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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-03-31

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. 61/04 31.03.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Local newspapers review 31/03/04. ORTAM sees trade-off between Northern Iraq and Cyprus
  • [02] Reports from Burgenstock by Ankara Anatolia and TRT
  • [03] Turkey's main opposition party in trouble after local elections.
  • [04] Journalists and citizens were beaten by police in Diyarbakir when they saw bags of ballots being stolen.
  • [05] The Turkish National Security Council will meet Wednesday and Thursday.
  • [06] Illegal Bayrak television broadcast a documentary on the foreigners living in occupied Karmi village.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [07] Columnist explains how the U.S., Britain and other European countries helped Erdogan achieve his victory on the issue of limiting permanently the basic human rights and freedoms of the Greek Cypriots which Turkey flagrantly violates since 1974

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Local newspapers review 31/03/04. ORTAM sees trade-off between Northern Iraq and Cyprus

    Following is a summary of the reports published in the local newspapers on the talks in Switzerland for a solution to the problems created by the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of the territories of the Republic of Cyprus.

    ORTAM newspaper, mouthpiece of the Communal Liberation Party, supports that the position adopted by the United States, openly in favor of Turkey, has become clear thanks to information coming from the United Nations.

    The extract is as follows: "While all these developments are taking place information coming from the UN has made clearer the role of the USA. According to allegations, the USA has asked the UN to take heed of the red lines set by Turkey, 'because we have turned a blind eye to these in Iraq'".

    In its front page leader ORTAM reports under banner headlines "Uncertainty" that the Turkish demands as regards security and political equality are met while on the other hand no guarantees are given as regards the derogations, the Turkish language becoming a language of the EU after five years and giving special status to Karpass peninsula which are points of concern to the Turkish side .

    YENIDUZEN reports under banner headlines "We demanded and we got". The paper's special correspondent in Burgenstock, Switzerland, Cem Mutluyakali reports what were the Turkish Cypriots demands. He reports that the Turkish side demanded that:

    1. The United Cyprus Republic and not the Republic of Cyprus should become the EU member.

    2. The citizens of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus as a whole become the citizens of the European Union.

    3. There should be Political Equality.

    4. Our state to be secured.

    5. The guarantees should not be watered down and the Turkish troops to be stationed here.

    6. Less Greek Cypriots to come and settle among us.

    7. Our relations to be continued with Turkey.

    8. Displacements should be carried out without any problems.

    9. There should be derogations.

    Mutluyakali reports that the Turkish Side's demands are greatly reflected on the new revised edition of the plan.

    BIRLIK reports under banner headlines "The Fourth Plan proved to be worthless" and claims that changes introduced into the fourth plan are nothing but superficial touches.

    HALKIN SESI reports under banner headlines "We have conveyed our concern to the UN" and reports that Kofi Annan will make the finishing touches on the replies given by the sides and will announce the final plan.

    KIBRIS reports under banner headlines on the Turkish side's objection points which are: "Property and Derogations". On the other hand, reports KIBRIS, the Greek side has asked to change almost the whole plan. The paper quotes Serdar Denktas who said: "Intense bargaining is going on. The Greek Cypriots are doing everything possible to influence the Secretary-General. Their aim is to change the whole plan. In turn we are trying to change those points that could create problems to the Turkish side. It would be wrong to engage in making final evaluations prior to having the final text". KIBRIS publishes a map which it claims is the map attached to the Fourth Plan.

    VOLKAN reports under banner headlines "The Fourth Annan Plan Cannot be accepted". It also publishes the villages that will be returned to the Greek Cypriot side.

    AFRIKA, under banner headlines "Now it is Annan's Turn", reports that the final form of the plan which will be submitted to referendum will be decided today.

    [02] Reports from Burgenstock by Ankara Anatolia and TRT

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30/03/04) reports from Burgenstock that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met early on Tuesday separately with United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Erdogan expressed the first impressions of the Turkish side on the revised Cyprus plan presented to the parties on Monday in his meeting with Annan, sources said.

    The sources noted that Annan thanked Erdogan for joining the negotiations in Burgenstock and expressed his pleasure that the Turkish side was the first party which expressed its views about the drafted Cyprus plan.

    Erdogan's meeting with Annan lasted about 15 minutes and his meeting with Karamanlis lasted around 40 minutes.

    Meanwhile, the revised Cyprus plan foresaw that elections should be held in the "United Cyprus Republic" on June 13, 2004. The parties are expected to give their first views on the new plan later in the day. The drafted text envisaged gradual withdrawal of Turkish and Greek soldiers from the island, sources said. The same sources noted that the draft Cyprus plan foresaw the presence of 6,000 soldiers at first, then reduction of this number to 3,000.

    The new plan envisaged that the number of soldiers in the island would be equalized with the number foreseen under the London and Zurich agreements in the end of the process.

    The drafted text adds not only Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot national days but also May 8, publicly known as the European Union (EU) day, to the national days of the "United Cyprus Republic", which will be established after an agreement is reached on the island.

    The draft foresees that sanctions and punishments against the "United Cyprus Republic" in case it does not fulfill its obligations stemming from EU membership should be met by the federal state. This issue is considered one of the most important elements in the drafted plan.

    EU and Justice Ministries were given to the Greek Cypriots while the ministries like the Foreign Affairs, Defense, Industry, Natural Resources and Transportation were given to the Turkish Cypriots in the "United Cyprus Republic" under the revised Cyprus plan, sources added.

    Erdogan flew to Switzerland to join the negotiations on Monday. It was impossible for Turkey to make concessions from its sine qua non conditions in Cyprus although Turkey had a Cyprus policy aiming at "solution in the island", Erdogan told a news conference before he left Turkey for Switzerland.

    Annan presented his revised plan to the parties in Burgenstock on Monday and asked them to give their views on the new Cyprus plan by Tuesday morning and to say their final word on the text on Wednesday.

    The text consisted of 9,000 pages including annexes and the Foundation Agreement. The plan also covered the draft act of adaptation arranging the United Cyprus Republic's accession to the European Union (EU). During the ceremony held to present the revised plan to the parties, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that he took into consideration Turkish Cypriot side's sensitivity on bi-zonality during the preparation of the last version of the Cyprus plan and stated that it would be seen that the draft plan was developed with the aim of preserving the identity of Turkish Cypriots.

    Moreover, Ankara TRT 2 Television (30/03/04) broadcast that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed the hope that a positive result based on the understanding that both sides emerge victorious will be reached in the Cyprus talks being held in Switzerland.

    Erdogan, issued a written statement through his press advisors and assessed the Cyprus negotiation process. Noting that both the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot sides are conducting the negotiation process in full unity, Erdogan added that the work is continuing in a serious and careful manner. He said: "When this work is concluded we will reassess the issue. Our only wish is to reach a positive result based on the understanding that both sides emerge victorious. We are continuing our work with care, determination, and caution."

    In the same written statement, Erdogan also referred to domestic political developments. Recalling earlier statements to the effect that the local elections would be a test on the activities carried out by the government during the last 17 months, Erdogan continued: "With God's will, having received a percentage of votes that is much higher than 34.4, our people have reiterated their support for the government. More than support, they have expressed their enthusiasm and their endorsement of stability."

    Pointing out that the government will launch work aimed at enabling the mayors to free themselves from an introverted concept of municipal administration and to see developed municipalities in the world and implement their activities, Erdogan said that the central administration will extend every support possible.

    Referring to the one-vote difference in Sinop, Erdogan noted that it showed how even a single vote is very important in democracies. He denied reports to the effect that the debts of JDP [Justice and Development Party] municipalities will be cancelled.

    [03] Turkey's main opposition party is in trouble after local elections

    Turkish Daily News (31/03/04) reports that the main opposition Republican People's Party (RPP) receiving 18 percent of the votes in Sunday's local elections has created a troubled atmosphere in the party. While the RPP leader Deniz Baykal claims the elections were a success, the disappointment with the results is increasing among the party members.

    The RPP lost about a million votes in the March 28 elections, compared to the November 3, 2002 national elections. In 2002, the RPP attracted 6.227 million votes, but the number of votes going to the party decreased to 5.290 million this time around. The RPP received 19.3 percent of the votes in 2002, but received only 18 percent last weekend.

    Despite these figures, Baykal said the results of the local elections could not be compared with the national election's, and proceeding to compare it with the 1999 local election, announcing a great increase of support of 8 percent for the RPP. However, the center-left Democratic Left Party (DLP) had received 22 percent of the votes in 1999. Baykal ignored the fact that the DLP received only 2.2 percent of the votes over the weekend, and that the RPP had failed to attract any of the center-left votes that had gone to DLP in 1999.

    Some members of the opposition within the RPP, who have no active jobs in the party, have started to openly call for Baykal and the party executive's resignation. Baykal is expected to resist all pressure. These opposition members do not occupy executive posts in the party and their only chance of succeeding in an anti-establishment campaign depends on them attracting the members of the party-assembly and the parliamentary group. There are some voices within the party-assembly and Parliament who are criticizing the election results.

    Deputies from Istanbul Ahmet Guryuz Ketenci and Nurettin Sozen described the election results as a collapse. Ankara deputy and party-assembly member Mehmet Tomanbay and Igdir deputy Yucel Artantas said a change in the party executive was needed.

    In the next few days, debates about the election results are expected to take place both in the parliamentary group and the party-assembly. The election defeat has turned all eyes towards the RPP deputy-leader Kemal Dervis, who is widely seen as an alternative to Baykal. Sources say that Dervis will act according to the developments.

    The opposition aims to topple Baykal at an extraordinary party congress. An extraordinary party congress can take place only if more than half of the delegates sign a petition. However, some say that a failing to unite around a single leader might cause the divided opposition to lose against Baykal.

    Even if the opposition within the RPP fails in its objectives, no one expects the situation to calm soon. A group of RPP members, lead by former deputy Ali Haydar Sahin gathered in front of the party headquarters on Tuesday, and called for the convening of an extraordinary party congress.

    Sahin said that the election results were a disaster and a complete defeat, and described RPP leader Baykal's and his colleagues' statements as playing with figures.

    He said, "Baykal's press conference after the elections made it clear that he had no intention to consult the real owners of the party, the members and the delegates, about the election results, and has decided to remain at the post he and his friend are currently occupying. The reason behind the rushed changes in the party regulation has now become obvious."

    He claimed the party was eroding every passing minute and that he and his friend had come to voice their objections, which were shared by hundreds of thousands of party supporters. He said many more party delegations from all around the country would be coming to the party headquarters after the weekend to ask for the convening of an extraordinary party congress."

    [04] Journalists and citizens were beaten by police in Diyarbakir when they saw bags of ballots being stolen.

    Turkish Daily News (31/03/04) publishes the following report:

    "The Human Rights Association (IHD) has released a written statement accusing Diyarbakir police of beating journalists and demonstrators after the polls had closed on Sunday evening.

    IHD Vice President Reyhan Yalcindag said in the statement that they had called on authorities to take administrative and penal or civil measures to immediately relieve the alleged perpetrators of their duty, prosecute them and apply sanctions as provided by law.

    "On March 28, 2004 local elections were held throughout Turkey; observers agree that they appeared to be largely fair. The atmosphere was calm throughout the day during the voting in Diyarbakir. However, at about 10:00 p.m. after the voting had been completed, a serious event occurred in which members of the security forces beat and injured some local citizens and some journalists," said Yalcindag.

    Explaining the behavior of the police, Yalcindag said: "The polls closed at 4:00 p.m. in Diyarbakir; between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. bags of ballots were transferred to the local courthouse for verification. Some citizens witnessed some people stealing several bags of ballots, and then they began arguing with the security forces about it in front of the courthouse. They dispersed after being warned by the security forces. However, a small group of these protesters and some journalists passing in front of the nearby Yenisehir Police Station were attacked by about 30 plainclothes and uniformed police using batons and chains."

    She added: "Although the police intervention was conducted in violation of the law, no explanation has been given regarding the attack that resulted in 17 people being injured. This attack was not provoked by a violation of the law; this group was not protesting or chanting slogans but was in the process of leaving the area. A number of seriously injured people were taken into police custody in handcuffs and not released until morning."

    Talking about the assaulted individuals, Yalcindag said a number of journalists were among those injured. Correspondents and cameramen from DIHA, Gun TV, Soz TV, SHOW TV and Kanal 21 were beaten by the police and their cameras were smashed and confiscated by the police. She stressed: "While some of the members of the press tried to take shelter in front of the governorship building in order to protect themselves, they were beaten up and ill-treated by the police. After the security forces had badly beaten the citizens and the media representatives, they left them in the street." "

    [05] The Turkish National Security Council will meet Wednesday and Thursday

    NTV television (31/03/04 10:00 hours) broadcast that the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, will meet today and tomorrow.

    Today, the meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. and will be attended by government officials and top military officers. Recent domestic and international developments will be addressed during the meeting.

    The meeting tomorrow (01/04/04) will focus on the Cyprus problem and will be attended by Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul, who are in Burgenstock for the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    [06] Illegal Bayrak television broadcast a documentary on the foreigners living in occupied Karmi village

    Illegal Bayrak television (31/03/04), which was established as a radio transmitting from the Anamur coastal town of Turkey in 1963 simultaneously with the launching by Rauf Denktas of his struggle to destroy the Republic of Cyprus with the terrorist TMT organization, broadcast a documentary on foreigners living in occupied Karmi village.

    Participants in the documentary were foreigners, mainly retired British, who settled in the houses and properties of Greek Cypriots who were either murdered or forced at gun point to abandon their homes by the Turkish occupation army in 1974, while some of them are still missing.

    The documentary also gave extensive coverage to the church of the village, which is being looked after by a lady named Nadia, who came to Cyprus from Kenya 33 years ago.

    The presenter alleges that what is strange with the church is that in 1860 the non-muslims living in the village applied to the Ottoman authorities to repair and enlarge the church and in 1979 Mrs Nadia applied to the occupation so-called antiquities department to paint and repair the church.

    In the documentary no mention at all was made to the fact that Karmi village was inhabited exclusively by Greek Cypriots until 1974 and that foreigners occupy illegally houses belonging to Greek Cypriots who were forced to live in tents or under the trees for years in the free areas of Cyprus.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [07] Columnist explains how the U.S., Britain and other European countries helped Erdogan achieve his victory on the issue of limiting permanently the basic human rights and freedoms of the Greek Cypriots which Turkey flagrantly violates since 1974

    Istanbul Star newspaper (30/03/04) publishes the following article by Zeynep Gurcanli under the title: "Ankara's Victory in the Derogations"

    "If the primary law problem is not solved, then there would be no meaning of the activities made..."

    These statements belong to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prime Minister Erdogan, with a sentence he used before departing from Ankara yesterday [Monday, 29 March] to participate in the Cyprus negotiations in Switzerland, actually summarized the point reached in the negotiations.

    Recently, the negotiations ceased to be between the sides on Cyprus and developed between Turkey and the EU.Prime Minister Erdogan did not stop only with this message. He went one step further and added: "The verbal guarantees on the subject of primary law have no meaning at all. It is necessary to put them into written records." The meaning of these statements is quite clear:

    If the EU would not solve the subject of derogations as Turkey wants and with guarantees as much as Turkey wants, then a solution on Cyprus would once again be "left to another spring". The Turkish side would not even take a text on which Turkey, Greece, the Greek Cypriot side and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] reach a "complete agreement" to a referendum, let alone the text where the voids would be filled in by Mr Annan.

    Subtitle: Ankara insisted and Got What it Wanted

    These statements made by Ankara at the highest level, directly by the Prime Minister, showed their effect and in the end, Ankara also got what it wanted.

    Yesterday, in the talks held in Switzerland between Gunter Verheugen, the Member of the European Commission responsible for Enlargement, and the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, it was officially announced that the permanent restrictions of the EU directed at the Greek Cypriots in the Cyprus agreement "would be made into the form of the primary law" of the EU. There is only one course for making the derogations into primary law:

    The Cyprus agreement should be passed one by one, in a form that would also include the derogations, through the parliaments of all of the EU member countries. The EU was opposing this by claiming that this would be both a long and a painful process. It brought another formula in its place under the name of "conformance document": "Let the derogations continue until the level of affluence of the Turkish Cypriot people reaches 90 percent of the level of affluence of the Greek Cypriot side..."

    According to the EU diplomats, this had the meaning that in practice, the derogations would continue until eternity, or at least that they would continue until Turkey became a full EU member.

    It appeared as though Ankara would be satisfied with the conformance document, with this actual formula found. But Ankara said, "It would not be an actual solution". Ankara still insisted "on an official solution" as a final point. Yesterday, as Ankara wanted, Mr Verheugen stated that the process related to having the Cyprus agreement passed from the parliaments of the EU countries would be started. An agreement was reached on the "conformance document formula" being valid throughout the period that would pass in response to the possibility of the approval process lasting for a long time. Thus, no legal vacuum was left.

    Subtitle: The Diplomatic Attack of Erdogan

    The diplomatic attack, started personally by Prime Minister Erdogan during the weekend, has been effective in Turkey's reaching this result.

    Before departing for Switzerland, Prime Minister Erdogan made four international phone calls and also held a face-to-face talk. The telephone conversations made were realized with the EU Commission Chairman Romano Prodi, the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who is serving as the EU Period Chairman, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the French President Jacques Chirac, respectively. Prime Minister Erdogan's message to all of them was the same: "The agreement to be reached on Cyprus should be included in the primary laws of the EU."

    The face-to-face talks were realized between Prime Minister Erdogan and Peter Wesmancott, the British Ambassador to Ankara, at the Esenboga Airport. Amb Wesmancott conveyed the following message of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair:

    "We understand the uneasiness of Turkey. We will intervene both as an EU member country and also as a guarantor country on Cyprus for a solution to this." Turkey was so determined on the subject of the derogations that it had even involved the United States, a country, which is not even included in the EU.

    Foreign Minister Gul spoke on the phone with his US colleague Colin Powell during the weekend. Mr Powell clearly said, "I acknowledge that the Turkish side is right in its expectations on the subject of derogations", and thus expressed Washington, D.C.'s attitude in a clear manner. The US Secretary of State also promised that he would use his influence in the EU on the subject of the acceptance of the derogations.

    Moreover, a telephone conversation was "arranged" between President George Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan through diplomatic channels and this diplomatic attack produced results. The first step was taken for the derogations becoming the "primary law" of the EU."

    /MD


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