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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-11

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's statements to NTV on relations with Turkey
  • [02] Turkey removes its "ambassador", Halil Ibrahim Akca appointed in his place
  • [03] Reaction of political parties and organizations to the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca
  • [04] Press coverage of Akca's appointment
  • [05] Eroglu and Kucuk to meet Gul
  • [06] Turkey's FM officials: "The futility of Cyprus negotiations will reflect on Turkey's-EU ties"
  • [07] Soyer criticises Cicek's statements
  • [08] UBP Central Committee on the recent developments
  • [09] Eroglu met with Rothe

  • [10] Turkish press comments the replacement of the Kaya Turkmen
  • [11] Egemen Bagis met with Turgay Avci in Istanbul
  • [12] Avci accuses German Chancellor of trying to stir up chaos on the island
  • [13] Durust says that "the TRNC is in need of Turkey's support"
  • [14] Bahceli: Cyprus is Turkey's honour
  • [15] Estonian minister: Greek Cypriots EU membership not fair
  • [16] Davutoglu briefed EU ambassadors regarding Turkey s stance on Cyprus
  • [17] Diplomacy divided on divided Cyprus
  • [18] Al Jazeera buys a TV station in Turkey
  • [19] Highlights


    Statements by Dervis Eroglu to NTV ?? the recent developments in the occupied areas and the Cyprus problem, reports, commentaries and reaction of political party leaders and NGO's on the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca to the position of "ambassador" of Turkey to the occupied areas, are the dominant issues in today's Turkish press. Also reports that Gul will mediate and will invite Eroglu and Kucuk in Ankara next week and statements by Soyer and UBP on the recent developments in the occupied areas, and other internal issues are also covered by the press.

    [01] Eroglu's statements to NTV on relations with Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (11.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said that the Turkish Cypriots should not be led to distress and added that behaviours which cause social explosion should be avoided. In statements yesterday to Turkish NTV, Eroglu assessed the rally of 28 January 2011 and the debates that followed.

    Asked to comment on the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's statement that the reaction of the "administration" in the occupied areas of Cyprus to this rally was "delayed and very weak", Eroglu noted that as "president" he should behave in a manner that will secure the unity of the "people".

    Eroglu recalled that during his political life he worked towards the development of the relations between Turkey and the breakaway regime and added that he does not approve of the slogans on the banners carried in the rally, regardless of the fact that he made no statements right after the incident. He noted that the persons who carried such banners are the same persons he struggled against during his 35-year long political life. He said he waited for the "government" of the regime to issue a statement on the incident first. He noted that a distinction should be made between the group which carried the banner against Turkey and the people who participated in the rally to protest the measures taken by the "government" and not against Turkey.

    Responding to a question, Eroglu said he has been friends for years with Cemil Cicek.

    Turkish State Minster responsible for Cyprus, he knows him better than Prime Minister Erdogan and he is very well aware of his commitment to "motherland Turkey".

    Asked what could be done to overcome the tension, Eroglu noted that brothers could be offended by each other from time to time and added that the slogans and the banners might have saddened Turkey, but the statements made [by the Turkish officials] saddened the Turkish Cypriots. Eroglu said this should not continue.

    Eroglu said the developments weaken him at the negotiating table and added that the issue was raised in the form of a joke by President Christofias' son in law, who studied Turkology and speaks Turkish well. He noted that during their previous meeting, President Christofias asked that the chapters of property, territory and settlers be discussed together, saying the following: "Besides, a part of your people are against the refugees [Tr. Note: "Refugees" is the word used by Eroglu for the illegal settlers from Turkey]. There are people who shout that 'our demographic structure has changed".

    Eroglu said measures will be taken on economic issues, but these measures should not cause communal reaction. Otherwise, he added, no one knows in which fields this social explosion will be reflected.

    Eroglu noted that there is some expenditure which is inevitable because the (increase of) population and the need not to impede the services provided by the regime, mandate employment of personnel. Responding to a question, Eroglu said there are 30 thousand persons who came from Turkey and work in the occupied areas of Cyprus after acquiring "work permit". He noted that these persons come with their families and added that this issue affects education, health and security. For example, he said, 300 instead of 100 teachers are employed. Noting that illegal workers exist, Eroglu said the Turkish Cypriots have brotherly relations with the settlers who came to Cyprus after 1975 and were granted the "citizenship' of the regime.

    Eroglu reiterated that he embraces all the people "coming from the motherland", that his family had also come from Kayseri, Turkey, and that "all of us came from Turkey at different periods of time".


    [02] Turkey removes its "ambassador", Halil Ibrahim Akca appointed in his place

    Under the title "Shocking decision", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (11.02.11) reports that the news from Ankara, in less than 24 hours after the decision of the Trade Unions Platform to organize a second rally on 2 March, shocked everybody. The paper notes that for the first time in the relations between Turkey and the "TRNC" an "ambassador" is removed from his duties and the Head of the Aid Delegation of the Republic of Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus is appointed to his position.

    According to a statement issued yesterday by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Halil Ibrahim Akca, Head of the Aid Delegation of the Republic of Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus, is appointed to the position of Kaya Turkmen, until yesterday "ambassador" of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia.

    The paper writes that the appointment of Akca has been considered appropriate for the coordination of the aid granted to the breakaway regime by a single authority. The Turkish Ministry argued that Turkmen was not removed from his duties and that there was "a change of duties".

    The paper points out that Turkmen assumed his duties in the occupied areas of Cyprus six months ago. Turkmen had stated then that that he would be in close consultation with all sections of society and later started visits with this aim.

    Kibris writes that Akca was born in 1963 in the city of Yildizeli, Sivas, and studied Electronic and Communication Engineering in Istanbul's Technical University. He started working in Turkey's State Planning Organization (DTP) in 1989. He took his masters' degree in economy in 1994 from the University of Delaware in the USA. He specialized in the "Influence of Budget Deficits on the Inflation" and "The determinants of the Exchange Rate in Turkey".


    [03] Reaction of political parties and organizations to the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (11.02.11) refers to the reaction of Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and organizations regarding the appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca to the post of "ambassador" of Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus.

    Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), said Kaya Turkmen had earned the respect of the Turkish Cypriots. "This is not a routine and normal change of duties. We should make a serious evaluation", he noted. Denktas said Akca was one of the persons who caused the rally of 28 January and this dictates the need to make a serious evaluation of his appointment to the post of "ambassador".

    Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said Turkmen earned their respect with his statement that entry to the occupied areas of Cyprus using identity cards should be controlled. Cakici expressed his sorrow over the fact that Turkmen has become a "scapegoat" in this situation. He added that the appointment to the post of "ambassador" of a person, who is the "symbolic representative of the economic package" which the Turkish Cypriots do not want and who during a visit to Eroglu offended the Turkish Cypriots by saying he would discipline them, seems like an appointment of a province governor.

    Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said the Turkish Cypriot "people' respect Turkey and expect the world respect them. He noted that if the Turkish Cypriots succumb to Turkey, they will not be able to hold their head high before of the Greek Cypriots and the world.

    Turgay Avci, leader of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), said the appointment of an "ambassador" is within Turkey's competencies. Noting that Turkey has the right to appoint its 'ambassador' without asking the view of the trade unions and any other circles, Avci pointed out that he had the opportunity to work with Akca in the past and wished him good luck in his new duties.

    Moreover, the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (11.02.11) reports that ten trade unions (KTAMS, KTOS, KTOEOS, Dev-is, KOOP-Sen, BES, DAU-Bir-Sen, Tip-is and Guc-Sen) issued a joint statement yesterday criticizing the appointment of Akca to the post of "ambassador" of Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The trade unions noted that the AKP government's views and actions "are getting uglier". They recalled the statements made by Akca recently to Fortune magazine in Turkey, in which he allegedly used abusive language about the Turkish Cypriots. The unions noted that the feelings of the Turkish Cypritos against Akca are negative. The unions expressed the view that AKP government has on the one hand shown the hatred in its heart for the Turkish Cypriots and on the other it revealed its real "provincial governor" who was active back stage and tried to intimidate the Turkish Cypriots by appointing inexperienced Akca. The trade unions said they expect Eroglu, who in the past had sent a letter to the AKP government regarding Akca, to do what is necessary.

    Kibris reports that Kamu-Sen's chairman, Mehmet Ozkardas has also issued a statement criticizing Akca's appointment. He points out that Akca is "a persona non grata" in the occupied part of Cyprus. He said Akca is the person who caused the escalation of tension in the occupied areas of Cyprus and presented the rally for "Communal Existence" as an act against Turkey.


    [04] Press coverage of Akca's appointment

    The appointment of Halil Ibrahim Akca to the post of the "ambassador" of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia is given front page coverage of all the Turkish Cypriot newspapers today (11.02.11).

    Kibris covers the issue under the title "Something that happens for the first time in diplomacy".

    Yeni Duzen uses the banner front-page title "Gasoline on fire". The paper reports that a "shocking development" occurred yesterday while efforts were exerted to decrease the tension between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. Akca is described as the "architect of the economic package", which caused the anger of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Yeni Duzen's editor-in-chief, Cenk Mutluyakali refers to the allegations that the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu had sent a letter to Turkey to remove Akca from his duties. Mutluyakali wonders whether Eroglu will accept now Akca's "credentials".

    Yeni Duzen's columnist, Sami Ozuslu argues that the developments yesterday are tantamount to the elimination of the "TRNC". Ozuslu expresses the view that "with the operation in its embassy to Lefkosia", Turkey, which is the only country that recognizes the breakaway regime, sent the message to the "TRNC" that the Turkish Cypriots have no state.

    Yeni Duzen's Aysu Barsi Akter notes that Turkey displayed its power by showing who the boss is.

    Afrika covers the issue under the banner front page title "Here you are a provincial governor". The paper writes that Turkmen paid the price for a banner and he was removed from his duties even before completing a year in the occupied part of Cyprus. Afrika writes that while everybody was expecting Akca to be removed from his duties, Prime Minister Erdogan appointed him "ambassador".

    Kibrisli writes in its title that "The ambassador went away, the provincial governor came!"

    Ortam uses the title "Challenge", while Halkin Sesi writes that "Turkmen is the victim" of the crisis caused after Erdogan told the Turkish Cypriots that Turkey feeds them.

    Haberdar covers the issue under the title "Akca deliberately" and writes that the Turkish government appointed Akca as "ambassador" as if it wanted to show who the boss is. The paper reports that Mehmet Cakici, TDP's chairman, said that Eroglu should not accept Akca's "credentials".

    Vatan refers to the issue under the title "Change of guard in the embassy of Turkey", while Gunes writes that "Turkmen goes, Akca comes".

    "Is a concession being made", wonders Bakis and reports that the AKP government is trying to hide a concession it made on the Cyprus problem. The paper writes that this possibility is often discussed in the political backstage and the streets. It notes that doubts in this direction "have escalated" due to the offensive statements made by Erdogan and its officials against the Turkish Cypriots, the removal of Turkmen from his duties and the appointment of Akca who is "one of the main architects" of the deterioration of relations between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

    Havadis covers the issue under the title "Here you are an Akca", while Volkan writes that "Halil Ibrahim Akca will replace Ambassador Kaya Turkmen".


    [05] Eroglu and Kucuk to meet Gul

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (11.02.11) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul is expected to have a "crisis meeting" next week in Ankara with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk. According to the paper, Gul is expected to mediate over the rising tension between Turkey and the occupation regime, due to the latest developments in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    [06] Turkey's FM officials: "The futility of Cyprus negotiations will reflect on Turkey's-EU ties"

    Under the title "Turkey's foreign policy is on the agenda", Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (11.02.11) reports that officials from the Foreign Ministry of Turkey point out that the futility of the negotiations process in Cyprus will have a negative effect on the ties of Turkey with the EU.

    The paper cites foreign ministry sources expressed the view that the demonstrations in the "TRNC" on the issue whether the 13 salary was to be paid or not, were group actions.

    According to information acquired by the paper, Turkey which expects that Cyprus negotiations will come be completed during this year and that no result will be achieved, aims to demostrate that Greek Cypriots followed an intransigent attitude during the process.

    The paper writes that Turkey is exerting efforts to open the competition chapter during March and April, as soon as it fulfils the minimum technical requirements.


    [07] Soyer criticises Cicek's statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (11.02.11) reports on statements by Ferdi Sabit Soyer, Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) leader, in which he harshly reacted to the statements of the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister in Charge of Cyprus Affair, Cemil Cicek, during a programme on Turkey's NTV, over the rising tension in occupied Cyprus.

    Speaking during a press conference, Soyer stated that at a time when initiatives are being taken to solve the tension, Cicek's statements yesterday accusing everyone, do not help but deepen the deadlock". Referring to Cicek's claims that the 28 January rally was transmitted live on illegal Bayrak television and that the rally was jointly organised with Greek Cypriots, Soyer said that all this is untrue. Inter alia, Soyer called on Cicek to leave the Turkish Cypriot "people" to decide themselves how to act, adding that no one has the right to dictate on them what to do.

    According to Soyer, there is a serious economic crisis in the occupied areas that should be overcome, but this, as he said, will not happen with the packages to be imposed. For this reason, he said, the measures introduced should be removed immediately and a new package should be prepared in collaboration with all the interested parties.

    He noted that relations between Turkey and the occupation regime should be placed on a new basis. "Turkey, surely, will support the Turkish Cypriot people. The extent of this support should be made definite," Soyer said, adding that the aid should be managed by the Turkish Cypriots. He inter alia, added: "Turkey will exercise the necessary controls to ensure that the aid is used correctly. However, today's Aid Delegation's model should be changed."

    [08] UBP Central Committee on the recent developments

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (11.02.11) reports that the central committee of the UBP evaluated yesterday recent developments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In a written statement after the meeting, UBP called on all political parties and NGO to be very sensitive and careful with statements and actions so as not to give the opportunity to the provocateurs to use them".

    UBP Central Committee, condemns harshly all the slogans and actions against Turkey during the January 28 rally and points out that at all events, nothing is strong enough to sever relations of the "TRNC" with Turkey.

    The statement also underlines that UBP and the "government" are open to dialogue with all political parties, NGO's and trade unions. The statement expresses the determination of UBP and "UBP government" to proceed along with Turkey with the aim to brighten up the future of the "TRNC".


    [09] Eroglu met with Rothe

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (11.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu received yesterday at the "presidential palace" Mathilde Rothe, former MP at the EP and counsellor of Martin Schultz, member of the EP for the Social Democracy Party.

    Kudret Ozersay, Turkish Cypriot leader's special representative and Osman Ertug, Eroglu's spokesman also participated in the meeting.

    Rothe is holding contacts both in the occupied areas and the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus.



    The sudden replacement of the ambassador in occupied Cyprus, the approval of the Resolution on Turkey's Progress 2010 Report by the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, Gul's visit to Iran with 100 Turkish businessmen, news related to the developments in Egypt, a first for Turkey in Europe for 2010 gold production, with a total of 17 tons, a collapse of a coal field, and other internal issues are the main topics in today's Turkish press.

    [10] Turkish press comments the replacement of the Kaya Turkmen

    "Appointment of ambassador in TRNC like punishment" is the headline of Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (11.02.11) which reports that Prime Minister Erdogan did not reduce his speed and appointed Akca, who wanted stronger economic measures to be implemented in the "TRNC," in the position of ambassador Turkmen.

    Also Cumhuriyet's columnist, Utku Cakirozer explains in his article the backstage events concerning the appointment of Akca. He writes that a major role in the replacement was played by Cemil Cicek the assistant Prime Minister. When Cicek for the first time fuelled protests in then TRNC through his comments that "Turkish Cypriots' reactions are like those of Greek Cypriots'", Kaya stated later that he respects Cicek's opinion but he would not have talked in such a manner. Cakirozer also points to Cicek as being mainly responsible for Akca's appointment.

    "Iron fist in Cyprus" is the front page title of Turkish daily Hurriyet (11.02.11) which reports that this is the punishment for the placard.

    Also the Hurriyet Daily News (10.02.11) publishes an article by Mehmet Ali Birand under the title "Instead of beating northern Cyprus, let's find a solution." The columnist argues Ankara reacted sufficiently to protests in the northern Cyprus. Now authorities need to quiet down and seek how to sort things out and more importantly how to find a solution. He says Ankara needs to realize the seriousness of the situation, because Erdogan's "servant" expression was perceived as a diplomatic victory in southern Cyprus and developments do not proceed positively. He goes on to analyze the property issue, the ECHR decisions, the Real Estate Commission (TMK) and points out that the TMK is, up until now, the greatest shock the "Greek Cypriot government" has received.

    Turkish daily Aksam (11.02.11) also carries the story in its front page under the title "Servant crisis exploded in the ambassador's face."

    The paper also publishes a commentary by Fevzi Tanpinar under the title ""Ambassador or governor?" The writer argues that everything became complicated between Turkey and "TRNC" after the sudden decision to recall Turkmen and appoint Akca, a figure which at times even overshadowed the ambassador with his statements. He says that Akca already was already nicknamed governor among the people in "TRNC" and whether Turkey will be called ambassador or super governor it does not make any difference, because they will already be damaged by the crisis, which the Greek Cypriot side is in order to change attitudes in international platforms against Turkey and "TRNC."

    Milliyet columnist Metin Munir (11.02.11) writes: "Whoever is advising Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Cyprus is doing it the wrong way. The sudden removal of the ambassador to Nicosia, Kaya Turkmen, and the appointment of the chairman of the Republic of Turkey Aid Delegation, Halil Ibrahim Akca, in his place was the greatest mistake that could have been made in the tense atmosphere between the TRNC and Republic of Turkey. This appointment is wrong in terms of timing, the appointed person and the style of the appointment." He also supports that behind Akca is Cemil Cicek who used the demonstrations as an excuse to appoint Akca. Munir argues that the appointment of Akca as ambassador was on the agenda in 2009, but it was not realized due to internal balalances of the government. He concludes that the only one who benefits from this, is the Greek Cypriot side, and Erdogan could not give them a better gift.

    Guneri Civaoglu also in Milliyet argues that it is time to think and not get angry. He says that protests like this are a characteristic of certain groups in Cyprus and that Erdogan's reaction was completely emotional. He writes that there are also additional reasons for the protests because Turkey sends economic assistance for a population of 300,000, however this amount is spent to 600,000 people, the real population of "TRNC," if you count in the 300,000 immigrants.

    [11] Egemen Bagis met with Turgay Avci in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Aksam reports on the meeting that took place between Egemen Bagis, Turkey's EU negotiator and Turkay Avci, the general chairman of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) in Istanbul. Bagis thanked Avci for always trying to promote the friendly relations between Turkey and "TRNC."

    Commenting on the recent events regarding the "TRNC" Bagis said that those who try to utilize Cyprus in the internal politics of Turkey and create commotion will always be disappointed. He defended Erdogan and his policies, since in 2002 he managed to change the negative view of the world for "TRNC" and show that "the Greek Cypriots obstruct a solution."

    Referring to "Turkey- TRNC relations" said that is a mother child relation, where the mother never wants to see her child suffer, and said that no one has the power to destroy it. Not even some people who collaborate with Greek Cypriots and try to spread discord. Bagis also described the Turkish Army in Cyprus not as an occupation force but as a force doing its duty to protect the lives of Turks on the island, and said that investments in "TRNC" were done in order to provide employment.

    For his part Avci repeated that no one has the power to severe the ties between motherland ? daughter land, thanked Erdogan for all his efforts in the past and said that they had warned that a small group connected with the Greek Cypriot side was planning to use these slogans.

    [12] Avci accuses German Chancellor of trying to stir up chaos on the island

    Turkish daily Today s Zaman (11.02.11), under the title  Former KKTC minister says protests orchestrated with Greek Cypriots , reports that former self-styled foreign minister and leader of Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) Turgay Avc1, in an interview to the paper, said that the anti-Turkey slogans during the rally last month are not the product of a single outburst of anger but rather part of a long-term, organized plan.

    Avc1 also said:  These placards were planned, conscientiously. We knew that the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union was preparing similar banners. These were not displayed as a result of a sudden decision". He added that following Merkel's visit, a labour union in the occupied areas held meetings with some Greek Cypriots. Noting that Merkel does not want Turkey to become a European Union member, Avc1 said the German chancellor started a process that will foment chaos on the island.

    Stating that anti-Turkey placards and slogans insulting Turkish soldiers are not acceptable, Avci said things were planned to strain ties between Lefkosia and Ankara after Merkel's visit to the island. "The paper adds that in the first visit to the island earlier last month by a German leader, Merkel lauded Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias for 'courage and creativity' in talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu. But she scolded the Turkish side for failing to keep up with Christofias in peace efforts."

    Avc1 claimed that  before the demonstration on Jan. 28, a labour union in Turkish Cyprus devised several potentially damaging plans that some of their leaders are cooperating closely with people from Greek Cyprus and that groups which organized protests are marginal . Avc1 said  the placards and the slogans on them could be used to the advantage of Greek Cyprus in peace talks aimed at reunifying the long-divided island .

    Avc1 said  two days before the protest in Turkish Cyprus, a group of Turkish and Greek Cypriots chanted similar slogans and displayed anti-Turkey placards .  Let me make it crystal clear: Those who display these placards regularly are acting as accomplices of Greek Cyprus. They don t represent the people of the island, Avc1 concluded.

    [13] Durust says that "the TRNC is in need of Turkey's support"

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.02.11), self-styled environment and tourism minister Kemal Durust, speaking to reporters in Istanbul at the East Mediterranean Tourism & Travel Exhibition (EMITT), said "We are expecting the greatest support from Turkey in our economic development".

    "Nobody can tear the Turkish Cypriots apart from their motherland. Despite some dissenting views, the TRNC is in need of Turkey's support. We know very well that the TRNC stands on its feet thanks to Turkey's support," Durust said.

    [14] Bahceli: Cyprus is Turkey's honour

    Turkish daily Hurriyet (10.02.11) reports that Devlet Bah?eli leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) during a visit to Polatli region in Ankara responded to press questions regarding current political issues. Referring to Erdogan and his reaction over the protests in the "TRNC", he said that Erdogan should not insult the Turkish Cypriots and that Cyprus is a national cause. He said that those who today say "No to Turkey" are the same people who held meetings to support the government of AKP and Mehmet Ali Talat at the time of the Annan plan.

    Moreover, he called Turkey's Prime Minister not to deceive the Turkish nation and state clearly how he will solve this problem, if he is going to, because for the past eight years he has not managed to do so. Bahceli also said that Erdogan cannot condemn the Turkish Cypriots because some lunatics used insulting slogans, and concluded saying: "Cyprus is not a burden for Turkey. Cyprus is a national issue. It is not Turkey's burden but honour."

    [15] Estonian minister: Greek Cypriots EU membership not fair

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 11.02.11) with the above title reports that the Estonian Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo, in an interview to the paper, said that "the acceptance of Greek Cyprus to the EU in 2004 brought no solution to the Cyprus problem and that it made Greek Cyprus reluctant to move forward in peace talks aimed at reunifying the long-divided island". He said he understands the sensitivities of the Greek Cypriot side, but he said "the accession of Greek Cyprus to the EU was not fair", adding, "We expect more efforts from some countries to solve the problem in a mutually acceptable way."

    Aaviksoo also welcomed Turkey's European Union membership and said Estonia has always found Turkey a "very good partner" and that it wants Turkey to become a member of the EU. "I believe that Turkey, as a young, dynamic country, can contribute essentially to the progress of Europe as a whole. Europe needs Turkey," he emphasized.

    The Estonian defence minister said Turkey plays a "very very important role in the security politics" of the EU since it is the biggest stabilizer of this geographic region from Central Asia to the Middle East to the Mediterranean and also some parts of Africa. "I think this is a very strong argument in favour of Turkey's membership in the EU," he said.

    [16] Davutoglu briefed EU ambassadors regarding Turkey's stance on Cyprus

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.02.11), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave clear messages on Turkey's attitude concerning Cyprus during a dinner on Thursday hosted by the EU Term President Hungary's Ambassador in Ankara Istvan Szabo.

    Speaking at the dinner, who was attended by the EU member countries' ambassadors in Ankara, Davutoglu said that "it was unacceptable to see the Greek Cypriot administration's use of the EU". He also said that it was very saddening to see certain EU countries' attitude not in line with pacta sunt servanda regarding Turkey.

    Davutoglu reminded the EU ambassadors about Turkey's support to a comprehensive solution in Cyprus.

    According to diplomatic sources, Davutoglu urged the EU countries to ask the United Nations which side in Cyprus had a more positive attitude in the ongoing negotiations.

    [17] "Diplomacy divided on divided Cyprus"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.02.11) with the above title reports that Hugh Pope-director of the Turkey/Cyprus Project at the International Crisis Group- commenting on the friction between Turkey and the breakaway regime over labour protests said to the paper that this situation complicates Turkey's efforts to present itself as the unified negotiating side.

    "Ankara is supporting reunification talks [with Greek Cypriots]. Mr Davutoglu is really trying hard to get something done on Cyprus. But the fact is the talks are slowing down," said Pope.

    The paper reports that analysts agreed, that recent events have given the Greek Cypriots an upper hand that can be used against Turkey. "This rhetoric will inevitably be used as proof by the Greek Cypriots that Turkey considers northern Cyprus as its part and that's why Ankara does not want a solution to the Cyprus problem," Nilg?n Ar1san Eralp, director of the EU Institute at the Ankara-based think tank TEPAV, told the Daily News.

     This tension taking place in the public eye must be reduced once and for all, said Mustafa Kutlay, head of the European Union desk at the Ankara-based think tank USAK. "This is in the interests of neither Turkey nor Turkish Cyprus. To the contrary, this strain has delighted the Greek Cypriots, who are [using it to] make their case in international platforms that Turkey is an occupier on the island."

    Pope warned that the current situation could mean the extension of the years-long status quo on the island, and that northern Cyprus could end up being a backwater of Turkey. "That's bad news for the Turkish Cypriots," he said. "Obviously they [Turkish Cypriots] do have double the per-capita income of people in Turkey and that's a privileged status that has been supported by Turkey. But if this [situation] extends for a long time, Turkey is really not willing to continue treating the Turkish Cypriots as above Turkish citizens."

    "Ankara-Lefkosia relations should be put back on track both economically and politically", said USAK's Kutlay. "Politically, if Turkey recognizes northern Cyprus as a sovereign state, it should treat it the same way it treats other sovereign nations based on diplomatic practices," he said. "This should be a relationship between two sovereign peoples and governments, which is the minimum criterion as Turkish Cyprus deserves Turkey's respect."

    Economically speaking, "northern Cyprus needs a serious reform process", he added. "Turkey is a transformative power in this process but this is not functioning very well. The public expenditures in the north make up 70% of the entire Turkish Cypriot economy," Kutlay said. "The private sector is not involved. The working performance of the civil servants is low. The most important income source on the island is tourism but the hotels are only 30% full.

    TEPAV s Ar1san suggested that the unhealthy system on the island should be reformed through a better communication strategy.

    [18] Al Jazeera buys a TV station in Turkey

    According to Ankara Anatolia (10.02.11), a higher board with Turkey's savings deposit insurance fund on Thursday approved Al Jazeera's offer to pay $40.5 million to buy a state-seized national TV station in Turkey.

    [19] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 10 February 2011:

    Turkey-Turkish Cypriots

    A report in Star quotes Turkish Minister of Defence Vecdi Gonul as saying that Turkish soldiers will not be withdrawn from of Cyprus as long as the current situation remains unchanged. He added: "Turkish soldiers were deployed in Cyprus in order to achieve peace and they are the guarantors of peace."

    Political turmoil in Arab countries

    Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review carries an article entitled "All roads lead to Turkey for the West" by Sedat Ergin who says that political crises in Tunisia and Egypt have further reinforced the perception in the eyes of the West that Turkey is an attractive and unprecedented model for the Middle East. Pointing out that the EU's response to civil unrest in Arab countries has shown that it is less likely to be a global player, Ergin comments: "The EU has remained behind Turkey and the US in terms of influence in Mideast crises. And we hope that the EU decision-makers can benefit from the crises in a way to open their eyes and realize that by excluding Turkey from full membership, they cannot have any influence in the Middle East."

    Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever says that Egypt's future will be decided by its army which will safeguard US and Western interests in the Middle East and the new status quo in Egypt to be sweetened by reforms. Pointing out that the United States wishes to cooperate with the Turkish Government due to its hope that the latter will convince the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in the new status quo which will not be in conflict with the United States and Israel, Ulsever predicts that Egypt will eventually establish closer ties with Iran while drifting away from Turkey and the United States. He concludes by saying: "In the end, Iran will take a great step in its struggle to ensure that 'true Islam' prevails in the Middle East."

    Ergenekon investigation

    Under the banner headline "Wipe out Ismailaga," Yeni Akit carries a front-page report which quotes Erol Olmez, a suspect in the investigation against the "terrorist Ergenekon network," who was "released from prison following 20 months of detention," as saying that the Greek Patriarchate requested Ergenekon to "destroy" the Ismailaga community in the Fatih district of Istanbul because the Patriarchate is annoyed at the activities of this religious group.

    Discord within opposition party

    Hurriyet says that Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu warned CHP deputy chairperson Suheyl Batum that he will be removed from office if he continues to make statements putting the party in a difficult position. Kilicdaroglu urged all members of the CHP's central executive committee to avoid making remarks that could lead to speculation that there is disunity within the party.

    Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin says that the crisis caused by Batum was the last example showing disunity within the party. Pointing out that voter support for the CHP fell from 30% to 25% in the last couple of months because the party could not take advantage of the momentum gained after Kilicdaroglu's election as the CHP leader, Ergin ascribes it to discord within the party and the CHP leadership's failure to devise an effective strategy focusing on the shortcomings of the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP.

    Taraf columnist Ahmet Altan says that the CHP is headed for a humiliating defeat in the general election because it is unable to formulate new policies.

    Nationalist Party's chances slim

    Milliyet columnist Asli Aydintasbas considers that the MHP the Nationalist Action Party's to win seats in Parliament are slim. Ascribing low voter support for the MHP to its sluggish structure and inability to attract young voters, she points out that Turkey's political future directly hinges on the MHP's ability to cross the 10% election threshold. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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