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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 98-04-30

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 CYPRIOT PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA

No. 75/98 -- 30.4.98

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] SABAH journalists Birand and Candar `suspended' after Sakik confession.
  • [02] Eroglu comments on Greek Cypriot passports, Holbrooke visit.
  • [03] Military exercises begin in occupied area.
  • [04] Holbrooke said to propose Dayton-Type meeting for 15 July.
  • [05] National Security Council meets, reviews Cyprus developments.
  • [06] Foreign Ministry denies change in Turkey's Cyprus policy.
  • [07] Denktash: Problems in implementing "protocols" to be solved.
  • [08] Turkey planning to buy F-15s.
  • [09] Russian Firm: S-300's delivery to Cyprus mid-August.
  • [10] Denktash comments on special envoy Holbrooke proposal.
  • [11] Turkish paper sees US pressure on two Cypriot communities.
  • [12] Turkey's Cem comments on Grossman meeting where Cyprus issue was discussed.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] SABAH journalists Birand and Candar `suspended' after Sakik confession

    According to Turkish Daily News (29.4.98) two prominent columnists working for the Turkish newspaper SABAH reportedly were forced to suspend their columns following the confessions of a senior Kurdish separatist leader, but newspaper officials denied they were really "fired".

    The news about the suspending of Cengiz Candar and Mehmet Ali Birand sent shock waves through press circles, disturbing many journalists. Both Candar and Birand were accused on the basis of Sakik's interrogation of having received bribes from Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan to promote the organization both in Turkey and abroad.

    Birand was the first one to respond to reporters. He said management at SABAH had told him they would no longer print his daily column. "They have politely informed me that we cannot continue to work together in this atmosphere", Birand told the press.

    Birand denied the accusations. "These allegations are the allegations of a murderer. They are not only untrue, they are ridiculous", he said.

    Candar gave his own account to the Turkish Daily News later, saying that he had been suspended for a while but may consider returning a few months later.

    Earlier, both journalists had denied the claims, and in their own words, they did not "even bother to respond to slander by a murderer." Birand and Candar were among the first Turkish journalists to have spoken in person with Ocalan, and both have advocated peaceful solutions to the dispute.

    A source from SABAH said none of the columnists were fired -- he said Birand had "resigned", and Candar was "suspended". The latter's articles will not appear in the daily for a few months, the source said.

    Semdin Sakik, after a falling out with Ocalan, split from the PKK and took refuge in the northern Iraqi strongholds of the Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani. In a covert operation this April, elite commandos from the Turkish military snatched Sakik from his northern Iraqi residence and brought him to Turkey.

    The Islamist and pro-Kurdish press was also attacked as a result of the Sakik confessions. The newspapers allegedly have agreed to withhold criticism of the PKK which, according to Sakik, had decided to cooperate with the Islamists. The editors and lawyers of the concerned newspapers denied these accusations.

    Journalists were not the only ones to be targeted by Sakik's confession; after they were published in two dailies over the weekend, the State Security Court charged Human Rights Association (IHD) Chairman Akin Birdal with voluntarily working for the PKK. According to the confession, IHD was described by Ocalan as," his gun in Turkey."

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that authorities were investigating the latest detail in Sakik's confession - also published by SABAH on Tuesday - which states that the PKK was responsible for the 1985 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme.

    State Minister and government spokesman Sukru Sina Gurel told reporters that the authorities were briefing Swedish officials on the latest claims in the murder case. After 13 years, Swedish authorities have failed to discover Palme's assailants.

    Interior Minister Murat Basesgioglu reiterated his earlier statement that authorities will take into consideration the court charges against Sakik, not his confessions.

    [02] Eroglu comments on Greek Cypriot passports, Holbrooke visit

    According to Anatolia Agency (7:10 hours, 29.4.98) Dervis Eroglu, so-called prime minister of the pseudostate, said on Tuesday that "the Turkish Cypriots won't have the passport of the Greek Cypriots who try to make the Turkish Cypriots a minority on the island".

    Addressing a television program named Akis, aired by illegal Bayrak, Eroglu said that no one has been put on "trial" so far for carrying a Greek Cypriot passport, but that they are working on a "draft law" concerning the passports. He claimed that the freedom of travel of the Turkish Cypriots is not limited.

    Eroglu pointed out that they share the same views with Turkey on the Cyprus problem, and stressed that they will accept negotiations only in the framework of the "two separate states" on the island.

    Reminding that Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative to Cyprus, is due to come to the island on Friday, Dervis Eroglu said that they expect Holbrooke to bring new proposals and views concerning the Cyprus problem.

    [03] Military exercises begin in occupied area

    According to Anatolia Agency (14:03 hours, 29.4.98) those parts of the Taurus-1 98 and Determination-1 98 exercises, two of the preplanned exercises of the Turkish Armed Forces, that will be conducted within the occupied area have begun.

    The frigates that arrived at occupied Kyrenia port within the framework of the exercises have been opened to visitors.

    Naval and ground units as well as F-16 fighter planes participated in the "TRNC" leg of the exercises that will be concluded today (30.4.98).

    [04] Holbrooke said to propose Dayton-Type meeting for 15 July

    According to a report in SABAH (29.4.98) on the eve of US President Bill Clinton's Special Cyprus Envoy Richard Holbrooke's visit to Cyprus, rumours are circulating in Washington concerning the proposals that he will be bringing.

    According to reports, Holbrooke will leave Washington on 30 April, arrive in Cyprus on 1 May, and try persuasion during his almost week-long contacts with the two leaders.

    But this time around the situation is a bit different.

    Reportedly, Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton agreement ending the Bosnian war, will apply the tactics he employed at Dayton to get an agreement on Cyprus also. Holbrooke, who will be keeping the two leaders at the table until he secures an agreement, believes that an agreement will be signed. It is expected that with his new proposals the mediator will again offer the two sides a Dayton-type meeting. Holbrooke who is already trying to persuade President Glafcos Clerides to recognize Denktash as a "president" and the "TRNC" as a political structure, if not a "state", will also be trying to persuade Denktash to travel to the United States to attend intercommunal talks, the report says.

    Holbrooke intends to bring the problem to a conclusion by inviting the two leaders to the United States on 15 July for uninterrupted Dayton-type talks lasting 15-20 days in a secluded and cloistered camp near Washington. If Denktash consents to this arrangement, Holbrooke will assure him of a meeting with US President Bill Clinton.

    It is being pointed out that such a meeting would imply a direct or indirect recognition of the "TRNC" by the United States. It is also being said that Holbrooke has warned EU officials against making statements on the Cyprus issue in the coming few weeks that might escalate the crisis.

    Following the latest contacts of Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ambassador Korkmaz Haktanir in Washington, Turkey has been making statements that intimate a softening of its position regarding recognition.

    [05] National Security Council meets, reviews Cyprus developments

    According to Kanal-7 Television (18:00 hours, 29.4.98) a statement was issued at the end of the meeting of Turkey's National Security Council (NSC). Inter alia, the statement says "within the framework of the important foreign policy developments of this period, the NSC also reviewed in detail the latest developments concerning Cyprus."

    [06] Foreign Ministry denies change in Turkey's Cyprus policy

    According to Anatolia Agency (15:14 hours, 28.4.98), the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied on Tuesday the news claiming that Turkey's policy on Cyprus has changed.

    Responding to a question, Necati Utkan, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman said that the news alleging that Turkey gave up the points which she determined as necessary for the commencement of the Cyprus negotiation process, is not true.

    Utkan pointed out that the "Joint Declaration" stressed that "there are two equal peoples, states and democratic systems on Cyprus and a permanent solution can not be reached on the island as long as the sovereignty rights of Turkish Cypriot people are not recognized."

    [07] Denktash: Problems in implementing "protocols" to be solved

    According to illegal Bayrak radio (10:30 hours, 28.4.98) Rauf Denktash has said that the difficulties being experienced in the implementation of the "protocols" signed with Turkey will be overcome. A Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce delegation headed by Chairman Salih Boyaci called on Denktash last Tuesday and briefed him on various economic problems.

    In a statement during his meeting with the delegation, Denktash said Turkey is aware of the bureaucratic obstacles in the implementation of the "protocols" it has signed with the pseudostate. Noting that programs have been prepared to overcome the problems, Denktash added that a Turkish delegation is currently inspecting the issue at the ports.

    Pointing out that the economy and tourism should be revived in order to consolidate political strength, Denktash stressed the importance of eliminating the obstacles on the path to trade. Noting that it is impossible for a 60-million-strong Turkey not to cope with the economy of 200,000 people, Denktash said the practicality observed in the "protocols" was not displayed.

    [08] Turkey planning to buy F-15s

    According to MILLIYET (28.4.98) the American company Boeing, which produces F-15 Eagle hunter-bomber planes, which Turkey is eager to include in its inventory, will give a briefing to Air Force Commander General Ilhan Kilic and other officials.

    The issue of the F-15s -- Turkey moved to add them to its inventory following Greece's effort to purchase these planes -- was raised during US Secretary of Defense William Cohen's visit to Ankara last week. Cohen, who tried to channel Turkey's $150 billion defense spending for the next 25-30 years toward American firms, promised to overcome the impediment in Congress in Congress over arms sales to Turkey.

    Following his Ankara contacts, Cohen allowed Boeing to put on exhibitions and give briefings to the Turkish Air Force.

    The capabilities of the F-15s will be explained in detail at the briefing to be attended by General Kilic and other high-ranking officials. After the briefing the two F-15s brought to Turkey are expected to go on show.

    With the addition of the F-15s --between 20 and 40 of which are planned to be purchased -- to the inventory of the Turkish Air Force, the Turkish Armed Forces will gain considerable superiority in "aerial" combat.

    The F-15s are equipped with two "Pratt-Whitney" motors, have a range of 4, 445 km, and fly at 2.5 Mach, that is, at 2,655km.

    [09] Russian Firm: S-300's delivery to Cyprus mid-August

    According to MILLIYET (Internet version, 29.4.98) Russia has declared that the S-300 missiles will be delivered to Cyprus mid-August.

    In a news conference he held in Moscow, state-owned Rosvoorujeniye company General Director Yevgeny Ananiyev (previous names as published) indicated that the operation for the embarkation of the missiles will begin at the end of July but did not mention the route through which they will be transported.

    However, taking into account his statement that the S-300 missiles will arrive on the island in mid-August, it is assumed that they will be delivered by sea. Turkey had warned that it will prevent the carrying of the missiles through the Straits and had stopped and inspected some ships passing through the Istanbul Strait last year.

    In the meantime, Ananiyev announced that the missiles to be delivered to the Greek Cypriots "do not exist" yet, adding:

    "This is a very expensive system. For this reason, we cannot keep them in our depots. They will be made only at delivery time."

    According to the agreement signed between Russia and Cyprus at the end of 1996, the missiles will be delivered within 18 months (of the signing of the agreement.) However, the fact that the missiles will be delivered in mid-August instead of at the end of May or beginning of June brings to mind the probability that a problem has arisen in the production of the missiles.

    The Rosvoorujeniye director said during the same news conference that the factory producing the S-300 missiles signed an agreement with a firm in the United States without having the company's consent, but that later on the US firm abandoned the purchase. He did not give further details. Ananiyev indicated that the company has some financial difficulties but that it is not facing a serious crisis. In the meantime, on President Boris Yeltsin's suggestions, former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has been appointed as the company's chief military advisor.

    [10] Denktash comments on special envoy Holbrooke proposal

    According to Anatolia Agency (11:48 hours, 29.4.98), US Special Cyprus Envoy Richard Holbrooke is scheduled to meet with Rauf Denktash on Saturday morning. There is a possibility that Holbrooke will meet with Denktash two times after this meeting.

    Meanwhile, Rauf Denktash said that they were prepared for the idea of a "quadripartite conference" which was revealed within the framework of Holbrooke's contacts. Denktash also said that they were prepared for a pre- agreement between the sides before this meeting.

    Denktash said, "we want our existence to be accepted as a state and that this is our right."

    Referring to the "declaration" he signed with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Denktash said, "we have prepared this declaration as a tool for Holbrooke's ideas".

    [11] Turkish paper sees US pressure on two Cypriot communities

    According to MILLIYET (29.4.98) Washington has intensified its pressure on the two sides in Cyprus prior to the diplomatic process Richard Holbrooke, President Clinton's special representative to Cyprus, will initiate when he arrives on the Island on 1 May. Ambassador Mark Parris met Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz last Tuesday. The meeting was at the Ambassador's request. It has been learned that he drew attention to the positive developments that were created by the US decision to increase quotas on Turkey's textiles.

    It also has been learned that Ambassador Parris later discussed the Cyprus problem. Noting that the United States wants progress to be achieved, he reiterated Washington's view that Turkey should adopt a flexible approach.

    Ambassador Parris briefed Mesut Yilmaz on Holbrooke's proposals and warned that Turkey must not be viewed as a country which rejects the negotiations process. Meanwhile, he urged Turkey to adopt a moderate approach, regardless of the Turkish side's disclosure that the negotiations cannot be resumed before the pseudostate is recognized as an equal and sovereign "state".

    Richard Holbrooke will visit Cyprus for nearly a week for an intensive diplomatic shuttle between the two sides. Diplomatic sources said that he is expected to bring a package of proposals, which will have a number of positive elements but which will not satisfy Turkey as a whole. The Turkish side has not disclosed its proposals.

    However, according to the paper, it has been reported that it will propose the following:

    1. Holding a four-party conference similar to the meetings that were held in Dayton in the past. The United States should participate in the meeting as an observer.

    2. The demand for the recognition of the "TRNC" will not be maintained to facilitate the conference. The "TRNC" can be recognized as a "separate administration" in return.

    3. Delivery of the S-300 missiles to Cyprus must be obstructed.

    4. The embargo on the "TRNC" must be lifted.

    [12] Turkey's Cem comments on Grossman meeting where Cyprus issue was discussed

    According to MILLIYET (Internet version, 19.4.98) the US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Marc Grossman, had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem some time ago. The meeting was kept secret from the press. The meeting took place at the request of Grossman, who was in Ankara as part of the delegation accompanying US Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

    Turkish-Greek problems, Cyprus, and EU-Turkey relations were discussed during the meeting.

    Returning from the Balkan Summit in Antalya, Cem could only meet Cohen, who wanted to see him, at the dinner given by Minister of National Defense Ismet Sezgin. After the dinner, Cem got together with Grossman, who is also a former US Ambassador to Turkey, at the Foreign Minister's Residence in the late hours of the night. At the meeting, Grossman briefed Cem about US views on Cyprus, Turkish-Greek problems and EU-Turkey ties.

    The United States wants Turkey to have closer ties with the EU and believes that, despite the EU's Luxembourg decision, Ankara must improve its ties with the EU. It also believes that progress must be made on Turkish-Greek relations and the Cyprus problem to ease this process. Aware of Turkey's efforts to start a dialogue with Greece, Washington wants Ankara to act calmly and continue to seek a dialogue despite the recent negative responses from Athens. Grossman also reportedly said that talks between the sides in Cyprus must begin without delay to make progress on that problem.

    Cem, who preferred not to divulge any information about the meeting, said that he exchanged views on many issues with Grossman. Cem described to MILLIYET Turkey's position on the issues discussed at the meeting:

    Turkish-Greek problems: "There is nothing anyone can say to us after our proposals to Greece. The Greek side is pursuing a hardline policy at its own volition. In any event, three of our proposals to Greece were American proposals, one was a NATO proposal, and one was a EU proposal. Everyone is aware of our efforts, and they have nothing to say on this issue."

    Cyprus problem: "US efforts to resume (intercommunal) talks are well known. However, neither the TRNC nor Turkey want to avoid negotiations. We want the talks to continue and are working to that end. The TRNC wants to know who will participate in the talks, for what purpose will they be held, and in what capacity. We support that position."

    EU-Turkey relations: "Relations with Turkey are, to some extent, the EU's own problem. We have not cut off our dialogue with the EU. We see no benefit in discussing certain issues.

    However, our contacts with the EU are continuing, and we are making efforts to see if there can be any developments that can be considered positive within the framework of the Association Agreement cannot be any substantive improvement in our political relations. We thanked the United States for its well-intentioned efforts on this issue and told them that we would welcome the continuation of such efforts. But we are not begging them to come and save us. They also know that we would not change our policies so that the EU does a favour and changes its stance."


    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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