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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-03

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. 44/08 01-03.03.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Reference to Cyprus by the Turkish Prime Minister
  • [02] Talat to visit Ankara
  • [03] Talat: I did not invent the Virgin Birth
  • [04] Gurcafer: 20% of the contractors operating in the occupied area are not registered
  • [05] Ercakica comments on the opening of Ledra street crossing point
  • [06] Kutlay Erk says that it is time for lobbying in Europe for the Turkish Cypriots
  • [07] Two hundred million dollars credit to the TRNC from Turkey
  • [08] The ancient walls of occupied Lefkosia are being destroyed
  • [09] Oya Talat invited Elsi Christofia to meet her
  • [10] The breakaway regime will be represented in the Session of the 18th Regional Planning Council in Pakistan
  • [11] Turkish military operation in Northern Iraq ended
  • [12] Turkish President holds contacts in Romania
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Christofias victory may spell troublesome times
  • [14] Turkish columnist comments on the results of the cross-border military operation in Iraq

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Reference to Cyprus by the Turkish Prime Minister

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.03.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that they are expecting the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take a new initiative towards providing a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Erdogan stressed that the Turkish side is ready to provide full support to such initiatives.

    Speaking during a dinner given in honour of EU ambassadors in Ankara, the Turkish Premier said Turkey is clearly aware of the fact that taking the responsibility of the EU membership is not only about the political and technical legislation but also about adopting the culture of reconciliation.

    Mr Erdogan said the Turkish sides vision on the Cyprus issue foresees a united Cyprus on the basis of a just and comprehensive settlement.

    He added that the willingness for the formation of a joint column of cooperation among Turkey, Greece and Cyprus within the European Union is also a fundamental stone in Turkeys vision.

    `This will help promote peace and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region` Mr Erdogan added.

    Turkish Prime Minister also stated that they expect the newly elected Greek Cypriot Leader Demitris Christofias to show his willpower towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem within the UN framework.

    [02] Talat to visit Ankara

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.08), the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will leave the occupied area on Thursday for Ankara to have contacts with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The paper reports that Mr. Talat will evaluate with Mr. Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul the present stage in the Cyprus problem and possible developments regarding the issue.

    The paper further reports that Mr. Talats visit to Istanbul on Wednesday, where he was going to receive the Statesman of the Year prize given to him by Marmara University, has been postponed.

    (MHY)

    [03] Talat: I did not invent the Virgin Birth

    Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen (03.03.2008) publishes an exclusive interview given by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to papers correspondent Odul Asik.

    When asked to comment on domestic criticism directed to him that he no more uses the words federation or bicommunal or bi-zonal and that instead he prefers to use the expression: two states and the criticism that when he says federation he wants confederation, Mr. Talat said: Of course confederation is out of question. I have not proposed confederation nor have I defended confederation. I have never ever thought about confederation. Therefore, I strongly reject this claim.

    The reason why I do not use repeatedly the word federation is because of the Annan Plan itself. The Turkish Cypriot people have approved the Annan Plan. The Turkish Cypriot people did not approve a bizonal federation. The Turkish Cypriot people have approved the application in the Annan Plan. In reality it was a federation but what kind of federation? There are differences among federations. Our people approved the federation in the Annan Plan. This is the Turkish Cypriot peoples will. One cannot interpret the will as he pleases.

    When asked to comment on the criticisms directed to him about his statements that the new creation will be a new state and not the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Talat said: There is no transformation. I did not invent the Virgin Birth, (parthenogenesis).

    Parthenogenesis is the invention of the UN. It said this is a new state. What does this mean? This means both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots will see their states in this state. Everybody will feel this state being their own state. One side should not feel that it belongs to the other side .We have our public administration; we pay salaries, pensions and collect taxes. If there will be transformation and these state mechanisms will not be transferred there then we will be just patched there. It means that all these will end. Could there be such logic? Could there be such thinking? Of course the new state to be established will be a new state. It will not be a state established by the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus. This means that nothing from us will be transferred there. Is it possible to accept such thing? Who could accept this? This will be a new state, there is no other way.

    When asked how he will convince the negotiating team in the free areas of the Republic or President Christofias to start negotiations by taking the Annan Plan as reference point, Mr. Talat answered: I personally think that the right thing is to take the Annan plan as reference. If the Greek Cypriot side does not accept this, it should bring something on the negotiation table. What will it bring? It has to bring the systematic that Annan Plan had introduced in order to have a new central administration. That is there is need for the establishment of the central administration whose powers and authorities we will decide.

    (MHY)

    [04] Gurcafer: 20% of the contractors operating in the occupied area are not registered

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.08) reports that the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union Cafer Gurcafer, said that that 20% of the contractors operating in the occupied area are not registered. He said that the Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union is the biggest economic establishment in the occupied area. He said that there are 400 contractors in the occupied area and besides this figure there are around 100 contractors who are not registered. He went on and said that these non-registered contractors were legally warned and their construction sites were sealed. Mr. Gurcafer has admitted that despite all their efforts they were unable to stop the downfall of the sector.

    Mr. Gurcafer went on and said that the reason for the sectors difficulties was the tilting of the Supply and Demand balance.

    (MHY)

    [05] Ercakica comments on the opening of Ledra Street crossing point

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.03.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has expressed the Turkish Cypriot sides readiness to open the Lokmaci [Ledra Street] crossing point with its existing condition.

    He also stressed that if the Greek Cypriot side has such an intention the timing of the opening of the Lokmaci gate is due to the decision of the Greek Cypriot leader Demitris Christofias.

    Speaking to the BRT on the issue, the Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica explained that the Turkish Cypriot side expressed its readiness to open the Lokmaci to the United Nations.

    Reminding that the issue was discussed during the meeting between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the UN Secretary Generals Special Representative in Cyprus - UNFICYP Chief of Mission Michael Moller, he said the timing of the opening of Lokmaci is due to the decision of Mr. Christofias.Commenting on the Greek Cypriot news that the Lokmaci crossing point would be opened soon, Mr. Ercakica said the opening of the Lokmaci is directly related to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

    According to the Greek Cypriot media the issue will be on the agenda of the meeting between Mr. Christofias and Mr. Moller so we would like to see the result of that, he added.

    In the meantime, the Greek Cypriot Government Spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou said that the opening of the Lokmaci check point will be discussed during the meeting between Mr. Christofias and Mr. Moller and also claimed that the Greek Cypriot side desires the opening of other check points.Also speaking on the issue, the Mayor of South Lefkosia Eleni Mavrou stated that the opening of the Lokmaci check point constitutes a political decision.She also added there is no planned meeting with the Mayor of Lefkosia Cemal Bulutoglulari on the issue and said if there would be a need she is ready for cooperation.

    [06] Kutlay Erk says that it is time for lobbying in Europe for the Turkish Cypriots

    Under the title Christofias surrounded Brussels, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (02.03.08) alleges that as soon as President Christofias came on duty, he formed a team of experts on EU issues. The first aim of the 100-member team is reportedly to prove that the Turkish Cypriots are wrong.

    The second aim, argues the paper, is to surround the northern Cyprus in Brussels. Invoking EU experts, the paper writes that in case the northern Cyprus officials do not make a step, Christofias will make the positions of the Greek Cypriot section accepted within six months.

    In statements to Kibrisli, Kutlay Erk, special representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, said that the attack of the Greek Cypriots is normal, because their image was very bad. We also should get into action. It is time for lobbying, he added.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Two hundred million dollars credit to the TRNC from Turkey

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.03.08) reports that the agreement related to the 200 million dollars credit of Turkey to the occupation regime, came into force.

    The credit agreement, which was signed between Turkey and the TRNC on the 11th of February 2008, was published in the Turkish Official Gazete upon a decision of the Council Ministers of the Turkey.

    The agreement came into force the date it was signed. The credit agreement was made in accordance with the Economic and Financial Cooperation Protocol signed between Turkey and the occupation regime on the 20th of July 2006.

    (CS)

    [08] The ancient walls of occupied Lefkosia are being destroyed

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.08) under the banner headline Lefkosia ancient walls are being destroyed, writes that due to the lack of funds, the so-called Department of Antiquities is unable to maintain and restore the walls of Nicosia. The paper reports that some people use the walls as ladder or staircase to ascend the walls or pull down building blocks or throw their empty alcoholic beverage bottles against the wall and thus destroying the structure. The so-called chairman of the Department of Antiquities and Museums, Mr Fuat Azimli, branded it as calamity the deliberate destruction of antiquities and said that recently vandals painted graffiti on the walls of the occupied Keryneia Castle.

    (MHY)

    [09] Oya Talat invited Elsi Christofia to meet her

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.03.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    First lady Oya Talat has said that she has extended an invitation to meet with Greek Cypriot First Lady Elsi Christofia through the press.

    She also said that she will be sending a letter to Mrs. Christofia on the issue in the coming days.

    Mrs. Talat said that she had called on Mrs. Christofia to work together towards improving relations between the youths of the two communities, to build mutual trust and confidence and to create a favorable atmosphere for peace on the island.

    Explaining that she had emphasized the increasing need to cooperate on a basis of mutual respect in her letter, the First Lady quoted: `Our Island deserves the right to become a place of happiness and peace, love, respect and cooperation will flourish.

    Mrs. Talat also reminded that she had earlier sent a similar letter during Christmas time to the wife of former Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos, Fotini Papadopoulou.

    The First lady said that she had received a polite thank you letter from Mrs. Papadopoulou but that no mention was made in the letter about the desire to meet or arrange a date to meet.

    [10] The breakaway regime will be represented in the Session of the 18th Regional Planning Council in Pakistan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.03.08) reports that breakaway regime will be represented in the Session of the 18th Regional Planning Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation which will take place in Islamabad, Pakistan, between 3 and 6 March 2008.

    According to a statement issued by the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs, the secretariat of the above-mentioned organization is located in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

    The delegations of the member-states are expected to discuss issues regarding the development of their economic and commercial cooperation, notes the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Turkish military operation in Northern Iraq ended

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.02.08) reported the following:

    «At 1309 GMT, AA in English carries a flash message to the effect that according to a statement posted on the website of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, the cross-border operation reached its goal and Turkish troops returned to bases in Turkey on 29 February 2008. The statement further noted that the General Staff decided on the beginning and completion date of the operation by considering military needs and that there is no question of an external and internal influence on this issue.»

    [12] Turkish President holds contacts in Romania

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman (03.03.08) reports the following:

    President Abdullah Gul departed yesterday for a three-day official visit to Bucharest upon an invitation of his Romanian counterpart, President Traian Basescu, and is accompanied by a crowded business delegation.

    While in Romania, Gul will have talks with Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu, the Speaker of the House of Deputies Bogdan Olteanu and Senate Speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu, in addition to Basescu.

    Turkey and Romania are each other's largest trade partner in the Balkans. The trade volume between the two countries reached $6.7 billion by the end of 2007. The goal set for bilateral trade volume as of 2010 is $10 billion. Currently, there are more than 10,000 Turkish companies registered in Romania. A total of 68 Turkish contracting companies in Romania have already assumed 103 projects worth $3.1 billion.

    Ankara asserts that there are wide cooperation opportunities between Turkey and Romania, especially due to Romania's membership in both NATO and the European Union, its being one of the leading regional economies and its being a founding member of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

    The two countries will sign an "Agreement for Mutual Encouragement and Protection of Investments," a "Maritime Agreement," an "Agreement on Early Notification of Nuclear Accidents" and a "Cultural Exchange Program" during the visit, which will last until tomorrow.

    The last presidential level visit between Ankara and Bucharest took place in September 2005 when Basescu visited Ankara. In October last year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid an official visit to this country followed by a visit by Romania's Speaker of the House of Deputies Olteanu, who visited Turkey in November of last year.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Christofias victory may spell troublesome times

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper publishes the following:

    As new Greek Cypriot leader Demitris Christofias is scheduled to meet with the top UN official on the divided Mediterranean island today, experts hold little hope for the fate of probable negotiations expected to start in the upcoming period, saying that Christofias' leadership in the southern part of the island further promised more difficulties for both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and Turkey than those experienced during the leadership of former leader Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Christofias, 62, rode a wave of discontent with his predecessor's hard-line policies towards Turkish Cypriots to win a runoff election on Feb 24. Almost immediately, he came under pressure to make good on promises to push reunification efforts. Peace talks have been in limbo since 2004, when Greek Cypriots, on the eve of joining the European Union, rejected a UN reunification plan overwhelmingly accepted by Turkish Cypriots.

    Both Turkey and the KKTC have been entering an extremely difficult period. It will not pass as easily as the period with Papadopoulos. Christofias is keen on him being the sole sovereign leader on the island, a demilitarization of the island and while arguing for all of these, he will use tools of international law. So far, the KKTC's hand was stronger thanks to its policy of always being one step ahead of Greek Cyprus. Now Greek Cypriots will try to upstage us by giving an impression that they are one step ahead by using Christofias' rhetoric. Certain good will gestures by Christofias will put Turkey in a difficult position, a senior source close to the KKTC presidency, who wished to remain anonymous, told Today's Zaman.

    This is solely 'a button exchange;' Papadopoulos had already finalized his mission in 2004 when he succeeded in getting the UN plan rejected. What he succeeded in doing was not sitting around a desk with the Turkish Cypriot side, in a last minute maneuver. Christofias' rhetoric has already set some red lines both for Greece and Greek Cyprus. He will receive a sympathetic response from the international community. His goal is to include the Cyprus issue into Turkey's EU voyage. By doing so, he aims to accomplish two things: to have Turkey as a counterpart and to force Ankara to make a compromise over the Cyprus issue in relations to its EU bid, the same source said.

    In his confirmation speech at the Greek Cypriot Parliament last week, Christofias said he was ready to work for a settlement but that he could not negotiate a deal without help from Ankara, which placed its troops in north Cyprus in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup on the island.

    Solving the Cyprus problem is the first priority of our government. It will not be easy, we are aware of the difficulties. The key to a settlement is in Ankara's hands. Turkey should decide to cooperate for a settlement, Christofias said before formally taking over from Papadopoulos.

    Ankara does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, which joined the EU in May of 2004 as the official representative of the entire island.

    Stalled efforts to reunite Cyprus are hampering Turkey's chances of joining the EU. The Greek Cypriot-led Cyprus represents the island in the EU, with veto rights over the admission of Turkey. The EU partially suspended Turkey's EU accession talks in 2006 over its refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

    Prominent Turkish Cypriot figure Ergun Olgun, the undersecretary of the Turkish Cypriot presidency during the term of former President Rauf Denktas, stressed that one should not forget the fact that Christofias at the time came out against the 2004 UN plan to reunite Cyprus. Christofias later said he had secretly disagreed with Papadopoulos' handling of the issue.

    "The red lines drawn up by Christofias during electioneering included, for example, the recognition of the Greek Cypriot refugees' right to return to the Turkish Cypriot north. He also wants Turkey's right of being a guarantor to be dissolved; this is a very serious problem. He also argues that those who came to the KKTC from Turkey and who have already integrated into the Turkish Cypriot society should return. His arguments are also in violation of the principle of realizing political equality. His policies in principle resemble those by [former president Glafkos] Klerides. He will pretend to be negotiating in order to gain time," Olgun told Today's Zaman.

    Basaran Duzgun of the Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris first of all underlined that the optimism surrounding Christofias' election was actually related to Papadopoulos' being defeated, but not about personal advantages attributed to Christofias.

    Papadopoulos' leadership was assumed to have been extremely bad as he put barriers in front of all attempts to find a resolution. Both of the candidates [Christofias and Ioannis Kassoulides] were seen as 'the lesser of two evils' when compared to Papadopoulos. The Greek Cypriot side has 'refreshed its image' with these elections. Papadopoulos had not been taking any steps and this has changed now; so far, the Turkish side was in an offensive position. Now, it will be put in a defense one, Duzgun said.

    Looking at his first public remarks after Christofias' victory, one can easily see that Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat is also extremely aware of this image problem.

    We shouldn't turn the upcoming period into a race of creating images. Hiding your real goal and deciding on a stance at the last minute leads to the most devastating consequences. This would spell a definite partition of Cyprus. First creating a flexible image and pretending to be pro-settlement and then launching a campaign for rejection would this time cause irreparable destruction, Talat said.

    [14] Turkish columnist comments on the results of the cross-border military operation in Iraq

    Writing in Turkish Milliyet newspaper (01.03.08), Fikret Bila comments on the results of the Turkish military operation in Northern Iraq under the title Behind the Scenes in the Decision to Withdraw and notes the following:

    The Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) withdrawal of its units from Northern Iraq yesterday was received as a "surprise" development. The perception became prevalent that the withdrawal decision was made due to the Ankara visit of US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, as well as President George Bush's statement that "they should withdraw as soon as possible."

    The way in which an event is perceived can sometimes overshadow the reality, and have even more impact. In this incident as well, the timing of the withdrawal created just such a situation.

    Subtitle: Question of Timing

    The General Staff Command, because it realized yesterday that this perception prevailed in public opinion, stressed in its statement that the decision to withdraw had not been made under any influence, either domestic or foreign, and that both the date of beginning and that of ending [the operation] had been determined in accord with military requirements.

    This portion of the statement, by asserting that the interpretations along these lines did not reflect the reality, was aimed at preventing the success of the operation from being overshadowed, and at correcting the perception.

    Indeed, General Staff Chief Yasar Buyukanit, in the statement that he made during the evening hours yesterday, stated that the withdrawal had in fact begun prior to Gates' arrival in Ankara. General Buyukanit emphasized that the date of the withdrawal's coinciding with Gates' visit was mere happenstance.

    Subtitle: "Surprise is Essential"

    The officials with whom I have spoken following the General Staff's statement have made the following assessment on this point:

    "Neither the starting date nor the ending date of any operation is announced in advance. Withdrawal as well is a military operation that needs to be kept secret. Indeed, it is essential to surprise and deceive the other side in this regard."

    Subtitle: The Plan at the Beginning

    According to the same sources, who pointed out that the withdrawal was consistent with the planning at the outset, the target of Operation Gunes ["sun"] was not Qandil Mountain, but rather the PKK camps in the border region that were getting read to attack in the spring. The fundamental purpose of the operation was for a sudden operation to be conducted against these camps, the neutralization of the PKK members in these camps, and the destruction of their facilities.

    The course of the operation, up until the decision to withdraw, proceeded as follows:

    The goal of neutralizing the PKK members and destroying the camps was reached on the seventh day of the operation (27 February 2008). On the seventh day, during which the heaviest fighting throughout the entire operation took place, after 77 terrorists had been killed, the PKK members surrounded had in large measure been neutralized, and the fighting in large measure ended. The following day (28 February 2008), seven additional terrorists who engaged in a firefight were also neutralized. After 240 of the PKK members surrounded in the camps, of the 375 estimated to have been located there, were neutralized, it became clear, from the fact that the fighting stopped, that the remainder had fled from the area of the fighting. The Zap region, where the PKK's central camp was located, was completely seized and cleaned out.

    During the final two days (27-28 February 2008), the units continued their activities of destroying the facilities in the areas of their assignments, as well as search and destroy activities.

    Preparations to withdraw also began within the final two days. After the necessary security measures were taken along the withdrawal route and at strategic points, the withdrawal operation was initiated in stages.

    Subtitle: The Results

    The most important result of Operation Gunes was the fact that Turkey, which because of the US presence and the political situation had been said to be unable to conduct a ground operation, showed that it can indeed conduct a ground operation regardless of the conditions.

    Yet another important result was the United States' providing support to Turkey in its ground operation, and the assumption by the PKK, the [Mas'ud] Barzani administration, and Baghdad that Washington would be a constant guarantee for them being proven wrong.

    Yet another result that should be noted was the demonstration that the TSK has the necessary strength, technology, and skill to be able to conduct highly successful operations under the most negative geographical and climatic conditions.

    And the operation's demonstrating that Northern Iraq is no longer a "safe area" for the PKK was also very important.

    EG/


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