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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-12-30

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.245/03 30.12.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The leader of the Republican Turkish Party was given the mandate to form a pseudogovernemnt in the occupation regime.
  • [02] Erdogan met with general Ozkok and discussed Cyprus.
  • [03] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister during a meeting of the ruling party's provincial leaders.
  • [04] Turkey's new plan was discussed during a meeting with the participation of the Turkish army.
  • [05] Statements by the Spokesman of the Turkish Government after a briefing of the Council of Ministers on the Cyprus problem by Gul.
  • [06] Reactions to the Turkish Foreign Ministry Document on Cyprus.
  • [07] Turkey's population.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Article in HURRIYET sees the resumption of talks on Cyprus next February.
  • [09] Mr Mehmet Ali Birand assesses the messages from the Turkish ambassadors who met in Ankara last week.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The leader of the Republican Turkish Party was given the mandate to form a pseudogovernemnt in the occupation regime

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.12.03) reported from occupied Nicosia that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, designated Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who won 19 seats following the voting on December 14, 2003, to form the new "government".

    In statements after undertaking the mission Mr Talat said that his aim is to form a "government" which could take a vote of confidence rapidly.

    According to the pseudostate's constitution, the leader who is designated has to form a "government" within 15 days. If the "government" cannot be formed, the mission is returned to the so-called President.

    Mr Talat is in favour of establishing a committee including Denktas to carry out negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Talat, who does not want to counter Denktas in the Cyprus negotiations, wants Denktas to support him during the negotiation process even if Denktas remains out of the negotiations.

    Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.12.03), in statements after his designation, Mr Talat said they had no specific "government" model in mind and that their doors were not closed to any model. "We shall meet with all parties", said Mr Talat who is expected to have meetings today with the leaders of Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) and National Unity Party (NUP), Mustafa Akinci and Dervis Eroglu.

    In statements after meeting yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Akinci said that the important thing for his party is the goal of reaching a solution until May 2004 and not the "government" model.

    Responding to questions after his meeting yesterday with Mr Rauf Denktas, Mr Eroglu said that his party was not contemplating about a four-party coalition "government".

    In his statements after his meeting with Mr Rauf Denktas, the leader of the Democratic Party (DP), Mr Serdar Denktas, expressed the opinion that the "government" should be formed by all four "parliamentary" parties and that reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem within the period January-May 2004 on the basis of the Annan Plan should be included in the so-called "government programme".

    Finally, talking to Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (30.12.03), Mr Talat said that the most possible "government" model was a coalition between his party, the PDM and DP.

    [02] Erdogan met with general Ozkok and discussed Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.12.03) reports that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met with general Hilmi Ozkok, Turkey's Chief of the General Staff, and discussed the Cyprus problem.

    Responding yesterday to questions regarding the agenda of his meeting the night before with general Ozkok, Mr Erdogan said: "We have discussed Cyprus".

    Asked to comment on the designation of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat to form a pseudogovernment, Mr Erdogan wished Mr Talat to be successful in forming a "government". Mr Erdogan added: "We shall be pleased if the government is a government with a broad participation. The TRNC has no time to waste".

    Asked whether or not there is an issue on his agenda regarding a "summit" on Cyprus, Mr Erdogan responded: "There is no such issue yet".

    [03] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister during a meeting of the ruling party's provincial leaders

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.12.03) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, said that Turkey should definitely solve the Cyprus problem and that the Annan plan should be discussed.

    Sources said that Gul assessed developments regarding the Cyprus problem at the meeting of the chairmen of main branches of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) in provinces.

    Stressing that there were discussions on the Annan plan, he said that the plan should be debated clarifying that negotiating the Annan plan did not mean accepting the whole plan, and added:

    "A report on the solution to the Cyprus issue which was prepared by the Foreign Ministry will be submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week. There is no other option than negotiating the Annan plan at the moment".

    Underlining that Cyprus would be a member of the European Union (EU) in May 2004, and that Turkey would see a new state during the EU process, Mr Gul went on:

    "The views of this state would be officially recognized by the EU and to this end, the `TRNC' could not benefit from anything".

    Stressing that the Cyprus issue was an issue in which 70 million people were interested, he said: "That's why we have to solve this issue."

    Meanwhile Ankara TRT 2 Television (29.12.03) broadcast that it has been announced that the statement made by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on the Cyprus issue at the JDP [Justice and Development Party] provincial leaders meeting held on 28 December has been reflected erroneously and incompletely in the media to the effect that the only solution [to the Cyprus problem] is the Annan plan.

    The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the reports in question were written based on indirect information received about the meeting that was closed to the media. Meanwhile, it is reported that the Foreign Ministry is continuing to conduct work toward the solution of the Cyprus problem. Foreign Ministry officials are expected to brief Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on this work on 30 December, concluded TRT 2.

    [04] Turkey's new plan was discussed during a meeting with the participation of the Turkish army

    Istanbul NTV television (29.12.03) broadcast that the work conducted by the Foreign Ministry on the Cyprus issue will be presented to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 30 December. The Foreign Ministry envisages the solution of the Cyprus issue within the framework of the Annan Plan. Turkey is planning to gradually reduce the number of its troops on the island down to 6,000 after a solution is reached. The Ministry has also prepared new maps on territorial distribution.

    A meeting on the Cyprus issue headed by Under Secretary Ugur Ziyal was held at the Foreign Ministry this morning. At the meeting the work Foreign Ministry officials conducted on the solution of the Cyprus problem was reviewed with the contribution of representatives from the Chief of the General Staff's Office. The work, which is expected to be submitted to the prime minister tomorrow, puts forth Turkey's stand regarding the Annan plan. The Foreign Ministry envisages the solution of the problem within the framework of this work in question. New maps have been prepared on the distribution of land. Some of the maps leave the entire disputed region of occupied Morphou to the Greek Cypriots. The work also plans to continue the guarantorship of Turkey and Greece. Turkey also gives the green light to gradually reducing the number of its troops on the island down to 6,000 after a solution is reached. When Turkey accedes to the EU, this number will be reviewed. Until it becomes a full EU member, Turkey wants to limit the right of the Greek Cypriots to own a second house, to become partners in economic and industrial establishments, and to purchase land in north Cyprus. Turkey accepts the five percent limit determined in the Annan plan for settlers arriving from Turkey and Greece. Adopting the EU law for problems that might arise after a solution is reached is one of the factors that appears in the work conducted by Ankara. This work will be presented to the prime minister and will then be assessed in depth at summits to be held in Ankara in the days ahead of us.

    [05] Statements by the Spokesman of the Turkish Government after a briefing of the Council of Ministers on the Cyprus problem by Gul

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.12.03) reported from Ankara that Justice Minister and Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek has said: ''Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul will brief Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tomorrow on developments in Cyprus.''

    Holding a press conference following a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday, Cicek reminded that the efforts for forming the new "government" of the "TRNC" had begun following the voting on December 14, 2003.

    ''During the meeting, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Gul informed members of the Council of Ministers on works of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Cyprus in the new period. Gul will brief Prime Minister Erdogan tomorrow on recent developments in Cyprus,'' he said.

    Mr Cemil Cicek added that the issue would be brought onto the agenda of the Council of Ministers in detail after results were assessed, and went on:

    ''Turkey wants a new process to start about the Cyprus question. Turkey wants the Cyprus question to be resolved. Turkey has always maintained its good-intention efforts so far and it will continue to do so in the future.

    Taking into consideration the connection of the Cyprus question with Turkey, a multilateral work should be carried out for this new period. The relevant sides including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and `President Denktas of TRNC' have already made statements to this end.''

    He added that activities were related on the details of a new opening if it could be put forth. He noted that Prime Minister Erdogan would give details tomorrow, adding that an evaluation could be made after the briefing not to allow wrong evaluations.

    When asked whether President Ahmet Necdet Sezer made an invitation on holding a summit on the Cyprus issue at Cankaya Presidential Palace, Cicek said that no invitation was needed for this issue. He added that this issue was very important for Turkey, noting that the Cyprus issue had always been in the agenda of Turkey including its security, past and future and would continue to be on the agenda.

    He concluded: "Holding meetings on such an issue was normal. Turkey is already dealing with the Cyprus issue closely. We are aware of the importance of the date May 1, 2004, thus all the world should know the good will efforts of Turkey and `TRNC' while entering to this process."

    [06] Reactions to the Turkish Foreign Ministry Document on Cyprus

    According to the Turkish mainland daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (30.12.03), the document named "The Turkish Side's Stance" on Cyprus, prepared by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and published in CUMHURIYET (29.12.03) (See Turkish Mass Media Bulletin No244/03 news item 6) drew strong reaction from the politicians .

    The leader of the Democratic Left Party and the prime minister of Turkey, who ordered the Turkish invasion and the occupation of part of Cyprus, Mr Bulent Ecevit, commenting on the plan said that it had "astonished" him. He went on and said that he thought that the Document was prepared not in the Turkish Foreign Ministry but in the Greek Foreign Ministry. Ecevit declared: "With this preparation Turkey would be bound to the EU legislation prior to becoming an EU member. With this the right to guarantorship would be effectively removed. These could not be accepted .I can not digest this situation".

    In his turn Onur Oymen, the deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party in Turkey, has said that the Document was a grave mistake and said: "How could you accept the EU Laws? How could you reject the Treaty of Guarantee?"

    Oymen went on and claimed that first, preliminary talks should be held to decide whether the Annan plan is open for negotiations and noted that it is important that Turkey's effective and active guarantorship be continued in Cyprus: "Thus the Turkish Cypriots will live within secure borders. The borders will be controlled by the Turkish troops. The Annan plan removes this", Oymen alleged.

    Commenting on the changes introduced by the Document, Oymen said that this was rather related to the form than to the substance, and "this is tantamount to saying we are accepting it as a substance. Cyprus is a national cause. This kind of things could not be left to the arbitrary handling of the ruling majority", Oymen stressed.

    The deputy Chairman of the Nationalist Action Party, Mr Mehmet Sandir, said that the government should present solutions that maximize Turkey's national interests.

    [07] Turkey's population

    Turkish Daily News (30.12.03) reports that Turkey's population will grow by 1,065,000 in the new year, according to the State Institute of Statistics (DIE).

    Turkey now has an estimated population of 71,251,000 and this number will be 72,316,000 by the end of 2004, as DIE statistics reveal.

    The population of Turkey was 70,171,000 at the beginning of 2003 and in that year, the population rose by 1,080,000, resulting in an estimated population of 71,251,000.

    Turkey is the 16th most crowded state in the world after Egypt and the third most crowded country among European countries. In the European continent, Russia is first with a population of 145.5 million and Germany second with 82.6 million.

    Turkey's population is expected to rise to 98 million in 2050, coming after Japan as the 17th most crowded country in the world. In the European continent, Turkey is expected to rank second after Russia and before Germany in 2050.

    Turkey is expected to receive 96,000 migrants in 2004. Currently, around 2.5 million foreigners live in Turkey and around one million fugitives work in Turkey.

    Over 20.87 million of the population is aged between 0-14, 46.349 million between 15-64 and 4.026 million is above 65 years of age.

    The population in Turkey is getting older year by year. In 2001, 5.4 percent of the population was above the age of 65 whereas this rate will increase to 5.7 percent in 2004.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Article in HURRIYET sees the resumption of talks on Cyprus next February

    Istanbul HURRIYET newspaper (29.12.03) publishes the following article by Zeynel Lule in Brussels and Kasim Cindemir in Washington under the title: "Fateful Year: 2004":

    "The year 2004 will determine the course of Turkey's relations with the West. Turkey's international marathon in 2004 will begin with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington on January 28 and will end in December with a decision by the EU on whether it will "end" or "continue" its relations with Turkey.

    First Important Date: January 28

    On this date Prime Minister Erdogan will meet with President Bush. Erdogan had not yet become prime minister when he met with Bush in the United States in December 2002.

    Last Date: December 10-11

    At the Copenhagen summit in December 2002 the EU gave Turkey an appointment for December 2004 for the decision to start accession talks. Whether Turkey will be given a start date will be decided at the EU summit on December 10-11. The progress report the EU Commission will release on October 12 will provide the first signals regarding the start of accession talks. If the Commission expresses a "positive view" in this report and states that Turkey has met the Copenhagen criteria, in December EU leaders will announce a date for accession talks with Turkey. A negative report will drive Turkey's relations with the EU into an impasse.

    The year 2004 will determine the course of Turkey's relations with the West. Will Turkey, which has turned its face to the West for the last 80 years, be able to integrate with Europe?

    According to the U.S. administration the EU must give Turkey a date for starting accession talks by the end of 2004. A senior U.S. official said: "Washington's strategic preference is a Turkey that is solidly anchored in Europe." U.S. officials say that they will "do everything they can" to ensure that Turkey is integrated into Europe. They also note, however, that Turkey will be the losing side if no progress is made on Cyprus within the framework of the Annan plan.

    Important Dates in 2004

    January 15: The President of the EU Commission visits Turkey for the first time in 40 years. President Romano Prodi will pay an official visit to Turkey accompanied by Gunter Verheugen, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement.

    January 21-22: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer pays an official visit to Turkey.

    January 28: Prime Minister Erdogan meets with U.S. President Bush in the White House. The Cyprus and EU issues as well as Iraq's future will be discussed during this visit. Turkey will express its desires and concerns about PKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] terrorism and the shaping of new Iraq. Ankara, which could not have a say in Iraq because of the failure of the National Assembly to pass the authorization bill on March 1, will explain its concerns to Washington. Bush will tell Erdogan that if there is a solution in Cyprus he will "lobby" intensively for Turkey during NATO's June summit in Istanbul.

    Cyprus Peaks

    February: Probable resumption of talks in Cyprus.

    February 23-24: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pays an official visit to Turkey.

    March 7: Elections in Greece are of vital importance to Turkish-EU and Turkish-Greek relations. The elections, which will also impact developments on Cyprus, are expected to produce a ruthless battle between Costas Simitis and Konstantin Karamanlis.

    May 1: If no solution is found the Greek Cypriots join the EU as a full member representing all of Cyprus. The number of EU members rises to 25. This is a very important date for relations between Turkey and the EU. The Greek Cypriot sector that will join the EU on its own will have a veto right. If a solution is found a united Cyprus will join the EU and Turkish will become an official EU language.

    June 18-19: Ireland, the Term President of the EU for the previous six months, turns over the term presidency to the Netherlands at the EU summit that will produce the first signals of the decision to be made about Turkey at the December summit.

    NATO Summit in Istanbul

    June 25-26: NATO holds a summit meeting in Istanbul. The leaders of 19 member states will convene in Istanbul. Turkey will assume a lead role on the international stage.

    June 27: European Parliament elections are held. German and Dutch candidates of Turkish origin will participate in the elections. Vural Oger, a businessman, and Ozan Ceyhun, currently a member of the European Parliament, will run as candidates from Germany. The elections will be held in all 25 EU countries.

    October 12: The EU Commission releases its latest "progress report" on Turkey. If the report expresses a "positive view" in this report and states that the Copenhagen criteria, the sine qua non for the start of negotiations, have been met, in December the EU leaders will announce a date for the start of accession talks with Turkey. A negative report will drive Turkey's relations with the EU into an impasse.

    November 2: Presidential and congressional elections are held in the United States. George W. Bush will once again be the candidate of the Republican Party. Currently nine candidates are competing to become the candidate of the Democratic Party. Howard Dean, the candidate who appears to have the best chance to win, is not very knowledgeable about foreign policy issues. It is more likely that Bush will be re-elected. The improvement in the economy, the capture of Saddam Husayn, and Bush's surprise visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day have boosted the President's popularity."

    [08] Mr Mehmet Ali Birand assesses the messages from the Turkish ambassadors who met in Ankara last week

    Turkish Daily News (30.12.03) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "Last week Cyprus's future was discussed in Ankara. Turkish ambassadors from all the European Union countries, Nicosia, Washington and the United Nations discussed Cyprus and the EU for three days. First they met among themselves with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and later got together with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    I spoke with some of the major attendees at the meeting and observed a surprising attitude. Many, like me, were reminded of the meetings of the past. Were the ambassadors going to tell the truth as they knew it, or were they going to avoid being the bad guys by taking the middle road?

    Our fears were unfounded. On the contrary, most of the ambassadors presented clear messages to the government. I want to summarize these messages.

    1) The Turkish side has to move quickly as it cannot avoid sitting at the negotiation table. Even though it is not fair, the international perception of Turkey being an "occupier" on the island should be eliminated, and Turkey should demonstrate that it wants a solution on Cyprus.

    2) The most important point is to avoid being perceived as bringing a completely different plan to the negotiating table. A solution based on the Annan plan must be accepted. It should not be forgotten that the proviso for a return to the negotiating table for the Annan plan is for both sides to accept the basis of the plan and announce that they will put the plan to a referendum. Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos has for the first time openly said that he wanted 72 separate amendments to the plan and would not submit the plan to a referendum unless they were accomplished. The Turkish side should utilize this Greek Cypriot intransigence.

    3) Modifications demanded to the Annan plan should be kept to a minimum. Demands apart from those supporting a bi-zonal state and compensation for property exchange should be avoided.

    4) Most importantly, the government has to act quickly to secure a domestic accord (an agreement with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the Office of the Chief of General Staff) on the issue. After establishing a domestic accord, leaders of the`TRNC' should be briefed and asked if they want to participate in the process.

    The government's fear: What if the EU does not give a membership negotiation date?

    This issue caused heated debates during the meeting. After Turkey takes the necessary steps on Cyprus, will the EU give a date for the start of the membership process or will it again choose to postpone? I will summarize this point and the general relations with the EU that emerged from the meeting.

    1) Turkey has never been closer to becoming an EU member, and it is a historic opportunity.

    2) The attitude in the EU capitals is not clear. The general opinion is that it would be hard to say "no" to Turkey, but nothing is certain yet.

    3) The EU has very few reservations left due to the reforms already passed. All eyes are now focused on Cyprus. If the Cyprus issue is not resolved, it would make Turkey's membership very difficult, if not impossible. Countries that do not want Turkey as an EU member would use the Cyprus issue to delay the process.

    4) No one can guarentee that the EU will give a date if the Cyprus issue is resolved. There is a risk. However, an international media that believes in Turkey's sincerity in trying to solve the issue will make it much harder for EU to delay giving a date.

    5) If a solution on Cyprus is found and Turkey still fails to receive a negotiation date from the EU, Turkey not being portrayed as an "occupier" in the international media will have its own advantages.

    6) A point that should not be forgotten is that many articles of the Annan plan (withdrawal of troops, guarantor status, return of settlers, etc.) are indexed to Turkey being an EU member. In other words, if Turkey approves the Annan plan and still does not receive a date, it will have the option of rejecting the agreement. This almost negates the risk of not receiving a negotiation date.

    The ambassadors also held indirect discussions on the status of `TRNC President' Rauf Denktas. While they did not say that Denktas could not be a negotiator, they shared the belief that if the Turkish government presented an Annan plan with very few amendments, he would refuse to sit at the negotiating table and as a result would be out of the process.

    Ambassadors also noted that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had told them that the meeting had boosted the government's Cyprus efforts, adding that they would be moving quickly. Some ambassadors said that the prime minister and foreign minister were there not to speak but rather just to listen, but the ambassadors received the impression that they, too, shared the same views. One ambassador said that the government had received more support than it expected, adding that it was now up to the government to establish a domestic accord on the issue.

    The real political responsibility lies with the government. If they act with this in mind, they should be more self-assured when taking these proposals to the President and the Office of the Chief of General Staff. The government should take all the responsibility and become committed."

    /SK


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