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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 98-07-07

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/>

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Fire in occupied area said put under control.
  • [02] Transfer of US warships to Turkey said approved.
  • [03] Ismet Sezgin on S-300.
  • [04] Occupation commander insists on ``sovereignty''.
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [05] Turkish paper backs unconditional dialogue on Cyprus. AND OTHER MEDIA

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Fire in occupied area said put under control

    According to Anatolia Agency (7:56 hours, 6.7.98) the fire which broke out in the Pyrga region and then spread to the forests of occupied Limnitis village and then to the eastern part of the pseudostate has been taken under control.

    The Turkish helicopters and British helicopters, which tried to extinguish the fire from the air, left the region on Sunday evening after the fire was taken under control.

    Two helicopters coming from Turkey were kept waiting all night at the occupied Tymbou airport because of the possibility of the spreading of the fire.

    Kenan Akin, so-called minister of agriculture and forestry, said that an area of 35,000 dunam (approximately 8,750 acres) have burned.

    [02] Transfer of US warships to Turkey said approved

    According to MILLIYET (2.7.98) the US Congress has approved the Pentagon´s decision to transfer another 14 ``aging'' warships to Turkey. Congress approved the transfer of three frigates to Turkey some time ago. Ankara struggled for two years to acquire them.

    According to diplomatic sources, the Congress Commission decided during its meeting on 25 June on the 1999 defense budget allocations to allow the Pentagon to lease 48 warships to various countries. The commission is made up of representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives. Its approval means that the problem created by some Senators, who objected to the ``transfer of arms to the Aegean,'' was solved. Many sources said that the commission approved the paragraph that will allow Turkey to lease the warships it wants. However, they noted that the final decision has not yet been made because of the debate over the other sections of the defense budget.

    According to the Pentagon proposal to Congress, three Perry class guided- missile frigates and 11 ``aging'' Knox class frigates will be handed over to Turkey for $140.5 million.

    Defense experts said that the Knox class frigates were used for the first time in 1969 and the last of their series was put to sea in 1974. They also said that none of them is currently used by the US Navy. The vessels can cruise at 27 knots and carry a helicopter. However, their weapons systems are ``obsolete''.

    Three aging Adams class destroyers, three Knox class frigates, and a floating dock will be delivered to Greece within the same context.

    [03] Ismet Sezgin on S-300

    According to KIBRIS (7.7.98) Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Sezgin has claimed that deployment of S-300 missiles in Cyprus will tilt the balance.

    When asked to comment on press reports that Russia is ready to stop the delivery of the missiles if there is progress in negotiations between ``the two states'', and Turkey´s stance vis a vis such a development Sezgin said:

    ``This is completely foreign to us. We do not bargain with anyone. I hope that the S-300 missiles will not be deployed there. This would be tantamount to craziness. It tilts the balance. It creates tension''.

    When invited to comment on a statement by a NATO official that the S-300 are a defensive weapon, Sezgin said that he is unaware of the identity of the NATO official who made the statement. ``NATO´s Secretary General is the last person who said the last word. He clearly said that this (deployment) was wrong'', Sezgin claimed.

    (MY)

    [04] Occupation commander insists on ``sovereignty''

    According to KIBRIS (7.7.98) the Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, Lieutenant General Ali Yalcin, has said: ``There is no fall back from sovereignty''.

    Speaking to the members of the ``Platform of Struggle for National Objective'' (UHIMP), who paid a visit to the occupation commander on the occasion of the anniversary ``celebrations'' of the invasion and occupation, Lieutenant General Ali Yalcin ``thanked'' the UHIMP members for their ``sensitivity'' regarding the safeguarding of the national cause. (MY)


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [05] Turkish paper backs unconditional dialogue on Cyprus

    Sami Kohen, writing in MILLIYET (Internet version, 4.7.98), under the title ``Every Form of Dialogue'' says: ``A dialogue, whether it is through the `second channel´ or whether it turns into a `dialogue of the deaf´ is better than not talking at all, being aggrieved, or carrying on a row. It is better even if such talks cause suspicion, test people´s patience, and do not produce any results for a long time.

    `Second channel´ (Anglo-Saxons call it `track two´) is the name given to the dialogue between nongovernment and civilian organizations or individuals. The goal of such a dialogue is to establish `unofficial communications´ when official channels are blocked. The objective is to create a better environment of mutual understanding and trust between different sectors of nations and thus help the settlement of disputes.

    Such contacts took place between Turks and Greeks, and between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in recent years. The `four-party´ meeting which was organized last year by the Columbia University and the Oslo Peace Research Institute in Brussels and which featured Richard Holbrooke attracted much interest. This framework offered a opportunity for Turkish and Greek Cypriot businessmen and intellectuals to get together.

    A similar meeting was organized in Oslo this week, at the initiative of the same organizations and with the participation of Holbrooke. However this time only one businessman from the TRNC attended the meeting. The reason is that the Turkish Cypriot government and Ankara oppose such meetings.

    The reasoning for this `official´ posture, which has been adopted as a retort against adverse developments on Cyprus, goes as follows: Such meetings are aimed at undermining the policies of the TRNC and Turkey and sowing division among the Turkish Cypriots. Decisions taken at such meetings are later used against the Turkish side. The Greek and Greek Cypriot side abuse such decisions. Consequently we must stay away from such initiatives.

    One can advance the following argument against this reasoning: The resolution of the Cyprus problem (or Turkish-Greek disputes) requires a long time. What is important is to minimize tensions and the risk of a war during that period. This can be done through unofficial contacts aimed at creating an environment of trust. The other side may try to use such contacts to gain advantage, but we can also use it to help our own cause. If this is game, then we must also play it by its rules. We gain nothing by running away from the game; on the contrary we project the image of being afraid of talking.

    Of course such contacts may seem like gimmickry at times of crisis or tension. The primary requirement for a settlement is the demonstration of political will. If that does not exist, contacts `between people´ would never produce any results.

    Still we must not give up hope on the `second channel´exercise. In particular, it is unnecessary for the Turkish side to be concerned that such contacts would hurt its case, or that they would divide the nation and to make such concerns public.

    We can apply the same argument not only to `second channel´ contacts but also to official talks. For example more is lost than gained when Turkey avoids a dialogue with the EU and the TRNC avoids UN-sponsored intercommunal talks.

    Reporting on the meeting in Oslo, Hasan Cemal argues in his column in SABAH that the Turkish side must be more flexible on talks over Cyprus. He said:

    `Would it not be better if the Turkish side sat at the negotiating table and tried to discuss preconditions with the Greek Cypriot side there rather imposing preconditions (and not sitting at the negotiating table)? Today it is again the Turkish side that is seen as the spoiler on the international arena. Ankara and Denktash have been branded as the side avoiding talks.´

    Now let us turn to the example of the `dialogue of the deaf´. Syria´s Deputy Foreign Minister, Adnan `Umran, was in Ankara this week. There were various issues (the Kurdistan Workers Party, water, Turkish-Israeli relations) on the agenda of the talks between the two sides. The views that the two sides defended were similar to the policies they argued for in earlier meetings.

    Nothing concrete emerged from these talks. Still, there is benefit in continuing the contacts even if it is in the form of a `dialogue of the deaf´.

    Dialogue is better than no dialogue regardless of its form.''


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


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