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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-03-10

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.47/04 10.03.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the 11th day of talks for a solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of the territory of Cyprus.
  • [02] The US is reportedly studying Turkish demands for changes to the Annan Plan and promised to support them.
  • [03] Mehmet Ali Talat assesses the current stage of the talks.
  • [04] Gul: "If the Greek side says `no´ and the Turkish side `yes´ to the referendum we will take the case to the UN Security Council asking for the lifting of the 'embargo'".
  • [05] Turkish Daily News quotes Western diplomat to explain how the solution to the Cyprus problem is involved in the US plans for the Middle East.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] Columnist in TDN supports that Turkey should exploit the Greater Middle East Initiative to secure timetable for accession to the EU before May 1st.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the 11th day of talks for a solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of the territory of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (09.03.04) broadcast live the following statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas during a press conference on the Cyprus talks in Nicosia on 9 March:

    "The Supreme Court was on the agenda again today. We will convey our views to the Greek Cypriot side on the matter tomorrow. We discussed whether the foreign judges of the court should be appointed for 15 months as required by the transition period or for 36 months. Our conviction is that the transition periods called for by the Annan Plan should neither be removed nor reduced. However, the Greek Cypriot side is making an effort to have them reduced. But, we need time. So, we insist on them.

    We will convey our document on the courts to them tomorrow. We discussed the locations of the temporary and permanent official buildings today. The representatives of the two sides on the matter will meet at 15:00 local time tomorrow. They will inform us.

    What are the administrative needs? How many employees will the new central government need? What are the departments that will be required? Work is being carried out for talks on all that.

    The Greek Cypriot side insists that the territory to be returned to it be quickly placed under UN control. We disagree. No one should be moved before the areas where our displaced people will be settled are established and before the question of rehabilitation is completely solved from the point of view of funds and planning. The Annan Plan says that the process must be realized within three years. I asked how that can be achieved if the effort made to find funds fails. I was informed that the process will be financed by international funds and by the United States. Should we throw people out into the street if the funds are not available? Should we send them to live in tents? Houses have been provided for the Greek Cypriot refugees. No one lives in the streets or in tents. That also applies to our refugees. So, the matter can be delayed for some time if the necessary funds cannot be found to realize the rehabilitation program. However, the Greek Cypriots want the UN officials to take over and, if necessary, throw out our people at the end of the three years. We cannot agree to that. The rehabilitation process must be finalized. The required funds must be found. Our people can then be moved to other places. I believe that the people will be eager to move. They will want to quickly leave their temporary places and move to settle in their permanent areas. In view of that, we stand to gain nothing from delaying the matter. So, we will do everything we can to help our people settle in their new places.

    Regarding property ownership, we submitted a comprehensive document on our views to the Greek Cypriot side. We said that the matter is related to bizonality and the existence of two peoples on the island. It cannot be viewed separately. We will meet again at 10:15 tomorrow morning.

    I discussed the embargo. I said that the Greek Cypriot side should lift its embargoes on us. We need a transitional period to catch up with the Greek Cypriot side's economy. We need special measures for that. So, the embargoes must be lifted to allow our economy to develop. Mr Papadopoulos said: We do not impose an embargo on you. The embargo is imposed by decision of the European Court.

    That is a decision that concerns Europe. Naturally, the decision was adopted in accordance with the Greek Cypriot side's appeal. What we ask for is as follows: The ships that want to call at our ports must be allowed to do so without interference, our air traffic must not be obstructed, etc. However, we have realized that the Greek Cypriot side is not interested in all that.

    That is what we discussed during our meeting today. We will submit documents on a few issues tomorrow. I believe that we will have a break for 24 hours. We will then move on to what has been described as the give-and-take stage. We shall see what we can give and take.

    Question: Gunther Verheugen said that the EU does not maintain an embargo on the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Answer: Well, it seems that only God and no one else imposes an embargo on us. No one takes responsibility for it. They are imposing an embargo on us. Yes, they are doing so. That is unfair. The legitimate Government of Cyprus is not the side that imposes an embargo on us. It has never done that. The Greek Cypriots will realize that they have been treating us unjustly if they studied the requirements of the laws and supremacy of law.

    Question: Gunther Verheugen criticized you for making confusing statements particularly on derogations.

    Answer: Verheugen and I like each other very much. I have said that he has confused us. I am telling the truth and outlining the realities to avoid confusion. He has confirmed the realities I outlined in one of his statements. In other words, he said that the EU norms will apply. That is what he said. That means that everyone will be free to settle or buy property wherever he or she wants to do so in accordance with the EU norms. That is what the Greek Cypriots want. We have outlined the realities. We have not confused anyone. Verheugen has confirmed that.

    Question: You will hold talks for about 20 hours. Do you believe that you will be able to solve all the problems in 20 hours? Will problems be transferred to the four-party conference?

    Answer: A lot of work will be transferred to the four-party conference. Naturally, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will try to solve the remaining problems. But, the main problem will be solved by our people. They will not stand to lose anything if they see the realities. So, God willing, I hope that everyone will follow the disclosures we make. I hope that everyone will realize what the Annan Plan will take away if it is not changed.

    Question: Talks have been held on the rehabilitation of our people and on the new borders we might have. The number of government officials envisaged for the Turkish side totals 2,500 employees. Has a research been carried out to establish how will those who will lose their jobs be employed?

    Answer: No, a research has not been carried out thus far. That will be a problem for the two states.

    Question: Where will the four-party conference be held?

    Answer: Europe is considered for that purpose. However, we have not been informed on actually where the conference might be held.

    Question: You said that you will submit a few documents tomorrow. Can you comment on what they will be related to?

    Answer: Let us disclose that tomorrow. Otherwise, we might not find anything to talk about.

    Question: You said that the referendum will be held on 20 April.

    Answer: Yes, that is right. It will be held on 20 April.

    Question: That will be a weekday.

    Answer: Yes, that is right. But, it has been said that holding it earlier is impossible. It also has been said that holding it after 20 April might obstruct other developments related to the program.

    Question: Is the disagreement on foreign judges related only to the duration of their appointment?

    Answer: We also have to agree on names. However, we have to establish how long the foreign judges should be appointed in order to be able to approach them. We argued about that today.

    [02] The US is reportedly studying Turkish demands for changes to the Annan Plan and promised to support them

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (10.03.04) reports that sources close to the government of the United States of America have said that the US has began studying Turkey's proposals for amendments to the Annan Plan, aiming at reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. The sources noted that the proposals were given last week to Mr Tomas Weston, the Special Coordinator for Cyprus at the US State Department, during his visit to Ankara.

    The sources said that the proposals reached the US government on Friday. Political observers in Washington are pointing out that the US Secretary of State, Mr Collin Powell had promised Ankara to exert efforts for satisfying the Turkish demands for amendments, as much as possible. The observers support that the suggestions of Washington will be very important at the stage when the UN Secretary - General, Mr Kofi Annan will have to fill the gaps which will remain after the negotiation process between the communities in Cyprus and the meeting with the participation of Turkey and Greece.

    [03] Mehmet Ali Talat assesses the current stage of the talks

    The leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, in an exclusive interview given to local Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (10.03.04) said that the reason he went to New York with Denktas was to change the status quo, that is for securing a solution.

    In reply to a question Mr Talat said that they want a solution based on the Annan plan but some rearrangements such as reinforcing the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots should be introduced to the Annan plan. He admitted that a solution on the Annan plan has its pros and cons especially regarding people to be displaced, property rearragements, regime and the compensations'

    When asked to comment on the present course of the ongoing talks, the RTP leader said that if one considers the starting point of the talks one sees that not much progress is made. "Of course one has to remember that until now the sides put on the negotiation table their positions. After this the process of "give and take" will start."

    When asked whether it was possible to reach an agreement with the motherlands attending the talks (the four-party talks), Talat said: "If during the ongoing talks nothing is achieved, then nothing would be achieved as well at the four-party talks. In that case Mr Annan will fill the empty pages. He will do so not based on what he considers in his mind but on the issues that we have defendant until now. In fact, our efforts are directed to explain well our positions and the realities to the UN and the whole world."

    [04] Gul: "If the Greek side says `no´ and the Turkish side `yes´ to the referendum we will take the case to the UN Security Council asking for the lifting of the 'embargo'"

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (10.03.04) reports that Mr Abdullah Gul, the Foreign Minister of Turkey stated that if the Greek Cypriot side says "no" to the referendum, and the Turkish Cypriot side says "yes", then they will take the case to the UN Security Council and they will ask for the lifting of the 'embargo'. Mr Gul made these statements yesterday during an interview with the NTV television station.

    Mr Gul stated that they cannot know the results of the referenda and that it is not certain that the Turkish side will say "yes". But if the Turkish Cypriot side says "yes", they will go to the UN Security Council.

    Mr Gul also stated that the Turkish side must be sure that the text of the agreements that will be reached is going to be accepted by the European Union. "This subject is out of discussion. If the text is going to be changed, why do we put so much effort to reach an agreement?" he asked and added that they are looking for techniques so that the text will not be possible to be changed.

    The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs also said that the Turkish side has no problem with the time. "It will be good If we made it until the 1st May, but after this date, a period can be given", he said. He also said that Greece and Turkey will participate in the four-party meeting firstly with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and subsequently with the Prime Ministers and added that the meeting of the four parties will take place in Europe.

    [05] Turkish Daily News quotes Western diplomat to explain how the solution to the Cyprus problem is involved in the US plans for the Middle East

    Turkish Daily News (10.03.04) reports the following:

    "Turkey's ability to begin accession negotiations with the European Union will be an important element in the success of the U.S.-sponsored Greater Middle East Initiative, according to a Western diplomat.

    The U.S. administration launched the initiative to create a new set of principles supported by wealthy Western nations for non-democratic Middle Eastern countries. The Greater Middle East Initiative consists of a wide range of cultural, diplomatic and economic measures meant to eliminate the three big "deficits" of the region: freedom, knowledge and gender equality.

    The initiative calls for more democracy, an independent media and equal rights for Middle Eastern women. The establishment of a Middle East Development Bank is also part of the plan.

    Turkey, as a Muslim country possessing democratic culture and institutions, is to be held up as a model for the other regional countries.

    The beginning of accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU will encourage other Muslim countries in the region to implement reforms.

    "Others also will look to the success of Turkey becoming a part of the European Union," said the Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified.

    Cyprus solution is important

    The diplomat said the solution of the Cyprus problem was also envisioned as part of the Greater Middle East Initiative by the U.S. administration. "The big strategic objective for the United States is to help clear the road for Turkey get an accession negotiation date from the EU. And a solution in Cyprus will help Turkey on its road to EU membership" he said.

    The American administration also has plans to bring the initiative to the three summit meetings to be held in June by the Group of Eight industrialized nations (G-8), NATO and the European Union

    The United States plans to use EU technical expertise to provide advice on civil, criminal and Islamic law and financial aid to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to create more democratic and pluralistic societies.

    According to the plan, the role of the G-8 countries would lie primarily in the financial arena. The creation of a Greater Middle East Finance Corporation, similar to the International Finance Corp., will be enabled with G-8 funds.

    "The U.S. president plans to bring the issue to the G-8, EU-US and NATO summits to get these institutions' aid," said the diplomat.

    According to observers, by presenting these principles to the three important summits in June, the Washington administration will establish a new form of Helsinki Accords, which began a new process for democracy in the Communist bloc during the 1970s.

    Role of NATO

    NATO could play a role to "fill up" the knowledge deficit within the Middle East, according to the diplomat. "The Partnership of Peace may be adapted to wider regions. Mediterranean dialogue within NATO also could be expanded to a dialogue process with the Middle East countries."

    The diplomat gave the example of the recent earthquake in Morocco and said, "The Moroccan army will be more efficient in coping with future disasters if there is a cooperation process with NATO on civilian emergency rescue operations."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] Columnist in TDN supports that Turkey should exploit the Greater Middle East Initiative to secure timetable for accession to the EU before May 1st

    Under the title: "Accession negotiation timetable", Turkish Daily News (10.03.04) publishes the following commentary by former Ambassador, Mr Gunduz Aktan:

    "Many top-level officials from European Union institutions and EU member-countries are visiting Ankara. All of them praise the government's efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria. However, none of them have promised us a date to start membership negotiations at the December 2004 summit. All say the decision will be based on the European Commission's report and emphasize the importance of the implementation of the reform laws. The issue of when we will become a member is by-passed.

    Meanwhile, the inclusion of the amendments we consider mandatory in the Annan plan does not seem likely. In other words, when May 1 comes and, after the approval of the Annan plan in the referenda, Turkish Cypriots will be admitted into the EU with their Greek counterparts, and our EU membership will still be undecided. Under these conditions, the government will find it difficult to get the people, even those of its own party, to accept the resolution of the Cyprus issue and will encounter difficulty getting the final agreement through Parliament. Even if all this is achieved, efforts to find a solution to the Aegean Sea issues will face significant resistance from the media.

    Yet, Turkey had already fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria with the fourth reform package it passed in August 2002. In this respect, no problems should have been encountered after passing the seventh package. The issue of implementation, while reasonable at first glance, is being used to hide the uncertainty over our membership. The government definitely has to focus on implementing the laws. However, as Cengiz Aktar, an expert on the issue, explained in his article in Radikal on March 2, deficiencies in implementation did not prevent other candidate-countries from starting the membership negotiations or even from becoming members. In this respect, the EU can find as many mistakes as it wishes, just like it did in the implementation process. European Commission reports show there are serious deficiencies even in member countries. Moreover, can people think a country that has passed so many reforms is trying to trick the EU? Turkey, just like everyone else, can correct its deficiencies during the negotiation process, estimated to be lasting around a decade.

    Under these conditions, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements like, "If they don't accept us as members, we will turn the Copenhagen criteria into the Ankara criteria and continue on our road," will only be useful to boost the confidence of those who are against Turkey's membership.

    What German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder said during his visit to Ankara was really encouraging. However, Christian Democratic Party (CDU) leader Angela Merkel and Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Edmund Stoiber's statements are equally discouraging. Even European Commission President Romano Prodi said that Turkey's membership should be explained to European society. If we add these to the statements made about our membership being put to a referendum, we will realize there are many uncertainties.

    The Merkel-Stoiber duo is likely to come to power in the 2006 elections. If you just browse Tamer-Andrea Bacinoglu's "Modern German Orientalism, German Publications in Turkey," you will realize how ingrained the misperception of the Kurdish problem, Islamic fundamentalism, the so-called Armenian genocide and Kemalism are in the German psyche. While the EU's economic attractiveness is decreasing, it still remains important for our internal stability and Balkan policies. However, just knowing about the German misperceptions is enough reason to want Turkey's participation in the EU's decision-making mechanisms. These misperceptions, bordering on racism, will be even more dangerous if we are left out of the EU.

    The situation in France is somewhat different. The extreme right in this country is not only against our membership but also against French membership and the new EU constitution. It has been said that they fear that giving full support to our membership before the European Parliament elections in June would strengthen the extreme right. That's all well and good, but what about the opposition of the government's coalition partner, the Union for the French Democracy (UDF)?

    Under these conditions, the government needs to use our growing importance as part of the Greater Middle East Initiative not only to get a date to start membership negotiations before May 1 but also to secure a timetable for full membership. Turkey's stability is gradually coming to depend on that."

    /SK


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