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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-12-27

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.245/02 24-25-26-27.12.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after a medical check-up in Ankara.
  • [02] Details of a report to be submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side on the Annan Plan.
  • [03] Turkey and the puppet regime signed an agreement for an additional loan of 37.6 million dollars.
  • [04] Thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrated for peace and against Denktas.
  • [05] Communal Liberation so-called deputy resigned from party.
  • [06] Erdogan: There is no healthy democracy in Turkey yet.
  • [07] New formula to pave Erdogan's way to become prime minister.
  • [08] Turkish Court to start trial against German foundations.
  • [09] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the "Solution, EU and Peace" rally.
  • [10] The Azerbaijani President supports Turkey's policy on Cyprus.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Kofi Annan proposals: Cyprus-Turkey-EU relations.
  • [12] Washington and the EU will exert pressure on the Greek Cypriot side and provide the Turkish Cypriots a better text to sign.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after a medical check-up in Ankara

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (23.12.02) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, who has been staying in Ankara for some time because of his health problems, underwent a routine medical examination today. In a statement upon emerging from the hospital, Denktas declared that the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish Government favour conciliation through negotiations in Cyprus. Denktas also stated that he will send a letter to the UN Secretary-General on the economic and political advantages and disadvantages of the latest peace plan for the Turkish Cypriots.

    Denktas went to the Ankara University Ibni Sina Hospital for a routine examination this morning. Denktas, who remained approximately four hours in the hospital, said that he has no health problems other than a slight fluid retention, and expressed the hope to leave for Cyprus this week.

    Denktas was also asked questions about the Cyprus issue.

    "There is some apprehension on our part and on the part of our people. We will exert every possible effort to rectify these through negotiations. Accepting such a document without eliminating these shortcomings is tantamount to eradicating the Turkish Cypriots in 5-10 years. I am in the process of writing in detail to the UN Secretary-General about the economic and political consequences of this document for the Turkish Cypriots. I will probably finish it in a few days. I do not think that the Secretary-General is aware of this," he said.

    Denktas alleged that the territorial demands in the plan will lead the Turkish Cypriots to destitution.

    "The Turkish Government is certainly conducting work on these subjects. I am aware of this. As stated by the new government, we want to reach conciliation, an agreement through negotiations. Anyway, Turkey has been making sacrifices for so many years in order to reach conciliation and an agreement through negotiations," he added.

    In reply to a question on whether the talks will begin as soon as he returns to Cyprus, Denktas said that they are obliged to begin the talks, adding: "My colleagues are still working. They are in contact with me. The real talks will begin after De Soto arrives in Cyprus. He is expected to arrive on 7 January."

    [02] Details of a report to be submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side on the Annan Plan

    CNN TURK Television (25.12.02) broadcast that the details of the report to be submitted to the United Nations and the EU by the Turkish Cypriot side with regard to the Kofi Annan plan are beginning to come to light. The Turkish Cypriot side will say: If we accept the plan, we will find ourselves in great economic difficulty. The

    report outlines the adverse affects of the Annan plan on the puppet regime's economy with numbers. The report stresses that 13,000 persons will be unemployed and the main production loss in the economy will reach 60 percent.

    Handi Firat reports:

    "The `TRNC´ is concentrating its views regarding the Annan plan in a report. The report, which will be submitted to the United Nations and the EU, states that if the Annan plan is accepted, in a sense, the `TRNC´ economy will collapse. The report drafted by the `TRNC´ notes: If the plan submitted to us is accepted, we will find ourselves in economic difficulties. These views are also supported by numbers.

    The report explains that if the plan is accepted, 22 percent of the fertile land and 56 percent of the natural resources, mainly water, will be lost. Accordingly, the `TRNC´ will have given away close to 23 percent of its national income, which is equivalent to $202 million. According to the report, the plan hits the agricultural sector as well. The implementation of the Annan plan will result in a loss of 66 percent in agricultural production. The main production loss in the national economy is cited as 60 percent. All this will exacerbate the unemployment in the `TRNC´. A total of 13,000 persons will be unemployed, resulting in a loss of $15 million.

    Also according to the Annan plan, there will be 55,000 Turkish refugees. This will necessitate the construction of 14,721 new housing units, which will, in turn, cost $390 million. At the end of the report, the `TRNC´ states that the $250 million proposed by the EU to compensate for the economic loss is insufficient."

    [03] Turkey and the puppet regime signed an agreement for an additional loan of 37.6 million dollars

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (26.12.02) broadcast that an agreement was signed in Ankara yesterday according to which Turkey will release an additional loan of $37.6 million to the puppet regime. The agreement was signed by so-called Ambassador to Ankara Ahmet Zeki Bulunc and Ersen Ekren, director general of foreign economic relations of the Turkish Treasury. The loan will be spent on the restructuring of the public and financial sectors, on incentives, and to support the real sector. This loan raises to $159.6 million the sum of $122 million Turkey was to have extended to the puppet regime in 2003 in line with an accord signed on 27 February 2002.

    The decision on this additional loan was reached during a meeting held between Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and the so-called Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu during the latter's two-day working visit to Ankara last week.

    [04] Thousands of Turkish Cypriots demonstrated for peace and against Denktas

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (26.12.02) broadcast that the platform consisting of certain parties and civilian organizations held a rally today calling for a solution, EU membership, and peace. Also, a six-point declaration was read out calling for the acceptance of the Annan plan as soon as possible so that a solution can be found to the Cyprus problem by 28 February.

    Thousands of people participated in the rally held at Inonu Square in occupied Nicosia. Mustafa Akinci, former chairman of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP), delivered a speech at the rally as did Ferdi Sabit Soyer, general-secretary of the Republican Turkish Party. The speeches underscored the need to immediately start negotiations on the Annan plan so that the Cyprus problem can be solved. The speakers stressed the Cyprus problem should be solved by 28 February. They said that Rauf Denktas has lost his title of negotiator, they criticized him for his stand at the negotiations, and called on him to resign.

    Istanbul NTV television (26.12.02) broadcast that the demonstration was the largest one staged to date. Participating in today's "Solution and EU Rally", which was organized at the initiative of the This Country Is Ours Platform, were labour unions, political parties, and 42 civilian organizations. Thousands of people who gathered in the Inonu Square expressed the view that the Turkish Cypriots want a solution and EU membership on the basis of the Annan plan.

    While the demonstration was being held, certain labour unions staged a strike. Lessons were suspended in the schools because the teacher unions also staged a strike. Strikes were also held in some so-called state offices and businesses in a bid to encourage attendance, and shopkeepers closed their shops.

    Addressing the rally, Mustafa Akinci, Communal Liberation Party so-called deputy, said that Rauf Denktas is dragging the island to permanent division. He charged that Turkey is divided into two with regard to Cyprus. Akinci declared: The fate of the Turkish Cypriots will be determined in the squares of Nicosia, not in the hills of Cankaya, the seat of the Turkish president.

    A declaration issued at the end of the rally said: We are announcing to the world that Denktas does not represent the Turkish Cypriots. The struggle will continue until we reach lasting peace.

    [05] Communal Liberation so-called deputy resigned from party

    Illegal Bayrak Radio (24.12.02) broadcast that Dervis Akter, CLP [Communal Liberation Party] so-called Kyrenia deputy, has resigned from his party. He submitted his letter of resignation to the so-called Republican Assembly Chairmanship today. Akter's note of resignation was also submitted to the "Republican Assembly".

    [06] Erdogan: There is no healthy democracy in Turkey yet

    Turkish Daily News (26.12.02) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that there was no full healthy democracy in Turkey at present, emphasizing that the institutions unfortunately were still threatening each other, semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

    Addressing a meeting organized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of labour union for railway workers Demiryol-Is in Ankara, Erdogan said that people should not expect too many things from the government as the latter was newly set up.

    Emphasizing that at least a year should pass to evaluate the government's performance, Erdogan noted: "I have never adopted a populist approach." He stated that November 3 was an evolution and transformation in 50-year Turkish politics, adding that democracy would be healthier if it was used with the country's inner dynamics.

    Erdogan claimed that there was not a fully healthy democracy in the country, stating that there was no sound cooperation among the state institutions. He underlined that the government would always be criticized, noting that they would never be bothered by such criticism. "There's no point in being offended by criticism. The matter is that these criticisms should be fair," he added.

    [07] New formula to pave Erdogan's way to become prime minister

    According to Turkish Daily News (26.12.02) Turkey's Parliamentary Constitution Commission on Wednesday approved a draft allowing the postponement of crimes committed via media, publicly known as the "media amnesty."

    The Justice and Development Party (JDP) government revealed its adamant manner to pave JDP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's way to become prime minister by approving this draft.

    The commission's decision to approve this draft will eliminate all the consequences of Erdogan's previous sentence on charges of violating article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code.

    Erdogan paid for this crime with over 10 months imprisonment but his criminal record prevented him to run in the 2002 elections, erasing his chances to become prime minister.

    After JDP's landslide victory, Deputy Chairman Abdullah Gul received the mandate to form the JDP government and welcomed a vote of confidence last month.

    The Party has been seeking ways to carry Erdogan to Parliament since then.

    The constitutional amendment vetoed by Ahmet Necdet Sezer earlier this month was the first serious attempt of the party.

    Before the veto, Erdogan was almost certain to run for parliamentary status in Siirt by-elections because the changes were due to lift his political ban that barred him from running in November 3 elections.

    Erdogan was barred from running in national polls because of a past conviction for "inciting religious hatred," from a poem he read out during a public rally.

    President Sezer vetoed the changes, saying they were against the principle of universality of the Constitution and were designed for a certain individual.

    The Constitution Commission's decision was the last attempt of the JDP to open Erdogan's political path.

    If this draft is passed by Parliament, then Erdogan's political ban will be lifted automatically and he can run in the Siirt by-elections without the need of constitutional amendment.

    Not only Erdogan, but all those who have paid for their crimes but failed to benefit from amnesty will have the chance to benefit from this new postponement.

    Meanwhile, Parliament's sole opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) rejected the draft saying that it is an implementation designed for a certain individual.

    RPP's Ziya Yergok said that this draft carries the characteristics of a special amnesty.

    Despite RPP's rejection, the votes of JDP holding Parliament's majority were enough to approve the draft.

    [08] Turkish Court to start trial against German foundations

    Turkish Daily News (26.12.02) reports that representatives of five German foundations in Turkey are to appear before an Ankara State Security Court (SSC) the first session of a trial launched on the grounds of covert activities to subvert the Turkish state.

    The case was initiated by former Ankara Chief SSC prosecutor Nuh Mete Yuksel, who has been subsequently sacked from his post after the public exposure of a sex scandal involving him.

    Yuksel argued in his indictment that there was serious evidence showing that the activities of German foundations amounted to "legal spying."

    "Foundations are the most effective and trustworthy means of the German foreign policy," Yuksel wrote in the indictment, saying they have managed to exert influence on Turkish politics and society in circumstances where diplomacy could not function properly.

    The indictment presented a book by slain academic Necip Hablemitoglu as evidence.

    Hablemitoglu argued in his book that German foundations had sponsored a protest of villagers in an Aegean town, Bergama, against a project to extract gold.

    The protesting villagers said they were concerned about environmental impacts of extracting gold by using cyanide. Hablemitoglu said the protest campaign was a plot to hamper Turkey's efforts to extract and use its own underground mine sources.

    Among the defendants are the Turkish representative of Konrad Adaneur Foundation Wulf Schonbohm, Heinrich Boell Foundation Turkish representative Figen Fatma Ugur, Frederich Naumann Foundation Turkish representative Wolfgang Sachsenroeder, Orient Institute Chairman Claus Schoenig and former Bergama mayor Safa Taskin.

    The indictment seeks up to 15 years in jail for the accused on the charge of "secret plots against the security of the state" under Article 171 of the Turkish Penal Code.

    [09] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the "Solution, EU and Peace" rally

    Almost all the Turkish Cypriot papers (27.12.02) give excessive coverage to the rally organized yesterday by the platform "This country is ours" at the Inonu square in the occupied part of Nicosia.

    KIBRIS, under the front-page banner title "People claimed to be the owner of their own fate", writes that more than 30 thousand people participated in the rally, shouting slogans such as "Denktas resign", "We are Europeans", "You have no right to play with our future" and "Peace now, immediately".

    YENI DUZEN on its front page publishes a full-page picture of the rally and referring to statements of Taner Etkin, coordinator of the National People's Movement, who had said that those who oppose to the policy of Mr Rauf Denktas "have gone beyond the line", the paper writes "Look at us, we have gone beyond the line!".

    ORTAM writes that the number of the participants in the rally exceeded the 50 thousands and adds that the future of the Turkish Cypriots will be decided at the squares of occupied Cyprus and not at Turkey's presidential residence in Ankara.

    AFRIKA, under the front-page banner title "Earthquake", describes the rally as "the largest in the history of Cyprus" and adds that if the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas does not resign, even larger rallies will be organized. AFRIKA notes also the following: "Do not try in vain to establish the number (of the participants). You may say 30, 40 or 50 thousands. We say the whole of Cyprus!".

    VATAN writes that thousands of people shouted for peace and solution yesterday in Nicosia.

    HALIKN SESI, under the front-page banner title "Rally of determination for solution and the EU", writes that the streets of Nicosia witnessed the largest rally of the recent years.

    Weekly YENI CAG notes that the will of the Turkish Cypriots for solution of the Cyprus problem was expressed with the rally and adds that more than 30 thousand people participated in it.

    Pro-Denktas VOLKAN, under the banner front-page title "Government resign", claims that the so-called "government" should resign because it could not control the situation and permitted some provocateurs to organize a "shameful" rally, which has not ensured the support of the Turkish Cypriots. "'Our small students and our children were forced to carry placards with shameful slogans and flags of foreign powers. The government, however, remained a viewer of these events'", notes VOLKAN.

    BIRLIK, mouthpiece of the National Unity Party (NUP) of the so-called "Prime Minister" Dervis Eroglu, does not refer to the rally. The front-page title of the paper refers to the illegal visit of Turkey's Minister of Health to the occupied areas.

    [10] The Azerbaijani President supports Turkey's policy on Cyprus

    According to KIBRIS (27.12.02), the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev received yesterday the Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Unal Cevikoz, who had asked for the meeting. Cevikoz briefed Aliyev on domestic and foreign policies of the new 58th Turkish government.

    "The new government will continue the foreign policy of its predecessors", Cevikoz said. "It will continue to pay much attention to developing ties with Azerbaijan and other Turkic countries. Turkey's policy regarding the Caucasus region remains unchanged", he noted.

    Speaking about Turkish relations with the European Union, Cevikoz said that Ankara was not satisfied with decisions of the Copenhagen summit, which said that Turkey could start talks on its admission only in 2004. Cevikoz described the EU's decision to admit Cyprus as "a mistake". "For this will not lead to a resolution of the Cyprus problem," Cevikoz said.

    In turn, Aliyev said that the formation of a one-party government in Turkey was a positive development. "For decades Turkish coalition governments have failed to solve Turkey's problems", Aliyev said. "Another positive point is that only one party represents the opposition in the parliament. I hope that under these circumstances Turkey will accomplish much in terms of economic development, domestic and foreign policy", Aliyev said.

    Touching on the results of the Copenhagen summit, Aliyev said that its decisions were "unfair" to Turkey. "Turkey has more rights to be admitted to the European Union than the ten states which will join the European Union in 2004", Aliyev said.

    The decision to admit Cyprus to the EU was "also unfair and a manifestation of double standards", Aliyev said. Aliyev reproached the UN, which effectively supported the EU decision on Cyprus.

    Azerbaijan will also support any decision by Turkey regarding the Cyprus issue. The current plan to settle this conflict is "cosmetic" and will not resolve it, Aliyev said. This plan is aimed at "getting Greek Cyprus to join the EU" at any cost, Aliyev said. "I am certain that Turkey will enter the EU despite all efforts to the contrary", Aliyev said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Kofi Annan proposals: Cyprus-Turkey-EU relations

    Turkish Daily News (26.12.02) publishes the following analysis by Resat Arim, Retired Ambassador, Foreign Policy Institute Executive Board member professor Ali L. Karaosmanoglu, Bilkent University International Relations Department Chairman, Foreign Policy Institute Executive Board member, and Seyfi Tashan, Foreign Policy Institute Chairman.

    "The U.N. proposals on Cyprus both meet the Turkish side's demand for an equal state and strikes a balance by granting territorial concessions and the right to return to lands in the Turkish-controlled north to Greek Cypriots. It also envisages that a guarantee agreement covers common states and that Turkey and Greece be granted the utmost preference. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposals also put an end to the entity called Cyprus Republic, controlled by Greek Cypriots, by suggesting the establishment of a new Cyprus state in line with demands of the Turkish side.

    One can rule, therefore, that the plan suggests a solution to the dispute by granting satisfactory benefits to all sides.

    The text presented by Annan to all sides concerned is also proof of the success achieved by the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, in negotiations. As we all know, Denktas, having seen that a solution was now necessary after 40 years of negotiations, tested a new method in November 2001 and offered face-to-face talks with President Glafcos Clerides. In the course of these talks, which started in January 2002, Denktas offered proposals based on the idea of a "new partnership where equal status of both sides will clearly be recognized," in line with a statement of the U.N. Secretary-General in September 2000. Clerides was apparently not happy with this and did not bring any proposal to the negotiation table. Seeing this, Denktas presented a new package of proposals on Sept. 11, 2002, taking into consideration objections of the Greek Cypriot side. Denktas' proposals have been inspired to a large extent by Belgian and Swiss administration models. Main ideas constituting the basis of these proposals could be outlined as follows: The new Partnership State should be based on equal political sovereignty of Partner States. Partner States will use powers that they do not transfer to the Partnership State. An agreement to be signed by Partner States will constitute the foundation of the new Cyprus State and a new political situation will emerge on the island. Guarantee and Alliance Agreements will remain in force. The U.N. peacekeeping force on the island will continue with its duty.

    The package of proposals presented by Annan meets Rauf Denktas' demands to a large extent. The package makes use of Belgian and Swiss models and it openly acknowledges this. Similar to the early days of the Swiss state in the late 13th century, Cyprus will emerge as a brand new state and the new Cyprus will be founded with an agreement between politically equal Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides. Main provisions of the new Cypriot Constitution will be nothing but an appendix of the Founding Agreement. The U.N. Security Council and the EU will recognize separate political identities of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, their political equality and the equal status of Partner States.

    The new status quo that will emerge in line with the Annan proposals will be better in terms of Turkey's strategic interests than the one provided by the 1959-1960 agreements. Because the new proposed alliance allows Turkey and Greece to have more troops on the island provided that the number of troops from both countries is equal.

    In addition, the Annan plan also contains strong security guarantees for both Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. One of them is that the scope of the 1959 Guarantee Agreement is to remain in force after its scope is extended and strengthened in favour of the Turkish side. According to the plan, the Guarantee Agreement is to be officially acknowledged by both the EU and the U.N. Security Council as one of the official documents of the new Cyprus State. The agreement, in its new form, provides guarantees not only for the Partnership State but also for the territorial integrity and the constitutional order of the Partner States.

    The biggest concern for Turkey about the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) would be realized in the event Cyprus joins the EU before Turkey and undermines and even invalidates the Guarantee Agreement. The proposals in the Annan plan are totally erasing these concerns. The plan envisages that a protocol be added to the accession treaty of Greek Cyprus stipulating that the Guarantee Agreement shall definitely remain intact.

    Though the United Nations' Secretary-General wanted a preliminary deal to be reached between Cypriot sides on the Founding Agreement prior to the Copenhagen Summit, the parties of the dispute could not go beyond declaring that they had accepted the Annan proposals as a basis for negotiations and outlining their objections.

    Three different stances have been detected in the Turkish public on the Cyprus issue: Proponents of the first approach base their claim upon the thesis that the island should be divided between Turkish and Greek sections. These people are mostly distinguishable for their opposition to Turkey's EU membership. Those university students shouting slogans "Either division or death!" in rally grounds in the 1950s thought their desire had been definitely realized following the Turkish military intervention in Cyprus in 1974. Tough stance of Greek Cypriots in the course of long negotiation process that went underway afterwards strengthened this belief.

    Proponents of the second approach believe that a solution should be reached through negotiations that will be based on the political equality of the two Cypriot communities and guarantee security of the Turkish Cypriots.

    A third camp, which prefers an easy way out, adapt a policy of "give out and disburden".

    The first option is still possible; but taking up a "Cyprus issue has been solved" attitude might bring about several troubles. If this option is realized, Turkey may have to give up its ambition to join the EU. Because the EU member Greek Cyprus will not allow Turkey's accession into the EU as long as it does not seize control of Northern Cyprus.

    Turkey may well live under such circumstances but one should examine its potential impacts on the Turkish socio-political system very well. Secondly, Turkey might be perceived by its members as a revisionist country aspiring to revitalize the Ottoman Empire if it happens to annex Northern Cyprus. This, in turn, will irritate all neighbours that we are trying to improve ties with and lead governments of these countries to perceive their Turkish and Muslim minorities as a burden that has to be gotten rid of. Security cooperation projects in the Balkans and the Black Sea basin, to which we have been successfully committed so far, will lose their significance in the eyes of regional countries. Turkey will lose ground in both its regional policies and its status in the international arena will be seriously undermined.

    Thirdly, Turkey will have gravely violated its National Pact of 1920 and the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. Fourthly, such a move will block the way for a solution to the Cyprus issue. What is more, if we leave the problem unresolved and fail to change the existing conditions, we might face a serious adverse reaction from both the Turkish Cypriot community and the Turkish public which feel angry for having been excluded from the EU. In the same way, Turkey would make a big mistake if it happens to perceive Cyprus as a burden to be gotten rid of and pursues a "give-out-and-disburden" policy. Such an approach will jeopardize well-being, security and even the very existence of the Turkish Cypriot community on the island. Turkish public cannot tolerate such a formula. In a similar way, using Cyprus as a bargaining chip for Turkey's EU membership bid is not realistic either. Because prolongation of the Cyprus issue is a negative factor for Turkey's EU membership. On the other hand, solution to the Cyprus issue is of critical importance for preventing a Greek veto against Turkey's membership and the enlargement of the EU in general and for improving Turkey's image in the international arena. Aside from that, Turkey's EU membership depends on its performance to meet membership criteria and emergence of a consensus among member countries in favour of Turkey.

    The Kofi Annan plan contains principles that could constitute bases for negotiations between the two Cypriot sides that should be carried out in goodwill. These principles are also those that could prevent the EU from pursuing an erroneous policy in regard to Turkey and Cyprus. It seems both the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot public favour a fair solution to the problem that was cited above as the second approach.

    In the light of all this, we believe the indicated solution formula should be accepted, provided that necessary corrections are made to it.

    [12] Washington and the EU will exert pressure on the Greek Cypriot side and provide the Turkish Cypriots a better text to sign

    Turkish Daily News (23.12.02) publishes an analysis of the summit on Cyprus held on 18 December. The analysis by Yusuf Kanli, discloses the positions of Sezer, Ozkok, Gul and Denktas at the summit.

    The analysis is as follows:

    Tensions at the withering heights of the Turkish capital over the Cyprus problem appeared to have calmed down after a key summit at the presidential palace attended by civilian and political leaders of Turkey, as well as the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    A summit statement has indicated that despite the signs of change in the approach of the new Justice and Development Party (JDP) government to the Cyprus problem, a consensus was reached at the summit and Turkey has made a U-turn to the traditional Cyprus policy.

    Has the JDP changed its position or realized the mistake it has made because of its inexperience, listened to the old wise man of northern Cyprus and decided to walk in his footsteps? Is this a return to the traditional 'status quo or in itself a settlement' policy? If so, has Turkey finally decided to implement the so-called "Plan B", brush aside the Cyprus settlement efforts and concentrate on consolidation of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", integrate it with the mainland as regards to foreign, defence and economy spheres and engage in a campaign of attaining international recognition?

    The summit statement showed that the situation might not be exactly that either. It reaffirmed the strong will of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot parties to continue exploring for a negotiated "just and lasting" settlement to the almost four-decade-old Cyprus problem on the basis of Turkish Cypriot equality and sovereignty. It further underlined that Rauf Denktas would continue the Cyprus talks until February 28, as was demanded in a United Nations blueprint for a comprehensive solution on Cyprus and backed up by the European Union summit meeting in Copenhagen on December 12 and 13.

    Did Turkey change its approach to the Cyprus problem, or have the power dens of Turkish politics reconciled and produced a compromise policy? The JDP government, which since coming to power after a landmark election victory on November 3 has been stressing its strong commitment for a Cyprus resolution and ruling out the traditional "Status quo is itself a settlement" hawkish policy of Ankara and northern Cyprus, now has stated that it fully supported Denktas and underlined that there is no change in Turkey's Cyprus policy.

    If the JDP really wanted a change in the Cyprus policy but had to undercut its own stance because of objections of Denktas and the support of the Turkish establishment to the Turkish Cypriot leader's position, does this mean it chose to be an "impotent government" and leave political power to the civilian-military establishment? Is this a failure indicating the character of the new era in Turkey, or a retreat by JDP until it gains more strength?

    A change in the Cyprus policy of Turkey despite the strong opposition to such a move by Denktas and the civilian-military establishment in Turkey would have consolidated the political power of the JDP government and demonstrate both in the country and abroad its ability to recourse foreign policy objectives of the country. But, failure in doing so, on the other hand, would curtail the power JDP got with its landmark election victory and make it nothing but one of the "system parties" which the Turks decided to oust from Parliament in the November 3 polls.

    It appears that the change JDP pledged to the Turkish Cypriots and Turks, as well as to the international community, as regards to the Cyprus policy of Turkey was just a product of the inexperience of the ruling party in state administration and how policies in Ankara were devised and altered.

    Indeed, according to information obtained by the TDN, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer was quite stubborn at the Cankaya summit and expressed in clear terms his irritation with the JDP government's approach to the Cyprus problem.

    At the Cankaya summit, President Sezer reportedly underlined that Turkey's position on Cyprus was not subject to seasonal changes and was forged through years of consideration and reviews.

    "The Turkish Parliament has made unanimous decisions on the issues. I and the preceding two presidents have made public official statements in support of `TRNC´. At the National Security Council meetings, the Cyprus issue was handled several times. In the statements of those meetings, our official position has been repeatedly underlined. National policy documents have been devised. The methodology of how these policies ought to be changed are clear," President Sezer was quoted by sources as stressing at the summit.

    According to the sources, the president underlined that statements implying a change in Turkey's Cyprus policies while there were no such change "do not amount to anything other than creating confusion."

    The sources said the president stressed that the Annan plan was a document that can be negotiated and Turkey has repeatedly and officially declared this point ever since the document was presented to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides in early November.

    Statements by some circles as if Turkey did not want a settlement was an injustice to the Turkish state, the president has reportedly complained, adding that Turkey wanted a settlement on Cyprus that would preserve peace, guarantees and Turkish-Greek balance and encompass equality and sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot parties on the island.

    "We definitely want a political settlement reached on the island on these lines. Therefore, we consider Annan's plan as a basis for negotiations and want talks to be continued," Sezer reportedly stressed.

    Were these remarks of the president routine, or were they an expression of frustration with the JDP policies?

    Not only the president, the Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, was also reportedly rather straightforward in criticizing the government.

    Speaking at the summit, Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok reportedly stressed that it should not be forgotten that the negotiations process between the two sides started with the initiative of Rauf Denktas. Criticizing Denktas at this stage won't serve anything but to erosion of the positions of the "TRNC" and Turkey, the Chief of Staff has reportedly stressed.

    Ozkok complained that some people in Turkey were creating an atmosphere as if some bodies of the Turkish state did not want a reasonable, acceptable and just settlement on Cyprus. Thus, Ozkok reportedly underlined, creating an atmosphere as if the government wanted a settlement, the Annan plan was providing answers to all issues, but some people see benefit in continuation of the problem and thus resist to settlement efforts would not serve to anyone and to a Cyprus resolution.

    The top commander of the country reportedly stressed that since the 1963 collapse of the partnership administration on the island, there has been no government representing the entire population of Cyprus.

    Ozkok reportedly also stressed that the 1960 treaties provided Turkey, Greece and Britain guarantor rights on Cyprus and according to those agreements, Turkey, and other guarantor powers, has the right to unilateral intervention.

    "Those agreements provide Turkey the right to intervention now as EU accession is an open and unacceptable violation of the founding agreements. But, rather than talking of our right to intervention, we have been stressing our support for the talks which demonstrate our commitment to a negotiated settlement on the island," sources quoted Ozkok as saying.

    The top general of the country reportedly also complained that the reactions from the Greek Cypriot side and Greece to the statements made by the government in regard to Turkey-EU relations and the role of the Turkish military demonstrated what serious mistakes these statements were and demonstrated the need to reiterate full support for Rauf Denktas.

    Indeed, what the top general of the country was saying was almost said verbatim by the Foreign Ministry in a statement issued just before the summit.

    Denktas, on his part, was reportedly "very talkative" at the summit, presented a lengthy analysis of how the problem evolved since the 1950s and how the Turkish policy regarding Cyprus shaped up since than.

    What did Prime Minister Abdullah Gul do at that meeting? Mostly listened to what was said, took notes and defended that statements made by his Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis were misunderstood and assured the civilian and military leaders of the country and Denktas that his government was not involved in a secret deal with the EU or Americans on Cyprus.

    The outcome of the summit appeared to be a compromise, however, as while on the one hand contrary to what the previous Bulent Ecevit government of Turkey would have done -- to declare deepening of integration between the "TRNC" and Turkey and burry the talks process -- it was decided that talks ought to continue until Feb. 28 on the basis of the Annan plan, the Turkish side is committed to a negotiated, just and lasting settlement on the basis of the equality of the two sides on the island and their separate sovereignty.

    The commitment of Denktas to continue talks, despite the EU decision to invite Greek Cypriots to membership, is a product of compromise with the JDP government. But, it was just one side of the coin. On the other side of the coin was the disguised decision threatening the EU that if by April 2003 no settlement was reached on the island and the Union signs an accession treaty with the Greek Cypriot side, Turkey would go along with the declared reciprocal plans and integrate with the Turkish Cypriot state. This point was not clearly stated after the summit, but the statement of presidential spokesman Tacan Ildem evaluated together with the Foreign Ministry statement was sending out that clear message.

    It appears that there is a return to the "negotiations on the Annan plan" from a Cyprus policy discoursed so much to mean a sell-out by the JDP before the Copenhagen summit. If so, and if Denktas sincerely believes that the revised Annan plan is a "death trap" full of "grave dangers" which if accepted will lead to Hellenization of Cyprus, is there a reason to expect a breakthrough by February 28?

    The entire scenario appears to have been built on the expectation that as April 16 draws closer - -particularly if in the meantime an Iraq operation by the U.S. starts and Turkey's strategic importance for the West gets a booster -- Washington and the EU would try to prevent an escalation and a possible head on collision with Turkey over Cyprus, exert more pressure on the Greek Cypriot side and provide Turkish Cypriots a better text to sign.

    Otherwise, what would be the meaning of Turkey rejecting the EU decision inviting the Greek Cypriot side to membership, declaring a Greek Cypriot EU accession as EU occupation of part of Cypriot territory or Ozkok telling the Cankaya summit that with the EU decision Turkey has acquired the right to intervene in Cyprus but preferred to press for talks?


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