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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-09-23

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] Erdogan threatens that Turkey will do whatever is necessary if the UN member states do not stop Cyprus exploration for oil and natural gas
  • [02] Erdogan met with the UN Secretary General
  • [03] Eroglu criticizes President Christofias for his address at the UN General Assembly and tries to justify Turkey's occupation in Cyprus
  • [04] Eroglu's contacts in New York
  • [05] Eroglu stated from New York that the oil drilling dispute will not lead to a war at the moment
  • [06] Yildiz stated that Piri Reis is set to sail to Mediterranean today
  • [07] The so-called council of ministers issued a "license" to the TPAO for oil exploration
  • [08] Turkish Cypriots parties' reactions on the "continental shelf delimitation agreement" signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime
  • [09] Izcan: "The continental shelf delimitation agreement has no legal ground-Turkey has no right at the natural resources of Cyprus"
  • [10] "Frigates sail into the Mediterranean"
  • [11] Ozgurgun: "If the Greek Cypriots see us as a minority, solution is not possible"
  • [12] Turkey's Davutoglu discussed the latest Cyprus developments with Sergey Lavrov
  • [13] Erdogan addressed the UN; He reminded of the 89 Security Council Resolutions on Palestine and referred to the crisis with Israel and the situation in Somalia
  • [14] Erdogan threatens Israel with war
  • [15] "Legal, but aimed to provoke"
  • [16] "Turkish problem holds Ankara hostage again"


    New threats by the Turkish Prime Minister against the Republic of Cyprus during his address at the UN General Assembly, accusations by Eroglu against President Christofias for his speech at the UN General Assembly, Eroglu's contacts in New York, the "authorization" given by the regime's "council of ministers" to Turkish TPAO company to explore for oil in the Cypriot sea, reaction by Turkish Cypriot political parties to the signing of the "agreement" between Erdogan and Eroglu on delimiting the "continental shelf" of Turkey and the breakaway regime, and other internal matters are the main topics covered by the Turkish Cypriot press today. The papers refer also to a statement made by the Turkish Minister of Energy on the Turkish exploration for oil in the Mediterranean and to an interview by Huseyin Ozgurgun with an Egyptian television channel.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's address to the 66th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the oil exploration vessel that will set sail for the Mediterranean, a hike in USD against the Turkish lira (TL) and other internal issues are the main topics of today's Turkish press.

    [01] Erdogan threatens that Turkey will do whatever is necessary if the UN member states do not stop Cyprus exploration for oil and natural gas

    Under the title: "Stop the Greek Cypriots or else we will do whatever is necessary", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (23.09.11) reports that during his address yesterday at the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the UN member states to exert active efforts to stop the activities of the Greek Cypriots which, he alleged, might cause tension not only on the island but in the entire region. "Otherwise we will do whatever is necessary", he threatened.

    Erdogan said that a just, comprehensive and lasting solution should at last be reached to the problem which continues for 50 years, as he claimed, in Cyprus.

    He added the following: "The parameters of the solution were clear in the UN solution plan of 2004, but it showed that no will for solution exists in the Greek Cypriot side. In spite of the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side has always put forward its will in the direction of the solution, it could not yet be saved from the isolation. In spite of this, the Turkish Cypriot side preserved its commitment to peace and solution and participated with good will in the negotiations which resumed under the supervision of the UN.

    The target is for the negotiations to reach a result by the end of this year and after the approval of the solution plan in a referendum in the beginning of next year, the new Cyprus to take its place in the European Union. We as Turkey will continue to provide any kind of support for reaching a solution the soonest within the framework of the above-mentioned timetable. However, in case the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side does not allow this, I want to stress also that as guarantor country we will not allow for the future of the Turkish Cypriot people to be uncertain forever. At this critical stage, we cannot accept the Greek Cypriot side to act as if it is the only administration of the island or as if it has the authority to decide in the name of the Turkish Cypriots. The attempt of the Greek Cypriot side to determine alone the areas of jurisdiction in the sea and explore for oil and natural gas in these areas, is an extremely irresponsible attitude from the point of view of its timing and possible consequences.

    In front of these unilateral activities of the Greek Cypriot sides, which in fact aim at creating a crisis, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side will act with common sense, but they will protect their rights deriving from the international law. Our expectation now from all sides concerned is to exert active efforts in the direction of stopping these initiatives of the Greek Cypriot administration which could cause tension not only on the island but in the entire region. Otherwise, we will do whatever is necessary".

    Meanwhile, Kibris (23.09.11) reports also that in statements in New York to the well-known American journalist Charlie Rose, Erdogan said that the Turkish ship which will carry out seismic exploration in the Mediterranean has sailed and is on its way to Cyprus. Erdogan reiterated the Turkish allegation that Turkey, as guarantor power in Cyprus, will protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.


    [02] Erdogan met with the UN Secretary General

    Ankara Anatolia news agency reports (23.09.11), inter alia, the following from New York:

    "Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Thursday.

    During his meeting with Ban Ki-moon, Erdogan told the Secretary General that "if the Greek Cypriots were to end their efforts for exploration of oil and natural gas, the Turkish side would take a step back".

    Erdogan requested from Mr Ban to make a suggestion to the Greek Cypriots to end their efforts to explore for oil and natural gas in Eastern Mediterranean.

    Erdogan informed also that Turkey supported a comprehensive solution in Cyprus.

    Erdogan gave information to the Secretary General on the continental shelf delimitation agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC on Wednesday.

    Prime Minister Erdogan also said that if the Greek Cypriots insisted on exploring oil and natural gas, this would hurt the negotiations process in the island.

    Erdogan requested from the United Nations Secretary General to make Istanbul a centre of the U.N.

    Erdogan told Ban Ki-moon that Turkey desired to see the Turkish language as an official language of the U.N. In return, Ban Ki-moon told Erdogan that this was an issue to be decided by the member states.

    During the meeting with the Secretary General, Erdogan expressed Turkey's disappointment on the Palmer Report that was prepared on the Israeli attack against the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010.

    Erdogan told Ban Ki-moon that it was crucial for Palestine to be recognized as a state at the United Nations. Erdogan cited the example of "North Sudan-South Sudan" within this frame.

    Erdogan also informed Mr Ban that Turkey would continue to extend assistance to Somalia.

    Both men also talked on the Alliance of Civilizations project."

    [03] Eroglu criticizes President Christofias for his address at the UN General Assembly and tries to justify Turkey's occupation in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (23.09.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has criticized President Christofias for his address at the General Assembly of the United Nations. In statements yesterday in New York, Eroglu alleged that President Christofias reiterated his "known allegations" against Turkey and used an aggressive language. Eroglu alleged that the position which President Christofias possesses today does not belong to him and that he does not represent the Turkish Cypriot "people" and the whole of Cyprus.

    Eroglu claimed that what President Christofias said in his speech were not true and accused him of distorting the historic realities and of deceiving the international community on the issue of the ongoing Cyprus talks.

    Eroglu alleged that Turkey did not invaded Cyprus in 1974, but saved the Turkish Cypriots from being annihilated and brought peace to the island. He accused President Christofias of occupying "the post of the 1960 partnership Republic".

    Eroglu alleged that the ongoing negotiations between President Christofias and himself aim at a "new partnership" and not at turning a unitary state into a federation, like President Christofias has said in his speech. He claimed that this bi-zonal, bi-communal federal partnership will have two founding states of equal status. Eroglu argued that President Christofias distorted the truth by saying that the Turkish Cypriot side drew back from the convergences agreed by the sides in the past. He claimed that President Christofias refrains from announcing what these convergences are and at the same time he prevents the UN Secretary-General to announce these convergences.

    Referring to the explorations for oil and natural gas by the Republic of Cyprus, Eroglu described them as "provocative actions which are contrary to the aim and spirit of the negotiations that have reached a critical and decisive stage". "In front of these actions, we are determined to protect our rights and interests in cooperation with our guarantor and motherland Turkey", he said and alleged that as Turkish Cypriot side, they are focusing all their efforts on the negotiations for finding a just and viable agreement on the island.

    Eroglu went on and alleged the following: "The activities of Christofias to unilaterally influence Cyprus' future in the direction of his own interests by hiding behind the Resolutions of the United Nations have no other use than harming the relations between the two sides and making the solution more difficult. The relevant UN Resolutions provide for the settlement of the problem through negotiations held between the sides at equal level. Given that the ground and the parameters of the negotiations are known, trying to create new debates on this issue only shows the lack of political will of the Greek Cypriot side on this issue. We believe that the international community and mainly the esteemed UN Secretary-General will evaluate in the necessary manner the aggressive and deceptive statements made by Mr Christofias using this tribune which he occupies unilaterally. In spite of the intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side and its provocative actions, the Turkish Cypriot side is determined to continue its constructive stance in the search of a compromise through negotiations within the framework of the good will offices of the UN Secretary-General".


    [04] Eroglu's contacts in New York

    According to illegal BRT (22.09.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu who is continuing his contacts in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly met with state and government officials of various countries yesterday. Eroglu, at first, met with the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

    The meeting took place at the representation office of Qatar in New York.

    Later Eroglu also met with the Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha at the UN headquarters.

    Eroglu also had a meeting with the Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Memmedyarov at the "TRNC representative office" in New York.

    [05] Eroglu stated from New York that the oil drilling dispute will not lead to a war at the moment

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.09.11) reported from New York on statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu who has said on Wednesday that the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias was politically motivated in his push for offshore drilling southeast of the island to fix his political reputation.

    Speaking to reporters in New York where he signed an "agreement" with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to mark borders of the "continental shelf" between Turkey and the "TRNC", he claimed that Christofias is trying to salvage his shaken image and acts like a hero who bully Turkey and that he is not acting wisely.

    Eroglu said Wednesday's deal provided a framework for future "agreements" in exploring and exploiting hydrocarbon reserves around Cyprus. "We will see research ships in the Eastern Mediterranean from now on. But I do not believe at the moment that all of this could lead to a war", Eroglu said

    [06] Yildiz stated that Piri Reis is set to sail to Mediterranean today

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.09.11) reported from Ankara that Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said on Thursday that a Turkish oil exploration vessel would set sail towards the Mediterranean on Friday.

    In statements after his meeting with Awat al-Barasi, a member responsible for energy of the executive board of the Transitional National Council of Libya, in Ankara, Yildiz said that the "Piri Reis" vessel, anchored at Izmir Port, would set sail to the Mediterranean on Friday to explore for oil and natural gas. "We will intensify and prioritize our projects regarding the Mediterranean, and Piri Reis will set sail tomorrow", Yildiz said.

    Yildiz also said that Turkey would never resort to provocative behaviours, and was not expecting "Mediterranean to be heated in the short term".


    [07] The so-called council of ministers issued a "license" to the TPAO for oil exploration

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (23.09.11) reports that during an extraordinary meeting of the so-called council of ministers of the breakaway regime on the "continental shelf delimitation agreement" signed between Turkey and the "TRNC" (breakaway regime) on Wednesday in New York, the "council" approved the issuing of a "license" to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) for the exploration of oil and natural gas in the coastal territories of the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk, in a statement made after the meeting, said that they do not have any information on when and on which area the TPAO will start its exploration for oil and natural gas. He added that the "TRNC is determined to protect its rights on the island's continental shelf which it has equal rights over".

    [08] Turkish Cypriots parties' reactions on the "continental shelf delimitation agreement" signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (23.09.11) reports about the reactions of the Turkish Cypriot political parties on a discussion held yesterday at the so-called "assembly", about the "continental shelf delimitation agreement" signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime.

    According to the paper, the opposition parties reacted because the "agreement" was signed without the approval of the self-styled assembly. The parties stated that they do not approve the "agreement".

    Stating that the day the "agreement" was signed was "the most sorrowful day of his life", Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled deputy with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) stated that he was informed about the event from the news agencies. He went on and added that the method followed by Eroglu was not in compliance with democracy. He also said that he neither agrees with the actions of the Greek Cypriots.

    On his part, Ozkan Yorgancioglu, the chairman of CTP, also criticized that fact that the "assembly" was not included on the procedure of the "agreement" and added that the will of the "assembly" must be respected. He said that this applies both as regards the Cyprus problem and "international agreements".

    Mehmet Cakici the chairman of Social Democracy Party (TDP) said that the "assembly" was by-passed and stated: "The competent authority of this country is the parliament". He went on and said that according to information he has, an "agreement" on oil research was signed between Turkey and the "TRNC", as he called the occupied area of Cyprus, ten years ago. Therefore, he said, he does not understand why an "agreement" was signed at this particular time and why the "parliament" and the "government" were left out of the "agreement".

    On his part, Mustafa Emiroglu self-styled deputy with the TDP said that this decision may even open the road for division in Cyprus, and it may safeguard the disappearing of the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, the "agreement" should have been discussed at the "parliament" for days.

    Replying to the criticism, self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk stated that of course the "assembly" and the "government" are responsible for the signing of "international agreements" and said that the issue was not at the agenda while Eroglu and his delegation were going to New York. The issue came up at the agenda suddenly and they went on with it. On his part, Huseyin Ozgurgun, the self-styled foreign minister said that he did not go to New York because nothing important was on the agenda.

    [09] Izcan: "The continental shelf delimitation agreement has no legal ground-Turkey has no right at the natural resources of Cyprus"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (23.09.11) reports that Izzet Izcan, the chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) said that the "continental shelf delimitation agreement" signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime has no legal ground.

    Izcan, who issued a written statement, said that this initiative aims in increasing the tension in the area and called on all the Turkish Cypriot parties who are represented at the "assembly" and they say that they support peace, not to approve the "agreement".

    "The Government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), leaning on this agreement which has no international legal ground, put a claim on all the shores around Cyprus and is getting ready to search for oil and natural gas. Such an initiative aims to further increase the existing tension and may be the reason for unwanted events", notes Izcan.

    He went on and added that Turkey has no right whatsoever at the natural resources of Cyprus and stated that an end must be given as soon as possible to this tensions policy and war shouting which damage the negotiations for the Cyprus problem and the international relations.

    He also said that the military planes, helicopters and ships which for days now tour around Cyprus create anxiety for all Cypriots.

    Izzet Izcan, also said that Turkey is not the guarantor for the natural resources of Cyprus, but is the guarantor for Cyprus sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore it must abandon the conquering and aggressive policy towards Cyprus.

    He finally said that the tension policy must be abandoned and in its place the solution of the Cyprus problem must be obtained and Cyprus must be turned into an island of peace.

    [10] "Frigates sail into the Mediterranean"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Aksam (23.09.11) reports that the Turkish Navy vessels Salih Reis, Sokullu Mehmet Pasa and Oncu have sailed from Izmir. According to the paper, the ships' mission is to act as a hindrance if drilling activities start in areas that Cyprus has declared as its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but Turkey says that they belong to "Turkey's or TRNC's territorial waters".

    The paper writes that one of the frigates will wait in "Turkey's territorial waters", 6 miles open of Cyprus and it will be possible to be seen from the city of Pafos. The other 2 frigates will patrol the area while 3 torpedo boats which are part of the "TRNC Peace Forces" [as they refer to Turkey's occupational forces] will patrol plots 2 and 3 of Cyprus's EEZ. The ships will reportedly not take any action in plot 12 where currently exploratory drilling is under way, since it does not belong to "Turkey's of TRNC's territorial waters." Additionally, 3 submarines have sailed yesterday morning from the Golcuk naval base.

    Moreover, the paper reports that according to Ankara, out of the 13 plots that constitute Cyprus' EEZ, plots 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 belong to Turkey, while plots 2 and 3 belong to "TRNC's territorial waters."

    [11] Ozgurgun: "If the Greek Cypriots see us as a minority, solution is not possible"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (23.09.11) with the above title reports that self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, in an interview with Egyptian TV channel Nile, reiterated his views on the Cyprus problem.

    Ozgurgun claimed that although the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement have been going on for years now, they have not reached an agreement due to the Greek Cypriot side's intransigent and negative stance. Alleging that the Turkish Cypriot side was constantly presenting positive proposals at the talks as issued in the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's reports, Ozgurgun argued that a Cyprus settlement is not possible as long as the Greek Cypriot side continues to see and treat the Turkish Cypriots as a minority. Claiming that a Cyprus settlement may be possible if they (Greek Cypriot side) make concessions, Ozgurgun also said: "We have equal rights and equal status on the island. If they stop seeing us as a minority and accept us as equal, then tomorrow the Cyprus problem will be solved immediately. However, if they don't accept this, if they continue to view the Turkish Cypriots as a minority, then they should know very well that this cannot be accepted by our people."

    Ozgurgun alleged that Cyprus' "unilateral" membership to the EU in 2004 has made it harder to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and alleged that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side, which rejects all the "positive" proposals presented at the negotiation table, is to control the entire island. Ozgurgun also called on the EU to correct its mistake.

    Ozgurgun also claimed that the Greek Cypriots' statements do not reflect the historic and legal realities when they say that the Turkish army is an occupying force in Cyprus. He reiterated the Turkish Cypriot side's view that if the Turkish army hadn't invaded in 1974 in Cyprus, then no Turkish Cypriot would have stayed alive. Adding that many Turkish and Greek Cypriots had died until 1974, Ozgurgun alleged that after 1974 none has died or was declared missing.

    [12] Turkey's Davutoglu discussed the latest Cyprus developments with Sergey Lavrov

    Anatolia Anatolia news agency (21.09.11) reported from the United Nations that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the United Nations 66th General Assembly, in New York.

    Sources close to the meeting said that Davutoglu and Lavrov discussed economic and political relations between the two countries as well as Palestine's attempt to win recognition by the UN and the latest developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus.

    Sources also said that Lavrov invited Davutoglu to Moscow to participate in a meeting as part of the preparations over the strategic council between Turkey and Russia.

    [13] Erdogan addressed the UN; He reminded of the 89 Security Council Resolutions on Palestine and referred to the crisis with Israel and the situation in Somalia

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (23.09.11) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reached out to world nations to immediately act in Somalia to end starvation, which he said is a shame for the entire humanity while slamming Israel for shrugging off UN Security Council Resolutions and hindering peace in the Middle East.

    Erdogan harshly criticized the world's largest international body on Thursday during his historic UN address and said the United Nations could not show the necessary leadership to win over fears threatening humanity and their hopes, referring to Somalia, where he visited last month.

    He spoke about the necessity to restructure the UN and renew its vision so that the international body protects the laws of humanity and does not serve the interests of a certain number of countries.

    "I have seen in Somalia last month the failure of the UN and the international community in dealing with the urgent needs of the world," Erdogan said.

    Recalling his own personal observations, he said it is impossible to describe the poverty and pain he had witnessed in Somalia and that it is a shame for the international community to see thousands of children dying because of lack of bread and water in Somalia's tragedy.

    The Turkish Premier said that the two-decades long civil war in Somalia has basically destroyed all sources necessary for life, adding that the Somali people are walking towards death in front of the entire global community. "Today, the international community watches Somalia as if they were watching a film without a reaction. We have to deal with this picture which is a test for the entire humanity," Erdogan said.

    According to Erdogan, no one can talk about peace, justice and civilization in the world unless the voice of Somalia is heard.

    Erdogan also harshly criticized Israel for hindering peace in the Middle East and reiterated Turkey's position that the Jewish state must offer apology as a condition to restore ties.

    He said Turkey wants to call on Israel to understand there was no substitute for peace and the picture in the region was not just an equation of "peace for security."

    Erdogan said there are hundreds of General Assembly decisions that were adopted on Israel and there are 89 Security Council Resolutions which Israel only shrugged off. "What is more painful is that the UN has been incapable of taking the necessary steps to end the humanitarian tragedy that Palestinians have gone and are going through," Erdogan stressed.

    He said that Turkey is ready to extend all efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, adding that Turkey will display active efforts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, for recognition of the Palestinian state, to facilitate compromise among Palestinian groups, and to see an end to the blockade imposed on Gaza.

    Erdogan also pointed to what he called injustice regarding sanctions due to suspected nuclear activities. He said Israel, which utilizes phosphorus bombs and has nuclear weapons in its arsenal, never faces sanctions but he said when the Western nations "smell similar bombs" in the region, they impose sanctions, referring to Iran's suspected nuclear program and sanctions on the regime to relinquish nuclear activities.

    Complaining of tolerance the international community is showing to Israel, Erdogan underlined that it is Palestinian territories that are occupied, not Israeli ones and said "one has to ask permission from Israel to bring in a box of tomatoes to Palestine." He said that the Israeli leaders must realize that the real security for the Jewish nation is the advent of peace.

    He urged the world nations to press on Israel to show its leadership that the country is not above the rule of law.

    Erdogan also asked the UN member states to recognize Palestine, which he said was in fact established by this body but was never implemented.

    Speaking about the lethal Israeli raid into Mavi Marmara ship, Erdogan said that Israel has made a big mistake against a friendly nation ? Turkey. He said Turkey cannot remain silent and indifferent to an incident where Israel "martyred nine of our citizens."

    Erdogan reiterated Turkey's position and said unless Turkey's demands ? official apology, compensation and lifting Gaza blockade ? are met, it is impossible for Turkey to restore ties with Israel. He appealed the Israeli people and said he wants to underline that Turkey has no problem with the Israeli people. "We have a problem with the Israeli Goverment," he said, adding that the Israeli Government should be blamed for being the primary source of tension between Turkey and Israel.

    [14] Erdogan threatens Israel with war

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (22.09.11) reported that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated that an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship last year, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish-American, was a cause for war and said Turkey can even go to war if necessary.

    In statements on PBS' Charlie Rose Show on Wednesday evening, Erdogan said: "The killing of nine people is in fact a cause for war. But we did not see it that way and, as a grand nation, acted with patience."

    When asked to confirm that he sees the 2010 raid as a cause for war, Erdogan said: "That could be done if necessary," and added: "But we decided to act in line with Turkey's grandeur and showed patience. I wonder if the US would welcome the killing of its nationals in international waters".

    Erdogan also reiterated that there will be no normalization in Turkey's relations with Israel unless Israel apologizes for the deadly raid, pays compensation to the families of the victims, and lifts the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in place since 2007. "These three conditions must be fulfilled," he said.

    Erdogan also defended his rhetoric against Israel by referring to the country as a "spoiled child," when asked if his rhetoric was helpful in resolving the dispute. But he said the Israeli Government, not its people, is responsible for the crisis in ties with Turkey.

    "I am talking on the basis of the facts. Israel is the spoiled child of the West, I repeat this," he said, noting that Israel has ignored several Resolutions passed in the UN against it. "Sudan, for instance, faced international pressure. But the same pressure was not imposed on Israel. This approach was unfortunately not displayed in the Israeli-Palestinian issue," he said.

    Responding to a question on whether his anti-Israeli rhetoric stemmed from a desire to boost his popularity among Arab states, Erdogan said: "We have no interest in popularity. We have to tell the truth, this is what justice requires."

    [15] "Legal, but aimed to provoke"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (22.09.11) published the following commentary by Yavuz Baydar:

    "Hillary Clinton reportedly told her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, that the Republic of Cyprus has the right to proceed with its plans to drill under the sea off the island for oil and gas. Purely in legal terms, there is no reason to disagree with her.

    But not everything in international politics, particularly in these troubled and utterly complex times, may be reduced to legalism. As a matter of fact, in the broader context, the escalating crisis over who has the rights to drill off Cyprus stands out as another conflict in the already loaded Eastern Mediterranean. In other words, it is a problem that must be regarded as a "luxury" under the current dire circumstances.

    The current tension between Turkey and Cyprus is a result of developments that date back to 2003. Greek Cypriots had then signed a deal with Egypt over drilling rights and continued to expand cooperation in 2007 with Syria, Lebanon and Israel. The undersea operation was announced to take place on October 1, but was then changed to September 19 by Nicosia without any explanation. In a retaliatory move Turkey announced that it had signed a deal on continental shelf delimitation on Wednesday with northern Cyprus.

    The escalation will not end; in fact, it may turn ugly. Nobody at the moment seems to be in a position to contemplate whether the international community can afford to pay for the consequences of what may take place.

    Key questions at this very moment are ones that may provoke a lot of 'Turkey-bashers' to send again their not-so-polite condemnations to the author of this article. Let me ask this nevertheless, very bluntly: Why did the Christofias administration decide to start drilling at this time, even before the official announcement? What is the hurry? What is the real aim?

    One possible explanation is that the Greek Cypriot leadership has decided to resort to a provocative measure to force Turkey out of UN-sponsored talks by initiating moves to unify with northern Cyprus. Since it has become clear that the current phase of negotiations between Demetris Christofias and Dervis Eroglu may squeeze the former into politically expensive concessions, and since the Greek Cypriot side is at its core unwilling to go for a unification of the two sides of the island on terms other than the ones it wants to impose, the option of drilling is welcomed as a golden opportunity.

    What seems to have led to the hurry is the standoff between Israel and Turkey and the cutting of ties between Syria and Turkey as well. Greek Cypriots are calculating that pushing Turkey into retaliation and threats will bear fruit, and turn the entire EU as well as the US against Ankara. It is, in other words, getting away with gambling over a crisis, which may even lead to an armed confrontation.

    The latest developments may prove correct all those who claimed that the mindset prevailing among nationalist Greek Cypriot politicians is so selfish, so cunning and destructive that it exclusively used the mechanisms of the EU to serve its own ethnic-based interests. Not only that, it now threatens to pull Israel, frustrated with Turkish pressure over Gaza and the Mavi Marmara incident, and even Syria into the Cyprus conflict.

    Some Turkish Cypriot officials said this is an open expression of the Greek Cypriots' will to cut off negotiations for a settlement on the island. Davutoglu said in New York that unilateral moves (to drill) make these negotiations totally meaningless.

    The tragedy of Cyprus becomes even more visible with every shrewd move as such, displayed as an extra, unnecessary ingredient in the boiling Eastern Mediterranean. Once more, it must be made clear to Clinton and all the other leaders who feel responsibility for a solution that it was a huge mistake to accept a divided island, with an unresolved conflict, as a member of the EU. From the very first moment it was obvious that it would serve only to push negotiations into a dead end. The unification process is now so rotten that it will only spread itself into a wider conflict.

    The sad part is that nobody wants to take any blame for the folly. One can only hope the Greek Cypriots must be persuaded by the Obama administration that they have nothing to gain with clumsy adventures. At the end of the day, there must be a fair balance between the rights of all the peoples on the island. There must also be an end to testing the strategic value of Turkey in the region. No matter what, it will not go away".

    [16] "Turkish problem holds Ankara hostage again"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Istanbul Taraf online in Turkish (21.09.11) published a commentary by Lale Kemal who referred to the conflict as it was formed in the Eastern Mediterranean supporting that it is very annoying to see the AKP Government, which changed Turkey's appearance from one of always causing problems to one of being a civilized country that solves its problems through diplomacy, appearing now to be acting like the old Turkey issuing threats left, right and centre.

    Looking for the reasons which are causing people to ask what is happening to Turkey under the AKP [Justice and Development Party] Government, Kemal writes:

    "Israel is criticizing Ankara over its mismanagement of the Mavi Marmara incident I mentioned above. It seems to miss the old Turkey with its overpowering military tutelage, but the fact that its commandos killed nine Turkish citizens is simply unacceptable. Despite being responsible for the deaths of nine people, Israel has not been mature enough to apologize. In fact, it needs to see that it has regressed.

    Having stated this, let us get to the real matter here. I want to draw attention to why and how the Greek Cypriots have challenged Turkey by allowing a foreign company called Noble Energy to explore for gas and oil in its waters.

    Southern Cyprus declared an exclusive economic zone in the Eastern Mediterranean and made a deal with foreign companies to explore for oil and gas there. This is legally correct. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriots are politically exploiting with malicious intent this legal right, which stems from the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS], a law that Turkey is not a party to. This is because while it has been conducting peace talks with the Turkish Cypriots by declaring an exclusive economic zone, it has shown it is not willing to form a joint state in which the Turkish Cypriots will have equal representation. The Greek Cypriots' intentions are very ill indeed.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's announcement that is going to commence oil and gas exploration off northern Cyprus in association with TPAO [Turkish Petroleum Corporation] is not legal. The reason is this: Even though we may not recognize it as such, southern Cyprus is a UN-recognized state representing the island, and a member of the EU. As a result, Cyprus is in EU waters. According to the Law of the Sea Convention, the Republic of Cyprus, which we call Greek Southern Cyprus, is allowed to carry out exploration in that area contested by Turkey.

    Unfortunately, while many of its members were engaged in or planning military coups, the gray areas created by the civilian governments turning a blind eye, have forced Turkey into a corner in foreign policy, reduced its field of maneuvers to nothing and has kept Turkey being a country that continually creates problems.

    The current Government was dealt a severe blow by the EU when it kept ajar the doors to a solution in 2004 as a result of the struggle it waged for a solution to the Cyprus problem despite fierce resistance at home.

    The other day the EU's spokesman brazenly called on Turkey to find a peaceful solution to its border disputes. By turning its back on the will for a solution that has emerged in Ankara, the EU does not want to acknowledge that it made a mistake of historic proportions by making Greek Southern Cyprus a full member.

    This mistake made by the EU in association with those who want the state of no-solution to continue has always weakened Turkey's hand versus EU member Greek Southern Cyprus and its backer Greece, just as it is weakening it now.

    As a result, the announcement that it is going to conduct oil and gas exploration in Turkish Cypriot waters in retaliation for the exploration crisis currently being experienced with the Greek Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean does not make Turkey right, unfortunately. This is because with this policy, Ankara is politically exploiting this right, which it does not legally have.

    The upshot of it all is that Ankara needs to be very careful in the struggle to share the Eastern Mediterranean". TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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