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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-01-10

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 <>



  • [01] Eroglu briefed political parties on Cyprus talks
  • [02] Kucuk responds to Papandreou's statements
  • [03] Turkish State Minister alleges that Turkish occupation in Cyprus is a "requirement of international law"
  • [04] "Listening to Christofias"
  • [05] Hungarian MP alleges that the "TRNC" should be recognized and join the EU
  • [06] Information on the ongoing investigations on the missing persons in Cyprus
  • [07] Reaction regarding increase in the VAT
  • [08] Hasipoglu elected as the new general secretary of UBP
  • [09] Data on trade volume in the framework of the GLR
  • [10] Italian tour operators visit occupied Cyprus

  • [11] "Turkish, Greek leaders exchange criticism"
  • [12] Davutoglu comments on Papandreou's speech
  • [13] Remarks by opposition parties in Turkey on Papandreou's speech
  • [14] Highlights


    The Turkish Cypriot press highlights the meeting between Dervis Eroglu and the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders regarding the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, reaction to the statements made by the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou in Turkey and a statement by a Hungarian MP reportedly asking for the recognition of the breakaway regime in Cyprus. Moreover, the papers cover the reaction against the economic measures taken by the "government", statement by Gulden Plumer Kucuk on the issue of the missing persons in Cyprus, the trade within the framework of the Green Line Regulation, and other internal matters.

    [01] Eroglu briefed political parties on Cyprus talks

    According to illegal Bayrak website (08.01.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu yesterday briefed and exchanged views with the leaders and representatives of political parties with seats at the so-called assembly, on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Speaking after the meeting, the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) Ferdi Sabit Soyer said he expressed the need not to lose time but to speed up the process. Arguing that there is a need to discourage the Greek Cypriot side's tactics to play for time, Soyer said a big responsibility will be on the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Geneva meeting to follow more effective approach and set a time limit to the negotiations process.

    Mehmet Cak1c1, leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP), said that the process is moving forward rapidly. Pointing to what he described as the Greek Cypriot side's attempts to slow down the process, Cakici stressed to avoid proposals that would complicate the process, and added "We have rights arising from the 1960 Agreements and we have to use those rights and achieve a more powerful position. The future should not be blocked with emotional decisions."

    Noting that nobody should fear a new "federal state", he said that the main solution of the economic problems faced in the country passes through the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Democrat Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktas, for his part, said: "It is obvious that the Greek Cypriot side is again playing for time", adding that the course of the negotiations process does not seem to lead anywhere. Avoiding getting into details, Denktas said his party will continue to convey its proposals to Eroglu, and added "We don't have any intention to step back from our fundamental rights. We conveyed this opinion to the President".

    The leader of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) Turgay Avc1 said views were exchanged views about the process before the Geneva summit, and added "The Greek Cypriot side is taking actions to block the process" . Expressing his party's desire for a time table to be set in Geneva, Avci said he conveyed these opinions to Eroglu during the meeting. Avc1 also said that his party is supporting the peace process and stated that 2011 should be the year of solution. He also said "we support the peace process, however, we don't want the negotiations process to continue for another 40 years".

    Following the leaders of the political parties, self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, who represented the National Unity Party (UBP) at the meeting, said "we should be well prepared for the Geneva meeting", adding that the Greek Cypriot side might turn up with confusing proposals. He also expressed appreciation for the consensus reached among all political parties regarding the negotiations process.

    [02] Kucuk responds to Papandreous' statements

    According to illegal Bayrak website (09.01.11), self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk responded sharply to statements by the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou who said that Turkish soldiers are an occupying force on the island. Kucuk said that "Turkish soldiers came on the island within the framework of agreements in order to prevent further massacres by Greek Cypriots".

    Recalling that other Greek Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers had made similar statements, Kucuk added: "The 20 July peace operation not only brought democracy to Greece but allowed Makarios to return to his duties. Turkish soldiers not only brought peace to Cyprus but prevented the Cyprus Turkish people from being annihilated."

    Kucuk said that "Greek soldiers supported Greek Cypriot attacks on the island between 1963 and 1967". He also said: "The existence of the Turkish army in Cyprus is based on the 1960 agreements but there is no legal basis for the Greek army to be in Cyprus", and added that "When south Cyprus became a member of the EU, the Greek army was still present on the island."

    He concluded saying that "what should be questioned is the Greek army's presence in Cyprus as it is in the country illegally, and not the Turkish army".

    [03] Turkish State Minister alleges that Turkish occupation in Cyprus is a "requirement of international law"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (10.01.11) reports that Faruk Celik, Turkish State Minister, alleged that the Turkish occupation in Cyprus is a "requirement of international law".

    Addressing the 15th Regular General Assembly of the Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) in Bursa, Celik replied to the recent statements made by the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Erzurum during his meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Celik referred to the economic situation in Greece and claimed the following on Cyprus:

    "Look, on the one hand there is a collapsed economic structure, a collapsed economy. Actually, the collapsed economic structure is a burden for the EU, because this country is an EU member. On the other hand, Turkey, in front of which unprecedented obstacles are raised regarding its accession to the EU, is a strong country, which could stand on its own feet and is able of undertaking burdens and not be a burden. Now when these people, these leaders speak so indiscreetly about Turkey, 73 million people are annoyed of course and mainly our Prime Minister. Those who forced their own country to reach a point of being given to the real estate agents, to hang a sign [that it is for sale] have no right to say anything about Turkey. Our presence in Cyprus is a requirement of international law. We are not in Cyprus for our pleasure. If we are in Cyprus, our presence has legal foundations, legal basis. We have responsibilities as a guarantor power. Therefore with these cheap policies they only destroy their economy".


    [04] "Listening to Christofias"

    Under the above title Sefa Karahasan, correspondent of Milliyet to the occupied areas of Cyprus and editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi, comments on Halkin Sesi (10.01.11) on the interview given to him by President Christofias. The interview was published in Turkish Milliyet on Friday (08.01.11).

    Karahasan writes, inter alia, the following:

    "...The Greek Cypriot leader sees Turkey as responsible for the Cyprus problem from 'their' point of view. Therefore he supports his 'direct' meeting with Turkey. He emphasizes that some progress will be made when he meets with President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. The statement let us eat fish at Bosporus, 'softens' this wish for a 'meeting'. Carrying further this wish for meeting with Turkey, Christofias says 'let this not be official'. 'I could meet not as President of the Republic of Cyprus', he adds. That is, responding to Turkey which says 'I do not recognize' the Greek Cypriot side, he says 'do not recognize me, but meet me'.

    While saying 'I want to meet with Gul and Erdogan', Christofias underlines the following: 'When I ask for this, I am not saying exclude the Turkish Cypriots. I am not seeing this as a step which will offend, or exclude the Turkish Cypriots'.

    I did not see that he 'ever' wanted to criticize President Eroglu. He expresses his views about Eroglu by saying 'I definitely do not want to provoke Eroglu, I respect him'.

    Sami Kohen, doyenne journalist of Milliyet newspaper, has also written 'Why not' [Erdogan meet Christofias at Bosphorus]. He noted that Turkey could meet with Christofias. If this could secure reaching a 'solution', it could be supported.

    Subtitle: It will not become Greek

    Christofias is the only leader who 'criticizes' the Greek Cypriots as well on the Cyprus problem. He made statements which could be considered as 'harsh' against the incidents of 'racism' which increased recently. He could say that 'the island will not become Greek'.

    Subtitle: Accusation against Ankara about the ghettos

    Furthermore, his following words are important: 'I am the only politician who has said that some Greek Cypriots also harmed Cyprus between 1964 and 1974. That was an abnormal period. Both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots were to blame for this. However, the Turkish Cypriots paid the heaviest price. Neither community is an angel'.

    However, the Greek Cypriot leader attributes to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership the fact that the Turkish Cypriots lived in ghettos during that period. He says: 'The leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community has the main responsibility for the fact that during that period ghettos were created and the Turkish Cypriots were closed in certain places. In fact, these ghettos were set up with direction from Turkey. The mentality behind this was to be prepared for possible incidents. It had the character of being prepared for 1974...' In a sense, he loads the mistakes of the then Greek Cypriot leaders on the shoulders of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    Subtitle: The heaviest price

    The Greek Cypriot leader considers that the Greek Cypriots will pay a heavy price because 'the unitary state will be demolished'. He says the following: 'I told this both to Mr Talat and Mr Eroglu. The two communities should be aware of the mistakes they have committed in the past. By this means we could look at the future. I said what the big mistake of the Greek Cypriot community was, and therefore I said the Greek community will pay a heavy price. This heavy price will be passing from a unitary state to a federation'.

    Subtitle: The benefit of the solution

    The Greek Cypriot leader argues that the solution in Cyprus will be 'to the benefit' of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. He wants the Turkish Cypriot people 'not to worry' about the federal solution. Saying that 'we accepted the rotating presidency', Christofias wonders: 'We will turn a unitary state into a federation. Is there a bigger concession than this?' Furthermore, when we asked him 'what are you struggling for', he replied: 'Today I am struggling for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution'.

    Subtitle: Silence prevails in the TRNC

    Silence prevails in the Turkish Cypriot side regarding the statements by the Greek Cypriot leader. Not a single politician said 'we are your interlocutors, not Turkey'. By remaining silent we could say that they 'approved' what the Greek Cypriot leader had said...The Greek Cypriot side makes statements 'accusing' Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. Our people 'keep quiet'. Even Christofias worries about racism which increases in the Greek Cypriot side. No statement is made here. In an official statement Ankara warned the citizens of the Republic of Turkey not to go to the South, but no one says anything on this in the TRNC. Christofias says 'Ayse* go home' and no one replies saying 'this cannot happen'. [*Tr. Note: Ayse was a codename used by Turkey during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974]. Only quarrels and accusations regarding the 'internal' politics... What a pity".


    [05] Hungarian MP alleges that the "TRNC" should be recognized and join the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (10.01.11) reports that Tamas Hegedus, member of Jobbik Party in Hungary and co-chairman of the Hungarian-Turkish Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, has alleged that the European Union (EU) treats unjustly the "TRNC" breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In statements to Anatolia news agency, Hegedus claimed that the breakaway regime should be recognized and join the EU.

    Hegedus said his party will provide the necessary support for the intensification of Turkey's accession process to the EU during the Hungarian term presidency. He argued that the EU should prove that it is not a "Christian Club". He alleged that the EU needs Turkey and that "there could be no EU without Turkey".

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (10.01.11) covers the issue under the banner front-page title "The TRNC should be recognized".


    [06] Information on the ongoing investigations on the missing persons in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis (10.01.11) reports on statements by Gulden Plumer Kucuk - the Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons - regarding the ongoing investigations.

    According to Kucuk, so far remains of 745 missing have been found, of which 600 are believed to belong to Greek Cypriots. Kucuk added that 54 of those that have been identified belong to Turkish Cypriots, while 209 are Greek Cypriots --in total the remains of 263 missing have been identified and handed over to theirs families. The remains of 482 missing persons, once they are identified (through DNA testing), will be returned to their families. In addition, as Kucuk noted, 1958 persons are still missing, of which 1464 are Greek Cypriots and 494 are Turkish Cypriots. Investigations are carried out in six different areas in occupied Cyprus and in two areas in the free territories of the island.

    Referring to the financial cost needed for the investigation and the excavation of the missing persons, Kucuk stated that during the year, the occupation regime contributed an average of one million USD to the project, while since the investigation began, it contributed an amount of around five million USD. She added that the investigation in the occupied side is carried out by an about 50-persons including two genetic experts, two psychologists, five anthropologists, workers, bulldoze drivers and investigators.

    Moreover, Kucuk called on all eyewitnesses to come forward and give information regarding missing persons on the island as it is vital to locate their whereabouts, recalling that 181 hotline, which allows eyewitnesses to contact and share information with the Committee, is in operation. As it was noted, information provided by eyewitnesses is a leading factor of the Committee's work and any information brought to them will remain confidential.

    [07] Reaction regarding increase in the VAT

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (10.01.10) reports that a meeting between the so-called government of the breakaway regime and the Trade Unions Platform will take place today. The meeting is scheduled at 15.00 at the so-called ministry of Labour and Social Insurance between representatives of the Trade Unions Platform and the so-called ministers of Labour and Finance. Irsen Kucuk. The so-called prime minister is also expected to participate.

    The members of the Platform, who will meet before the meeting in order to evaluate the recent situation, have already announced that industrial action will start on Tuesday, 11 January. If the government does not withdraw the new measures, action will continue to build up until a general strike on 28 January. Moreover, today there is a continuous strike in all departments of the Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU).

    Apart from Trade Unions political parties have also condemned the new measures and expressed their opposition in various ways. The Youth division of the Democratic Party visited the tomb of Fazil Kucuk in order to "explain to their leader the situation that the country has fallen into" as they said in their statement. Holding placards with slogans like "Take your hands off our grandparents pockets" and "You do not represent the public will" they accused the "government" that it has not only created unemployment and increased the cost of living, but has no plans to bring back the fleeing youth.

    Also on Friday, as Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today reports (08.01.11), the main opposition party CTP staged an "Enough is enough" march in Lefkosia condemning the "democratic massacre" of the government. More than 5000 supporters participated in the protest which was organized against "the anti-democratic oppressive attempts of UBP to bring about poverty to the people", as Kutlay Erk, general secretary of CTP stated.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (09.01.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry met on Saturday to evaluate the latest increase in VAT and establish a roadmap. 152 industrialists signed the final declaration, which called for a revision of the price stability fund, allowing local producers to compete with imported goods. Otherwise, they said, they would close their factories and seek other solutions.

    [08] Hasipoglu elected as the new general secretary of UBP

    According to illegal Bayrak website (08.01.11), Erugrul Hasipoglu has been elected as the new General Secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP). The UBP Party Assembly convened yesterday to elect the General Secretary and new members of the Executive Board of the party.

    The Acting General Secretary of the UBP - Mutlu Atasayan, Ertugrul Hasipoglu and the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Lefkosia Cemal Bulutoglular1 ran for the party's General Secretary. None of the three candidates got the absolute majority of votes to win in the first round of the balloting. Mutlu Atasayan and Ertugrul Hasipoglu with the most votes proceeded to a second round.

    So-called Famagusta MP Ertugrul Hasipoglu was elected as the new General Secretary of the National Unity Party in the second round obtaining 51 votes, while Atasayan remained at 46.

    Speaking to the "Bayrak Haber" after the election, the leader of the National Unity Party and so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk said all elections within the party were democratic.Noting that Hasipoglu is an experienced politician, Kucuk congratulated him on his new post.

    Hasipoglu told Bayrak Haber after his election that he is well aware of the difficulty of the responsibility he has undertaken. He added, however, that he is so confident that he will succeed. Explaining that he has some opinions and projects that will help to move the UBP forward, Hasipoglu said these projects will be implemented during his term as General Secretary.

    Meanwhile, 11 members of the party's executive board were also elected during yesterday's meeting of the party assembly.

    [09] Data on trade volume in the framework of the GLR

    The Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (10.01.11) reports on data given by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade regarding trade in the framework of the Green line Regulation.

    According to the paper, comparing the years 2008-2010, a decrease in trade is apparent. The value of goods traded during 2008 was Euro, Euro in 2009 while during 2010 it reached 5.500.000.00 million Euro.

    According to the paper, the most traded products were construction materials. Out of 5.500.000.00 Euro value of traded goods during the period until the end of November 2010, 1.451.947.02 Euro correspond to construction materials, followed by metal materials with sales reaching 910 826.48 Euro, while plastic materials reached 851.390.92.


    [10] Italian tour operators visit occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis (10.01.11) reports that a delegation of Italian tour operators visited the "university hospital" of the illegal Near East University (YDU) in occupied Cyprus. The visit falls within the framework of a protocol signed in the past between "YDU" and tourist agents operating in Italy aiming at the development of bilateral relations. After the visit, the Italian delegation was briefed on "YDU" hospital's services, personnel, technology and mission in health tourism.

    Speaking during the visit, "YDU Tourism and Travel Services" general director, Ahmet Savasan, said high-standard health services to cover any health problem can be offered to Italian tourists who visit the occupied areas.


    Angela Merkel's visit to Cyprus, reaction by several Turkish officials to the statements made by the Greek Prime Minister during the ambassadors conference in Erzerum, Erdogan's trip to Kuwait, a report that many Greek scientists and academics are immigrating to Turkey due to the economic crisis in Greece, reports that Davutoglu is to pay a visit to Greece in March, and other internal issues are some of the main stories covered by the Turkish press today and over the weekend.

    [11] "Turkish, Greek leaders exchange criticism"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily (online, 08.01.11), under the above title, reports that despite recent positive momentum in Turkish-Greek ties, the Turkish prime minister and his Greek counterpart exchanged criticism over their long-running bilateral disputes.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou traded barbs Friday over long-standing disputes that have mired relations, including territorial disputes over the Aegean and the divided island of Cyprus. The mutual criticism comes despite recent progress crowned by Papandreou's landmark trip and Erdogan's statement that the two countries have a "partnership".

    Addressing the conference of Turkey's ambassadors from all over the world in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum, Papandreou said: "You cannot become a member of the European Union as long as the invasion in Cyprus continues".

    In another tough criticism of Turkey, Papandreou, this time referring to the Aegean territorial dispute, said: "Eight Turkish military aircraft flew over a Greek island. What is Turkey trying to do? Problems cannot be resolved through threats."

    On minority rights in Turkey, Papandreou said the Turkish government is taking important steps on the path to ensure religious freedom. "We should not be scared of minorities. They are serving as a bridge between different cultures," he said. The Greek leader stressed that the ecumenical patriarchate and the Greek minority could be important representatives in Turkey's bid to join the EU. Papandreou emphasized that Turkish-Greek friendship is important not only for the two populations but also for the region and the world.

    Erdogan, who took the floor after his Greek counterpart, responded saying: "Turkey is being subjected to treatment no any other country was subjected to within the EU. Turkey took the first step in 1979 and made the first official application in 1963. This is an EU that has been teasing Turkey for 50 years."

    He also criticized the EU for letting the Cyprus dispute hijack Turkish accession negotiations, saying that while Turkey was participating in all the EU leaders' summits before 2004, when Greek Cyprus was admitted into the union and when it began its blockade on Turkey at EU functions.

    "Turkey has showed patience for 50 years. Is there any other country like that? We are still showing patience. I tell them [the EU] if you don't want Turkey, declare this. If you test our patience, our patience has a limit, too."

    Another criticism Erdogan directed at the EU concerned the visa procedure the bloc applies to Turkey.

    Touching upon the Cyprus problem, Erdogan said Demetris Christofias is asking him when the two would discuss their disputes, and added: "And I tell him to discuss them in a four-party format instead of two. We can include guarantor country Britain, the U.N. and if he wants, we can take it to the EU, too. What Christofias told me is with which title he will be sitting at the table with Turkish Cypriot President [Dervis] Eroglu."

    He said Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders held close to 45 rounds of talks to reunify the island and that the Greek Cypriot leader would sit at the table with the same title. Erdogan also criticized Greece for not allowing its Turkish minority to elect its religious leader. But the prime minister said he had no doubt over Papandreou's sincerity.

    "I see his will. We must succeed. We should not leave rotten politics to next generations," he said. The two leaders said they planned to meet again in July in Turkey as second gathering of the newly inaugurated bilateral consultation council comprising some 10 ministers from each side.

    Greek plans to build a barrier on some parts of its border with Turkey to stem the flow of illegal immigrants were also discussed during talks between the two leaders.

    "We are talking about a common problem between Turkey and Greece. We are talking about slave trade," Papandreou told a joint news conference with Erdogan later in the day. He said the Greek measure aimed to prevent human smuggling to Greece and Europe via Turkish territory.

    [12] Davutoglu comments on Papandreou's speech

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.01.11), Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu assessing the 3rd Ambassadors Conference during a press conference in Erzurum, referred to Papandreou's remarks which he considered as nothing extraordinary, merely reiteration of known Greek theses on flights over the Aegean, the Cyprus issue and the minorities.

    Davutoglu's remarks came after many Turkish newspapers quoted "Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou as calling Turkish military presence in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as 'invasion'", and strongly criticising the alleged flights of Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean islands.

    Responding to a reporter who said Papendreou's remarks came as quite a shock for everyone, Davutoglu said it was natural for neighbours to make different arguments and assume different positions.

    He said, nevertheless, Papandreou's participation in the conference was a gesture of good will and showed how Turkish-Greek relations proceeded on the right track to overcome psychological thresholds. He said Papandreou's speech when taken as whole, contained messages of peace and cooperation.

    Davutoglu also said: "Our position on these issues [referred to by Papandreou] is known quite well. Our premier has presented our position unequivocally. It is impossible for anyone to impose their position on Turkey. Our positions are mutually well known."

    Davutoglu said on Saturday that nobody should try to test Turkey's patience, adding at what point that patience begins and ends is related with Turkey's principled position.

    "Nobody should ask us to choose between the EU or Cyprus as everyone is aware of how hard decisions Turkey can take if it has to" Davutoglu told the press conference.

    Turkey was using its right in Cyprus, stemming from international law, and Turkish executives were always ready for establishment of a new order in Cyprus, Davutoglu said. He added: "Turkey wants a fair and lasting peace in Cyprus, however Turkey's EU membership should be realized at the same time, which is the most correct path for everyone."

    Davutoglu said "Turkey had done everything it could for peace in Cyprus, TRNC showed in 2004 that it had a strong peace perspective and if an interlocutor had been found that day, a peace desired by everyone would have been ensured."

    Moreover, he said Turkey thought concerned parties and international community should meet and find a solution to Cyprus issue, and defined it a sincerity test, and added: "We hope a more positive outcome, that will reinforce future peace perspective, will come out of the trilateral meeting of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, TRNC President Dervis Eroglu, and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias in Geneva, Switzerland on January 26." Davutoglu said all concerned parties, including Turkey, Greece, Britain and UN would then meet and make progress, which he defined as Turkey's preference.

    The Turkish minister said Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Premier Papandreou, as well as Greek Foreign Minister Dimitrios Droutsas and he discussed the Cyprus issue in their meeting on Friday, and hoped their counterparts would show their will to help efforts for a lasting and firm peace in the island.

    [13] Remarks by opposition parties in Turkey on Papandreou's speech

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.01.11), Remarks made by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou criticizing Turkey over its polices in the Aegean and Cyprus have set in motion a political debate at home.

    The government, which played down the Greek leader's criticism as expression once again of Athens' well-known views, came under attack from main opposition leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal K1l1cdaroglu, who described what he called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan's mild reaction to Papandreou, as "weakness."

    Papandreou levelled his criticism during an address to senior Turkish diplomats on Friday. Erdogan, who was also in the audience, said in his address that Turkey and Greece have to find solutions to problems in the Aegean and asserted that "there is no reason why we cannot solve this" once a spirit of consensus is found.

    On Saturday, K1l1cdaroglu defended Turkey's Cyprus policy and lashed out at Erdogan for not giving a proper response to Papandreou. When asked to comment on Papandreou's reference to Turkey as an occupying force in Cyprus, Kilicdaroglu said: "This is how Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have been describing the situation in Cyprus. We have our own arguments, too. We sent troops to Cyprus to establish peace on the basis of international agreements. Our troops are not an occupying force; they serve a mandate given by international agreements."

    K1l1cdarolu said this should have been Erdogan's response to Papandreou. "If the prime minister cannot say that Turkey intervened on the basis of international agreements, this shows the weakness of the prime minister." According to the CHP leader, Erdogan could not say what he should have said because he was reading the text of his speech from a prompter. "Since the answer was not in the prompter, he could not respond properly. It seems he does not have the capacity to answer [such accusations] by himself," said K1l1ddaroglu.

    Devlet Bahceli, whose Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is a fierce critic of the government's foreign policy, also rebuffed Papandreou's remarks on Cyprus but contrary to K1l1cdaroglu, he said Erdogan's response was sufficient.

    Bahceli told reporters on Saturday that Papandreou's comment was "completely wrong" and added: "I find the prime minister's response to the Greek prime minister's assessments to be appropriate."

    [14] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 07-09 January 2011:

    Cyprus/Christofias Interview

    Commenting on the 600-word interview granted to Milliyet (8.1.11) by President Christofias [in which he says that he is willing to informally meet PM Erdogan and President Gul over a fish dish on the Bosporus to explain his vision for a solution in Cyprus], Sami Kohen says in his column in Milliyet that it will be beneficial if the Turkish leaders agree to such an informal meeting as that would introduce a flexibility into the Turkish policy and raise hopes for a solution.

    Turkey's and Israel's display of power

    Yeni Safak (7.1.11) columnist Ibrahim Karagul looks at Turkey and Israel's ongoing "display of power" and policy of "encirclement" and "isolation" against each other signified by what he describes as Israel's efforts to stake a claim to a massive natural gas reserve in the Mediterranean Sea based on an agreement with the Greek Cypriots and Turkey's efforts to establish a "Tehran-Ankara-Cairo" axis and extend its regional cooperation efforts to include North African countries.

    Turkish foreign policy: The United States/Greece

    Gungor Mengi in Vatan(9.1.11) interprets a recent interview with State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley by Ilhan Tanir, the paper's resident writer in Washington DC. Gungor Mengi notes: "The Philip Crowley interview can help us clarify some important points about Washington's look at the issues concerning the ruling AKP's foreign policy approach. ... Crowley explains the need for restoration of ties between Turkey and Israel without directly blaming Ankara. ... Even though we all believed that the AKP government's position at the UN Security Council during the Iran sanctions voting caused anger and disappointment in Washington over Turkey, Philip Crowley almost says that Turkey's position served a purpose."

    Cemil Ertem of Taraf (9.1.11) points and blames at the jets that flew over the Aegean, and blames "old and dark forces" for creating tension to undermine Turkey's relations with the outside world. He says: "While the prime ministers of Turkey and Greece were ready to speak about peace, the Turkish warplanes were flying over the troubled waters of the Aegean. ... Normally this should have been cancelled even if it was part of a routine military operation. ... The mentality behind this manufactured tension was certainly happy while listening to Greek Prime Minister's angry remarks. ... The forces which ruled Turkey like a dictatorship continue to avoid radical changes in the global system. They dream of Turkey fighting with its neighbours and live introvertedly... They are swimming against the current, but in the meantime some serious ramifications come along with their actions." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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