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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-06-18

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.114/04 18.06.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] HURRIYET : The USA has started to draw plans how to deploy its forces and the bases globally so that it will have an effective force.
  • [02] Tomas Weston says that the Annan Plan could not be renegotiated.
  • [03] Erdogan asks the support of Georgia on Cyprus.
  • [04] Izzet Izcan accused Mehmet Ali Talat of trying to hide the military regime in occupied Cyprus under a non existent democracy.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Birand supports that Turkey will use the extension of its Customs Union Agreement as a negotiation tool.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] HURRIYET : The USA has started to draw plans how to deploy its forces and the bases globally so that it will have an effective force

    The Turkish mainland daily HURRIYET newspaper (18.06.04) reports under banner headlines "Bargain of the 21st Century" that two US senior officials, one from the State Department and the other from the Pentagon arrived in Turkey to see the Turkish government officials on the use of the USA bases in Turkey. The paper reports that Deputy State Secretary Lincoln Bloomfield and Deputy Defense Undersecretary responsible for Strategies, Andy Hoehn arrived in Ankara yesterday for consultations.

    In an exclusive interview to HURRIYET's Sedat Ergin the two US senior officials said that they are trying to draw a long term ( 50-100 years) security project (Nar Global Defense Posture) in which the re-deployment of the US and allied forces and the military bases on a global basis will be considered .

    The two men said that they are visiting allied countries to take their views and proposals as regards this new deployment strategy. They said that they are yet to take specific decisions regarding the project. When asked to comment on the Incirlik Air Base the US officials made it clear that what they are doing is not a dialogue concerning this or that base but a dialogue for a strategy.

    According to the US officials the new strategy is based on flexibility, manoeuvrability and speed and respect to the sovereignty of the country that hosts the US forces.

    Meanwhile Turkish Daily News (18.06.04) reports that a senior official of the U.S. State Department held talks in Ankara on Thursday and discussed Washington's plans to realign its European-based forces.

    Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield met Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Deputy Undersecretary Baki Ilkin. Officials from the General Staff were also present at the meeting.

    Bloomfield's visit comes at a time when the Pentagon plans to undertake an array of changes in its European-based forces, in the most significant rearrangement of American military around the world since the beginning of the Cold War.

    In remarks made last month, Turkish officials said the United States had made certain requests for broader rights concerning the use of the Incirlik base in south-eastern Turkey. A subsequent report published in The New York Times said the United States was considering shifting some 72 F-16 fighters to Incirlik as part of its realignment plan.

    Reports in the Turkish media said the United States was keen to obtain broader access to some Turkish ports in the Black Sea.

    Turkish authorities confirmed Washington had made certain requests and that they were currently under discussion. However, they made it clear there was an unwillingness to expand the cooperation to a level that exceeds the existing defense cooperation agreement.

    The planned realignment would move U.S. European-based forces closer to the Middle East region.

    [02] Tomas Weston says that the Annan Plan could not be renegotiated

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (18.06.04) reports that Tomas Weston, the Cyprus coordinator at the US State Department, visited yesterday the offices of the Turkish Cypriot so-called representative in Washington, Osman Ertug.

    In statements after the meeting and asked to comment on the call of President Papadopoulos for renegotiating some aspects of the Annan Plan, the US official said: "I think that Papadopoulos has received his answer from the Turkish Cypriots. Papadopoulos may call for renegotiations, but there is no interlocutor before him. The international community as well does not support this. The UN Secretary - General has clearly noted that there is no room for renegotiations in the plan".

    Mr Weston noted that the US fully supports the ending of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and pointed out that there are rumours that there might be some action on this issue at the UN for a draft-decision which is expected to be submitted within the next few weeks.

    When a journalist claimed that the Greek Cypriots have not paid any price in spite of the fact that "they prevented the solution", Mr Weston stressed the following: "We are not interested in forcing anyone to pay a price. In any case, I think that the Greek Cypriots paid great prices with not being able to return to their land and having the problem going on in the island. We want peace and prosperity in the island. We are not interested in punishing anyone".

    Commenting on his visit to Mr Ertug, Mr Weston said: "As you know, after the recent developments, we made serious steps for lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. We shall do whatever we can to contribute to the economy of northern Cyprus so that the Turkish Cypriots come to the same economic level with the Greek Cypriots. We think that this has a key role to play in the reunification of Cyprus, which is our aim. We have a more obvious approach. My visit is a part of this approach.

    Asked whether or not President Bush will announce something for the Turkish Cypriots during his visit to Turkey next week, Mr Weston said that he did not know whether or not there will be any announcements next week, but the US is working on some arrangements for granting financial aid to the Turkish Cypriots.

    Responding to a question, Mr Weston said that there was a change of the name of the Turkish Cypriots at the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC), but their status remained the same. This reflects the approach of the Annan Plan and the report of the UN Secretary - General, said Mr Weston who welcomed the stance of OIC within the framework of the applications for putting an end to the "unnecessary restrictions" on the occupied part of Cyprus and the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    [03] Erdogan asks the support of Georgia on Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (18.06.04) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met with his counterpart from Georgia, Mr Zurab Jvaniya and informed him about the developments in the Cyprus problem

    Mr Erdogan asked Georgia's support on the Cyprus problem and for lifting the so-called embargoes on the occupied part of Cyprus.

    Mr Jvaniya promised that he would convey this message to the President and the officials of his country. He also expressed the hope that Turkish businessmen will show interest in the privatization program, which started in his country and invited Mr Erdogan to Tiflis.

    It is noted that on the agenda there is the issue of Mr Erdogan going to Georgia in August accompanied by a large group of Turkish businessmen, writes KIBRIS

    [04] Izzet Izcan accused Mehmet Ali Talat of trying to hide the military regime in occupied Cyprus under a non-existent democracy

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (18.06.04), under the headline "Covering to the military regime" reports that Mr Izzet Izcan, the "deputy" of the United Cyprus Party, strongly criticised yesterday the so-called government of Mehmet Ali Talat. Mr Izcan, who was speaking in the pseudo assembly said the following addressing Mr Talat: "You are trying to hide the military regime under a democracy which does not exist".

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Birand supports that Turkey will use the extension of its Customs Union Agreement as a negotiation tool

    Turkish Daily News (18.06.04) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    "Significant effort went to remove Turkey from the European Summit agenda. Turkey might not be on the summit agenda, but every conversation behind the scenes eventually leads to Turkey.

    I have to say that the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen's speech in Brussels was the clearest and most important statement praising Turkey's reform process to date. He mentioned many important points that reflected the positive outlook of the commission towards Turkey. This should also be considered a sign of the EU willing to keep its promise.

    For the EU, this summit meeting only concerns the constitution. They definitely want to resolve the issue. That's why they don't want to discuss any issue that might distance them from the matter at hand.

    Actually, they were successful in their efforts. However, they still couldn't refrain from mentioning Turkey and Cyprus. The summit declaration is very satisfactory for Turkey.

    If I need to translate the declaration by removing the diplomatic niceties, I can emphasize the following points.

    1. Turkey is keeping its word on adhering to the Copenhagen Criteria. We are sure it will implement the remainder and are giving our full support.

    2. If the European Commission report is positive and makes the necessary recommendations, The EU will keep the promise it made in Copenhagen and start the membership negotiations with Turkey without delay.

    3. While praising Turkey's constructive stance on the Cyprus issue, we would like Turkey to expand the Customs Union agreement to cover the Republic of Cyprus.

    Subtitle: 'Wait until early July for the 'TRNC'

    These statements were obviously kept short and clear in order not to start an argument about Turkey among the member countries.

    I expected more positive statements about the Cyprus matter. I was disappointed. When I expressed these feelings to a top EU official, I received this answer: Don't mind the statements made in the summit declaration. The EU Commission will take a series of steps in early July to end the isolation of the 'TRNC'. Wait for that."

    That's all nice and pleasing, but the commission officials openly say that they are finding it hard to end the 'TRNC's' isolation without officially recognizing it.

    "The most important matter for the 'TRNC' is the opening of airports and ports to tourism and commerce. We know that, but we are yet to find a way to do that without officially recognizing the 'TRNC'. We will still try to satisfy the concerns of the 'TRNC'."

    One of the most important issues that is being discussed about Turkey in Brussels is whether Turkey will expand the Customs Union agreement to cover the south of Cyprus, or not.

    The matter is causing significant tension because the Turkish government, on May 12, announced its decision that 9 of the 10 new members will be covered by the Customs Union Agreement (except Cyprus of course).

    It is obvious that this decision was made in order to use it as a political negotiation tool. It appears that they are trying to send a message to Greek Cyprus. However, the EU Commission is troubled. They say Turkey has to include southern Cyprus in the customs agreement or Turkey would be in violation of the customs union rules.

    If Turkey expands its customs agreement to cover southern Cyprus, it will mean it officially recognizes it. Ankara has known this fact for a long time. It knows it will eventually have to recognize it, but does not want to waste all its trump cards before the EU summit in December.

    This is a political risk, but at least it is a definite policy. Subtitle: Parliament elections embarrassed everyone

    The European Parliament elections top the list of things that officials in Brussels are ashamed of. The lowest ever average voter participation rate of 30 percent has worried everyone.

    A top EU official said: "What did we do wrong that we are faced with this complete disinterest? It is obvious that we failed to win the hearts and minds of the 450-million-strong EU electorate."

    How will this situation affect Turkey? Can parliament prevent the start of Turkey's membership negotiations?

    I asked this question to many people.

    I can summarize the answers I received:

    1. The EU Parliament cannot stop Turkey receiving a date to start membership negotiations. It has no authority.

    2. On the other hand, the new parliament will represent the growing conservative and anti-Turkish movement in EU countries. They will try to prevent Turkey's accession by passing certain political resolutions in autumn. Even though it might not win in the end, it will cause some trouble.

    3. The real trouble will come when the full membership point is reached. Then no one knows what will happen.

    This is what I saw today. Everything may change tomorrow. If unfortunate things happen in Turkey, the block against our membership may start its campaign.

    We are on a very long road. We need to have the belief and commitment to make it to its end. Turkey is seeking something it deserves."

    /SK


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