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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-03-19
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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.54/04 19.03.04
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Erdogan is said to be trying to persuade Denktas to return to the negotiating tableAnkara TRT 2 Television (18.03.04) broadcast that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, are constantly exchanging views. Erdogan said: "You cannot stop in the middle of the road to a solution".
The prime minister replied to the following question at Ankara Esenboga Airport.
Question: Are you going to try to persuade Mr Denktas to attend the talks in Switzerland?
Answer: My friends are discussing these issues at the moment. As I said last night, there will not be a problem. We will all be there, together. Mr Denktas must be involved in this issue from the beginning to the end. You cannot abandon this issue in the middle. We will continue to make our consultations and assessments, and we will try to solve this problem so that the solution will be the most appropriate and most positive one for the "TRNC".
 Signs that Denktas´ withdrawal from the talks aims at blackmailing the international community for further concessionsIstanbul NTV television (18.03.04) broadcast statements made by sources close to Denktas on the reasons why he decided to abandon the negotiating table.
The report is as follows:
"Rauf Denktas is expected to launch a campaign against the Annan plan. According to NTV sources close to Denktas, he will follow the course of the meetings in Switzerland before launching an opposition campaign. Accordingly, Denktas will not launch his campaign in the event that the meetings follow a positive course. In the event that the talks lead to a decision against the Turkish Cypriots, Denktas will stage rallies to urge the people to vote against the Annan plan. The sources are pointing to 31 March as the crucial date because Annan will shape the plan by that date.
Explaining that a change of mind by Denktas is a very small probability, the sources say that there is no legal obstacle to having the Turkish side represented by Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and Deputy Prime Minister Serdar Denktas at the meetings in Switzerland."
 Statements by Turkish sources on Denktas´ withdrawal from the talks.It looks like a bargaining game by the Turkish side is in process Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.03.04) sent the following report from Ankara:
"After Mr Rauf Denktas announced that he would not attend the four-party conference in Switzerland, consultations between Mr Denktas and Ankara have been continuing through the Turkish delegation in `TRNC´.
Sources told the A.A correspondent on Wednesday that Ankara, which thought that the latest statements of Mr Denktas had reflected his hesitations, had been holding consultations with Mr Denktas through high-level diplomats in occupied Nicosia.
A Turkish delegation headed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cyprus Department Director General Ertugrul Atakan, who has been monitoring the negotiation process in Cyprus since February 19, 2004, and Ambassador Deniz Bolukbasi has been in the island.
Sources said that Mr Denktas did not hold any talks with Ankara before stating that he would not attend the four-party conference.
Highlighting the importance of continuing consultations, diplomatic sources said that the latest statements revealed that Mr Denktas had not taken a certain decision yet.
The same sources noted that Mr Denktas' statement that he would not withdraw from the negotiations, reflected his hesitations.
Ankara thinks that if Mr Denktas does not attend the four-party conference in Switzerland, `TRNC Prime Minister´ Mehmet Ali Talat and `Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister´ Serdar Denktas can attend the conference."
 The Turkish Foreign Minister stated that Mr Denktas did not withdraw from the negotiationsAnkara TRT 2 Television (18.03.04) broadcast the following: "Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, has said that Rauf Denktas, has not withdrawn from the negotiation process.
Gul was replying to reporters' questions at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Asked if Denktas' stand would affect the negotiations, Gul replied:
"Mr Denktas did not withdraw from the negotiations. We are constantly discussing these issues and holding consultations."
Question: Did you ask Mr Denktas to review his decision today?
Answer: We are in constant discussions and consultations anyway. We have friends there [in Cyprus]. We do everything together."
 Mr Talat hopes that Denktas will return to the negotiating tableAnkara Anatolia news agency (18.03.04) reported from occupied Nicosia that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, said on Thursday that the announcement of Mr Rauf Denktas that he would not go to Switzerland for the extended conference was not a surprise statement for him but a surprise decision.
Talat said he hoped Denktas would review his decision.
Speaking at a news conference, Talat said they were going through a difficult process, and noted that this difficulty would further increase toward the end of the talks.
Talat said the statement of Denktas was not a surprise for him, but that he did not consider it likely even if he expected something like this. Talat said the failure in presenting the draft constitution of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state also created difficulty in the process.
Talat said the process seemed to be interrupted, and that everything was left to Switzerland, noting that technical committees continued to work and that the process would be completed in Switzerland on March 31. He said technical committees would continue to work after March 31.
Pointing out that they expected the referendum to take place on April 20, Talat said written oppositions were conveyed to the U.N. regarding the date, and that the date April 20 may be changed.
Talat said he considered Karamanlis' participation in the four-way meeting in Switzerland on March 28 as a very appropriate decision, adding that the Turkish side from the beginning of the process wanted to hold the talks at high level and asked participation of fully authorized persons to the summit.
Talat said he was optimistic about the solution and that people expended 100 percent support to the solution, noting that none of the sides presented a map during the negotiations. Talat said there was not a concrete map on which the sides agreed.
Talat said they have not yet got an official invitation for the Cyprus summit expected to take place in Ankara on Monday. Pointing out that talks continued with Ankara, Talat said he learned from the television that Mr Denktas would not go to Switzerland. He said the decision of Mr Denktas was an expression of uneasiness.
When Talat was reminded the statement of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Denktas' decision that, "these are not issues that can be attributed too much importance. We discuss and resolve it", he said Erdogan would have meant that they would solve the problem in another way.
Pointing out that in the negotiation process, they for the first time expressed the mistakes in the Annan plan, Talat said they were in a position to act together till March 31.
Talat said: "Participation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in four-party conference in Switzerland displays their will to resolve the Cyprus issue."
When asked whether he would ask Mr Denktas to change his mind, Talat told reporters: "I have already asked him. The process will last till March 31. Then, everyone can have different assessments. Our acting together till March 31 is of great importance in regard to social compromise."
Upon a question, Mr Talat said that his meeting with United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto was of a preparatory character for the four-party conference.
"The Turkish Cypriot side may not get all its requests at the end of the process. However, we expect changes in vital parts. We have been carrying out a team-work. I believe that President Denktas will review his decision," he said.
Talat said that if Mr Denktas did not attend the conference, the government would have full authority legally.
"According to our point of view, the authority belongs to government. However, a meeting on the level of leaders is in question since the leaders of the two communities have conducted the negotiation process so far. We should go to Switzerland with full authority. The government's representing the Turkish Cypriots with full authority will be the most appropriate and correct thing," he said.
Noting that the plan of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan would be given its final shape in Switzerland, Talat said: "It is not right to launch a campaign of yes or no before finalization of the negotiation process."
Recalling that he had objected to the document presented to the sides by De Soto since it did not include the views of the sides sufficiently, Talat added: "However, the document contains very important issues. De Soto categorized the issues in the document. We will discuss whether or not the document should be taken to Switzerland as well."
On the issue of the settlers Mr Talat said that according to the Annan plan only very few will leave and that they will not be forced to return to Turkey.
 Speculation that the acceptance of the new flag is the reason why Denktas decided not to continue participating in the talksIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (18.03.04) publishes the following report by Utku Cakirozer under the title: "Flag Ruling Was Last Straw":
"While the "timing" of Mr Rauf Denktas' decision not to go to Switzerland came as a surprise for Ankara it is asserted that Mr Denktas might have gotten angry at the acceptance of the Unified Republic of Cyprus flag. Within the Turkish Foreign Ministry the prevailing expectation is that Mr Denktas will decide whether or not to go to Switzerland and continue the talks on 22 March when the talks on the island are due to finish. Officials noting that they had been expecting Denktas to decide not to go maintained that both the timing of the announcement and the fact that Ankara was not consulted was surprising.
Stressing that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had learnt about the decision on the television news, the sources made the following assessment: "A high-level Turkish delegation has been on the island for a month now. The announcement was made without consulting either them or Ankara. He was saying he would wait until the weekend. We do not understand why he did not wait until the last day."
Sources close to Mr Denktas said that what lay behind his sudden announcement might be the Turkish Cypriot `Prime Minister´ Mehmet Ali Talat government's decision accepting the new flag for the Unified Republic of Cyprus. This decision by the government over the flag, an issue not warmly treated by Denktas in a statement the other day, was reportedly "the last straw" for him.
Although it is being said that Erdogan and Gul are trying through "secret diplomacy" to make Denktas renounce his decision Denktas did soften his tone after his initial statement and said: "Not going to Switzerland does not necessarily mean that I am pulling out of the talks. I am going to work for good outcome." While this softening of Denktas' tone led to speculation in Ankara that "there was still hope he would change his mind" one official close to Erdogan said: "Do not think everything is over. It cannot end that quickly. He may change his mind."
Possibility Of Geneva
Furthermore, the possibility of the four-way talks being held in Geneva is growing in strength. Sources stated that should Denktas pull out then both Talat and Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas would be in the `TRNC´ delegation going to Geneva."
 Turkish newspaper cites three reasons for the crisis Denktas has createdIstanbul VATAN newspaper (18.03.04) publishes the following report under the title "Here are three reasons for the crisis":
"The Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, made a decision yesterday [Wednesday 17 March], which shocked everyone. He announced that he would not participate in the four-party conference, expected to be held in Switzerland, with the participation of Turkey and Greece within the framework of the Cyprus negotiations. Mr Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriot side has not withdrawn from the negotiations and that the `TRNC´ government would go to Switzerland. Mr Denktas said, "Nothing would happen if our indispensable conditions are not met", and continued as follows: "We wanted to save the people from a disaster, which we foresaw coming. From now on, let us not permit them to deceive us and to play games, like a cat plays with a mouse".
Mr Denktas had previously implied that his duty would end with the start of the four-party negotiations. Why Mr Denktas made this statement yesterday created question marks in Ankara. Mr Denktas' statement was interpreted as follows in the diplomatic backstages:
The procedure related to the referendum started yesterday. Mr Denktas wants to set forth his stance in a clear manner. In case a "yes" vote comes out in the referendum with one more than half of the valid votes, then it will be considered to have been accepted by the people to join the EU as the "United Republic of Cyprus".
The fact that the UN wanted the four-party negotiations to be realized in Switzerland, away from the press, made President Denktas concerned. It was stated that President Denktas conveyed to Ankara his concerns on the subject of the parties being closed in a room there and being forced to sign an agreement. But he did not receive a positive response from Ankara.
In recent days, Mr Denktas sent several letters to Ankara and conveyed that the initiatives for having Turkey's indispensable conditions put into the Annan Plan at the negotiations could not be successful due to the attitude of the Greek Cypriots and Mr Alvaro de Soto. It was stated that President Denktas also did not receive a clear answer to these letters.
The JDP [Justice and Development Party] government, which showed a great sensitivity on the subject of Mr Denktas taking an active role in the negotiation process, became rather disturbed by this development. The government evaluated that the problem could be solved with the agreement of all of the sides and for this reason, it is stated that the withdrawal of Mr Denktas could put the solution in danger."
 The Turkish Cypriot press reports that Denktas is bluffingTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (19.03.04) comments on the decision of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas not to participate in the second stage of the Cyprus talks in Switzerland and the decision of the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey to attend the talks on 28 March.
Under the title "The trick was unsuccessful", the paper reports: "The political step made by Denktas in order to sabotage the Switzerland stage of the talks, was harmful, but it was not of much use. The decision of the Prime Ministers (of Turkey and Greece) to participate in the summit, has ruined the game of Denktas".
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (19.03.04) comments on the same issue and says that the two Prime Ministers "saw the bluffing" of Denktas, who has set forward as one of the reasons for not going to Switzerland the fact that the talks would be "at a lower level", because the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey would not participate.
Furthermore, the editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (19.03.04), Basaran Duzgun supports that Mr Denktas, with his stance, has put Turkey into a difficult situation, because Ankara "had demanded the summit in Switzerland with the participation of Turkey and Greece, asked the contribution of the USA on this issue, convinced the UN and put pressure on the Greek Cypriot side and Greece". "By doing this Denktas is boycotting a historical summit in which the Prime Minister of Turkey will be also participating", Mr Duzgun says and adds: "'During the give and take in Switzerland the Annan Plan will take its final form. The give and take process, which should have been contacted until today, but for the one or the other reason has not, will be made in Switzerland. Denktas wants to stay out of this process. '".
 Akinci called on the Turkish Cypriot side to submit to the UN the constitution of the Turkish component state and stressed that Denktas' attitude is not a surprise for himTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (19.03.04) reports that Mr Mustafa Akinci the leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM) called on the Turkish Cypriot side to submit to the UN the constitution of the Turkish component stated. The constitution was prepared in the framework of the negotiations based on the Annan Plan and it is going to be used as the constitution of the Turkish Cypriot component state if a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.
The leader of PDM evaluated the current developments as regards the Cyprus problem, prior to a meeting he held with Mr Lynn Parker, the British High Commissioner.
Mr Akinci stated that it is a very important issue that the Turkish side has not yet submitted the constitution and added that as a result of this action neither the Greek Cypriot side submitted its own constitution. He said that according to the New York agreement the two sides should have presented the constitutions to the UN Secretary-General by the 12th of March, and called on Talat's regime to submit the constitution.
In addition, Mr Akinci stated that it is not a surprise for him the decision of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas not to participate in the four party summit, because as he stressed "he does not want a solution on the basis of the Annan plan. He refers to this openly many times". The leader of the PDM said that Denktas follows his known road and added that Denktas's statements that he will not participate in the four party summits but at the same time he is still a negotiator, came as a surprise to those who do not know him. "Bu we understand", said Mr Akinci and added that Denktas does not want a solution to be found by the 1st of May and wants the time that remains to be spent like this.
 Prendergast Meets TalatAccording to local daily KIBRIS newspaper (19/03/04) the UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Sir Kieran Prendergast and UN Secretary-General's Special advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto had a meeting yesterday with he so-called Prime Minister of the pseudo-state Mehmet Ali Talat at the so-called Prime Minister's office.
KIBRIS claims for the that first time a senior UN Official visited the "Prime Minister's Office". There was no statement at the end of the meeting.
 Opinion poll on next week´s local elections in TurkeyHURRIYET newspaper (19.03.04) reports that a survey by R&G company conducted for NTV TV Channel on 7.113 people, predicted that Justice and Development Party (JDP) will set a record at the March 28 elections and Erdogan will be the third leader going beyond the 50 % threshold, after (former Prime Ministers of the right wing) Adnan Menderes and Suleyman Demirel. Erdogan's JDP got 35 % of the popular vote in the November 3, 2002 general elections. Republican People´s Party (RPP) got 19.41 %, True Path Party (TPP) 9.54 %, Young Party (YP) 7.25 and Nationalistic Action Party (NAP) 8.35 %.
The survey led by leading research Tarhan Erdem showed that JDP will get 58.2 % of the vote in the leading Turkish cities Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, going beyond the record set by the Democrat Party (of Menderes) which got 57.6 % of the vote in the 1957 general elections. No political party or independent candidate has either reached this rate in these three cities, in the local polls.
According to the survey, in the local elections of March 28:
In Istanbul, JDP will get 58.5 % of the votes; RPP 19.1 %; (Socialist People´s Party (SPP) 5.6 %, Young Party 4.6 %; NAP 4.2 % ; True Path Party 2.7 %; SP 1.7; Democratic Left Party (DLP) of Ecevit 1.7 % .
In Ankara, JDP will get 68.4 % of the votes; RPP 11.7 %; SPP 11.7 %; NAP 4.2 %; YP 1.1; TPP 0.9 %, DLP 0.9 %, sp, 0.4 %.
In Izmir RPP will get 49.5 % of the votes, JDP 33.7 %, YP 7.1 %, NAP 2.9 %, SPP 2.8 %, TPP 1.5 %; DLP 1.4 %, MP 0.4 %, FP 0.2 %.
If general elections were held today, the survey estimates that:
In Istanbul JDP will get 59 % of the vote and will be followed by RPP with 16.6 % and YP with 5.1 and ethnic DEHAP with 5.1 %.
In Ankara JDP will get 64.4 % of the vote, to be followed by RPP with 18.9 %, NAP (Nationalistic Action Party) with 6.3 % and Young Party of Cem Uzan with 2.3 %.
In Izmir, JDP will get 46.6 % of the vote and will be followed by RPP with 29 %, YP with 9.5 % and NAP with 4.2 %
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Cengiz Candar analyses Turkey´s dilemmas between its EU aspirations and the US in view of global developmentsUnder the title: "Turkey amidst conflicting loyalties", Turkish Daily News (19.03.04) publishes the following commentary by Cengiz Candar.
"The spiral of violence from Madrid to Baghdad, the eruption of an Arab-Kurdish conflict in Syria in areas adjoining the long Turkish border, the tensions developing between Georgia and its autonomous region of Adjaria -- lying along the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and supporting the promise of the 21st century transforming Turkey into a hub of international energy lanes -- should all be a matter of concern for Turkey. Yet the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government is totally focused on the upcoming local elections scheduled for March 28. Even Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas's dramatic move of declining to participate in the four-party negotiations expected to start in a few days' time in Switzerland was unable to divert the focus of the JDP government from the local elections.
Global and regional tensions are rising, but the Turkish government seems to be too local. It might well be the correct attitude to take -- maintaining a sober posture in the face of an extraordinarily turbulent and volatile international and regional climate.
This sober and unmoved attitude also reflects the determination of the Ankara government to reach to a settlement on the Cyprus issue before May 1. It would appear that Tayyip Erdogan's leadership has burned so many bridges on the road to solution of the Cyprus problem and for setting Turkey firmly on the EU path that it cannot retreat from its policies.
Nevertheless, the ramifications of a Socialist takeover in Spain as well as the new Kurdish awakening that emerged with mass Kurdish unrest in Syria will impact Turkey in such a way that, apart from developments concerning the Cyprus issue, the government will be obliged to take a stand vis-a-vis all these developments that have unfolded over the last few days.
Take the Spanish case, for instance. The new Socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is very critical of the U.S. policy in Iraq, and he pledges to withdraw the Spanish troops, numbering approximately 1,800, who are serving there. The gap they would leave is insignificant in terms of the magnitude of the insurgency against the occupation. The insurgency in Iraq is not in the form of protracted guerilla warfare or a war of attrition against the coalition forces on a conventional scale. Rather, it is suicide bombings and blasts targeting Iraqi locals who are cooperating with the coalition authorities. In that sense, 1,800 Spanish soldiers are not a formidable force but instead constitute moral support to the United States in giving the Iraqi undertaking token legitimacy and the appearance of a multilateral effort. The real importance of the new stand taken by the Zapartero government is not military in nature but rather is political and psychological. It definitely weakens the pre- and post-war coalition led by the United States that achieved the removal of the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein and which is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. It also has the capacity to blur the U.S.-originated Greater Middle East Initiative, still in its embryonic stages.
A Spain moving away from the United States and getting closer to France, basing its Iraq policy on the French-German axis, heartens the al-Qaeda brand of rising terrorism, causing it to believe that its actions are producing the desired results. The anti-American sentiment questioning the wisdom of the war on Iraq is encouraged by the Spanish example.
The reaction of Spain to "Europe's 9/11" when compared to that of the Americans confirms the observation that "Americans are from Mars, while Europeans are from Venus."
The Euro-Atlantic divide, if it deepens thanks to the change of the guard in Spain (and even if it were to be followed in Italy and Britain), does not bode well for the JDP government in Turkey. The government will find itself squeezed between the European inclination and the American role in the region. On one hand, Europe is the strategic venue towards which it wants to lead Turkey. On the other hand, the United States is its indispensable partner, which, in turn, accords Turkey a somewhat privileged status within the Greater Middle East design, in which Ankara wants to find itself for reasons of security and stability.
It will be extremely difficult for Turkey to remain aloof to developments next door, especially after the Syrian Kurds stepped onto the regional scene by challenging the outdated Baathist rule in Syria. There is no doubt that Iraqi Kurdistan legitimizing its identity, thanks to Iraq's interim constitution, has become a source of inspiration for the Syrian Kurds to rise up and defy the Baathist regime in Damascus, cousin to that of the deposed Saddam in Baghdad. Turkey's Kurds -- as well as the government in Ankara -- are focused on Turkey's EU prospects. Indeed, it is Turkey's EU prospects that are sparing Turkey from the Kurdish unrest likely to continue in Syria.
Should the JDP government keep on courting Syria and flirting with Iran in order to contain Iraqi Kurdish fortunes, even in the wake of the recent Arab-Kurdish turmoil in Syria -- with the latter enjoying apparent sympathy from Turkey's ally and the ruling authority in Iraq, the United States? This is an unpleasant question that will force itself onto the Turkish foreign policy agenda in the near future.
One thing is certain: It will not take long for Turkey to be compelled to redefine its foreign policy objectives and priorities and also to redress its policies..."
 Mehmet Ali Birand assesses Denktas´ declared intention not to attend the widened meeting on CyprusUnder the title: "Denktas causes trouble for Ankara", Turkish Daily News (19.03.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand: "The Turkish Cypriot leader's statements caused surprise in Ankara but could be interpreted in different ways.
Since the agreement in New York, Denktas has been signaling that his views were different from those of the Turkish government. The difference in their approach was apparent.
The "sine qua nons" for Denktas on Cyprus were clear. However, he should have clearly expressed these points during the negotiations with Papadopoulos. The Greek leader said nothing about these points and the United Nations officials did not signal they would take these points into consideration.
It seems no result will be achieved in the round of talks to include Turkey and Greece in Switzerland and even the final solution of Kofi Annan will not meet Turkey's concerns on these points.
Denktas seems to be aware of these facts and has modified his approach in order to:
1. Make Ankara more insistent on these 'sine qua nons' through pressure.
2. Signal to the U.N. that he will cause difficulty in getting a solution.
However, Ankara's approach was different.
The Foreign Ministry and the government gained the overall support of Washington and the E.U. It was planning to struggle until the end without withdrawing from the negotiations, delaying its final decision until just before the referendum.
Denktas has derailed Ankara's plans with this latest move.
It's time for immediate action
Now, it's time to be calm and reset these plans in order to overcome the trouble caused by Denktas.
If every one says different things, then the Turkish side may lose all the cards in its hand on Cyprus.
If Turkish officials interpret this move by Denktas as an effort to have "no solution" on Cyprus, they may get nervous and make a mistake. Turkey should keep its nerve.
Prime Minister Erdogan or President Sezer should invite Denktas to Ankara immediately. On the other hand, the president, government and the military should revise Turkey's points of 'sine qua non' on Cyprus, make their stance more clear on the issue and ask this crucial question to Denktas for the last time: "We have endorsed such an approach, are you with us in implementing this plan or without us?"
The Turkish side should not go to the next round of talks in Switzerland with these internal fractures."