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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 01-11-12

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 216/01 10-11-12.11.01

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Mehmet Ali Talat calls on Rauf Denktash to work for a solution and participate in EU process
  • [02] Interview with President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot Leader was broadcast by CNN TURK.
  • [03] Mesut Yilmaz : We are in a deaf dialogue with the EU regarding Cyprus
  • [04] Turkish Commander of the occupation forces in Cyprus complains for being on Interpol's Red Notice for the murder of Solomos Solomou in August 1996
  • [05] More from Hurriyet on Interpol's Red Notice regarding the murder of Isaak and Solomou in 1996
  • [06] AVRUPA/S Equipment was confiscated by the pseudostate/s police
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [07] Columnist in Sabah newspaper criticizes the Turkish policy on Cyprus
  • [08] More comments on Ismail Cem/s statements in the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 2
  • [09] Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots urged to view the Cyprus problem from a broader perspective

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Mehmet Ali Talat calls on Rauf Denktash to work for a solution and participate in EU process

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (9/11/01) reported that in an off-the-agenda speech at the so-called Republican Assembly last Friday, Republican Turkish Party [RTP] leader Mehmet Ali Talat commented on the developments pertaining to the Cyprus problem. Stressing that Turkey's policy on the Cyprus issue has gone bankrupt, Talat said that the bankruptcy was announced through the statement made by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. If a price must be paid for the current situation, Talat said, this must be paid by those who are implementing erroneous policies, not by my people. Talat further stated that with the policies it has been pursuing, the "government" turned the country into an open-air prison.

    Talat went on that the National Unity Party and Rauf Denktash are encouraging the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots, adding that in this way they want to leave Turkey as the Turkish Cypriots' only lifeline and to pave the way for integration. Pointing out that the "government's" struggle to get the embargoes lifted is not sincere, Talat noted: "The situation has reached dangerous proportions. The existing policy must be changed, and we must show willingness with regard to the solution of the Cyprus problem and participate in the EU process."

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriot side must immediately return to the negotiating table, Talat stressed the need to participate in the process conducted by the Greek Cypriots with the EU.

    Responding to Talat's statement, Salih Cosar, so-called state minister in charge of the economy and deputy prime minister, alleged that the Turkish Cypriots established their republic by paying the necessary price. During this process, Cosar remarked, the Turkish Cypriots did not sever their ties with motherland Turkey. Stressing that there is no change in the policy today, Cosar remarked that in his speech Talat did not clarify under what status the Turkish Cypriots will take part in the EU process.

    Pointing out that until now it has been said that the Turkish Cypriots are to join the EU as a minority, Cosar declared that if the conditions so dictate he is not opposed to annexation to the Turkish Republic. Cosar's remarks triggered grave arguments between RTP so-called deputies and Cosar. Speaking for the second time, Talat declared that the "government's" announcement that it is not opposed to annexation demonstrates that it can no longer serve as government. Talat said that even the "government" admits that the Turkish Cypriots should participate in the EU process if their political equality is accepted, adding that the "government" failed to make such a request. Pointing out that if the Greek Cypriots join the EU unilaterally, the Turkish Cypriots will be reduced to an ethnic minority, Talat said that this danger stems from the policy pursued at present.

    [02] Interview with President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot Leader was broadcast by CNN TURK.

    Istanbul CNN TURK Television (9/11/01) broadcast an interview with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and part of President Glafcos Clerides/ interview by Mehmet Ali Birand.

    The interview is as follows:

    Birand: I would like to begin with Clerides. You wrote a letter to Clerides and asked him for a tete-a-tete meeting before the negotiations. Today, Clerides answered you.

    Denktash: Yes, I heard that there was a reply, but I have not seen it in full. I called on him to meet without any preconditions to conduct an assessment tete-a-tete. As far as I learned, he gave a conditional response. Let me see it first, then I will answer. However, I do not renounce the idea of holding a tete-a-tete meeting.

    Birand: In the international arena and in certain Turkish circles, you are regarded as the side evading negotiations and favouring nonsolution. Is this correct?

    Denktash: This is very wrong. There is one reason for my appearing to avoid talks. I merely evade actions that aim to impose the government of the Cyprus Republic on me. I do not evade anything else. Those who say that there is a government of the Republic of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots constitute this republic fail to understand my stand and my resistance. They describe it as intransigence.

    Birand: Under what conditions are you prepared to sit again at the negotiating table?

    Denktash: Under conditions of equality. We would negotiate on the basis of a realistic stand. In other words, we are one of the two founding partners in 1960. This must be accepted. We reject any stand that will constitute a regression from the 1960 agreements. Two founding partners and two equal sides must establish a new partnership. The Secretary-General underlined this and presented it to us. It was Clerides who evaded this. No one seems to take any notice of this.

    Birand: Now, the ball is on the UN court. You demanded a new package from the United Nations.

    Denktash: No, I did not. The United Nations informed us that it prepared a new package, although it does not have a right to do so. I, in turn, asked to see this package before it is submitted to the negotiating table because the United Nations pledged not to surprise us with a fait accompli. The United Nations refuses to show it to us. They are saying I should sit at the table and they will reveal its contents phase by phase. We want to see in advance the course of events. So, the ball is in the UN court.

    Birand: When do you expect a turn in these events?

    Denktash: I believe there will be some activity as of February. Toward the summer, they will be truly pressured, because as they said, Cyprus applied for EU membership. It was not Cyprus that submitted this application, but the Greek Cypriots. This application was deliberate. It was aimed at swallowing Cyprus. We are asking everyone to take notice of the law and the agreements, but no one is listening to us. Therefore, intense activity can be expected after February, and definitely by the summer.

    Birand: Can we say that this matter will be resolved or concluded one way or another by the fall of 2002?

    Denktash: It must be so, because my people have been left hanging for 38 years. The side that usurped the title of the government of Cyprus is portrayed as the right side, while the side that is demanding its rights is regarded as intransigent.

    Begin recording of earlier interview with President Glafcos Clerides by Birand in Cyprus, in English with superimposed translation into Turkish.

    Clerides: A federal constitutional structure will allow exactly the same powers and functions to both cantons. One of these cantons will belong to the Greek Cypriots and the other to the Turkish Cypriots. In addition, a common federal government will be established, and both communities will be represented in this government.

    Birand: In other words, each canton will conduct its own affairs.

    Clerides: Yes, they will conduct their internal affairs without intervention from the other side.

    Birand: Will there be a single state vis-a-vis the outside world?

    Clerides: Yes, there will be a federal government vis-a-vis the outside, as in the case of the United States of America.

    Birand: In this system, will you allow the Turkish side to represent Cyprus from time to time?

    Clerides: This matter must be discussed. This is on the agenda. This structure is anyway on the agenda. What we have to consider at this point is whether we will establish a presidential system or a parliamentary system. If we form a parliamentary system, the presidency will be a symbolic office, and a prime minister would be elected. They will govern themselves fully, and no one will interfere in the other side's affairs. We will demilitarise Cyprus.

    Birand: How will the security issue be resolved? Will the Turkish army remain here for a certain period to provide a sense of security for the Turkish Cypriots, even in reduced numbers?

    Clerides: Not forever, but for some time, yes. Naturally, it will remain here until confidence has been restored. We accept the unofficial document submitted to us by the United Nations. This document envisages the voluntary exchange of property. Compensation is on a voluntary basis. If the Greek Cypriots do not want their property within the Turkish canton, this is their problem. This must not be mandatory.

    Birand: Do these aspects disturb us?

    Denktash: He is saying this to you. I want him to say it to me. Their official stand is that all this is unacceptable, that exchange of property is unacceptable because it is a matter of human rights, and that a population exchange is also unacceptable and everyone must return to their homes. This is his official position. Therefore, I want him to tell me himself. I do not want to hear it through reports. Until now, mediators have done nothing but encourage and incite the Greek Cypriot side, repeatedly saying that the Greek Cypriots are the government and they can accede to the EU regardless of whether they reach a compromise. In this way, the mediators blocked the way to a conciliation. This is the reason for our fury and our insistence.

    Birand: If he submitted this scenario to you, would you reject it?

    Denktash: This scenario was on the table in a better way in the form of the Set of Ideas. It was Clerides who said that he does not want to have anything to do with this format and framework since the day he was elected.

    Birand: If you were presented with such a picture, would you discuss it?

    Denktash: The framework and pillars of the proposals we submitted to the United Nations incorporate all these aspects.

    Birand: If what Clerides told me is correct, there is no great difference between the stands of the two sides.

    Denktash: The diplomats also tell us that there is no great difference between us, because this is what Clerides is saying behind closed doors. I see what they are demanding from us officially and what they proposed to us after convincing the United Nations. I see that things are different, and that all they are after is to take Cyprus and run. Therefore, I want him to say this to my face, so I can evaluate more comfortably whether I should sit at the negotiating table.

    Birand: Forgive my ignorance, but this is the first time I hear that the two sides are not so different in their stands. You merely want to hear it from Clerides personally.

    Denktash: Let him say it to me. I am saying that we do differ greatly, because their tactic is to hold on to the title and status of the government of the Cyprus Republic. Bizonality is mere talk. If their aim is to return all the refugees to their homes and they apply to international courts to condemn Turkey, this runs counter to their statement. Their deeds do not correspond to their statement.

    Birand: If Clerides tells you personally what he told me, you are willing to negotiate these things.

    Denktash: Yes. In that case, I would tell him to renounce filing suits against Turkey. Let us conduct the exchange of territory now. We have been proposing this all along, but we were not allowed to reveal our proposals because of secrecy. However, they cannot be our government or our state. Let us first reach an agreement.

    Birand: We are now facing a new situation. Let us sum up Clerides' words in short. What Clerides is saying is actually separation in unity [last three words in English]. Two communities that will see to their own affairs within a unity.

    Denktash: Is this not confederation? Without naming it, this is confederation.

    Birand: Are you willing to accept this?

    Denktash: Yes, we are willing. Our confederation proposal consists of this. There are details involved in this. I repeat: On 12 September, the Secretary-General outlined a very impartial framework, saying the two sides will establish a new partnership, the sides do not represent one another, and they do not speak on behalf of one another. We accepted this, because this incorporates all the principles you mentioned. Who was the side that rejected this? They fled, they rejected, and they extracted a unanimous decision from their parliament categorically rejecting this.

    Birand: Can we say that the Turkish side would discuss a formula that incorporates these aspects without necessarily calling it a confederation?

    Denktash: The only reason that Clerides is telling this to you and to foreigners behind closed doors is that he wants us to go back on our position. We, in turn, are saying: Let us first understand what you really mean. Tell me personally, and according to that, I will assess my position.

    Birand: This is a new situation. You have a message for Clerides: Tell me personally what you told Mehmet Ali, and then we will decide where we are heading.

    On the subject of the EU, if there is an agreement with the Greek Cypriot side -- be it a confederation or a federation -- would the Turkish Cypriot side necessarily await Turkey's membership in the EU? Or, would it go along with the Greek Cypriot side if there is a solution?

    Denktash: This is not a matter of the Turkish Cypriot side's waiting. This is a matter of whether Cyprus can join the EU without Turkey. According to the 1960 agreements, this cannot happen. All the jurists are saying this, and there are diplomats who stress this as well. Therefore, we should first reach an agreement, then all the guarantor states and the two sides can settle this matter through an internal referendum. However, Cyprus cannot accede to the EU without Turkey.

    Birand: You are saying that even if there is a solution, the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" [TRNC] must wait for Turkey.

    Denktash: No, I am saying that Cyprus itself must wait. If it does join the EU, this would constitute a blatant violation, and a new situation. Dragging us into the EU without Turkey is tantamount to the elimination of all these promised aspects. Clerides is openly stating that all these promised aspects run counter to EU laws.

    Birand: Let us suppose that the "TRNC" does not join the EU, and the Greek Cypriots do, and they become richer. Are you not afraid that seeing this situation, the Turkish Cypriots will flee to the other side?

    Denktash: First of all, we must realize that the other side is not waiting for us with open arms. They may create certain opportunities in order to unsettle us. The loyalty of my people lies with their own state and the motherland. My people are aware that their state cannot exist without the motherland. Therefore, I do not foresee such a danger. There may be an incident, but there is no danger.

    Birand: Would the annexation of the "TRNC" to Turkey please you?

    Denktash: What is annexation? Mr. Ecevit has two formulas on this subject. The transfer of foreign affairs, defence, and economy to Turkey, and leaving the rest to the "TRNC". Under what conditions is this proposal being made? If the Greek Cypriots take it upon themselves to join the EU unilaterally and thus implement enosis through the back door, this would constitute a continuation of the attack. In the face of an attack, the defence must continue. These are defensive measures.

    Birand: Would Turkey not be harmed by such a move in the international arena?

    Denktash: If Greece takes over Cyprus through the back door, if all of Turkey's rights over Cyprus are eliminated, if the Turkish Cypriots are treated as a minority, and if Turkey shows the world that it is unable to defend a most justified cause, would Turkey's interests be served? If Turkey is rendered unable to defend its most justified cause and lets Greece or the Greek Cypriots take hold of Cyprus, this would be unacceptable.

    The question of whether Turkey would be harmed if what you say happens depends on the assessment of Europe. Why is Europe not positing this matter in front of the Greek Cypriots and Greece, which are creating the problem? Europe is the side that must consider this. Europe must weigh whether it will exclude Turkey with a population of 65, 70, or 100 million, thus leaving it open to what they call fundamentalists.

    Birand: In his speech Ismail Cem also said that Turkey will also pay a price and we must be prepared. Inevitably, this is what comes to mind. In your opinion, would such a development not block Turkey's path to Europe?

    Denktash: As far as I can see, Europe has begun to think how it will block Cyprus' path until Turkey's accession. It has begun to see the danger. This is my call to Clerides: You are speeding on this road to the EU. However, there is a Turkish rock on the road, and you will stumble on it. We will all be harmed by this. Do not do this. Come, let us talk and reach an agreement. This is my appeal. It is aimed at peace and conciliation.

    Birand: What will you say to him in a tete-a-tete meeting?

    Denktash: First, I will recount to him our assessments. Second, I will ask him to tell me all the good news he has been telling others. There are other sweet tidings he has been giving people other than you who are not familiar with the Cyprus problem. Let us record these aspects. If we come up with a satisfactory file, we can submit it to the United Nations.

    Birand: Do you actually want a solution?

    Denktash: Not wanting a solution is madness. However, there is something you are overlooking. A solution for the Greek Cypriots consisted of becoming the Cyprus Republic, of usurping this title. Makarios made a statement on the very day they achieved this: By doing this, I brought Cyprus to the closest point to enosis. Clerides also made a statement: Nonsolution is solution, because we do not have a Turkish vice president or three Turkish ministers. The whole world recognizes us. Therefore, the Turks will either accept what we want or they will go away.

    Nonsolution is a solution for them. As far as we are concerned, we prevented what they were trying to do, we established our state, and therefore, we cannot negotiate over it. We can merely reach a conciliation and become good neighbours and partners with them. We can discuss how we will accede to the EU together. However, we cannot surrender; we cannot lower the flag.

    Birand: You are continuously quarrelling with Clerides. You do not spare your words. However, when his brother dies, you pick up the telephone and convey your condolences. How is this possible?

    Denktash: This is a political quarrel. He has sworn to bring about enosis. So far, he has failed to do that, but he is trying to achieve it through the back door. Nevertheless, he is my respondent, with whom I will speak sooner or later. His brother was my classmate in school. This is a humanitarian issue. Humanitarian issues are separate from the political quarrel.

    Birand: Thank you very much. You made brand new revelations to us today. The Greek Cypriots will probably receive this message as well, and negotiations may even start.

    Denktash: God willing.

    [03] Mesut Yilmaz : We are in a deaf dialogue with the EU regarding Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia (11/11/01) reported that the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Motherland Party (MP), Mr Mesut Yilmaz, was interviewed on the program "Cafe Politics" broadcast live on CNN Turk on Sunday. When asked if Turkey was facing a dilemma of EU or Cyprus, Yilmaz said : ``We are in a deaf dialogue with the EU regarding Cyprus. Since Helsinki, the EU has been saying things. This deaf dialogue has continued so far but it cannot continue from now on. Because the EU has to reach a decision regarding Southern Cyprus next year. If it accepts Southern Cyprus as a full member, not only Turkey-EU relations will suffer but there will be conflicts regarding the EU`s borders. A new discussion will start whether the /Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus/ (TRNC) is included in the EU. There will be other negative impacts on Turkey-EU relations. A number of institutions and spokesmen have already said that Greek Cypriot side is the most likely country to join the EU. They already declared that they will accept them to the Union.``

    Yilmaz said that even if the political negotiations on the future of Cyprus have stopped for the moment, the process still continues.

    ``No political solution has been found for the future of Cyprus. We tell the EU that if it assures the Greek Cypriot side that it will join the EU with the divided structure on the island, then they won't have any incentive to find a solution to the problem with us. The Greek Cypriot side will think that they will definitely become a member of the EU, and that there is no need to solve the problem. They will think that they can impose their own solution to Turkey because they are backed by EU. The EU must openly say that Cyprus cannot join the EU without both sides agreeing on a political solution regarding the future of the island; this is the only road that would lead Greek Cypriots to a solution,`` Yilmaz said.

    ``The problem is that if the Greek Cypriot side's EU membership is not approved, Greece will veto the EU enlargement to the East covering Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic, which is considered important by Germany. Thus Germany has difficulties at this point and if Germany surrenders to this threat and accepts the membership of the Greek Cypriot side so that the said countries can join the EU and thus guarantee its eastern borders; this will have a negative impact on Turkey, EU and Cyprus. This is not an issue that only concerns Turkey and EU, it concerns the security of whole East Mediterranean. Cyprus can always become a new powder keg. If EU wants to be a global power in the world, it has to take into consideration all these factors and refrain from taking a step, which will cause problems or conflicts in the future. We explain this to the EU, but we could not record much progress till recently. Yet the recent developments, the September 11 attacks and the developments in Afghanistan have warned both the U.S. and the EU about the negative developments such a step will cause and made them reconsider this issue,`` Yilmaz concluded.

    [04] Turkish Commander of the occupation forces in Cyprus complains for being on Interpol's Red Notice for the murder of Solomos Solomou in August 1996

    HURRIYET (11.11.01) reports under banner headlines "Unbelievable Greek Cypriot Plot : Kundakci Pasha on the Red Notice" that retired Lieutenant-General Kundakci, who was the commander of the occupation forces in the occupied area in August 1996 when Solomos Solomou was shot dead and martyred in Dherynia by a senior officer of the occupation army, while the Martyr was trying to climb on a flag-pole, is on Interpol's Red Notice and as a result of this he is unable to leave Turkey and travel abroad. Quoting the retired general HURRIYET says that the General was upset about the decision as well as the Turkish government's indifference towards Interpol's decision.. Retired Lieu-General Kundakci said: "Six months later I received an official note. In this note the incident was summarized and I was warned not to leave for abroad because my name was on the red bulletin. With me six other official's names were included on the bulletin. For me, not to leave for abroad has no importance. I can stay here and not travel abroad. This Greek Cypriot plot gives nothing but honour to me. However, I feel sorry not for this action but for something else. I have immediately told this to the Foreign and Interior ministries/ officials that people who will take up responsibilities there feel hesitant to fulfil their responsibilities.

    This is the thing that makes me feel sorry. For this reason I have told them: Please see to it and foil this Greek Cypriot plot.

    I have done my duty there and I am proud of it. So for this reason I don't care whether my name is on the red bulletin or not. I can stay here and not go abroad. In fact I am here. I do not go abroad. However, if Turkey is a powerful country, it should have this decision removed. We should have foiled this ugly plot. But we were unable to do it. We were unable to demonstrate this resistance. I have suggested to our officials to counteract. For example, I suggested that we in turn try the Greek General who is tasked in Cyprus, because, he was the responsible for the incident since he did not take the necessary measures to stop the Greek Cypriots. That is, I said that he too is guilty. They did not have the courage to dare take such a step. As far as I am concerned this is wrong," General Kundaci went on and defended his action by saying: "I was the commander of the Turkish Forces there. I was responsible for defending the Turkish Cypriot community and the TRNC/s borders. I could not let the Greek Cypriots violate the borders. Only over my dead body could I let the Greek Cypriots lower our flag and hoist the Greek flag. One who dares such insolence should naturally bare the consequences and they did so. One should talk to them with the language they understand. Had we hesitated and allowed them to carry out that action, they would have hoisted the Greek flag, they would have gone to Kyrenia and they would have burned down the Turkish flag. As long as I was on duty, I could not allow such a thing to take place.

    I would have precluded the man who climbed up the flag post who tried to lower the Turkish flag, even if I had received orders from Ankara otherwise."

    [05] More from Hurriyet on Interpol's Red Notice regarding the murder of Isaak and Solomou in 1996

    HURRIYET (12.11.01) publishes all the names of persons who are on the Interpol's Red Notice, regarding the killing of Tassos Isaak and Solomos Solomou on 11/8/96 and 14/8/96 respectively. The names regarding the Tassos Isaak/s killing are: Hasim Yilmaz, Mustafa Ergun, Polat Fikret Koreli, Fikret Veli Koreli, Mehmet Mustafa Arslan and Erhan Arikli. For the Solomos Solomou killing they are: Lieu-General Hasan Kundakci, Major General Mehmet Karli, Atilla Sav, Erdal Emanet and Kenan Akin.

    Meanwhile, HURRIYET (12.11.01) quoting a senior official of the Security General Directorate of Turkey, reports that Lieu-General Kundakci/s name was removed from the Red Notice of Interpol. The senior official said that in the beginning of 1997 officials from Turkey's Embassy in Paris and the head of Turkey's Interpol Department at the Security General Directorate went to Interpol's General Secretariat in Lyon, France where they rendered null and void the Red Notice. The same official further said that the arrest warrants issued in the beginning of this year too were rendered null and void. He said: "Kundakci Pasha can freely leave for any country he likes". On the other hand, retired General Kundakci said that his name is not dropped from the Red Notice. "My name is still on the list, as a result of Greek Cypriot attempt last month," Kundakci said.

    Kundakci went on and said that he had talked to security officials last month and said: "They told me, /it would be better if you do not leave for abroad, the Greek Cypriots, with a last moment attempt, included your name on the list./ They warned me, so as a result of it I am still on the list."

    [06] AVRUPA/S Equipment was confiscated by the pseudostate/s police

    AVRUPA (10.11.01) reports under banner headlines, "Ankara Hands Off" and says that "With a view to gagging AVRUPA another operation was held in our homeland which is under the occupation of the Republic of Turkey". AVRUPA goes on and declares: " Oh, Sultan of Ankara! This country is not yours but ours! In 27 years you have killed our roots, you have annihilated all of us! But all this is in vain! You cannot win this last round. We will get back our jasmines. What ever the price is - we have vowed for it." The paper made this announcement when yesterday (9.11.2001) Denktash's police went to the paper's office, in order to implement the warrant of distraint issued against the paper. They confiscated all the computers, printers, scanners and related equipment.

    People from the so-called Inland Revenue Department of the pseudostate went to the offices of AVRUPA and said that distraint action was taken against the paper's Editor in Chief Sener Levent/s income tax debts. In his turn Levent said that in 1997 he had 2 billion TL debts and today this debt together with the interests reached 11 billion TL. Levent said that the aim is to prevent the publication of the AVRUPA. Following this action, all the articles in the paper are strongly criticizing the occupation regime and vow to continue the struggle until the Turkish Cypriots free themselves of the occupier.

    The paper as a reaction uses the following slogan in all its pages "Yes to EU, No to Turkey's Occupation and Annexation".

    Patriotic Union Movement (PUM), Communal Liberation Party (CLP), Republican Turkish Party (RTP), trade Unions TURK-SEN, BASIN-SEN and DEV- is strongly criticized the occupation regime's action against AVRUPA and declared that the aim is to gag AVRUPA.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [07] Columnist in Sabah newspaper criticizes the Turkish policy on Cyprus

    Istanbul Sabah (9/11/01) publishes the following commentary by Metin Munir under the title: "A Non-Existent Alternative":

    "One measure of how successful one's policies are in terms of foreign affairs is how much support they gather in the international arena. Turkey's policy with regard to intercommunal talks on Cyprus ranks at the very top in the world league of those policies, which do not garner support. There is virtual unanimity in the Western world that it is the Turkish side that has fled the negotiating table and obstructed the talks. (Those who say that "They just don't like us" must begin to learn the following truth: International relations are shaped not by likes and dislikes, but by interests.)

    And the reports that the U.S. supports Turkey on the Cyprus question, or that it will back Turkey against the EU [European Union], are simply not true. On the contrary, not very long ago, the U.S. told Turkey that if the path to negotiations on Cyprus were not opened, Turkey could expect no support from Washington. In short, those who think that there is, or that there will be, a difference of view between the U.S. and the EU are mistaken.

    To put it bluntly, all the Western countries that are our allies and partners, without exception, see Turkey as being at fault. Turkey has no supporter to remedy this perception. There is no one who is looking into why this is so, nor is there anyone who is asking the question as to how valid a policy without supporters can really be. To think that, while fooling ourselves, we can fool others as well, is the biggest instance of fooling ourselves of all.

    By not opening the way to intercommunal talks, Turkey is guaranteeing EU membership for the Republic of Cyprus - that is, the Greek Cypriots. The EU - and the U.S. - have no intention of punishing the Greek Cypriots merely because the Turkish side does not return to the table.

    Turkey is trying to promulgate the impression that the Greek Cypriots' accession to the EU will forcibly prevent its own membership, or else that Turkey will engage in some action that will make everyone involved (and especially Turkey itself) sorry. The result of doing so, or of endeavouring to do so, will mean saying farewell to EU membership for quite some time to come.

    In my view, those who are designing our Cyprus policy do not care about this. For they don't in any event believe in Turkey's EU ideal. They think that, rather than pray for something that isn't going to happen anyway, it would be more appropriate to the country's interests to utilize this opportunity in order to annex the "TRNC" ["Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"] or bring about some other arrangement similar to annexation. But in fact, however, the possibility of reaching a Cyprus solution that would be consistent with Turkey's interests (for those who want a solution, at any rate) is stronger today than ever before. For the Greek Cypriots, who are ready to make any sacrifice in order to enter into the EU, must be more willing to make concessions than any time in the past. A Turkey which were to sit down at the negotiating table in a serious way would draw both the U.S. and a number of powerful countries in the EU to its side, and would be able to turn around totally the situation existing today. Why is this alternative not being tried?

    Well, naturally, because of the well-known intellectual laziness, sterility in terms of producing solutions, unfamiliarity with the language of negotiation and compromise, lack of self-confidence, short-sightedness, fixed ideas, fears, and lack of faith."

    [08] More comments on Ismail Cem/s statements in the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 2

    Istanbul Star newspaper (8/11/01) publishes the following commentary by Semih Idiz under the title: "It Was Good That Cem Punctured the Balloon":

    "I tried to point out in my last article that I do not think Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's sally over Cyprus was very appropriate. The reaction I have heard from various circles suggest that I am not alone in my thinking. We have seen even retired veteran diplomats like Ilter Turkmen and Yalim Eralp question the wisdom of this sally. Of course that does not mean that nobody is greatly pleased with Cem's remarks. However when we look at the issue objectively we see that these are generally introverted circles that are dissociated from the world.

    On the other hand there are also hawkish circles that are displeased with Cem's remarks. These circles believe that Cem "was showing the stick in reverse." In other words, they think that Turkey has reached an important decision phase on Cyprus and that by saying that Turkey will take certain steps even if "the price is very high" Cem really meant "we will pay a high price if we do not demonstrate flexibility." They believe that he stated this position "in reverse" in order to hedge his bets.

    Regardless of what was meant it is evident that the high price that has been mentioned will come at the expense of Turkey's relations with the EU. In other words when Ankara steps up the rhetoric and raises the possibility of annexing northern Cyprus--scaring many Turkish Cypriots in the process--it is declaring that it is prepared to pay the price for that at the expense of its relations with the EU.

    Yet, until very recently this same government declared that Turkey's EU mission is a "state policy." Thus it was natural for everyone to conclude that this mission is closely associated with Turkey's most vital interests. The desperate pounce by our military officials on the European Security and Defence Policy reinforced this perception. However, the government's declaration that it is prepared to burn its bridges with the EU now shows explicitly that it was insincere on this subject.

    Actually this situation is not surprising at all for anyone who has been following this issue closely. Turkey's reluctance in meeting the requirements of its EU candidacy status since the Helsinki summit amply demonstrated the government's insincerity on this issue. In the words of one Western diplomat: "Turkey is locked not onto the Copenhagen criteria but to the Ankara criteria. Its disposition toward membership has begun to cool off because it has realized that it cannot make the EU like itself."

    Two years ago I attended an EU-sponsored seminar in Gaziantep. Sitting around the table were Turkish and European journalists and Foreign Ministry officials responsible for relations with the EU. At one point one of the most senior of these officials made a remark that astonished all of us. He said that if the EU does not admit Turkey as a member it should be prepared to live with a "delinquent" [English word used] Turkey. According to the dictionary the meaning of "delinquent" is "someone who fails to comply with the law or a troublemaker." The official's remarks, which stunned Turkish and foreign journalists who were present at the table, was reported in the press the next day. Some of our columnists commented at great length about these remarks.

    I also commented on them. However before starting to write I felt compelled to check with the official thinking that "maybe he does not know the meaning of the word he used." The official told me emphatically that he knows very well what "delinquent" means and that he chose and used the word deliberately. In the light of that explanation what our official was trying to say was: "If you do not admit us into the EU we will make trouble for you and the region."

    At the time I wondered seriously how this approach--which I think is also reflected in Cem's recent remarks--could draw us closer to the West, to which we think we belong, let alone the EU. I also realized at the time that Europe's ignorance about Turkey is not much more than Turkey's ignorance about Europe. I realized that Ankara is prepared to offset its inability to generate proactive policies for the future by pursuing courses that test the limits of rationality.

    Returning to today, the Foreign Minister's sally on Cyprus has proven clearly that Turkey's EU mission is really not a "mission." It has also shown that Turkey is prepared to stray from its course of the last 80 years in a single stroke. However, I think that we should not be angry at this because the pebbles are settling to where they belong.

    This way the rift between what our ruling circles think and what they say has narrowed. We now realize that they are on the verge of saying "we do not want the EU anyway." From that perspective Cem's remarks were perhaps appropriate in terms of the need to puncture some of the balloons that are continually released in our country."

    [09] Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots urged to view the Cyprus problem from a broader perspective

    Under the title "The Cyprus Problem" columnist Kamuran Ozbir, writes the following in Istanbul Ortadogu newspaper on 7 November 2001: "Ankara will never accept any coercions or a fait accompli over the /TRNC/ [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] and south Cyprus. If the EU decides to admit south Cyprus as a member, the response of the /TRNC/ and Turkey will be a merger or autonomy [as published]. The sides have already begun generating new scenarios in response to these possible developments. Interestingly both Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have said that the current situation gives them certain advantages.

    The Greek Cypriots are saying that they will be able to enter the EU as the "Republic of Cyprus," to preserve their current status, and to conduct their foreign relations with great ease even if there is no settlement in the Cyprus dispute. My close friend Dr. Elmurad Arghoon, the Charge d'Affaires of the Afghan Embassy [presumably in Ankara], visited the Greek Cypriot sector recently and told me the same thing.

    The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, think as follows: "If the Cyprus problem cannot be settled and the Greek Cypriot sector enters the EU, the division of the island will be officially acknowledged. In that event the /TRNC/ can integrate fully with Turkey. That would eliminate the Cyprus problem."

    Some time ago Rauf Denktash had meetings with [EU Commissioner Gunter] Verheugen and [UN Secretary General] Kofi Annan. In those talks it became clear that Denktash remains committed to his old ideas. The Turkish Cypriot position is that it prefers to take certain risks rather than bowing to any solution that would hurt its interests. There is no doubt that no one on the Turkish Cypriot side or in Turkey would retreat from basic principles or demands for the sake of having an agreement. However this issue must be viewed from a broader perspective, and long-term strategies must be taken into account. There is no international agreement in history in which any one side has gotten everything it wanted. For this reason I think that it would be most sensible to create an environment where both sides can win.

    As the Greek Cypriot administration "advances" on the path of full membership in the EU, it would not be wrong to say that Turkey's attention will be largely focused on Cyprus toward the end of this year. Because the United States is preoccupied with its own problems at this time Cyprus is not on its agenda. Current indications are that the Bush administration will not give the same priority to the Cyprus problem that President Clinton did at one point and may leave the issue largely to the EU and the UN. This is no prophecy but you should not be surprised if Washington simply allows Cyprus to become a "European problem."


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