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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-01-16
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.10/04 16.01.04
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Thomas Weston: It is early to say whether Turkey is demonstrating the necessary political willAnkara TRT 2 Television (15.01.04) broadcast the following report on statements by the US State Department co-ordinator for Cyprus, Mr Thomas Weston:
"The United States made a recommendation to Turkey with regard to Cyprus: Be ready to make concessions if you want to make changes in the Annan plan.
Thomas Weston, US special representative for Cyprus, declared: If Turkey envisages amendments to the Annan plan, it should also be ready to make concessions. We are opposed to changing the plan unless both sides agree. Replying to the questions of TRT Brussels correspondent Can Izbul, Weston stated that it is still early to say whether Turkey is demonstrating the necessary political will, and the matter will be discussed in detail during the meeting to be held between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush.
Weston was asked: Mr Ambassador, how optimistic are you about reaching a solution before 1 May? Is there sufficient time? He responded: Yes, I believe that there is sufficient time, because the United Nations is also convinced that if the negotiations begin soon, there is adequate time to reach a solution. As you know, the Secretary-General is stressing that there must be political will if the negotiations are to start. In other words, the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders on the island should display resolve with regard to the goal of attaining a solution by 1 May, the negotiations should be concluded through the high-level political support of Turkey and Greece, and simultaneous referenda should be held.
Stressing that the Annan plan can be amended only through the common consent of the sides, Weston explained the United States' red line in this regard as follows:
Weston said: Insofar as there is a red line, this consists of concluding the negotiations and completing the plan. As far as the content is concerned, the United States will welcome any points of mutual agreement. If such mutual agreement cannot be reached, we would prefer the plan to be adopted in its present form.
Weston was asked: Mr Ambassador, you know that Ankara wants to introduce certain changes to the Annan plan. There are those who say, however, that if changes are to be introduced, certain concessions must also be made.
The US envoy responded: Naturally, if one wants to make changes to a plan during negotiations, inevitably, one has to make concessions. Actually, we are experiencing an unusual process. We are negotiating over an existing plan. Both sides declared that they want changes in the plan. In my view, if both sides want different things during negotiations, it is always necessary to make concessions.
Asked if, in his view, Turkey is doing its utmost, Weston replied: I think that remains to be seen. The most important point here is to resume the negotiations, and display the necessary political will to reach a conclusion along the lines of the Secretary-General's proposals. This is the only way to reach a conclusion before 1 May.
Weston was also asked about the agenda and importance of the scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush. Weston said: The meeting is very important in terms of US-Turkish relations. Naturally, it will encompass all the issues that concern the two countries. I know that our President is awaiting this visit with great interest. Of course, Cyprus will also be on the agenda. I hope that until the meeting the necessary political will be displayed not only by Turkey, but by the four concerned sides as well. I also hope that the decision to resume the negotiations can be celebrated during that visit. Failing that, I believe that the meeting will concentrate on demonstrating the necessary will to reach a solution."
 Reports from Washington that the US are promoting Turkey´s role in the regionIstanbul HURRIYET newspaper (15.01.04) publishes the following report by Kasim Cindemir in Washington under the title: "We are going to promote you":
"US President Bush is going to convey the message "We want to promote Turkey" to Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, who will come to Washington at the end of the month. American officials who spoke with HURRIYET have said that "When Erdogan returns to Turkey, he will be convinced that we want you to play an important role in the region." The officials, asked "What is the important role?" responded "Integration with the EU."
The most important message that US President George W. Bush is going to convey to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in the White House will be that "We want to promote Turkey." US officials who spoke with HURRIYET, underscoring that, first of all, a settlement of the Cyprus problem is "critical", said that "President Bush, in the letter that he sent to Mr Erdogan, called for a commitment to a referendum on a certain date. A positive response to this has not come from Ankara. We hope to reach that point. This is important from the standpoint of Turkey's EU goal."
Saying that "We want Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, when he completes his Washington visit and returns to Ankara, to be convinced that the United States truly wants Turkey to play an important and a constructive role in its region", the US officials, in response to the question "What does the important role mean?", said that they very much want Turkey to integrate into the EU.
Subtitle: You have many advantages
One official who spoke on this topic said the following:
"Turkey has a number of comparative advantages. The fact that it is a Muslim country, its historical political ties with the region, its knowledge, its culture, and its lively economy. We want to work together with Turkey in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. We want to use well the advantages of a Turkey that is preparing for the EU, and for this we want to be helpful. We want Turkey's importance in NATO to increase. We want to promote Turkey and help it move forward. The most important message that President Bush will convey to Mr Erdogan will be this. For him to be convinced of this would please us greatly."
The US officials underscored yet once again that it is extremely important in the Cyprus issue that time must not be lost. The same officials stated that they do not believe they have any problems with Ankara in terms of Iraq, but that Iraq, like all the serious issues, will be taken up as well.
Subtitle: Erdogan's program
Prior to his US visit, Prime Minister Erdogan will take part in the World Economic Forum that will be held in the Swiss town of Davos. Tayyip Erdogan, who is expected to have a meeting there with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that will also deal with the Cyprus question, will travel to New York on 25 January. On 26 January, Erdogan will visit the Wall Street bourse, will make a speech at the Foreign Policy Institute and will meet with leaders and members of the Turkish community in New York. Erdogan, who will travel to Washington on the morning of 27 January, will meet with US President Bush on the following day. The Prime Minister is also expected to deliver an address at Harvard University on "Politics and Method".
 Statements by the EU Commission President and the Turkish Prime Minister during a press conference in AnkaraAnkara TRT 2 Television (15.01.04) broadcast live the joint news conference by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and EU Commission President Romano Prodi who is on a visit to Turkey.
Following are Mr Erdogan´s and Mr Prodi´s statements and their replies to questions:
Erdogan: Distinguished members of the press, we have realized a very fruitful meeting with the EU Commission President Mr Romano Prodi and Mr Gunter Verheugen, EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, and their delegation. We have examined all the efforts that our country has to spend in order to get a positive result from the EU summit that will be held in the month of December. We have provided them with information about the steps that we have taken forward recently and the steps that will be taken forward in the near future.
As you know, the candidature of our country was decided in the December 1999 Helsinki summit during the presidency of Mr Prodi. I believe that the process that began in Helsinki will be completed by Mr Prodi together with his own term of presidency. In this sense, his responsibility is great.
Myself and my colleagues are very happy to see that during our discussion we have seen that Mr Prodi and the members of his delegation were quite constructive and supportive. We have once more seen that our efforts that we have realized in the year 2003, including the Copenhagen political criteria, had been appreciated by the Commission, and this support that they have extended will definitely provide us great encouragement in terms of completing the remaining issues.
The shortcomings that our country has to complete in terms of the Copenhagen political criteria had been previously mentioned in the year 2003 Progress Report and in the December 2003 Brussels summit. Our government is determined to make all the necessary changes and make all the necessary implementations as soon as possible with determined steps.
We have agreed with the Commission that in the coming period we will have a closer dialogue and cooperation. At every level we will have quite a busy program schedule and thus we will be able to explain all about the reform that Turkey will be realizing in the process of accession, on time and by the responsible persons.
The progress report to be prepared by the Commission under the presidency of Mr. Prodi will have great significance in terms of the decision that will be given in December. The Commission will also come up with some recommendations in the strategy document based on the evaluations in the progress report.
Our greatest expectation from the Commission is that such recommendations and evaluations will be based on the conclusions of the 1999 Helsinki summit and will be within the framework of the Copenhagen political criteria.
President Prodi will soon address the Turkish Grand National Assembly and we will be proud of his presence there. Our Grand National Assembly has always cooperated and has always worked very actively in order to further our membership process and has already adopted several very important legislative arrangements. Therefore, the president's message will be definitely very crucial for this purpose.
I believe that from now on in all the meetings and talks that will be realized about our country they will always be able to see and observe our determination in the accession to the EU, and I would like to also say that all the different elements in Turkey -- including the government, the opposition, the people, the civil society, and the other elements -- are all in agreement in terms of reaching the EU standards in all walks of life.
Prodi: I am very grateful for your warm reception here in this very important moment of EU-Turkey relations. It has been 40 years that a president of the European Commission doesn't come to Turkey, and 40 years is a very long time.
I am happy that we had a very useful meeting, separately and with our collaborators. I will now address the Grand National Assembly, where I have the privilege, really the privilege, to deliver a speech. During my visit, I will have a series of meetings with the main political interlocutors in Turkey, including President Sezer, Foreign Minister Gul, who is here with us, as well the main leader of the opposition, Mr Baykal.
In Istanbul, I will meet with the representative of the business community, and I will hold a speech at the Bosporus University. Today, we had a very interesting discussion mainly about the government's determination to pursue the EU agenda.
I have deeply appreciated the progress done by Turkey in the last years. We clearly wrote in the report of last November. My main message is to encourage Turkey to continue along the path of reforms, because impressive progress has been achieved and the country is now closer to the EU. But, we have also stressed the areas in which more progress is needed, especially in the field of implementation.
Before the end of the year the Commission will present a report and a recommendation on whether to open accession negotiations with Turkey. I have to stress again that our recommendation will be based on a fair and deep analysis, an objective analysis. In the regular report we have identified the areas in which more progress is needed. But, I know that the Turkish Government is fully committed to an effective implementation of the reforms.
Question: My question will be to Mr Prodi. When he was talking about his expectations from Turkey, he did not mention the Cyprus issue. I would like to ask him what are his concrete expectations in that regard, and if this issue is not solved by 1 May, will that affect Turkey's accession to the EU?
Prodi: I did not mention Cyprus, but also many other arguments we had together. We have discussed the Cyprus issue deeply. As you know, our position is very clear, that the settlement of the Cyprus problem will greatly help the Turkish EU aspiration. Therefore, we hope that Turkey will use all its influence in cooperating with the political forces on the island in view of reaching a comprehensive settlement, I hope before 1 May 2004. Clearly, this is not a precondition. I repeat, we have to make our report only concerning the Copenhagen criteria, but this will be clearly a big help to the goal of approaching the EU and Turkey.
Question: May I ask Prime Minister Erdogan whether he sees the solution of the division of Cyprus as part of the process of Turkey joining the EU?
Erdogan: Mr Prodi has already expressed our views about that. I have nothing to add to what he has already said. Without doubt, we would like this issue to be settled once and for all, but as he has already expressed, this is not a precondition, and it is not one of the political conditions of the Copenhagen political criteria. We hope that a settlement will be reached in a most fair way until 1 May, and we are doing everything in our power to help that.
 News reports that negotiations for a Cyprus settlement will start in February in GenevaTurkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (16.01.04) invoking American sources, reports that negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan Plan are planned to begin in the first week of February in Geneva.
Turkey's position towards the issue will become definite at the meeting of the Turkish National Security Council on the 23rd of January. Subsequently, the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Tayyip Erdogan will meet with the UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan on the 24th of January in Davos where it is expected to explain to him the Turkish side's position.
However, as the paper writes, both the UN and the American side insist that in order for the negotiations to begin, the Turkish side should commit itself to carrying out a referendum. As soon as the Turkish side provides guarantees for this, the UN Secretary-General is planning to call the two sides to start negotiations. According to the Annan Plan, the Secretary-General is expected to fill the blanks in the issues that the two sides do not agree. If guarantees for conducting referenda are given, the final version of the Annan Plan, without any objections, will be given to the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots for a referendum. The paper also writes that if the Turkish side agrees to conduct a referendum, the Greek side will be asked to do the same. In the meantime, the Turkish Prime Minister will hold a critical meeting on the 28th of January in Washington with President George Bush.
Stressing that there is a great probability for the negotiations to start on the first week of February in Geneva, the paper writes that if this takes place, an American delegation will participate in the talks. The paper, invoking Washington sources, also writes that the USA, the EU and the UN have agreed on this policy.
 Efforts by Turkey to project itself as an energy junction. Turkish General links Cyprus to the Baku-Ceyhan pipelineMainland CUMHURIYET newspaper (16.01.04) reports that the Turkish commander of the War Academies, General Faruk Comert, has said that Cyprus has gained special importance because of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
Addressing the symposium on "The Effects on National and International Security of the World and Turkish Energy and Water Resources", which started yesterday in Turkey and is organized by the Commandership of the War Academies, General Comert referred to the reduction in the transport of oil through the Bosphorus Straits with tankers and added:
"In order to guarantee the security of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline as well as the security and continuity of the transportation of the oil by sea special significance must be attached to the island of Cyprus".
The Chairman of the Institute for Strategic Research, Mr Murat Bilhan, also addressed the symposium. In his speech he said that there are petrol and oil reserves to the south and east of Turkey which can be transported through Turkey in the shortest and most economic manner, and if measures are taken, in the safest way.
Mr Bilhan further said that in the past five years the number of dangerous substances transported through the Bosphorus Straits has increased by 100% and went on:
"The dangers posed to the Bosphorus Straits concern the Aegean Sea as well. Greece, however, does not side with us on this issue but with other countries. Yet with Greece a strategic cooperation could be achieved"
Concluding, the Chairman of Turkey´s Institute for Strategic Research said that in order to reach the oil and gaz the United States are supporting Turkey against Russia while the European Union is exerting efforts to bring Iran into a focal point on this issue.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in MILLIYET says Ankara´s policy on Cyprus is getting clear. Turkey expects the US to support its positions and exert pressure on the Greek side because of IncirlikIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (15.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "Iraq and Cyprus":
"Prior to the meetings that Prime Minister Erdogan is going to have with UN Secretary-General Annan and US President Bush, Ankara is gradually clarifying its policies on two important issues: Iraq and Cyprus...
After the Cankaya [Presidential Palace in Ankara] summit meeting that took place regarding Cyprus, the briefing given yesterday by the General Staff Command to the Prime Minister, and the NSC [National Security Council], which will convene next week, are all steps in this process. As each stage is reached, the stance that Ankara is going to adopt becomes a bit clearer.
On the issue of Iraq, Ankara has focused, following the contacts it had with both Syria and Iran, on developing its relations with the different groups in Iraq. In the face of the developments in Northern Iraq that have been brought about jointly by [Kurdistan Democratic Party -- KDP -- leader Mas'ud] Barzani and [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -- PUK -- leader Jalal] Talabani, who are trying to influence both the Iraqi Governing Council and the United States, Ankara is seeking to take [preventive] measures by establishing contact with the leaders of both the Shi'ite and the Sunni Arabs.
It is preparing to take a stance, in conjunction with both neighboring countries and groups in Iraq, against the likelihood of the establishment of an ethnically-based federation in Northern Iraq and Iraq's eventual partition. The Ankara contacts of Iraqi Shi'ite leader [Abd-al-Aziz] al-Hakim should be evaluated in this context.
Reports that Prime Minister Erdogan, in his meeting with Al-Hakim, said that "If Iraq is partitioned, the neighboring countries will intervene", are important from the standpoint of showing the stance that Ankara is going to take. Reports that Prime Minister Erdogan also said that both Iran and Syria share this view have appeared as well. The messages that Erdogan conveyed to Al-Hakim should also, no doubt, be assessed as having been directed toward the United States as well. And Ankara may also develop the contact established with Al-Hakim with the Sunni Arabs as well...
We can say that, in the talks that Prime Minister Erdogan will have with UN Secretary-General Annan and US President Bush on the Cyprus issue, he will ask for pressure to be put on the Greek Cypriot side as well. Erdogan will also, in these contacts, in a sort of preliminary negotiation, test the pulse in terms of the Turkish side's sine qua non demands, and will try to confirm their stances. This initiative of Erdogan aims at facilitating the transformation of the Annan Plan into a basis for negotiations. Prime Minister Erdogan will exert pressure for Annan to accept as negotiable the changes that will be proposed on fundamental issues such as bi-zonality, the two peoples, and Turkey's guarantorship. He will likewise call upon President Bush to exert his influence in this direction.
Consensus has been obtained in both Ankara and the `TRNC´ regarding these initiatives of Prime Minister Erdogan. And `TRNC President´ Rauf Denktas, before anyone sits down at the [negotiating] table, wants the Turkish side's approach on these three important issues to be acknowledged, via preliminary negotiations, by the UN and the Greek Cypriot side.
Since the developments in both Iraq and Cyprus are of sufficient importance as to affect Turkey's future as well, Ankara is working out its state policy step by step.
It is being stressed that the facilities being provided to the United States, including Incirlik [Air Base], are aimed at obtaining support for Ankara's policies in Iraq and Cyprus.
Whether or not this support will in fact be obtained will become clear in the talks that Prime Minister Erdogan will have with Annan and Bush."
 Turkey´s plan is to enter into endless negotiations hoping to achieve recognition of the occupation regime and its accession to the EU together with TurkeyUnder the title "The security Briefing", Turkish Daily News (16.01.04) publishes the following commentary by Mete Belovacikli:
"Everyone was ready and prepared for a very difficult year, especially where foreign affairs were concerned.
Not only the government, but also many groups and institutions, including the Office of the Chief of General Staff, the Foreign Ministry and the opposition parties, held the opinion that in 2004 issues such as Cyprus, Iraq, the Caucasus, EU-Turkey relations and U.S.-Turkey relations would dominate the agenda.
In a briefing at the Office of the Chief of General Staff on Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was told about the problems in countries surrounding Turkey and their likely effects on Turkey and Turkey's domestic problems and their possible effect in formulating a foreign policy.
Don't pay attention to the statement issued after the briefing saying that the PM was briefed on issues related to security as was decided during the Supreme Military Council meetings in December.
The current situation concerning the Cyprus discussions prove that there are significant differences of opinion within the military, between the military and the Foreign Ministry, within the government, between the government and the president, and among other state departments.
That's not all. Arguments over developments in northern Iraq have increased so much that they are difficult to hide.
However, when we look at the issues addressed and those who voiced their opinions at the briefing on Wednesday, it is clear that there will be less friction at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on Cyprus at the end of the month because the PM has been told the arguments for and against the government stance on Cyprus and the problems that could be encountered in 2004. As a result, the government, especially Erdogan, will take the arguments seriously and work on a solution. At least, we hope so.
To expand on the Cyprus issue...
The army thinks the government is not taking their counterparts on the issue of Cyprus seriously. By counterparts, they mean the Greek Cypriots, Greece, the EU and the United States. It is obvious that Turkey cannot realize its EU aspirations by merely putting on a show of sincerity regarding the Cyprus solution. The EU, the United States and the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will have many ways to disallow any Turkish modifications to the Annan plan. Some will say that any change in the plan could not contravene EU laws, while others will say that no fundamental changes can be made to the Annan plan. In addition, the EU is saying that if Turkey solved the Cyprus issue (you can read this as sacrifices made by Turkey to solve the issue), there will be no obstacles left preventing Turkey's EU membership.
While it is not being voiced openly, the alternative plan presented to the government is this:
While negotiations on the Annan plan are taking place, the Greek Cypriot side can be admitted to the EU on May 1. Meanwhile the EU will contact the `TRNC´ as the other founding state of Cyprus to start the accession negotiations. `TRNC´ could use the EU funds to eliminate the gap in living standards between the two sides of the island. The trade embargo on the `TRNC´ will be lifted. Turkey would receive a date to start the EU membership negotiations in December 2004. Turkey and `TRNC´ can become EU members at the same time.
But, can the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government achive this?
If you take their commitment and the process into account, it is hard to give a positive answer."
 AFRIKA says that the "protocol" of the pseudogovernment includes the demands of Ankara and Denktas on Cyprus and describes the RTP-DP "coalition" as "shop window" because the decisions are taken at the NSC in AnkaraTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (16.01.04) says that the "protocol" of the Republican Turkish Party ^Ö Democratic Party (RTP-DP) pseudogovernment includes the demands of Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas on the Cyprus problem and describes the RTP-DP "coalition" as "shop window" because the decisions are taken at the National Security Council in Ankara.
Under the title "Akinci and Eroglu", the paper writes, inter alia, the following in its "Letter from AFRIKA" column:
"On the RTP-dominated radio and TV channels attacking and insulting Mustafa Akinci has now become a fashion. Why? Because, they say that he would not give a vote of confidence to the government. Of course he will not give (such a vote). Is it not a sin to give a vote of confidence to a government in which Denktas is a partner? RTP took the votes it had received from the people and spread them out in the feet of Denktas. Should Akinci ask for trouble? Furthermore, the protocol of the government is not a pro-solution protocol, which could be approved. This protocol includes the demands of the former government, Ankara and Denktas. Putting these demands onto the table, means causing difficulties from the very beginning of the talks. Why should Akinci support this? Why should he support the two sovereignties, the two peoples, the two states and the global exchange of properties? If these are the sine qua non of the Turkish side, a solution could never be reached in the island. And no one will accuse the Greek Cypriot side because it had not accepted these.
Rauf Denktas seems very pleased from the RTP-DP government. His old mood is back. He has relaxed. He overcame the dangerous situation created in the (rally) squares and the demands for his resignation. He does not even care about the crisis regarding the three DP ministers. This served his goals. He gains some more time from our limited days. If negotiations are to begin, they will begin a little bit later. '"
Meanwhile, writing in his regular column "Letter from London", Serhat Incirli refers to a program of the Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand in which the Republic of Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Kypros Chrysostomides and RTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat had participated.
Mr Incirli comments as follows on the reply by Mr Talat when asked who would take the final decision of the Turkish side regarding Cyprus: "'Mehmet Ali Birand asks his namesake our prime minister the following: 'Who will take the final decision?' You know that Talat and some others will be participating in the negotiating team. Who will take the final decision? Talat's answer is logical actually. However, as logical it is, at the same time it is knowingly playing the game of the wishbone! That is, let us not say that 'Talat is knowingly lying', but he must be trying to deceive himself. The negotiating team! I believe that it is very important.
However, more important is what the negotiator or the negotiators are going to negotiate and who will decide what is going to be negotiated! This is the important point and actually this is the `treacherous sellout´ point! If the NSC in Turkey is going to decide what will be discussed, that is, it will decide what the views of the Turkish side are going to be, then Mehmet Ali Talat being a prime minister is only a shop window!
In other words, Turkey's goal is to say to the world 'Look, in northern Cyprus there is a prime minister who wants solution', but the method of the solution will continue to be the old one at the NSC! In that case, the function of the RTP being in the government is nothing but a 'manipulation'! That is, if Talat entered into the government knowing this, it means that he has seriously been sold out! If NSC wishes, a solution will be reached before 1 May! 'Let us say that the JDP is ready for a solution! Very well, is NSC ready too? What is NSC? It is the status quo since 1923! '".