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Turkish Press Review, 04-04-27
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> e-mail : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
27.04.2004FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN TO ATTEND OPENING OF TURKISH-GERMAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Germany for an official visit, is due today to attend the opening ceremony in Cologne of the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which the premier says will contribute to closer trade ties between the two nations. Erdogan is also expected to meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to discuss bilateral relations, Turkey’s European Union membership bid and the recent Cyprus referendums. The premier will be accompanied on his visit by State Minister Kursat Tuzmen and Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun. In related news, the premier is scheduled to travel to Greece on May 7 for a three-day visit. While there, he is expected to meet with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis as well as Greek President Kostis Stefanopoulos. /Turkiye/
 MGK, CABINET EVALUATE CYPRUS REFERENDUMSThe National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer convened yesterday at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. During the two-hour meeting, recent developments on Cyprus and the future of the island were discussed. A statement issued after the gathering pointed to the rejection of the United Nations Cyprus plan by the Greek Cypriots in Saturday’s historic referendums. Stressing that both Ankara and Turkish Cyprus had exerted great efforts for a settlement on the island, the statement said that these contributions should not be ignored. The NSC called on the international community to keep its word by lifting certain restrictions on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which approved the UN plan, and to take necessary steps to improve the TRNC’s political, economic and social situation. The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also convened yesterday to discuss the Cyprus issue. Afterwards, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters that Turkey had been disappointed by the failure of the UN plan. Stressing that Turkish Cypriots and Ankara had both done their best to reach a resolution on the island, Cicek said, “It is time the isolation of the TRNC be brought to an end.” /Star/
 GUL CONDUCTS INTENSE PHONE DIPLOMACY OVER CYPRUSForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday conducted intense telephone diplomacy to ensure amendments to European Union legislation on Cyprus in line with the Turkish sides’ constructive stance and demands. Gul reportedly made phone calls to EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen as well as his German, Irish and British counterparts – Joschka Fischer, Brian Cowen and Jack Straw respectively – for legislation for the post-referendum era expected to take final shape tomorrow. In addition, in a phone call from US Secretary of State Colin Powell in the late afternoon, Gul asked the US administration to lend its support to end the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Powell reportedly vowed continued US support to Turkey on the matter. Meanwhile, a briefing was given to the ambassadors of UN member countries to Ankara on the Cyprus issue. /Turkiye/
 DE SOTO PAYS FAREWELL VISIT TO TALATSpecial UN Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto yesterday paid a farewell visit to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat in the wake of Saturday’s historic referendums on the island. Also present at the meeting was TRNC Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas. Speaking afterwards, de Soto prasied Talat’s constructive stance during the Cyprus negotiations, calling him a “far-sighted” leader. Asked whether another referendum would be held, de Soto said that now was time to review the result of the recent vote. In related news, Talat is expected to travel to Washington next week to meet with US Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the future of the island. De Soto’s tenure as envoy to the island is due to end after the UN plan failed to win approval from both sides in the referendums. /Sabah/
 DENKTAS REQUESTS EU FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO COMPENSATE TRNC LOSSES FROM EMBARGOTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday sent a letter to Ireland, current holder of the European Union term presidency, requesting EU financial assistance to help compensate for the TRNC’s losses due to the economic embargo imposed on it. In related news, two TRNC parliamentary deputies, Unal Ustel and Ahmet Kasif, yesterday resigned from the Democratic Party, a senior government coalition partner. /Aksam/
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERS PLEDGE TO AID TRNC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTForeign Ministers of the European Union member states yesterday pledged to help spur economic development in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. A statement prepared by EU Term President Ireland and approved by the member countries at the EU General Affairs Council said that the Union was determined to aid in the TRNC’s economic development, especially as in Saturday’s referendums it had expressed a clear desire for a future within the EU. The statement said that financial assistance of 259 million euros would be released and that the EU Commission should launch initiatives aimed at establishing economic harmony on the island and bringing the two Cypriot communities closer together. In the statement, the EU foreign ministers also vowed to put an end to the economic isolation of Turkish Cyprus. /Cumhuriyet/
 VERHEUGEN: “THE EU WILL COOPERATE WITH TURKISH CYPRUS”European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said yesterday that the EU would cooperate with Turkish Cypriot officials and that the Union’s foreign ministers had agreed on the need to lift sanctions from Turkish Cyprus. At a press conference following an EU General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Verheugen said that Turkey had taken a very constructive stance during efforts to find a settlement to the Cyprus issue and had fully met its international commitments, adding that this would be positively reflected in the EU Commission report on Turkey due out this fall. Stressing that the EU had to cooperate with Turkish Cypriot officials, Verheugen added, however, that this stance would not mean diplomatic recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). /Hurriyet/
 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT MARKS ITS 42ND ANNIVERSARYSpeaking at a ceremony to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin said that no matter how well intentioned judges are, if their salaries fail to meet their basic needs, they will not be able to concentrate on their duties. He further argued that while other developed countries realize the importance of the judicial system, Turkish judges and prosecutors are not afforded the same respect. Present at the gathering were President and former Chief Justice Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and other high-level officials. /Milliyet/
 GERMAN PRESIDENT JOINS WORLD CHORUS CRITICIZING GREEK CYPRIOTSThe Turkish side’s positive stance in Saturday’s referendums on Cyprus continues to draw accolades from world leaders, while the same leaders argue that the Greek Cypriots made an historic mistake in rejecting the UN Cyprus plan. German President Johannes Rau said yesterday that the European Union should not consider any other alternatives to Turkey’s EU membership accession talks if Ankara meets the membership criteria. In an interview with German daily Bild, Rau said that all German administrations from Helmut Kohl’s to Chancellor Gerhardt Schoeder’s have always backed the view that Turkey should start accession talks if it meets the requirements of the membership criteria. He added that the EU would be stronger when its enlargement project is completed. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WHAT DID WE GAIN? BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the results of last weekend’s referendums on Cyprus. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In order to see what Turkey gained from last weekend’s referendums on Cyprus, we must consider the issue coolly and realistically. We faced many difficulties during the negotiations over UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan. If we had said ‘yes’ to the plan when it was first proposed, we would have benefited from it. However, the status quo which wants Cyprus to stay as is moved to hinder this. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul were able to show enough willpower to overcome the supporters of the status quo and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. Finally the TRNC said ‘yes’ to the plan.
We will get a date for membership talks from the EU in December. From now on, there is no danger of our being accused of being the side blocking an agreement. This is our greatest gain in the long run. Supporters of the status quo in Turkey had expected that we would say ‘no’ to the Cyprus plan and that the EU’s doors would be closed to us in December, and they even tried for this. We would have become an EU member with the conditions imposed by our supporters of the status quo.
Have we gained something else? The Cyprus issue has been an obstacle in our foreign relations for 30 years. This is a very important gain in the medium term. Another gain is that if the embargo on the TRNC is ended, Turkey will be rescued from the burden of propping up the Turkish Cypriots. They will become EU members in a very short period of time and have the opportunity to develop. In the background, other positive developments might have occured. However, if Annan’s plan had been accepted and implemented, Turkey, Greece, all of Cyprus, the EU, the US and the UN would have been relieved. But, it didn’t happen.”
 CYPRUS BY TOKTAMIS ATES (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Toktamis Ates comments on the historic weekend referendums in Cyprus. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The referendums proposed by the UN plan for Cyprus are finally past us. I can’t say that I’m happy with the result. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been able to cast a ballot, but a ‘yes’ vote from both sides could have brought an end to this decades-long problem (note, readers, I say ‘could have,’ not ‘would have’).
The reason why Southern Cyprus rejected that plan is that a ‘no’ vote carried no drawbacks. Statements like, ‘the Greek Cypriots showed that they’re not for compromise,’ are true but trivial, because it’s been known for centuries that the Greek Cypriots are expansionist rather than conciliatory. Cyprus can only be evaluated as a struggle over the ‘Greater Greece’ enosis idea fought for hundreds of years by Europe, the United States and the Greeks. Failure to see this leads to false conclusions.
In 1960-63 it became very clear who was reluctant to get along. The rights of the Turkish community, guaranteed under treaty, were appropriated by the Greek Cypriots. Traitorous assaults were made on the Turkish villages. We of course didn’t just watch it, but the attacks of Greek group EOKA (the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters) couldn’t be stopped. So what did the so-called ‘civilized world’ do to stop these attacks? All this savagery was ignored. Moreover, Turkey’s use of its guarantor right, also part of the treaties, was hindered by the US and other countries in the Western and Eastern blocks. We can’t expect Europe and the US, which failed to react to the Greek Cypriots’ terrible, unlawful actions during the Cold War, to punish Greek Cypriots for not accepting a compromise and rejecting the UN plan and then to reward the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Maybe they will first get angry and make some concessions, but soon, everything will resume as it has been.
The US and the EU guessed and relied on the TRNC not compromising, because otherwise they couldn’t abandon their assertions of ‘the North under occupation’ and consider the UN plan. But the TRNC and Turkey destroyed this game (despite the so-called nationalist voices). The EU had to resort to such a game because they were violating international law in two respects. One was the blueprint saying that Cyprus couldn’t enter any international organization without the consent of the guarantor states. The EU, which feared a veto from Greece, ignored this. The second respect is that EU’s stance towards the membership of countries with border conflicts. They also somehow forgot this principle. So under this condition, they hoped that the TRNC wouldn’t agree. If the people of the TRNC had thought and acted like TRNC President Rauf Denktas and the so-called nationalists, then the EU would have been be able to say ‘We did everything we could for an agreement. If they had agreed, then they would also have joined us as a founding state on May 1.’ Now the EU should think about what to say about their unlawful actions.”
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