sorrow over the failure of all attempts aimed at determining the fate of Mesut Kafkas and said that he could be in the Buffer zone and the south, and even in the north, although this is not so likely.

    Pointing out that it is of the utmost importance that the fate or whereabouts of Mr. Kafkas is determined, Mr Talat said that the TRNC police and the SBA police were both continuing their search.

    Mr Talat also said that the Kafkas case once more highlighted the importance and need for the two sides to cooperate on a number of issues and added that this is why the Turkish Cypriot Side had proposed the establishment of technical committees.

    Complaining that cooperation between the two sides was insufficient, Mr Talat said the Greek Cypriot Sides refusal to cooperate with the north on the basis that such a move will imply the recognition of the TRNC is `meaningless` and `baseless`.

    As he stated Britain, a country which does not diplomatically recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, cooperated with Turkish Cypriot officials for several times.

    [03] Soyer calls on Mr Talat and President Papadopoulos to start a Dialogue Process in Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.03.07) reports from occupied Lefkosia that Ferdi Sabit Soyer the self-styled prime minister in the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus) called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and President Tassos Papadopoulos to get together this weekend and begin talks.

    Speaking on Illegal BAYRAK television Mr Soyer said that the insistence of Papadopoulos in not meeting with President Talat was an attempt to kill talks between the two communities and emphasized the need for the dialogue process to begin for discussing how to deal with the subjects underlying the Cyprus problem.

    Commenting on the "Lokmaci issue", Soyer said this was an important symbol and that the Greek Cypriots were left to demolish the wall as a result of the appropriate policies pursued by the TRNC.

    Making reference to Greek initiatives to open a border gate in the Yesilirmak (Limnitis) area, Soyer underlined discussions regarding the opening of other border gates before Lokmaci gate was opened were futile.

    [04] Turkeys Foreign Ministry spokesman supports the Turkish Cypriot refusal for not opening new crossing points

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.03.07) reports that Levent Bilman, spokesman for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Turkish Cypriots have never come out against facilitation of border crossings in Cyprus.

    "We think that Greek Cypriots should not try to impose preconditions while opening a border gate," Bilman said during the weekly press briefing, upon a question on the opening of Lokmaci (Ledra Street) and Yesilirmak (Limnitis) gates.

    Reminding that the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic) removed barriers and wire entanglements in 2005 in order to open the Lokmaci gate, Bilman said the Greek Cypriot side demolished a wall in their side only after two years.

    "We agree with TRNC's views saying it is a positive development though it came late. And conditions put forward by Greek Cypriots are unacceptable," Bilman added.

    [05] The state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation to open oil exploration tenders in Mediterranean Sea

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (15.03.07) reports the following from Istanbul: The state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), which has long carried out extensive exploration and extraction work for oil in the Black Sea, now looks set to expand its activities in the Mediterranean, a move that may generate tension between Ankara and Greek Cyprus (Republic of Cyprus).

    Exploration projects are planned for the shallow waters of the Antalya, 0skenderun and Mersin bays, with an international tender process to begin this month, stated TPAO Director General Osman Saim Dinç this week. Dinç told the Anatolia news agency that Turkey would begin exploration with foreign partners in July or August.

    He also said Turkey would carry out seismic studies west of Cyprus between the coasts of Turkey and Egypt this spring and summer. TPAO had always been planning to explore the potential for oil in the Mediterranean, but had prioritized the Black Sea because its energy potential had seemed greater. We achieved serious progress in the Black Sea and exploration works are now on track. Therefore this year we start work in the Mediterranean, he explained.

    Tenders for oil exploration and seismic studies in the eastern Mediterranean could well upset Greek Cypriots who last month opened a bidding process to license offshore oil and gas exploration in the same region. The exploration sites are likely to overlap, further raising political tensions between Turkey and Greek Cyprus.

    Ankara protested after Greek Cyprus signed agreements to delineate undersea boundaries with Egypt and Lebanon. Turkish authorities said Turkey and Turkish Cypriots also had legitimate rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara stated it would not allow its rights to be eroded and asked Lebanon and Egypt not to go ahead with the agreements.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman dismissed claims that the TPAOs plans for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean were related to the Greek Cypriot move to open a bidding process to license offshore oil exploration in the region. I dont think there is a connection between the two issues, he told a press conference yesterday.

    Bilman also said a Turkish delegation had recently been sent to Egypt to discuss the Egyptian-Greek Cypriot agreement to delineate undersea borders in the eastern Mediterranean. The delegation had an exchange of views and information with the Egyptian authorities and the two sides agreed to continue talks, he added.

    Meanwhile, the US gave indirect support to the Greek Cypriot plans for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, with State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey saying sovereign governments had a right to contracts with private companies or other governments.

    [06] Political Directors of the EU Troika meet with Turkish officials in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.03.07) reports that the political directors of Turkey and the EU Troika met in Ankara on Wednesday. The meeting was held at the level of deputy undersecretaries.

    As the EU troika, political director of Germany, the current rotating president of the EU, its successor Portugal and executives of the European Commission and Council attended the meeting.

    The participants exchanged views on Turkey's possible accession to the EU as well as regional and international matters. These meetings are held once during the presidency of each EU member state.

    [07] The Turkish National Security Council to hold its next meeting early in April due to the Presidential elections

    Turkish daily AKSAM newspaper (15.03.07) reports that the Turkish National Security Council (MGK), which normally meets once every two months on the last Friday of the month, will meet on the 9th or 10th of April because of the Presidential elections which will start on the 16th and be completed on the 26th of April.

    The paper stresses that the MGK meeting will take place while the candidates for the presidency were not yet announced and that it will be President Sezer´s last meeting and because of this the agenda will deal only with issues relating to terrorism, Northern Iraq and Kirkuk.

    (KV)

    [08] More on Recep Tayyip Erdogans illness

    Turkish daily AKSAM newspaper (15.03.07) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spent yesterday at his home as well because of his back pain problems. The paper writes that the problems are a result of his falling down from a horse three years ago in Istanbul and that he is undergoing physiotherapy.

    In a commentary in Aksam on the same issue, Guler Commurcu writes the following: We are living the longest March of the latest century. It is noteworthy that the Prime Minister has started to get ill often lately, sugar, high tension, back pain and now he postponed all his schedules and stayed at home for five days. Is this due to some unusual information about threats? Is this the real reason or is it illness? God protect. What Korkut Ozal said the other day came to my mind: There are persons who want to carry out an assassination attempt against Erdogan, take care, he had said.

    (KV)

    [09] President Sezer vetoed the appointment of five Deputy Permanent Undersecretaries at the Foreign Ministry

    Turkish daily AKSAM newspaper (15.03.07) reports that President Sezer vetoed the appointments of five Deputy Permanent Under Secretaries at the Foreign Ministry. The decrees on the appointments, signed by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, were sent to the President, who refused to sign them on the grounds that his views were not taken beforehand. The news was confirmed yesterday by the Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Levent Bilman. The government will handle this issue after the presidential elections. The five, who will continue with their duties, are:

    Feridun Sinirlioglu: Former President Demirel´s adviser on foreign policy issues, who was previously serving as Ambassador to Israel Deputy Permanent Undersecretary for Relations with the Middle East.

    Ugur Dogan: Proposed for the post of Permanent Undersecretary in charge of Personnel and Administration Issues, just returned to Ankara from the Embassy of Riyat.

    Haydar Berk: Moved from the Cyprus and Greek Relations General Dictiorate to Turkish-Greek and USA relations.

    Selim Guneralp: From Political Planning to Economic Relations.

    Unal Cevikoz: Formerly Ambassador to Baku and Iraq now to be Deputy Permanent Undersecretary in charge of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs.

    HURRIYET covers the issue of Sezer´s veto for the appointment of the Deputy Undersecretaries in its front page leader under the title The behind the scenes veto scenarios and writes that the three reasons given behind the scenes are:

    1. Sezer was uneasy about not being informed about the names beforehand and considered the appointments as faits accomplis.

    2. The name of Ugur Dogan and Selim Kuneralp were involved in the e-mail traffic interference affair, experienced during the former EU Commission Representative to Ankara Mrs Karen Fogg.

    3. Sezer is against the splitting into two the domains of duty regarding the Middle East into Real Middle East and Countries Bordering the Middle which will include Central Asia. Sezer was concerned that by this the signal might be given that Turkey supports the Greater Middle East Project.

    Commenting on the veto issue, Mehmet Yilmaz writes in Hurriyet that this is a veto difficult to understand since all five were Ambassadors known to the public who were appointed as Ambassadors to countries abroad with Sezer´s signature and asks for an explanatory statement from the Presidency.

    (KV)

    [10] Erdogan´s tribal life reference with regard to Annan Plan draws Rauf Denktas´s reaction

    CUMHURIYET newspaper (15.03.07) publishes statements made by the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, who, reacting to statements made by Prime Minister Erdogan on his return from Azerbaijan, had said regarding the Annan plan that those who do not know the pleasure of being a state, those who have become accustomed to the tribal life, cannot understand this.

    Mr Denktas called on Mr Erdogan to apologize to the people for giving false information because with the Annan plan the TRNC would be turned into a province and not a state, as argued by Erdogan.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] Columnist in Zaman on the Presidential veto on Foreign Ministry appointments

    Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (15.03.07) publishes the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu under the title: Foreign Ministry the new battleground between government and establishment:

    President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's refusal to sign a decree envisaging the appointment of five deputy undersecretaries for the Foreign Ministry, the first of its kind in the history of the republic as described by the daily newspaper Hürriyet in its March 14 edition, has revealed an ongoing battle at the Foreign Ministry between the political leadership and the establishment. President Sezer, regarded as the mouthpiece of the establishment that prefers to rule the nation independent of the political leadership, has returned to parliament numerous decrees envisaging the appointments of top bureaucrats. He has also vetoed, sometimes rightly, various laws passed by the parliament -- all mainly on grounds that the Islam-based conservative Justice and Development Party (AK Party) sought to seriously infringe on the secular character of the nation through the appointments of top and lower-level bureaucrats.

    The problem with Sezer's policy is the double standard that lies behind his attitude. To start with, since the establishment of the Turkish Republic by Atatürk 84 years ago, the Turkish bureaucracy has always been turned into a battlefield between the different ideologies, from the left to the right, depending on what type of coalition or single party governments then ruled the nation.

    There has been no objective criteria applied to the appointment of bureaucrats who have mostly fallen victim to the ill-defined policies of the then ruling political leadership. Due to the absence of a fully established rule of law in Turkey, sometimes bureaucrats not affiliated with any party view can find themselves being linked to a certain ideology through rumors instead of objective criteria that should dictate their appointments.

    It is also true that in Western democracies the winning party or the parties setting up the government would choose to work with bureaucrats they feel are close to their own ideologies. But in Turkey, we have always witnessed a massive shake-up in public institutions from top to bottom with every new government, resulting in the danger of creating bureaucrats who could only keep their positions if they were loyal to government policies they sometimes did not agree with.

    Those who have been resisting AK Party appointments thus pursue a double standard with the sometimes unnecessary fear that the Turkish secular order would receive a serious blow with certain appointments. Such resistance damages the credibility of the resistors because the same voices criticizing AK Party appointment policies have remained relatively indifferent when in the past governments close to their ideologies made appointments that, for example, resulted in the ministry of education and ministry of culture being staffed with either ultranationalists or extreme conservatives -- appointments that contributed to ultra nationalism in society sometimes turning into violent nationalism. This was the case with the slaying of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in January this year.

    President Sezer's rejection of a decree envisaging the appointment of five Foreign Ministry deputy undersecretaries is significant because it reveals that the ongoing battle between the establishment and the current government over the appointment of top level bureaucrats has spread to the foreign ministry, an institution regarded as the closest to the status quo.

    The current names appointed as deputy under-secretaries mark a rejuvenation drive by the government at the ministry to create a team of top diplomats who would be much more loyal to the ruling government than the older diplomats who are part of the establishment, says a senior Turkish diplomatic source.

    But in my opinion this rejuvenation drive by the government is positive in the sense that those top but young diplomats would act in a more realistic manner toward world affairs. I myself know in person a majority of the five deputy undersecretaries that Sezer rejected by not signing the appointment decree. They are intelligent and sophisticated enough to inject energy into the ministry which has not done much in the past in taking initiatives to help the government in its efforts to pursue a proactive stance in solving Turkey's chronic foreign policy problems.

    As a long time journalist dealing with diplomacy and defence I believe that the new deputy under-secretaries, who now must remain as acting deputy under-secretaries in the absence of Sezer's approval, will contribute positively to the government's efforts to settle the country's chronic foreign policy issues; issues that the status quo preferred not to solve, thereby putting too heavy a burden on the citizens of this country.

    EG/


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