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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-06

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Sezai Sarioglou: Urgent need for change in Turkey
  • [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange

  • 1150:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Sezai Sarioglou: Urgent need for change in Turkey

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Nicosia, May 6 (CNA) -- The need for change in Turkey, especially regarding the human rights situation, and the view that Turkey should be convinced to change her policies regarding Cyprus and the Kurdish problem, were stressed by Turkish journalist and writer Sezai Sarioglu, in an interview with CNA.

    Having spent five years in different Turkish prisons for his political beliefs, Sarioglu is one of the founder members of newly established ODP (Freedom and Solidarity Party), set up in February 1996, which today numbers 30.000 members, while he also works for "Okuz", a monthly opposition art magazine.

    Criticising Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and "those embracing his policies in the north" (Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus) for the deadlock in the Cyprus talks, Sarioglu expresses support to a federal solution.

    He does however feel pessimistic concerning prospects for a solution when he looks at "political signs", as he says, and adds that the feeling one gets is that "the status quo is established."

    Asked by CNA about public opinion in Turkey, he points out, "it is more reactionary regarding Cyprus than it is regarding the Kurdish problem."

    Cyprus, he stresses, "is a taboo subject in Turkey. To say anything beyond the official state policy is considered betrayal", and points out, that this very interview could brand him the title of traitor. "I am committing this betrayal right now", he says ironically.

    Noting that the Kurdish problem is far from being solved, Sarioglu says "many taboos have been broken by intellectuals and academics", something, which as he adds, does not apply to the case of Cyprus.

    Turkish intellectuals and opposition have not been organised on the issue of Cyprus, Sarioglu argues.

    The US and Europe, Sarioglu believes, have the means to exercise pressure towards a solution of the Cyprus problem as well as towards internal reform. "Turkey could perhaps be convinced about Cyprus and democratisation", he says.

    At the same time, he refers to a "revival" of nationalism in public opinion in Greece and Cyprus. "There is an increased use of nationalistic rhetoric", he says, noting as negative the erection of monuments in honour of General Grivas, "not known for friendship sentiments towards Turkish Cypriots."

    The purchase by the Cyprus government of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles is also described by Sarioglu as non-conducive towards the building of confidence and trust between the two communities on the island.

    Sarioglu expresses support towards bi-communal peace efforts which he considers constructive towards a better understanding between the two communities in Cyprus but points out that such efforts would be much more meaningful and productive "if they were organised in a wider context to include peace-groups from Turkey and Greece."

    "There should be greater contact, cooperation and coordination of peace- builders in the three countries", he says.

    Meetings of NGOs and joint cultural activities are good in easing the situation but if they are not combined with political will and projects for a settlement they cannot be effective, he stresses.

    Asked by CNA on the prospects of ODP or any party, declaring positions conflicting to the established ones in Turkey, Sarioglu says, "in Turkey you never know. Turkey", he points out, "is a paradox. Everything or nothing can happen."

    Stressing the need for reform in Turkey, Sarioglu says the existing system cannot survive for ever using violence in order to suppress opposition, pointing out that opposition comes from all levels of society.

    "The system has to fight off almost the whole of the Turkish society, including Islamists and secularists", he says, pointing out that "opposition in Turkey is now expressing its demands in a more eloquent and organised manner and that "Europe and the US feel that Turkey has to reform its system."

    "If this is not solved in five or six years Turkey will be in great chaos", he adds, warning that "there will be the greatest violence the world has seen."

    "For seventy years the approach was that Turkey belongs to the Turks", Sarioglu tells CNA, pointing out that things should change and "all identity groups in Turkey should be recognised."

    "The Kurds are not the only suppressed group, even if they are the biggest", he says, noting that there are Armenians, Georgians, Laz, Greek and Jewish minorities. "All identity groups should express themselves democratically in a society", he stresses.

    Citing a phrase by Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, stating that one should "be realistic but aim the impossible", Sarioglu argues democratisation in Turkey is realistic and stresses that "this will make a little opening towards the way that leads to equality and liberty."

    "Equality, peace and liberty are intermingling concepts", he explains, noting that in order to meet theses goals "you do not need to have a revolution in the country. All these demands have been achieved in Europe through bourgeois peaceful, "carnation" revolutions", he adds.

    Regarding the spread of Islam, Sarioglu argues it could not spread in Turkey in a way similar to that in Iran and Algeria, and notes that the majority of Turkish Islamists do not support the rule of the Sharia (Islamic law).

    He also argues that the US "has a project for a different kind of Islam in Turkey, with which it can cooperate. This has disturbed the army because it was with them the US always cooperated in the past", he argues.

    The army, Sarioglu says, continues to play its traditional role in Turkish society and does not seem to give many signs of change in its behaviour.

    "It does not however remain intact of conflicts in society which are gradually reflected in the institution itself with some sort of polarisation regarding officers and simple soldiers", he says.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997

    [02] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, May 06 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
    CSE All Share Index                    77.35 (-0.91)
    Highest: 82.46 (2/1/97)
    Lowest : 73.90 (30/1/97)
    Sectural Indices
    Banks                                  86.36 (-0.88)
    Approved Investment Companies          69.70 (-0.77)
    Insurance Companies                    57.97 (-1.99)
    Industrial Companies                   83.79 (-0.49)
    Tourist Industries                     61.83 (-0.34)
    Commercial Companies                   51.77 (-0.12)
    Other Companies                        54.71 (-1.71)
    Trading Volume                         CYP 520232.038
    * The difference in brackets represents the percentage increase (+) or decrease (-) of the index from the previous stock exchange meeting.
    CNA AP/1997
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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