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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-03-26
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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.59/07 24-26.03.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 The commander of the Turkish Land Forces has visited the occupied areas to examine the Ledra Street crossing pointTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (26.03.07) reports that an understanding was reached during the discussions carried out under the UN auspices between the Turkish armed forces and the military authorities of the Republic of Cyprus on the issue of the opening of the Ledra Street area crossing point.
The paper notes that it is alleged that general Ilker Basbug, commander of Turkeys Land Forces, is closely interested in the issue and that last week he visited secretly the island in order to conduct an on the spot examination of the works.
In case an agreement is reached tenders will be opened for the restoration of the area and the EU will finance the project, notes AFRIKA concluding that the opening of the crossing point is expected in the beginning of July. The paper refers to the issue under the title The military positions are being withdrawn.
 Statements by TalatIllegal BAYRAK television (25.03.07) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat in reply to a question in relation to claims made by the Speaker of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives- AKEL Secretary-General Dimitris Christofias that the Turkish Cypriot Side has not responded to the preconditions provided by the Greek Cypriot Side on the opening of the Ledra Street, the said : At least Mr Christofias accepts the fact that the Greek Cypriot side has put forward preconditions.
We do not want preconditions, we want for any gate to be opened without any provisions, he said.
Referring to the barricade that is to be opened up unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot side at the ceasefire line at occupied Limnitis, he said that there were many problems in this area and that these would have to be evaluated before a decision whether or not to open up a gate could be made.
He added that the opening of the Ledra Street was a priority.As for the 8th July Agreement and reunification, Mr Talat said the Turkish Cypriot Side is ready to engage in negotiations at the highest level and had reiterated this at every opportunity.
Reminding that the Turkish Cypriot Side had proposed a list of substantial issues that would be discussed once the ten working groups and technical committees were established within the framework of the 8th July process, he said that they did not want any more delays in this process.
Asked his views regarding the direct trade regulation during his last visit to Brussels, Mr Talat expressed the hope that the EU will implement the regulation, but noted that the Papadopoulos administration will do everything in its power to prevent this from happening.
He concluded by stating that the Turkish Cypriot Side is always ready and willing to meet with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon with the aim of finding a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Mr Rasit Pertev stated that the Turkish Cypriots will continue re-evaluating the processIllegal BAYRAK television (25.03.07) broadcast the following:
Speaking to the BRT newsroom on the issue, the Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev said that the review process will continue in the coming days.
Stating that Mr. Papadopulos latest statements on the process had created an awkward state-of affairs, Mr. Pertev said the Turkish Cypriot Side was not pleased with the stage reached in the process and had therefore felt the need to reevaluate the process.
Asked whether or not the TRNC presidency was consulting over the issue with Turkey, Mr. Pertev said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was always in contact with Turkey.
Reminding that the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopulos had announced that a number of issues in the process had been positively addressed, the Presidential Undersecretary stated that contradictory statements were made by Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas who claimed that the Turkish Side had turned down the Greek Cypriot Sides proposals.
He said it were these kinds of contradictory statements that blocked the process.
Noting that one of the principles agreed upon by the two leaders in the 8th of July agreements were secrecy, Mr. Pertev accused the Greek Cypriot side of abusing the process by leaking information to the Greek Cypriot Press.
 Erk argues that it is the Greek Cypriots and not the Turkish Cypriots who are isolated in the EUTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (26.03.07) reports that the Republican Turkish Partys (CTP) former secretary for foreign affairs, Kutlay Erk addressing a panel under the title The Relations with the EU after the Referendum organized by the youth organization of the party said that after the referendum the European Union accepted that the Turkish Cypriots have a political will, that they do not support the division of the island and that they are a people who wants the unification of the country and the solution and deserves to be in the EU.
Mr Erk noted that after the materialization of the Financial Aid Regulation the application of the Direct Trade Regulation came onto the agenda and added that the German EU term presidency supports this. Mr Erk argued that the Turkish Cypriots are not the side which is isolated in the EU and added that the Greek Cypriots are the ones who are isolated in the Union. He said: We are not the side which is isolated in Europe any more. We are a respected people. The Greek Cypriots have been isolated.
Addressing the same panel, Ozdil Nami, CTPs MP argued that the only activities which the Greek Cypriots are carrying out in the EU are related to preventing the Turkish Cypriots and the openings to them.
Furthermore, the EU Coordinator at the self-styled prime ministers office, Erhan Ercin said that the most important gain of the Turkish Cypriots after the referendum is the EU Councils decision of 26 April 2004 regarding the lifting of the so-called isolations. He noted that all the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with the EU are in the framework of this decision.
 Syrian businessmen held contacts in occupied Cyprus. Ferry services between occupied Cyprus and Syria discussedIllegal BAYRAK television (24.03.07) broadcast from occupied Lefkosia about the Syrian businessmen delegation which visited occupied Cyprus searching for ways of establishing cooperation between Syria and the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus).
Within the framework of their contacts, the group visited the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry where they met with the President of Chamber Salih Tunar.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr Hasan expressed his happiness with having found the opportunity to sit with and exchange views with Turkish Cypriot businessmen.
Stating that they arrived in the TRNC with their hearts open and their hands extended, the Syrian Deputy said that the main aim of their visit was to build bridges of cooperation between the two countries.
Expressing the hope that their visit to the TRNC will be the initiating step to a long term relationship of cooperation between the two countries, Mr Hasan said that there were numerous areas such as tourism, education and industry in which businessmen from both countries could cooperate on. Pointing out that Syria has introduced a series of economic reforms; he said that his country was open to all investors. The Syrian Deputy and Council Chairman also expressed his countrys wish to see a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem in the near future.
Also speaking during the meeting, the President of the Cyprus Chamber of Industry Salih Tunar said that the TRNC gave great importance to the idea of cooperating with Syria, adding that they themselves had visited Syria for a series of contacts. He reminded that the Halep Chamber of Commerce had taken part in a fair they had organized in 2005.
Explaining that they had also discussed the issue of re-starting ferry services between Gazimagusa (occupied Famagusta) and Laskiya, Mr Tunar pointed out the ferry services will greatly contribute to improving relations in tourism and trade between the two countries.
Reminding that the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem continued despite the fact that the Turkish Cypriots had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the UN plan during the 2004 referendum, the Chamber President said that the international community had acknowledged and realized that removing the international isolation of north Cyprus must be a priority issue.
Meanwhile as part of its other contacts, the group also visited the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. During the meeting, the group of Syrian Businessmen and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce agreed to form a coordination committee aimed at strengthening economic relations between the two countries.
The committee, established upon the recommendation of the acting president of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Gunay Cerkez also aims to enhance the exchange of information between the two countries on business and investment opportunities. The committee will be co-chaired by Hasan Azkoul and Hasan Ince.
 Avci is attending the American Turkish Council conference in the U.S.ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (24.03.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Turgay Avci left for the USA to attend the American-Turkish Council and Turkish-U.S. Business Council annual conference.
Avci who flew to New York via Istanbul today will leave for Washington D.C. after attending a dinner given in his honour by Turkey's Permanent Representative to UN Baki Ilkin.
Upon his arrival in Washington D.C., Avci will attend the opening reception of the American Turkish Council-Turkish-U.S. Business Council annual conference. Avci will attend the defence and security relations themed panel discussion and is expected to deliver a speech on the second day of the conference. Avci will also hold talks with representatives of Turkish Cypriot associations and other associations.
Avci, who will fly back to New York on March 30th, will return to Cyprus on March 31st after holding a press conference at the Turkish House in New York.
 OIC technical delegation continues its contacts in the occupied areas of the Republic of CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (23.03.07) reported the following:
Speaking before meeting with representatives from the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce, the Assistant Secretary-General of the OIC Trade and Technical delegation Ahmed Mohieldin Ahmed stated that the Turkish Cypriots deserves all kind of help and said the OIC delegation is searching for ways to help remove the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People.
This is not only because it is a duty of the OIC, but because this is what the OIC wants in religious and emotional terms, he added.
For his part, the Vice-President of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce Gunay Cerkez stated that improving relations between the Turkish Cypriot people and the OIC is very important in terms of the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot People.
He reminded that the Turkish Cypriot People is still suffering from the international isolation despite of its approval of the Annan Plan during the 2004 referenda.
Pointing to the difficulties being faced because of the lack of direct flights to and from the country, Mr Cerkez said efforts aimed at lifting all kinds of isolations continue.
Later, the technical delegation visited the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry.
Welcoming the OIC delegation, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry Salih Tunar reminded that delegations and committees from the OIC have been paying visits to the country and that these contacts are in line with the OIC decision to improve the economic standards of the Turkish Cypriot ´People´.
Explaining that the objective is to improve relations with the OIC further, Mr Tunar stated that contacts between the Organisation and the Turkish Cypriot people will continue.
Speaking for his part, Mr Ahmed stressed that the unjust international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People is unacceptable and said the OIC will continue its struggle towards lifting the isolation.
He also underlined the need to raise the awareness of the international community on the need to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Islamic Committee of the International Crescent Ali N. Buhedma paid a visit to the North Cyprus Turkish Red Crescent Society and held discussions with the President of the Society Taner Erginel and Board members.
An editor for the International Islamic News Agency Zait Sultan Mehmet who is also included in the technical delegation paid a visit to BRT Director Huseyin Gursan this morning.
Speaking during the visit, Mr Gursan said that the BRT is continuing to work hard to make the Turkish Cypriots voice heard by the international community.
He noted that cooperation with IINA will be useful for the BRT and expressed the hope that contacts between the BRT and Islamic News Agency will continue.
For his part, Zait Sultan Mehmet expressed readiness to cooperate with all Islamic countries joining the agency.
The International Islamic News Agency is a specialized organ of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Later, officials from the International Islamic News Agency paid a visit to the Turkish Agency Cyprus, (TAK) and held discussions with the TAK Director Emir Ersoy.
 Turkish media quote the Chairman of the Council of the Russian Federation to have referred to isolation of the Turkish CyrpiotsIllegal BAYRAK television (24.03.07) broadcast the following:
The Council speaker of the Russian Federation, Sergey Mironov, was commenting on the Cyprus issue before his visit to Turkey next week on the 26th of March.
Evaluating the international isolation imposed on North Cyprus Mr. Mironov said that he did not approve the idea of imposing embargoes and isolations in the 21st Century.
Describing such practices imposed on any nation or people as nonsense, he said that every nation or country should learn to live together by keeping in mind their benefits, interests and cultures into consideration.
Stating that the interests of nations were not harmed by the ongoing process of globalization, Mr. Mironov said that every people or country should consider the position and interests of other countries.
Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot ´People´, should equally share the same political, economic and social rights, such as the freedom of movement and right to trade enjoyed by their Greek Cypriot neighbours, Mr. Mironov stressed that all these fundamental rights should be designated to Turkish Cypriots within international laws and regulations.
On the same issue THE NEW ANATOLIAN newspaper (26.03.07) reported the following from Moscow:
Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia, Sergey Mironov, said late Saturday that he would not accept any approaches such as embargo or isolation in the 21st century, referring to the embargo imposed on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Replying to questions of reporters prior to his visit to Turkey to take place today, Mironov stated that imposing an embargo or isolation on a nation was a senseless action.
Mironov said that Turkish Cypriots should have the same rights as their Greek neighbours, particularly the right of free movement and doing business, adding that these rights should be regulated with international acts and rules.
Noting that he would arrive in capital Ankara today at the invitation of Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Mironov noted that issues such as the situation in Iraq and steps to be taken in order to provide stability in this country would be discussed during his talks in Turkey.
Mironov said that he would meet political circles in Ankara, while he would come together with representatives of the business world in Istanbul. Upon a question whether or not a political decision was made regarding the Burgaz-Dedeagac (Alexandroupoli) petroleum pipeline, Mironov said that nobody should desire to take actions that could harm others, however, every country tried to act in accordance with its interests and benefits.
"Russia cannot shut down the valves physically even if it desires. Because, all the depots in the country that could store the energy sources are full," said Mironov, indicating that all additional energy sources should be sent immediately due to this reason.
 Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers criticize the regimes policy in tourism; Flights between Antalya and Iraq will begin in AprilTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (26.03.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union are worried that the tourism sector in the occupied areas will collapse in case the current way of thinking continues. The chairman of the Union Turgay Beydagli has said that the policy in the sector is carried out only with statements by the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Enver Ozturk.
Mr Beydagli argued that no positive step was made for the 2008 tourism season and added that it seems that the following season will be bad for the sector. He criticized the policy of attracting to the occupied areas the tourists who visit Antalya and argued that with such policies they gather the left-overs of the other markets.
Mr Beydagli described the policy of bringing tourists from Germany as an effort for saving the day. He said that such an operation is carried out for giving incentives only to one travel agent and for show on behalf of the minister.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia (23.03.07) reported the following from Antalya:
Air services between northern city Irbil of Iraq and Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya will begin on April 25th.
90 percent of seats have already been sold out despite costly prices, said Seyhmus Ozkan, chairman of Affan Air, based in south-eastern city of Diyarbakir.
We will initiate our flights with a Boeing 737 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Iraqi people are depressed of incidents going on for years. They are now trying to come out of their shells. They have good financial standing and they also have sympathy and interest in Turkey. A huge part of Iraqi holiday-makers have been spending their holidays in Dubai, Jordan and Cyprus. They have to pay 10,000 USD for a 7-10 day vacation in these places but now their interest in Turkey has grown. They want to spend their holidays in Antalya now, said Ozkan.
Ozkan said they plan to bring 20,000 Iraqis to five-star luxurious hotels and resorts in Antalya.
Baghdad, Suleymaniyah, Mosul, Kirkuk, Dohuk... We will bring visitors to Antalya from all cities of Iraq, he added.
 Omer Kalyoncu was reelected Secretary General of the CTPIllegal BAYRAK television (24.03.07) reported that voting was held for the Partys Secretary General and Central Executive Committee during the meeting chaired by the CTP (Republican Turkish Party) leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Ahmet Barç1n, Hasan Erçak1ca, Hüseyin 0nan, Naz1m Beratl1, Okan Dal1, Özkan Yorganc1olu, Sami Özuslu, Sibel Sorak1n and Ünal F1nd1k were elected as members of the party s Central Executive Committee which consists of 11 members including the Leader of the Party and Partys General Secretary.
 Statements by Babacan in New York. Reference to CyprusANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (24.03.07) reported the following from New York:
Turkish State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan stated that the process of Turkey's EU membership was on track and Turkey would set its own calendar and program regarding EU reforms.
Participating in a conference named "Turkey: New Target of Direct Investments & Private Investment Funds", organized by Turkish-US Business Council (TAIK) and American-Turkish Council (ATC) in New York, the United States, Babacan gave information on Turkey's EU perspective, Turkish economy and investment conditions in the country.
Babacan noted that Turkey was no more "a candidate to EU" but "an accessing country" now, underscoring that it fulfilled many criteria which would enable its adhesion to EU.
Stressing that membership process continued successfully, Babacan said Turkey was now at "a legal position" on its path to EU, as an accessing country. Indicating that the Cyprus issue was used as a pretext in order to suspend 8 chapters in Turkey's negotiation process last year, Babacan said technical correspondence and talks on such chapters still continued with the European Commission and these chapters would be reopened as soon as the Cyprus issue was solved.
Babacan, who noted Turkey would determine its own schedule and program concerning the membership process, said that such program would be revealed next month, after getting feedback from several NGOs and related institutions. Minister Babacan also stated that, with its Muslim population, Turkey was "a role model showing that Islam, democracy and secularism could leave together." According to Babacan, especially after September 11th, Turkey's position gained importance and its membership process would have global consequences. Commenting on the inflation issue as well, Babacan said Turkey made great progress regarding its 34-year-old chronic problem of inflation and dropped the figures to one-digit number in 2004.
Replying to a question on the current account deficit in Turkey, Babacan declared that such problems occurred in other accession countries as well. "This stems from the energy crisis and the increase in the quantity of imported goods," Babacan stressed.
Babacan also indicated that they attached great importance to attracting foreign investments to Turkey, underscoring that it was much easier for foreigners to establish companies or do business in Turkey nowadays, compared to old times.
Moreover, illegal BAYRAK television (24.03.07) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Mr Babacan complained that several countries within the EU were using the Cyprus problem as a pretext to slow down Turkeys EU accession talks.
Reminding that the EU had suspended eight negotiation chapters with Turkey last December using the Cyprus problem as an excuse, Mr Babacan said that despite the suspension, accession talks with the EU commission on eight technical chapters still continued.
He said that talks on the eight suspended chapters will continue as soon as the Cyprus problem is solved.
 Gul on the agreement signed between Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus on oil explorationIllegal BAYRAK television (23.03.07) broadcast the following:
Responding to reporters questions, the Turkish Foreign Minister explained that a delegation paid a visit to Egypt after the signing of an agreement between this country and the Greek Cypriot Administration for oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mr Gul said the Egyptian officials were provided detailed information about the oil exploration and the use of natural resources in the sea.
He also stated that Egypt put on hold the agreement it signed with the Greek Cypriot Administration on oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Reminding that the Egyptian Minister for Petroleum was in Turkey, he said `everything is getting back on track`.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian President Mubarak left Turkey today at the end of two days of contacts in Ankara.
Moreover, under the title: Gul: Egypt suspends oil search deal with Greek Cyprus and subtitle:
In a move that will allay Turkish concerns, Egypt suspends oil exploration deal it signed with Greek Cyprus, says FM Gül, TURKISH DAILY NEWS newspaper (24.03.07) publishes the following report:
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül has said Egypt suspended an agreement it signed with Greek Cyprus for oil and natural gas exploration off the eastern Mediterranean, a development which is likely to alleviate Turkish concerns on Cyprus.
Gül's remarks came during a television interview late on Thursday. Worried by Greek Cypriot attempts to conclude deals for an oil search off Cyprus, Ankara had earlier warned both Lebanon and Egypt not to press ahead with the agreements in question, saying that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots also had rights in the region.
The foreign minister yesterday had talks with visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the last day of his stay in Ankara. Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Gül said they discussed in detail the issue over the deal between Egypt and Greek Cyprus.
Gül said Egypt's oil minister was also within the delegation of Mubarak during the visit and added, Such issues are being put on track. He praised bilateral ties with Egypt and said the two countries were very important both in the eastern Mediterranean and the Islamic world. The stronger co-operation and the more intense the consultations between the two countries, the better and the more constructive it is, Gül said. After talks with the Turkish minister, Mubarak met with Turkish businessmen.
In the television interview, Gül also made comments on the latest developments in neighbouring Iraq and warned against any split of that country, saying that that an independent Kurdistan would be tantamount to the division of Iraq. He repeated Turkey favoured Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity.
If Iraq is divided, endless wars will start there. In fact people are worn out. The world's richest country is in the worst situation, he added. Gül warned that any division in the country would lead to an impasse.
Asked of a possibility of an independent Kurdistan, Gül said it was a possibility. Undoubtedly, there is such a risk. Think about the Iraqis whose country would be divided. Will they allow it? Will Iraq's neighbours allow it? ... The Middle East should not face such a problem at a time when there is no settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.
Gül said certain countries began to realize the fact that division would never be an alternative. Both Iraqis and those outside Iraq especially the United States have begun to realize this. Division is not an alternative.
 Turkey´s occupation of Cyprus creates complication in the purchase of F-16´s by TurkeyISTANBUL TODAY´S ZAMAN in English (24.03.07) publishes the following report by Lale Sariiibrahimoglu under the title: "Turkey Suspends F-16 Purchase from US over Cyprus Ban".
Turkey has reportedly suspended negotiations with the US over the purchase of an additional 30 F-16 fighters after Washington set the condition that they not be flown over the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
Military sources close to the Turkish Air Force Command (THK) told Today's Zaman that US technology restrictions, including a ban on their usage by Turkey over Cyprus, irked Ankara. "The US condition that fighters should not be used over Cyprus made us mad," said a source at the THK.
The US has not imposed any such restriction on the around 300 F-16s already in Turkey's inventory, said the same sources, adding that the possible adoption of an alleged Armenian genocide bill by the US Congress sometime in April has no direct links with Turkey's suspension of talks over the F-16 purchase.
Turkey and the US have also been in dispute over the price of the F-16s, estimated at around $2.9 billion. The US Congress approved earlier this year the sale of an additional 30 advanced F-16 Block 50 aircraft as well as associated equipment and services under Foreign Military Sale (FMS) credit to Turkey.
US's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), when it notified the US Congress in late September last year of the Turkish decision to buy additional F-16s, said, "This proposed sale will not adversely affect either the military balance in the region or US efforts to encourage a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus questions." The island of Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish north and Greek south since 1974.
According to well-informed military sources, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been attaching great importance on the attitude of the US over Turkey's outlawed terrorist organization the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), reported to have been preparing for attacks inside Turkey in their bases in neighbouring northern Iraq."Rather than Armenian genocide bill, the PKK issue has the potential to turn upside down Turkish-US strategic relations on the part of Ankara. If the US does not take action against the PKK in northern Iraq or allow the Turkish military to stage a cross-border operation, the THK may even consider to abandon the idea of buying around 100 JSF fighters from the US," stated one air force source.
During the American-Turkish Council (ATC) meeting due to start in Washington early next week, both the PKK and the Armenian genocide bill are expected to top the agenda, in addition to the F-16 and JSF purchases.
 British Foreign Secretary to visit Turkey 26-28 MarchANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (23.03.07) reported the following from
Ankara: British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is set to pay a visit to Turkey on March 26-28, 2007, Turkish Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Beckett will meet her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul and discuss bilateral relations in political, economic and cultural fields, as well as regional and international issues.
The British FM will also be received by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Beckett will proceed to Istanbul on the last day of her visit and hold a meeting with Turkey's chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 Turkey should build a nuclear plant in Northern CyprusUnder the above title TURKISH DAILY NEWS (23.03.07) publishes the following article by Haluk Dirskeneli:
Should Turkey seriously consider investing in a nuclear power plant in Northern Cyprus? To answer that question, one might first ask if Turkey has the technological and commercial capability to construct and operate such an atomic plant. The answer to both questions is a firm, "yes." Actually, Turkey's intellectual capacity has always been underestimated and undervalued. Yet, we all know that the country's university graduates are not less-qualified than their counterparts in leading industrial nations, nor less able than graduates of U.S. or European elite universities. That Turkish scientific and technical capabilities are of an elevated standard is evident in the many high-profile posts already occupied by the country's graduates, not merely in the field of nuclear power, but also in terms of other technical expertise. We can also expect Northern Cyprus's Middle East Technical University to offer good resources in initiating and supporting nuclear facilities in the north.
Subtitle: Getting into the high-tech league:
There are almost no fossil fuel resources - no oil, gas or coal - in Northern Cyprus. Hence, all such fuel would have to be purchased abroad and brought over by ferries to the power plant. On the other hand, as with any Mediterranean coast, there is ample wind energy available that could be harnessed as a renewable green alternative power source. We should also evaluate what sort of prestige we may expect from a Northern Cyprus nuclear power plant. The higher the level of nuclear technological development in one's own country, the more external parties will be alerted to the fact that one is no longer at the vulnerable developing stage, but, rather, in the high-tech league. Such an alert doubles up as a deterrence factor for potential foes to think twice before taking any hostile action. But to go back to my main point, let us evaluate why we should consider constructing an atomic plant in Northern Cyprus. Firstly, it is a tempting consideration since it is economically feasible. Such a plant's necessary capacity would be medium-size, making it easy to finance. Keep in mind that Northern Cyprus does not need several electricity-generating power plants; a small number would do. We are now in the fourth generation of nuclear technology with maximized security and minimized waste. So, for Northern Cyprus, nuclear technology is within reach in terms of reasonable local financing. There is also a variety of technologies to choose from: small, medium and reasonable sizes between 50 MWe to 100 MWe. (MWe is the abbreviation for Megawatt electric, used as the unit of electrical power produced by a generator.) Nuclear plants are basically enhanced thermal power plants. There is only one cycle more, but one does have to employ high safety measures and solve the problem of waste. Meanwhile, there is word that Russia has plans to sell, or export many 50 MWe-capacity nuclear power plants on offshore barges. We may ask the further advantages of a nuclear power plant in terms of energy security: it is a good way of training people in atomic technology and safety, as well as raising atomic awareness. One could never inform oneself of the relevant technology by being an anti-nuclear activist. As ever, one only learns something by doing it. We should also appreciate that nuclear technology is a very precious, expensive issue. It is not free-of-charge, or possible to secure with only the minimum investment, as in the case of thermal power generation.
Survival of the fittest: One can only harness such nuclear energy through one's own hard work, drawing long-term on the country's young talent with their cutting-edge scientific and intellectual training. It is also a matter of the survival of the fittest in the region. When we come to evaluating the cost factor, in base monetary terms, for a nuclear power plant within the range of 50 Mwe to 100 MWe, one can expect to pay at least $2,000 to $2,500 per Kilowatt [A unit of electrical power equal to 1000 watts, or 1.341 horsepower] of power generation if one purchases it directly from abroad, together with concessions paid on one's foreign policies. The construction period would vary between 10 to 20 years depending on funding, the technology chosen, and other unforeseeable parameters. Nonetheless, one must start from somewhere. If one didn't wish to make any concession in one's foreign policy, then one should draw on one's own talent at a lower and independent cost. We also need to study the European Union's incentives legislation with regards renewable, as well as nuclear energy, although it will take between 20 to 50 years to join the EU at this rate. Nevertheless, such information would help spread the design application at our end. However, Ankara's main problem would be the country's low level of electricity generation. In Turkey, overall, electricity generation and average consumption is approximately less than 2,000 kWh [Kilowatt hour - the work performed by one kilowatt of electric power in one hour] per person per year, whereas, in Europe, that figure is around 8,000 kWh to 9,000 kWh.
Subtitle: Greeks are already looking for it:
Therefore, Turkey and Northern Cyprus need more power plants to generate greater amounts of electricity, provided the plants are evenly distributed as thermal, renewable hydroelectric, wind, solar and also nuclear energy-generating units. Regardless, increased energy efficiency is the most cost-effective and environmentally benign energy option and should be implemented first. The world has a lot of coal, but, right now, carbon capture and sequestration is not commercially viable. Natural gas has national security implications and emits carbon dioxide. It is no secret that Greek Cypriots are making the same nuclear construction preparations together with Indian Nuclear Agencies. Therefore Turkish Cypriots are to get serious in their homework. As David Hirst said in The Guardian on April 4, 2006, "If one side in a conflict goes nuclear, the other is bound to follow suit."
(Haluk Direskeneli is an energy analyst with more than 30 years of business experience in local and international markets)
 Turkey and Egypt: Regional rivals decide to be partnersUnder the above title TURKISH DAILY NEWS (23.03.07) reports the following article by Duygu Guvenc:
The two regional powers Egypt and Turkey are kicking off a new strategic partnership and dialogue in the Middle East. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer promulgated the decision of the two countries with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday.
Sezer hosted Mubarak and the huge Egyptian delegation, composed of Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Petroleum Minister Amin Sameh Samir Fahmy, Industry and Commerce Minister Mohammed Rachid, Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin in the Presidential Palace with Turkish counterparts.
Ankara aimed for a fresh start in the relations to counter Greek Cypriots during this two days trip.
Greek Cyprus launched the first international license tender for offshore exploration of oil and gas in the Mediterranean in a ceremony attended by Lebanese and Egyptian ministers in February.
The Egyptian president met also with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday. The Egyptian diplomatic sources claimed the meeting with the top commander was routine for Mubarak since he was a military man.
The new strategic dialogue between Ankara and Cairo will be mainly about bilateral relations including gas, trade and investment projects. Sezer highlighted the importance of economic interests for both countries, especially an Arab pipeline gas project that is expected to be built through Turkey by 2009-2010.
Subtitle: Triple messages from the presidents:
Mubarek and Sezer also underlined the decision of the two countries for Iraq, Iran and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They agreed on three main topics about the area: the need for a new peace initiative between Israel and Palestine for establishment of a Palestinian government, the need to sustain the unity and solidarity of Iraq, and the need to act against nuclear threats.
Turkey and Egypt are in close contact for Palestine and Iraq. In February, the two countries gave support to the peace initiative of Saudi Arabia with seven Muslim states. Egypt and Turkey are pushing for a resumption of the Middle East peace process, trying to convince the West and Israel to deal with a new Palestinian unity government that unites the moderate Fatah faction with the militant Hamas group.
Turkish and Egyptian diplomats worked together during the Iraqi neighboring countries meeting in March. Egypt supported Turkey to host an expanded Iraqi meeting in Istanbul while Ankara gave full support for the next foreign ministers meeting to be held in Cairo. The date of the Istanbul and Cairo meetings is expected to become clear by Iraq nowadays.
"Turkey and Egypt have agreed to continue their effective and constructive efforts toward regional peace and stability through cooperation and solidarity," Sezer said. Mubarak gave a similar message also: "At this sensitive period which our region is going through, we have reached agreement to press ahead with our consultations in an uninterrupted manner."
Subtitle: High tension in Presidency after veto crises:
President Sezer and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met for the first time yesterday after the strict decision to veto the top five ambassadors appointed by the government. Gul started the first dialog leaning over Sezer. State Minister Kursat Tuzmen participated in the conversation while Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun sidelined them. Sezer settled for listening rather than contributing to the discussion.
After the mutual meeting of delegations, Sezer and Mubarek changed their seats and set to led the press statements. Sezer continued his attitude against the cabinet members. While Sezer was making his remarks after the delegational talks, Gul called to a presidential staff with a hand sign and asked that the speech of Sezer be conveyed to the translator. Sezer watched Gul's gestures and conversations continously.
One of the vetoed ambassadors, Feridun Sinirlioglu, did not attend the meetings with Mubarak at the Presidency. Sinirlioglu has been appointed as deputy undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, responsible for Middle Eastern affairs and he is serving as an attorney because of Sezer's veto. Different than Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit, Prime Minister Erdogan met with Mubarak at the presidential guest house so that Sinirlioglu could not participate in the meeting.