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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-12-23

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.243/03 23.12.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Cyprus among the issues to be discussed by Erdogan during Washington visit.
  • [02] Turkish diplomatic sources say Denktas will sooner or later accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations.
  • [03] Statements on Cyprus by the Turkish Government Spokesman.
  • [04] Extract on Cyprus from the Turkish Foreign Minister's address of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the budget.
  • [05] The new Motherland Party leader analyses her views on Turkey's current issues including Cyprus.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] Ilter Turkmen: Denktas will continue to hold the key to a solution unless Turkey takes a firm stand.
  • [07] Commentary in MILLIYET views the US approach to the Annan plan after the voting in the occupied areas.
  • [08] Rauf Denktas no more the negotiator.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Cyprus among the issues to be discussed by Erdogan during Washington visit

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.12.03) reported from Washington that the Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan will go to Washington on January 26 and meet with U.S. President George Bush on January 28.

    Erdogan, who will stay in Washington until January 30, will also meet with other U.S. officials and make speeches in various institutions.

    Erdogan is expected to evaluate the Cyprus and Iraq issues and also other bilateral and regional issues during his visit.

    This will be Erdogan's first visit to the United States as Prime Minister. Erdogan visited Washington in December 2002 as the leader of Justice and Development Party (JDP) and met with Bush.

    [02] Turkish diplomatic sources say Denktas will sooner or later accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations

    Istanbul NTV television (22.12.03) broadcast that the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, to the effect that there is nothing to be negotiated about the Annan plan once again demonstrated the deep differences of views between Ankara and occupied Nicosia. In contrast to these remarks, Ankara maintains the view that Denktas has no alternative other than to negotiate the Annan plan.

    Diplomatic sources note that sooner or later Denktas will accept the Annan plan as the basis for negotiations. The expression of this view is interpreted as meaning that Ankara will increase its pressure on Denktas in the future. It is further being noted that a clear picture will emerge only after the Cyprus summit slated to be held at the Cankaya Presidential Mansion.

    [03] Statements on Cyprus by the Turkish Government Spokesman

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.12.03) reported from Ankara that Justice Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek on Monday made statements on Cyprus following the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

    Assessing the voting in occupied Cyprus Mr Cicek said that Turkey was pleased with the result, and added:

    ''This election was held in front of the eyes of everybody. Now, as the government, we expect a `government' to be formed in `TRNC' as soon as possible and the new `government' to start its initiatives as soon as possible. Because, there are some processes, problems, difficulties and obstacles before us. We should use our time well to overcome all these altogether.

    We made an evaluation on this issue. The Foreign Ministry is carrying out a comprehensive work. If this work is concluded this week, it will be brought to the Council of Ministers and then we will evaluate it. We expect the `government' to be formed in `TRNC' as soon as possible and the following process in the `TRNC' to be well-evaluated.''

    Asked if Ankara would make a suggestion in case there was a problem in efforts to form a "government" in the occupied areas of Cyprus and asked about today's statements of Rauf Denktas on the Annan plan, Cicek said: ''We did not discuss 'what kind of a `government' will be a good `government' in `TRNC.' There is no doubt that it is a decision to be made by elected `TRNC' parliament. We expect that a government will be formed in `TRNC' as soon as possible. How a government will be formed is a decision to be taken by Turkish Cypriot people. We may have recommendations and wishes at this stage, but it is the Turkish Cypriots who will make this decision.

    Developments in Cyprus closely concern not only kinsmen there, but also Turkey. There is a limited time before us especially when May 1, 2004 is taken into consideration. This process should be well-evaluated. We should work in detail about how to make best use of this process.

    We should discuss what we can negotiate and how we can do it. We should discuss what we can do together. These are issues which will become clear in coming days. We closely follow developments in Cyprus."

    [04] Extract on Cyprus from the Turkish Foreign Minister's address of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the budget

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (22.12.03) broadcast that Mr Abdullah Gul, Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister addressing the National Assembly session on his ministry's budget, said that the current stage reached in Cyprus is very serious, and added: "We have the political will to find a solution to the problem. However, all the sides, particularly the Greek Cypriot side, should realize that a conciliation can be reached only through mutual concession. Those who expect the solution to be attained through the one-sided capitulation of the Turkish side are gravely mistaken. We are sincerely warning the third sides that wish to contribute to a solution to act on the basis of this fact. It must be thoroughly understood that the pressures to be applied on one side, as has been the case to date, will fail to yield positive results.

    As of this week, our nation and the Turkish Cypriots should pursue a more cool-headed and wiser common stand than ever before. At this stage, heroism and propaganda must be set aside. Wasting time with heroism and propaganda could cost us all dearly in the long term. What we must undertake at this stage is to display sincere efforts for a solution acceptable to all by utilizing all the methods and means available to contemporary diplomacy within the framework of the parameters we have determined."

    [05] The new Motherland Party ' leader analyses her views on Turkey's current issues including Cyprus

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (22.12.03) publishes the following interview with Mrs Nersin Nas, the new leader of Turkey's Motherland Party (MP):

    Question: The MP was dealt a serious blow in the general election held on 3 November 2002. Your party has no seats in Parliament and Ali Talip Ozdemir stepped aside as chairman after Mesut Yilmaz, his predecessor. Has the MP completed its mission?

    Answer: No. The MP was founded as a political party with a specific vision early in the 1980s. Turgut Ozal read the changing global conditions very correctly. An efficient free-market economy, liberalization, democratization and lifting of trade restrictions... The MP carried out reforms in all those fields in Turkey at a time that could be described as the beginning of the end from the standpoint of the bipolar international system. It is innovative and progressive. MP's ground-breaking steps in the field of economy, however, were not supplemented by legal reforms, which led to an erosion of values while preventing Turkey from completing its privatization drive aside from creating an export-oriented economy.

    Question: The MP could not pull round after Ozal. The center right collapsed due to Suleyman Demirel's appearance on the political stage again and a series of rows between Tansu Ciller and Mesut Yilmaz whereas Islamic parties became more popular. Presenting itself as a conservative democratic party the JDP [Justice and Development Party] purports to be the biggest party in the center.

    Answer: There is a serious difficulty. A change of leadership in the 1990s after Ozal gave the MP a fresh impetus, but it made a mistake in defining its place in the political spectrum as its underlying philosophy had been disregarded. Given that the MP is an action-oriented party, which means that it must remain in power, the party's previous leaders tried to keep the party afloat by forming a series of alliances. This wrong headed approach paved the way for debilitation of the center right, or, to put it correctly, the liberal-conservative right including the MP. The collapse of the middle class, which took the brunt of the economic crises, led to the defeat suffered by the center right in the general election.

    Question: What are your plans for the upcoming local elections?

    Answer: I will not pursue a traditional opposition strategy. Opposition parties in Turkey confine themselves to the government's perspective and look at the issue from an angle limited to the government's achievements or failures. Therefore, the government plays a determinant role. Besides, if you are facing a majority government with 368 seats in Parliament, you may become totally invisible. I do not want to act like a critical companion as the leader of an opposition party.

    Question: Why has the business community been alienated from the MP?

    Answer: If 80 percent of young educated people want to emigrate to other countries, it should be a matter of concern for the business community more than any other group, because their factories and banks could lose their significance if that happens. If terror escalates, how long could you live at your home after constructing high walls around it? Creating a safe future in Turkey should be our common ideal. The MP will achieve that goal.

    Question: Will the MP be able to shake off its image as the party of the rich?

    Answer: We must do that. I am mostly interested in young people's opinions. I have a 19-year-old son going to university. He asks me what I intend to do about the future and whether or not he will be able to find a job. Ensuring it will be my number one priority.

    Question: What is the MP's popularity rating according to opinion polls?

    Answer: It was around one percent when I was elected as the new chairperson. I neither want to use the fact that I was elected only a short time ago as an excuse nor claim that the outcome of the local elections to be held only three months later will not be adequate to measure my performance. Every election will serve as a litmus test. I have told my colleagues after declaring my candidacy for the party's leadership that we must admit that the situation is changing for the worse. I will ensure that there is a well-functioning democratic mechanism within the party. Our provincial organizations will have the authority to pick our candidates. We will ensure that our local organizations are not manipulated by the party's headquarters. Question: Can we assume that there will be more female candidates?

    Answer: I strongly expect the local organizations to give preference to women.

    Question: What were the factors paving the way for election of a female chairperson to lead the MP? Some people regard you as a caretaker due to your close ties with Mesut Yilmaz.

    Answer: I joined the MP during Yilmaz' tenure as chairman. I was previously a member of the New Democracy Movement. I was elected an MP in the general election held in 1999. I am not surprised to hear that they call me a caretaker chairperson as I made my political career under Yilmaz's guidance. I have learned a lot from Yilmaz, but we have differing views about a variety of issues. In fact, I was not contemplating announcing my candidacy, but establishments have the stamina to survive. The MP is not dead yet.

    Question: Does Yilmaz plan to return to the party?

    Answer: He said that he had quit active politics. Sometimes you find it difficult to believe that a person has disengaged himself from a certain activity. A group of students from the German university where Yilmaz lectures visited me recently. He called me later to ask whether I would accept to give a lecture about economics. I observed Yilmaz' relations with his students there. He seemed very happy. I concluded that day that he would never return.

    Question: The MP's new chairperson was elected concurrently with the JDP's submission to the National assembly of motions calling for trial of some politicians before the High Court on charges of corruption. Does Yilmaz believe that he was not protected enough? Will your election provide a protective shield?

    Answer: No. The Motherland Party has no MP in the National Assembly. If the investigation committees eventually decide to initiate trial proceedings before the High Court and a judgment is handed down as a result of that trial, we should all remain silent, because it will be the judiciary's turn to speak. The decision to hold a national convention was made by Ozdemir and his team, not by us. I had resigned five months ago.

    Question: Ozdemir was very enthusiastic about assuming MP chairmanship after Yilmaz, but he also stepped aside after a short period.

    Answer: Turkey does not need politicians with a confused state of mind. The public wants to hear clear messages. Therefore, there were some disagreements between us. I also opposed Ozdemir's decision to hold a national convention in December and urged him not to resign until the local elections.

    Question: The local elections are scheduled for 28 March. How do you plan to hold out against the JDP?

    Answer: I cannot foresee what direction the JDP will take in the future. There were similar debates over the NAP [Nationalist Action Party] in the recent past. Established parties, however, manage to survive. The JDP adopts a pragmatic approach to every issue rather than devising a comprehensive national project. This approach cannot be sustained under the new conditions dictated by the new world order.

    Question: They are obliged to resolve problems as they have formed a majority government.

    Answer: The MP made a mistake by describing itself as an action-oriented party following in Ozal's footsteps. The JDP is repeating the same mistake by likening itself to the MP.

    Question: Headscarf is one of the contentious issues in Turkey. What is your opinion about that matter as the MP's new chairperson?

    Answer: No attire, faith or any thing related to our identity should restrict people's freedoms or prevent them from enjoying their fundamental rights. This also goes for the public domain, too. Question: What is the situation from the viewpoint of government offices?

    Answer: There are specific rules that people working for government or private offices should comply with. Otherwise, they should look for other jobs.

    Question: You have just said that you were approaching the matter from the standpoint of freedoms.

    Answer: Headscarf should not prevent people from receiving education, which is one of their fundamental rights. Meanwhile, the JDP should stop exploiting headscarf for political purposes.

    Question: What do you think about theological high schools?

    Answer: They have already completed their mission. If they try to maintain theological high schools without restructuring them in a totally new world, they could not educate young people and create a social rift as people in high-income bracket will be able to send their children abroad to receive education while the children of poor families will go to theological high schools. Therefore, we must keep some theological high schools and their graduates should be admitted to theological colleges. The others must be transformed into high schools in order to put an end to the ongoing debates about that matter which cast a cloud over the academic system.

    Question: Have the recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul, which were described as Turkey's 11 September, cast a shadow over the JDP's arguments about Islam and democracy?

    Answer: The Prime Minister has said that they were greatly disturbed by attempts designed to identify Islam with terror. Had the JDP admitted that there were radical Islamic terrorists, it would have both dispersed the cloud over religion and clarified Turkey's stand on that matter. The JDP has missed a historic opportunity. They have not hesitated to announce that the terrorists were of Turkish nationality, which reflected their Islamic rather than nationalist posture. They have displayed a religious stance although they said that Islam was not their political reference.

    Question: The JDP seems to be focused on Turkey's accession to the EU. If a date for commencement of accession negotiations is set by the EU in 2004, it may increase its votes based on the assertion that it will achieve Turkey's integration with the EU. What will the MP's place be in the political spectrum?

    Answer: The new MP will follow a liberal conservative policy. I believe that politics should definitely stay away from the religious domain. I am neither of the opinion that acts of terror stem from any religion. Nevertheless, we should not ignore the fact that there are despotic regimes in almost all the Muslim countries. If we do not read the situation correctly and blame the problem arising from those despotic regimes on religion and conclude that we could overcome that problem by reforming the religion, we could play into the hands of people like Bin Ladin.

    Question: The MP lost its popularity due to cases of corruption and its leaders' tendency to regard politics as an area where they could reap financial benefits. Voters have never forgiven Yilmaz and Ciller for cooperating in the National Assembly to defeat motions tabled against each of them ahead of the elections. Could you describe your approach to the issue of ethics?

    Answer: Transparency. The first thing I will do after getting an official confirmation of my election as chairperson will be to file a personal financial disclosure.

    Question: It is said that the MP is facing a financial bottleneck?

    Answer: We do not get any financial assistance from the Treasury. It is true that the MP has financial problems, but they are overstated. If you divide three trillion Turkish liras by 3,000 people, you will find one billion Turkish liras. If you are not capable of raising that amount, then the best solution would be to dissolve the party.

    Question: The Cyprus question will be in the spotlight after the local elections scheduled for 28 March and the anticipated timetable to start accession talks with the EU will be the most important issue on the agenda late in 2004.

    Answer: I do not agree with the proponents of the EU who argue that our attempts to join the EU could be undermined if the Cyprus question remained unsolved. It is an assertion actually limiting the meaning of our objective to join the EU. The Cyprus issue, however, must be resolved.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] Ilter Turkmen: Denktas will continue to hold the key to a solution unless Turkey takes a firm stand

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (20.12.03) publishes the following column by Ilter Turkmen under the title: "Cyprus after the elections":

    "In my article entitled `TRNC' in December", which appeared on 8 November, I made the following comments about the policy that should be pursued by Turkey: "If the government is really determined to find a solution within the framework of the Annan plan, it should take action before the Turkish Cypriots are divided by the general election and try to find a common ground between the President and the opposition parties before the election." The government, however, preferred to wait for the message it could infer from the election results and prepared its own proposals to revise the Annan plan in the meantime. The `TRNC', for its part, continued to work on a new plan outside the scope of the fundamental principles and parameters of Annan's blueprint. Attempts will be made to reconcile those two plans although the situation that has emerged after the election is not very clear. Furthermore, formation of a new coalition government in the `TRNC' hinges on working out a compromise about how the Cyprus question should be resolved. Thus, there is not even a second to waste in the hectic schedule until 1 May 2004.

    Although the election has created a stalemate, the `TRNC' public gave a clear message. The opposition parties won more votes than the ruling parties despite the fact that the seats in the National Assembly are evenly distributed between the two camps. Furthermore, a majority of young voters preferred the Republican Turkish Party and the Peace and Democracy Movement. The National Unity Party and the Democratic Party were mainly supported by people who emigrated from Turkey after 1974 and those who fear that their privileges could be hurt in the event of a change in the current status quo. In fact, the disagreement is between those who look ahead and others who are preoccupied with the past. Besides, had a referendum been held on the Annan plan in March 2002, it would have been certainly approved, because the ruling parties increased their votes as a result of an campaign fervently maintained by `President' Rauf Denktas since then.

    It would not be wrong to assume that Denktas will continue to hold the key to a solution in the future unless Ankara takes a very firm stand. To what extent was Denktas affected by the election results? It is not clear. Sometimes, you think that there are signs in his statements indicating that he has softened his stance. Immediately after those reconciliatory remarks, however, he leads an uncompromising attack on the Annan plan. If a solution is to be found, Denktas must completely change his position. One may assume that Denktas will be accompanied by the proponents of a solution in the negotiating table even if he continues to act as the chief negotiator. Meanwhile, Turkey will use its influence. Although that assumption could be true, Denktas' political skills should not be under- estimated.

    Another point that should be taken into account is that there could not be substantial revisions to the Annan plan, which was revised twice in the past and changes made in favor of the Turkish Cypriot side were counterbalanced by those made to pacify the Greek Cypriots. Therefore, keeping the proposed changes at a minimum level would increase the chances of their acceptance. I would like to outline some of them briefly. Firstly, the `TRNC' President insists that the fact that there are two nations in Cyprus be expressly stated. There is no doubt that it is a legitimate demand. According to the Annan plan, the Foundation Agreement, which will create the United Cypriot Republic, will be approved by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots based on their "founding wills" in a referendum. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to call them the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot peoples.

    Aside from that, the most controversial parts of the Annan's plan concern properties and residence.

    With respect to properties, the plan calls for returning maximum 10 percent of the land and houses in the Turkish Cypriot side. The figure is quite high and a proposal may be put forward to bring it down to five percent.

    As regards the issue of residence, the plan defines different quotas for those who will get their real estate back as well as people who are granted a special right to return to their former place of residence or want to reside permanently in the north. In short, the total number of Greek Cypriots to be granted the right to reside in the north will be limited to 21 percent of the total population in the Turkish Cypriot side. This figure should be reduced to 10 percent, which would better suit bizonality.

    Denktas persistently expresses the view that the Turkish Cypriots' rights granted by the 1960 agreements are under jeopardy and that the Guarantee Agreement would be diluted. His arguments, however, are far from being convincing. There is a great difference between the myth surrounding the Annan plan and its actual content. We should not put long-term interests of the `TRNC' and Turkey in jeopardy by lending credence to that myth. We should not deviate from the path of reason."

    [07] Commentary in MILLIYET views the US approach to the Annan plan after the voting in the occupied areas

    MILLIYET newspaper (22.12.03) publishes the following commentary by Yasemin Congar under the title: "The Annan Plan should be taken as the basis":

    "The results of the `TRNC elections' were interpreted in Washington, D.C. as "hope being victorious over fear and the request for change being victorious over the status quo".

    A US diplomat, when interpreting the picture said, "The votes of the RTP [Republican Turkish Party] exceeded the percentage of votes the JDP [Justice and Development Party] received in the 2002 elections in Turkey. We are sure that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must have weighed these percentages in his mind".

    According to the same diplomat, to make the interpretation, "the `TRNC' electors were divided in the middle", means not to see the "trend", that is, the aspect of the vector of political change. Actually, the RTP, which converted into slogans the solution on the basis of the Annan Plan and EU membership, increased its votes approximately three-fold in five years and became the first party. The total number of votes of the parties, which are in favour of change, exceeded fifty percent and increased two-fold since the last elections in 1998. In contrast to this, there is an 18 percent drop in the votes of the "pro-status quo" government parties. The regression of the NUP [National Unity Party] and the DP [Democratic Party] was realized despite the fact that they used the resources of the state in the elections, the support they received from Turkey and `President' Denktas openly supporting them.

    According to the United States, "the direction of the political change in the `TRNC'" is quite clear, but the fact that the votes were almost equally divided among the former government and opposition fronts, makes the will of Ankara, which is in any case considered to be the real key for the solution, much more in the forefront. Everyone related to the subject in Washington, D.C. agrees that at the moment the Cyprus ball is at the feet of Ankara, perhaps even more than ever.

    Prime Minister Erdogan's statements, which we put in the heading of this article, reflect a view shared in many places from the UN General Secretariat to the Bush administration, from the central bureaucracy of the EU to Athens. What is more important, the RTP, which is now the strongest political party in the `TRNC', won the elections by making the propaganda of this view. More than fifty percent of the `TRNC' electors supported this view with their votes. In short, perhaps the common voice of the international community and the view of the `TRNC' electors and the attitude of the political administration came this close for the first time.

    Those who remained outside of this closeness, `President' Denktas' advisers, who continue to say, "The Annan Plan is suicide" and about whom Prime Minister Erdogan said, "It would be useful for Denktas to review these [advisers]". And naturally, the mentality, which declares those who want the Cyprus negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan to restart as soon as possible, who want an agreement to be reached on a solution prior to May 2004, and those who want the Turkish Cypriots to enter the EU as equal political citizens of the Cyprus State (and consequently, half of the `TRNC' electors and a majority of the Turkish Cypriots on the island), to be "submissive" and the civilian, military, bureaucrats and politicians sharing this mentality in Ankara.

    Now, the question asked in Washington, D.C. is the following: Could Prime Minister Erdogan say the final word on this separation? Will the JDP government be able to place its influence in favor of the idea of "Taking the Annan Plan as the basis", which was reflected in the Prime Minister's statements in Tashkent?

    Although the US capital city will spend the next two weeks in the lassitude of Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year, those who are interested in Turkey and Cyprus will be on the alert for information from Ankara. The result of the talks Prime Minister Erdogan will make with President Sezer and `President' Denktas, the activities for forming the `government' in the `TRNC' and the clues related to the new proposal package prepared by the Turkish Foreign Ministry will be monitored carefully.

    Thomas Weston, the Cyprus Special Representative of the United States, who made contacts in Athens, Nicosia and Ankara after the elections, said that the situation in the `TRNC' "confused his mind" and the minds of many international observers and was made the "subject of ridicule" in some circles in Turkey. Whereas, this is really a legitimate confusion.

    Look at it, Denktas, the `TRNC President' and negotiator at the solution talks, has rejected the Annan Plan by completely opposing its spirit and philosophy. Whereas, it is considered to be "a document that should be taken as the basis" by the number one political leaders of the `TRNC' and Turkey.

    If Ankara would determine its official policy on the basis of this second approach, then the confusion would be eliminated. Because at that time, either Denktas, despite his previous statements, would sit at the negotiation table by accepting the political will of his own people and Ankara or another negotiator would take his place.

    Otherwise, if Ankara would be able to say, "The Annan Plan is suicide, `President' Denktas is right", then there would be no need for confused minds. Because the negotiations would not be resumed. In May 2004 the Greek Cypriot Administration would join the EU as "a state of which a part of its territories is under occupation". In the summer, the 30th anniversary of the `Cyprus Peace Operation' will be celebrated with ceremonies and bands, in which `President' Denktas and Mr Ecevit would play the leading roles. The Turkish Cypriots would break away from the north of the island by seeking a better life for their children.

    Naturally, this final picture has some things missing. Because at the beginning of 2004, if a solution course on Cyprus cannot be entered and the international community (UN, United States and EU) consider the Turkish Cypriot side to be responsible for this situation, then our children will pay the cost of this.

    Because at that time, it will be impossible for Turkey to get a date for the EU accession negotiations at the end of next year. Furthermore, such a situation would also be negatively reflected to Turkish-US relations. (Just as I wrote in a detailed manner in the MILLIYET Business supplement yesterday [Sunday, 21 December], if on 28 January [2004], when Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush meet, the Cyprus negotiations have still not started or a definite decision to start them is not made, then the chance of success of the White House talks will decrease. The decision of whether or not President Bush will combine the NATO Summit in June [2004] with an official visit to Ankara will also be influenced by the role Turkey plays on the subject of Cyprus.) And if Turkey's attitude on Cyprus deals a blow to its relations with the EU and if it casts a shadow on cooperation with the United States, then the economy will get its share from this, the markets will be shaken, and when just reaching the threshold of financial stability, we could find ourselves on the edge of the precipice once again.

    Now, it will be necessary for the Turkish Foreign Ministry to announce in advance that the new package it is working on, "takes the Annan Plan as the basis, that it wants to open the requests for changes related to the plan for negotiation within the foundation of this plan". The US officials are stating, "No proposal, which considers the Annan Plan not to exist and cannot resume the negotiations, would be of any use for Turkey to prepare a package, which ignores this". (The impression that Mr Weston got in Ankara was that the Turkish Foreign Ministry is also aware of this.)

    Everyone who is interested in Cyprus and Turkey in Washington, D.C. is showing the timetable with insistence: "If you do not consider May 2004 as a final date and if you do not evaluate the upcoming four months as a last opportunity for a solution on Cyprus, then it will be the Turkish side that loses. Time is running against you".

    [08] Rauf Denktas no more the negotiator

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (23.12.03) publishes the following commentary by Cuneyt Ulsever:

    "Whether we like it or not: the U.N., the U.S., the EU all believe that Turkey should do her best to solve the "Cyprus problem" around the Annan plan.

    Otherwise, Turkey will not get a schedule for EU membership and the U.S. made it clear that the Turkish Prime Minister R. T. Erdogan should not go to the U.S. at the end of Jan. 2004 as scheduled if the negotiations haven't started by then.

    Given this reality before Turkey's foreign affairs; the comments mocking Mr. Thomas Weston saying that "he was confused" after having talked to the concerned parties both in Turkey and the `TRNC' were very unfortunate.

    The Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said that he came too early to Ankara after the `TRNC elections' so it was too soon to give him a firm view. It is in fact the people at the Foreign Affairs Ministry that should be mocked if they do not know what to do about `TRNC' after 30 years.

    The world is well aware that Mr Rauf Denktas does not want to solve the "Cyprus problem" as a solution will make clear the unlawful rule on the `TRNC'. People like Mr Denktas do not mind that the Turkish Republic will face isolation, as his and his associates' preference is indeed isolation itself. But it is very misleading to think that Mr. Denktas acts on his own. It is also not true that the so-called advisors like Mumtaz Soysal solely mislead him.

    Mentioning also the Turkish Army does not cover the whole set of "isolation seekers."

    One should also be careful in naming the institution in such a list in totality. I know that there are also those for "change" as well as there are "isolationists" in the Army.

    There is another component of status quo keepers that is usually not mentioned. It is some influential bureaucrats within the Foreign Affairs Ministry. According to me, some bureaucrats at the Office of Cyprus Affairs resist the Annan plan or any positive change in Cyprus as well!

    I also feel confused. Mr Abdullah Gul, the Foreign Affairs minister says that the Turkish Government wants to start negotiating the Cyprus Problem around the Annan plan but it is his Office of Cyprus Affairs that negates the Annan plan. How can a man who wants a solution work with people who do their best to block change?

    Mr Rauf Denktas is loosing his nerve and cannot control himself after the `elections'.

    He now openly distorts the Annan plan and gives false information to people about the plan.

    He is well aware that nobody in the world wants him to keep the negotiator position any more. In fact, according to the `TRNC' Constitution he lost his title as "the sole negotiator" after the government there naturally resigned after the `elections'. Given the results of the elections, the feasible and possible government coalitions" on the Island, will not appoint him as negotiator. Now, he will do his best to block the formation of a new government for two months as the Constitution allows him to demand new `elections'. The blocking of negations before May 2004 will enable him to get what he wants: Non-solution! But to repeat he is not alone in this plan.

    The Turkish Government says she wants to start negations as soon as possible contrary to the will of Mr Denktas. But as long as the Foreign Affairs minister continues to work with the given people at the very Office of Cyprus Affairs at his ministry, I also do not feel convinced about the will of the Turkish Government."


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