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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-09-30

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

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Thursday, September 30, 1999


Job Centre



/ Ecevit 'behaved like a Turk'


NEWSPAPERS could not hide their disappointment about the meeting between President Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who had, reportedly, stuck to his intransigent position on Cyprus. "He talked like a Turk," said one headline, "Yok Mr Clinton," said another.


_ said that Ecevit "remained completely intransigent" at the White House meeting. Responding to Clinton's plea for a resumption of the Cyprus talks, Ecevit said he was not ready for such a development. According to American officials, Ecevit let it be understood that the outcome of the December EU summit in Helsinki (whether Turkey would be elevated to candidate-country status) would determine his stance on the talks.

The two leaders agreed that presidential envoy Alfred Moses would visit Cyprus, Greece and Turkey next week to discuss the details surrounding a possible resumption of talks. However, these would be proximity talks and not direct and they would be interrupted when Clinton visits Turkey.


_ said that Clinton was attempting to give the Cyprus problem "artificial respiration" by sending Moses to the region for more talks. Ecevit "turned his back on Clinton", who had hoped to secure the Turkish PM's agreement to a resumption of talks. After the meeting, Ecevit said he had received assurances that Turkey would receive two billion dollars in aid from the IMF.

Clinton had decided to send Moses to the region because he had realised there was still a big divergence of views between the two sides. Diplomatic sources said that while the US was committed to a resumption of the talks, "it was not prepared to go to extremes (with Turkey) in order to achieve this."


_ claimed that Clinton's promise to put pressure on Turkey had proved "false". Ecevit ignored Clinton's suggestion, "audaciously", demanding the recognition of the pseudo-state and a procedure of proximity instead of direct talks.

Ecevit spoke for only one minute after the meeting, refusing to discuss the substance of his talks with Clinton, which involved the Cyprus issue, Greece-Turkey relations and human rights violations. Meanwhile Turkish demonstrators gathered outside the White House to applaud Ecevit and urge him to make no concessions on Cyprus, the paper said.


_ dealt with comments made by the US president before the meeting, describing them as "Clinton's wish-list". He had said he hoped for a resumption of the talks without any preconditions, and expressed the wish that a "way will be found to get there".

It said that UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan was rather wary about sending invitations to the two sides for direct talks, and would seek the advice of Clinton first. The fact that the Turkish side remained intransigent and the US did not have a specific plan of action compounded the fears of Annan, who felt he would be made to carry the can for the failure of the initiative.


_ gave prominence to Turkish press reports questioning the mental health of Ecevit. It cited a banner headline in the Turkish paper, Star, asking "Could he be ill?" According to the reports, Ecevit was often responsible for gaffes, while at time is unable to communicate with his staff.


_ cited the following examples given in the Turkish press: On leaving for Washington, on Sunday, Ecevit had said, "unfortunately, I will not be with you for the victory celebrations", which had been held on August 30. During a recent meeting with the US Secretary of Defence, Ecevit asked him three times, in the space of a few minutes, whether he would be going to Istanbul.


_ reported that Britain had intervened at the Council of Europe to thwart the approval of a resolution which would have called on Turkey to implement the decision on Titina Loizidou, who had successfully sued the Turkish government for seizing her home in Kyrenia.

The British ambassador in Strasbourg, acting on instructions from Sir David Hannay, had blocked the resolution on the pretext that "a favourable climate" was needed before talks on Cyprus.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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