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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-12-31

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.246/03 31.12.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Four requests from the Turkish General Staff regarding the Turkish plan for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
  • [02] The Turkish army is reported to want the new Turkish plan on Cyprus to be discussed at the National Security Council.
  • [03] The Turkish Prime Minister comments on the reports about the Turkish military's views on the Cyprus plan.
  • [04] The Turkish Foreign Ministry on the process to be followed regarding the Turkish plan on Cyprus.
  • [05] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minisiter after Mr Erdogan was briefed on Cyprus and other foreign policy issues.
  • [06] Statements by Mr Serdar Denktas after meeting Greek Cypriot political party leaders in the free areas.
  • [07] Turkish Daily News: The "Position of the Turkish Side" document on Cyprus was leaked in order to be foiled.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses that at the Ankara summit efforts will be made to reconcile the different approaches between Mr Denktas and Turkey.
  • [09] Columnist in Turkish Daily News describes the political climate in Turkey in view of rumoured moves on Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Four requests from the Turkish General Staff regarding the Turkish plan for a solution to the Cyprus problem

    Istanbul VATAN newspaper (30.12.03) publishes the following report by Deger Akal under the title: "The Cyprus crisis in Ankara":

    "The Turkish Foreign Ministry has prepared a new plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem. The plan, which was prepared on the basis of the Annan Plan, will be finalized today with a briefing that will be presented to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But a difference of opinion emerged between the government and the General Staff before the plan could take its final form. New maps have been prepared related to the division of lands, which leaves the disputed Morphou completely to the Greek Cypriots, in the draft plan of the Foreign Ministry. Turkey is turning on the green light to reduce the number of soldiers to six thousand in stages after the solution. It is planned to continue the guarantorship of Turkey and Greece on the island. Limitations are being requested for the Greek Cypriots to acquire a second home in Northern Cyprus, to become partners in commercial and industrial organizations and to purchase land until Turkey becomes a full member of the EU. The five percent ratio specified in the Annan Plan is accepted for those who will settle on the island from Turkey and Greece.

    Subtitle: Surprise Visit

    The Second Chief of General Staff Gen Ilker Basbug went to the Foreign Ministry in the morning and met with Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. In the evening, the Chief of General Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok made an unprogrammed visit to Prime Minister Erdogan. It was learned that the Cyprus Plan constituted the agenda of the talks.

    It was learned that the bureaucrats of the Foreign Ministry were also divided in two on the subject of the plan. A Foreign Ministry official made the evaluation, "We ourselves are refuting the theses, which we have defended for years".

    Subtitle: The Four Requests of the Military

    1. The Number of Soldiers Should Be 10 Thousand

    The Annan Plan envisages that the number of Turkish and Greek soldiers on Cyprus should be decreased in stages to fewer than 10 thousand. Decreasing the number of soldiers to six thousand is accepted in the draft text of the Foreign Ministry and it is requested that the period for withdrawing the extra soldiers is increased to 40 months. According to the General Staff, keeping the number of soldiers on the island less than 10 thousand could create drawbacks from the aspect of security.

    2. The Two Region Status Should Be Preserved

    The General Staff is in favor of preserving the two-region status on the island to prevent in advance probable turmoils in the future. The military does not look favourably on the settlement of Greek Cypriots in Northern Cyprus. In the Foreign Ministry draft text a flexible attitude is taken and permission is given for the settlement of Greek Cypriots in the North up to six percent of the Turkish Cypriot population in the seventh year, up to 10 percent as of the 10th year and up to 15 percent in the 15th year.

    3. We Cannot Give Morphou

    It is envisaged in the draft plan prepared by the Foreign Ministry to give a part of Morphou to the Greek Cypriots. Whereas, the General Staff preserves the sensitivities it conveyed previously to the Foreign Ministry on the subject of land adjustments. Morphou has importance from the aspect of citrus fruits production, which are among the most important export products of the Turkey Cypriot people, and for providing water sources.

    4. The Right of Guarantorship Should Continue

    In the draft text prepared by the Foreign Ministry, the fate of the international agreements envisaging Turkey's guarantorship is left to a great extent to the EU laws. The General Staff thinks that Turkey's guarantorship rights have been "watered down". In this situation, it is concerned that some important security drawbacks could be created in the future."

    [02] The Turkish army is reported to want the new Turkish plan on Cyprus to be discussed at the National Security Council

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (30.12.03) publishes the following report by Barkin Sik under the title: "Four-Party summit creates problem":

    "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok held an unscheduled meeting at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday. Political sources in Ankara claimed that the meeting between Ozkok and Erdogan was arranged because of the anxieties shared by the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who reportedly feel uncomfortable with the government's decision to discuss the Cyprus issue in a four-party summit meeting and argue that the National Security Council (NSC) should be convened for an extraordinary meeting in order to debate the matter. In response to questions about the meeting, Erdogan said: "We discussed Cyprus with Ozkok."

    Ozkok surprisingly cut short his visit to Balikesir and returned to Ankara yesterday one week earlier than expected. Ozkok met with Erdogan later in the day.

    Subtitle: Surprising meeting

    It was speculated that Ozkok held his surprise meeting with Erdogan, which lasted one and a half hours, after the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told him that the NSC should hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Cyprus question. According to sources, Ozkok informed Erdogan during the meeting that the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are also members of the NSC, were disturbed by the government's decision to discuss the Cyprus question in a four-party meeting and therefore insisted that a NSC meeting be convened. It was also reported that army, navy and air force chiefs were making a detailed analysis of the Cyprus question separately at their own headquarters.

    It was earlier reported that the government was planning to discuss the Cyprus question at a high-level meeting to be attended by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Ozkok.

    Meanwhile, military sources pointed out that the figures related to the number of troops [in Cyprus] proposed in a report drawn up by the Foreign Ministry could create security risks. In response to questions put by reporters before he joined a meeting of the Justice and Development Party's Central Executive Committee after his meeting with Ozkok, Erdogan said: "We discussed Cyprus with Ozkok." Erdogan added that the possibility of holding a summit meeting about the Cyprus issue was not on their agenda for the time being."

    [03] The Turkish Prime Minister comments on the reports about the Turkish military's views on the Cyprus plan

    Istanbul NTV television (30.12.03) broadcast that the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, described as concocted the reports that the military is opposed to the new Cyprus document, which is being prepared on the basis of the Annan plan.

    NTV correspondent Pinar Aydinli reported the following:

    "Erdogan was asked to comment on the reports that the military, and especially Chief of Staff General Hilmi Ozkok, during yesterday's meeting expressed opposition to the new Cyprus document, which the Foreign Ministry has been preparing for some time on the basis of the Annan plan. Erdogan described these reports as concocted, and said that they are regrettable. The necessary statement will be issued by the Foreign Ministry, he added.

    Pointing out that the government's principle consists of conducting continuous consultations with the institutions, organizations, and even non-governmental organizations, the prime minister stated that the government is taking steps by taking into account the convictions of these institutions. He said that on the subject of Cyprus the Foreign Ministry is conducting its work in consensus with the Office of the Chief of the General Staff. Erdogan stated: There is no question of any differences of views on any matter. The media reports are not correct. A certain consensus has been achieved on every issue.

    Erdogan noted that there may be certain differences pertaining to methodology, but there is no difference whatsoever in essence. He added that such distortions do not serve the interests of the country. Erdogan further asked that no efforts be exerted to create a wrong impression with regard to the impetus gained in the field of foreign policy.

    Meanwhile, in response to the question whether a summit meeting will be held at the Cankaya Mansion on the Cyprus question, Erdogan recalled that Rauf Denktas assigned Mehmet Ali Talat with the task of establishing the new government and Talat began to hold contacts in this regard. After the conclusion of the contacts, Erdogan remarked, if necessary a summit meeting may be held in Turkey in line with the developments."

    [04] The Turkish Foreign Ministry on the process to be followed regarding the Turkish plan on Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.12.03) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the Turkish side's preparations in view of expected talks on Cyprus.

    The statement noted that finding a lasting and fair solution to the Cyprus issue through talks was the common wish and target of Turkey and Turkish Cypriot side. "Preparations which will help the Turkish side determine its position in Cyprus talks continue. We are holding the necessary consultations and making the necessary evaluations. This process continues," the statement said.

    The statement pointed out that the result of preparations would be presented to the political authority and senior authorities of the state.

    After the preparations were submitted to the authorities, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas and other officials in "TRNC" were foreseen to be invited to Ankara to make a common evaluation, the statement read.

    The statement added that news and evaluations published in the press did not reflect the real situation.

    Ankara Anatolia (30.12.03) quotes a high-level official of the Foreign Ministry to have said on Tuesday that an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council [NSC] on the Cyprus issue was out of the question. The high-level Foreign Ministry official told reporters that the process launched by the Foreign Ministry for a solution to the Cyprus issue continued.

    The official said that Mr Rauf Denktas and other Turkish Cypriot officials had not been invited to Ankara yet.

    News had claimed that demands of commanders for an extraordinary NSC meeting on the Cyprus issue had come onto the agenda during the meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok held on Monday.

    Sources said that besides the Erdogan-Ozkok meeting, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and General Staff Head of Maneuvers Metin Yavuz Yalcin also met on Monday to take up the Cyprus issue.

    [05] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Minisiter after Mr Erdogan was briefed on Cyprus and other foreign policy issues

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (30.12.03) broadcast live statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, after a briefing on Cyprus given by Foreign Ministry officials to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "The Prime Minister was given detailed information. Not only the Cyprus issue, but other foreign policy issues were discussed as well. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has some work under way within the framework of consultations with the General Staff. Comprehensive information was given on the technical issues in this regard. This will continue. There is no question of having finalized and concluded any issue at present. This is a work in progress. The Council of Ministers will be briefed on this meeting on Monday [5 January]. Our President will also be briefed on all this work. As said in the written statement issued today, this process will continue.

    Preparations are under way to get ready for the negotiation stage with Mr Denktas, the president of the `TRNC' and the other political parties. As you know, we believe it is right to start negotiations. The government has a will to this end. This work will continue so as to crystallize the Turkish side's position for the negotiations. This is all I have to say."

    In reply to a relevant question Mr Gul said:

    "The important thing is for this plan to become acceptable. As I said earlier, work to this end is continuing and will continue. Nothing has been finalized, yet. This work, however, is continuing within a wide framework. I hope that the position of the Turkish side will emerge strongly when the negotiations start."

    Question: Do you have a date for the meeting with Denktas and the other officials?

    Answer: No. The Council of Ministers will be briefed on Monday. As I said before, the time and date for the other levels is not clear yet.

    [06] Statements by Mr Serdar Denktas after meeting Greek Cypriot political party leaders in the free areas

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.12.03) reported that Mr Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said on Tuesday that they had the same reservations with Greek Cypriot parties about the procedure regarding the procedure of the Annan plan and they had the same view about not submitting an incomplete plan to referendum. Serdar Denktas responded to questions of A.A about his meetings with Greek Cypriot parties namely the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) and the Democratic Party (DIKO) the same day. Mr Denktas said that he crossed over for the first time since 1974, although he met with Greek Cypriot political party leaders in joint meetings held every month in Ledra Palace since 1992, and added:

    "But the meetings continue every year in a way in which everybody speaks, but says nothing, it is only a gathering in the social meaning of the term. Certainly the meetings today were more meaningful and informative as the contacts were one to one. We share the view with Greek Cypriot parties as we both think that we can't resort to referendum about an incomplete plan on which we could not reach agreement. There is a consensus of opinion on this issue, and I think this should be taken into consideration by the U.N. Secretary-General. Maybe this view should also be officially conveyed to U.N. Secretary-General. Because if you resort to referendum on an issue in which you can't reach an agreement on its content, the result can be one which can disturb the stability that continues on the island for years."

    Mr Serdar Denktas also stated that starting of the dialogue was fine and he would meet with other Greek Cypriot parties on January 7, adding that they would particularly continue their dialogue with Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' party DIKO in a broader way. Denktas said that both sides had reservations and differences, adding "we must not stop the search for solution because of these differences. We will talk, negotiate, develop a cooperation to sort out problems."

    Regarding the discourse saying that "if there is no solution until May 1, Greek Cypriots will not negotiate with us," Denktas said that the Greek Cypriot parties which he contacted didn't have such an approach.

    "The negotiations could finish on May 1, 2004 or not. The thing that matters is continuation of the dialogue and improvement of the relations. A solution imposed on us from outside or signing an agreement that is imposed on us won't mean solution. Greek Cypriot parties also accept that," he said.

    Regarding efforts to form a pseudogovernment Mr Serdar Denktas said that if there would be a deadlock in formation of "government", it was their mission to sort it out.

    Speaking to A.A, Serdar Denktas said that DP didn't think of joining the "government". Calling on the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) and the National Unity Party (NUP) to think broadly, Denktas said: "If they ask for help from us, we are ready to do it including mediation. We think of being in opposition after the elections, but if there is a lock, we can open it. But for the moment we don't think of joining the `government'. We want to see the formation of a broad-based and strong `government' in `TRNC'. December-May period has to be used well."

    [07] Turkish Daily News: The "Position of the Turkish Side" document on Cyprus was leaked in order to be foiled

    Turkish Daily News (31.12.03) publishes the following report by Yusuf Kanli:

    "Despite obstructions from the so-called "corporate Turkey," the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government is putting the last touches nowadays on the "Position of the Turkish side" document that foresees a Cyprus settlement on the basis of a United Nations peace plan for the eastern Mediterranean island.

    In the `TRNC', on the other hand, Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Prime Minister-designate Mehmet Ali Talat has started "exploratory" contacts to forge a coalition government. Talat met yesterday with all political party leaders, except Serdar Denktas of the Democratic Party (DP), who for the first time since 1974 was in southern Cyprus for talks with Greek Cypriot party leaders.

    Though Talat, under pressure from Ankara and Rauf Denktas to forge a wide-based government, has been stating that he was open for all government formulae, the pendulum appears to be tilting towards a coalition government of RTP, the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) and the DP of Denktas junior.

    Still, according to well-placed political sources in northern Cyprus, rather than efforts of the political leaders to reconcile, developments in Ankara will have an impact in the formation of the new coalition government.

    A Foreign Ministry team briefed Tuesday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the "position paper" which was leaked to the press this week and immediately drew reactions from the "Cyprus-sensitive" echelons of the state mechanism.

    Leaking of the document to the press was an attempt by "corporate Turkey" to kill the document before the JDP government presented it to a "state summit" and thus converted into a "state policy."

    Indeed, the summit on the plan was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed "until after a government in the `TRNC' is established" out of fears from the JDP government that if released before adequately discussed at the "technical level" between the relevant Foreign Ministry personnel and representatives from the Office of Chief of General Staff, the plan could be still-born.

    Last week, Turkey's envoys to European capitals, as well as Washington and the `TRNC' met first together with the Foreign Ministry "technicians" drafting the plan, and later under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and exchanged opinions over the issue. Then, a "technical" meeting, also attended by representatives of the military and other state organs dealing with the Cyprus issue, was held at the Foreign Ministry and the document was "almost completed." Missing was the approval of Prime Minister Erdogan and a rubber stamp at a state summit.

    At that point came the objections of the military. According to well-placed sources, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok cut short his visit to Balikesir, returned to Ankara and held an unprogrammed 90-minute meeting with Erdogan on Monday evening to explain to him that the Cyprus issue must be taken up at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), rather than the "position paper" handled at a state summit under the chairmanship of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and participated by the prime minister, chief of general staff, the foreign minister and relevant Foreign Ministry personnel.

    The issue has not yet reportedly been resolved and the JDP government maintains its position that a summit under the leadership of Sezer on the "Position of the Turkish side" document will be enough, and there is no need for an emergency NSC meeting.

    On the contrary, the military is reportedly stressing that the decision on Cyprus must be made by the NSC because a summit meeting on the issue will be "unofficial" and the outcome of such an "unofficial summit" will be "political" that could be disputed whereas, if the issue is handled at the NSC, the decision that will be made there will become "state policy" and "binding on the state and government."

    At the roots of the discussion appears to be suspicions of the Cyprus-sensitive military, bureaucracy and political circles of the Turkish decision making mechanism that the JDP government may act arbitrarily in pressuring the `TRNC' for a Cyprus settlement. After all, it is no secret that the JDP government is not "very happy" with the objection of `President' Rauf Denktas to the U.N. plan.

    The Foreign Ministry disclosed Tuesday that `President' Denktas and other `TRNC' authorities might be invited to Ankara soon for a summit.

    A written statement from the ministry said consultations and evaluations of the Foreign Ministry with "relevant state bodies, were being conducted on a routine basis and the results of these studies would be submitted to the evaluation of the "political authority" and "high offices of the state." After then, the statement said, "It is foreseen" to invite `President' Denktas and other `TRNC' authorities to Ankara for consultations.

    The statement tried to discredit the reports on the leaked document, though other sources said the leaked document was a primitive version of the original document, and said "reports and evaluations in the press are not reflecting the accurate situation."

    According to press leaks, at a meeting Monday at the Foreign Ministry chaired by Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal the work concerning the changes Ankara wanted to see in the Annan plan were finalized. Apart from the Foreign Ministry staff dealing with the Cyprus problem, representatives from the Office of Chief of General Staff reportedly also attended the meeting.

    According to the reports, the works on the changes Turkey wanted to see in the Annan plan will be handled at a "state summit" chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer before it becomes the official position of Turkey.

    The document will later be handled at a summit meeting attended also by `President' Denktas and the new prime minister of the `TRNC'. According to the reports, in the Foreign Ministry document on the changes Ankara wanted to see in the Annan plan, it was being underlined that Turkey wanted a resolution on Cyprus on the basis of the U.N. document. Turkish troops on the island would decrease in stages to as low as 6,000, while the document will include alternative maps for the territorial aspect of the Cyprus problem. After Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, the number of troops on Cyprus will be reviewed.

    There will be a 5 percent ceiling for mainland Turks and mainland Greeks wishing to settle on Cyprus, the reports said, adding that in one of those alternate maps, the Morphou area was totally left to the Greek Cypriot side.

    The plan, the reports said, would call for establishment of a correlation between Turkey's EU membership and Greek Cypriots having a second home in the north or buying land in the north or entering into partnerships in industrial facilities in the north.

    According to the reports the plan foresees that problems that may arise after a settlement would be resolved according to European Union law."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses that at the Ankara summit efforts will be made to reconcile the different approaches between Mr Denktas and Turkey

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (30.12.03) publishes the following commentary Fikret Bila under the title: "The solution":

    "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is completing its work on the Annan Plan for presentation to the Cankaya Presidential Palace summit.

    The Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Gul, has stated that there is no other solution than to sit down and negotiate the Annan Plan. In this way, Ankara's approach in terms of the Annan Plan's being taken as a basis for negotiations has become official. This approach does not square with the approach of Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktas. Denktas is of the view that the Annan Plan cannot be taken as a basis. These two approaches will be laid out on the table at Cankaya, and an effort will be made to reconcile them.

    I had earlier made it known that the proposals for changes contained in the Foreign Ministry's project included a reduction in the number of Greek Cypriots who, according to the Plan, could return to the North, as well as the inclusion of those over 65 years of age in this figure.

    Mustafa Balbay, in his report in yesterday's CUMHURIYET newspaper, conveyed more detailed information.

    He revealed that the Foreign Ministry project also includes proposals for the division of Morphou, the adoption of the EU legal system, the British bases' being left out of the scope of the settlement, the prohibition of Greek Cypriots returning to the North from being elected as parliamentarians, the continuation of guarantorship by Turkey and Greece, and those coming from Turkey and Greece not exceeding 5 percent on either side.

    In their current form, the proposals do not meet the expectations of Rauf Denktas, and do not conform with his approach. This aspect will be taken up at the Cankaya summit.

    In addition, one point which Denktas considers to be very important is the fact that the empty pages of the Annan Plan will be filled in by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the event that the two sides are not able to reach agreement, and that the Plan will automatically be put to a referendum, even if no settlement is reached. Likewise, the fact that there is no provision in terms of what will happen if one of the sides should reject the plan in the referendum. No obstacle to the Greek Cypriot side entering into the EU even if the Turkish Cypriot side should reject it...

    Denktas's expectation is for there to be reservations expressed on these topics in the proposals that the Foreign Ministry will present, and for there to be counter-proposals. And for it not to be forgotten that if, otherwise, a negotiations process starts, the result will be a referendum in any case.

    The proposals that Denktas and his advisors will present in contrast to this approach of the Foreign Ministry are worth consideration. Mr Denktas, just as he did in the opening of the borders [between the two sides of Cyprus], could bring up his proposals on the Annan document at the last moment and thereby provide a new opening.

    This opening can be summarized as follows: The Greek Cypriot side could become an EU member in May of 2004 during the process of negotiating the essential provisions of the Annan Plan; during this time period, the EU could establish contact with the `TRNC' and initiate negotiations with it as the other constituent state, and the `TRNC' could make use of EU funds in order to bring about economic balance between the two sides, as indeed the embargo imposed on the `TRNC' could also be lifted. A negotiations date could be given to Turkey in December of 2004, and the process could be initiated, and in the end the `TRNC', with the status of the other constituent state, could become a member of the EU at the same time as Turkey...

    It is being stressed by Denktas and those around him that these proposals, if the EU has good intentions, would be feasible.

    The possibility is high that this approach as well will also be put onto the table at the Cankaya summit..."

    [09] Columnist in Turkish Daily News describes the political climate in Turkey in view of rumoured moves on Cyprus

    Under the title: "Cyprus tension" Turkish Daily News (31.12.03) publishes the following commentary by Mete Belovacikli:

    "Debates in Ankara are heating up. Let's try to find some answers to questions referring to the Cyprus question.

    First of all, efforts of Talat to form the new government on the island are likely to fail. Talat has 15 days to fulfill this task as he has already got the mandate.

    If he cannot form the government or get a vote of confidence during this time, new government formulas will emerge.

    In the light of reports, just like Demirel, Denktas seemed to see, "what is unlikely first," and then focus on a new solution. A cabinet lead by Serdar Denktas may rise amid this chaos. Regardless of his low vote capacity, Denktas's DP may become the reconciliation point between the other two fronts. Unless he protects the interests of the `TRNC' and agrees to start negotiations.

    Eight days have passed since the results of the elections became official. The 45 day long process continues. According to this calculation, there are 37 days left to form the new government. Or else, the elections will be repeated.

    Sources from the island underlined that this is not a high possibility. But the signal that will determine the end of this process will not come from Cyprus but from Ankara. The approach of Ankara will lead the founding of the new government as it may also pave the way for new elections.

    If Ankara decides to start negotiations in any case, this may cause total deadlock on the island and pave way for new elections. While talking about Ankara, it is necessary to mention some debates that dominate the capital city.

    As far as it seems, two fronts openly reveal their stance. It is hard to tell that there is harmony between the priorities and goals of the Foreign Ministry and the military. To find the balance is the mission of the prime minister. In this light, Erdogan denies the differing views between the ministry and the military. On the other hand, the serenity of President Sezer is also worth mentioning.

    There are two main topics in the discussions. First of all, the fundamentals and possibility of the negotiation is important. Secondly, will Ankara be adamant on its thesis? The Foreign Ministry believes starting negotiations is vital for relations between Turkey and the European Union. In this light, the ministry is working on different plans.

    Drawing new maps referring to the share of the island is among theses plans. In some of the maps, all of Morphou is left to Greek Cypriots. It is also planned to maintain the guarantor state status of Greece and Turkey. Turkey also considers to gradually decrease the number of soldiers on the island to 6,000. Turkey will also revise this figure when it becomes a member of the EU. But it wants to limit Greek Cypriots purchasing homes and becoming business partners to companies in Northern Cyprus until then.

    It also agrees that the 5 percent mentioned in the Annan plan for the settlers from Greece and Turkey is suitable.

    But Chief of General Staff and the Foreign Ministry could not reach an agreement on certain issues such as the presence of Turkish soldiers and guarentorship as well as Turco-Greek balance. The military does not want to tie Turkey's guarentorship rights to EU law and rejects the offer of the ministry.

    Their alternative plan is as follows:

    The Greek side can become a member to the EU in May 2004 during the negotiations referring to the Annan plan. During this time, the EU can start negotiation with the `TRNC' as the other founder state. Both sides can benefit from EU funds in order to provide an economic balance between them, this would also mean the end of the embargo.

    The EU can also begin negotiations with Turkey in Dec. 2004 allowing Turkey and the `TRNC' to become members of the bloc at the same time. A meeting is inevitable to make this decision. But another problem also emerges here. The Government is adamant to make this a summit while the military insists on a NSC resolution on this issue. In other words, the agenda of Ankara is heating up and New Year begins with tension in Cyprus."

    /SK


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